Morning Ethics Warm-Up, 10/16/2017: SNL, NFL, Collusion, Gossip, And Bribery

Good Morning.

1 Why am I only now getting around to today’s Warm-Up? It is because I spent more than 8 hours over the weekend, and three hours this morning, writing a Motion to Dismiss in response to a ridiculous, retaliatory, vindictive lawsuit by a pro se litigant with a grudge. The complaint has no legal cites, because no legal authority supports its claims. I, however, have to cite cases to show why the Complaint is completely without merit. Since the Complaint is a brain-rotting 18 pages, I have to carefully redact it to have a prayer of meeting the 20 page limit for motions. Even then, there is no guarantee that this won’t drag on for months.

No penalty will be exacted on the plaintiff for filing this spurious and groundless law suit. To do so would chill the right of citizens to seek justice and redress for wrongs through the courts. Thus the underlying objective of the suit will be accomplished: to force me to expend time and effort that I have far better uses for. Ethics Alarms readers are affected, my family is effected, my work is affected, my enjoyment of life is affected, and, of course, the system and the taxpayers who fund it are affected. This is an abuse of the system, but one that cannot and must not be impeded.

2. Does anyone have a theory about why the bribery trial of Democratic Senator Bob Menendez has received minimal mainstream media coverage that does not show bias? When Abscam was going on, the trials of the various members of Congress caught in a bribery sting were front page, Evening News headlines for weeks. The only U.S. Senator tried (and convicted) was a Democrat Harrison Williams. Has the news media become that much more partisan since the Reagan Administration?

3. As expected, exiled NFL kneeler (first) and quarterback (second) Colin Kaepernick has filed a grievance accusing NFL teams of colluding to prevent him from getting a contract with any team this season.

We’ve been here before. This is the Barry Bonds scenario all over again. Bonds, the definitive ethics corrupter in Major League Baseball and a flagrant steroid cheat and liar, was not resigned by the San Francisco Giants after the 2007 season. He was 42, but his season had been productive, with a 1.o45 OPS, close to the best in the game. I wrote an article for The Hardball Times arguing that Bonds would not be signed, because doing so would permanently scar any team that accepted him, injure the team’s culture, corrupt its young players, and wound baseball itself. The invective hurled at me and my article by sportswriters and readers was unrelenting. ESPN’s Keith Law said that my essay made anyone who read it stupid. MLB’s satellite channel’s hosts laughed about the idea that teams cared about such matters as integrity. Bonds, however, was not signed, and never played again. While he and his defenders claimed collusion among the owners, no evidence appeared.

Kaepernick is nowhere near as toxic a figure as Barry Bonds, but then, the NFL isn’t Major League Baseball. All the NFL cares about is money and ratings; if the league applied the values MLB did in rejecting Bonds, Patriots coach Bill Belichik would be long gone, and so would all those NFL felons.  Kaepernick is better than many of the journeyman back-up QBs on some rosters, but he brings something else: unwanted attention as a martyr to vague social justice causes, and undeniable culpability for a controversy that has hurt NFL tickets sales, TV ratings, and popularity. It doesn’t take collusion for NFL owners to conclude that they don’t need a mediocre player’s non-football-related baggage. It takes a sense of survival.

Kaepernick’s grievance presumes that all an employee needs to show is that he’s competent at the narrow requirements of his job, but we all know this isn’t the way organizations function, can function, or should function. Brilliant and productive performers who disrupt the workplace by creating discord and controversy often become so troublesome that even the King’s Pass (or the Star Syndrome ) can’t save them. (Look at Harvey Weinstein). Mediocre performers who cause trouble have an even shorter leash: there is no “Average Performer’s Pass.” Kaepernick’s position when he started his kneeling/grandstanding stunt was that it was a matter of principle, and that he was putting his protest above football, come what may. Well, this is what comes of harming your employer.

4. I cannot believe that I am still seeing headlines like “Tillerson Still Declines to Deny That He Called Trump A “Moron.” This is how far the news media has fallen: junior high-style whisper campaigns about what mean things X said about Y so maybe a feud can be started. What fun! I was a manager in various organizations for years. Inevitable, my secretary or another subordinate would come to me and tell me that someone was saying horrible things about me behind my back. I eventually started telling such well-meaning tattle-tales: “Stop it. I assume that employees bitch about their supervisors. A lot of it is just letting off steam. I’ve said nasty things about my bosses through the years, even ones I admired. If a complaint is substantive, then I expect to hear about it from the employee making it. If it isn’t important enough for the staff member to bring to me, then as far as I’m concerned, it doesn’t exist.”

