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: