Sunday Ethics Warm-Up, 6/9/2019: “Big Lie” Week !

Good Morning!

1. “Big Lie” Week coming! Hopefully today, definitely over the next week, I will begin a surprisingly long series of posts, each devoted to one of the Big Lies being used by the “resistance,” as well as the news media and the Democratic Party, to try to destroy the administration of President Trump and, if possible, remove him from office without the inconvenience of an election. I began a single post on the topic with the goal of producing a list, but it became evident that the result would be too long.

I will assemble all of the Big Lies into a single list when all the posts are done.

I should have done this earlier. The Big Lies are being thrown around more thickly than ever, nearly blotting out the sun, as Democratic Party hysteria over the failure of the Mueller Report to confirm the Russian collusion fantasy has spawned a desperate push for impeachment. In yesterday’s Times, for example, there was another screed from one of the paper’s full-time “resistance” columnists, Timothy Egan, this one proclaiming under the headline that “the president is corroding and destabilizing the institutions of democracy.” That’s on my Big Lie list, though I won’t get to it until the fourth or fifth post. I was curious: did Egan have actual evidence of such corroding and destabilizing? He did not. Here are his examples, which I have to assume are the best he could come up with:

  • He starts—I find this astounding—with Trump’s inflation of his Inauguration crowd count. The “resistance” is obsessed with this. Yes, it was stupid, petty, and fooled nobody. Yes, it exposed Trump’s insecurity and need for constant praise and the perception of success. Hyping a crowd count does not and can not “destabilize” anything, accept perhaps the mental health of Times columnists.
  • Next, the evil plot, Egan argues, is exemplified by the President of the United States choosing to give a speech as part of the July 4th celebration. The Horror. The fact that no President has done this since Harry Truman—you know, that vile dictator—does not make Presidential passivity during the 4th a tradition that any POTUS is bound to observe, and as one of the two symbols of the U.S. for ceremonial purposes (the other being the flag), a President is completely within his official role to take part in the festivities.  The Left has worked tirelessly to rob the Presidency of its non-partisan, ceremonial status, weakening both Trump (GOOD!!!! HE’S BAD!!!) and the office itself, perhaps permanently. (WHO CARES? GET TRUMP!) The Democrats are destabilizing the institution of the Presidency, one of the most important democratic institutions of them all.

Imagine if President Obama had said that he wanted to give a speech on the Fourth of July. Can you imagine anyone complaining or objecting?

  • Really reaching now, Egan says that William Barr’s refusal to comply with an illegal subpoena demanding grand jury testimony that cannot be made public under law is another example of “corroding and destabilizing the institutions of democracy,” a Bizarro World argument. No, Barr is resisting the House Democrats’ efforts to defy the rule of law.
  • Next, Egan calls Barr’s mandatory investigation into how a piece of debunked opposition research by Trump’s election adversary somehow was used to justify both surveiling his campaign and  launching a politically motivated criminal investigation. Egan calls this Barr’s “political hit squad.” Any Justice Department would be bound to investigate what increasingly looks  like an Obama administration effort to meddle with the election. This is where the  Watergate analogy is appropriate, and the American people have a right to know what went on, and who broke the law, so they can regains trust in their democratic institution. Egan favors a whitewash.
  • Then Egan evokes the old “Mexican judge” deceit to begin the argument  that Trump’s deriding obviously partisan judicial rulings against him as the work of “Obama judges” is sinister. Stipulated: Presidents shouldn’t attack the judiciary or imply unethical conflicts, even when they probably exist. That was also true when Obama did it. This is an example of undermining democratic institutions, but since President Obama set the precedent (while Egan was silent) in order to try to save Obamacare, it cannot be credibly claimed that Trump is the one initiating  the destabilizing.
  • Reaching deep, deep to the bottom of the barrel, Egan points to the stupid beyond all imagining controversy over Trump’s aides trying to keep the USS John S. McCain out of Trump’s view in Japan. Here’s the rhetoric of a fair and objective pundit:

“The most disgusting of the recent corruptions is the attempt to make the military another extension of presidential vanity. The White House wanted to “minimize the visibility” of the U.S.S. John S. McCain while Trump was in Japan. So, a family name synonymous with sacrifice on behalf of country was covered up so that President Bone Spurs would not be offended. Kim Jong-un has to be jealous.”

