The Tipping Point Nears…

You know, Vince, in Iran they’d cut your hand off for this. Maybe in Hollywood too, now that I think about it…

Two episodes in recent days have pushed me closer to the tipping point at which I am forced to conclude that even as an ethicist who has held fast to the principle that no one who both reveres the office of the President of the United States and who believes that the office must be held by a man (or a woman, Bernie!) of outstanding ethical character with strong supporting ethical values can ever vote for Donald Trump or want to see someone like him, if there is such a creature, leading this nation.

I am not there yet, but I would have never dreamed at any time in 2012 through most of 2019 that I could get this close. It is true that President Trump has been far more successful than I expected in the narrow category of policy, domestic and foreign. It is true that he has displayed some admirable character traits, though they have all been in the category I call “enabling virtues,” meaning that they are traits that can serve both good and bad motives and objectives. It is also true that this President has never been given a fair chance to do his job, as he has been undermined, harassed and obstructed since the moment he took office in unethical ways never experienced by any of his predecessors with similar intensity and duration.

Nonetheless, voting for someone like Donald Trump to lead the United States of America is ethics antimatter to me, and professionally impossible—right now. However, the behavior of the “resistance” and  Democrats increasingly indicates that they must be decisively defeated so their current approach to American culture, society, rights and political conduct is sufficient ruinous that they begin a period of urgent reform.

Relatively small events often are tipping points with me, and both of these are small as well. However, when conduct is undeniably signature significance, proving that a group or individual is corrupt and untrustworthy because only the corrupt and untrustworthy would behave in such a way even once, my mind’s made up. I consider these two episodes frightening and if not quite constituting tipping points for me, coming too close for comfort.

I. The Vince Vaughn Affair

Video cameras caught a moment in which actor Vince Vaughn was seen pleasantly  talking with President Donald Trump at the 2020 college football national championship game in New Orleans over the weekend.  He even—The Horror!— shook the President’s hand. This was deemed by the progressive lynch mob on social media sufficient evidence to call for the actor’s ruination, or “cancellation,” if you will.

Timothy Burke, a progressive journalist, tweeted out the link, saying, “I’m very sorry to have to share this video with you. All of it, every part of it.” The video “went viral,” and Vaughn was pronounced a traitor to decency who needed to be shunned and punished.

The virulently leftist British Rag The Guardian was kind enough to pull no punches in expanding on the outrage expressed against Vaughn on social media. The article began by falsely condemning the familiar and versatile star as “right wing”—he’s not, though it doesn’t matter–and wrote, “it is neither unexpected nor unjust  public figures should draw ire for fraternising with Trump, support for whom, by this point, should be regarded as beyond the pale even by moderate Republicans.”

At the same time this was going on, horror novelist Stephen King was trying to grovel his way back into the good graces of “the resistance” after he dared to opine that diversity should be have no role in judging art, and shambling members of the Walking Woke declared that everyone should boycott King’s movies and novels. That is proof of progressive brain rot, but the attack on Vaughn was far, far more alarming. He is an American citizen, and was showing the minimal respect due to our nation’s leader (and pretty much due to any fellow human being.)

Individuals so consumed with hate and self-righteousness that they would advocate punishing someone for smiling, exchanging pleasantries and shaking hands are so fanatic that they are  capable of all manner of oppression. They are not fit to participate in a democracy, because they don’t believe in democracy, or the civil exchange of ideas. They advocate intimidation, bullying, indoctrination and enforced conformity.

The outrage of Handshakegate is symbolic of more substantive effects this vile group has had on our government and nation. The President has been cut off from all but the bravest of public servants and other professionals because of open threats to their reputations and livelihoods if they dared to accept an invitation to help this President do the job he was elected to do. Law firms have refused to assist the Administration because of threats from their clients. President Trump has not distinguished himself with his appointments and hires, but no President has ever had the the talent pool so limited by open threats of “cancellation” or worse. (Or getting harassed in public restaurant).

I have even wondered myself what I would do if I were offered the position of advising the White House on ethical matters. (I could do one hell of a job.) A likely result if I accepted the challenge would be that the President would reject all my advice, fire me, and then I would be tarred for life as a racist/sexist/homophobe/war monger/criminal, and that’s only if I avoided being subpoenaed or indicted. Yet I would accept that assignment, because that is what loyal Americans are supposed to do.

