Morning Ethics Warm-Up, 5/17/ 2018: For Whom The Rex Tolls…

Good morning!

1. Another “growing crisis” to fear: Rorschach innuendo that people can interpret to confirm their own biases... Deposed Secretary of State Rex Tillerson told graduates in his commencement address at the Virginia Military Institute in Lexington, Virginia, that American democracy was threatened by a growing “crisis of ethics and integrity”:

“If our leaders seek to conceal the truth, or we as people become accepting of alternative realities that are no longer grounded in facts, then we as American citizens are on a pathway to relinquishing our freedom. When we as people, a free people, go wobbly on the truth even on what may seem the most trivial matters, we go wobbly on America.”

Verdict: True.

The New York Times, without hesitation, calls Tillerson’s remarks a “veiled rebuke” of President Trump, and “veiled” doesn’t even make it into the headline.

Why isn’t this just as much of a “veiled rebuke” of Hillary Clinton, Bill Clinton, Barack Obama (“If you like your plan…”), James Comey, Andrew Cuomo, Elizabeth Warren (I’d say her continuing Native American lie is a perfect example of a trivial matter that matters), Chris Christie, Senator Mitch McConnell, Harry Reid, Rep. Nancy Pelosi ( The U.S. Supreme Court is “five guys who start determining what contraceptions are legal.”, “I don’t know who (Jonathan Gruber) is,”  “In the first year of the Obama administration, more jobs were created in the private sector than in the eight years of the Bush administration.”…and so on, and on…), Newt Gingrich, Senator Richard Blumenthal, new head of the NRA Oliver North, and many, many others in both parties?

You know why: the media’s agenda is focused only on denigrating Trump. As for Tillerson, his statement is consistent with what The Ethics Scoreboard and Ethics Alarms have been trying to explain for nearly two decades now, with one major, ethical difference: I don’t use weasel words and innuendo, and Tillerson did. If the ex-Secretary of State has a whistle to blow, let him blow it, and not litter the scene with whistles so anyone can blow them to their own ends. Statements like his are worthless without specifics, and merely arm partisans, hacks and character assassins.

I also don’t accept ethics lectures from oil company executives. I’m funny that way.

2. And speaking of a crisis of ethics and integrity…and trustworthiness…Here is the New York Times correction yesterday on a story attacking a piece on Foundation for Defense of Democracies chief executive Mark Dubowitz:

I don’t know what the maximum number of errors in a single story is that can be corrected before a responsible reader has to say, “The hell with this rag; I’m going back to the Weekly Reader!”, but whatever the limit is, this easily exceeds it. The New Yorker used to publish such corrections  as humor, except the excerpt would be from The Hooterville Register, not the New York Times. Don’t you love the equivocal “referred inaccurately” weasel words? Saying that a salary that is actually in line with similar salaries in the field is twice such salaries isn’t “inaccurate,” it is a gross and inexcusable mistake.

Gee, I wonder if Rex was rebuking the leading news media….

3. Boy, when you are more dishonest regarding President Trump than CNN...Here is CNN’s tweet from yesterday:

Yes, President Trump referred to the members of the infamous and violent MS-13 gang as animals. I object to the use of descriptions like that by officials, as it is uncivil, but this is how POTUS talks, and if he is going to use that description (he’s not  saying they are literally animals, just in case PolitiFact has done a fact-check and says he’s lying), MS-13 is as good a target as anyone. But we have a crisis of ethics and integrity, as Rex pointed out, so Senator Chuck Schumer tweeted,

I didn’t know the Senator’s ancestors were violent gang members! You learn something every day!

To be fair to Lyin’ Chuck, this tactic of intentionally misinterpreting a Trump statement served Democrats well when they claimed that his 2015 comments about “murderers and rapists” referred to all Mexican immigrants and not just some of the illegal subset, and according to Chuck’s immediate predecessor, if a lie works, it’s gold.  Then there is the New York Times…

Are you sure Rex wasn’t talking about the Times? Because this is an outright lie. Trump did not “lash out at undocumented immigrants.” Or is the Times saying that all illegal immigrants are violent gang members?

4. ‘Enemies of the people’ update: At least the Times lie was only in a tweet: here is the front page of the New York Daily News:

Challenge to the news media’s enablers: Defend the News’ description of Trump’s comment. Explain how it isn’t a deliberate lie designed to provoke anger and hatred towordd the President of the United States. Justify it, with special emphasis on why the divisions and distrust it engenders are good for the nation.  Make sure you include reasons why a publication that intentionally misrepresents the President’s words like that should be invited to White House briefings, so they can misrepresent more to they readers….

114 Comments

Filed under "bias makes you stupid", Character, Ethics Alarms Award Nominee, Ethics Train Wrecks, Government & Politics, Journalism & Media, Law & Law Enforcement, Leadership

114 responses to “Morning Ethics Warm-Up, 5/17/ 2018: For Whom The Rex Tolls…

  1. Alex

    Re: Daily News cover

    I find it hilarious that the insult they’re using in Spanish is one that would be mainly used by Spaniards and rarely by Latin Americans. Are they implying that only those coming from Spain are to be trusted as legal visitors/immigrants or something?

