Lunchtime Ethics Warm-Up, 5/30/2019: Bye! Go For It! And Who Cares?

A yucky ethics meal.

(Sorry)

1. Why is this worthy of being published? Here’s a long Washington Post writer whine that he ““doesn’t recognize”the U.S. any more, and wants to run off and hide someplace better. Why is this any more useful and enlightening  than the rant of some wacko who has decided that human beings have been replaced by pod people, or that we’re really all lying dormant in a Matrix-like sleep? The article is just free-flowing Left-wing bitching and Trump hate that could have been written by any one of thousands of resistance fanatics in the last three years.

Why should anyone care or be enlightened that Ted Gap, whoever he is, regards the U.S. as a viper pit of  “xenophobia” (aka “enforcing the law and protecting the borders”), “its saber-rattling” (aka “foreign affairs”), “its theocratic leanings” (known as “religion”), “its denial of facts and science” (code for “not being willing to spend trillions and send the standard of  living and the economy backwards based on unconfirmed theories and projections”), “its tribalism” (I suspect Ted means the “tribes” he doesn’t personally favor), and “its petty and boorish president” (so if Ted’s candidate loses an election, it means that it’s not the U.S. any more. Got it. Typical “resistance” member.)

You’re a weenie, Ted.! The U.S. wasn’t designed for weenies. Democracy isn’t for weenies. Capitalism isn’t for weenies. Life isn’t for weenies.  The U.S. you think you recall never existed, and if the U.S. has the kind of luck it has had for a couple of centuries, it will be able to navigate around the plots and machinations of people like you, and continue to thrive because it breeds citizens whose response to adversity and developments they don’t like is to stay and fight within the system, not run away.

2. It’s always soothing when someone famous and smart essentially duplicates in print what you have concluded already. Alan Dershowitz registered this reaction to the Mueller statement yesterday:

“Until today, I have defended Mueller against the accusations that he is a partisan. I did not believe that he personally favored either the Democrats or the Republicans, or had a point of view on whether President Trump should be impeached. But I have now changed my mind. By putting his thumb, indeed his elbow, on the scale of justice in favor of impeachment based on obstruction of justice, Mueller has revealed his partisan bias. He also has distorted the critical role of a prosecutor in our justice system. Virtually everybody agrees that, in the normal case, a prosecutor should never go beyond publicly disclosing that there is insufficient evidence to indict. No responsible prosecutor should ever suggest that the subject of his investigation might indeed be guilty even if there was insufficient evidence or other reasons not to indict. Supporters of Mueller will argue that this is not an ordinary case, that he is not an ordinary prosecutor, and that President Trump is not an ordinary subject of an investigation. They are wrong. The rules should not be any different. Remember that federal investigations by prosecutors, including special counsels, are by their very nature one sided…. Th[e] determination of guilt or innocence requires a full adversarial trial with a zealous defense attorney, vigorous cross examination, exclusionary rules of evidence, and other due process safeguards. Such safeguards were not present in this investigation, and so the suggestion by Mueller that Trump might well be guilty deserves no credence…. No prosecutor should ever say or do anything for the purpose of helping one party or the other…. Shame on Mueller for abusing his position of trust and for allowing himself to be used for such partisan advantage.”

Exactly.

In a perverse way, however, Mueller’s dropping the mask helps Trump. Now there is no avenue to claim that his investigation was fair and unbiased. It was, as the President imprudently but correctly claimed, a witch hunt, meaning a rigged investigation designed to prove a target guilty, not to find the truth. If the mouth-foaming resistance Democrats seize on this to justify an impeachment push that will quickly strike most non-deranged Americans as a thinly-veiled coup— the President’s high crime was obstructing an investigation of a non-crime in which the White House cooperated and which was, in fact, unobstructed?—it will likely ensure both the President’s re-election and Republicans taking back the House.

Go for it.

3. Now THIS is impeachable! In a really silly “outrage,” White House and U.S. Navy officials confirmed yesterday that they had tried to keep the name of the USS John. S. McCain hidden during President Trump’s visit to Japan so that it would not appear in any pictures. AMay 15 email between U.S. Navy and Air Force officials that included the line, “USS John McCain needs to be out of sight,” The Wall Street Journal reported.

Staffs have acted to try to keep annoying factors, often minor ones, out of their boss’s consciousness since the first employment relationship. There are thousands—millions of incidents like this. Sometimes the concern of the staff is legitimate, sometimes it is excessive. Staffs tell orchestra not to play songs they know the boss hates. I had a boss who had no respect for anyone who wore a suit that wasn’t dark blue. I can see how someone might assume that having John McCain’s name looming over him during an appearance might set off President Trump. After all, Senator McCain set new records in pettiness and choosing bitter personal vengeance over duty himself as he devoted his final years to pay-back against the President who had insulted his war record. In this instance, nobody was harmed, and no ethical principle was breached. If anyone genuinely cares about it besides the McCain family, which would find a way to be offended no matter where the ship turned up (“It is a smear on my father’s name for a ship honoring him to be forced to share a photo with the President who insulted him!“), they need a vacation.