Afterwards, we’d have to sell our house, and I’d make a living directing murder mysteries or something under an assumed name…

2. Nancy Pelosi’s Impeachment Signing Stunt

Talk about “defying norms”… Speaker Pelosi’s disgraceful display of glee and pride in completing the House Democrats’ completely partisan abuse of the impeachment process to overturn an election was a demonstration of pure hatred and pandering to the most deranged of her “resistance” base. I don’t know that I have ever quoted Mitch McConnell approvingly before, but even a blind truffle is right twice a lifetime. Senate Majority Leader said, “This final display neatly distilled the House’s entire process into one perfect visual…It was a transparently partisan performance from beginning to end.”

But it was worse than that. Impeachment is, or was supposed to be, a very serious, last resort measure to be taken up only under the most dire circumstances, and only when both parties agree that it is unavoidable. Pelosi herself has periodically intoned about its solemn nature—and then she deliberately mock her own words by treating the formal send-off of her dirt work as if it was the Civil Rights Act or the Affordable Care Act, rather than smoking gun proof of the Democratic Party’s contempt for our institutions.

The display was signature significance for bad people, true villains, genuine threats to our freedoms and security. “Y’all want power. God, I hope you never get it,” said Senator Lindsay Graham during another signature significance moment, the Democratic effort to “cancel” Brett Kavanaugh. I don’t want to have to surrender my principles to stop these terrible, ruthless people (and their supporters) from getting it, but my resolve is sinking quickly…


33 thoughts on “The Tipping Point Nears…

  1. Re: Impeachment Signing.

    My memory is fuzzy. I don’t recall Republicans doing this (signing the articles and having a woke cadre of bailiffs deliver them to the Senate) during the Clinton impeachment proceedings. I could be wrong.


      • I found some video yesterday showing the House presenting Clinton’s Articles of Impeachment to the Sargent at Arms in the Senate. Very little fanfare. I realize the Senate was not in session at the time but the presentation or delivery was subdued and serious. Rep. Pelosi and her ilk did a dance of joy. Shameful. I saw MSM laughing at the Hannities of the World grumbling over the pens. MSM missed the point. The issue was not the pens – they are lovely. The issue was the pageantry the Democrats displayed while making a mockery of the Constitutional issues at stake. At least the Clinton Impeachment was bipartisan. Here, it is so one-sided. Impeachment is a political process. Partisanship should not be the driving factor. Yet, Get Trump at All Costs is the message. He has to be impeached or he will win re-election and we can’t have that. The will of 60 million voters be damned.


  2. General of the Army Douglas MacArthur signed the Japanese surrender document that ended world War II with five or six pens, depending on the account you read.

    Two he definitely gave to American General Jonathan Wainwright and British General Arthur Percival, whose respective commands in the Philippines and Singapore had been overrun by the Japanese at the beginning of the Pacific War, leaving them to suffer as emaciated prisoners for four years. Two more went to each of the two service academies of the time. One almost certainly went to his wife Jean. The last, if there was a sixth, he either kept as a personal souvenir or gave to one of his staff officers.

    Apparently only two pens total were used to sign the German surrender document, although Eisenhower himself didn’t sign.

    Ronald Reagan and Mikhail Gorbachev used two each to sign the INF Treaty, arguably the US’ biggest victory in arms control and the sign that the Soviets had blinked.

    By comparison, Nancy Pelosi used 20 pens to sign the Articles of Impeachment yesterday, to pass out to Democratic allies, all the while grinning like she was signing the greatest document since the Civil Rights Act.

    Arguably the greatest hero since George Washington (Trevor Dupuy called him the last great captain) signed the document that sealed the victory over a tyrannical regime that wanted all Americans gone. He used 6 pens maximum. Maybe four were used by the man who won the Cold War.

    Nancy Pelosi, certainly no hero, especially not compared to these guys, signs for an exercise in partisan politics doomed to failure, and she uses twenty. Can you say hubris?

    Speaking of heroes, these harassers and kommissars who push the cancel culture will one day consider themselves the bravest of heroes, because they said “no” to the most evil man ever to occupy the White House. I still hear about last summer, when I dared attend the Salute to America (mostly to try out a new camera) and some of my now former friends tell me I’m not fit to live because “you stood up to be counted with that evil man and everything he stands for.” Yes, I stood up to be counted with the duly elected president who seems to be doing a good job and whose values align with mine. Hillary’s didn’t, and neither did Obama’s. Sorry, not sorry.

  3. Welcome to the club Jack. My perception that the Democratic Party was horrible, and has proven itself to be even worse than I thought three years ago, is the sole reason I glad I voted for Trump. I don’t like the guy at all, but the alternative was worse.

    • It is true that their defense of Clinton set the foundation. (Jack Marshall started his first ethics blog in reaction to these defenses.)

      this spiral started in 2014, in what Matthew Yglesias called the Great Awokening.

      Here is an excerpt.

