No, No, NO, Biden Must NOT “Go”: Biden Must Stay, And All Responsible For Putting Him In The White House Must Be Made Accountable

Joe confused

Over at the Spectator, conservative pundit Dominic Green writes in a piece titled Biden Must Go,

“If Trump had confused his Vice President with a ‘general’ or fumbled with his cue cards because he couldn’t match a scripted question to a scripted answer, as Biden did at his press conference on Thursday; or shown the bizarre callousness and failure of short-term memory in his ‘That was four days ago, five days ago!’ outburst; or spontaneously abandoned the policy of strategic ambiguity on Taiwan in an interview with ABC, as Biden did with George Stephanopoulos on Thursday, the psychiatrists would be lining up outside the cable stations to explain why the 25th Amendment needed to be deployed now. It’s that simple. The buck really does stop with the President. The world has always seen Biden’s incapacity, and now the American people can see it too. He carries direct responsibility for a disaster so undeniable that even a partisan media can no longer deny it. He can neither speak truthfully nor accurately. Not so much the emperor with no clothes, as Lear’s fool on the heath, naked and shivering as the kingdom comes to the ‘great confusion’.”

Oh no you don’t! “The resistance,” progressives, Democrats and the news media can’t be let off that easy. It is essential to restoring the nation’s principles and the integrity of the political process that Joe Biden remain in office to do all the damage and inflict all the embarrassment on the nation he will undoubtedly can and will. It will be painful for him to be sure: good. He was irresponsible and unethical to allow himself to be used by his party when he knew—and I’m sure he knows—that he had become a shadow of his already mediocre self. It will be even more painful for his party and its supporters, which will not be able to blame anyone but themselves for the disaster at the border, the stuttering response to the latest virus strains, the exploding national debt, the creeping inflation and the disgraceful embrace of racial discrimination. And, of course, it will be painful for the public, and again I say, good. They were dupes, fools and incompetent citizens. They deserve to suffer. There are consequences to being lazy, gullible, biased and stupid. They are about to learn them. Hard.The Democrats and media tried to brainwash America with the dangerous idea that when we elect a President that enough people don’t like and the news media decides to destroy, there are constitutional ways to ignore elections and get rid of him. There are not. Impeachment, contrary to the undemocratic plots endorsed by Nancy Pelosi, Maxine Waters and the rest, requires actual “high crimes and misdemeanors,” not mean tweets, contrived violations of dead letter provisions and conduct routinely engaged in by other Presidents that are suddenly repurposed into “crimes” to avoid the trouble of defeating an incumbent at the polls.

Continue reading

Seeing Ethics In September, 9/1/2020…

1. Well, THAT’s an easy question! At St Xavier Catholic Church in NYC over the weekend, the priest asked his flock, : “Do you affirm that white privilege is unfair…will you commit to helping transform our church culture” and embrace “racial justice.”?

The answer, of course, is “‘Bye!” No one should accept partisan and racist talking points from the clergy. This is an abuse of power, trust and position.

I think I’ll watch “Spotlight” again…

2. In case you were wondering, Ethics Alarms will have nothing definitive to say about the Kyle Rittenhouse saga, and won’t until I read a trustworthy account of what really happened. There seems no question that the original mainstream news media narrative that this was a white supremacist gun nut hunting peaceful protesters is the MSM misbehaving again. The backlash characterization of Ritterhouse as a brave citizen protecting local businesses from rioters also seems overly convenient. The video available suggests an element of self-defense, but it seems clear to me that the kid irresponsibly placed himself in a perilous position while provoking members of a less-than-rational mob. In the situation he voluntarily placed himself, Ritterhouse was likely to be killed or kill somebody. He was also violating the law by carrying his weapon when he was underage. Of course, the failure of the Kenosha police and the state to keep minimally endurable order also added to the deadly conditions.

3. Hey, Coup Plan E, good to see you! Where have you been?

The 25th Amendment arguments have  been relatively scarce lately, although Maxine Waters mentioned it a week ago without referencing any disability. She appears to think that the Cabinet can just remove the elected President with a vote. My God, she’s such an idiot.

