Morning Ethics Warm-Up: 7/26/17


[I was up until 3 AM watching a Red Sox game in Seattle that went 13 innings and five hours—they lost– and this doesn’t feel like morning, it feels like Hell. I’m dictating this to my dog, and hoping it warms ME up…]

1. The American Psychoanalytic Association told its 3,500 members that they should not feel bound by the so-called “Goldwater Rule,” which the rival American Psychiatric Association announced in 1964, prohibiting its members from diagnosing political figures from afar without the benefit of actually examining them. It’s an ethics rule, an obvious one, and shouldn’t be controversial. As I have documented here, however,  professionals of all kinds have allowed anti-Trump bias, panic and fervor to dissolve their ethical standards. The groups afflicted include college presidents, teachers, scientists, lawyers, judges, historians, legal ethicists, journalists and artists. Nobody should be shocked that psychiatrists are eager to do the same. As with the other professionals, all they will accomplish is an erosion of public respect and trust. I thought Ann Althouse’s response to the announcement was spot on:

Let them speak, and then the rest of us will speak about whether they are professionals deserving of deference or human beings like the rest of us who can’t keep our political preferences from skewing whatever it is we might think about some pressing issue of the day.

Go ahead, expose yourselves. Let us see all narcissism, impulsivity, poor attention span, paranoia, and other traits that impair your ability to lead.

2. I’m not devoting a solo post to the ridiculous Trump Boy Scout speech controversy, because despite all the efforts of the news media to maintain otherwise, it was not a scandal, was not a big deal, was not an enduring scar on the Boy Scouts of America, and is mostly significant as demonstrating how distorted the perception of those who are verging on being physically allergic to the President has become. Some points that have arisen in the thread about the speech are important to note, however.

I posted the entire speech in the discussion yesterday (in part because few of those expressing outrage over it had bothered to read the thing), and challenged readers to pull out the “political” portions and explain why they were so offensive. To his great credit and with my genuine gratitude, indefatigable commenter and Trump critic Chris did so. He also accepted my challenge to determine what the percentage was of political content in what was primarily just a standard inspirational speech with ad-libs by an unusually undisciplined and inarticulate speaker.

I had guessed that the political content was 10% or less; Chris, whose definition of “political” may be a bit broader than mine, reached the figure of about 19%. 19% does not justify calling the speech political. Yesterday, much of the bashing in the news media continued with the assertion that to include any political content in the speech broke with tradition. Granted, but so what? This is America; our culture is about challenging traditions. The position of the Left is that when they challenge traditions, say, the tradition that marriage is between a man and a woman, conservatives are evil and stupid if they don’t turn on a dime to embrace the shiny new order. When a Republican or a conservative breaks with tradition, it’s an outrage.

Here are the segments Chris flagged as political, and his objections, with my reaction in red.

  • The press will say it’s about 200 people. (Laughter.) It looks like about 45,000 people. You set a record today. (Applause.) You set a record. That’s a great honor, believe me.

Chris: “He literally attacked the press in his first paragraph.”

Me: Good. At this point, telling the Boy Scouts, or anyone, that the news media and American journalism are now wholly partisan tools of one ideology and a single national agenda, and no longer is trustworthy or respectable, qualifies as vital information and wholly consistent with the mission in such speeches as preparing young adults for the realities of life. This isn’t a political or partisan message at all,  Denying it is partisan.

  • Tonight, we put aside all of the policy fights in Washington, D.C. — you’ve been hearing about with the fake news and all of that. (Applause.) We’re going to put that aside.

Chris: “Yes, we’ll put all that aside, except I want to mention it several times right away and several other times later.”

Me: I thought the complaints were about politicization, not self contradiction.

  • You know, I go to Washington and I see all these politicians, and I see the swamp. And it’s not a good place. In fact today I said we ought to change it from the word swamp to the word cesspool or, perhaps, to the word sewer. But it’s not good. Not good. (Applause.) And I see what’s going on, and believe me I’d much rather be with you. That I can tell you. (Applause.)

Chris: “This is just him trying out new buzzwords. Shameless self-promotion to build his “brand,” and further his political battles (which are really just personal battles writ large for him, since he doesn’t care about policy)”.

Me: Saying that Washington, D.C. is a mess, “not good” and the rest is hardly partisan politics. Chris’s critique illustrates my point about the attacks on the speech from the news media and the Left, as well as some conservatives. They just object to Trump in general. Has any previous President made a disparaging comment about politics and D.C. to gathered scouts? I don’t know, but if one has, I wouldn’t be surprised, and the news media wouldn’t have had a cow about it in past years. [Pssst: all Presidential speeches are about self-promotion.)

  • I wonder if the television cameras will follow you. They don’t like doing that when they see these massive crowds. They don’t like doing that. Hi, folks. (Applause.) A lot of love in this big, beautiful place. A lot of love, and a lot of love for our country. There’s a lot of love for our country.

Chris: “More bashing of his perceived enemies.”

Me: All this stuff is petty and inappropriate. It’s also trivial, unless you are looking for reasons to have the vapours.

  • TRUMP: By the way, you going to get the votes?

He better get them. He better get them. Oh, he better — otherwise, I’ll say, Tom, you’re fired. I’ll get somebody. (Applause.)

He better get Senator Capito to vote for it. You got to get the other senators to vote for it. It’s time. After seven years of saying repeal and replace Obamacare, we have a chance to now do it. They better do it. Hopefully they’ll do it.

Chris: “A long stretch of non-political stuff there, and then he had to go and ruin it.”

Me: I doubt many in the audience had any idea what he was talking about. It’s a non-sequitur. Yes, bad speech technique. The Horror.

  • By the way, what do you think the chances are that this incredible, massive crowd, record-setting is going to be shown on television tonight? One percent or zero? (Applause.)

The fake media will say: President Trump — and you know what this is — President Trump spoke before a small crowd of Boy Scouts today.

That’s some — that is some crowd. (Applause.)

Fake media. Fake news. Thank you. And I’m honored by that, by the way, all of you people they can’t even see you. So thank you. I hope you can hear.

Chris: “Again.”

Me: See above. Which is more damaging, naive belief that the press is objective and doing its job as the Founders intended and assumed, or being aware that it is breaching its duty to democracy by engaging in partisan propaganda and manipulated news? I am waiting for a more articulate and unconflicted messenger—a respected journalist would be ideal—but it is still an appropriate message to convey to any young people. A similar message about their teachers and college professors would also be appropriate.

  • TRUMP: By the way, just a question, did President Obama ever come to a jamboree?


TRUMP: And we’ll be back. We’ll be back. The answer is no, but we’ll be back.

Chris: “Contemptible, so I’m mentioning it as a side note here.”

Me: I agree, as I’ve noted before. Not political, however. Personal. That’s worse. That’s also Trump, and he isn’t changing.


  • Now with that, I have to tell you our economy is doing great. Our stock market has picked up — since the election November 8th. Do we remember that date? (Applause.) Was that a beautiful date? (Applause.) What a date. Do you remember that famous night on television, November 8th, where they said — these dishonest people — where they said there is no path to victory for Donald Trump? They forgot about the forgotten people. By the way, they’re not forgetting about the forgotten people anymore. They’re going crazy trying to figure it out. But I told them, far too late. It’s far too late.

But do you remember that incredible night with the maps and the Republicans are red and the Democrats are blue, and that map was so red, it was unbelievable, and they didn’t know what to say? (Applause.)