      Back in 1996, the Democratic Party platform read like something out of a Trump campaign ad. “In 1992, our borders might as well not have existed,” the document states. “Drugs flowed freely. Illegal immigration was rampant. Criminal immigrants, deported after committing crimes in America, returned the very next day to commit crimes again.” Bill Clinton went on to run for reelection boasting about his crackdown at the border.

      Even by 2008, when Democrats substantively supported a path to citizenship for unauthorized immigrants, the platform was still framed around enforcement-first themes, intoning that “we cannot continue to allow people to enter the United States undetected, undocumented, and unchecked.”

  4. I was a “Never Trump” whose conversion started the day after the election with the actions of the “resistance.” As with Jack, I have been surprised by Trump’s performance but his personality I was fully aware of for the last 40 years. The actions of the Democrats have forced me into the Trump camp.

  5. Is the first sentence/paragraph complete? The second paragraph begins. “I am not there yet…,” but I’m not sure if the first paragraph establishes where “there” is.

    Is it your emerging position that voting for Trump in 2016 was not justifiable, but that voting for him in 2020 might be if the Democrats cross some line that has not yet been crossed?

  6. No shit.

    Jack, we spoke of this over a delightful lunch a few years back. Both of us spoke with grudging admiration for having cast votes for hopeless causes, rather than casting votes for either Trump or Hillary, and I think both of us can still be proud of those votes.

    Knowing that my state will go blue, I will probably vote for Trump this time, unless the Dems get their heads out of their collective asses and the party throws its weight behind a credible player-to-be-named-later (and I don’t see any such candidate on the horizon).

    And that’s simply because unless the Donks throw forward a reasonably centrist candidate actually capable of not exacerbating the current partisan divide, then.. I’ll take the divide, thank you, and a 2020 POTUS race that actually gives Trump the popular, as well as the EC, vote.

    Trump is a vile human being. He is a 14-year-old boy entrusted with the most terrifying power on the planet. And he’s STILL a better choice than any of the current D field, God help us all.

    PS: I saw a TV spot for former Massachusetts governor Deval Patrick earlier this evening. Patrick is Obama-Lite (and short). He’s obviously counting on a brokered convention or a VP nod. He is to be avoided, campers.

  7. My decision to vote for Trump came after the San Jose riot of June, 2016 – when attendees of a rally were attacked – and the reaction was long the lines of Trump’s rhetoric meant that the attendees of the rally had it coming.

    For me, that was when I realized it was Trump that stood between me and a Left that was becoming dangerous. Now, if you look at the Project Veritas videos of Kyle Jurek… there are those on the Left who think the gulag was a good thing – and there is no condemnation of that viewpoint.

    This is beyond whether a vote for Trump is justifiable… we passed that point long ago, in my opinion. It’s now about asking the remaining NeverTrump people if they are willing to countenance the open declaration of siccing the IRS on the NRA (Warren), gulags (Sanders), or a packed Supreme Court (Buttigieg).

  8. I saw once video of the transfer of the articles to the Senate overlaid with the Star Wars “Empire” theme music. I’d have chosen “Entry of the Gladiators”

  9. On a related note.

    Not if the reason they are doing it is to be purely partisan, and not be serious about rather a president committed any wrong doing.

    Look, Congress had the authority to impeach Clinton- and they did, but allow me to say this…

    Clinton’s impeachment was actually a pure political circus.

    What Clinton did was not a threat to our nation, or our security, or our elections. It was a partisan witch hunt by Republicans truly whenever Clinton was impeached.

    Trump’s impeachment isn’t even in the same ball park. Do people honestly not get how serious the accusations against Trump are?

    He tried to influence the upcoming election in his favor by using the presidential office.

    He engaged in grossly inappropriate behavior with a foreign official to do so, threatening that he could hold aid money that wasn’t even his government branch’s call to make.

    Their impeachments are nowhere near the same.

    What were the Clinton witnesses going to tell the Senate, honestly? That they heard the president bragging about how good Monica is?

    Republican voters are fools if they honestly believe this impeachment is anywhere near in the same ball park as the Clinton fiasco.

    Any comments?

    (By the way, I notice Kyle Breaux here disabled adding comments. I wonder why. )

  10. It’s pretty clear that Trump as juvenile and narcissistic as he is, is the only reasonable alternative to the nasty deceptive Democratic field. Pelosi’s arrogance is astonishing and verging on psychopathic.

    • Yes, what deranged cosmic scriptwriter came up with this? That the primary see-wall between the United States and an oppressive, repressive, socialist, anti-speech, anti-dissent, anti-religion, anti-rule of law, anti-due process regime intent on undoing our institutions and values would be such an otherwise intolerable individual?