I’m sure the Secretary of State called the President a moron. I bet that’s not the worst thing he’s called him. Does anyone think that Hillary didn’t say nasty things about President Obama when she was Secretary of State?  Or that Leon Panetta,  Robert Reich  and other members of Bill Clinton’s cabinet didn’t express amazement that their “master politician” boss could get caught in something as sordid as Monicagate? This kind of casual complaining is only news to a journalistic establishment that is trying to sow discord and dysfunction: is trying to cause the executive branch to break down in petty feuds a legitimate and ethical journalistic purpose? I am certain that similar anonymous rumors about what Obama’s underlings said about him after a hard day and a couple of drinks were brushed of as un-newsworthy before November 8, 2016.

5. Now that Saturday Night Live finally skewered Harvey Weinstein over the weekend, the accusations that it was protecting the Left’s sacred cows—Obama, the Clintons, Meryl, Ashley, Gwyneth,  et al., are supposedly moot. Baloney. Last Saturday the basic facts about Weinstein were known—heck, they’ve been known for years—and although this was a hanging curve over the plate for any cuurent events satirist, SNL ignored it. The show ignored it until it got the green light from the progressive show business collective of which it is a member that Harvey was officially a pariah, and was no longer being protected by the Clintons, Democrats, or the industry. He was safe to attack.  How brave.



68 thoughts on “Morning Ethics Warm-Up, 10/16/2017: SNL, NFL, Collusion, Gossip, And Bribery

    • Ask your wife to do it. The brain doesn’t register the brain’s mistakes.

      And don’t forget the old Dry Idea commercial: Never let ’em see you sweat.

  1. Those whose knowledge of ancient history (real ancient history, not just something that happened before last Thursday) is more comprehensive and/or more fresher than mine, please correct me on the details, but I do recall that ancient Athens had a means of dealing with frivolous lawsuits.
    Athenian juries were huge, totaling as many as 501 members, so unanimity was virtually impossible. In civil trials, the plaintiff won if he (it was always a “he”) got the majority of the votes. But if he failed to convince a certain number of jurors (I want to say 1/6), he had to pay the defendant the amount of the suit.
    That is, if I sue you for 1000 obols but I can’t convince even a sizeable minority of the jury that I have a case, the court will decree that I owe you 1000 obols.
    I rather like that idea.

    • Even as a lawyer I am ok with assessing costs against someone who files a frivolous lawsuit, and setting a high bar for being allowed to proceed in forma pauperis, which means not having to pay. One particular pro se litigant was granted the right to proceed in forma pauperis and it gave him carte blanche to file six different lawsuits against my client and also me personally, which all just wrapped up this last summer.

    • Wait…I don’t understand… Last Thursday *isn’t* ancient history? Well… la de dah Mr. I-know-what-I-did-last-Thursday! What IS ancient history then? Two weeks? Three? I know it’s not a month, we barely had stone tools a month ago.

  2. When I taught entry level economics courses the curriculum included what was called consumer choice theory. In a nutshell it was explained that no two goods are identical because people did not buy products but they purchased items based on the collective attributes of product and the benefits that are associated with those attributes. Kaepernick, needs to understand that even if he were a superior quarterback certain attributes he brings to the mix make him less desirable than a competing labor service. Today, we see organizations marketing themselves as “Green” companies or claim they donate to preferred charities of the target population for the purposes of making their offerings more valuable to those consumers. It is not collusion when it works in reverse.

  3. No penalty will be exacted on the plaintiff for filing this spurious and groundless law suit. To do so would chill the right of citizens to seek justice and redress for wrongs through the courts.

    Filing spurious and groundless lawsuits should have penalties.

    A plaintiff should at at a minimum be required to present sufficient evidence and testimony that, interpreting such evidence and testimony in the light most favorable to the plaintiff, the plaintiff would be entitled to the relief sought. To put it in layman’s terms, a suit where the defendant would have to present evidence and testimony in his own defense to have a chance at defeating the lawsuit.