That’s the worst on the list? Something that the President didn’t even know about, an over-protective act by a hyper-vigilant aide? How does that translate into “making  the military another extension of presidential vanity”?  And just in the interest of full disclosure, the problem with the McCain name is that its most recent bearer undermined democratic traditions and institutions by waging a personal war of spite and revenge against the President of the United States…a bit like the writer undermines our democratic institutions by using crass, ad hominem insults against the President.

  • Finally, Egan pronounces the Commerce Departments efforts to add a citizenship question to the census as “a blatant abuse of power.” Well, he’s welcome to his biased and addled opinion, but this is a rather extreme description of a government wanting to gather rather important information about the country with a direct bearing on national policy.

In the Supreme Court case involving this controversy (and we can be sure neither Egan nor any of his colleagues, not to mention Democratic Party leaders, will claim that it was “Trump judges” who approved new question, as the Court probably will do) the plaintiffs argued that the Administration was encouraging the undercounting of Hispanics and minorities who will be discouraged from participating in the Census, thus artificially depressing  the count to deprive urban areas of much-needed federal funds, lowering the number of House of Representative seats in states where minorities predominate.

This one deserves more exposition.Over at The Federalist,  Jonathan Tobin explains why  the citizenship question can and should be regarded as protecting “democratic institutions,” writing in part,

…what is really at stake in this debate is Democrats’ effort to blur the line between citizens and non-citizens to create or maintain House districts where those who are legally unable to vote will exist in large numbers or even predominate. Legal voters (who would presumably be more likely to be Democrats) in such districts would wield more power than those in other districts in which there are far fewer non-citizens. Thus, rather than ensuring fairness—or foiling a GOP plot to cheat Democrats out of seats that are rightfully theirs—an effort to maximize the count of non-citizens is actually about preserving modern versions of “rotten boroughs.” That’s the phrase that described British parliamentary districts controlled by a handful of voters in contrast with those with more numerous electors that existed before historic reforms swept such abuses away in the mid-19th century. If the conservative majority on the Supreme Court isn’t swayed by the arguments of the plaintiffs, it’s also because that instead of sabotaging the census, inquiring about citizenship is a reasonable, even traditional approach, to counting the population….It is true that a question about citizenship has not been on the short form that most Americans received during the last six censuses dating back to 1960. But it was included as late as 1950. Yet citizenship has never been absent from the long form that a smaller number of Americans receive. Moreover, it is also on other government questionnaires that occur outside of the normal census process, such as the annual American Community Survey…. Knowing the number of citizens, as opposed to legal or illegal aliens, is pertinent information. The number of non-citizens in the United States is generally estimated to be about 22 million, with approximately half here illegally. An accurate count of such persons matters, and inquiring about it when you’re counting people is hardly intrusive or an abuse, let alone illegal, as previous court challenges to various questions have reaffirmed…Including massive numbers of illegals in the count so as to ensure that states with large number of illegal immigrants get maximum representation in the House is inherently fraudulent. The goal of the census is to count every person residing in the country. But the notion that its purpose is to ensure that those who are subject to deportation are as entitled to representation in Congress as U.S. citizens is as bizarre as it is untenable. It also makes a mockery of the principle of “one person, one vote” that is at the core of the Voting Rights Act….

Read it all.

Egan’s hysterical accusation that President Trump is “corroding and destabilizing the institutions of democracy” is a Big Lie, as his abject failure to support his claim shows.


5 thoughts on “Sunday Ethics Warm-Up, 6/9/2019: “Big Lie” Week !

  1. The Left’s deification of John McCain is so moving or would be if I believed they cared anything about him. If not for that stupid feud with the President, they’d be either going, “John Who?” or lumping him in with all the old white male militarists who committed war crimes in Vietnam.

    • Much the same as they are now circling the wagons around their suddenly now beloved and endangered FBI and CIA. Breathtaking hypocrisy, really.

      • ”circling the wagons”

        You see wagons, OB, I see drains.

        And if you don’t mind my asking, what’s with Other BillI’d say?

        I recall what my Dear 94 year-old Father (a Bill himself!) said time-n-again when, at an earlier stage of my development, I brought an unfamiliar gal around:

        “Paulie, do I have to learn a new name?”

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