Morning Ethics Warm-Up, 1/5/2018: Brrrrrrr!… “Hey!”… Duh!… And “WHAT?”

G-g-g-good M-m-m-morning!

1 Enforcing societal standards in the cold. Today, as we ran errands in 13 degree weather and gusting winds to fetch my sick son some chicken soup and DayQuil, my wife witnessed the following episode at the 7-11. With a long line behind him, a man stood at the register meticulously picking lottery numbers. A woman in line confronted him directly, saying, “You came out in this cold just to waste your money on the lottery? You’re sick. Save your money. Be responsible. Get help”


Driving home, we saw many parents walking their children to Alexandria schools (which delayed their opening here two hours.) At an intersection near the school across a parking lot from our home, my wife and I saw a young girl, maybe seven or eight, with her father, about to cross the street. The girl had a winter jacket on and a hat, but only thin leggings and—get this—sneakers with no socks. The wind chill outside here is estimated at -4.

We didn’t say anything to the father. Should we have? I think so.

2. More state lottery ethics. Speaking of unethical state lotteries, which could only become ethical if the states eliminated them, you will recall Item #4 in the 12/28/17 warm-up, about how South Carolina had bollixed up its lottery and is deciding whether to stiff the winners, since there were far too many of them thanks to computer programming error. That state needs to follow the ethical example of Connecticut.

After an error was discovered in how the drawing was handled—involving 100,000 tickets—the lottery posted a notice on its official website saying there was indeed a problem with the drawing, and that “due to an error in the range of tickets eligible for the Super Draw drawing, a second drawing will take place shortly. HOLD ALL TICKETS.” Later it announced,  through this statement from Interim Lottery President & CEO Chelsea Turner:

Due to human error, 100,000 ticket numbers were not included in this morning’s Super Draw drawing.  Our goal, first and foremost, is to make our players whole.  In order to do so, a second drawing will take place shortly that includes the corrected ticket number range.  All winning tickets from both drawings will be honored.

3. Bias makes you forgetful, too... The Resistance news media is engaged in an orgy of Trump-Hate porn as juicy rumors and sausage-making stories drip out of the new tell-all book by Michael Wolff, now being treated as virtual Boswell in matters Trump after years of being regarded by the same journalists as a sleaze-merchant. The ugly spectacle did inspire some brain cells to fire and reveal a long forgotten scandal from another White House’s dirty laundry.

Retired general Hugh Shelton, late of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, wrote in his 2010 book “Without Hesitation,”  that while Bill Clinton was in the White House, a key component of the president’s nuclear launch protocol—the launch codes!— went missing. “The codes were actually missing for months. This is a big deal,”  the general wrote.  “We dodged a silver bullet.” The card with code numbers on it that allow the President to access a briefcase, called the “football, ” and launch a nuclear attack was lost by a Clinton aide. Once a month, Defense Department officials conduct an in-person verification to make sure the President has the right codes. Twice in a row, Shelton wrote, a White House aide told the Pentagon checker that the President was in a meeting but gave a verbal assurance that the codes were with him. He was lying.

In 2000, according to Shelton, when the time came to replace the codes with a new set, “the President’s aide admitted that neither he nor the President had the codes. They had completely disappeared.” You know, like in the GEICO commercial…

Explained The Atlantic when Shelton’s book first came out:

Here’s the reality: Losing that identifier card had the potential to create a vast disruption in nuclear command and control procedures.

So Al Gore gets “the call” because Clinton can’t properly ID himself. Gore is confused, lives in Washington, knows the President is fine. He tells NORAD to hold while he tracks down the President, who can’t verify his own identify anyway. Precious minutes (and I do mean precious, seconds count in the nuke business) are lost while civilian and military leadership sort things out.

And that says nothing of the fact that the President would be in gross violation of his duties by allowing the VP to execute an order that is lawfully the President’s to make. Once a strike is authorized by the NCA, the Chairman and Vice Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff pass the order to the U.S. Strategic Command through the NMCC, or through an alternate command site, like Site R in Liberty Township, PA, or through an airborne platform known as TACAMO, which stands for “Take Charge and Move Out.”