    (the sole exception I would support is if the plaintiff could no longer prevail due to subsequent changes in law since the time that the lawsuit was filed.)

    A spurious and groundless lawsuit would of course not even meet with threshold standard.

    • I agree. We already consider it worth “chilling” the rights of free speech and free association (sort of, or free movement, if that exists) by protecting people from being harassed by other people. This is essentially the same issue. There exist negative consequences for both plaintiffs and lawyers for wasting the court’s and their fellow citizens’ time with frivolous lawsuits, including the opportunity to counter-sue.

  4. # 1 You must have experienced warm fuzzies when your adoring throngs, en bloc, set upon that prick (was it ‘Imjust Saying?’) like a duck on a June Bug, am I right?

    # 2 Menendez has pictures of Artie Sulzberger, Jr. & Robert A. Iger frollicking while…um…participating in employment opportunities for underage female immigrants at Jeffy Epstein’s “Pervert Island?”

    # 3 After TitleTown’s 13 Time World Champion Green Bay Packers’ QB Aaron Rodgers went down yesterday, the ”CK To Green Bay?” rumor mill kicked into high gear at warp speed. NO WAY!!

    4- “I assume that employees bitch about their supervisors.” Shoot, I do that the time, and it come as no surprise that I’m self-employed. Today’s National Bosses Day, I think I’ll splurge on a popsicle or somesuch.

    # 5 It’s a New York thing?

  5. On Menendez and #2, one cannot complain vociferously about too many things without dilluting one’s primary complaint. The media’s primary complaint is Trump. It used to be a given in the leftist media world that money was the most corrupting thing in politics. Trump has now replaced money.

  6. #2 Why should the media waste their time over something that hasn’t been proven in court yet, you know it’s that “innocent until proven guilty” concept that the media flushes anytime there is a Conservative, Republican or a possible sexual predator involved.

    The leftist media are a bunch of partisan hypocrites.

  7. If Kaepernick thinks his protest really is bigger than football, then he should consider this development a worthy sacrifice, and resign himself to not being re-signed.

  8. > This is an abuse of the system, but one that cannot and must not be impeded.

    No it’s not. For the most part, the lawyer system has been created by lawyers for lawyers. If you’re trapped now in a hell of your own making, that’s not the American citizen’s fault nor is it the American citizen’s duty to make your life easy.

    There are three systems of justice in the US, one for rich people who can afford full-time lawyers, one for lawyers and judges and other court insiders, and one for the people.

    The people almost always get screwed on this deal.

    Physician, heal thyself.

    • Do you have examples of the system being created “for lawyers?” Doesn’t always feel that way when you’re in it every day.

    • So what would you propose? Curmie above had an interesting point with the Athenian system, but the problem there is you would need a huge jury pool for each lawsuit, plus it risks subjecting the law to the mobocracy.

      Having some kind of penalty for frivolous lawsuits is an appealing idea, but you’d have to define “frivolous” in such a way that unscrupulous people can’t exploit it.

    • I don’t even know what you think that means. No, it’s not an abuse of the system, for someone to use it via a series of non-legal, spurious accusations for pure harassment, or no, it should be impeded? If you were a lawyer, you would know that compound questions with single answers are inherently improper.

      Maybe it escaped you, but I don’t know how: I’m a legal ethicist. That IS how professions heal themselves, by remembering what it means to be a professional.

      No other criminal system gurantees defendants the rights this one does; no other civil system provides redress for wrongs like this one.

      You literally don’t know what the hell you’re talking about…hence the substance free screed.

      • I was about to chime in to say…helping lawyers be more ethical is literally what Jack does for a living. It’s a cause he’s devoted your life to. Ash’s comment must embody one of the rationalizations here…he’s bigoted against lawyers, therefore if a lawyer is the target of a frivolous lawsuit, it doesn’t matter?

        What a disrespectful and dumb comment.

          • Jack – what would your advice be to someone who is not a lawyer, and has to pay someone like you $30 for each 6 minute increment of time spent on the defence?

            11 hours, 660 minutes, $3300 so far.

            Still, it could be worse. I assume the court venue isn’t in Alaska or Hawaii to cause additional travel expense to you.

            Actually, belay that question. As a friend, my advice to you is not to post further about this matter until it is settled. My sympathies.