And you know we have a tremendous disadvantage in the Electoral College — popular vote is much easier. Because New York, California, Illinois — you have to practically run the East Coast. And we did. We won Florida. We won South Carolina. We won North Carolina. We won Pennsylvania. (Applause.)

We won and won. So when they said, there is no way to victory, there is no way to 270. I went to Maine four times because it’s one vote, and we won. But we won — one vote. I went there because I kept hearing we’re at 269. But then Wisconsin came in. Many, many years — Michigan came in.

And we worked hard there. My opponent didn’t work hard there because she was told —


TRUMP: She was told she was going to win Michigan, and I said, well, wait a minute, the car industry is moving to Mexico. Why is she going to move — she’s there. Why are they allowing it to move?

And by the way, do you see those car industry — do you see what’s happening, how they’re coming back to Michigan? They’re coming back to Ohio. They’re starting to peel back in. (Applause.)

And we go to Wisconsin — now, Wisconsin hadn’t been won in many, many years by a Republican. But we go to Wisconsin, and we had tremendous crowds. And I’d leave these massive crowds. I’d say, why are we going to lose this state?

The polls — that’s also fake news. They’re fake polls. But the polls are saying — but we won Wisconsin. (Applause.) So I have to tell you what we did, in all fairness, is an unbelievable tribute to you and all of the other millions and millions of people that came out and voted for Make America Great Again. (Applause.)

Chris: I normally wouldn’t count encouraging words about the economy or a resurgent auto industry as unnecessary politicization, but given that he immediately pivots from those topics to talk about his electoral win, Hillary, and “fake news,” in this case they obviously count. This stretch of political talk is nearly as long as his longest stretch of non-political talk. I still don’t know if it counts as “most” of the speech, but it’s obviously way too much.

Me: Yes, this is all partisan and political, and just barely relevant ( it follows the message of persevering and winning despite opposition and the odds, and could have been done gracefully by a coherent speaker).

  • TRUMP: And I’ll tell you what, we are, indeed, making America great again. What’s going on is incredible. (Applause.)

We had the best jobs report in 16 years. The stock market on a daily basis is hitting an all-time high. We’re going to be bringing back very soon trillions of dollars from companies that can’t get their money back into this country, and that money is going to be used to help rebuild America. We’re doing things that nobody ever thought was possible.

And we’ve just started. It’s just the beginning. Believe me. (Applause.)

Chris: “I’m not counting this part as political, since he is saying generically encouraging things about the state of the economy. There is nothing wrong with that. Notice that here he does not tie it to his own greatness or his enemies’ weaknesses. Had the rest of his political asides been like this, I wouldn’t have a problem.”

Me: I guarantee that this is a section that the media and pundit Trump-bashers consider political, and offensive, and ear-poison to the delicate Boy Scouts. The anti-Trump Furies consider “Make America great again” offensive: racist, jingoistic, nationalistic. I don’t, and if there should be any setting where that slogan should  be right at home, it is a Boy Scout Jamboree.


  • And by the way, under the Trump administration, you’ll be saying, merry Christmas again when you go shopping. Believe me. Merry Christmas. (Applause.) They’ve been downplaying that little, beautiful phrase. You’re going to be saying, merry Christmas again, folks. (Applause.)

Me: I don’t think Chris flagged this, but I would. Christmas is thoroughly politicized through the culture wars. I am certain that this section also aggravated the media critics. Well, tough. The Boy Scouts were launched as a Christian organization, and religion, the bane of the Left, is central to its values still.

Ethics Conclusion: A lot of petty sideswipes didn’t belong in the speech, but they were tangential to the primary inspirational messages, which were not political. Calling the sections above the equivalent of a Nazi speech to the Hitler Youth is so grotesquely unfair and misleading that it is far more unethical than any Trump offense here, which was primarily that he behaved exactly as he usually does.  Trump, much as we might have wished otherwise, is not going to suddenly behave as previous Presidents have. That was obvious months ago. Each new episode where this fact comes to light is not a revelation worthy of expressions of disgust and horror.

3. I am still certain that it is John McCain’s obligation to resign from the Senate once he begins his cancer treatment. I must say, however, that I am grateful he did not resign before saying this in the Senate yesterday—if it is to be his valedictory,the speech is a noble, wise, ethical and important one:

Mr. President:

“I’ve stood in this place many times and addressed as president many presiding officers. I have been so addressed when I have sat in that chair, as close as I will ever be to a presidency.

“It is an honorific we’re almost indifferent to, isn’t it. In truth, presiding over the Senate can be a nuisance, a bit of a ceremonial bore, and it is usually relegated to the more junior members of the majority.

“But as I stand here today – looking a little worse for wear I’m sure – I have a refreshed appreciation for the protocols and customs of this body, and for the other ninety-nine privileged souls who have been elected to this Senate.

“I have been a member of the United States Senate for thirty years. I had another long, if not as long, career before I arrived here, another profession that was profoundly rewarding, and in which I had experiences and friendships that I revere. But make no mistake, my service here is the most important job I have had in my life. And I am so grateful to the people of Arizona for the privilege – for the honor – of serving here and the opportunities it gives me to play a small role in the history of the country I love.

“I’ve known and admired men and women in the Senate who played much more than a small role in our history, true statesmen, giants of American politics. They came from both parties, and from various backgrounds. Their ambitions were frequently in conflict. They held different views on the issues of the day. And they often had very serious disagreements about how best to serve the national interest.

“But they knew that however sharp and heartfelt their disputes, however keen their ambitions, they had an obligation to work collaboratively to ensure the Senate discharged its constitutional responsibilities effectively. Our responsibilities are important, vitally important, to the continued success of our Republic. And our arcane rules and customs are deliberately intended to require broad cooperation to function well at all. The most revered members of this institution accepted the necessity of compromise in order to make incremental progress on solving America’s problems and to defend her from her adversaries.

“That principled mindset, and the service of our predecessors who possessed it, come to mind when I hear the Senate referred to as the world’s greatest deliberative body. I’m not sure we can claim that distinction with a straight face today.

“I’m sure it wasn’t always deserved in previous eras either. But I’m sure there have been times when it was, and I was privileged to witness some of those occasions.

“Our deliberations today – not just our debates, but the exercise of all our responsibilities – authorizing government policies, appropriating the funds to implement them, exercising our advice and consent role – are often lively and interesting. They can be sincere and principled. But they are more partisan, more tribal more of the time than any other time I remember. Our deliberations can still be important and useful, but I think we’d all agree they haven’t been overburdened by greatness lately. And right now they aren’t producing much for the American people.

“Both sides have let this happen. Let’s leave the history of who shot first to the historians. I suspect they’ll find we all conspired in our decline – either by deliberate actions or neglect. We’ve all played some role in it. Certainly I have. Sometimes, I’ve let my passion rule my reason. Sometimes, I made it harder to find common ground because of something harsh I said to a colleague. Sometimes, I wanted to win more for the sake of winning than to achieve a contested policy.

“Incremental progress, compromises that each side criticize but also accept, just plain muddling through to chip away at problems and keep our enemies from doing their worst isn’t glamorous or exciting. It doesn’t feel like a political triumph. But it’s usually the most we can expect from our system of government, operating in a country as diverse and quarrelsome and free as ours.

“Considering the injustice and cruelties inflicted by autocratic governments, and how corruptible human nature can be, the problem solving our system does make possible, the fitful progress it produces, and the liberty and justice it preserves, is a magnificent achievement.