    • The second story on the Daily News might actually warrant comment as well. It was actually generated by Talcum X, AKA Shaun King… He found a video of a man saying some legitimately awful things to a Hispanic woman and Tweeted out: I want to find this guy and make him famous” or some version thereof, and sent his smurfs to work. I’m pretty sure he actually found the right guy (But whew lad if he got it wrong) and started Tweeting 24/7 the guys face, name, and office…. Which is his own private law practice.

      I don’t know where I sit here…. I mean, the guy really does seem to be an asshole. No amount of context makes the things he was saying OK…. But… I thought targeted harassment was bad? I mean, sure, the guy is self employed, but he’s just a guy, sure he’s an asshole, but he’s just a guy. King is a published national news commenting, million Twitter follower having activist. More stark examples of punching down could be had, your president does it routinely, but what’s the principle that makes this OK, but other forms of targeted harassment unacceptable?

      • Trust me HT, kismet holds that Talcum X will get his comeuppance; it will be sweet, poetic, and not abbreviated but lasting; hopefully a ”Groundhog Day” type of endless reel.

        You ever see the end of “The Dead Zone” where just before Johnny Smith (Christopher Walken) dies, he sees the future well-deserved demise of the Martin Sheen character (Greg Stillson)?

        Not in that same manner, but as final.

      • I think, before, when communities were smaller or at least more tightly knit, individuals faced massive social pressure NOT to vent like a jerk and if they did, the whole community knew about it and could hold the individual’s feet to the fire to get him/her to amend their behavior.

        As communities grew and we now could go about our daily lives never having to feel social pressure from those we daily interacted with…as those whose social opinions we cared about would almost always see us in our best moments anyway…those pressured diminished.

        Now, we have the communications technology to reintroduce some of those social pressures, BUT

        1) It’s no longer just the small community in which behavior would be addressed and contained…it’s the whole world.

        2) A world that doesn’t care one wit about forgiving or accepting that behavior is apologized for and amended…because the social media furies have no similar social incentive to have to still live with the target of their fury.

        So, we lost an effective tool of social pressure, and when we gained a tool that could substitute for that formerly lost visibility, we didn’t recognize just how out of scale that tool was to the previous era’s visibility that small communities had.

        So, yeah, it’s hard to decide- social pressure to behave = good…the scale with which we can do that now = bad….

  2. 3) At what scale does organized crime cease being a criminal activity and begin being an actively insurrectionist movement that should be addressed militarily?

    • Total membership in MS-13 is roughly equivalent to several Brigades of Infantry…

      And that’s only one of several dozen *well organized* and *well equipped* enforcement level gangs at the disposal of several dozen cartels…which are equally manned…

    • Here I thought this would be an interesting side discussion…

      I guess I underestimated the power of the “Distort Trump’s words within a clear context” hobby horse of some people.

  3. Chris

    4. Impossible to defend. I initially shared a tweet condemning Trump for referring to immigrants as “animals,” and didn’t find out the context until hours later. I was, and am, angry at the deception. You’re right that he shouldn’t call anyone “animals,” but leaving out the fact that he was referring to MS-13 or applying his comments to all or most immigrants of any kind is pure deception, and fake news.

    • valkygrrl

      THE PRESIDENT: It’s a disgrace. Okay? It’s a disgrace.

      SHERIFF MIMS: It’s a disgrace.

      THE PRESIDENT: And we’re suing on that, and we’re working hard, and I think it will all come together, because people want it to come together. It’s so ridiculous. The concept that we’re even talking about is ridiculous. We’ll take care of it, Margaret. We’ll win.

      SHERIFF MIMS: Thank you. There could be an MS-13 member I know about — if they don’t reach a certain threshold, I cannot tell ICE about it.

      THE PRESIDENT: We have people coming into the country, or trying to come in — and we’re stopping a lot of them — but we’re taking people out of the country. You wouldn’t believe how bad these people are. These aren’t people. These are animals. And we’re taking them out of the country at a level and at a rate that’s never happened before. And because of the weak laws, they come in fast, we get them, we release them, we get them again, we bring them out. It’s crazy.

      Doesn’t look to me like he said scary scary oooo aren’t you scared MS-13. It looks he used a comment that tangentially mention them to call them animals.

      I expect Jack to say Trump’s just a crappy speaker.

      But he has no trouble naming names when he wants to. Them *wink* *wink* animals *wink* *wink*. He was listening for the magic word to give himself deniability. It’s a fun little game they play on the alt-right. I never said that, I just spent six paragraphs heavy implying it. I just inserted a couple vague words, It’s not my fault you took it the way I intended but will not admit except in private with my buddies.

        • valkygrrl

          White supremacist drives into a woman. Good people on both sides.

          Discuss a hypothetical gang member. But we’re taking people out of the country. You wouldn’t believe how bad these people are. These aren’t people. These are animals.