24 thoughts on “Lunchtime Ethics Warm-Up, 5/30/2019: Bye! Go For It! And Who Cares?

  1. 3. And can you just imagine the field day social media would have with the ship had the name been visible in any photos with the President? There’s no way that ship was ever not going to be used to smear the President, regardless of whether the name was visible or not.

    • I can’t wait for the USS warship to be named the USS Donald Trump. Watch the heads explode.

      By the way, since when did Meghan McCain get to dictate moral outrage on all things military? Her father was a unrepentant war hawk. He and Sen. Graham had races to see which one could think of a new country to bomb into oblivion for even the murkiest of reasons. Trump crossed the line by criticizing McCain’s capture and torture (“I like winners” or something dumb like that). But, come on. McCain’s political record is worthy of a whole lot of scrutiny. Or does his prisoner of war status exonerate him from review?

      jvb

  2. 1. This is not whining, though it is intended to be read as one. It is intended to make reasonable person feel guilty about any support they may harbor for Constitutional policies, Trump, and against leftism. This is just a small piece of a very large propaganda war to isolate the deplorables.

    2. Trump is a lot of things I detest. As far as I can determine, none of them are impeachable. Mueller and his cronies are treading very close to treason. I wish them all a very Dantean worst.

    3. I’ll be honest and say I don’t think McCain’s name belongs on any Navy ship. Disguising it from view, however, is petty and vindictive. See line one of point two regarding the person who made this happen.

  3. A report on WMAL today on the McCain issue contradicted the report about a tarp covering the vessels name. The Navy stated that the tarp was used during routine maintenance and had been removed 3 days prior to the President’s arrival.

    One of these reports is fake news.

  4. 1. (shrug) I read a similar rant from a U.S. couple who moved to New Zealand in the wake of 9/11 and the Patriot Act. They said NZ read like “a to-do list for the United States” because “schools are adequately funded, clean air and water are aggressively managed, and church and state are far apart.” My only reaction was “No one says you have to stay. Leave your U.S. passport at the airport on your way out.” I tolerated eight years of a philandering liar and eight years of an incompetent elected because of his color in the White House during which this guy probably strutted and said “leave the president alone, he’s got a country to run,” and “anyone who opposes the duly elected president is a traitor.” He can go to the UK, to Timbuktu, or straight to the devil for all I care, and so can all the other hypocrites who put their noses firmly up Obama’s anus for his two terms and now complain Trump reeks.

    2. Mueller had my respect until he took this parting shot. Totally unnecessary and deliberate creation of a problem this nation does not need to do what? Satisfy his ego?

    3. The USS John McCain has been under repair since an accident in 2017. Deploying it or moving it elsewhere in the vast Yokosuka harbor where it would have been well out of sight wasn’t an option. I don’t think Trump gives a damn one way or another about seeing the ship or the name, but I’m sure some thinking person on his staff decided this was the way to head off the name appearing in pictures that would get reposted, retweeted, and made into stupid memes, all attacking POTUS. Sometimes someone grabs you by the nose, but there’s no need to put your nose in his hands. Meghan McCain’s response about Trump being jealous of her father’s great life was especially sneer-worthy. Her dad was the son and grandson of genuine heroes, one by effort, one partly by happenstance. However, partly due to his own actions (underperforming at the academy and in training, infidelity), partly due to circumstances beyond his control (getting captured and abused, the economy tanking when he ran), he never quite got out from under their shadows. It made him miserable, and every time someone crossed him, that miserable side showed through. He should have been grateful that he was allowed to share the name of the ship honoring his dad and granddad.

    • My only reaction was “No one says you have to stay. Leave your U.S. passport at the airport on your way out.”

      Amen.

      Adios. DLTDHYITAOTWO. Be sure to turn off the lights. Hasta la vista. Bon voyage.

      What is it about people that thinks anyone will give one good crap whether they stay or leave in the USA for whatever reason, but especially a political one? Are they that shallow and full of hubris?

      • “Are they that shallow and full of hubris”

        In a word, yes. I just blocked an idiot on facebook who said things in an argument like “too bad, then they don’t get the privilege of associating with a good person like me.” What a pompous, arrogant asshole.

  5. 3. This one is just stupid (the outrage not your comments) Anyone who has ever worked for a boss has tried to avoid things like this. As a minister, I do things like this (well not on this scale). I’ve seen BuzzFeed articles about celebrities staffers requesting items like this. I’m willing to bet hundreds (perhaps 1000s) of things like this were done for the Obamas. It was stupid for the staffers to ask it done, it was stupid for the media to make a big deal out of it.