“Our system doesn’t depend on our nobility. It accounts for our imperfections, and gives an order to our individual strivings that has helped make ours the most powerful and prosperous society on earth. It is our responsibility to preserve that, even when it requires us to do something less satisfying than ‘winning.’ Even when we must give a little to get a little. Even when our efforts manage just three yards and a cloud of dust, while critics on both sides denounce us for timidity, for our failure to ‘triumph.’

“I hope we can again rely on humility, on our need to cooperate, on our dependence on each other to learn how to trust each other again and by so doing better serve the people who elected us. Stop listening to the bombastic loudmouths on the radio and television and the Internet. To hell with them. They don’t want anything done for the public good. Our incapacity is their livelihood.

“Let’s trust each other. Let’s return to regular order. We’ve been spinning our wheels on too many important issues because we keep trying to find a way to win without help from across the aisle. That’s an approach that’s been employed by both sides, mandating legislation from the top down, without any support from the other side, with all the parliamentary maneuvers that requires.

“We’re getting nothing done. All we’ve really done this year is confirm Neil Gorsuch to the Supreme Court. Our healthcare insurance system is a mess. We all know it, those who support Obamacare and those who oppose it. Something has to be done. We Republicans have looked for a way to end it and replace it with something else without paying a terrible political price. We haven’t found it yet, and I’m not sure we will. All we’ve managed to do is make more popular a policy that wasn’t very popular when we started trying to get rid of it.

“I voted for the motion to proceed to allow debate to continue and amendments to be offered. I will not vote for the bill as it is today. It’s a shell of a bill right now. We all know that. I have changes urged by my state’s governor that will have to be included to earn my support for final passage of any bill. I know many of you will have to see the bill changed substantially for you to support it.

“We’ve tried to do this by coming up with a proposal behind closed doors in consultation with the administration, then springing it on skeptical members, trying to convince them it’s better than nothing, asking us to swallow our doubts and force it past a unified opposition. I don’t think that is going to work in the end. And it probably shouldn’t.

“The Obama administration and congressional Democrats shouldn’t have forced through Congress without any opposition support a social and economic change as massive as Obamacare. And we shouldn’t do the same with ours.

“Why don’t we try the old way of legislating in the Senate, the way our rules and customs encourage us to act. If this process ends in failure, which seem likely, then let’s return to regular order.

“Let the Health, Education, Labor, and Pensions Committee under Chairman Alexander and Ranking Member Murray hold hearings, try to report a bill out of committee with contributions from both sides. Then bring it to the floor for amendment and debate, and see if we can pass something that will be imperfect, full of compromises, and not very pleasing to implacable partisans on either side, but that might provide workable solutions to problems Americans are struggling with today.

“What have we to lose by trying to work together to find those solutions? We’re not getting much done apart. I don’t think any of us feels very proud of our incapacity. Merely preventing your political opponents from doing what they want isn’t the most inspiring work. There’s greater satisfaction in respecting our differences, but not letting them prevent agreements that don’t require abandonment of core principles, agreements made in good faith that help improve lives and protect the American people.

“The Senate is capable of that. We know that. We’ve seen it before. I’ve seen it happen many times. And the times when I was involved even in a modest way with working out a bipartisan response to a national problem or threat are the proudest moments of my career, and by far the most satisfying.

“This place is important. The work we do is important. Our strange rules and seemingly eccentric practices that slow our proceedings and insist on our cooperation are important. Our founders envisioned the Senate as the more deliberative, careful body that operates at a greater distance than the other body from the public passions of the hour.

“We are an important check on the powers of the Executive. Our consent is necessary for the President to appoint jurists and powerful government officials and in many respects to conduct foreign policy. Whether or not we are of the same party, we are not the President’s subordinates. We are his equal!

“As his responsibilities are onerous, many and powerful, so are ours. And we play a vital role in shaping and directing the judiciary, the military, and the cabinet, in planning and supporting foreign and domestic policies. Our success in meeting all these awesome constitutional obligations depends on cooperation among ourselves.

“The success of the Senate is important to the continued success of America. This country – this big, boisterous, brawling, intemperate, restless, striving, daring, beautiful, bountiful, brave, good and magnificent country – needs us to help it thrive. That responsibility is more important than any of our personal interests or political affiliations.

“We are the servants of a great nation, ‘a nation conceived in liberty and dedicated to the proposition that all men are created equal.’ More people have lived free and prosperous lives here than in any other nation. We have acquired unprecedented wealth and power because of our governing principles, and because our government defended those principles.

“America has made a greater contribution than any other nation to an international order that has liberated more people from tyranny and poverty than ever before in history. We have been the greatest example, the greatest supporter and the greatest defender of that order. We aren’t afraid. “We don’t covet other people’s land and wealth. We don’t hide behind walls. We breach them. We are a blessing to humanity.

“What greater cause could we hope to serve than helping keep America the strong, aspiring, inspirational beacon of liberty and defender of the dignity of all human beings and their right to freedom and equal justice? That is the cause that binds us and is so much more powerful and worthy than the small differences that divide us.

“What a great honor and extraordinary opportunity it is to serve in this body.

“It’s a privilege to serve with all of you. I mean it. Many of you have reached out in the last few days with your concern and your prayers, and it means a lot to me. It really does. I’ve had so many people say such nice things about me recently that I think some of you must have me confused with someone else. I appreciate it though, every word, even if much of it isn’t deserved.

“I’ll be here for a few days, I hope managing the floor debate on the defense authorization bill, which, I’m proud to say is again a product of bipartisan cooperation and trust among the members of the Senate Armed Services Committee.

“After that, I’m going home for a while to treat my illness. I have every intention of returning here and giving many of you cause to regret all the nice things you said about me. And, I hope, to impress on you again that it is an honor to serve the American people in your company.

“Thank you, fellow senators.

“Mr. President, I yield the floor.”

92 thoughts on “Morning Ethics Warm-Up: 7/26/17

  1. #3. John McCain’s speech was true statesmanship words! The speech was truly “noble, wise, ethical and important one”; I predict that it will be ignored by DC politicians in very short order and they will return to their normal partisanship.

    • It only lasted to the moment Senator McCain voted to open debate on the Healthcare Bill yesterday. The attacks from the Left began immediately.

  2. #1 Big surprise.

    Anyone want to bet that as soon as Trump is not in the White House the American Psychoanalytic Association will reverse this decision and again tell their members that they should feel bound by the “Goldwater Rule”.

    Personally I really don’t give a flying fuck what the American Psychoanalytic Association does anymore, they’re just trying to formally justify the unethical things that are already being done. The American Psychoanalytic Association and a vast majority of their members are no longer worthy of the respect shown professionals.

    This is all the ends justifies the means bull shit. The members of the American Psychoanalytic Association need to psychoanalyze themselves.

    • I’m really amazed that there IS an American Psychoanalytic Association anymore. Psychoanalysis, as Sigmund Freud envisioned it and practiced it, simply isn’t practiced anymore. In part because the underlying theories have been shown to be fallacious.

      • But it certainly would be loads and loads of fun to watch “the members of the American Psychoanalytic Association… psychoanalyze themselves.” to the same standards they try to hold others to. 😉 😉 😉

    • Disagree. It is my opinion that there’s there’s one crazy motherfucker in The White House and he need to go by hook or by crook. Yepperoo, in this case the ends do justify the means. (Yes, I’ll gladly take his VEEP cause he’s not fucking nuts.)

      Should Psychiatrists Speak Out Against Trump?

      First two graphs follow. Read the rest of the piece by following above link.

