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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 won’t lie to you…

It’s not a good morning,

(until Americas and journalists condemn this for what it is.)

1 The Big Lie Let us begin by calling the pile of news stories spreading the slander, libel and fake news that President Donald J. Trump is mentally disabled what it really is. It is part of a Big Lie strategy by Democrats, “the resistance”, and the mainstream news media to bring down the Trump Administration without having to win an election.

Because the term”Big Lie”  itself was coined by  Adolf Hitler, in his 1925 book Mein Kampf, and because the Nazis were themselves so fond of the tactic, many hesitate to use the phrase when that is exactly what is being done for fear that to do so will be attacked as comparing the Big Lie wielder to Hitler, Goebbels, or fascists. People are free to make whatever comparisons they like. Using a technique the Nazis mastered doesn’t make a group Nazis, but using a sinister, powerful propaganda weapon that honest and fair people recognize as vile and dangerous is unforgivable.

The claim that President Trump is suffering from dementia or some other form of mental disability is a big lie” by definition. Hitler called it a lie so “colossal” that no one would believe that someone “could have the impudence to distort the truth so infamously.” The idea, of course, is to make it impossible for the victim of the attack to ignore the lie, and require the victim and others to deny it. The lie is given currency by the denials, and then the Big Lie propagandists can focus on the denials rather than the substance of the lie itself, of which there is none. Brilliant!

An essential element for a Big Lie to work is extreme bias and bigotry. The absence of these in sufficient measure is why other recent Big Lie attempts, such as the theory that the Bush administration bombed the Twin Towers and the Pentagon, and the Birther claims, failed. The past year has demonstrated that, thanks in part to the unAmerican efforts by Democratic leadership to undermine the legitimacy and acceptance of President Trump’s election, and a non-stop negative tone and attitude in the reporting of the news regarding his administration, a very large component of the electorate is steeped in irrational fear and hate of the President that is emotional rather than rational. That’s bigotry, and it is the fertile solid where big lies flourish.

2. Why Plan E now? Plan E is one of the rotating plans (reviewed in #5 here) embraced at various times in the past year by “the resistance” to justify overturning the 2016 election.I touched on this yesterday. Plan J, the effort to force Trump to resign in the midst of the Terror-like, Harvey Weinstein sparked witch hunt to drive from positions of power make any man who ever allegedly engaged in any sexual misconduct ranging from a gross proposition to an impulsive kiss to rape, never came close to working, even though Democrats sacrificed an iconic Congressman and a rising Senator in the effort. The death knell of Plan J was when it was revealed that Democratic supporters, including the shameless Media Matters, were paying women, through lawyers or otherwise, to make accusations and bring law suits. The decision to re-animate Plan E was the furor and media feeding frenzy surrounding Michael Wolff’s latest book of whispered gossip, pay-back, rumors and spin, “Fire and Fury.” Wolff is a muckraking entrepreneur whose past books and articles have been frequently criticized for including speculation and outright falsehoods. Never mind: the timing of a sensational best seller purporting to dish the real dirt about the chaotic early day of the Trump White House as it struggled to find its footing and the man at its center, Donald Trump was too good to pass up. Wolff is no Bob Woodward, but as they say, any port in a storm. The new narrative is that Trump is nuts, or senile, or something. He’s not right in the head. Lots of people who work with him say so (anonymously), and lots of people who would have said or done anything to stop him from being President have been saying so all along.

3. This Big Lie’s essential smaller lies.

  • Prime among them is that anything new has occurred, or that there is evidence of the President’s mental/emotional unfitness that the public was not fully aware of long before they elected him. There isn’t. The re-emergence of the Plan E narrative is nothing more than a re-litigation of the campaign.

Trump critics (like me, as I variously described him during the campaign—and before–as unstable, narcissistic, infantile, stupid, deranged and worse, based on specific statements and incidents) always believed that he did not have the appropriate intellect, instincts, emotional make-up or character to lead the country, but the electorate did not agree, and that’s all that matters. Conservatives, Republicans and those just sick of the arrogance and divisiveness of the Obama administration adopted  the long-accepted Democratic position, specially reinforced to get Bill Clinton (and, hopefully, his equally ethics-challenged wife) elected and keep him in office, that only results matter, not character. This coalition  elected Trump despite his obvious flaws, and to some extent, because of them.

