Morning Ethics Warm-Up, 9/23/2017: Special “Love Him, Hate Him Or Tolerate Him, Ya Gotta Admit President Trump Isn’t Boring” Edition

I don’t know about you, but I was getting mighty sick of those “morning” shots…


1 Peggy Noonan, the former Reagan speechwriter who writes powerfully and is not afraid to take unpopular positions, has been as critical of Trump as any rational pundit. She writes in her latest column, that the news media has misrepresented Trump’s U.N. speech, which, she says further,  was what the U.N. “needed to hear clearly and unequivocally.” She adds,

A great line—because it spoke a great truth—was this: “The problem in Venezuela is not that socialism has been poorly implemented, but that socialism has been faithfully implemented.” Mr. Trump then paused and looked at the audience. It struck some as a “please clap” moment. It struck me as a stare-down: I’m saying something a lot of you need to hear. You’re not going to like it, and I’m going to watch you not like it.

… Mr. Trump is on a roll, a sustained one the past few weeks, and this is new. All levels of government performed well in the hurricanes. Mr. Trump showed competence, focus and warmth. His bipartisan outreach, however it ends, went over well with core supporters and others. He had a strong speech at the U.N., in fact a successful U.N. week, beginning to end. His poll numbers are inching toward 40%.

Noonan meets the ethical standard that the mainstream news media, critical pundits and “the resistance” have relentlessly breached: give the President credit when it’s due, and subdue bias to engage in objective analysis for the public;s enlightenment.

2. Ann Althouse, also noting that the President’s poll numbers have been creeping up (a. Not that much b. Who trusts polls? c. So what?), polled her readers regarding why they thought this was happening. Her options were mostly the right ones, though Peggy’s “bi-partisan outreach” was conspicuously missing…

“Hurricanes”—these sorts of natural disasters are usually opportunities for Presidents to play President, and that seldom is anything but enhancing to a POTUS’s image. Ronald Reagan’s speech after the Challenger disaster was a perfect example. Trump gets less credit than he deserves because the news media works hard to represent anything he does in a negative light.

“Kim Jong Un”—Since so many progressives believe that we should keep allowing North Korea to extort the West by endlessly appeasing it, it is hard to see Trump’s hard-line stance moving the needle.

“U.N. Speech”—unless American read it, which few have, I assume the (false) mainstream narrative that it was a disaster prevails.

“Normalization happened”—THAT’s certainly wrong. If it means that General Kelly has made a big and positive difference, then OK. The Wite House is certainly more normal than it was, but far from normal.

“Russia collusion story fading”: “The resistance” is still certain that Trump bartered to win the election and will be impeached for it. Facts, evidence and reality are irrelevant to them.

“Successful policies have been implemented”—In fact this is true, but again, the only ones who know it are pro-Trump partisans,  the small number of citizens who dig through the static and fog of mainstream media Trump Hate, and those who don’t think any retreat from the inexorable progression to open borders, socialism and Big Brother is a tragedy.

“Nothing’s gone horribly wrong (yet)”: The Trump Deranged think that everything has already gone horribly wrong, and that we’re all going to die. Here is a typical Facebook post from a good friend this week:

Trump IS deranged. And we’re all going to pay for it. Am I surpised that a hermetic totalitarian proto-monarchy has created a Kim Jong Un? No, it’s completely predictable and logical. That the US of A has elected someone who is NO better whatsoever than Kim, and in some ways quite worse, is the unforgivable aspect of this whole equation.

“Bad things like The Wall and repealing Obamacare seem to have been merely campaign bluster”Nah. Lots of other things were bluster; these were just impossible.

But I voted for this one, also supported by my friend’s crazy post: “Trump haters are tiresome.” “Tiresome” is professorial nice-speak for “So vile, un-American and unhinged that if they want one thing, sane and fair and rational citizens will increasingly prefer the opposite.”  The category includes “tiresome” public figures like the Late night “comedy” show hosts, Bill Maher, Samantha Bee, Hollywood, MSNBC, Maxine Waters, the New York Times, CNN, Black Lives Matter, Tom Perez, Elizabeth Warren, and, of course, Hillary Clinton. It’s pure cognitive dissonance.