      When Donald Trump accused his predecessor Barack Obama of wiretapping him, James Comey, then the F.B.I. director, told colleagues that he considered Trump to be “outside the realm of normal,” and even “crazy.” Many Americans share this view, but the professionals who are best qualified to make such an assessment have been forced to remain mum.
      “I’m struggling not to discuss He-Who-Must-Not-Be-Named,” a psychiatrist named Jerrold Post said last week, speaking on the phone from his office, in Bethesda, Maryland. Post, who is the director of the political-psychology program at George Washington University’s Elliott School of International Affairs, and the founder of the C.I.A.’s Center for the Analysis of Personality and Political Behavior, has made a career of political-personality profiling. However, he is also a distinguished life fellow of the American Psychiatric Association, whose professional code of conduct forbids members to publicly comment on the psyches of living public figures whom they have not personally examined.

      • You can disagree, but you’re just, plain, flat out, irredeemably wrong. The profession is overwhelmingly tilted to the partisan left; it’s motivations (and yours) are political, and all this will do is diminish the credibility of the profession, such as it is. You’re just begging for a biased authority to give you a club to beat ab elected official you don’t like with. When psychiatrists “diagnose” people based on distant observations, they might as well be astrologers. They don’t agree when the diagnose patients they are charging 100 bucks an hour or more.

        “Crazy” is just a word to justify discriminating against people who have their own way and a minority way of looking at the world. Leaders of all kinds (and artists) often meet the requirements of “crazy.” It can’t be measured. What can be measured is results. Many of the positions the left embraces are crazy, in my view, in the sense that they are irrational. Want to allow foreign nationals to break out laws without enforcement is crazy; Trump’s opposition to that is sane and logical. Pretending that ending the lives of million of unborn, living human beings shouldn’t be a consideration in abortion police is dishonest AND irrational: opposing abortion without restrictions is a far less crazy position. Giving a government that is reliably incompetent more and more control over our lives is batshit nuts. Electing someone like Hillary Clinton can fairly be called crazy. Endorsing a racist organization like BLM is crazy, as in irrational and indefensible using reason.

        I can demonstrate that Trump is not very smart, over his head, ignorant, a sexist pig, and many other things, but having studied the personalities and life histories of the Presidents extensively, I think I have a firm basis to say that most of them were “outside the norm.”

        And anarchist or not, fatty, you don’t change laws, process, justice and rights by just wishing them away. Presidents leave office when they are replaced in elections, or die. Killing them is criminal, and cannot be justified. Blathering on about “by hook or crook” is just static. It doesn’t help. It’s like shouting at the storm, or shaking your fist at a cloud.

        • My motivations are not political. You know I despise left, right and center. I put up with their shit, but I will always despise them and their political bullshit.

          The political leanings of the American Psychiatric Association aside, the article notes that, “given the President’s erratic behavior, the organization was infringing on its members’ freedom of expression.”

          If the rules of the game can be changed (if the GOP had changed the rules and blocked Trump’s nomination) then the rules of the game can be changed to allow psychiatrists to express their views on the mental health/stability of the President of the United States.

          A psychiatrist against this rule change argues that overturning the rule could be bad for the profession. “We’re already seen as peddlers of a liberal world view,” he said. “If we make pronouncements about Donald Trump, nothing is gained. You don’t need a doctor to tell you that the guy on the plane with a hacking cough is sick.”)

          You’re half right when you say crazy can’t be measured. I’ve had extensive experience working with the mentally ill during the Vietnam War. I knew the real crazies from the fakers. The true catatonics. The obvious schizophrenics (old term, I know). The paranoids. I’ve seen a lot of shit, Jack. And I’ve seen a few miserable psychiatrists (Dr. Dinoff, in particular, whose neg;ligence cause a soldiers leg to be amputated because he didn’t believe the man’s constant complaints about leg pain.) An old piece of mine explains further (and a reader calls me a liar in the comments)…

          And I remember the day a soldier who was supposedly cured of his mental illness and was a trusty on the mental ward I worked in at Valley Forge General Hospital saw an opportunity to grab an MP’s pistol, fire one shot into the wall and the next one into his brain.

          So yeah, psychiatry is more art than science.

          You won’t sway my belief that Trump is a danger to the country that you and others here so vehemently love. I like our country, but I sure as hell don’t love it for reasons I won’t go into.

          • The organization isn’t the government, and all associations and professions have to police members. They can say what they want, and their association can say they are breaching professional ethics when they do, and are partisan hacks misusing their perceived expertise.

            Which they are.

            • The following rebuttal is not meant to be disrespectful, Jack, but, I do think it carries a weight equal to your assertion, “Which they are.”


              Says you.

              • Says an expert in professional ethics who has tracked similar professional ethics missteps among lawyers, historians, journalists, judges and educators, and who is convinced based on evidence and experience that this is an accurate analysis. Yes. As opposed to your “Boy, I wish I could have a phony diagnosis in violation for a 60-year old standard to support my confirmation bias and emotion-based certainty.”

                Right. Says me.

      • fattymoon wrote, “It is my opinion that there’s there’s one crazy motherfucker in The White House and he need to go by hook or by crook. Yepperoo, in this case the ends do justify the means.”

        The way you have used “the ends do justifies the means”, means that there is no ethical, moral, or legal line that shouldn’t be crossed to remove Trump from office. So exactly how far are you willing to push that unethical rationalization? I’m completely serious fattymoon; where is the line that you don’t think should be crossed to remove Trump from the office of the President of the United States?

        Do you have the balls to answer my question?

        Speak up fattymoon, let your loud-mouthed trolling voice be heard.

        • Fuck, man, my cojones are so, well, ballsy, so here’s your answer. Assassination is definitely off the table. Everything else is on the table. Use your imagination.

            • Let me repeat for absolute clarification (and so Homeland Security doesn’t pay me a second after-midnight visit) – assassination is OFF MY TABLE. Everything else is ON MY TABLE. I said “use your imagination.” Here’s one to get you started… military coup.

              I don’t mind, Mr. Z. Really. I’ve been morally bankrupt before. Probably happen again, too. Fact is, I feel a morally bankrupt coming on… oh! it’s probably the tequila. Maybe I should post a picture?

              • fattymoon wrote, “Let me repeat for absolute clarification (and so Homeland Security doesn’t pay me a second after-midnight visit) – assassination is OFF MY TABLE.”

                Your choice of words, your consequences dude.

                fattymoon wrote, “Everything else is ON MY TABLE. I said “use your imagination.” Here’s one to get you started… military coup.”

                Maybe a little more critical thinking before you click on the “Post Comment” button would help prevent you from writing things like that that draw the attention of Homeland Security. Maybe you should change your sleep schedule so they don’t wake you up when they come a knockin’, because I assure they will if you keep on writing that kind of rhetoric. Alas, it’s your choice to let those thoughts out of your head and post them on the internet.

                fattymoon wrote, “Maybe I should post a picture?”

                No thanks.

                • Fuck it. I’ll post one anyway.
                  Guess what, UPS can’t find us. FedEx can’t find us. I’m so far out in the boonies that YOU couldn’t find me. Well, uh, if you’re ever in the area please do stop by. Text or email me and I’ll meet you at the turnoff. Damn, you and I would have a good time! (You do drugs?)

                  Ok, here comes a current events picture… I just finished the bottle and I blame (hahahhahahahahahaha! Jack.

                    • fattymoon wrote, “My invite is open. Come visit. We’ll arm wrestle. I’ll lose,but, still,there’s drugs.”