        • From the Salon article:

          Sanders, a self-described Democratic socialist, repeatedly warned in the primary that he would have a greater chance of defeating Trump. Poll after poll showed that he would have beaten Trump in the general election by wide margins. Instead, his candidacy was repressed — and now Clinton has lost to Trump.

          So, this is all very odd. I am trying to understand it all more. First, there has to be a candidate who was favored by ‘the system’ and by the ‘status quo’. I am supposing that was HRC. It likely would have worked out better for ‘the system’ if HRC had been elected. They assumed she would.

          And the HRC campaign thought they could manipulate the Republican Party into advocating for hard-line policies that would then be described as ‘deplorable’. But something went terribly wrong when they attached that term to 45% of the nation (or whatever percentage it was).

          But as it turned out both ‘the system’ and the HRC campaign made a gross misjudgment: they did not know really what the people were thinking. Ah, but what people am I talking about?

          This leads to recognition that there is more than one America. First, there is ‘the establishment’ and what it wants and needs. The mills of industry, the shopping centers, the mechanics of the economy. It has all the tools at its disposal: the marketing and communication systems, the finance, and a ‘business plan for America’. This ‘America’ is one America but it is ‘structural’ in the senses I point to.

          The other America is the people-of-color America and those liberal whites who have allied themselves with that America and its multi-cultural plan. This is an idealistic and ideology-driven America: a New America if you will. This *America* is quite powerful because they seem to control how the narrative is framed. It is a narrative built on ‘righteousness’ and idealism. The ‘civil religion’ of America is expressed, most strongly, by this faction.

          It would seem that Sanders is the piper that plays to this America. And this explains why this America is turning to ‘socialism’. They wish for a government that will ‘take care’ of the people generally; provide services, health-care, etc. The Sanders *faction* could not be a white faction only, and this faction seems to be headed by white liberal types who support a multi-cultural America under a semi-socialist regime.

          But who within the *structural America*, the America of capital & finance (industry and military) would support the Sander’s America? It would seem that they would be highly opposed to him and the factions that support him. Who best serves the *WSJ America*?

          If you answered “Bernard Sanders” you will have to put on the dunce cap and go to the back of the line!

          Then there is Donald Trump and whatever ‘America’ is represents. This is not the America of the POC, and it is not the America of the Sanders-Socialists. This is an odd bunch, there is no other way to put it. It could be David Duke and those who marched saying You will not replace us! (This is an America few on this blog know anything about. It is the suppressed and denied America.)

          Honestly, there is no doubt that Trump knows who he is ‘piping’ for. He advocates for the ‘forgotten America’ and this means, naturally, the America that has been pushed to the side as the Democratic idealists began to transform America into a Multi-Cultural Nation to be administered and directed by its business-governmental class.

          Trump may not be — in his *heart of heart* — a ‘racist’ and yet the people that comprise the Forgotten America that hears his *notes* are not POC nor are they ‘the invading hordes’ from Mexico and Central America. They could be ‘racist’ and they might not be racist, maybe they don’t even case: but they are self-interested’ and it is their country. They have been engineered out of their country! And the business-academic-governmental factions have been trying to reprogram them. And the people who did this/do this are traitors, though they do not see their selves in this way. This was — according to me of course — the Great Swindle that occurred through ‘dispossession’. And no one can acknowledge this Dispossession. Because if they did, if they could, it would immediately line everything up correctly and truthfully. And that last thing wanted is ‘truth’!

          There is not going to come along some Healing and Uniting Narrative to mend America’s wounds. It was through trying to make America a bizarre Multi-Cultural Walmart that the primary treachery was inflicted. This is a ‘business model’ and it is supported by rational PR but is not supported by national sentiment.

          • “Poll after poll showed that he would have beaten Trump in the general election by wide margins” is so dishonest, absurd and useless that it kills my interest in discussing it. Poll after poll showed that Hillary would win too. No polls about a race that never happened is is worth a bucket of warm spit. Sanders is nuts, and he is so extreme that I very mich doubt that he could have avoided a landslide if he was runnning against a Springer Spaniel

  11. “The Tipping Point Nears…”

    Naaaa, I think we are beyond the tipping point. There are more and more people willing to open their mouths and publicly say things like “anyone that supports Republicans or President Trump should be in prison” and “if they don’t get their way politically there will be violence” openly intimidate and condemn anyone that remotely appears to support President Trump or appearances that can be twisted into supporting President Trump. These people are completely and totally consumed with their hate and would not be willing to say these kinds of things publicly if they did not feel empowered by a corrupt society that is beyond the tipping point and justifies such anti-Constitutional and immoral behaviors. These people have some serious psychological problems that were unearthed when President Trump got elected. Will Trump not getting convicted in the Senate and remaining in office be the final straw; will Sanders not getting the nomination be the final straw; will Trump getting reelected be the final straw? What will set these “crazy” people off? When will “it” begin?