  • The second attendant lie to Plan E—maybe it should be #1– is that the 25th Amendment’s Section 4 allows the Cabinet to remove any President who isn’t literally unable to function. Section 4 states,

“Whenever the Vice President and a majority of either the principal officers of the executive departments or of such other body as Congress may by law provide, transmit to the President pro tempore of the Senate and the Speaker of the House of Representatives their written declaration that the President is unable to discharge the powers and duties of his office, the Vice President shall immediately assume the powers and duties of the office as Acting President.”

Until the Democrats began pretending otherwise, no one, not legal scholars, not Constitutional experts, not people who can read English, ever interpreted “unable” to mean anything but completely disabled: a major stroke, a coma, debilitating illness. A disabled President can’t sign documents, can’t make decisions, can’t delegate, can’t hold meetings, can’t even tweet. If the definition of “unable” bleeds into “doesn’t make decisions or express himself in ways others think are wise or prudent,” then the 25th Amendment becomes an open-ended means to achieve a coup….which is the real purpose of distorting it now. Underestimating the seriousness of this effort, or its existential danger for the nation, would be mistake.

  • Even if Trump were handicapped by a new mental or emotional problem, and there is no evidence that he is, Presidents battling such problems are practically the natural state of the office.  Too many Presidents have suffered through various health issues, physical and mental, in the course of their terms in office to count. The 25th Amendment was not put in place to allow a coup any time a President was temporarily diminished or not in top form. Several Presidents, including Lincoln and Teddy Roosevelt, suffered from clinical depression. They dealt with it. Others dealt with alcoholism, drug addiction, serious illness, narcissism, old age, and often many of these at once. FDR was dying during his entire last term, until he did in fact die.

Most of our leaders have been mentally and emotionally abnormal in one way or the other, because normal people don’t become President.

  • Finally, contrary to what “the resistance” and the media are peddling, the evidence indicates that the President has been doing his job surprisingly well. Those who hate him and his policies can’t accept or admit that, but it is a matter of record. There is no legitimate, objective evidence to support Plan E. That is why this is, in reality, a Big Lie.

Exposing a Big Lie takes a Big Post. I’ll get into the fools, dunces, villains and liars next.

 

 

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Morning Ethics Warm-Up, 1/6/2018: The “Too Sick To Come Up With A Good Headline” Edition

He’s lucky: he has hair...

Good Morning!

1 A solution to a perpetual problem. I do the mandatory introduction to legal ethics for two jurisdictions. Both are early in the morning,and both have courts monitoring them, insisting that to get credit, attendees must be present for every second of the course. The problem: late arrivals. One of my jurisdictions had a tendency to let late-comers in if it’s just a few minutes, but sometimes it gets ridiculous. Once the line is blurred, when does it get hard again? I have sen the administrators tell a lawyer that she is absolutely the last one who will get a break, only to see another late comer burst through the door panicked, upset, and with a doozy of an excuse…and then another, and another. This is especially ironic because lawyers are ethically required to be on time to court, or else.

In my other jurisdiction, they deal with the problem by absolute enforcement. 30 seconds late, and you have to come back next month. It doesn’t matter why, it doesn’t matter where the lawyer came from (one had flown in from Seoul and was two minutes late). If you arrive after the doors are closed at 9 am sharp, you can’t get credit. This, as you might imagine, often sparks tantrums, tears, threats, and “Do you know who I am?” One furious attendee actually cast a curse on every bar employee in sight. I’m talking about a real curse, right out of the movies, pointing and chanting. Some months we have had more than ten latecomers in the lobby, acting like an angry mob, and threatening a riot.

This jurisdiction has solved the problem by recently telling all who need the course on the bar website and  in email messages that the program begins at 8:30 am, when it really doesn’t. In other words, the solution is a lie: if someone arrives at 8:59, there’s no problem.

Is this ethical?