    • I had a boss who had an irrational attachment to a certain clipart image, and the color gold, and would literally send me back presentations with instructions to “use the normal format”, although nothing about either was normal, the colors weren’t company colors, and the clipart was probably recognizable for what it was. But you know how I made every one of my presentations at that office? With clipart and gold.

  6. Here’s a gotcha:

    https://news.yahoo.com/trump-i-had-nothing-to-do-with-russia-helping-me-to-get-elected-130601068.html

    President Trump has long downplayed Russian interference in the 2016 election, often claiming it was an “excuse” invented by Democrats to explain how they lost an election they were favored to win.

    But on Thursday, Trump briefly admitted Moscow’s involvement aided in his victory.

    “Russia, Russia, Russia! That’s all you heard at the beginning of this Witch Hunt Hoax,” the president tweeted. “And now Russia has disappeared because I had nothing to do with Russia helping me to get elected.”

    • Oh, God, these people. When they make a mess on Twitter, it’s a “misstatement” or an “oopsie,” but when Trump does it, it’s a gotcha, proof of guilt.

      Just one more reason Trump should let someone else tweet his stuff. Or even better, forget how to work that stupid service.

  7. 1. Run and hide

    Here’s a long Washington Post writer whine that he ““doesn’t recognize”the U.S. any more, and wants to run off and hide someplace better.

    What, was he not on the planet for the previous 20 years or so? How is it possible that things were better then than now as far as Leftists are concerned? I’m so confused…

    You’re a weenie, Ted.! The U.S. wasn’t designed for weenies.

    Preach.

    2. Dershowitz

    In a perverse way, however, Mueller’s dropping the mask helps Trump. Now there is no avenue to claim that his investigation was fair and unbiased. It was, as the President imprudently but correctly claimed, a witch hunt, meaning a rigged investigation designed to prove a target guilty, not to find the truth.

    So now it’s time to reveal the players. We’ve seen the puppets (Mueller et. al.) Now, it’s time to see who has been moving the strings. Past time.

    I resisted calling this “investigation” a hoax for the entire time it was active. Now, after Mueller puked up his partisan guts for the world to see in front of the cameras, I guess we have to call it what it was.

    A hoax.

    3. Impeachable

    So I guess if he goes to the bathroom, takes a shit and forgets to flush, that’s impeachable as well.

    Hell, in my view it’s much more impeachable than his staff acting in the interests of their boss without his explicit direction.

  8. Ted Gup, from his Wiki page.

    Gup has been a prolific writer regarding doomsday scenarios and facilities to provide for continuity of government and the preservation of important assets of civilization, including the Mount Weather facility, as well as intelligence issues.

    From the article you linked to:

    A year ago, I visited the German concentration camp Dachau. Our English-speaking guide, a retired army colonel, began by reminding us that Adolf Hitler came to power with a single compelling message: to “make Germany great again.” He repeated that comment and paused long enough to allow it to sink in before commencing a tour that chronicled the lunacy of a nation devouring its own.

    But unlike Germany after World War I, the United States has suffered no such humiliation. It was already great (I prefer “good”) — flawed, yes, but great nonetheless. I have no longing to join the ranks of the dispossessed, and I retain the hope that this country will find itself again.

    But history does not come with warranties. And, in the end, the pursuit of happiness, be it political or geographical, must take each of us where it will. Is that not the definition of liberty? Yes, we are a nation built upon arrivals, but departures, too, are an essential part of the American story and, sadly, could be part of mine as well.

    An article he wrote published in the Times.

    Why should anyone care or be enlightened that Ted Gap, whoever he is, regards the U.S. as a viper pit of “xenophobia” (aka “enforcing the law and protecting the borders”), “its saber-rattling” (aka “foreign affairs”), “its theocratic leanings” (known as “religion”), “its denial of facts and science” (code for “not being willing to spend trillions and send the standard of living and the economy backwards based on unconfirmed theories and projections”), “its tribalism” (I suspect Ted means the “tribes” he doesn’t personally favor), and “its petty and boorish president” (so if Ted’s candidate loses an election, it means that it’s not the U.S. any more. Got it. Typical “resistance” member.)

    To understand Gup, one must understand a certain generally Jewish perspective, and one that developed strongly in the Postwar in America.

    Though it is devilishly difficult to arrive at an understanding of the power-struggle that seems to be going on behind-the-scenes in American politics, it is not hard to grasp Jewish fear of Gentile culture. That analysis was most evident in The Authoritarian Personality (Theodor W. Adorno):

    The Authoritarian Personality “invented a set of criteria by which to define personality traits, ranked these traits and their intensity in any given person on what it called the ‘F scale’ (F for fascist).” The personality type Adorno et al. identified can be defined by nine traits that were believed to cluster together as the result of childhood experiences. These traits include conventionalism, authoritarian submission, authoritarian aggression, anti-intellectualism, anti-intraception, superstition and stereotypy, power and “toughness”, destructiveness and cynicism, projectivity, and exaggerated concerns over sex.