Naturally that choice is also leading in votes, followed by hurricanes, North Korea, and the UN speech.

3. As always, when the President is feeling cocky, he lets loose with dumb tweets and inflammatory comments just to remind us that he’s not going to change. This morning he reacted to San Francisco Warriors super-star Steph Curry saying that he “didn’t want to go” to the White House when the President hosts the traditional visit from championship sports teams, tweeting,

“Going to the White House is considered a great honor for a championship team.Stephen Curry is hesitating, therefore invitation is withdrawn!”

Stipulated: this is petty, and beneath the President’s office, like 99% of his tweets. It shows thin skin and vindictiveness, and is punching down in the sense that any attack on a citizen from the White House is punching down.

And yet, and yet…I have to say I smiled when I read it. It is damaging for athletes and cultural role models to be disrespectful to the President, the Office, and the country. Curry was gratuitously rude, and deserves a rebuke…just not from the President of the United States.

(I still hope Trump retracts the invitation to the whole team.)

The other outburst, also involving sports, is indefensible.

At a Huntsville, Alabama rally for Republican Senator Luther Strange, who is running in a special GOP primary election to remain in the seat vacated by Attorney General Jeff Sessions, Trump went off script and said,

“Wouldn’t you love to see one of these NFL owners, when somebody disrespects our flag, to say, ‘Get that son of a bitch off the field right now. Out! He’s fired. He’s fired!’” Trump said. “You know, some owner is going to do that. He’s going to say, ‘That guy that disrespects our flag, he’s fired.’ And that owner, they don’t know it [but] they’ll be the most popular person in this country…But do you know what’s hurting the game more than that? When people like yourselves turn on television and you see those people taking the knee when they’re playing our great national anthem. The only thing you could do better is if you see it, even if it’s one player, leave the stadium. I guarantee things will stop. Things will stop. Just pick up and leave. Pick up and leave. Not the same game anymore, anyway.”

Ugh. Owners have a right to discipline players for bringing politics onto the field. When a President tells them to, that  edges too close to government action, chilling speech, and a First Amendment violation.

On the other hand, one does not have to be a conspiracy theorist to detect an uncoordinated but pervasive effort in the news media, academia, the tech sector, show business and Hollywood, and now sports, to flood the culture with so much progressive propaganda and anti-Trump bile that government becomes impossible. The effort has to be countered, but the President is not the proper one to counter it. Still, the integrity and functioning of our democracy is at stake.

4. In Ann’s “Successful policies have been implemented” category, except I would call it “essential polices,” was the expected withdrawal of the Obama Education Department’s infamous “Dear Colleague” letter that prompted universities to dispense with due process and fair standards when finding male students guilty of sexual assault and rape. Blogger Amy Alkon, another rational Trump critic, nonetheless enthusiastically and definitively slapped down an awful, ethics-devoid Times op-ed that, as the Left is wont to do these days, argued that the innocent until proven guilty standards and equal justice should be re-calibrated for the greater good, which is to say, for the benefit of favored groups. Alkon writes of the feminist authors,

[T]hey clearly aren’t looking for justice for all, but just justice for some: typically, the woman. They continue:

The preponderance of evidence standard is also survivor-centered. When judging whether someone has been raped, it’s almost impossible to assert that a sex act constituted violence “beyond a reasonable doubt.”

Our justice system in this country involves erring on the side of freeing a possibly guilty person in hopes of seeing that innocent people are not imprisoned. The fact that it is sometimes hard to judge a “he said”/”she said” case does not change that.

On the other side, and in Althouse’s  “Trump haters are tiresome” ( “tiresome”= frequently biased, ignorant, dishonest, undemocratic, unfair, vicious and hypocritical, as well as dumb as bricks) category, we have this tweet from snarky female comic Chelsea Handler:

“Thank you @betsydevos for making it easier for rapists going to college to get away with raping innocent women. What a role model…”

Anyone who thinks that is clever or true needs to—quickly— read the Constitution, perhaps with a literate translator, maybe a U.S. history book or two, and get at least a rudimentary understanding of the principles underlying the United States and its values.