            • Actually, I charge $50 every 10 minutes, but 1) work fast and 2) really should be raisning my rates.

              The solution is to have more lawyer friends. Pro Ses can and often do gett guidance from lawyers pro bono, even to the extent of writing pleadings, motions and briefs. In most jurisdictions, the pro se doesn’t even have to disclose that a lawyer is helping him.

              But for indigent litigants, it is a bad problem. Something like 80% of landlord tenant disputes have one party in court without a lawyer, and usually without any legal help.

              • The nightmare is a bankrupt pro se litigant in another state with extensive knowledge of the law as the plaintiff. Someone who knows how to run up fees into 6 figures a month, just sending an e-mail per day and filing interlocutory motions every week.

                Bankrupt? Yes, due to numerous judgements against him, with costs of a million or more. Even yet another win with exemplary damages in the defence countersuit gets the defendant not a sou towards legal expenses.

                Careful with that obviously defective initial plea. He may file to amend it – then you have a choice, to oppose the motion or let it through. If oppose, he could file an appeal if disallowed. Then a motion to have a new judge appointed. The idea is not to win, but to cause maximum nuisance.

                If you let it through, you need to file a new response. So he does it again, pro se litigants have to be given considerable latitude in the interests of justice.

                Rinse, lather, repeat.

                Can be a nice little earner for someone who hides his assets, mostly income from confidential settlements.

    • Huh? It’s rare to see a comment with so little command of simple logic here. All of what you said could be true, (although I’m not sure it is), but none of that would be responsive to the question of whether or not this particular lawsuit is an abuse of the system.

  9. The Manhattan Contrarian has published a number of great essays on the problematic aspects of political corruption prosecutions under current law. I’m grossly over simplifying his conclusions but I think he comes pretty close to saying essentially that what politicians do is provide services to their constituents and those constituents make political donations to those politicians. Therefore, the political process is essentially, or at least somewhat, corrupt but not necessarily criminally so.

    • That being said, since most media people don’t worry about legal niceties, you would think they’d be all over the Menendez trial, certainly so if he were a Republican.

  10. No. 3:

    I always knew Kaepernick was a fraud. His star power was fading and he was afraid San Francisco would cut him so he engaged in this idiotic faux-political stunt to shield himself from the front office’s decision to release him from his contract. After all he was a backup quarterback earning a ton of money – the 49ers would save a ton of money if they put him on waivers. He probably thought, “If I don’t do something quick, they are gonna cut me and I am toast. If I sit down* during that National Anthem as a protest against police brutality against Blacks, those cowards in the front wouldn’t dare take adverse against. They will never want to address the hell-fire to rained down on them by social justice warriors for sanctioning a Black male protesting injustice against Black males.” Oops.

    Kaepernick forgot who the core NFL audience is and miscalculated that audience’s clout with the NFL front offices and sales offices. I would bet dollars to donuts that many season ticket holders stormed into a number of marketing directors’ offices, and bent their ears back, to the tune of, “We spend a fortune on this taxpayer-built monstrosity you morons work in. If you idiots don’t put a stop to this, we are not renewing our blocks of tickets next year. We go to football games so that we can entertain and woo prospective clients. We can’t do that with these bozos kneeling during the National Anthem, which we can’t hear in our suites over all the champagne corks bouncing off the ceilings. Those working class stiffs in the seats don’t go to football games so that a bunch of highly paid athletes who have no idea what is going on can preach to us about social justice. Stop it or else!” The owners probably panicked and told the league that they were take matters into their hands if the league didn’t prevent it.

    The League dithered and Jerry Jones and America’s team – the Cowboys! – came up with a brilliant idea: his players would kneel for a moment of silence (amidst the boos and catcalls) and then lock arms during the Anthem as a show of unity (unity for what, is still a mystery to me, other than telling Trump to back off). That did not stop the bleeding, though, so the League issued a new position statement (only then taking it back within nanoseconds of its release).

    I haven’t seen the data but I would suspect that viewership is still down across the league, and the NFL’s reputation is in intensive care and developing a healthy addiction to oxycodone.