          • Steve-O-in-NJ

            Trump didn’t say there were good people on both sides of the specific incident of a white supremacist plowing his car into a woman. He said there were good people on both sides of a demonstration and counterdemonstration that eventually escalated to that. There were also a ton of bad people who went there specifically looking for trouble on both sides, including violent white supremacists and antifa types with clubs and body armor. Come on, you can do better than that.

              • Steve-O-in-NJ

                I think she does – I am beginning to think that, like myself, there is a good and a bad version of Valky. When she gets into the author stuff and the literary stuff there is even an “adorkable” element.

                • valkygrrl

                  It’s really not my fault that someone turned on the Large Hadron Collider and slid me into bizarro world where the Cubs win the world series and a grifter is POTUS.

                  In the universe I cam from it was quite obvious that Jeb! was going to get the Republican nomination.

            • valkygrrl

              Trump is a conman and has been for his entire life. He never uses specifics and there’s a reason for that. He doesn’t want deniability. He doesn’t want to be held to anything ever.

              He knows someone like you will defend him words and tell me what they really mean. And it’ll never be what he said. You’ll make the inferences that support your worldview. And the proud boys who showed up in Charlottsville will find something to suit theirs.

              He wants those proud boys on his side. He will purposefully say something that can be interpreted as support for racists. It’s not sloppy, it’s contrived.

              Don’t let him get away with it. He won’t listen to me because I’ll never be on his side. He needs you. So hold his feet to the fire and make him spell out what he means, make him commit to the specifics that you want.

              Without you right-wingers protecting him he has nothing. That gives you power. Why are you giving it up? Force him to come back and say he was only talking about MS-13.

              Unless you think he wasn’t.

              • This is ironic, because the only ones who tie their brains into knots trying to think he has said things that are racist when they aren’t are the anti-Trump deranged. Now, he might be trolling THEM, but I don’t think he’s that clever. Maybe, though. At this point, you’re so predictable.

                • valkygrrl

                  I’m shocked, shocked.

                  Not that shocked.

                  You interpreting Trumps words in a way that allows you to attack his opponents. Who’d have thunk it.

                  I must be deranged to think a man who is so weaselly that he tried to get away without signing his first financial disclosure, is deliberately vague in order to get what he wants without ever being held to specifics. That’s it for sure.

                  • Come on. Are you kidding? Trump’s been talking in public for 40 years. He uses language like apes use poo. There’s no codes, no Clintonesque wordplay, none at all. No nuance, no careful subtext. He doesn’t know what he means half the time. He doesn’t even engage in deceit, because that takes technique. The line “if you are the only one who hears the dog whistle, you’re the dog” was invented for Trump. The man was asked about illegal immigrant gangs in the US. He said “Gangs bad. Gang members bad. Letting them into country bad.” That’s all. And the news media and certain other people beclowned themselves.

                    • valkygrrl

                      He’s been escaping the consequences of his actions for his entire life. What does he have to know beyond how to weasel?

                      All he has to do it be vague and repeat whatever sentiment Hannity expressed on the phone last night or whatever they’re saying on newsmax or beritbart right? All he has to do is sucker others into carrying his water.

                    • Right. It’s that easy to negotiate the obstacle course that is the Presidency. Interestingly, every President with an R by his name is believed by the Left’s faithful to be a cretinous puppet of some dark master. With Reagan, it was Nancy pulling the strings. With Bush, it was Sununu. With Bush 2, it was Cheney. Now with Trump its Bannon…no, Hannity!..no, well someone.

                      I don’t buy all of Scott Adams’ public-whisperer magic theories, but whatever it is Trump does well, he does it himself. The Democrats will make up the wildest theories to excuse their own ineptitude, and apparently have a flatter than flat learning curve.

                    • Arthur in Maine

                      Jack wrote:
                      Interestingly, every President with an R by his name is believed by the Left’s faithful to be a cretinous puppet of some dark master. With Reagan, it was Nancy pulling the strings. With Bush, it was Sununu. With Bush 2, it was Cheney. Now with Trump its Bannon…no, Hannity!..no, well someone.

                      In fairness, this type of puppet theory is not unique to Democrats. There was plenty of blather in some conservative circles, for example, that Obama was beholden to George Soros. I don’t recall whether there were comparable theories related to Bill Clinton and/or Jimmy Carter, but it wouldn’t surprise me if there were.

                    • Good point, AIM. But since, with the exception of Nixon, who was eeeeevil, only the GOP Presidents were assumed to be morons—Ike, Ford, the Bushes, now Trump. Jimmy was a nuclear engineer (though he couldn’t pronounce “nucular”) Clinton was a master politician (who managed to get himself impeached—go figure) and Obama was dazzling..even though he never figured out that refusing to compromise to pass legislation meant that his “legacy” would be more disposable than a styrofoam Pieta…and he assumed that no Republican would ever be elected again. Before those geniuses, we had brilliant JFK, so brilliant that he nearly blundered us into World War III, and LBJ…who couldn’t see the Vietnam war as the black hole that it was.

                    • It sounds like we all agree that Trump should be more respectful, and more precise in his speech.