                      I’m not too sure my system can take drinking water dredged up from the New Mexico’s Rio Grande river basin but New Mexico IS an area on my bucket list to visit.

                      Arm wrestle; I haven’t done that since my Army days, I never was very good at it.

                      Sorry, no drugs for me; a couple of ice cold full-flavored beers with a side of 10 year old Glenmorangie Scotch will do just fine. I’ll bring my own.

                      Drink beer, talk smart and watch the seagulls eat Alka-Seltzer tablets (evil grin); that could be a fun day. 😉

                    • Mr. Z and everyone else. Kind of a funny story. I got so drunk yesterday that I wrote shit I can’t even remember writing. Fact is, I can’t remember anything after 5:36 yesterday afternoon. Yeah, I do remember posting my picture, but I don’t remember writing this one at 6:09.
                      My invite is open. Come visit. We’ll arm wrestle. I’ll lose,but, still,there’s drugs.

                      Better (or maybe worse still) I wrote something on Medium which got me rebuked by a reader. If you want to you can follow the link and read her comment and my response feel free, but I’m also posting the two comments below the link.
                      Ya know something? I’m thinking of quitting Medium. Ya know why? Cause maybe you’re a bunch of eltitists. I could be wrong. Still, the response to this post is disheartening. (Is that a word?)
                      No shit. If I can’t get more than a few views on this labor of love, I just might maybe put my shit elsewhere.
                      I really do not give one fuck.
                      Now that I think about it… Nahhhhhhh. (I loves you too much!)


                      Yes.. it is a labour of love…
                      A lot of different folks come here and read..
                      A lot don’t even get one comment. … but you know.. its not why they are here.. they are here for themselves and to speak their own truths.
                      So.. just a thought for you.. if you are after praise and glory… maybe this is not the right place. It does not mean YOU are any the less.
                      It just means there is no “entitlement” and that folk are no less.. and no more than you.
                      Maybe your attitude is as up for change as that you seem to think (rightly or wrongly) others need to do to.
                      I wish you well…. I loved the video…. the love you put into it is evident. Just think long and hard about the attitude.. you will have stopped many from commenting .
                      Maybe also decide who you are doing this for ? Who your audience needs to be and why oh why you needed to pout and stamp your foot with your comment.
                      I genuinely enjoyed the video…. but it was your comment that ruined it.
                      Be well… I wish you luck.


                      Woke up 3:10 this morning. Woozy. Stella said I made salmon for dinner. Dinner? I don’t remember cooking. Or eating. And I don’t remember writing the comment you’ve commented on.
                      What I do remember is finishing half a bottle of tequila while angrily confronting the defenders of Trump at Ethics Alarms. Here. And here. I’m down in the comments section as fattymoon.
                      Can’t and won’t defend my elitist (spelled it right this time) comment. It is what it is. I could issue a half-assed apology like some politicians/entertainers I know (“that’s not me, that’s not what I stand for” etc etc etc.) but that would be a stain on top of the stain I made above.
                      I don’t want forgiveness. Or pity. Or condemnation. I don’t think I meant what I wrote. In a sense, it wasn’t the me who’s writing this who wrote that. It was a personality brought to surface by my over drinking.
                      Pam, the very best I can hope for is this… my pinned tweet.
                      And, to anyone else who stumbles across my insensitive comment, I regret what I said. I’m not saying that what I said is true or false. I have no idea. It’s just that I think certain thoughts are best remain unsaid.
                      Pam, I do thank you for your comment. And you raise a very valid point when you say Maybe also decide who you are doing this for ? Fact is, I have an answer, and it’s not pretty. I have a strong ego regarding any creative work I do. This ego of mine feeds on praise. Very unfortunate. I’m aware I should be creating for the simple joy of creation, but, my ego constantly gets in the way, demanding attention. Demanding that people love me.
                      I think I’ve said everything I can say at this point. When I saw your comment while the water was boiling for my coffee, I sat here and responded to you with all my heart, And now I really need that first cup of coffee.
                      UPDATE — It’s 5:15 this morning. Stella is up and drinking coffee. I’m feeling ok. I don’t remember anything after sometime yesterday afternoon. I don’t know when Stella got home from her trip to Las Cruces. I don’t recall her arrival. (She told me this morning I was at the computer when she walked in and that I was happy to see her. She said I made a most delicious salmon supper. I don’t remember anything at all. Not cooking. Not eating. Not going to bed… I woke up this morning wearing my walking shorts which I’d worn all day yesterday.)
                      I do remember boasting on Ethics Alarms that I was going to post a picture of me drinking tequila because I was so angry with some of the Trump supporters (enablers)there, and I did post it… not a bad picture, yes?

                      (same picture I posted here is below the above text, followed by my closing remarks)

                      Ok, I’m done with this now. No more tequila for me. Unless we bomb North Korea, then all bets are off. (BTW, Stella said she saw lots of military convoys on the move yesterday passing through Las Cruces.)

                    • The motorcycle photo above was just a gag, I’d never post a real photo of someone posting anonymously, I knew it wasn’t you.

                      I do these kinds of challenges just for fun. I once found a rock that someone took a photo from somewhere in the United States just using terrain identification.

                      Does this look familiar? 🙂

                    • Excellent, Mr. Z! Didn’t recognize my old place till I made the picture larger. But… there are four houses there. You have (had) a one in four chance of finding me. Let’s see if you can locate me in Garfield. Post a pic if you can.

                    • fattymoon wrote, “Let’s see if you can locate me in Garfield. Post a pic if you can.”

                      That’ll obviously take a bit longer, but I’ll give it a try in the next 3 or 4 days.

                    • Found me! First photo definitely. Not sure about second photo… I keep looking and turning my head but I can’t seem to find the right orientation.

                    • fattymoon wrote, “Not sure about second photo… I keep looking and turning my head but I can’t seem to find the right orientation.”

                      The photos are of the same place taken at different points in time.

                      I cropped most of the second photo out. Your driveway goes out to the left. That’s an ariel view from google earth, it could have been taken 5-8 years ago which is before you moved in so take in consideration that there may be extra stuff there that isn’t there now. The street view (the first one) is likely to be the most recent of the two.

        • I’m sorry, Mr. Z. Anything here that declares that Trump is doing the best he can and he deserves a chance and it’s the office of the presidency Jack is concerned about… you know, all of that crap… and it really is crap, of the highest, most intelligentsia order or crap. I prefer Garfield, New Mexico low life crap to the crap I find here being espoused by Jack and his minions. (Yo! I told you I was drinking tequila, Jack. Ban me if you want, but I’ll never forget your broken promise to play me a game of chess.)

            • I’m going to treat this as the joke I assume it it. I hope I don’t have to actually formalize a rule about te Comments being used for completely non-ethics exchanges. The Sci-Fi and Doctor Who threads, among others, have already come close to crossing the line. Historical background is well behind that line, because it is always related to the posts that spawn it—WW II, the Alamo, biographies. trivia—as is legal, social, scientific or other tangents, because they are educational and informative to all. The line is crossed when an exchange is unrelated to ethics., a post, and is meaningless to all but two commenters, as well as being more than a one-off.
              But you both know all that.
              I hope.

  3. John McCain just set the bar for the best speech of unison I have ever read. If only those with ears would listen. I have heard there is none so blind as he who will not see but I now add, there is none so deaf as he who will not hear.