Do you recall a big deal being made out of this in 2010? I don’t. This is the first time I ever heard that story. Apparently the New York Times didn’t recall either, since it realted the story this week as if it was the first the paper had heard of it. Shelton was unethical to relate it at all, but at least he waited ten years after Clinton had left office. He also went on the record, and is, oh, about 100 times more credible than the unnamed sources, as well as the named ones, that Wolff relied on. Needless to say, this is a lot more serious than the alleged chaos in the Trump White House before General Kelly arrived on the scene, but in 2010 the  news media and the Democrats had no interest in embarrassing the Clintons while Hillary was at State and Obama was in the White House, and the news media had not yet deteriorated in a 24-7 hate propaganda machine determined to undermine public trust in their elected President.



57 thoughts on “Morning Ethics Warm-Up, 1/5/2018: Brrrrrrr!… “Hey!”… Duh!… And “WHAT?”

  1. I think if that story had broke during Clinton’s administration rather than 2010 it would have been a bigger deal. This strikes me as whataboutism. There is nothing we can do about Bill Clinton’s dangerous incompetence at this point. The Clintons are in the past. Changing the subject to them is pointless.

    Is the Weekly Standard part of the “Trump Resistance media?”

    • It’s not whataboutism at all. It’s “lets have a consistent standardism.” That episode was documented on the record. 90% of the stuff in the current book isn’t. (And see Rusty’s comment below.) That was an embarrassment for Democrats with a Democrat in the White House, and Clinton while his wife was overseeing international relations! It wasn’t like this was about the Polk administration. The current stuff about alleged past Trump White House “incompetence” is being hyped to the exclusion of everything else (including good news), and a far, far more serious, documented account was quickly buried. That’s the point. The accounts in both books should be assessed independently of each other, but the same standards should be applied.

      Yes. The Weekly Standard is indeed a part of the “Trump Resistance Media” Its founder and publisher, Bill Kristol, is an anti-Trunp fanatic. You haven’t been paying attention.

      • There’s nothing inconsistent about heavy coverage of the current white house vs lighter coverage of events that had already passed ten plus years earlier And no it did not mater that Hillary Clinton was Secretary of State. She is not her husband. She isn’t even left-handed.

        • Please. She rose on her husbands coattails. She claimed to be “co-President.” She relied on him as her #1 campaigner. She constantly implied that she would follow his lead and legacy. And all of the dubious stories in the new book are pre-Kelly, and even if reliable, describe the learning process of a new administration, aside from the anti-Trump gossip, which has no credibility at all. Such tell-all rumor and payback fests are usually barely covered by the news media. .

          • I do not understand. Did I claim something isn’t worth remembering? One case is reporting on a current administation, the other of one over for a decade. The former is of immediate interest to the people since they have a stake right now in how things turn out. The later is for interviews during the book tour.

            Do you think in 13 years a book about Trump screw-ups will get much play outside a few promo segments and one loop of the Sunday shows? Huffpost will say Dur hur hur, Breitart will cal it danm lies, CNN will do 3 4 minute segments and play them each 8 times because they’re lazy and the author will get 10 on Meet the press and then only if nothing big breaks that week.

    • Regarding #3, this was reported on when it happened. I clearly recall Rush Limbaugh talking about the issue while Clinton was still in office. IIRC, it was leaked by secret service agents. In one of the incidences, the card was found to be in a suit at a DC area dry cleaner.

    • I don’t know if the Weekly Standard is part of the resistance or not, but I know that tweet of theirs is factually incorrect. Should that matter?

        • Trump doesn’t want a book banned; he has threatened that the book’s content might be in violation of confidentiality agreements and laws, and warned about possible lawsuits in reaction to the book. Even if one consequence of that were the cancelation of its publication, it would only be within normal legal limits and procedures. Not anything close to “book banning” by either Trump or the government, on any level.

          He also did not say that his former advisor was insane. He said he had “lost his mind” which is recognized by all decent and reasonable people as common and widely-understood insult/hyperbole and not a medical diagnosis.