Graphic: heartist


22 thoughts on “Morning Ethics Warm-Up, 9/23/2017: Special “Love Him, Hate Him Or Tolerate Him, Ya Gotta Admit President Trump Isn’t Boring” Edition

  1. “…show business and Hollywood, and now sports….”

    Baseball owner Bill Veeck pioneered showing everything from fireworks to midget auto racing in conjunction with his ballgames. When he was accused of turning baseball into show business, he countered that baseball and show business were both subsets of entertainment, and he was in the entertainment business.

    “Anyone who thinks that is clever or true needs to—quickly— read the Constitution, perhaps with a literate translator, maybe a U.S. history book or two, and get at least a rudimentary understanding of the principles underlying the United States and its values.”

    Or how about just a talk with the average 18-year old boy? Or girl, for that matter, since they’re actually dealing with the boys.

  2. “Russia collusion story fading”

    I am at a loss as to how anyone who has kept up with the news for the past week could think the Russia collusion story is fading.

      • Whether you think the FBI investigation is “real” or not, the fact is that there have been multiple new reveals in the story this week. The Manafort stuff alone has been pretty damning. You’re burying your head in the sand on this one.

        • The Manafort stuff had mostly been damning because it shows an administration bugging the staff of an opposing party’s presidential candidate—you know, like in Watergate.

          Your link contains this sentence: “On the other side of this continuum, it is possible that Vladimir Putin’s attack was essentially limited to the hacking and dumping of e-mails from the D.N.C. and John Podesta, that Russia never had any illegal assistance from Trump or his associates, and that the entire Russia-conspiracy-theory industry will look enormously foolish in the years ahead.”

          If that can still be written, and it can and was, by a classic anti-Trump hack like Lizza, then there have been no”developments” that indicate this entire issue wasn’t made up to save face by Clinton and carried to the goal line by the complicit news media.

          • The Manafort stuff had mostly been damning because it shows an administration bugging the staff of an opposing party’s presidential candidate—you know, like in Watergate.

            Ridiculous. The tap on Manafort was completely legal, necessary and justified. Manafort was tapped because Manafort was corrupt. Separate from the FISA revelation was the revelation that he was offering private briefings to a Kremlin-back Russian billionaire during the campaign. And you think the tap reflects badly on Obama? Amazing.

            Furthermore, you think a writer conceding the *possibility* that Trump and his campaign is innocent means that the whole issue was “made up?” That makes no sense, Jack.

            Your need to respect the office is preventing you from even considering the possibility that the allegations against the president are true.

            • You need clinical help on this topic, Chris, as I’ve suggested before. There is no evidence. If there is no evidence to support the existence of an investigation, then there are no “significant developments.”

              Hillary was corrupt. Podesta was corrupt. Bill Clinton was corrupt. Loretta Lynch was corrupt. An administration that wiretaps a campaign official of the opposing party is prima facie guilty of trying to use government power to undermine political opposition. Nixon wanted the FBI to find dirt on political opponents—there’s no difference. If he wiretapped the DNC, your argument would be, “But it was corrupt!”

                • He has an assignment, and a job. He is bound to approach it objectively and without bias. He has no conclusions, pre-set or otherwise, and no preferences for an outcome. A professional, not a partisan.

                    • That the evidence he is looking at amounts to literally nothing. If that were true, wouldn’t he have concluded the investigation by now?

                    • His position has to exist, because the seeds of suspicion and distrust were planted, and American need to be assured that their elections have integrity. Comey and Lynch’s botch of the Hillary investigation and 8 years of the Obama administration covering up its own scandals using the Justice Department made it crystal clear that an independent counsel was essential, to prove interference with the election, or to prove there wasn’t–to the extent proving a negative is possible. This was especially so because Jeff Sessions had been sort of involved with the Trump campaign. Mueller is, if anything, a conservative—he is not percieved as having an agenda, except to do a fair job. The only way he can show there was no illegal coordination with the Russians is the same way he would use to show there was—look under any rock. Your statement is like saying the JFK assassination commission did nothing because it concluded that the facts as we already knew them were correct: one nut case killed the President.

