Morning Ethics Warm-Up, 10/15/2017: The All-Embarrassment Edition

Happy Sunday Morning!

(if I keep saying “good morning” the same way every day, you’ll think I’m insincere…)

1 I’m going to have a full post about the current status of the NFL Anthem Protest Ethics Train Wreck later today, but in general: when will the players and the NFL just shrivel up with embarrassment? I’m thinking of absurdist theater like this: CNN contributor Donte Stallworth said yesterday that the NFL kneeling protests aren’t just about police brutality and racism, but also about…wait for it… the “gender pay gap.” (Which is largely fictional, by the way.) Stallworth, is a former NFL wide receiver. He actually had the guts to say,

“The number one stated goal was to bring awareness to a lot of these issues and again, its a broad spectrum of issues. Again, it’s not just police brutality and community policing. It’s also, again from what I’m hearing from players directly involved in these talks–they’re telling me it’s also about the gender pay gap, it’s also about housing discrimination, they have so many things that they are interested in and advocating for and they want the NFL to take ownership in and help be able to use the NFL’s platform. Not just the players platform but the NFL’s platform and that from what I am hearing is a big conversation.”

Yes, that’s another CNN contributor who is too ridiculous for an ethical news source to allow in a studio. So let me get this straight: the kneeling NFL players aren’t protesting the anthem that they are refusing to respect by standing, not the flag, nation, history and values it represents, but they are protesting over issues that nobody involved has breathed a word about, like gender pay gaps. What else? LGTB rights? Wait, football players aren’t too keen on gays, forget that. Free college, Bernie style? No, all of these bozos already got their college free. Please, tell us what your protest means. Are you protesting against Harvey Weinstein yet? Maybe you have been all along!


2. I remember when Slate was a fresh, shiny, diverse, certainly left-leaning but often incisive commentary e-mag, Its founder, Mike Kinsley (he’s a college classmate of mine, though I didn’t know him except through my room mate’s stories) is less of an ideologue than a detached cynical nihilist with a great sense of humor. Now, however, his baby is just a shrill progressive scold. On the home page, Slate urged me, “Support Jamelle Bouie’s coverage of Trump’s America: Join Slate Plus Today!” As anyone could discover by searching for Bouie in the Ethics Alarms archives, the writer is a stone-cold anti-white racist and race-baiter who left his fairness and integrity in a taxi years ago. The only reason what he writes weekly isn’t protested as hate speech is that only conservatives are accused of hate speech, them’s the rules. Any publication that promotes a writer like Bouie as a reason to become a reader has decided that it is acceptable to insult more than half of America.

I often wonder what Kinsley thinks about this. He probably thinks it’s funny.

It’s not. It’s embarrassing.

3. Hillary’s book tour involves going everywhere and explaining that she wasn’t at fault for losing the election, but that she takes full responsibility. Both Clintons are ethics corrupters of long standing, but the distaff Clinton threatens to permanently warp the concept of accountability for anyone who listens to her or reads her book without breaking into giggles. In a a recent interview, there was this exchange, for example,

And, yes, I take responsibility. Obviously, there were things I must have been able to do differently in order to have won. But at the end, there was this really perfect storm, and so you had the Comey letter and you had the enormous impact of the Russian theft of emails, the release of them by WikiLeaks, basically now a part of the Russian intelligence apparatus, and the weaponization of that. These were all new phenomena.

“So you’re still blaming others more than yourself?” her British interviewer asked, unlike any US interviewer, since Clinton won’t subject herself to being cross-examined by anyone in the US that didn’t weep on election night.

“No, I take ultimate responsibility, I don’t blame others, but I think it’s important that people understand what happened. It easy to say, ‘Well, you know she wasn’t a good candidate.’ Then why did lead all the way to the end, why did I get nominated overwhelmingly?”

Memo to Hillary: You were a terrible candidate, and always have been; the pollsters were incompetent and biased; and you were nominated because the process was rigged from the beginning.

The Comey letter wouldn’t have existed if you hadn’t conspired to hide e-mails from FOIA and lied about them for over a year, and the hacks only revealed how corrupt you, your campaign, and your party really were.  All of that was your fault, and your responsibility.

On a related not, yesterday Hillary admonished the US electorate for voting a sexual predator into the White House.

She really did.