          It’s probably true that he’d like to see Hillary in jail, but seeing as he hasn’t taken any undue action to make this happen, AND that Hillary in all likelihood deserves jail time, the tweet is lying about its central premise that “this is dangerous.” Wanting someone to be duly and fairly punished according to existing laws is not dangerous.

          And so, in answer to your question, “which part of it is incorrect?” the only intellectually honest possible answer is “all parts, and also the whole.” You can do better than this. You can be better than this.

          • Thanks for the condescension.

            You can quibble over the term “ban,” but Trump has no case here. He’s mad because the book makes him look bad, and is making an empty threat, as is his way. If that threat were fulfilled, the result would be censorship.

            “Insane” is also not a diagnosis, and is also commonly understood hyperbole.

            No, Hillary does not deserve jail time, and Trump doesn’t care whether or not she committed an actual crime. He wants her locked up because she was his political opponent.


            • 1. The term “ban” is a term of art. That’s not quibbling.
              2. It was a threat, as I wrote. Lawyer’s threats often involve weak or non-existent cases. It’s standard practice. I personally think it’s unethical lawyering.
              3. “He’s lost his mind” is an idiom. For some reason Trump is the only public figure who is no allowed to use hyperbole or metaphor.
              4. You have no idea if Hillary deserves jail time. Her conduct certainly raises issues about conduct that has been found felonious in the past. You also have no idea why Trump would want her in jail. I know the concept of high placed politicians, or illegal aliens, drug pushers and others actually being accountable to the law is increasingly alien to Democrats, but he might just want to show that the King’s Pass doesn’t apply any more. He is pledged to uphold the Constitution, after all.

              • 1. Fine, not a ban. Censorship, then.

                2. A threat of censorship. You had more of a problem with a mayor saying Nazis weren’t “welcome” in his town—with no threat of legal action—than this. That is a major case of misplaced priorities. If that was chilling to free speech, this definitely is.

                3. I don’t think any other president has ever called a former top adviser insane, even as an idiom. But you’re missing the point again. Whether he truly thinks Bannon is mentally ill or is just using an idiom, what he is saying is that Bannon has no sense of judgment and can’t be trusted. Meaning Trump can’t be trusted to pick advisors with good judgment and who can be trusted. You don’t think that’s dangerous? You think instead of focusing on that we should be talking about whether he meant “lost his mind”’as an insult or as a diagnosis? Is this real life?

                This is what I mean when I say you miss the forest through the trees. A president saying his former top aide has lost his mind is obviously troubling. And you have more of a problem with the people troubled by it than you have with the actual statement, based on nothing but pedantry.

                4. Yes, Trump, whose lawyer argued that the president can’t obstruct justice, opposes the King’s Pass on principle. Come the fuck on.

                • You’re changing the specific topic, which was whether the Weekly Standard tweet was correct/accurate. Which it isn’t. We all know about Trump’s issues. I wouldn’t consider him a good journalist either.

                  (As an aside…”I don’t think any other president has ever called a former top adviser insane, even as an idiom.” John Adams alone could run circles around Trump by himself. I don’t know if there’s a single other Founding Father that he didn’t insult with far worse than “he’s lost his mind.” And Jefferson basically called George Washington senile. Some perspective, please.)

            • I never said he had a case. But regardless, it’s not in any way representative of the truth to say that he “wants a book banned.”

              It would be easy to compose a truthful version of that part of the tweet: “Donald Trump wants to file a frivolous lawsuit against an author.”

  2. “You came out in this cold just to waste your money on the lottery? You’re sick. Save your money. Be responsible. Get help”

    Maybe not an ethics hero, but a “Reality Hero?”

    The cold? Here in the 77 Square Miles Surrounded By A Sea Of Reality, it’s the 2nd coldest post-Christmas spell EVAH!!

    Ever recorded, that is.