  4. 1. I was surprised to find that other medical professions don’t have an equivalent to the Goldwater Rule:

    “The group acted despite growing criticism that the Goldwater rule is outdated and even unethical for preventing psychiatrists from pointing out behaviors that raise questions about a government official’s mental state. No other medical specialty has such a rule; cardiologists are not prohibited from offering their views of an official’s fainting spell, for instance, as long as they make clear that they have not examined the person.”

    Of course, a defense on that basis would just be “everybody does it,” and the fact that other groups of professionals don’t have this rule doesn’t make the APA’s abandonment of it ethical. If anything, the Goldwater Rule made the APA an exemplar, in this one respect, compared to their peers in other disciplines. They should have kept it; I’m really not sure if it’s ethical for a cardiologist to comment on an official’s fainting spell without examining them either.

    2. I meant to flag other parts of the speech as well, including the Christmas one you bring up, but messed up a lot of the formatting.

    We are going to have to disagree that attacking the press, even if justified, is appropriate for an event such as this. Not everything that is true needs to be said on every occasion.

    This also goes beyond defying “tradition.” It defies the law. The Boy Scouts’ charity status means they are not permitted to engage in political activity while in uniform, and even though the majority of the speech was apolitical, the parts that were not certainly count. And of course, “Democrats only think traditions are only good when Republicans break them” is a strawman; reasonable people can analyze different traditions and determine whether they should be kept or done away with. Reasonable people can conclude that breaking the tradition of not bashing one’s political enemies in front of a group of children at an event for a charity is bad, while breaking the tradition of not allowing gays to marry is good. There is no hypocrisy or contradiction there.

    All this stuff is petty and inappropriate. It’s also trivial, unless you are looking for reasons to have the vapours.

    I really don’t know where you draw the line between “appropriate criticism” and “having the vapors,” Jack. I’ll agree with you that calling this a “Hitler Youth” rally was absurdly over-the-top, and would qualify as the latter. But what have I said that puts me anywhere near that category? I’ve basically said what you said: it was petty and inappropriate. I also said it shows a lack of self-control, maturity, and basic leadership qualities. Is any of this untrue? Or is it just the amount of time I spend criticizing Trump for these faults that you take issue with?

    3. It was a good speech. Shame he then contradicted it with his vote.

      • I withdraw my comment, Zoltar; McCain said in the speech that he voted for the motion to proceed but would not vote for the bill “as it is today.” So far, he has not contradicted that stance. My mistake.

    • “Or is it just the amount of time I spend criticizing Trump for these faults that you take issue with?”

      There’s a certain amount of boy-who-cried-wolf phenomena here.


      But we’ve discussed that before and you soundly rejected it before.

      But, by all means. Keep it up!

    • Unlike cardiology, medicine, or really any hard science, psycho-analysis is extremely subjective. It’s really one step (maybe no steps) removed from psychic readings.

      The first thing they freshmen in a psychology class is not to go around psychoanalyzing people just because you completed a course. I doubt that they say anything similar in a CPR class.

  5. On McCain:

    ““That principled mindset, and the service of our predecessors who possessed it, come to mind when I hear the Senate referred to as the world’s greatest deliberative body. I’m not sure we can claim that distinction with a straight face today.

    “I’m sure it wasn’t always deserved in previous eras either. But I’m sure there have been times when it was, and I was privileged to witness some of those occasions.”

    Was particularly well delivered. I watched that live, and it hit me almost immediately that it would be something that we’d end up talking about, and it should be.

    On Trump’s Boy Scout Speech… It seems to me that Trump is forever mentally trapped in that dining room where Obama took the opportunity to lob some cheap shots across the room at him. Was it wrong for Obama, as POTUS, to stand behind a mic and mock DT? Yup. Is it wrong for DT to do similar things now? Yup. But where was the media then? Oh, right. Obama is a Democrat. Hah. Regardless, Trump’s seemingly personal fascination with dismantling anything with Obama’s name on it is petty and destructive. It needs to stop.

    • On Trump’s Boy Scout Speech… It seems to me that Trump is forever mentally trapped in that dining room where Obama took the opportunity to lob some cheap shots across the room at him. Was it wrong for Obama, as POTUS, to stand behind a mic and mock DT? Yup. Is it wrong for DT to do similar things now? Yup. But where was the media then? Oh, right. Obama is a Democrat. Hah. Regardless, Trump’s seemingly personal fascination with dismantling anything with Obama’s name on it is petty and destructive. It needs to stop.

      This is satire, right?

      You’re leaving out a very important fact about where and when Obama’s mockery of Trump occurred…a fact that you can’t possibly not be aware of, that you can’t possibly think is equivalent to the context of Trump’s speech, and a fact that, if I didn’t know you better, I could only imagine you’d leave out as an attempt to deliberately deceive.

      I’ll wait and see if you address this fact in your next comment, but if not, I’ll be happy to explain it for you.

      • Are you saying Obama’s cheap shots were not unethical while Trump’s were or are you saying Obama’s cheap shots were not as unethical as Trump’s.

        See, HT’s assertion can still be valid if it falls within the realm of Obama’s cheap shots were not as unethical as Trump’s or within the realm of Obama’s cheap shots were equally unethical with Trump’s. Which is, Obama behaved unethically towards Trump and Trump hasn’t gotten over it, and also, where were you and your people when Obama behaved unethically.

        Back to the 1st paragraph- if you are asserting the former, then you misread HT’s comment. If you are asserting the latter, I think you know what rationalization that is.

        • I am absolutely saying that Obama’s cheap shots were ethical while Trump’s were not; this is NOT a double standard, and you and HT are only trying to make it seem like one by omitting crucial context.

          That context: the cheap shots Obama made took place at the White House Correspondents’ Dinner. You know, that event where politicians and media figures get together for the express purpose of taking cheap shots at each other. That’s what happens there.

          This is not an “everybody does it” rationalization; this is about decorum and context. I can think of no explanation for omitting this context other than dishonestly attempting to pretend that the only significant difference between Obama’s speech and Trump’s was that Obama is a Democrat and Trump isn’t. That assertion was bullshit. The key difference is that Obama’s cheap shots were taken during what everyone knew and went in expecting to be a comedy routine, and Trump’s cheap shots were taken during what was supposed to be an apolitical address delivered to children. Taking cheap shots during a comedy routine–a roast, essentially–is not unethical, while doing so during an event like a speech to Boy Scouts is.

          I really can’t believe I just had to explain that to you.

          If there’s still any doubt about this, here’s everything Obama said about Trump in 2011, in response to Trump’s campaign of lies designed to smear the president by making idiots believe that Obama was born somewhere other than Hawaii:

          And then there’s a vicious rumor floating around that I think could really hurt Mitt Romney. I heard he passed universal health care when he was governor of Massachusetts. (Laughter.) Someone should get to the bottom of that.

          And I know just the guy to do it -– Donald Trump is here tonight! (Laughter and applause.) Now, I know that he’s taken some flak lately, but no one is happier, no one is prouder to put this birth certificate matter to rest than the Donald. (Laughter.) And that’s because he can finally get back to focusing on the issues that matter –- like, did we fake the moon landing? (Laughter.) What really happened in Roswell? (Laughter.) And where are Biggie and Tupac? (Laughter and applause.)