4. We know the Russian collusion narrative as the “resistance’s” current primary tactic to reverse the election is collapsing, because the silly 25th Amendment theory is back in vogue. That, you will recall, is the provision in the Constitution that is triggered when a President is  disabled, like when Woodrow Wilson had a debilitating stroke, or James Garfield was being tortured and ultimately killed by his doctors following his shooting by a crazy lawyer, or when Eisenhower had a heart attack. In such cases—actual disability—the Cabinet can certify that he cannot do his job—literally cannot do it—allowing the Vice President to take over. The 25th was never intended to apply to a President with long-standing personality quirks who behaves in office exactly as he made it clear he would behave when he was a candidate, because such an individual is obviously able to perform his duties. Ah, but many  disgraceful professionals of the Left define “disability” as “unable to perform the job as we, the Anointed of America, think it should be performed,” and have plenty of unethical pundits and journalist eager to present that false reading of the Amendment as reasonable.

I believe this is a fair statement: every scholar, lawyer, politician, historian, journalist and medical professional who espouses this contrived distortion is really the one who has been disabled–disabled by partisan bias and anti-Trump hate so thoroughly that he or she can no longer function reliably in their chosen field.

I state this as a prelude to noting today’s final embarrassment:125 psychologists and other mental health professionals marched down Broadway yesterday to demand that President Trump be removed as “unable to discharge the powers and duties” of the Presidency because of his crippling narcissism.

“We can sense the power of Trump’s underlying fear that he is worthless and weak by how intensely he resists and retaliated against any criticism,” said Harry Segal, a Cornell University psychologist. There goes my respect for Harry, psychologists, and Big Red. But then, Bill Maher is a Cornell grad, so my respect there was already on life support.

The shrinks have to sense it, because neither Segal nor anyone he marched with has ever  examined the President, an absolute professional ethics requirement for making any diagnosis. Harry and his pals apparently weren’t troubled by Barack Obama’s screamingly obvious narcissism, or Bill Clinton’s, or Jimmy Carter’s, or Jack Kennedy’s.

Funny about that.

The serial self-debasement of so many professionals who have snapped in response to Trump is a fascinating and puzzling phenomenon. Why aren’t they smart enough to know that the worse they act, abandoning the very professional values that make them trustworthy, the better Trump looks, and the less able they are to lead dissent? Does this mean that many, even most, of our lawyers, journalists, historians, scholars and psychiatrists were never as trustworthy as we assumed? Is it possible that this “disabled” President is intentionally maneuvering them into this state of incompetence?

Again, a slight rephrasing of my favorite Wilfred Brimley quote from my favorite scene in “Absence of Malice”…

Mr. Trump, are you that smart?

If you haven’t seen the film, you should.

18 thoughts on “Morning Ethics Warm-Up, 10/15/2017: The All-Embarrassment Edition

  1. #1 Let’s face it, the kneelers have climbed on the wagon with the other irrational social justice warriors that don’t know what the hell they are doing. This will ALL turn anti-Trump and anti-Conservative and anyone opposing it will be demonized as evil.

  2. “But at the end, there was this really perfect storm, and so you had the Comey letter and you had the enormous impact of the Russian theft of emails, the release of them by WikiLeaks, basically now a part of the Russian intelligence apparatus, and the weaponization of that. These were all new phenomena.”

    Clinton’s original story was that the Russian effort was a response to her criticism of the legitimacy of Russian elections. She seems to have dropped that narrative now, along with any acknowledgment that she and her backers were the ones responsible for thwarting the Russian efforts.

  3. “Clinton’s original story was that the Russian effort was a response to her criticism of the legitimacy of Russian elections.”

    But, but, but, but, but, but, but, but, what about that “<b< Rest Button” thingey???

    Wait a minute; she fucked that up, too?

    Never mind.

  4. I think we can fairly question the psychologists’ ability to judge what makes for a good President, and their 25th amendment demands are absurd, but I don’t think this is part of the problem:

    “The shrinks have to sense it, because neither Segal nor anyone he marched with has ever examined the President, an absolute professional ethics requirement for making any diagnosis.”

    You’re right, of course, that it’s unethical to make a diagnosis without examining the patient (or obtaining a similar level of information about the patient) but I don’t think that ethical rule is applicable to this kind of situation, because what the mental health professionals are doing here isn’t a medical diagnosis: It’s not going to affect Trump’s medical or mental health care in any way.