2. Oh, this was obviously going to be an ethics rain wreck long ago. AG Sessions announced that the Justice Department would not be following the Obama Administration’s policy regarding federal anti-pot laws—which is to say, it would not signal that it wouldn’t enforce the law. As a result,  Corey Gardner, Republican Senator from happily stoned Colorado, announced that he would block any appointments to Justice until the Department charged with enforcing laws agrees to stop enforcing laws. What Sessions did is not the draconian reversal it has been represented as by the Angry Trump Hate Mob, Stoner Chapter. Read the order from Sessions here.

Never mind. Following the lead of California, which has officially announced that it will encourage breaches of the immigration laws, now Colorado wants to impede the functioning of national law enforcement to force the federal government to let another state veto drug laws. This is what we call “a dangerous and irresponsible trend.”

3.  The Tragedy of Joanie Cunnningham. The New York Times Magazine ended the year with biographical sketches, including the sad story of Erin Moran, aka Joanie Cunningham on “Happy Days,” who died of cancer in 2017. It’s an all-too-typical story of a child star with a dysfunctional family who grew up on a set without ever receiving the parenting and support she needed to be able to become a functioning adult. I knew about Moran’s problems after the show ended; I did not know that her bitterness about her fellow cast members stemmed from her feelings as a child that her TV family was a substitute her real family, and that they failed her. Of course, the Cunninghams, Fonzie, Ralph and Potsie had no duty to become Moran’s surrogate family, but I am not surprised that a child actor would feel this way, especially one who was  being neglected and mistreated at home the way Erin Moran apparently was. Interestingly, child actor advocate Paul Petersen has said that his TV mom and dad, Donna Reed and Carl Betz, did act as his surrogate parents in important and beneficial ways.

I continue to believe that using child performers before the age of informed consent is unethical. Continue reading

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Morning Ethics Warm-Up, 9/13/17: Mansplaining, More Climate Change Hype, And Shut Up And Sing, Stevie…

Good Morning!

1 Keep it up, you ignorant exaggerators, liars and hypers. Keep it up. Eventually people of good will and functioning brains will figure out that you and whatever movements you crave lack integrity and decency, and rely on manipulation and fake news from a news media that decries fake news.

2. Yesterday, Stevie Wonder began yesterday’s Hand In Hand Telethon to raise money for hurricane recovery by  by saying, “Anyone who believes that there’s no such thing as global warming must be blind or unintelligent.”

Good-bye, Hand In Hand Telethon! In fact, good-bye all such telethons, forever. The last one featured professional asshole Kanye West announcing that President Bush was deliberately leaving blacks unrescued, while weenie Mike Myers stood there next to the rapper like gutless tool he is. I switched off Stevie and his ignorant pals and watched the Red Sox slaughter the Oakland As and reruns of “Criminal Minds.”

I know you aren’t especially educated or astute beyond your musical genius, Stevie, but that means that you should keep your half-baked opinions off national live TV and out of the ears of people who admire you and are as ignorant as you are (See here). Since global warming cannot credibly or definitively be blamed for any single weather event, Stevie’s inappropriate outburst was a complete non sequitur. The existence of two big hurricanes isn’t evidence of climate change. We could have experienced two hurricanes of the same or greater power if there were no climate change, or if the world were cooling. We know this because we have experienced stronger hurricanes long, long before anyone was arguing about global warming. Thus it would have been equally appropriate for Stevie to declare, “Anyone who doesn’t think Barry Bonds belongs in the Hall of Fame is an idiot,” or “Anyone who doesn’t think Brussels sprouts are yummy is an idiot.” Thanks for sharing, but what exactly does it have to do with helping hurricane victims?

Sensing an opportunity, many celebrities, elected officials and pundits have been  acting like blind, under-educated pop singers. The proper analogy would be the periodic attempts to use mass shootings by unstable people who obtained guns in ways that wouldn’t be blocked in any way by proposed gun policy changes to create a wave of emotion, polls and blind (sorry, Stevie, but you started it) anger that would force new restrictions on individual rights.