    No worries though, per Al Gore, Jr. (to whom I’ve resisted applying the sobriquet “Fat Albert“):

    “It’s bitter cold in parts of the US, but climate scientist Dr. Michael Mann explains that’s exactly what we should expect from the climate crisis,”

    Funniest thing, “Gore’s Oscar-winning documentary An Inconvenient Truth did not warn of record cold and increasing snowfalls as a consequence of man-made global warming. And as recently as 2009, Gore was hyping the lack of snow as evidence for man-made global warming.” (bolds mine)

    Global Warming INC Anti-Christ Marc Morano:

    ” ‘Originally, we were told that snow would be a thing of the past, that children just wouldn’t know what snow was, then we saw record snows and blizzards – and then we were told that was caused by global warming. Now we’re being told the record cold is caused by global warming in a rather complicated scenario affecting jet streams and increasing extremes in the planet.’

    ”The problem, says Morano, is there is no weather event that those proponents can’t blame on global warming.

    ” ‘It’s almost as if it’s a comedy of explanations, they really just will do and say whatever they need in order to make it all fit and reassure themselves that every weather event is consistent with global warming.’

    ”What if scientists have a better understanding today of climate change than they did years ago?

    ” ‘Then make a verifiable forecast – tell us what’s going to happen before it happens and stop this nonsense of telling us how everything that happened was either consistent with or caused by it after the fact.‘ ” (bolds mine)


    • “(to whom I’ve resisted applying the sobriquet “Fat Albert“):”

      Smart guy. Body-shaming could get you hauled into court for hate speech!

    • Paul:

      Re: Al Gore and Global Warming/Cooling/Changing/Staying the Same.

      I got to thinking the other day: You know, Al Gore might be on to something here. He knows that the current climate measurements are much more precise than they were one hundred years ago. Advancements in technology, apparati, projections, and weather patterns have synthesized what we now know of the present state/status of the climate. So, predicting weather events is much more precise. (I note that during Hurricane Harvery [Booo! Booooooo!] the local weather services were unbelievably accurate. For instance, when Tim Heller from said it would rain beginning on Friday at 8:20 pm., he was off by about 48 seconds.) Now that predictions are more accurate, we can declare that the climate has changed by such-and-such degree (we may not know why, but we know there are variations).

      Remember what Rahm Emanuel said: “Never let a good crisis go to waste.” Remember, also, what my next door neighbor’s dad used to say, lo those 30 years ago: “If you don’t have a good crisis going on, make one up – that way you can steer the conversation.” He was a cynic and a bit of an ass, but hey, their 14 year old daughter was pretty cute (she’s 50 now, so, . . .), so I didn’t mind some of his paranoia.

      Along come Al Gore and his Global Changists. They figured that Ponzi Schemes are bad, if not downright criminal. But, what would happen if governments made decisions based on newly minted studies that show certain climate trends. Government-sponsored programs can’t be Ponzi Schemes, right? (Cue my mom’s take on statistics from the 1980s – “garbage in, garbage out”, meaning, that if you want a given result, then you gear your study toward those results.)

      So, Al and Friends gathered together and decided that the Earth had a cold and the result was a fever. I loved that! Fevers are hot and horrid. Who likes a fever? Not me. So, if fevers are horrid and hot, then, by extension and metaphor, the Earth must be hot and horrid, too. We already knew that flourocarbons punched holes in the ozone layer, allowing in more heat, right? So, if the ozone layer is full of holes, then more heat must be coming in and the Earth is getting hotter. Ergo, Global Warming. Whoa. Excellent.

      Now, follow me here (hey – you over there! Stop shaking your headand put down the phone!). Al and Friends decided to heed my neighbor’s cynical advice and declare that global temperatures will rise to unforgiving and unsustainable levels, causing average temperatures to spike and all of life to end was we know it. They put together a nifty little video to explain their ideas. Their video included shots of icebergs imploding, rivers evaporating, and rippling fields of wheat drying to dust, accompanied by somber, weeping strains of a plaintive violin and the mournful wailing of a lonely opera singerd. Ah, so much drama.