    If they are portraying their opinion to the public as an actual medical diagnosis — lying about the degree of knowledge they have — that’s a different matter. But there’s nothing wrong about professionals offering to the public their opinion on a matter that falls within their area of expertise.

    • Too much of the public isn’t making that distinction…

      It’s in extremely poor taste at the very least. What do they expect to accomplish? What are they planning to do after having marched? Do they have plans to examine him? If not, it’s not a professional opinion, for if it were there would be follow-up action; it’s simply shameful grandstanding.

    • You’ll have to explicate this for me, Mark.

      As I read it, what you are describing is even worse: “We as a professional group have concluded without applying the standards our profession requires, and rather layman standards instead, that X is unfit. Therefore we are demonstrating as a group to maximize the perceived authority of our position, despite the fact that the standards responsible for that professional authority are absent. Fortunately, the public doesn’t understand that, making said demonstration credible and apparently valid.”

      • The standards you’re talking about apply to medical diagnoses used for medical purposes, such as prescribing drugs or committing someone to a mental institution. They just don’t apply to this situation. None of these people could ethically recommend committing President Trump to a mental institution, but that’s not what we’re talking about here.

        It is not uncommon for mental health professionals offer opinions about people they haven’t met, often in the context of threat management and forensics, but also when advising their own patients about how to deal with difficult people in their lives — recognizing, for example, that someone in a client’s life has mental problems and advising the client how to protect themselves.

        (Some mental health professionals belong to professional organizations which have explicit ethics rules forbidding this — e.g. the APA’s “Goldwater rule” — which changes things.)

    • According to the American Psychological Association, there are 106,500 licensed psychologists in the United States. The protest is dishonest unless they carry a big banner that says, “More than 99.9 Per Cent of Our Colleagues Aren’t Concerned About This.” Even in just New York State, it’s only 1% of the licensed group.

  5. Since Hillary’s re-appearance on this book tour, I’m starting to genuinely think that the election loss may have damaged her brain. She seems to no longer have any ability to gauge how she is presenting herself to the outside world, or how contradictory her statements are (often, like in the quotes from this interview, completely contradictory in back-to-back sentences). It’s as though she knows phrase like “I take responsibility”, but can’t process their actual meaning, or understand how such a statement would apply to her.

    I mean, seriously, she uses her overwhelming nomination win to bolster her argument that she was wildly popular, as though nobody is aware of the leaked DNC e-mails (which she blamed as part of her loss in the very same breath) plainly stating that the process was gamed from the start. Is this self-serving doublespeak really selling any books for her, or is it just making her look more ridiculous every time she trots out that standard line about how “the loss was my fault, except for this laundry list of other reasons for which I am blameless”?

    No wonder there are stories going around about how Bill hated the book. He’s a very savvy politician, and he must have predicted how this mess would come across before he finished the first fifty pages.

    It’s too bad the sample size is so small, because a study on the psychological effects of losing a presidential election would be fascinating. It’s such a pivotal moment for a person, with years of work and expectations invested into it. I can’t imagine how the shock of losing when you expected to win would affect a healthy person, much less the kind of damaged personalities that the U.S. presidency seems to attract.

    • ”Since Hillary’s re-appearance on this book tour, I’m starting to genuinely think that the election loss may have damaged her brain.”

      That’s worth noodling out!

      “It’s too bad the sample size is so small, because a study on the psychological effects of losing a presidential election would be fascinating.”

      Not only that, but an election that was absolutely yours to lose: you had an embarrassing lead in the $, the media in your purse (right next to the hot sauce?), a cheating sycophantic DNC, and a joke-of-an-opponent that sought out huge piles of caca in which to leap with both feet.

      Anywho, she might have disappeared, put on a lot of weight and grown a beard, and reemerged with a new Religion like, I dunno, the Global Warming that’s here and worse than the models predicted.

      But that’s already been tried.

    • It’s been discussed a little on here before, she had a significant head injury in 2012, that Bill said took 6 months to get over. There’s no way we can know what was lost there.

      Leaving that aside, I get the feeling that we’re still pretty firmly stuck in the denial phase of healing.

  6. Whaddya bet that every last one of those people arguing the 25th Amendment would have a conniption fit if they saw the Commander-in-Chief park his car in one of those spaces at the front with the BLUE paint….


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