I Figured It Out: The Congressional Democrats Are Imitating Saddam Hussein [PART I]

I was just lying awake with a dismal headache, as  “Iolanthe’s” Lord Chancellor memorably sung, when it suddenly came to me, like a bolt from Olympus.  I realized what it was that the unethical impeachment-rattling strategy of Nancy Pelosi and the Democrats reminded me of. It’s the same trick Saddam Hussein attempted regarding his elusive “Weapons of Mass Destruction” charade.

If you recall, Hussein tried to pull off a dangerous bluff. Having removed, shipped away to allies, or destroyed all of his WMDs to avoid the Gulf War against him resuming (it was only a cease fire, remember, with conditions that were supposed to be enforced by U.N. members), he flamboyantly behaved as if he still had them. The despot refused to allow the full inspections that the cease fire deal required, and also interfered with air surveillance. These were flagrant violations of the cease fire, but Saddam was certain that he could forestall any military action because the U.N. leadership, and notably Russia and France as well, were profiting from bribes and under-the-table deals to help Hussein get around U.N. sanctions, enriching both him and them while the Iraqi people suffered. His corrupt pals assured him that they were capable of keeping the United States at bay.

Why was Hussein playing this dangerous game? As he explained to his captors after his government was overthrown, he was bluffing to keep Iran from attacking, which he was certain it would do if they knew he had disarmed.

Now, you well might ask why anyone would admire a plan that not only got hundreds of thousands of people killed and wasted billions of dollars, but that also ended up with the planner being captured in a “spider hole” and ultimately executed.  Remember, we’re not talking about entirely rational people here. We’re talking about “the resistance,” and those a party that is hostage to it. The circumstances of the Democrats’ lack of metaphorical WMDs are different in their details: the “resistance” had convinced themselves  that they would get damning evidence from the Mueller Investigation (Trump is a bad guy, so he must be guilty of something), but it provided nothing useful. The Democratic leadership is now trapped in a dangerous game that they think requires them to pander to and mollify a fanatic, anti-American, anti-democracy, furiously anti-Trump base, that is, as that description might suggest, irrational and destructive. Continue reading

And “The Resistance” Jumps The Shark! Pelosi Announces Mind-Bending Impeachment Plan P, and The Washington Post Launches Plan Q

This is all so embarrassing—as an American and an advocate of Constitutional government, I’M embarrassed, and those perpetrating this fiasco have more to be embarrassed about than I do by far— and ridiculous that I am at a loss to describe it fairly. My head-exploding graphics don’t do it justice, and a mere train wreck photo is inadequate. I’m not even certain where to place the focus.

I was tempted to concentrate on the now not rationally disputable fact that if you can read Pelosi’s comments yesterday and consider Greg Sargent’s and Brian Klaas’s columns in the Washington Post and not think, “Holy Cow! These people have completely lost their minds!” you have passed, as the Phantom of the Opera was fond of saying, the point of no return, and your Trump hate and derangement have digested your brain.

This is so, so obvious now, but that’s not an ethics framing, and I’m looking for that. I was thinking about designating the entire Democratic Congress as “Incompetent Elected Officials Of The Month,” but that doesn’t quite encompass the enormity of what we are  witnessing. Similarly, calling the Post’s self-evident decision to put bringing down Trump over all professional standards as well as law, justice and common sense is minimized by calling it mere “mainsteam media bias,” as the Ethics Alarms tag would have it. This is more than that. This is a public display of insanity by those incapable of realizing what craziness is any more.

Did Donald Trump really drive them to this? “Mr. [Trump], are you that smart?”

Let’s start with Speaker Nancy Pelosi, who said

“Don’t tell anybody I told you this: Trump is goading us to impeach him. That’s what he’s doing. Every single day, he’s just like, taunting and taunting and taunting…We can’t impeach him for political reasons, and we can’t not impeach him for political reasons.We have to see where the facts take us.”

I could have made this gallactically unethical statement an”Unethical Quote of The Month,” but again, that would trivialize its significance. Of course, the statement  begins with a “Comnnie Chung,” an intentionally contradictory “don’t tell anyone I told you this”–what is that? A joke? A signal that Pelosi doesn’t take her own party’s impeachment mania seriously? I have no idea.

I do know, however, that the statement that the President is goading and taunting Democrats into impeaching him is as close as we will ever get to an outright admission that the President’s “high crimes and misdemeanors” consist of his being himself, daring to win the office, and existing on the planet. I’ve checked the POTUS twitter feed: he’s not talking about impeachment “every day” or saying anything that could rationally be interpreted as aimed at trying to goad Congress into taking that step. “The resistance”  regards the President’s existence as enough to justify impeachment. This is Pelosi’s Impeachment Plan P, a Mobius strip, alternate universe theory that says, “We have to impeach him because he’s daring us to and if we don’t, we let him win, but we can’t, but then he’ll win!” [You can find and review Plans A-O here.]