      But, they realized, you can’t have a crisis if you don’t have a solution, right? Otherwise, it is just some dumb PBS documentary with no real teeth. So, they figured out a really clever cure: “Carbon Credits!!” Yes. Clever. You can pollute, but only legally. The simple theory goes like this: British Petroleum needs to drill for oil. Where does oil come from? The ground. What happens when you drill? You make holes and sometimes things go a bit funny and a big mess is created and seafaring birds get all dirty (Booo!!! Booooo! – Although, Dawn Dish Detergent might be happy). What is a BP to do in such event? Carbon credits, my good reader. Carbon credits. See, it works like this: There is a guy/lady in Nebraska with 100,000 acres of farm land and/or wheat fields (even rippling ones). Cows and wheat don’t pollute. So, Dawn and Dan Nebraskan get a call from BP and a conversation ensues:

      BP Exec (with a heavy British/Dutch/Texas accent: “Hello, Dawn and Dan. Bob from BP here.”

      Dawn and Dan: “Ho, hello, Bob. How are you?”

      Bob from BP: “Fine. Just fine. A bit hot and horrid over here. I can’t remember it ever being so hot!”

      D&D: “Same here. Why, I was just telling the missus that we might be in for a hard summer. Farmers’ Almanac says it’s gonna a dry. Thankfully, our wells are full of water so we should not have any problems with the crop yields.”

      Bob from BP: “Great to hear. Listen. We had a bit of a problem with one of our wells and we’ve caused a little mess down here in the Gulf. But, that’a another story for another day. Yesterday, our board decided we wanted to build another processing plant. But the EPA says we need an environmental impact statement. You see, Al and Friends got together about 20 years ago and created a bit of a ruckus and we need to figure if the environment will be harmed. To do so, we need to buy and sell carbon credits and offsets. It works like this: If our new processing plant is going to produce X amount of pollutants, we are gonna get a big fat fine. That’s where we could use your help. You fine folks don’t pollute nearly as much. So, if you would interested in selling us your pollution rights, we would love to buy them.”

      Dan: “What?!”

      Dawn: “Dan, settle down. Don’t mind him, Bob. He get nervous. I cain’t for the life of em remember why I married him. What price are you talking about?”

      Bob from BP: “Well, we think that your credits are worth . . . .”

      And they make a deal. BP buys D&D’s pollution rights, and the EPA can’t pound on BP.

      But, wait. That’s only part of it. Al and Friends figured out that a pollution exchange would be a very valuable tool to generate interest in carbon credits and offsets. So, the Nebraska New Carbon Offset/Credit Exchange was created, and people all over the world get to invest in the value of carbon credits and offsets. Everyone on the planet gets to invest in D&D’s pollution rights. Only, there is nothing sold. When I buy 10 shares of stock in BP, I get a fractional interest in that company and the right to certain benefits, returns, or dividends. What do I get when I buy 10 shares in BP’s carbon credits?


      • But Al and Friends then had a problem: Their projections failed. Miserably. The Massachusetts Snail Darter didn’t die out and cause rippling fields in China to fail. On the contrary, the Snail Darter seemed to enjoy the new, warmer climates, so their populations grew exponentially. Also, the ice sheets and polar ice caps didn’t melt nearly at the rates Al said they would; in fact, some of them actually increased, and the Sea Shepherd didn’t stop Japanese Whalers from hunting whales (Booo! Booooooooo!!!). What to do? What to do? The Nebraska New Carbon Offset/Credit Exchange wasn’t as busy as it used to was.

        Well, Al and Friends talked again and decided that Katrina was a bad storm but did not fit their models. They thought about it. And thought about it. And thought about it.

        “Eureka!”, declared Montserrat from Barcelona.

        Al asked, “You mean the town in Oregon?”

        Montserrat politely brushed off Al’s US-centered mindset, and said, “No, silly. ‘Eureka’ as in I have an idea. Hear me out. We our projections are wrong and the world has not ended. The idea is sound but we need to change the name of the crisis. I suggest instead of calling it ‘global warming’, let’s call it ‘global climate change’. That way, we can worry about more things than simple warming trends. We can talk about cataclysmic weather events and wrap them under the same umbrella.”

        Al, being the intrepid crisis-creator-manager he is, shouted, “Eureka!”

        Montserrat: “Huh. You mean the town in Oregon?”