    Yup, my crystal ball shows a bleak future if this madness cannot be addressed.

  12. I voted for HRC but my tipping point occurred when I woke up the day after the election and Mrs. OB told me Trump had won. When I stopped laughing and wiped the tears of laughter from my face and turned on the TV to see the ashen faces of the know-it-alls. That’s when I began rooting for Trump, a person whom I’d thought of as nothing but the very worst of real estate developers.

  13. Vince Vaughn, Ellen – it doesn’t matter who it is – but anyone showing anything but complete contempt and hatred for the President has committed the unforgivable, unpardonable sin. While some of the President’s statements and tweets have been shameful, the office itself still commands respect, regardless of how loathsome one believes the occupant is.

    I was no fan of President Trump’s predecessor, but had he asked me to pay a visit, I would have been on the next flight to D.C. and would have shaken his hand with a smile and called him “Mr. President” and “my President”. Because that’s what you do…well, it’s what you’re supposed to do.

    The fact that we are even talking about Vince Vaughn’s brief greeting of the President in the context of “the fallout it’s causing” is one of the most damning indictments of left-wing American politics. And it’s pretty tragic for politics in general. I voted for DJT in 2016, because the alternative was, to me, even more reprehensible. In 2020, the left side of politics has become so maniacal that I will pull the lever for him again…this time proudly and with no hesitation whatsoever. The alternative is even more vile.

    A good friend of mine referenced the Bible’s book of Ecclesiastes the other day on his Facebook page. Chapter 10, verse 2 reads, “The heart of the wise inclines to the right, but the heart of the fool to the left.” I couldn’t help but laugh…who knew?!?

  14. Regarding #1, I must confess, Jack, that this is an unexpectedly subtle thing to have produced such a profound reaction.

    The Left has offered many, many more actions, comments and pronouncements that have done far more violence to our republic, and implicated themselves as being unworthy of participating therein repeatedly and almost with malice. And yet, this little thing, this “canceling” of an actor(!) who dared be friendly with the President is… to me, it’s remarkable, but also, I think I understand.

    Tipping points often come, as Carl Sandburg’s fog, on little cat feet. Things that most would maybe remark, but then shake off as “just the way things are these days,” sometimes act as a catalyst to burn the metal of resolve as if it were oil-soaked cord wood. Tiny events can sometimes reach us in ways that larger grievances don’t, and like the leak in the dam that may be plugged with a finger, grow rapidly when unattended.

    Regarding #2, any non-deranged observer can see that there is nothing at all serious about the impeachment of President Trump. It is, at its essence, a purely political act and a carefully structured attempt to regain the majority in the Senate.

    Yes, dear readers, in case you haven’t figured it out, this entire focus-group tested “fair trial” crap is carefully scripted to convince the gullible among us that these are serious charges to be taken with the greatest gravity. The truth is that they are the thinnest possible veneer of purely theoretical substance surrounding a blunt-object partisan political bashing with only one purpose — to force vulnerable Republican senators to take tough votes and expose themselves to defeat in the 2020 election.

    Pelosi’s grandstanding is the other half of this tragedy — an attempt to inspire the base in the face of fait accompli. It is the most profound case of Kabuki theater I have seen in my lifetime in Congress, and one that I’ll remember with pure loathing to the end of my corporeal existence — and maybe beyond.

    Politically, it is a reckless abuse of process, but it may work. If it does, Pelosi will be hailed as a genius for “sparing” they country more Trump judges if he’s re-elected — an argument you will hear constantly in the next year — and the country will have lost a significant part of its soul to a political process so relentlessly broken that the survival of the republic can only be imagined by the most optimistic among us.

    This may be marked as the beginning — of the end.

      • I agree completely. But as I say, it’s not something as dramatic and, well, overtly signature significance as others.

        And perhaps that’s why it’s even more insidious and unconscionable — because it’s such a fundamental breach of human decency.

        • I decided—I think I’ve written this on the blog—that Bill Clinton was a shameless, compulsive liar based on an off-hand comment he made on Thomas Jefferson’s birthday. He said that Jefferson would be horrified that the US didn’t have national health care. Clinton was named after Jefferson, and is an educated man. He KNOWS Jefferson believed in minimal government and taxation. He knows Jefferson would be horrified that we have welfare and social security, never mind national health care. Yet he said that.Tipping point. Nobody else even remembers the incident.

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