Who in their right mind says things like this in public? It’s like saying “I am  Monga, Empress of the Eels!” You only say it if you are confident your audience thinks you ARE  Monga, or you risk a visit by the men in white coats.

Yet Pelosi’s statement gets worse. “We have to see where the facts take us”—what “facts?” An excessive, disruptive, falsely-reported and dubiously executed investigation provided the facts, and because they do not support impeachment,  the Democrats want to look for more “facts,” they don’t know what, but they are sure they’ll justify impeachment. “Fariness, justice and competence” left the Democrats’ building long ago.

I’m now giving a spoiler on a post I’m working on about impeachment ethics, but this is not how impeachment works, was intended to work, or can work.

What the Constitution says and the Founders intended is that when a President, in office, commits “high crimes and misdemeanors” (“high” refers to crimes relating to the President’s high office, and also modifies “misdemeanors,” meaning that some acts by the President, because of his office and power, may be impeachable even if they are not technically crimes. They are misdemeanors in the general sense, not the legal sense: literally bad acts.), then it may be necessary to remove him from office because those acts make him inherently untrustworthy.

What the Democrats and “the resistance” have been trying to do since the 2016 election is the Bizarro World version of impeachment. Deciding immediately in the wake of their candidate’s defeat (based on no new information that the public didn’t have when it duly elected Trump) that the new President is untrustworthy and dangerous, they have been looking for something that could be used to impeach him. This was essentially what the post-Civil War Radical Republicans tried to do to President Andrew Johnson, and their near-miss failure has been interpreted by many historians (as well as “Profiles in Courage”) as saving the office of the Presidency and maybe the nation itself.

Pelosi’s statement has been mocked in various forums as “we have to pass a bill of impeachment to see what’s in it.”

Bingo.

Now let’s look at the Post’s pundits. Believe it or not, Greg Sargent makes this argument: The Democrats want to get Trump’s tax returns so they can look for something that might justify impeachment, but Trump might prevail in the courts and keep them private, because the courts could hold that Congress was “just rummaging through Trump’s returns to embarrass him and not for a legitimate legislative purpose.” That’s because this is exactly what Congress wants to do.  (I think that the courts rejecting the House’s subpoena is more than possible; it’s virtually certain.)

Democrats dare not take the chance that a court would reject its demand for Trump’s tax documents, because that loss would make Democrats look bad right before the 2020 elections. Ah, but if the Democrats start proceedings to impeach Trump first and then demand the tax returns as part of the inquiry, then they have a “legitimate purpose” to seek the returns!”

There it is: Impeachment Plan Q! Impeach Trump to get his taxes, and then use those taxes to impeach him! Brilliant!

Sargent says, in full derangement mode,

“Not getting Trump’s returns would allow him to get away with one of his most blatant acts of contempt for transparency, for the separation of powers and for the notion that basic accountability should apply to him at all.”

What? When did not providing the public with tax returns become an impeachable offense, since every President before Nixon did exactly that? Accountability for what? The IRS under multiple administrations examined Trump’s returns, and did not find any crimes. Sargent is just giving us “resistance” blather. Ann Althouse calls it “histrionic,” also a good word, and nicer than “nuts.” She writes,

“If the courts took the position Sargent is afraid of, it would be because the court was enforcing separation of powers, limiting Congress to the legislative role and protecting the Executive power from encroachment. Trump isn’t showing “contempt” for separation of powers. He’s taking a position on separation of powers. That position would either win or lose in court, and the court would give the final answer on the meaning of separation of powers.”

Greg Sargent is the model of rationality, however, compared to colleague Brian Klaas, who issues one false theory after another:

“So here’s a question for congressional leaders: Precisely how many crimes does someone have to commit before impeachment hearings are warranted? Does the person in question get a pass if it’s three or fewer? Was there some clause in the Constitution that I missed that says it’s okay for the president to direct a criminal conspiracy in certain circumstances? Is there a Federalist Paper that says the president can commit tax fraud so long as it was years ago, or that obstruction of justice is fair game so long as it happens on Twitter? To oppose impeachment hearings now, you have to believe that the president allegedly engaging in three separate categories of criminal acts isn’t serious enough to even consider impeachment. Really?”

How did a Post editor let this get published? There was no “conspiracy”; the Mueller report was unambiguous on that accusation. The “resistance’s” response is denial at this point, and to keep repeating Big Lies.