    Now, Kaepernick is in a pickle. He has no contract and his agent won’t return his calls because, well, he’s unmarketable, and he has a November mortgage payment to make. What is his next move? He has to file a grievance with the players’ union and he has to allege blackballing and collusion (there’s that word a gain) betwixt and between the owners to prevent from his God-given right to play backup quarter back somewhere for gobs of money. Otherwise, he has nothing further to add to the game of football.


    * Remember that he started this nonsense by sitting down and caught unholy hell for it. After talking to a former combat vet, he decided that kneeing was more respectful and would still make him bullet proof.

  11. No. 5:

    Lest you think that Weinstein was a real pervert, serial (and unrepentant) sexual harasser and rapist, we should take a step back and think of the good Weinstein has done for us. Ask yourself whether any pervert is worth more than his crime(s)? (I frankly think Weinstein in an abomination and should be run out of town on a rail, but that’s just me. I am not woke yet.)

    Some may say Weinstein is a cultural hero. Not only has he and his company given us such entertaining gems as “Django Unchained”, “Halloween”, and “Piranha” (even in 3-D), his antics have shown us that women are women, too.

    Without Weinstein, Alyssa Milano would never have inspired women who have been sexually harassed or assaulted to write two words on Twitter: “#Me too.” By 4 a.m. Monday, more than 200,000 #metoo tweets were published by Twitter’s count. Then, we can have the likes of Wil Redd telling men they need to be reeducated:

    But, leave it to a man to appropriate women’s issues. See, J Toscano had to one-up Alysso with his “#I will” campaign:

    Thank you, Harvey, you are true spirit of change. We owe you a debt of gratitude.


    Lest you think I minimize or dismiss the impact sexual assault, harassment, and rape have on people, let me assure you that I cannot wrap my head around someone deriving pleasure out of inflicting pain or dominion/dominance over another person. That is a violation of a person’s sacred identity. While the physical pain may heal, the emotional and spiritual scars remain. Women I have known who were victimized always carry that in their spirits, in their hearts. It is a wound that may never heal.

    I do, however, think the virtue signaling of idiots like Alyssa Milano is frustrating.


    • You articulated the King’s Pass nicely there. Important, talented brilliant people need to know that they have to abide by the same rules as the rest of us. Hollywood’s culture has been built on the opposite anti-ethical concept; so has business and politics, and organized religion.

      What did Hollywood signal by giving an Oscar to Casey Afflecy, or signing a peteition for Roman Polanski, or lionizing Woody Allen? Why wouldn’t Harvey take that as a green light?

    • Johnburger:

      Lest you think I minimize or dismiss the impact sexual assault, harassment, and rape have on people,

      I do think that, because that’s what you’re doing, and your disclaimer doesn’t change that fact. You are literally telling survivors of sexual assault that they shouldn’t share their stories with other women in a way you don’t like (for reasons you have yet to articulate), and that doing so is “virtue signaling.”

      It’s shit like that that turns women away from this blog.

      • Chris,

        I disagree. Nothing in my post suggested that sexual assault, harassment, or rape was overstated or overblown; nor did I suggest that women should sit back and take it. Quite the contrary. If you want to quibble with definitions, syntax, or tone, go ahead but you are wasting your time and effort. I was addressing the new social media phenomenon of hashtags and memes replacing actually doing something to address an issue.

        My problem with the #MeToo campaign is that it conflates rape and sexual assault (crimes, at the very least) with behavior that can be considered annoying (catcalls from the streets) and/or workplace sexual harassment (unwanted advances by a person in a higher position of authority with threats of reprisals). All of them are unwanted, unacceptable and unethical but they are not the same.

        These terms have real meanings and have very different legal consequences, some criminal liability and some civil or administrative. There may not be any remedy for catcalls hurled by a troglodyte from the street, but there are specific remedies for rape, sexual assault and workplace sexual harassment.

        The current trend is lump everything under one umbrella and discuss it as if all the conduct is the same. For instance, Harvard University conducted a survey attempting to measure sexual assault on campus. It asked, “Since you have been a student at Harvard University has a student or someone employed by or otherwise associated with Harvard . . . continued to ask you to go out, get dinner, have drinks or have sex even though you said no?” The survey authors explain: “Sexual assault and sexual misconduct refer to a range of behaviors that are nonconsensual or unwanted. These behaviors could include remarks about physical appearance or persistent sexual advances. These could also include threats of force to get someone to engage in sexual behavior such as nonconsensual or unwanted touching, sexual penetration, oral sex, anal sex or attempts to engage in these behaviors.” Continually asking someone out on a date and forcibly having sex with someone against her will are totally different.