                      I’m not sure what the point of this all is, though. I do want to be sure that Trump recognizes that humans are people (and animals, in the biological sense), even if they do bad things. Based on the information I’ve seen about him, he at least claims respect for industrious people irrespective of their national origin, so I think that while he may stereotype and think in generalizations, he does try to judge people based on their actions.

                      However, I don’t think his opinion could pose a threat anyway. This country is thankfully not in a position where policies based on actual (anti-minority) racism will be met with approval by any but a small fraction of people. Even if he did turn out to be a serious racist, Trump is practical (despite his bombastic words) and knows that a policy based on racism would lose the mainstream support he has managed to build up.

                      Moving forward, we have much more consequential matters to deal with. We can chide Trump for his sloppy language, but we do need to understand his language is less calculated than that of other politicians, meaning he doesn’t think beyond the current situation when he talks. Therefore, his language is less useful for making predictions, whether or not you take him at face value. It doesn’t even reflect the “true Trump” because he is only voicing his impulse thoughts, not any sort of considered opinion that he’d use to make a decision. It’s his actions that really need watching. After all, those are louder than words.

                    • “(Obama) assumed that no Republican would ever be elected again.”

                      That breathtaking arrogance was in no short supply. A fine account may be found in James Carville’s: 40 More Years: How the Democrats Will Rule the Next Generation; available in dustbins and at Flea Markets and ”Little Free Libraries” everywhere.

                      A few examples from a site Zoltar Speaks! and I used to frequent:

                      *KickiceWis Nov 7, 2016 1:26pm
                      That’s nice. Start practicing M-a-d-a-m P-r-e-s-i-d-e-n-t
                      *KickiceWis Nov 7, 2016 3:24pm
                      You are going to have a very rough evening tomorrow aren’t you?

                      His last post was late on 11/08/2016, hubristic to the very end dashed with timing that could simply not have been more exquisite.

                      Of the many of the Lefties that regularly slobbered effusively there, one in particular claimed that we’d have 8 years of HRC followed by 8 years of (and this is where it gets good) Chelsea.

                      Chelsea?

                    • Chris

                      Come on. Are you kidding? Trump’s been talking in public for 40 years. He uses language like apes use poo. There’s no codes, no Clintonesque wordplay, none at all. No nuance, no careful subtext. He doesn’t know what he means half the time. He doesn’t even engage in deceit, because that takes technique.

                      Ugh. I really hate this naive attitude where you take away Trump’s moral agency by basically saying he’s too stupid to lie.

                      The line “if you are the only one who hears the dog whistle, you’re the dog” was invented for Trump. The man was asked about illegal immigrant gangs in the US. He said “Gangs bad. Gang members bad. Letting them into country bad.” That’s all. And the news media and certain other people beclowned themselves.

                      He didn’t even say gangs! He said people coming into this country!

                    • Chris

                      Wait, which is it? Is Trump too dumb to know what he’s saying or do Democrats unfairly judge him as dumb because he’s a Republican?

                    • Chris

                      Good comment, EC. I too am worried about actions, which is why I linked that story of ICE illegally lying about a dreamer being in MS-13 so they could deport him. That is the type of situation Sheriff Mims was asking for approval for. Trump gave it to her.

              • Chris

                Wonderful comment, valky. Unfortunately it falls on deaf ears.

              • Amazing how one could ready almost every argument valky made in this sub thread to mean a democrat politician, say, like Obama:

                -“He never uses specifics and there’s a reason for that. He doesn’t want deniability. He doesn’t want to be held to anything ever.”

                -“Without you [left]-wingers protecting him he has nothing. That gives you power. ”

                -“He knows someone like you will defend him words and tell me what they really mean. And it’ll never be what he said. You’ll make the inferences that support your worldview.”

                -“Force him to come back and say he was only talking about [whatever]… Unless you think he wasn’t.”

                And my favorite, as Valky does not seem self aware enough to realize that two sides showed up in Charlottesville, and one had the police on their side:

                “And the proud boys who showed up in Charlottesville will find something to suit theirs”

                • Bingo. Ever since I started paying attention to politics (Bill Clinton was president), I could never peg my leftist friends down on political statements by Democrats.

                  They were all of the nature that depending on the outcome of any particular episode upon which the politician commented, the comments could be spun “accurately” in which way.

                  It was frustrating, and needless to say, I hate the tactic when it’s done intentionally, but I am experiencing a degree of schadenfreude watching our resident lefties get flustered with the experience.

          • Chris

            After reading the full quotes, it still doesn’t justify the media hiding the fact that Trump was specifically asked a question about MS-13. But his comments were vague in a way that lends credence to the idea that he wasn’t just talking about MS-13, but “people coming into the country.” And it seems like he was conflating MS-13 members with “people coming into the country” in the same way I criticized Tomi Lahren and Jesse Waters for conflating immigrants with illegal immigrants on their show the other day, and as Jack criticizes liberals for doing often. He started his campaign with a similar conflation; “When Mexico sends its people” can be read as being just about illegal immigrants, or it can be read about all Mexican immigrants; it’s confirmation bias either way. But valky certainly has a point about what types of criminals get the “animals” label. Joe Arpaio is a criminal who intentionally tortured people, but he’s a good man who deserves to be pardoned in Trump’s eyes. Inferring a racial motive isn’t a leap.