          But all kidding aside, obviously, we all know about your credentials and breadth of experience. (Laughter.) For example — no, seriously, just recently, in an episode of Celebrity Apprentice — (laughter) — at the steakhouse, the men’s cooking team cooking did not impress the judges from Omaha Steaks. And there was a lot of blame to go around. But you, Mr. Trump, recognized that the real problem was a lack of leadership. And so ultimately, you didn’t blame Lil’ Jon or Meatloaf. (Laughter.) You fired Gary Busey. (Laughter.) And these are the kind of decisions that would keep me up at night. (Laughter and applause.) Well handled, sir. (Laughter.) Well handled.

          Say what you will about Mr. Trump, he certainly would bring some change to the White House. Let’s see what we’ve got up there. (Laughter.)

          (Screens show “Trump White House Resort and Casino.”)

          You think these comments are unethical? In what possible way?

          • I think you should take a little bit of time out of your day to watch a tale of two dinners.

            One of Bush:

            And one of Obama:

            Note the number of times the jabs cross the aisle and the topics they were about, note the number of times and topics the two used self-deprecating humor, consider the relative power level of the people being talked about. Consider the time spent on individual topics, consider the time spent on individuals, consider the… meanness…. the topicallity of the material.

            Look, even if you think that the jabs and cheap shots were par for the course, and you for some reason thought it was usual for the POTUS to comment on the current election cycle…. Then maybe you’d be right there beside me, echoing you for the last six months in pointing out that the presidency isn’t supposed to be a freak show, that there’s supposed to be some kind of…. je ne sais quoi… maybe a…. decorum… To the most important job in the country. That maybe it’s a mistake for a president to even good naturedly (although I think that being generous) jab at people who aren’t (at the time) president.

            There’s nothing requiring the president go to the White House correspondents dinner aside from tradition (which is why I’ll be interested to see if Trump goes… One one hand, he hates the press, on the other, he’s a shameless narcissist.), nothing forces the president to go up there and be a jerk. So, no, it is not ethical for him to go up there and be a jerk. And it IS fallacious to point out that everyone is a jerk… Both because Obama really raised that bar, and also because the bad behavior of other people don’t make your own bad behavior good in comparison.

            • There’s nothing requiring the president go to the White House correspondents dinner aside from tradition (which is why I’ll be interested to see if Trump goes… One one hand, he hates the press, on the other, he’s a shameless narcissist.),

              What? The WHCD already happened; Trump didn’t go.

              The Bush speech was definitely more self-deprecating, but he took a few jabs at his political opponents as well. They’re two different approaches to comedy, but Obama’s was not unethical. This isn’t to say that it’s impossible for comedy to cross the line, just that absolutely nothing Obama said about Trump did cross the line. They were good jokes, and fair ones. Again, Trump had just spent a year on a ridiculous quest into Obama’s birth certificate; it was absolutely fair to respond to that with humor and light-hearted mockery. There was nothing unethical about it. If he had made similar jokes at something like a Boy Scout Jamboree, or a speech in front of the CIA memorial wall, or a National Prayer Breakfast, then they would be unethical, because of the context.

              But Obama wouldn’t do that, which is why your comments are just offering a false equivalence.

              • You know what, I’m not even sure why I bothered making my own argument in defense of Obama’s Trump jokes here. I should have just immediately sought out and copy-pasted Jack’s, which he wrote right after the dinner:

                Trump is a poor sport, a whiner, a humorless fool, and deluded to boot. He spent the previous month accusing the President of the United States of being a liar, a fraud, a usurper, a poor student, and an illegal alien, appealing to the worst instincts of the most extreme Obama-haters and political foes. His conduct was most charitably and frequently defined as “a joke,” though it was worse than that. He comes to the Correspondent’s Dinner where the President has his one chance to skewer others the way comedians regularly skewer him, having provided by his own boorishness and hucksterism enough material to supply ten stand-up routines, not only claims to be surprised at the extent of his roasting, but is offended that he has to take his medicine.

                The President’s comments about Trump, though clearly accompanied by an edge, were completely fair and funny. Actually, the moon walk conspiracy theories and the rumors about Area 51, which the President compared to Trump’s accusations, are arguably more plausible than the birther claims: the Donald got off easy. If the man had an ounce of class, perspective, humility, humor, common sense, decency or courage, he would accept the jibes, laugh, and offer the President an apology.

                Instead, he thinks he was abused.

                What a jerk.


              • “What? The WHCD already happened; Trump didn’t go.”

                Huh… For some reason I thought it was in August. I have no idea how I missed the veritable shitstorm Trump doing something must have invoked. Mea culpa.

                As for the rest…. I disagree. But I think for the most part it’s a subjective disagreement…. The distinction you’re trying to draw between the WHCD and other events seems particularly artificial, for example. Is he the president or isn’t he? Should he be a jerk or shouldn’t he? If the venue lends one to exhibiting bad behavior, then the right thing to do is avoid the venue.

                I also take exception to the idea that I’m making an equivalence. Trump is worse. There’s a measure of the Julie principle at play here…. Fish gotta swim, birds gotta fly, Say something mean about Trump once and he’ll be bitter about it for life. Trump’s response has been unrelated and not proportional to what Obama did to him (And did to him more than just at the WHCD, which I think you’re ignoring).

                But I will say that as with so many problems in Washington today, Obama contributed. He cheapened the office of the presidency (Google “Between Two Ferns”, just off the top of my head.), he had a learning curve so flat it was almost negative, he grabbed the politics of identity and division by the horns and rode them hard for eight years, he grossly overused Executive Orders…. And he poked the bear.

                I mean… The question isn’t whether what Trump is doing is reasonable… He isn’t. The question is why the hell you expected different?

  6. Chris, I think we can agree Trump is definitely guilty of the main thing you’re accusing him of: He’s neither Barack Obama nor Hillary Clinton.

  7. I’m gonna have to re-read McCain’s speech. Sounds good. But so many of these “we just need to come together” speeches really end up being “we just need to come together and approve of the way I want things” speech.

    Especially given a polarized nation where one side of the aisle (or both) has run to an extremist point of view and the other side of the aisle (or both) has no clue what it even stands for anymore.

  8. A response to Senator McCain.

    McCain starts off this passage correctly: “The Obama administration and congressional Democrats shouldn’t have forced through Congress without any opposition support a social and economic change as massive as Obamacare.” Absolutely right. Well said, Senator.

    So, as any idiot can see, the correct solution is to undo what the Democrats did. They never should have done it — but they did. So it must be undone.

    Then, and only then, if you want to go through your “regular order” and your committees and all those procedures that you have fallen in love with over the last 30 years, go nuts.

    But instead, McCain wants to have one set of rules for the left, and another for conservatives. He wants to let Democrats run roughshod over Republicans, and suffer nothing for it but a tsk-tsking — while Republicans, once in power, have to hold hands with the opposition and compromise, compromise, compromise.

    There is nothing inherently immoral about passing legislation without votes from the opposition. You could say it shouldn’t happen that way. But it’s not immoral. So if the other side does that to you, and you can put things back to the status quo by doing the same thing back to them, you should do it.

    Let’s take an analogy. Say Mitch and Nancy move into a furnished apartment where the couch is in the center of the room. Mitch wants the couch on the right side of the room. Nancy wants it on the left side. If Nancy simply moves the couch to the left without consulting Mitch, then as soon as Mitch is able, Mitch should move the couch back to at least the center of the room.

    There’s nothing wrong with saying: look. I am moving everything back the way it was. Then, if you want to talk to me about it, we can talk.

    If instead, Mitch praises the virtues of compromise and incrementalism, and talks about leaving the couch on the left side of the room but perhaps changing its position a little bit, then Mitch is a giant loser. Mitch, not to put too fine a point on it, is a word that rhymes with his name.