        So, too, with the #MeToo campaign. While it started with good intentions to shed light on the problem, Alyssa Milano did not define her terms with sufficient clarity, leading to a meaningless and confusing publicity campaign. Placing stupid catcalls in the same category as forcibly raping someone diminishes what the rape victim actually suffered. Likewise, equating “”my boss keeps checking me out” in the same category of physically grabbing a women against her will causes confusion and diminishes what happens in workplace sexual harassment cases, in which a boss or supervisor is in an unequal power position with employees over whom the boss has authority, and where the threat of reprisal (denial of a promotion, loss of a job or a raise, etc.) is very real.


        • JohnB,

          I appreciate your civil clarification. I see what you mean about conflating issues, and perhaps you are right that #metoo might be more effective if it were about one thing. I initially thought it was about sexual assault exclusively, but you’re right; Milano’s original tweet mentions both harassment and assault.

          I’m not sure I agree that this is necessarily a “conflation,” though. The survey you mention definitely is…but I don’t see the implication in #metoo that harassment or assault are the same thing. I imagine most women probably see those two as existing on a sliding scale; one often leads to another, and the two are borne of the same disrespect for boundaries. Remember that the hashtag has emerged as a response to the Weinstein revelations, which included both harassment and assault. I think the larger point is that people shouldn’t have to deal with either.

          As for “the new social media phenomenon of hashtags and memes replacing actually doing something to address an issue,” I must confess I’ve never understood this complaint. Raising awareness is doing something to address the issue. Especially since in this case part of the issue is that people who claim they have been sexually harassed or assaulted often aren’t believed. I’m not even talking about in a court of law, where the presumption of innocence is rightly considered sacrosanct; I’m talking about socially. Victims are often blamed for their own harassment and assault–and not just female victims, either. There is strength in numbers, and seeing so many people on social media–especially people one might be close to–might have an effect on how one perceives the magnitude of the problems of sexual harassment and assault. Lots of people–mostly men, but not exclusively–think that these problems are overblown. (No one here has suggested that, I know.) I think this campaign could help change their minds.

          The other reason I’m skeptical of that argument is that I usually see it made by people who don’t actually want anything done about the problem in question. For instance, most critics of the anthem kneeling would not find *any* protest against police brutality valid. So when people say “What you’re doing doesn’t actually address the problem,” my first question is always “Ok, then what do you suggest we do to address the problem?”

          • Chris,

            Good thoughts and comments all.

            You are correct that allegations of sexual misconduct are problematic all around. The “Dear Colleague” letter had the effect of presuming guilt and the push that all victims’ allegations must be believed; in sexually-involved legal maters, consent is always an issue and proving lack of consent is often impossible when the parties involved are the accused and the accuser, with no other witnesses. Couple that with victims not wanting to report the incidents, and it is a perfect storm of legal inconsistency.


  12. 4. The “moron” story is being covered more than any similar story under any other president would be covered because President Trump is a moron, and the fact that some working for him are aware of this is strangely comforting.

    It’s also being covered more because Trump decided to air part of his feud with Tillerson in public, tweeting that Tillerson’s job is useless and that he should stop doing it. I don’t know how much coverage the president publicly undermining his own Secretary of State should get, because it’s never happened before.

    If Tillerson had any courage, he’d resign. Why he doesn’t is a mystery, and mysteries sell papers. The strange effect that Trump has on professionals who know a lot more than he does, but must pretend to respect a man they clearly loathe, is fascinating. Why shouldn’t the media cover fascinating phenomena?

    • Except that that isn’t why it’s a story, is it? It’s a story because a high cabinet official was supposedly disrespectful to his President. It’s not news the Trump is a moron, and someone calling him a moron doesn’t constitute further proof that he is one.

      • I didn’t say it was proof, I said it was comforting. I also explained that it’s part of a larger story of discord between the president and the Secretary of State; discord that Trump himself confirmed by airing that discord in public. Then I explained that this is part of a pattern of powerful men humiliating themselves to serve Trump, which is an interesting phenomenon.