            • Hi Chris & good day. A couple questions. Where in his words do you do you see Trump saying vaguely “that he wasn’t just talking about MS-13, but “people coming into the country.”. Maybe I’m missing it.

              • Chris

                SHERIFF MIMS: Thank you. There could be an MS-13 member I know about — if they don’t reach a certain threshold, I cannot tell ICE about it.

                THE PRESIDENT: We have people coming into the country, or trying to come in — and we’re stopping a lot of them — but we’re taking people out of the country. You wouldn’t believe how bad these people are. These aren’t people. These are animals. And we’re taking them out of the country at a level and at a rate that’s never happened before. And because of the weak laws, they come in fast, we get them, we release them, we get them again, we bring them out. It’s crazy.

                • Ok thanks. He started off with “people” as you noted when instead he could have said “MS-13” which would have been more clear. Do you think Trump should have mentioned MS-13 directly before noting how he feels about the gang (and yes it was ungentlemanly to say animal)?

                  • He was clear, and everyone knew what he was saying except people inclined to deliberately misunderstand. The same people making Chris’s argument also twisted themselves into pretzels defending Obama’s “You didn’t built that!” gaffe. He didn’t literally mean “you”! He didn’t literally mean “build”! He didn’t literally mean “that’! And he’s brilliant!!!

                    • Right Jack. I’m just trying to hone in on the exact reason for offense from his standpoint. While I believe this is a deliberate tactic by Trump foes to cause confusion/strife (rules 2, 4, 5, 8, 10, 11, 13 of Alinsky’s Rules for Radicals come to mind) I don’t think Chris is on that boat and seek to understand him not the other guys.

                    • Chris

                      Jack, I’m at a loss as to how you can read this:

                      We have people coming into the country, or trying to come in — and we’re stopping a lot of them — but we’re taking people out of the country. You wouldn’t believe how bad these people are. These aren’t people. These are animals. And we’re taking them out of the country at a level and at a rate that’s never happened before. And because of the weak laws, they come in fast, we get them, we release them, we get them again, we bring them out. It’s crazy.

                      And say that it’s “clear.” It’s about as clear as mud. Like much of what Trump says, a good portion of it doesn’t even mean anything.

                    • The context was about the gangs, Chris. That’s all any fair, normal person needs to know. It was in response to a question about a murderous gangs. A question frames the answer. If the question was about illegal immigration generally, you would have a point, but it wasn’t. If somebody asks me if steroid cheats like Robbie Cano belong in the Hall of Fame, and I’ve suffered a stroke so I don’t express myself any better than Trump, and I say,

                      “These players like Cano…they are criminals, cheats and liars. Unamerican! All of them! They don’t deserve their salaries, they don’t deserve to be cheered, they don’t deserve to be respected! They are insects, like termites in our values of our society!”

                      Now, you would say, along with the Times and the News, that I was attacking Hispanic baseball players “like Cano.” But in the context of the question, no good faith listener could conclude that. “They” means steroid cheats. Not all players, and not all Hispanic players, but all cheating players.

                    • Chris

                      I think your analogy is flawed; “players like Cano” is more clearly about Cano’s actions than “people coming into this country” is about MS-13’s actions. But we still agree on the basic point that media outlets who reported on Trump’s comments without the MS-13 context in the headline were grossly irresponsible and dishonest.

                  • Chris

                    I appreciate your graciousness, Mrs. Q. Yes, I think that would have made his comments more clear.

      • “I expect Jack to say Trump’s just a crappy speaker.”

        I mean…. Do you not think Trump is a crappy speaker? Because if you think he’s a crappy speaker, then it’s hard to figure out how he’s able to speak well enough to send specific code to racists while sounding doltishly misinterpretable to the rest of us. And if you think he’s a good speaker, and this is all underwater 3D chess code to pockets of racists… Wal Mart has a great price on tinfoil going right now. I’m just saying.

        • Chris

          It really takes no special way with words to be vaguely racist. The dumbest people I know in real life do it all the time.

          • I mean… Fair. But do you think Trump does it on purpose?

            • Chris

              I think he does it because he’s racist and doesn’t believe “those people” deserve rights, while believing that tough white guys who violate those people’s rights are awesome and should be pardoned.

              I mean, let’s look at the question, which was asked by my own county’s Sheriff Mims:

              SHERIFF MIMS: Thank you. There could be an MS-13 member I know about — if they don’t reach a certain threshold, I cannot tell ICE about it.