    Though strongly criticized for bias and methodology, the book was highly influential in American social sciences, particularly in the first decade after its publication: “No volume published since the war in the field of social psychology has had a greater impact on the direction of the actual empirical work being carried on in the universities today.”

  9. Ted Gup, from his Wiki page.

    Gup has been a prolific writer regarding doomsday scenarios and facilities to provide for continuity of government and the preservation of important assets of civilization, including the Mount Weather facility, as well as intelligence issues.

    From the article you linked to:

    A year ago, I visited the German concentration camp Dachau. Our English-speaking guide, a retired army colonel, began by reminding us that Adolf Hitler came to power with a single compelling message: to “make Germany great again.” He repeated that comment and paused long enough to allow it to sink in before commencing a tour that chronicled the lunacy of a nation devouring its own.

    But unlike Germany after World War I, the United States has suffered no such humiliation. It was already great (I prefer “good”) — flawed, yes, but great nonetheless. I have no longing to join the ranks of the dispossessed, and I retain the hope that this country will find itself again.

    But history does not come with warranties. And, in the end, the pursuit of happiness, be it political or geographical, must take each of us where it will. Is that not the definition of liberty? Yes, we are a nation built upon arrivals, but departures, too, are an essential part of the American story and, sadly, could be part of mine as well.

    An article he wrote published in the Times.

    Jack wrote: “Why should anyone care or be enlightened that Ted Gap, whoever he is, regards the U.S. as a viper pit of “xenophobia” (aka “enforcing the law and protecting the borders”), “its saber-rattling” (aka “foreign affairs”), “its theocratic leanings” (known as “religion”), “its denial of facts and science” (code for “not being willing to spend trillions and send the standard of living and the economy backwards based on unconfirmed theories and projections”), “its tribalism” (I suspect Ted means the “tribes” he doesn’t personally favor), and “its petty and boorish president” (so if Ted’s candidate loses an election, it means that it’s not the U.S. any more. Got it. Typical “resistance” member.)”

    To understand Gup, one must understand a certain generally Jewish perspective, and one that developed strongly in the Postwar in America.

    Though it is devilishly difficult to arrive at an understanding of the power-struggle that seems to be going on behind-the-scenes in American politics, it is not hard to grasp Jewish fear of Gentile culture. Gup expresses that fear and revulsion.

    That analysis was most evident in The Authoritarian Personality (Theodor W. Adorno):

    The Authoritarian Personality “invented a set of criteria by which to define personality traits, ranked these traits and their intensity in any given person on what it called the ‘F scale’ (F for fascist).” The personality type Adorno et al. identified can be defined by nine traits that were believed to cluster together as the result of childhood experiences. These traits include conventionalism, authoritarian submission, authoritarian aggression, anti-intellectualism, anti-intraception, superstition and stereotypy, power and “toughness”, destructiveness and cynicism, projectivity, and exaggerated concerns over sex.

    Though strongly criticized for bias and methodology, the book was highly influential in American social sciences, particularly in the first decade after its publication: “No volume published since the war in the field of social psychology has had a greater impact on the direction of the actual empirical work being carried on in the universities today.”

  10. Anyone who accepts that retired colonel’s word that Hitler came to power with a single compelling message to “make Germany great again” has chosen to be ignorant. Even Snopes, with its great powers of research and its bias was able to find only one use of that term by Hitler and that was from 1940, well after he had consolidated his power.
    More enlightening would be to read this 1932 campaign speech (apparently the only one recorded) and search for comparisons to themes used by other would-be leaders of nations, and not just the one who is simultaneously an idiot and an evil genius.
    http://www.ihr.org/other/July1932Speech
    Yes, there are calls to restore Germany to greatness (without using the term in this speech), but there was a depression, there were severe economic problems, there was an inept government in power, there was some discontent with the Treaty of Versailles. As to the calls for socialism in Hitler’s speech, overlook those because the comparisons to one of the US’s political parties might be disconcerting.
    Frankly, the Hitler/Nazi comparisons are both tiring and offensive and always have been. Worse, they are destructive of democracy. The repetition of that theme in media big and small is nothing less than propaganda, and, sadly, with many people, propaganda is effective.

    • I just learned after posting that the IHR may be a bad organization — don’t know for sure, but still, I think the translation of the speech at the link probably is accurate.

    • There’s also the simple point that there is nothing inherently wrong with the message “make Germany great again’ no matter who used it. Germany was a crippled, dysfunctional wreck after the victors had taken it apart following WWII. Germany had been a great power, and was no longer. It was a reasonable aspiration.

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