Morning Ethics Warm-Up, 5/18/18: George Sanders Memorial Edition

Good morning….

1. Why George, you ask? “Dear World,” famed actor George Sanders wrote in his suicide note in 1972, ”I am leaving because I am bored.”

I can relate. I am so bored with the unchanging patters of the news media’s irresponsible obsession with “getting” Donald Trump, the unethical and obsessed Ahab-like mania of his foes, and the depressing–I’m really ashamed of all of you—conduct of my many left-wing friends who still, after all this time, erupt in unseemly barking and seal-flipper applause over any Trump-hating pundit’s warped analysis. I’m bored, and I don’t understand why everyone else isn’t bored. How can Saturday Night Live fans still pretend to think Alec Baldwin’s amateurish, fury-sweating, repetitive Trump mockery is interesting? We’re at the point now where everything is being repeated from months ago: the resistance is running through the alphabet AGAIN.  A few days ago an ex-Obama official went all the way back to the Resistance’s Plan C, the arcane Constitutional dead letter known as the Emoluments Clause, and like the lapdogs they are, the Democrats’ impeachment lynch mob and anti-Trump news media predictably followed suit. This was widely interpreted by cooler heads as a sign of Trump Derangement Desperation, and maybe so, but this is like “Groundhog Day.” I never dreamed that I would still have to write about this 18 months after the initial post-election freak-out—“He’s a Nazi!” “He’s insane!” He’s a racist!” “He stole the election!” “He’s a Russian puppet!” —which was embarrassing enough. And I do have to write about it, because it is, in the end, an ongoing story of Americans acting horribly toward their own institutions, and professionals, who are supposed to be trained to be better, leading the way while in many cases acting worse.

It just kills the blog, as well as the fun of writing it, which has always been the eclectic and broad influence of ethics in our lives. The issue has just gutted traffic here: the anti-Trump virus-infected  can’t bear to read any objective commentary that doesn’t drip with hatred of the President, so they retreat to the warm second-hand lies of social media, rapid Trump supporters don’t want to frequent a periodic defender who won’t ignore his flaws, and serious ethics followers who view the whole episode as a bad dream that they would rather not think about while pondering the nuances of utilitarianism find the essays on the topic of the Trump Wars repetitive—which, inevitably, they are.

2. “Animals.” Look at yesterday’s ridiculous effort by journalists and pundits to intentionally misinterpret the President’s off-the-cuff comments in response to a comment about the violent MS-13 gangs at a White House roundtable discussion on the subject of immigration and so-called “sanctuary cities.” Fresno County Sheriff Margaret Mims raised the problem of  Mara Salvatrucha gangs, better known as MS-13. “There could be an MS-13 member I know about — if they don’t have a certain threshold, I cannot tell [Immigration and Customs Enforcement] about it,” Mims said, thus triggering a typical Trump word cloud in which he described the gang members as “animals.” Never mind: multiple news sources deliberately omitted the context of Trump’s remarks to advance the “Trump is a racist and hates all immigrants” narrative. Incredibly, this was so blatant that CNN, of all people, decided to weigh in on the President’s side—all the better to allow them to claim objectivity when they smear him later.

Late afternoon, CNNMoney wrote,

But several major media outlets stripped the context from Trump’s comments, publishing stories and posting tweets that strongly suggested he had said undocumented immigrants at large “aren’t people,” but “animals.” In some cases, outlets that placed the comments in context in stories removed the context in tweets.

“Trump referred to those crossing US border illegally as ‘animals’ and slammed California sanctuary state laws as ‘deadly,'” a now-deleted tweet from the Associated Press read.

The New York Times tweeted, “Trump lashed out at undocumented immigrants during a White House meeting, calling those trying to breach the country’s borders ‘animals.'”

In its story, headlined “Trump Calls Some Unauthorized Immigrants ‘Animals’ in Rant,” The Times said that Trump had “lashed out at undocumented immigrants” and warned “in front of news cameras that dangerous people are clamoring to breach the country’s borders and branding such people ‘animals.'” It wasn’t until the third and fourth paragraph of the story that The Times added context to Trump’s remarks.

A headline on the homepage of The Washington Post on Thursday morning read, “Trump refers to some undocumented immigrants as ‘animals.'” The story’s lede said Trump had “referred to some undocumented immigrants as ‘animals.'” It wasn’t until the newspaper’s sixth paragraph that Trump’s comments were put in the full context.

And ABC News, in part, tweeted, “Pres. Trump refers to some who cross the border illegally as ‘animals,’ not people.”