        Now, when Al and Friend’s get bored, they can declare that this winter’s Snow Bomb is just another example of extreme weather events caused by global climate change which is a direct and proximate result of human pollutional* activities. Katrina, Harvey (the storm, not the Hollywood pervert, although, now that you mention it . . . ), Sandy, California wildfires, tsunamis in Japan, and a host of other natural disasters can be attributed to Global Climate Change.

        Funny about that Snail Darter, though. It is still thriving.


        *Don’t yell at me. I made that word up- sounded all sciency.


        • Snail Darter??? What the hell are you, some “Deep State” Science Denier??

          The Warmalista Alarmacysts first realized the real potential of Global Warming was at the 1992 Rio Earth Summit.

          Blame It On Rio, not the hilarious 1987 Micheal Caine flick.

          It was then that the UN realized that Global Warming held FAR more promise (it paid better and the shakedown possibilities were absolutely limitless) than its to-date laughable efforts to advance the Human Condition.

          • Rodney Dangerfield was one of my all-time faves; still is.

            Some of “Back To School” was filmed in the 77 Square Miles Surrounded By A Sea Of Reality.

            A good female friend-o-mine had a cameo hanging outside the window above the supposed Fraternity (Liz Waters Dormitory/U.W. Madison) as Thornton Melon was escorted therefrom.

            You know, after he didn’t see the naked X-Chromosomal Unit in the shower…?

    • That’s a consistent problem with, well, not so much the idea of man made climate change, but certainly the claim that it’s “science.” Its proponents have been no better than Miss Cleo at predicting things.

  3. Well the newest is now that even the author admits that the verasity of these claims are questionable.

    “Many of the accounts of what has happened in the Trump White House are in conflict with one another; many, in Trumpian fashion, are baldly untrue. These conflicts, and that looseness with the truth, if not with reality itself, are an elemental thread of the book.

    “Sometimes I have let the players offer their versions, in turn allowing the reader to judge them. In other instances I have, through a consistency in the accounts and through sources I have come to trust, settled on a version of events I believe to be true.”

    So, he does not know if what he is being told is true or not, but puts out the claims anyway — then the media (MSNBC/NYT etc…) publish it like it is unvarnished fact.

    This is the definition of fake news.

    • This is the definition of fake news.

      No it’s really not.

      It is perfectly acceptable to report that such and such a person made claim x that you can’t verify so long as you attribute it and say you can’t verify it. The news isn’t the content of the claim, the news is that someone made it.

      Yes saying anonymous sources is attribution. Yes it’s worth knowing that people are going around saying these things, if the things are true, it is good to know, if they are false, it is good to know that people in the Whitehouse are spreading salacious rumors to journalists (Though it reflects badly on the Chief of staff.)

      • No, I am saying that taking excerpts from a book, that explicitly says

        “Many of the accounts of what has happened in the Trump White House are in conflict with one another; many, in Trumpian fashion, are baldly untrue.”

        And presenting them as if they are unquestionably true (which is exactly what the news has been doing) is fake news.

        • And presenting them as if they are unquestionably true (which is exactly what the news has been doing) is fake news.

          Can you provide an example of a news source presenting these claims as if they are unquestionably true?

          • Never mind. When a source is conceded to be unreliable, a responsible reporter stops citing that source. A witness in court who has been shown to lie is no longer credible. A scientist whose work is shown to be falsified will not be trusted no matter what his next paper says. A historian who reports rumor as fact no longer is regraded as professional.

            But with “Fire and Fury,” we get sentences like this one (from Axios)… “There are definitely parts of Michael Wolff’s “Fire and Fury” that are wrong, sloppy, or betray off-the-record confidence. But there are two things he gets absolutely right…”

            That’s ridiculous. If I know a source is wrong and sloppy, I discount the whole thing.

          • He demands, confidently knowing that the Left’s base doesn’t care if it’s technically being presented as a report of what the book says, because he knows the Left’s base will interpret is as being reported as truth.


            • Am I supposed to care about how idiots will interpret a news story? Is the news supposed to care about it? If they say upfront that the claims haven’t been proven, they’re doing their due diligence.