If the President had three strokes, he sure recovered quickly. And doesn’t it take astounding gall to try this chestnut again now, when the Democrats are running a candidate who could be legitimately removed by the 25th Amendment ten minutes after he took the oath of office? Continue reading

Sunday Ethics Warm-Up, 4/26/2020: Face Masks, Face-Saving, Faceplants, And Truths Too Awful To Face

1. Mask ethics:

See, when someone complains, she tells them they must be too close to her. Heck, why not decorate a mask with accident photos, abortion pics and fellatio snapshots?

  •  Michigan State Senator Dale Zorn, a Republican, was photographed wearing  a mask with a  Confederate flag design. I’d say the First Niggardly Principle applies: people are irrationally emotional about the flag, which is part of our history, still included in a couple of state flags, and a bold design, but there are less inflammatory design options. One has to wonder if someone deliberately displaying the flag is making a political statement, and since many of the possible statements are repulsive and divisive, it seems the ethical move is to choose another design. Like penises.

Zorn, however, not only wore the mask, he denied that it was  the Confederate flag, using a Clintonian argument ( it was more similar to the Kentucky or Tennessee flags, he said), then issued this apology:

So if he didn’t support what he knows the design represents to many people, why did he display it in a political forum?

  • I don’t know about you, but I’m thoroughly sick of conflicting information about the value of facemasks. This expert, for example, says they may make you sick.

Maybe that explains this confounding photo, from a recent flight into New York’s LaGuardia airport…

2. Trump’s face-saving tactic is a half-truth. In the wake of the latest fiasco, the President is going to limit the daily Wuhan virus press updates, and this is his explanation:

What is the purpose of having White House News Conferences when the Lamestream Media asks nothing but hostile questions, & then refuses to report the truth or facts accurately. They get record ratings, & the American people get nothing but Fake News. Not worth the time & effort!

He’s right about the media, which is why the White House briefings were suspended before the pandemic. But the President is leaving out half the reason: he is over-exposed, not playing on a field he’s qualified to play on, and stumbles like the “Are we exploring using disinfectant as medicine?” followed by “I was just kidding!” are reckless self-inflicted wounds in a Presidential campaign. Trump needs less exposure, not more, and apparently someone persuaded him to cut back. Good.

I will never get used to the President of the United States using juvenile, hackneyed insults like “lamestream media.” Continue reading

Biden’s Brain, Part I: The Awful Truth

Let’s begin this topic with a stipulation: if your point is that Joe Biden’s evident dementia (or whatever it is) and the phony claim that Donald Trump is “disabled” within the very specific meaning of the 25th Amendment (this is Resistance Impeachment/Removal Plan E on the Ethics Alarms list) are equivalent issues, then you don’t want to be taken seriously in this discussion.

I yield to  few in the strength of my conviction that someone with the character, abilities and proclivities of Donald John Trump should never be elected President because such a person is a risk to the office and the nation as well as my blood pressure. However, the determination of whether such a person should be President is not mine to make alone, but the public, in what we call an election. President Trump was elected by an electorate with eyes wide open, indeed, there have been very few men, perhaps none, elected President in American history whose personalities and weaknesses were as well known to as many for as long as Trump’s. Anyone who claims that this man  has shown himself more “unfit” to hold office in any substantive way than he was when he was elected, or ten or 20 years before he was elected, is, to be blunt, lying through his or her teeth.

The 25th Amendment is about the onset of genuine disability—Lincoln as he lingered between life and death, Garfield as doctors tortured him for weeks trying to find Charles Guiteau’s bullet, Woodrow Wilson after his crippling stroke, Ike immediately following his stroke and heart attack, Reagan following his assassination attempt, not inbred inadequacy of longstanding, not Donald Trump acting like the impulsive, chaotic, intellectually sloppy asshole he has been all or most of his life. Continue reading

A Show Of Hands, Now: Who Thinks Brian Stelter Is Telling The Truth This Time?

CNN’s laughable “media critic,” Brian Stelter, who has distinguished himself and embarrassed his field—supposedly media ethics—by devolving into a mere shill for CNN and a dependable scourge of Fox News, may have hit a new low yesterday. I say “may” because  its hard to make qualitative distinctions in the murk at the bottom of the barrel.