Good for CNN (for a change), but this story is indistinguishable from the Boy Scout speech controversy, and the Mexican-American  judge controversy, and the “shithole” controversy, and many more, going back to Trump’s initial speech announcing his candidacy, when he said that a lot of the illegal immigrants were criminals, and  was interpreted as saying that all Mexicans were rapists. How many times do we have to go through this dance? And what is the matter with the people who can’t get enough of it?

I will note here that one of the most deranged of the NeverTrump conservatives, the Washington Post’s Jennifer Rubin, tweeted this on that topic:

Huh? This is clinical. “If” he was referring to gang members only—this is Big Lie technique, since he was, and a dishonest question is being raised by “If”—then he was not “conflating” criminals with all illegal immigrants. As for her indignation at calling people who do inhuman things “animals,” someone tracked down this:

3.  “Can we impeach him yet? Can we impeach him yet? How about now?” Yesterday, the news media was again gorging on fake news, future news, psychic news, over-hyped news and related categories that were designed to appeal to the Trump Impeachment Wish Brigade. Can Mueller indict Trump? Should he? Will he? This is a ridiculous topic to discuss since, as a misleading Times front page story finally admitted dozens of paragraphs in, there is still  no evidence anyone can point to that suggests Trump has done anything he can be indicted for. I am so, so, sick of this, and it seems to be getting worse rather than better. It is like a curse: I detested this guy, and began condemning his efforts to mess with the presidency years and years ago. I did everything I could, short of pretending that Hillary Clinton was any less untrustworthy than she was, to refrain from supporting him—and now I have to defend the man for years because he is the target of an unprecedented attack on core democratic values and institutions? What? What mad deity’s work is this????

This video more or less summarizes my current state of mind:


Here, I’ll drop this in. I should write a whole post about it, but right now it’s like contemplating eating a plate of Spam…I just can’t do it. The New York Times published an article this week essentially confirming that the United States’ intelligence agencies spied on Donald Trump’s presidential campaign in 2016. In a normal world, where people’s ethics weren’t evaporating, this would focus media attention not on the Trump administration, but the Obama administration. A mysteriously rogue IRS sabotaged conservative groups’ during the 2012 campaign, now we learn that—as Trump was widely mocked for saying—the FBI was messing with the Trump campaign during the 2016 campaign. What a coincidence! Call me crazy, but I think a United States government that tries to manipulate a U.S. Presidential election is a lot more troubling than Russia helping voters learn what slimeballs were running the DNC and putting some absurd stories into Facebook. Mollie Hemingway’s analysis in the Federalist is excellent, if disturbing.

4. The Impeachment And Coup Plans, Updated.   Since it’s clear that the “resistance” will never stop until it “gets” Trump, tears the country apart,suffers a mass breakdown or emulates George Sanders with slightly different suicide notes (“Dear World, I am leaving because I can’t accept elections when my candidate doesn’t win and we can’t get rid of the asshole who did…”) Let me update the list of the Trump removal plans that have surfaced since November, 2016:

Plan A: Reverse the election by hijacking the Electoral College.[Status: FAILED and DEAD, until it rises again in 2020]

Plan B: Pre-emptive impeachment.  [Status: FAILED and DEAD]

Plan C : The Emoluments Clause. [Status: Resurrected! ]

Plan D: “Collusion with Russia” [Status: Still twitching]

Plan E : ”Trump is mentally ill so this should trigger the 25th Amendment.” [Status:Ridiculous, but it will be back.]

Plan F: The Maxine Waters Plan, which  is to just impeach the President as soon as Democrats control both Houses, because they can. [Status: Hope springs eternal!]

Plan G : “The President obstructed justice by firing incompetent subordinates, and that’s impeachable.” [Status: LAME, but ONGOING]

Plan H: “Tweeting stupid stuff is impeachable” [Status: ONGOING]

Plan I:  “Let’s relentlessly harass him and insult him and obstruct his efforts to do his job so he snaps and does something really impeachable.” [Status: ONGOING]

Plan J : Force Trump’s resignation based on alleged sexual misconduct that predated his candidacy. .[Status: FAILED and DEAD]

Plan K: Election law violations in pay-offs of old sex-partners [Status: ONGOING]

Plan L: The perjury trap: get Trump to testify under oath, then prove something he said was a lie. [Status: To be determined.]

Plan M: Guilt by association. Prove close associates or family members violated laws. [Status: Ongoing.]

And here’s George:


28 thoughts on “Morning Ethics Warm-Up, 5/18/18: George Sanders Memorial Edition

  1. #4 I’m wondering when the anti-Trump resistance skips completely over all the other possible plans to remove President Trump from office and moves straight to the final solution – Plan Z.

    Plan Z: Identify the United States system of government as the root cause preventing the removal of the evil Donald Trump from office of the President of the United States; any system of government that allows such an evil man to remain President of the United States must be evil itself and we all know that evil must be destroyed.

