1. Bad Ideas Never Die Dept. The Obama Administration killed an unethical Bush Administration rule that permitted a wide variety of health care workers to refuse to administer treatments and procedures they found morally repugnant, what the Bush administration termed workers’ “right of conscience.” It was, and is, a terrible idea; The American Medical Association explained why, in the context of opposing conscience outs for pharmacists, when it declared..
“RESOLVED, That our American Medical Association reaffirm our policies supporting responsibility to the patient as paramount in all situations and the principle of access to medical care for all people (Reaffirm HOD Policy)…
Now that bad idea and the same ethically warped principles are embodied in a new Trump administration policy that provides “religious freedom protections” for doctors, nurses and other health care workers who object to performing procedures like abortions and gender reassignment surgery. This is a sop to the Republican evangelical base. As I wrote here (actually partially quoting myself from an earlier article),
“Conscience clauses” came into being in the wake of the Supreme Court’s Roe v. Wade opinion legalizing abortion. Obviously that right to privacy ruling put Catholic hospitals in a difficult position, so the U.S. Congress passed the Church amendment (named after Sen. Frank Church of Idaho) in 1973. This provision allowed individual health care providers and institutions such as hospitals to refuse to provide abortion and sterilization services, based on moral or religious convictions. Most states adopted their own “conscience clause” laws by 1978. Conscience clauses are a terrible idea that encourage arbitrary professional misconduct. It is an example of how morally-based action can lead to unethical conduct….People who voluntarily undertake the duties of a job should either be prepared to fulfill those duties, take the consequences of not doing so, or not take the job in the first place.That is the ethical duty that one accepts when one agrees to do a job. “
President Trump doesn’t do ethics, and not being a deep thinker, inconsistencies of principle don’t resister on him. The reason for requiring health care workers to perform their jobs regardless of whether some portion of it clashes with their religious beliefs, moral conviction, political passions or gag reflex is the same whether a doctor objects to abortions, a baker doesn’t approve of gay marriage , a restaurant owner doesn’t want to serve blacks, Hispanics, or Republicans, or an NFL football player is offended by the National Anthem. Society doesn’t work any other way. The religious freedom dodge easily turns into a cover for bigotry, harassment and oppression.
Nothing in the Constitution says that citizens have the right to hurt people when they practice their religion, or defy our laws, or refuse to perform the duties of their professions or employment while still getting paid because they cite religious conscience.
2. I Told You Not To Look Under That Rock! Dept. For some reason, I broke my own rule and skimmed a Paul Krugman column. What was I thinking? What is so digsuting about Krugman is his intellectual dishonesty, as he writes down to his readers using rhetorical tricks, rationalizations and lazy arguments that are 90% political bias and 10% substance at best. Here was the sentence that exploded my head, stopped me from reading, as Krugman twisted reality to hold Republicans responsible for the government shutdown that was 100% caused by Senate Democrats blocking the continuing resolution to keep the government open:
“Protecting the Dreamers is, by the way, enormously popular, even among Republicans, who oppose deporting them by a huge margin. So it’s not as if the G.O.P. would be giving up a lot.”
So, as long as a provision is popular with its base, a party isn’t “giving up a lot” by supporting it—regardless of whether it is responsible, fair, smart, principled, or in the best interest of the country. Got it, Paul. This is the lowest common denominator theory of democracy being peddled to New York Times reader by its Nobel Prize-winning columnist: legislation by poll.
3. All the Anti-Trump Bile That We Feel Like Printing. After a month or so of putting out a Sunday Review that did not read like the minutes of an I Hate The President Club, the New York Times this past Sunday converted the section into a virtual primal scream., with 11 articles and essays promoting fear, disrespect, contempt or hate for the Chief Executive. Balanced reporting and perspective, yessiree! Here were the headlines:
It’s Been A Year of This? (How President’s Trump’s first year has been “interminable”…)
Hillary Lost, But The Future Is Hers
Islam Says Life Is A Test. So Is Trump
Donald Trump’s Radical Honesty (First sentence:”A year into Donald Trump’s candidacy, we have thoroughly established what a liar he is.”)