Stelter brought on the former chairman of the Psychiatry Department at Duke University, Dr. Alan Frances, apparently because he has a raging, Level 5 case of Trump Derangement. This is sufficient qualification  for a national news media platform now. No enlightenment necessary, no reasoned analysis, just good, old fashioned, bat-shit Trump hate, with plenty of spittle and that wonderful “Is he going run off on all fours biting people?” suspense. On Stelter’s show with the doctor was Bandy Lee, who defied her profession’s rule against diagnosing political figures from afar throughout the 2016 campaign, saying that she was  “obligated to break [the rules] in times of emergency,” thus evoking eleven rationalizations by my count. That’s right, Lee and Francis were the representatives of the psychiatric profession CNN’s “media ethics” authority decided would give a balanced assessment of the practice of psychoanalyzing the President.

Really.

Dr.  Frances pretended to criticize his professionally irresponsible colleagues like Lee for assisting in the resistance’s Plan E, trying to illegitimately apply the 25th Amendment allowing a disabled President to be removed from office.   Oh no, he said: doing this was just plain wrong:

“Well, I think ‘medicalizing’ politics has three very dire consequences. The first is that it stigmatizes the mentally ill. I’ve known thousands of patients, almost all of them are well-behaved, well-mannered good people. Trump is none of these. Lumping that is a terrible insult to the mentally ill and they have enough problems and stigma as it is. Second, calling Trump crazy hides the fact that we’re crazy for having elected him and even crazier for allowing his crazy policies to persist… Now, it’s absolutely impossible, you can bet the house that the Congress, that Pence, that the cabinet will never ever remove Trump on grounds of mental unfitness. That will never happen. Discussing the issue in psychological name-calling terms distracts us from getting out to vote. The important thing is to get Trump out of office.”

Is that your expert opinion, doctor? Simply wanting to defeat the President is all it takes to get on CNN, apparently.

Ah, but it was within those ellipses that the doctor really came through, saying, Continue reading

Saturday Ethics Warm-Up, 2/16/2019: The King’s Pass And Kool-Aid

Good morning…

1. A literal “King’s Pass”! The King’s Pass, #11 on the Ethic Alarms rationalization list, was acted out with perfection in Great Britain, where Prince Philip, despite causing an automobile accident that injured another driver, was not charged or ticketed by authorities. The nonagenarian royal has been persuaded to surrender his driving license, however.

2. Politics do not belong in the sports pages...but don’t tell the New York Times. In another King’s Pass-related story,“Patriarch’s Racist Emails Stagger Cubs Owners” (the print version), in which the Times subtly lobbies for the Chicago Cubs and Major League Baseball to take punitive action against Joe Ricketts, the billionaire whose family owns the team, we had the following statements…

  • “The false assertion that Obama, who identifies as Protestant, was Muslim and born outside the United States were prevalent in right-wing politics during his presidency.” This is just false. The birthers were a radical fringe of the conservative opposition to Obama, and that weak conspiracy theory was never “prevalent.” Nor can the birther claims be fairly called “racist,” though certainly many of their adherents were racist. Among the “racist” sentiments attributed to Ricketts in the article were “we cannot ever let Islam become a large part of our society.”  At worst that’s religious bigotry, not racism. At best it’s a defensible point of view.

In fact, I tend to agree with it, and the experience of Western Europe supports the position.

  • The article approvingly cites the mandatory grovel by Tom Ricketts, chairman of the Cubs, who denounced his father’s emails in a statement, saying, “We are aware of the racially insensitive emails in my father’s account that were published by an online media outlet. Let me be clear: The language and views expressed in those emails have no place in our society.”

Let me be clear: any language and all views have a place in a society founded on the principles of freedom of thought and expression. The casual and routine endorsement of thought-crime and censorship by the mainstream news media (and academia) is far more alarming than any private emails by an elderly billionaire. Continue reading

Homeward Bound Saturday Morning Ethics Catch-Up, 9/8/2018: Not Spartacus, Not Good Citizens, Not Trustworthy

Good Morning!