                      The last independent counsel in fact proved that despite another Democratic narrative, nobody in the Bush White House “outed” Valerie Plame to punish her sleaze of a husband…but he did nab a poor staffer caught in the crossfire. Mannafort may be the new Scooter Libby.

                      Given that the leaks and rumors of anything reflecting negatively on the President have gushed from the beginning, I think it’s very, very unlikely that bombshell evidence has been uncovered that we don’t know about.

                    • I’m not even sure what we’re disagreeing over.

                      –Yes, there needs to be an investigation.
                      –Yes, the media should report on new developments in that investigation.
                      –There have been several new developments relevant to that investigation in the past week, therefore the story is not “fading.”


      • This is a perfect example of Scott Adam’s, two movie screens argument.

        I am having a hard time even understanding what the allegations are.

        Is it that Trump colluded with the Russians to hack the election?

        There is no evidence that has been publicly released to show that “Russia” hacked anything. I am not saying it is impossible, but there is nothing out there. I have seen a fair amount of evidence that it was very likely a leak from within the DNC that was the source for the Wikileaks emails. Right after the election there was a big hoopla about some intelligence assessment that would “prove” this Russian hacking claim… did you read it? I did. Nothing… less than nothing. It was just a big list of RT stories that the US Government found inconvenient, and a bunch of unfounded claims based on no evidence. Meanwhile, we have Wikileaks all but screaming that Russia was not the source for those leaks. So on the one side we have the US Intelligence community, and on the other we have Wikileaks. One of these entities has a long and storied history of concocting false narratives and outright lies in just the way these charges have been levied, the other has a long history of being open and truthful about what they release.

        None of that means that any of this stuff did not happen, just no supporting evidence has been released. As to the hacking, if it happened, there is evidence, and the NSA would have it. They capture and store all electronic information, there is no doubt about this anymore. If it happened, they have the proof. So where is it?

        The stuff I heard last week was about “Russia” bought ads from Facebook. Again, no proof of this, but even more, no claim of anything illegal about this. No definition of “Russia” — Does this mean some guy from Russia? Does it mean the actual Russian government — They just put it on their Visa card? Some guy not from Russia but with alleged ties to Russia?
        Since when is it illegal for another country or people from other countries to have opinions about our election? Since when is it illegal for them to try to influence the conversation to affect an outcome in their interest? Since when is the American public incapable of deciding what they believe for themselves?

        Then the other stuff is Manifort, and I am not even sure what he supposedly did… offered to talk to someone about the election that he was running? Isn’t that his job as a campaign manager? What is illegal about talking to someone from Russia, even someone who is a part of the Russian government? I have heard a bunch of innuendo about how if this, then that and on top of all this with a side of that it would be illegal, but no actual claims of anything, no evidence of anything.

        So, I have seen no evidence of Russia “hacking” our election. I have seen no evidence of Russia “influencing” our election (not that there is anything wrong with that even if they did), no evidence or Trump, the Trump campaign or anyone related to that campaign working with the Russians in any illegal manner. Nothing there. Show me some evidence of an actual crime, and I might change my mind on this… I’ll wait.

  3. Chris ~ laughable. There’s no way Mueller’s going to conclude the investigation without finding SOMETHING………ANYTHING!
    That’s his job:)) Even if it has nothing to do with why he was hired in the first place. Do you get it now?

  4. I think there’s an argument to be made for Trump being the closest thing we’ve ever had to a “citizen president.” He speaks largely as the quasi business guy he is. In telling the NFL they should fire certain players, he’s speaking as a former football franchise owner, not just as a president. When he says an Obama era non-confirmed alleged treaty is a bad deal, he’s speaking, again, as a quasi business guy, not a president. I find it refreshing.

      • Amen.

        My navel gazing revolves around fantasies of a Trump who did not act this way. The problem is, would he have been elected if he did not act this way? It took shocking novel actions to get noticed enough (even if by who attacked him for it) to rise to the level of public consciousness for the common American to follow him. Many of those people started paying attention because of who opposed him, in an ‘enemy of my enemy is my ally’ sort of way. (Of course, Hillary and Co. gave him the press coverage on purpose during the primaries, it just backfired in the general election as, like passing a car wreck on the highway, people and journalists just couldn’t look away)

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