    The analogy breaks down in a couple of places, of course. If the couch really does belong on the right side of the room, Mitch should simply move it there. To hell with compromise. Arranging furniture is a matter of taste, while using central planning to arrange huge swaths of the economy is known to be insane and disastrous.

    The analogy also breaks down because in real life, Mitch isn’t the one to suffer. The people are. In my example, Mitch will get run over by Nancy his whole life — and if he allows it to happen, he deserves it. But the people of the United States don’t deserve to be stuck with socialized, government-controlled medicine, just because Republicans are a pack of lying hypocrites.

    So, as much as I wanted to like McCain’s speech, I loathed it. I absolutely despised it. It is symptomatic of everything that is wrong with Washington.

    I want both McCain’s brain tumor and his weak incrementalism to disappear, far, far away.

    Senator McCain, please beat brain cancer. But as long as you’re serving in the Senate, you need to understand that compromise and collaboration, if not met halfway, are just surrender. Nothing more.

    • McCain was arguing for ethics. You are arguing tit for tat. Tit for tat doesn’t work: the current deadlock in Congress is proof of that. You forgive, you vow to be better, you find common ground and cooperate. You’re giving te Ace of Spades argument, which is prven to fail, and anathema to ethics.. It’s just warfare. Warfare is an ethics-free zone. It is unethical to HAVE warfare within a government. Paterico’s complaint is that of an ideologue, not a statesman.

      • Jack,

        Respectfully, name one significant time Democrats reached out when they were in power in the last two decades. They don’t compromise when they have power. This tyranny has gotten us where we are now.

        Acting the same as the progressives is not a good answer, but I wish we had another that has not failed the past 30 years.

        • There were 188 Republican-sponsored amendments in the bill that became the ACA. Despite that fact, not a single Republican voted for it.

          That would be an example of the Democrats reaching out and the GOP refusing to compromise.

            • Because the amendments were accepted and included in the bill, even though Democrats could have passed it without them.

              • The accepted amendments don’t point fully towards your conclusion. I think a more critical aspect of how much Democrats reached across the aisle is determined by:

                1) What amendments Republicans wanted that were rejected and not part of the final bill. Because if anyone of those represented something far more important to Republicans than any of the accepted amendments, then the mere presence of accepted amendments doesn’t complete your conclusion.

                2) What aspects of the final bill did Republicans ask Democrats to dis-include that Democrats said “Nope, not compromising there, it’s staying in”, that represented solid and substantive deal breakers, even in light of any of the accepted amendments. Because any of those, also undermines the completion of your conclusion that Democrats reached across the aisle.

                This isn’t necessarily a quantity thing as much as a quality thing.

    • Apologies in advance to Jack, who dislikes the term I am going to use below, and wishes to lump all in the GOP under one umbrella. The GOP has 5th columnists, if you will, and we have a non-offensive name for them in Texas. We also have plenty of offensive names, along with various non flattering adjectives and adverbs to further describe the subject. 🙂

      Micheal: THIS is why I do not admire McCain. You have defined a RINO, who benefits from power (as the elite patsy who opposes the progressives for show, while benefiting from the accumulation of power) McCain has consistently and systematically betrayed his party, and benefited from doing so.

      I do not dispute his status as a war hero. He deserves that respect, and is not a war criminal, as the unhinged leftists would smear him.

      We have a problem in this nation, and it has infected the GOP. Your post identifies that infection.

        • I think the underlying premise here is that the current repeal-and-replace frenzy will be good for the Republican Party, and with his skepticism, McCain is allying with the Dems and against the interests of the Republican Party.

          Of course, there is no positive case that the Republican policy here is good for the country OR the party in the long run, which is why Michael retreated to the negative case–“Obamacare sucks and we must get rid of it, even if we have nothing to replace it with.” His link places everything in the context of winning and losing, and ignores ethics.

          But even on that level, it fails. Repealing the ACA, with or without a replacement, would of course be a great short-term win for the GOP. But long-term? Repealing without a replacement would be an obvious disaster, and repealing with anything close to the replacements they’ve offered so far would only be a less obvious disaster.

          The ACA is actually gaining in popularity, but for the first few years it was a highly unpopular law. That benefitted the GOP greatly when they were the opposition party. Now that they have something to lose if they don’t, they’re realizing that they don’t actually have anything better in mind. If whatever GOPcare (I’m not calling it Trumpcare, since he apparently has nothing to do with any of these bills, and doesn’t spend any time thinking about them in terms of policy) turns out to be gets passed, and turns out to be just as unpopular as the ACA was in its first few years, that could spell doom for Republicans in 2018 and 2020. It makes the healthcare issue their mess, whereas right now they can keep blaming the Democrats.

          I’m not saying McCain considered all this while crafting his speech, or that the reason he said all this was political. I believe it came mostly from a place of ethics. But the idea that his skepticism of the GOP plans is inherently a betrayal of the GOP and makes him a RINO only makes sense if it’s against the long-term interests of the Republican Party. But it isn’t; it only inhibits short-term wins. But perhaps that’s the problem: Republicans either no longer *have* long-term goals, or they do, but can’t enact them because they are obsessed with short-term wins. Remember in 2012, when Bobby Jindal stressed the need to reach out to diverse communities if the GOP wanted to win future elections? That obviously did not go according to plan in 2016. And apparently in 2016, doing the opposite of that still works. How about in. 2020? 2024? 2028? The GOP has to change strategies if they are to last as a party. Being more like McCain might be a good way to do that; I don’t see another right-wing Trump happening after this.

          • “But even on that level, it fails. Repealing the ACA, with or without a replacement, would of course be a great short-term win for the GOP. But long-term? Repealing without a replacement would be an obvious disaster,”

            We actually agree here. Ben Shapiro pointed out that the repeal being forwarded is a long measure, it isn’t set to kick in until 2019, which gives congress a great incentive to hash something out in the meantime, and a hell of an incentive to, which he painted as a “Huge Win” (Yuuuuuge) for McConnell, if he can pull it off. It’s probably the only time I can think of where I deeply disagree with Ben. These kinds of political suicide pacts don’t work, they grossly underestimate the ability of congress to be standoffish and dysfunctional, we don’t even have to go particularly far back in history to see how poorly it worked the last time it was attempted, just look at the sequester.

            “The ACA is actually gaining in popularity, but for the first few years it was a highly unpopular law.”

            I think that’s only because when compared to the specter of uncertainty surrounding a repeal without replacement, or the unmitigated disaster of the Republican plan, the ACA looks peachy in comparison. In reality, it’s still every bit as flawed a law as it ever was, exchanges continue to shutter, and if something doesn’t change… And relatively quickly, it won’t matter that the law is still on the books, because the system will be unable to function.

          • I also think that while facing a cancer that has a mortality rate of about 100% over five years, John McCain might not be looking out for his own long term political prospects. I’m just saying.

          • Chris,

            I appreciate your analysis, and agree with much of it. The GOP has painted itself into a corner, and action is expected by those who put them in office. Sucks to have to man up.

            I also agree with HT: I think McCain is looking at his legacy at this point, and being remembered as a statesman, despite his long record of petty division.

        • We have a problem in this nation, and it has infected the GOP… The infection being intermittent break-outs of ethics?

          Nice play, Jack. Yes, I was looking at this illness as a rotting departure from ethics and societal values; but your quip is actually very apt. We get more unethical behavior these days than ethical, like edible mushrooms popping up from manure.

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