1 Good job, everybody. Lots of comments yesterday despite scant new content. Thanks. I am in the process of organizing a new D.C. law firm, Bergstein, DeCailly and Marshall, PLLC. I’m the ethics partner. It shouldn’t interfere with the activities of ProEthics or Ethics Alarms, except for the occasional conflict of interest that raises its hoary head, and time, like yesterday. I was in meetings down here in Ft. Lauderdale from early morning through dinner, meeting with a large group of some of the most fascinating and diverse professionals I’ve ever been involved with. I arrived back at the hotel too fried to even consider posting anything. I have responded to some comments while I’m waking up today.

The lack of participation by those of a more liberal orientation is disappointing, and rankles me daily. I hate being rankled. I guess I should be able to sympathize with why a omitted progressive or Democrat would want to have a bag over his or her head after the last few days of self-immolation by Senate Democrats, or would be paralyzed by embarrassment at hearing Barack Obama, of all people, complain that the Republicans are divisive. The most divisive occurrence in American politics is when the previous President actively works to undermine the current one. There is a reason that hasn’t happened since Teddy Roosevelt turned on President Taft, and the result was the election of one of the most disastrous Presidents of all time, Woodrow Wilson.

2. 16 places you can retire to if you’re a lousy American. The entire attitude underlying this article, 16 countries where you can retire ‘happier’ than in the US. is selfish and irresponsible. You are an American citizen and this is a participatory democracy. I don’t care if you’re retired; you still have a lifetime obligation to contribute to society, your community, and the nation. Happier nations for the retired, according to the article, are rated according to how the happiness of retirees is trending. Of course that method shows the U.S. in a bad light: retirees are justifiably pissed off watching one party set out to rip the country in two, open borders, and undermine the Bill of Rights, the election of Presidents, and our institutions, and the other being led by an irresponsible narcissist. That doesn’t mean that the patriotic and ethical response is to leave the country that got them this far to the antifa and “the resistance.” Continue reading

Morning Ethics Warm-Up, 6/15/18: Spin Wars (Part I)

Good Morning…

…from a galaxy not nearly far enough away…

1. Quick takes on a remarkable 51 minutes on the White House lawn. I just, and I mean just, finished watching President Trump’s spontaneous press conference on the White House lawn, standing within easy spitting distance—brave, given how much so many of these people detest him—of a pack of reporters as Fox’s Baby Doocy held a microphone for him, and picking questions, often hostile, out of the cacophony. Has any previous President done something like this? I’ve never seen such a thing.

If you can’t admire this performance, your anti-Trump virus is raging out of control. I miss the reflex, knee-jerk Democrats and progressives who have, I hope temporarily, taken a hiatus from Ethics Alarms because, in my assessment, they no longer can muster credible defenses of the way this President has been treated by the news media and the resistance, so they have retreated to the warm cocoon of the left-wing echo chamber. Trump’s appearance this morning as well as the Inspector General’s report on the Clinton email investigation are integrity tests. I’d like to think the otherwise intelligent and analytical progressives here would pass them. Ducking the challenge is not a good sign.

Of course, Trump was Trump. As I wrote long ago, constantly harping on what we all know is wrong with Trump is boring and pointless. (See: The Julie Principle) He exaggerated. He spoke in infuriatingly inexact and colloquial word clouds. He celebrated himself and pronounced himself brilliant. I know, I know: if his very existence in the universe is offensive to you, then this performance would be painful. (When Donald Trump isn’t the elected President of the United States, his existence  will probably be offensive to me once again, just as as it was right up to November 8, 2016.) However, the fact is that President Trump showed mastery of the situation. He managed the chaos and maintained his dignity while a generally angry and adversarial mob was shouting at him and interrupting him. I run interactive seminars with lawyers for a living, and I am qualified to say this: what he did is difficult, and he handled it very, very well. Anyone who watches those 51 minutes and refuses to say, “Well, he’s not senile, demented, unstable, dumb or teetering on the brink of madness, I’ve got to give him that much”  had disqualified themselves as a credible Trump critic. He was in command, quick, calm, and in his own way, masterful.