    Don’t laugh, I’m dead serious. If you seriously don’t think this has crossed the hive minds of the resistance, then you’re choosing to be blind of the underlying anti-Constitution movements.

    • Well yes, obviously.

      Once I’m installed as the new empress, do stop by for drinks and snacks. We’ll have all the Cubs games on the big screen. Bring a date if you’d like.

      • valkygrrl wrote, “Once I’m installed as the new empress, do stop by for drinks and snacks. We’ll have all the Cubs games on the big screen. Bring a date if you’d like.”

        I’m there! I request Brats & Beer!

        Can I get a prominent position in your new Department of Propaganda and Indoctrination Enforcement?

        I don’t do baseball, just scroll through live recorded rock-n-roll concerts and I’ll be set.

        My wife doesn’t let me date anymore.

        😉 😉 😉 😉

        • I’m there! I request Brats & Beer!

          Like you even had to ask. What do you think I am, a heathen?

          I don’t do baseball

          What are you, a heathen?

          Can I get a prominent position in your new Department of Propaganda and Indoctrination Enforcement?

          Give a resume to my senechal, staffing up will be irregular until I can hold elections and get myself a prime minister.

    • …the final solution – Plan Z

      I thought you were hoping they create the Zombie Apocalypse. Of course, some progressives already seem that way today, so maybe not as far fetched as one would have thought?

  2. Re: No. 3:

    John Cleese is wonderfully, delightfully, manically, and amazingly disturbed, a consummate lunatic of the highest order. Any post referencing “Fawlty Towers” (or anything with John Cleese, for that matter) can only be great.


    • Copy that jvb, with a H/T to the late great Benny Hill.

      Say what you want about the Brits (I’ve had a few choice words time-n-again) those two do/did great, if a tad cheesy, comedy.

      Learning All The Time…

  3. I miss George. “All About Eve” , “Rebecca” and Mr. Freeze. Apparently, he had a marvelous singing voice, too.

    I just finished a book on Gerald Ford called “Time and Chance” which detailed the Watergate controversy, the resignation of Spiro Agnew and the hearings to confirm Ford as Vice-President. It revealed that ambitious politicians like Bella Abzug wanted to delay Ford’s hearings to see if Nixon would resign so that the Democrats could seize the White House by virtue of having no Vice-President to succeed him and the Presidency going to the Speaker of the House, at the time Democrat Carl Albert. Albert and several other high-ranking Democrats refused to play this game, allowed Ford to be confirmed and the rest is history. I wish the Democratic Party of today had such integrity.

    • I once had the good fortune to assume his role in ‘The Heiress’ (he played the role in a movie version, that had a different name. I forget what it was.) Obviously, he played the role much better than I, but it was an honor to follow in his footsteps. At least I managed to hold my champagne glass properly.

  4. Re: No. 3:

    I tried to post a comment in response to error corrections made by the New York Times to various articles (Point No. 2) yesterday’s Morning Updates, but I could not get the formatting right and the resulting comment/post looked too weird to post. Ann Althouse discussed it, too:

    Are we really witnessing a coup attempt from the mainstream media, the intelligence community, the Democrats, and the Resistance? It sure seems that way.


  5. #1 It may be tiresome, but you don’t create current events, you just follow them. It’s reflection of the futility of these delegitimization efforts, and it will take some time for critical mass of people to catch on and cast these efforts aside. As Stein’s theorem states” If something can’t go on forever, it won’t”.
    #2 On Ms. Rubin. Well she was just using “animal” in the article about the president to conjure up an image of his predicament, clearly not alluding that he may or may not be animal. It’s just a literary technique, to spice up the writing. But Mr. Trump clearly had no such motivation, due to his hateful heart, he meant to dehumanize the troubled youths that fell prey to the corrupt influence of the MS gang. It’s almost as bad as Mrs. Clinton’s “super predator” phrase from back in the day.
    To summarize, let him(or her) who has criticized President Trump for the same things that he himself committed be forgiven, if he keeps on criticizing twice as hard. Unless it’s #metoo stuff, then you’re on your own buddy.
    #3 I take offence at the idea that Spam is not delicious! I ate it when I was in summer camp. Though I may have been in the middle of Maine woods with nothing else to eat, but it tasted good with pasta cooked on an open fire. There was also mountain spice (aka ash) mixed in as well for good measure!

  6. #1 I’m not bored but I am angry, perplexed, and damned disgusted at the anti-Trump resistance.

    It’s pretty obvious now that the anti-Trump resistance and the media are and have been clinically obsessed with all things Trump, but I think there is something else going on with these anti-Trump people psychologically they are moving beyond clinical obsession to something else.