              What she’s saying there is that if there’s someone she thinks is an illegal immigrant gang member but has no proof, she should be able to report him to ICE anyway. Trump’s message to her is “Yes, do that, because they’re animals.” This message has a real effect, and leads to shit like this:

              On Tuesday, U.S. District Judge Ricardo S. Martinez shot down the federal government’s efforts to strip Daniel Ramirez Medina of his DACA status. Immigrations and Customs Enforcement had arrested and detained Ramirez last year, then falsely claimed that he was affiliated with a gang and attempted to deport him. He filed suit, alleging that ICE had violated his due process rights. Martinez agreed. His order barred the federal government from voiding Ramirez’s DACA status, safeguarding his ability to live and work in the United States legally for the foreseeable future. What may be most remarkable about Martinez’s decision, though, is its blunt repudiation of ICE’s main claim—that Ramirez is “gang-affiliated.” The judge did not simply rule against ICE. He accused the agency of lying to a court of law.

              https://slate.com/news-and-politics/2018/05/federal-judge-accused-ice-of-making-up-evidence-to-prove-that-dreamer-was-gang-affiliated.html

              • I wish America was bordered by a third world majority white nation, so he could treat their citizens as shittily as he does the third world nations with majority Hispanic populations without the constant accusations of racism. “Poor”, “foreign”, “statistically prone to crime” and “constantly at our doorstep” aren’t races, but that’s really what Trump seems to have problems with.

                I mean… real talk here for a minute…. you can disagree with my take on that, but I think you’d have a hard time refuting it. What does the difference look like?

                • Chris

                  I wish America was bordered by a third world majority white nation, so he could treat their citizens as shittily as he does the third world nations with majority Hispanic populations without the constant accusations of racism.

                  Or, instead of wishing for an alternate universe where you don’t have to think about the problem of racism, you could live in the real world and acknowledge its existence when it happens.

                  • If you believe Racism is a serious problem, you need to be a little more cautious about throwing accusations of it around than you would be ticker tape at a President’s Day Parade. If all it takes for someone to be labelled a racist is to have done something that has racially disproportionate outcomes, regardless of context, mitigation or intent… Then we’re all racist, and no one should care…. Simply having policies that have disparate impacts on minorities, regardless of intent, context or mitigation (you know: reality) is not inherently racist.

                    • Chris

                      Has Trump ever called a white criminal an animal?

                    • Arthur in Maine

                      Do you think it would have been reported if he had?

                    • As far as I can tell, this is the first time Trump has called anyone an animal, and I can’t think of a group of people much more deserving of the term.

                    • My guess is that Chris will now take the discussion into a side corridor showing that Trump DOES like to call people he doesn’t like animals. Curse you for opening THAT door.

                    • Jack… You’re like… psychic.

                    • Arthur in Maine

                      He DID call Bashar al-Assad an animal. But that probably doesn’t count, because… you know, Muslim.

                    • There is absolutely no way to tell.

                    • Chris

                      A month before he declared his candidacy in 2015, Trump described the black killers of two police officers in Mississippi as “deranged animals.” After the terrorist attacks in Paris that November, the terrorists were “animals” taking advantage of what he described as lax gun laws in France. In early December, members of the Islamic State militant group were “a vicious group of animals.”

                      A few days later, he said that when terrorist “animals” attacked the World Trade Center in 2001, they sent their wives back to Saudi Arabia beforehand and the wives knew what was planned. That is not true.

                      On the day of the Iowa caucuses, he told a crowd that the Paris attackers were animals. “The press called them masterminds, the mastermind,” he said. “They’re not masterminds — they’re animals. We have to stop it. We have to be so tough. We have to be so vigilant.”

                      “Can you imagine these people, these animals over in the Middle East, that chop off heads, sitting around talking and seeing that we’re having a hard problem with waterboarding?” he said during a presidential debate in March 2016.

                      “An immigrant from Syria, who later applied and received United States citizenship, was accused by federal prosecutors of planning to go to a military base in Texas and kill three or four American soldiers,” he said during a speech in Portland, Maine, in August of that year. “Preferably execution-style. We’re dealing with animals.”

                      Over and over and over. It served his goals on the campaign trail — to present himself as a tough, strong response to the dual threats of terrorism and criminal immigrants that he was simultaneously hyping.

                      Once he was president, the “animals” descriptor was generally applied to members of MS-13, founded by Salvadoran immigrants in Los Angeles in the 1980s.

                      “They don’t like to shoot people,” he said of members of that gang during a speech in Iowa last year. “They like to cut people. They do things that nobody can believe. These are true animals.”

                      “You’ve seen the stories about some of these animals,” he said in Youngstown in July, telling a story about a killing of a teenage girl. “These are the animals that we’ve been protecting for so long.”

                      “We’re going to have safety,” he said at a rally in Florida in December. “And we have got a lot more now. We are getting rid of the MS-13 animals.” During a Cabinet meeting later that month, it was: “We’re decimating those animals. They’re animals.”

                      “Animals” is so ingrained in his rhetoric about immigrant criminals and terrorists — a group defined in part by themselves being foreigners, as his Charlottesville response makes clear — that he applies it liberally and often.

                      https://www.washingtonpost.com/news/politics/wp/2018/05/17/trumps-long-history-of-referring-to-nonwhite-criminals-as-animals/?utm_term=.8bac12549bf1

                    • Chris

                      There is absolutely no way to tell.