The response of the anti-Trump news media will be to “factcheck” him. He said, for example, that the IG report “exonerated” him, as the pack screamed, “But the report doesn’t discuss the Russian investigation at all!”  This is the old, dishonest and so boring, “Trump is lying when he expresses his feelings and impressions in the cloudy, semi-inarticulate imprecision that he always speaks in, which we will pretend isn’t what we already know it to be.” Of course the report doesn’t formally or actually exonerate him. It does,  in his view (and mine), show a corrupt and untrustworthy culture in the FBI and the Obama Justice Department that treated the Clinton investigation in exactly the opposite fashion that they have used to investigate him. This means, to Trump, that the Mueller investigation is a political hit job, and he regards that as the equivalent of exoneration. Well, he can regard it as cheesecake, if he chooses. His opinion is not “a lie.” (I am being sued, you may recall, by an Ethics Alarms commenter who maintains in his complaint that opinions are lies, so I am rather sensitive on this point.)

Several of Trump’s responses were succinct and effective, as well as infuriating to the anti-Trump journalists, I’m sure. He said that President Obama lost the Crimea when he refused to enforce his own “red line,” thus destroying his credibility and causing Putin to correctly assume that he could move on the Ukraine without consequences. True. He said that he was not worried that Michael Cohen would cooperate with the Mueller investigation, because he, the President, had done nothing wrong. (Headlines like “Will Cohen flip on Trump?” over the last few days imply that there is something to flip about, because the Left, “the resistance,” the news media and those AWOL Ethics Alarms readers have assumed from the beginning that Trump is guilty of some dire and impeachable conduct. Continue reading

Comment Of The Day: “Lies, Dunces, Fools, Villains, Hypocrites And Big Liars In The Resistance’s Plan E, “The President Is Disabled!” [Part 3]”

Here’s another one.

Regular readers here know I’m a sucker for Presidential history, even when I’m not the one expounding on it. I’m also a sucker for posts that I would otherwise have to write myself., and I was outlining a very similar post to this when Steve-O-in-NJ kindly produced this Comment of the Day. For of there is one thing my life-time love affair with the Presidency and the men who have had the audacity to try, always with mixed success, to fulfill its crushing challenges, has taught me, it is that these were all weird men, each in their own unique ways. You have to be weird to seek this job, or survive it.  The argument that Donald Trump’s undeniable weirdness is somehow deserving of less tolerance than any of the other Presidents is  bigotry mixed with ignorance. Leadership is itself abnormal, and has infinite guises.

Welcome to Steve-O-in-NJ’s Comment of the Day on the post, Lies, Dunces, Fools, Villains, Hypocrites And Big Liars In The Resistance’s Plan E, “The President Is Disabled!” [Part 3]

Washington was an inch away from leading an army personally to put down the Whiskey Rebellion. Andrew Jackson had a notorious temper (all his life), fought duels (though not while in office), and said he was going to hang the first South Carolinian who defied Federal law to the first tree he could find if bloodshed resulted from that defiance. LBJ gave interviews while on the toilet, more than once. Jimmy Carter talked about having consulted with his young daughter regarding policy matters and claimed to have seen a UFO. Calvin Coolidge brushed off a reporter who had made a bet that she could get more than two words out o him by saying “you lose.” Grover Cleveland had half his jaw cut out due to cancer and told the press he had two bad teeth extracted. He also married a woman who was young enough to be his daughter. Lincoln of course battled what we’d probably now recognize as clinical depression.

The two biggest offenders for presidential disability were Woodrow Wilson, who was actually completely disabled by a stroke and hid it, in effect making the nation an oligarchy ruled by his wife and closest advisors, and JFK, who hid the fact that he had Addison’s disease (why that didn’t keep him out of the Navy I don’t know), probably PTSD, and crippling back pain that sometimes left him unable to stand without drugs. I also wonder if it would be out of line to diagnose Clinton with satyriasis, given his behavior.

My main point is that some of the arguably best presidents like Washington and Jackson, others who were at least popular like Cleveland and Clinton, and some that official history is reluctant to examine too closely like JFK (although that is starting to change) all had issues of risky or extreme actions, bizarre behavior, or concealing disability from the public, and no one now calls any of them unfit for office, nor was that charge ever leveled to my knowledge at any of them with any level of seriousness. As far as I know no Republican leader has ever leveled the charge of mental or other unfitness at any Democratic president with any seriousness, although Clinton’s sexcapades, Carter’s incompetence and errors, LBJ’s open crudeness and weirdness, and JFK’s litany of problems presented the opportunity several times. Continue reading

Comment Of The Day: “Morning Ethics Warm-Up, 1/7/2018: Lies, Dunces, Fools, Villains, Hypocrites And Big Liars In The Resistance’s Plan E, “The President Is Disabled!” [Part I]”

I am drowning, once again, in deserving Comments of the Day. This is a good thing in many respects, including the special circumstances that I am sick and have the energy of a spent battery. It is perplexing because it threatens to transform EA into an ethics version of Medium and put me out of a job.