        That’s three different reasons that I articulated for why it’s a story, and you chose to focus on a reason I never articulated.

        • Because it is not, in fact, a story, except to titillate those who can’t resist the pleasures of confirmation bias.
          If there’s a story, it’s that Trump, unlike Obama, won’t necessarily can someone who insults him in, say, Rolling Stone. That’s a solid management trait.

          • No, he won’t fire him. He’ll just publicly call his job useless and tell the American people he should stop doing it.

            Is that a solid management trait?

              • What’s going on is that every president undoubtedly has arguments with his people. THIS president is actually having those arguments reported on as though this is some sort of horrendous development of administrations.

                If the media had rooted out and focused on every single disagreement between Obama and his subordinates, would we expect Chris to characterize that administration as “discordant” or his leaders as “embarrassing themselves”. No, he wouldn’t. Because he is not consistent.

                  • The difference is Trump is a blowhard. That doesn’t make the substance of disagreements within administration different between administration.

                    There’s also another key difference. The media (and you) actually focus on Trump in ways they NEVER EVER WILL with your people. This also makes a difference on what actually gets the attention of the people. Which, as we know, often trigger Trumpian reactions.

                    • Again, already explained. A subordinate calling Trump a moron is more substantive than a subordinate calling Obama a moron because Trump is a moron.

                      Trump was a media personality long before he was president. He has intentionally crafted his image as an over-the-top, outrageous figure. Of course he gets more media attention than others; his entire reason for being is media attention. During the campaign it was possible to starve the beast; now that he is president, we cannot afford to take the spotlight off of his actions. Not for a moment.

                    • Chris wrote, “A subordinate calling Trump a moron is more substantive than a subordinate calling Obama a moron because Trump is a moron.”

                      That’s a failure in logic!

                      Your argument is “moronic”.

                    • I’m going to have to call you on this one. If you assume you know whether someone is a moron or not, then anyone else making any comment on the issue, agreeing or disagreeing, is irrelevant and not substantive.

                      Presumably you mean it’s substantive because a subordinate calling Obama a moron was just venting, while a subordinate calling Trump a moron is making a deadly serious judgment that people need to hear about. All this is predicated on the idea that a) Trump is a moron, b) you and/or his subordinate can provide evidence of it, and c) that this fact implies a course of action.

                      Before this line of reasoning can go anywhere, however, you need to answer a question:

                      What exactly does “moron” mean to you?

                      (And it can’t be “as moron does”, because that’s trying to figure out what a label implies based on a person who carries the label. We’re doing the reverse; trying to figure out whether a person should carry a label based on what the label implies.)

                    • Thanks. I don’t have the energy to argue this obvious point with Chris. Every now and then his irrational Trump hate manifests itself with his head spinning around and green goop spewing out of his metaphorical mouth.

                    • I can also tell you this much. If any subordinate called Obama a moron during his presidency, we probably didn’t hear about it because his White House wasn’t overflowing with leakers.

                      That multiple inside sources were willing to confirm to the media that Tillerson called Trump a moron is further evidence of discord in the White House. The inside sources are constantly leaking to the press is further evidence that Trump isn’t exactly running a tight ship. (And really, I don’t know how “there is an unusual amount of infighting in the Trump White House” can even be a questionable premise at this point. Have you already forgotten the Scaramucci call, in which no less than the WH director of communications described that infighting in graphic detail? I realize that was a thousand years ago in Trump-time, but still…)

                      I think we should know that the president has tons of people working for him who so lack trust in his abilities and judgment that they are willing to sabotage his administration from the inside. This is a direct result of the president’s incompetence. I am sorry that you don’t want to know that, and that you think others shouldn’t know that. But I want to know that, and I am glad the media is reporting on it.

                    • Chris wrote, “I think we should know that the president has tons of people working for him who so lack trust in his abilities and judgment that they are willing to sabotage his administration from the inside. This is a direct result of the president’s incompetence. I am sorry that you don’t want to know that, and that you think others shouldn’t know that. But I want to know that, and I am glad the media is reporting on it.”

                      You want to know the difference between people who think like you and people who think like me; I want to know the actual truth you just seem to want to know that which supports your bias while you rationalize away or completely ignore anything that contradicts your bias.