              • If the excerpts haven’t been proven, then the MSM is behaving like tabloids. You shouldn’t be spinning on their behalf.

                You know full well the intent of the MSM, and your spin is an endorsement. Makes you part of the problem.

                • The MSM reported on Republicans’ unproven claims about Benghazi. They reported on the birther claims. That’s how Trump came to power, if you’ve forgotten. Yes, they are reporting on the claims about Trump with unprecedented glee, because they hate him. But reporting on unproven claims, in an of itself, is not new, and is sometimes perfectly justified.

                  • Can you cite an article that demonstrates that these claims are substantively similar to the arguments regarding Ben Ghazi?

                    Can you cite an article that demonstrates that these claims are substantively similar to the arguments regarding birtherism?

                    If not, you need to do the argumentation yourself. Because I suspect you know there are substantive differences that undermine your conflation here.

                    • I can’t, because the claims in the book are clearly better supported than either of those were, meaning they’re much more worthy of news coverage than either of those were.

                    • “Most of your replies tonight have been contempt with no substance”

                      Coming from the one who has profaned his discourse tonight, I’m not too concerned with this…

      • No, it isn’t “perfectly acceptable.” In fact, doing that violates all journalism ethics codes. Every one. It is bootstrapping hearsay and rumor into alleged fact, and completely irresponsible.

        • You’re saying that if Shelton had reached out to a reporter during the Clinton administration and told them about the nuclear codes going missing, that shouldn’t have been reported on until…when? The Clinton White House verified it? They weren’t going to do that; they would have lied about it. So should it have been reported or shouldn’t it have? I say that if he had come forward at that time, it should have been a story.

          There’s nothing wrong with the news reporting on a claim made by a high-profile source, even if that source chooses to remain anonymous, as long as they don’t report it as fact. We’re not talking about reporters taking the word of tin-foil hate conspiracy theorists with no basis—you know, like Trump does—we’re talking about an unprecedented number of leakers from within the White House (which Trump must certainly be held partially responsible for).

          But you’re missing the forest for the trees again. The story is this president’s incompetence and lack of fitness to run a local Arby’s, let alone the most powerful nation in the world. From what I’ve seen the book doesn’t confirm much of anything we don’t already know; Trump’s public behavior this week alone is more damaging than anything in the book. Quibbling over whether the allegations within are worth reporting on strikes me as a waste of time when we know for a fact that that this week alone, Trump has threatened to censor a book, forgotten that he got rid of DACA, tweeted about nuclear codes in a way that was almost literally dick-measuring, and promised to spend his time hosting a “fake news awards” show. That he is mentally unfit is no longer in question. That should be the story, not the media’s coverage of his mental unfitness.

          • Chris, among my fields is leadership. If a leader accomplishes his goals and the organization being led prospers, then he’s not an incompetent leader. He may be divisive, he may degrade the office, he may be unethical, he may cause unnecessary chaos, he may do all sorts of other things. But he can’t be called incompetent. Trump has objectively accomplished a great deal, and many of the things he promised. That is the news story being (intentionally) buried. Yes, style matters, to me a very great deal. When Bre Stephen wrote,

            “Tax cuts. Deregulation. More for the military; less for the United Nations. The Islamic State crushed in its heartland. Assad hit with cruise missiles. Troops to Afghanistan. Arms for Ukraine. A tougher approach to North Korea. Jerusalem recognized as Israel’s capital. The Iran deal decertified. Title IX kangaroo courts on campus condemned. Yes to Keystone. No to Paris. Wall Street roaring and consumer confidence high.
            And, of course, Neil Gorsuch on the Supreme Court.”

            …he’s describing accomplishments. Not only that, he’s describing accomplishments despite the most unethical efforts by an opposing party and the news media to obstruct a President since the 1860s. You cannot call Trump incompetent. That’s simply in direct defiance of reality, and it would speak well of you if you would acknowledge that.

            • Wow, that’s an incredibly low standard. Nearly every item on your list could have been done by any Republican president with access to a pen and a willingness to go along with conservative dogma. Ben Carson could have accomplished them, and he would still have been incompetent. Almost none of those accomplishments required legislation, making the obstruction of the Democrats irrelevant; it’s not impressive to stand up to obstruction when the opposing side is literally incapable of obstructing what you want done. The Wall Street/consumer confidence point ignores trends that existed long before Trump.