One benefit of having such a diverse and erudite crowd here is that people who actually know what they are talking about have a tendency to interject when the discussion gets sloppy. John Billingsley just did this on the topic of dementia, which was much on everyone’s mind as a result of the embarrassing outbreak of  the anti-Trump coup plot known here as Plan E in the news media and among “the resistance.” (Here’s an especially revolting effort from yesterday by old Cross-Fire from the Left veteran Bill Press. When a opinion piece begins by calling a professor of psychiatry who has been rebuked by her own association “a leading psychiatrist” and asserts convincing authority in her announcing that the President’s mental health is “unraveling” based on a substantially debunked book, objective people can tell what’s going on, and it isn’t fair, dispassionate analysis.)

This is John’s Comment of the Day on the post, Morning Ethics Warm-Up, 1/7/2018: Lies, Dunces, Fools, Villains, Hypocrites And Big Liars In The Resistance’s Plan E, “The President Is Disabled!” [Part I]:

The word “dementia” is being tossed about here with little regard to what it actually means. It is a word that has a specific technical meaning and is not something that can be diagnosed by simply watching someone on TV or reading their tweets. There is no specific, single identifying symptom of dementia. Statements someone doesn’t like, decisions someone thinks are bad, slips of the tongue, lapses of memory, spelling or grammatical errors, calling another national leader “Rocket Man” and comparing your button to his, cutting off aid to Pakistan, enforcing the law as written, not believing in global warming, referring to yourself as a stable genius, acting like an idiot at times, doing inexplicable things, being unethical, etc. are not specific symptoms of dementia. Taken all together they do not make the diagnosis of dementia. To make a diagnosis in this manner is no more valid than diagnosing Hillary as having seizures based on a few movements seen on video.

Dementia is a syndrome, a group of symptoms that occur together, not a specific disease. There are many diseases that may result in dementia such as Alzheimer’s disease, Lewy body disease, and vascular disease to name only a few. The DSM V actually eliminated the term “dementia” and replaced it with the term “major neurocognitive disorder” but the diagnostic criteria are essentially unchanged and they are (taken from the DSM V):

Evidence of significant cognitive decline from a previous level of performance in one or more cognitive domains (complex attention, executive function, learning and memory, language, perceptual-motor, or social cognition) based on:

Concern of the individual, a knowledgeable informant, or the clinician that there has been a significant decline in cognitive function; and

A substantial impairment in cognitive performance, preferably documented by standardized neuropsychological testing or, in its absence, another quantified clinical assessment.

The cognitive deficits interfere with independence in everyday activities (i.e., at a minimum, requiring assistance with complex instrumental activities of daily living such as paying bills or managing medications).

There are a couple of other technical requirements that are not pertinent to this discussion.

As you can see the first criteria requires a “significant cognitive decline” in one or more areas of functioning. I don’t believe anyone can give specific examples from available sources to conclusively show there has been a significant decline. I don’t think there is any available evidence that even strongly suggests there has been a significant decline.

Has Trump himself, a knowledgeable informant (not an anonymous source), or a clinician who has actually examined him expressed concern that he has experienced a significant cognitive decline? Both Theresa May and Mike Pompeo, though not clinicians, have at least interacted with him in circumstances that would be likely to reveal significant cognitive impairment, and they say no. Has there been standardized testing or other quantified clinical assessment? If there is, it certainly isn’t public knowledge. Does he require assistance with taking his medications and paying his bills? I don’t know but I rather doubt it.

For anyone other than a qualified professional who has actually examined him to diagnose that he is demented is simply name calling and should be given the weight it deserves. Absolutely none. Now if you want to call him demented, a moron, an idiot, or anything else in the slang rather than technical sense of those terms, have at it, but don’t then try to pretend that you made a real diagnosis carrying any weight or satisfying the requirements of the 25th Amendment.