    • Chris,
      I see three serious flaws in your arguments;

      1. How is this “President Trump is a moron, and the fact that some working for him are aware of this” a fact? You stated that’s fact; seriously Chris, seriously? You are making a claim of fact here; where is your indisputable evidence to support the claim of fact?

      2. You are asserting that people “pretend to respect a man they clearly loathe”.

      3. You are assuming that Tillerson actually called Trump a moron.

      I know you and others want to believe those things but where is your proof that any of those things are factually true?

      • 1. I would love to hear someone here argue that Trump is not a moron. I dare them.

        2. Yes, that’s a clear pattern. Look at Ted Cruz. Look at Romney.

        3. I believe he called Trump a moron because he refuses to deny it.

        Really, all three of your questions are asking me about things that should be obvious to everyone. Asking people to ignore the obvious is a staple of the Trump administration; don’t fall for their gaslighting.

        • 1. Instead of providing proof proof of the actual claim you made you are asking others to disprove your claim by disproving a different claim. That’s what conspiracy theorists do and it makes them appear to be intellectual hacks.

          2. Instead of providing proof of your claim, which appears to be about the administration cabinet and staff, you are shifting the goal posts to the opinions of political opponents and that’s supposed to be proof that his cabinet and staff don’t respect him and loathe him? Is that some new form of Progressive logic?

          3. Your answer to #3 is straight up thinking exactly like an gullible conspiracy theorist.

          Chris wrote, “Really, all three of your questions are asking me about things that should be obvious to everyone.”

          So since you can’t prove your claims you resort to this nonsense?

          Chris wrote, “Asking people to ignore the obvious is a staple of the Trump administration”

          What’s factually obvious is that the left is building arguments based on assumptions. Trump makes enough gaffs just in Twitter to make headline news without building arguments based on assumptions; the media has gone nucking futs with their levels of propaganda and you have swallowed it hook, line, and sinker.

          • 1. All I’m asking others to do is to not pretend they don’t know things that they already know.

            Before the election, “Trump is a moron” was an uncontroversial statement here. It was something pretty much everyone agreed on. Now I’m being asked to “prove” he is a moron, and being told that Trump doesn’t fit the technical definition of a moron, even though almost no one who uses the word is ever referring to the technical definition.

            I find this ridiculous.

            2. Cruz and Romney are notable in that they started out as political opponents to Trump, then publicly debased themselves to gain favor with him once he was in power. Cruz in particular can no longer be considered a political opponent of the man who called his wife ugly and implied his father might have helped kill JFK.

            But you’re right; I should have focused on examples of people working for Trump who have humiliated themselves for Trump, such as the “beleaguered” Jeff Sessions, or Reince Priebus.

            3. Tillerson calling Trump a moron isn’t a “conspiracy,” so believing it happened isn’t thinking like a conspiracy theorist. If Tillerson hadn’t called Trump a moron he would have said he didn’t call Trump a moron on one of the many occasions he was asked. He earns respect for not lying about it, but loses it for continuing to work for a man who doesn’t believe his job should exist, and who humiliated him in public by denigrating that job.

            • This comment is silly in too many ways to mention. As used here, and by anyone who isn’t a moron, “moron” in relation to Trump is an insult, not a statement of objective fact. People called Bush a moron. They called Reagan a moron. I tend to use idiot, jerk, and asshole in describing Trump. Actual morons can’t appear to win Presidential debates, run business empires and outmaneuver both parties, the news media and the Clinton machine.

              You look more than foolish arguing otherwise.

            • Chris,
              Usually I’d say that the only professional educators that are this obtuse are doing it intentionally; but I’ve been informed on a routine basis that I should never attribute to malice that which is adequately explained by stupidity. Your comprehension skills really suck. I’m not going in the weeds any further with you on this.

        • Of course, he’s not literally a moron. A moron rising to US leadership was the satirical plot of “Being There.” I’m pretty sure Trump would smoke the hero in Scrabble.

          I’m pretty enmeshed in this issue, having to deal with someone suing me for referring to him as an “asshole” and a “jerk.” Like morons, these are insults consisting of negative opinions based on disclosed facts. Technically, a “moron” was someone with an IQ range of 50-71. There is no way Trump could function as he does if he were an actual moron. So there’s your proof.

          He frequently behaves and speaks like a moron, however.

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