                      Ah yes, because Trump is famously tight-lipped and never vents his frustration and contempt on any social media platform.

                    • Chris

                      It’s relevant. He has a habit of publicly calling black and brown terrorists and criminals “animals,” and no similar habit of applying that to white terrorists and criminals. That’s racist, and that matters.

                • The United States does border California and their refugees into our nation are messing things up…

              • I don’t buy that as the default interpretation of the conversation. I think it is more likely just commiseration and sympathizing. “I am bound by rule of law, and I can’t act on what I think I know because I have insufficient evidence.” (I can’t imagine that this would be an uncommon frustration for law enforcement.) Reply: “Yeah, it’s tough. We’re doing what we can, and we’re making progress but we need stronger laws.”

                There’s no reason to assume they’re going to break the rule of law just because they say that. By all means pay close attention to the evidence they use and make sure it’s up to code, but by no means condemn them on that conversation. That’s just grasping at straws.

                • Disclaimer: I’ve only read the snippets of the conversation that were pasted on this page. If later on Trump ended up saying, “Do what you need to to get them out. We’ll stand by you,” then yes, that would have been a warning signal.

            • valkygrrl

              I mean… The Trumps have no problem dehumanizing large swaths of people right?

              • I hate to break it to you, but there is no “The Trumps” like the Borg: what the son says is not attributable to his father. Who cares what Trump’s son says? I know the whole Get Trump game is substantially guilt by association gotchas, but this is especially lame.

    • Arthur in Maine

      Bravo, Chris.

  4. Aleksei

    #4 Well, because we know President Trump has hate in his heart, it is not inaccurate to characterize him this way, because of his insensitive bigoted ways, Charlottesville, etc, it rings true. And we know, if it rings true, it must be so (See “Fire & Fury” by Michael Wolff). Also, it’s not divisive, if it just highlights “The Truth” and helps people understand how illegitimate the current president is. They are just fighting the power and keeping the terrible, no good administration in check. He also said craphole countries and that Mexico isn’t sending us their finest, so we know the authoritarianism he is capable of.
    Lastly, it isn’t a lie if you believe it to be the truth, your truth. At the end of the day, isn’t it all about our lived experiences. Everybody has their own truth, and no one has the right to tell someone they’re wrong, if it just happens to be different from they way you would normally do things. That’s just intolerant and insensitive!
    /s

    • Get that hole in your cheek where your tongue broke through fixed before it get infected!!!

      • Aleksei

        I will get swiftly medevac’d to the nearest single payer medical facility! Only 4 hours to the Canadian border from Boston! Haha

        • Well done. While you are waiting, I can send some hydrogen peroxide your way.

          jvb

          • Aleksei

            Unfortunately, after they saw my US passport, the doctors deemed there was nothing they could do to help me, so I was ordered to “die with dignity” by getting handcuffed to radiator in the basement!

    • dragin_dragon

      Now THAT is satire. Either that or you’ve lost your mind.

    • TexasBill

      Aleksei…you really had me going there for a minute. I mean, blood pressure was rising and I even laughed out loud at “Everybody has their own truth”! But then I got to the end. I’m fairly new here, but realized that the “/s” at the end of your rant means “Sarcasm”. Whew!

      • Welcome, and we have a lot of sarcasm grandmasters here.

      • TB,

        Now compare Alexei’s satire to Valky’s serious comment re: “Animals”…

      • Aleksei

        I was trying to sound just the right amount of serious, with some silliness, like with “terrible, no good”. If you watch enough youtube, I think you can easily pick up the slang and buzzwords the youths (Disclosure: I’m a late stage youth, basically young adult) use when talking about politics to parody them convincingly.

  5. JutGory

    Jack: “he’s not saying they are literally animals.”

    But, they, like all humans, literally are animals. So, they are stuck. Trump told a literal truth. He said something that was true. So, they have twist it. (Not really that hard because he was speaking literally and metaphorically.)
    -Jut

  6. ”I object to the use of descriptions like that by officials, as it is uncivil.

    MS-13’s motto is “Kill, Rape, Control”

    They are known for a code of extra-ordinary (even by gang standards) merciless retribution.

    Their crimes against civilization are replete.

    It’s completely fair to describe someone who has surrendered his/her humanity as an “animal”.

    While being ever ready to drop the label if they try to claim their place back in the ranks of humanity.

  7. DaveL

    Three things are shameful about #3 and #4.
    First, Shame on Trump for using dehumanizing language. MS-13 gang members are human beings. If they weren’t, we wouldn’t lose any sleep about them violating the law. The police don’t go around arresting pigeons for defecating in public. As reprehensible as MS-13 is, to dehumanize them is dangerous and wrong.

    Second, shame on the media for hiding the context to inflame public sentiment against Trump. It’s an affront to honesty and journalistic standards.

    Third, shame on the public, because the media wouldn’t have had any motive to hide the context if large numbers of people weren’t prepared to excuse or even encourage dehumanizing language when applied in the context of criminal gangs, rather than illegal immigrants generally.