              No, a competent leader doesn’t run a White House with this many leakers. A competent leader inspires confidence in their leadership, not fear and resignation. This isn’t leadership, Jack.

              • Nonsense. You have to know that saying “any Republican” could have done it is a dodge; the issue is whether any would. Withdrawing from the Paris accord? Enforcing immigration laws? Again, you’re ignoring the facts that disprove your thesis. “It’s no big deal, anybody could have done it” is the standard fallback lie to minimize any GOP leader’s accomplishment: that’s the argument that Reagan didn’t bring down the Iron curtain. If all of this was so easy, why couldn’t Obama, a terrible leader, figure it out?

                Ultimately, leaders are judged on results by history and the public. I judge them on more than that, but I also recognize that incompetent leaders do not get good results. You’re arguing backwards: You begin by thinking the President is incompetent, ergo the effective policies aren’t his doing. I begin with the same assumption, but the results are no consistent with that assumption, so I have to revise it. From Althouse today:

                Despite the “fire and fury” — “The U.S. added 148,000 jobs last month, as continued growth capped a year of increasing opportunities for American workers.’

                The NYT reports the data that must be reported:

                • 148,000 jobs were added last month, bringing the average over three months to 204,000.

                • The unemployment rate was 4.1 percent, the same as in November.

                • Average hourly earnings grew by 9 cents, to $26.63, bringing the year-over-year increase to 2.5 percent….

                It is too early to measure the hiring effects of the corporate tax cut passed last month, but Mr. Trump’s agenda may be having a positive impact on the economy in other ways. His push to dismantle regulations on businesses seems to have emboldened corporations to start pouring more money into machines and plants, which is the kind of spending that drives broad growth….

                There are signs beneath the surface, though, that more widespread wage growth may be around the corner. In areas where unemployment has dipped below the national rate, pay has begun to accelerate….

                Over the last few months, the industries that have been performing particularly well have been construction and manufacturing — middle-wage, middle-skill sectors that had been lagging. Mining employers also posted solid gains throughout 2017, bucking a trend of job losses in recent years. Manual-labor positions are the kinds of jobs that Mr. Trump has promised to bring back in droves, so the uptick could be politically important.

                • onsense. You have to know that saying “any Republican” could have done it; the issue is whether any would. Withdrawing from the Paris accord? Enforcing immigration laws?

                  You’re assuming I agree that the former was a competent decision and that the latter is being done competently. I do not. Trump’s actions on immigration so far have included a travel ban that had to be neutered into irrelevance to be found constitutional, setting up a hotline to complain about illegal immigrants which got more trolls than legitimate callers, and now claiming that Republicans are more supportive than Democrats for DACA, a program that Trump ended. Incompetence. If he has also achieved some good results, I don’t know how that can be attributed to anything but moral luck given how clearly incompetent these other moves have shown him to be.

                  Again, you’re ignoring tha facts that disprove your thesis.

                  See above. The thesis that someone is incompetent isn’t disproven by moments of achievement when the overall record is one of incompetence. By your standard, the mainstream media is competent. Ah! you might say. But their job is to be trusted, so even if they are only untrustworthy some times, that means… Yeah, I know. And a leader’s job is to lead. If he only exemplifies competent leadership sometimes, then he cannot be trusted to lead, and is incompetent.

                  “It’s no big deal, anybody coud have done it” is the standard fallback lie to feminize any GOP leader’s accomplishment:


                  that’s the argument that Reagan didn’t bring down the Iron curtain. If all of this was so easy, why couldn’t Obama, a terrible leader, figure it out?

                  Half the items on your list are explicitly partisan and it is very debatable whether they should be done at all. Others, like the economy doing well, already were figured out by Obama.

  4. My son told me about this before the 2016 election. How he knew I do not know but at any rate it was known and just not made as public as Trump eating steak with catchup. Double standards scream at a deafening volume.

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