Thanks for dropping by.
1. Does anyone else wonder how John McCain would have voted last night if President Trump hadn’t gratuitously insulted his military service and suffering as a prisoner of war? I do. I know how much veterans care about their service and sacrifice on behalf of their country, and how deeply a public insult like Trump’s must have hurt. McCain has been seething all of this time. Maybe last night was a vote based on principle; probably McCain thinks it is. There is no doubt, however, that he hates Trump’s guts intensely, and that kind of bias is almost impossible to banish entirely. He is also probably more than a little angry that his colleagues and his party allowed someone who would treat him that way to be the nominee.
The astounding foolishness of Trump’s initial insult to McCain was framed as an insult to veterans, but the fee for his gratuitous nastiness was always going to come due in a setting like last night. Human nature can’t be taken out of politics; in fact, politics relies on human nature. These people aren’t automatons. It would be ethical to put grudges aside, but nobody should count on it.
The President reportedly called McCain to argue for a “yes” vote. I wonder if the Senator said, Scaramucci style, “Mr. President, this unheroic prisoner of war says, with all due respect, ‘Go fuck yourself.'”
I also wonder if Trump learned anything.
2. Reader Charles Green reports that Fox News apparently never heard about the new White House communications director’s recent performance of the one man show, “I, Asshole” based on its morning stories. Meanwhile, Newsbusters, which only catalogues liberal news media bias (but to be fair, that territory is most of the news media), shows how the still unfolding story of Debby Wassermann Schultz’s IT staffer is being hidden, avoided, distorted and spun. How is the public supposed to figure out what’s real, what’s half-real, and what’s fake in such an unethical media environment?
3. I’m not going to do extensive ethical commentary on the sudden transgender ban for the military until I understand exactly what the issues are. On one side, we see allies for outright discrimination based on the “ick” factor. On the other, we see absolutist solidarity for the LGBs for the disrespected Ts from those who don’t care what the military’s reasoning is. I don’t know how disruptive transgender soldiers are, can be or might be. Are transgender individuals suffering from an emotional or mental disorder? The American Psychological Association says on its website,
“A psychological state is considered a mental disorder only if it causes significant distress or disability. Many transgender people do not experience their gender as distressing or disabling, which implies that identifying as transgender does not constitute a mental disorder. For these individuals, the significant problem is finding affordable resources, such as counseling, hormone therapy, medical procedures and the social support necessary to freely express their gender identity and minimize discrimination. Many other obstacles may lead to distress, including a lack of acceptance within society, direct or indirect experiences with discrimination, or assault. These experiences may lead many transgender people to suffer with anxiety, depression or related disorders at higher rates than nontransgender persons.
According to the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders (DSM-5), people who experience intense, persistent gender incongruence can be given the diagnosis of “gender dysphoria.” Some contend that the diagnosis inappropriately pathologizes gender noncongruence and should be eliminated. Others argue that it is essential to retain the diagnosis to ensure access to care. The International Classification of Diseases (ICD) is under revision and there may be changes to its current classification of intense persistent gender incongruence as “gender identity disorder.”
Translation: “Sometimes, maybe, it depends.”
The military has every justification to decide that someone with a mental disorder or likely to develop one is disqualified for service. The military, in fact, would be justified if it decided that all soldiers, sailors and airmen must have no physical or mental problems at all, be able to do 50 one-arm push-ups, bench 300 pounds, run a 4 minute mile and solve Rubik’s cube in less than a minute.
That’s all I’m prepared to say on the issue right now.
4. Tucker Carlson is Fox’s big new star, taking the place of Bill O’Reilly. I won’t watch the guy for many reasons, one being the disgusting sexist junk regularly featured on his news and commentary site, The Daily Caller. As I’ve pointed out before, the site routinely covers stories about middle school and high school teachers exploiting their male students for sex with snickering “Yeah, the poor kid–he was probably the envy of all his friends and hurt his face by smiling so long” stories….but only when the child rapist was “hot,” of course. Tucker allowed another one of these yesterday: “School District Forks Over $125,000 For Male Teen Student’s Mind-Blowing Sex Trauma With Teacher” was the sarcastic headline. The story is similarly full of thinly veiled ridicule at the idea that the boy was harmed “by a slew of sex — including a stand-up-style romp in the back of her classroom and an intense, weeks-long, two-state, sex-filled romance.” The student was 15.
It does appear that Tucker’s readers, or at least the commenters, are growing up. The comments on this post have far fewer, “heck, I’d hit that when I was a teen!” comments.