They Were Bad, He May Be Worse ( A historian argues that Trump may prove to be a worse President than Andrew Johnson, James Buchanan, or Warren G. Harding.)
On the Trump Beat ( Typical superior and airy snark from semi-retired Cross-Fire “From the Left!” veteran Michael Kinsley. I’m GLAD I didn’t run into him when we were in college together.)
The Political Mythbuster in Chief (First sentence: “Donald Trump prides himself on destruction.”)
Learning to Listen From My Son (A dreamy stealth entry: the Buddhist author chastises himself for insulting and demonizing the President, even though he deserves it)
A Trump-Size Hole In Our Relationship (“This President has disrupted my life…”)
Trump So Far Is More Farce Than Tragedy
Presidential Etiquette Guide, Part III (The editorial board’s contribution,, purporting to list the President’s deeds, words, or thoughts that prove he’s scum, a moron, or a poopy-pants. I’d take the time to demonstrate how many of these facts are rumors, lies, biased characterizations, exaggerations, or Presidential jokes intentionally interpreted as serious statements, but I’d rather kill myself. The translation of this entire, juvenile piece would be, “Wehatehimwehatehimwehatehim!” Uh, yes, Times editors, we already knew that.
This self-indulgent whining, single note bitching and virtual spitting is why the first year of Trump’s Presidency has seemed interminable. It is also suicidal. The news media and its familiars are staking their credibility on the President failing, meaning that they are actively conflicted: they have an existential reason to want him to fail, and when the President fails, the nation fails. This is never a good position for any American institution to be in.
When the relentlessly negative spin on everything that the President does is exposed to even the dimmest bulb as naked propaganda, the news media will have forfeited its ability to contribute when there is a genuine reason to expose not just this President, but any President.
Good job, everyone!
4. Then again, the future might not be hers if women keep acting like this…One big reason Hillary lost was the hypocrisy and obnoxiousness of her campaign and its supporters, arguing that women were obligated to vote for a woman regardless of non-biological factors, and sinking to the worst tendencies of the men they had criticized for similar conduct. Since the election, we have seen prominent feminists and female politicians engage in outright male-bashing, watched a female Senator, Senator Gillibrand, drive a male colleague out of office by pronouncing him guilty based on unsubstantiated accusations, watched another, Kamala Harris, exceed the President in public vulgarity, and a third, Elizabeth Warren, emerge as a full-fledged demagogue while refusing to deal honestly with her fake Cheokee problem. We saw Senator Diane Feinstein breach her committee’s procedures to release a confidential transcript, then plead that she was only yielding “to pressure” and had a bad cold. Thanks to the #MeToo mob’s excesses, men are wondering whether it is safe to date a woman who might retaliate like the “courageous” but anonymous character assassin of Aziz Ansari, who couldn’t attend the SAG Awards, where he was a nominee, because he was likely to be shunned.
Male professionals are pondering the wisdom of hiring women, since a real or imagined slight (or the promise of publicity) could cause them to decide they had been the victim of an “unwelcome” sexual advances years or decades after an alleged “fact.” Actor Matt Damon has seen his film career endangered because women found his statement, “There’s a difference between, you know, patting someone on the butt and rape or child molestation, right?,” to be proof of a corrupt and women-hating soul. A female Justice Department lawyer cheating on her husband is at the center of an unfolding scandal suggesting that the fix was in as Loretta Lynch–a female attorney general—oversaw the investigation of possible criminal conduct by Hillary Clinton, her party’s female candidate for President.
Meanwhile,at the Daily Beast, the left-wing political and culture news aggregator and commentary site, we saw “From King George IV to President Trump, The Fat Men Who’ve Ruled The World,” authored by a womn of course, Candida Moss, who would have screamed like a banshee had a male blogger snarked about Hillary’s thighs.
What’s so great about electing women again? Wasn’t the theory that they were better than men? Once again, Lord Acton’ sneat phrasing of the ancient wisdom that power corrupts and absolute power corrupts absolutely is confirmed. It has been made obvious, if it wasn’t already, that when women acquire power, they abuse it just as predictably and flagrantly as men, just in new and different ways.