    Something else that’s becoming quite obvious is that the anti-Trump resistence has made a “new” phase of political ideology in the United States politically popular, it’s called Political Antiology and it’s rapidly becoming the dominate ideological view point through the constant use of antiology propaganda.

  7. I came across this two days ago from a conservative site I read. They quoted fox news but the google search allows you to pick your poison. Still, haven’t seen it in my news feed which I think is interesting, but may not be anything. May just be Giuliani spouting his mouth. He was also in a car accident yesterday, so there may be more that we don’t know yet.…50.18314.0.18474.…1.1.64.psy-ab..9.3.989…0j0i131k1j0i20i264k1j0i10k1.0.217Ls10TQTw

  8. 1. This unrelenting primal scream is turning people off, who would not have paid attention before. Democrats, usually the self proclaimed ‘smartest people in the room’ have disproven that assertion at a very practica;, fundamental level. If Americans elect a ‘blue wave’ this nation deserves to die the death progressives wish on it every day.

    As for killing the blog traffic: Jack, either you do this for self gratification (like a hobby), as a self imposed duty, or because you get paid to do so. Since I don’t think you are paid (and even if you were, there is no way on God’s green earth it would be enough for what you go through) it must be at least one of the first two. You have to ask yourself: is the sacrifice worth the hassle? As much as most of us here would hate it, if you needed a sanity break, your health comes first. You provide a needed service, and an appreciated one. We would like to take the long view, and a Jack posting a 100 years old is worth a break now and again.

    All of that to say: who cares about the blog traffic?

    2. On the topic of Trump, progressives and the Trump Demented (if there is really any difference) are walking, eating, and defecating ethical and moral disasters. This should be observed and noted for future reference, when dealing with that person. You might have thought you were dealing with a rational, semi-logical human being, and they have done you the favor of proving otherwise. You can still interact with them, of course, just realize what they are capable of in the future.

    3. See answer # 2. Again, Jack, make the effort to keep yourself healthy. Take a walk, forgo dessert, reread a classic novel, watch an old movie you are fond of: you cannot be responsible for the trump deranged, but you CAN moderate your reaction to the insanity. Keep cool and laugh whenever possible.

    The New York Times published an article this week essentially confirming that the United States’ intelligence agencies spied on Donald Trump’s presidential campaign in 2016.

    I WANT AN APOLOGY FROM EVERY PROGRESSIVE HERE who mocked Trump for saying he was wiretapped (you know who you are!) Especially if they then began spinning on the definitions and REAL meanings of Trump’s words, in an effort to call up down, water dry, and wrong as right. Your belittling attacks against objective observers here at EA prove you to be political hacks, without a shred of decency.

    You should be ashamed, but since that muscle seems to no longer function, a simple “I was wrong’ should suffice. Directed at Jack, who took the brunt of your irrational ire.

    4. File this under ‘This will get Trump re elected.’

    • 1) It’s a tough call. Jack can’t let the greatest Ethics Trainwreck our nation has faced in generations go un-commented on. But, he does also face the fact that it’s an indictment on an entire world-view that refuses accountability.

    • Tired: You’re a kook for thinking our government wiretapped the Trump campaign. What kind of tin-foil hat stuff is that???

      Wired: Of course it’s a great think the government wiretapped the Trump campaign. Why wouldn’t they????

      Slick, you will get no walk back or apology. You’ll get spin and pretending like this has been admitted all along and a perfectly acceptable function of our government.

      You’ll get a heavy dose of “These aren’t ordinary times” and “He deserves it” rationalizations coupled solidly with Orwellian, “We’ve never been at war with Eastasia, we’ve always been at war with Eurasia”.

      But nice try.

    • I WANT AN APOLOGY FROM EVERY PROGRESSIVE HERE who mocked Trump for saying he was wiretapped (you know who you are!)

      The stories Jack is referring to are about informants who spoke to members of the Trump campaign, not wiretapping.

      But you knew that already.

  9. I think that you need to find your humor where you can get it. It’s necessary to treat political things as important, but it’s also important to have fun doing it.

    Enjoy, I did.

    • For anyone who isn’t aware, Remy Munasifi and Andrew Heaton over at Reason are also great for a laugh at the current political situation.

  10. Maybe take a break from Trump vs the Media for a bit?. We all need margin in our lives. I, for one, would love to know your take on the student who was cautioned about appropriate dress for her thesis presentation and retaliated by doing it in her underwear.

  11. #2 Ha! Being a reclusive Meyers-Briggs INTP, it’s helpful to learn new social skills everyday like using a simile for animal comparison is acceptable whereas using a metaphor is not!

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