When this happens, my personal reaction, as it was to gun control mania after the Sandy Hook shooting, is to say, “OK, that’s it. I was generally in favor of some reasonable policy measures to respond to this problem, but since you advocates for them keep lying, spinning, and using misleading statistics and false arguments, I’m out. I don’t trust you to draft or implement such policies, and as long as liars, cheaters and fools like you are on that side, I’m on the other. Get back to me when you stop lying.” Continue reading

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Morning Ethics Warm-Up: 8/22/17

Good Morning!

1. You cannot imagine how long it takes to prepare a post on WordPress when the internet connection is going out repeatedly, requiring a trip down a flight of stairs, re-booting the modem, scanning for a channel back up the stairs in my office, and furiously searching, reading and linking until Verizon kicks out again after three to ten minutes.

Since none of my 40 phone calls to the Verizon tech who promised that the three-months’ long problem was fixed and that he would sprint like a bunny back to our home to trouble shoot if the malady returned had received the courtesy of a response, I snapped, and got into my car to visit a Verizon wireless store about five minutes away that I didn’t know existed. For some reason the world, though sun-lit, was bathed in a weird light, and my neighbors were lying on the ground wearing what looked like 3-D glasses, but never mind: I had someone to yell at.

There were two young men about the age of my son manning the store, and I told one of them, through gritted teeth, the whole infuriating saga of how much Verizon DSL sucks and what useless customer service his employer provides, rendering both my business and my communications chaotic and unbearable. I didn’t expect anything, really. I just wanted to give hell to someone face to face.

To my shock and amazement, the young man actually did something. He got on the phone—I told him that I took sadistic pleasure in watching Verizon personnel go through the infuriating phone tree, get put on hold, get disconnected, end up in the wrong department, for all of this happened to him as I watched and listened—but he finally reached a supervisor, and told him that the story he had just heard from the gentleman in his office made him ashamed to work for Verizon, and he wanted to know how my problems could be addressed immediately. Yes, he knew that I had a tech visit already scheduled, “but since the same tech has been out there three times, each time assuring him that the problem was successfully addressed, why would he trust us to fix the problem now?”

“If I were him, I would have dumped Verizon and found another provider.”

After about 45 minutes, here was what he accomplished. He got them to agree to send a different and higher level tech this time. He set in motion the process of getting me fee rebates for the three months of intermittent service. And he gave me his card, with instructions to call him immediately if the problem wasn’t fixed. “If I have to, I’ll come to your house and personally see that you have functioning internet service from a new provider,” he said. “one way or the other, I will fix this problem.”

Now THAT’S customer service.

Stay tuned!

2. From President Trump’s speech yesterday:

The men and women of our military operate as one team, with one shared mission and one shared sense of purpose. They transcend every line of race, ethnicity, creed and color to serve together and sacrifice together in absolutely perfect cohesion. That is because all service members are brothers and sisters. They’re all part of the same family. It’s called the American family. They take the same oath, fight for the same flag and live according to the same law. They’re bound together by common purpose, mutual trust and selfless devotion to our nation and to each other.

The soldier understands what we as a nation too often forget, that a wound inflicted upon a single member of our community is a wound inflicted upon us all. When one part of America hurts, we all hurt. And when one citizen suffers an injustice, we all suffer together. Loyalty to our nation demands loyalty to one another. Love for America requires love for all of its people.

When we open our hearts to patriotism, there is no room for prejudice, no place for bigotry and no tolerance for hate. The young men and women we send to fight our wars abroad deserve to return to a country that is not at war with itself at home. We cannot remain a force for peace in the world if we are not at peace with each other.

As we send our bravest to defeat our enemies overseas — and we will always win — let us find the courage to heal our divisions within. Let us make a simple promise to the men and women we ask to fight in our name, that when they return home from battle, they will find a country that has renewed the sacred bonds of love and loyalty that unite us together as one.

But as my Trump-deranged Facebook friends say, we know he doesn’t believe any of this. We know in his heart that he’s a racist Nazi. Besides, they don’t want to heal those divisions. They want to exploit them, and why would they want to be undivided from deplorable citizens they hate anyway? Continue reading

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