    • Other Bill

      I wonder if there are any transcripts memorializing Bobby Kennedy’s descriptions of members of the Mafia when discussing how to go after them with J. Edgar Hoover. I doubt he used terms such as “Sicilian-American gentlemen.”

      • No doubt.

        But there’s a difference between what’s said behind closed doors and what’s said in public. I like Dave’s argument, but I’m still fine with the metaphor “animals” when you see exactly how these MS-13 thugs behave.

        • Other Bill

          I suspect part of Trump’s appeal to the electorate is “what you see is what you get,” rather than “what you see has been focus group tested to within an inch of its life and has nothing at all to do with what a right thinking person would be likely to think.”

          • And the comment in question was what the common American keyed on, and understood what Trump meant because we were tired of hearing politicians being PC and not solving the problems.

            I have a theory that this was Trump trying to leave the primaries. Say enough outrageous shit that he cannot be elected. The smart money thought so, anyway.

            What happened is people flocked to him, relieved to hear the truth everyone knows spoken out loud.

        • Chris

          Calling criminals animals is what people do when they want an excuse to deny them the rights we afford to humans.

          • Cynical John

            Considering some of the individuals I have defended over my lengthy career, calling a few of them animals is an insult to animals.

            • Ouch. Having dealt with MS-13 and their ilk, maybe they aren’t animals but I don’t know that they have any shred of humanity left.

              jvb

            • Chris

              Yet if a prosecutor called one of them an animal in a courtroom, I’m sure you would have objected, no?

              President Trump wasn’t speaking in a courtroom, but the chief executive using dehumanizing rhetoric to talk about criminals, even the worst of the worst, isn’t good for our society, especially when said chief executive vocally supports draconian treatment of criminals.

              • This is exactly like the shithole comment, the more I think on it.

                Objectively: Haiti is a shithole, and if you want to fight me on that, I’ll pay the plane ticket for you to go there to get your next filling done, so not only can you partake in the finest oral surgery that nation has to offer, but you can finish up your trip eating local fare, seeing local sights, and getting held up at knifepoint for all your sweet American lucre. If you make it back to America with both your kidneys, and you still feel the same way, we can joke and laugh about how wrong and stupid I was.

                Objectively: MS-13 members, who operate under the slogan of (and I can’t make this up…) “rape, control, kill” are animals. Violent criminals who only really operate a drug trafficking ring in America, because they’re too busy everywhere else running kidnapping and prostitution rackets. Criminals who literally, singlehandedly, turned El Salvador into the murder capital of the world. Criminals who went to war with Barrio 18 in a conflict that averaged 16 murders a day for over a month. Criminals who made necessary their own jail in El Salvador, because they were killing too many inmates in mixed population prisons.

                Why on Earth do you pick such shitty hills to die on?

                • I agree with the sentiment of what you’re saying, but that’s not at all what the word “objectively” means. There’s a difference between raw, observable facts and the opinions or conclusions that people interpret from those facts, which they like to also call “facts”. It’s important to remind ourselves of that difference lest we become unable to see it.

          • Steve-O-in-NJ

            Calling criminals “animals” is what we do when we think what they have done is so bad they have forfeited the right to be called human. Other words we could use might include “savages,” “barbarians,” “brutes” and yes, “beasts” and “monsters,” although the latter is usually reserved for the worst of the worst. What would you use to describe Mafiosi who shot businessmen who wouldn’t pay protection money in the head, then hacked off their genitals and threw them next to their bodies, terrorists who sawed off heads, or Colombian drug dealers who gave locals who wouldn’t play their game the “Colombian necktie” treatment, where they cut your throat and pull your tongue through the wound?

          • Didn’t read this.

            As long as you’re in a mood to walk back from hot headed red lines about leaving the blog, then you can also walk back from your comment about me being mealy-mouthed.

            Until then, don’t expect interaction from me.

  8. Cynical John

    Not so much difference if every derogatory remark made behind closed doors is leaked to the media almost immediately.

    • Meaning that if you know that any comment will be leaked, then you are responsible for what gets out. This is “expectation of privacy”—which may no longer exist.

      • Chris

        Meaning that if you know that any comment will be leaked, then you are responsible for what gets out.

        Note that this was my exact argument in the Sadler affair, not that leaking her comment was ethical.

        • Yeah…. The leaks are bad, but at this point it’s just cripplingly stupid to assume that things you used to say in confidence are actually said in confidence, especially when there’s someone politically crosswise from you in the room.

      • This death of trust and confidence is a very bad thing for our culture.

  9. There’s a lot of people pointing out that the Democrats have really been pretzeling themselves recently. The NRA are terrorists, and Republicans are racists, but MS-13 members are merely immigrants and HAMAS are peaceful protesters.

    This is how you lose elections.

  10. Martha R Bell

    Guess we can start using the word “imprecise” to mean “wrong/just plain wrong and/or other such terms which seem to carry a more clear message. I can just read it now…”___(fill in your own name) imprecisely stated that the number of jobs due to his resolution was raised by 100%…”

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