Where’s the “tax fraud”? The IRS’s job is to find tax fraud, and didn’t. Trump doesn’t fill out his own returns, and they were presumably examined with unusual care by the agency charged with that responsibility. How dare this hack state as fact that Trump engaged in tax fraud? Oh, he just “knows.” How many times have I heard that justification for impeachment?

And the obstruction claim…there’s no precedent in law or history for punishing opinions, tweeted or otherwise, as “obstruction of justice.” The Justice Department reviewed the evidence and determined that the obstruction theory was weak, ergo no obstruction of justice. Nor was there any underlying crime to try to cover-up by obstruction, and the investigation was not, in fact, obstructed in any way.

It is true that “the resistance” has become completely unhinged gradually, and it may be difficult to see the exact moment of complete detachment from reality, since the movement was hardly rational to begin with. Nonetheless,  that moment has definitely arrived

Early Ethics Observations On Reactions To The Mueller Report

It was exactly 12:45 pm when I was informed by NPR that Nancy Pelosi and Chuck Schumer had issued a joint statement claiming the Attorney General Barr’s four page summary of the report released today had misled Congress. The report had been released at 11:00 am, and was over 400 pages long, as well as extremely dense, full of detailed legal arguments that even lawyers…like me…would have to read slowly and maybe more than once. What are the chances that Chuck and Nancy had read the report  by 12:45? I think “none” is a fair answer. It’s highly unlikely that any of their staff had read the report by them either. The accusation against Barr was a lie.

See that graphic above? That’s the dishonest fundraiser Democrats sent out almost immediately to inspire indignation from Democrats who haven’t read the report. If there are any ethical Democrats whose reaction to this isn’t “How dare my party treat me like I’m an idiot and give me false and misleading information and analysis to separate me from my money?” I’d like to hear from them. Maybe there just aren’t any ethical Democrats at all. At this point, I’m willing to entertain that possibility.

By the way, I’m about 40% through the report, though not in sequence. It is thorough, professional and appears to be fair. Continue reading

Unethical Proposal, But The Reaction Was Worth It…And Maybe That Was the Idea

“Mr Gallagher, are you that smart?”
“You’re damn right he is!”

Once again, President Trump brings us utilitarianism at its best and most brutal, and perhaps trolling at its most refined.

The White House apparently has discussed sending illegal immigrants  and dubious “migrants” to sanctuary cities. A Washington Post story described this as “targeting political foes” :

White House officials have tried to pressure U.S. immigration authorities to release detainees onto the streets of “sanctuary cities” to retaliate against President Trump’s political adversaries, according to Department of Homeland Security officials and email messages reviewed by The Washington Post.

Trump administration officials have proposed transporting detained immigrants to sanctuary cities at least twice in the past six months — once in November, as a migrant caravan approached the U.S. southern border, and again in February, amid a standoff with Democrats over funding for Trump’s border wall.

If true, and since the Post is reporting it, who knows if it is, the proposal is unethical, however diabolically amusing. The national government cannot and must not pick and choose among the states, cities and citizens: all must be treated equally, even those, like the sanctuary cities, that are asking to be slapped down. The idea is redolent of Chicago local politics. or the prime of Washington’s Mayor Barry, who somehow managed to see that the roads in Republican districts stayed snow-bound long after Barry-supporting districts got plowed.

However, nothing about the fact that the White House may have wanted to play games with illegal immigrants in the face of Democratic refusal to help him enforce our laws is either surprising or substantive. The reaction of the President’s foes, however, is useful intelligence. If this was ploy launched to make Democrats and others reveal their real attitudes and monumental hypocrisy, boy, did it work. Continue reading

Nancy Pelosi And Impeachment Ethics

Clearly, it’s time to revisit impeachment ethics issues, after Nancy Pelosi’s snide declaration (after saying that she is always respectful of the Presidency, mind you), that the President “wasn’t worth it,” it being the political risk of sending him to a trial in the Senate. We should pause a second to acknowledge the hilarity inherent in the Speaker saying that impeachment wasn’t desirable because it would be “divisive to the country” and “divides the country.”  The Democrats, led by Barack Obama, who pointed the way, have intentionally and cynically sliced and diced the country into victims and villains, champions of the oppressed and deplorables, for a decade, unforgivably risking national strength, comity, and peace for speculative electoral gain.

We haven’t added a new Plan to the list of “resistance” and Democratic Party coup attempts—for that’s what they are–including impeachment theories, since last July, though many of the classics re-emerged in the news.  Remember, there were law professors who advocated impeaching Trump before he was inaugurated.  Here’s where it stands:

Impeachment And Coup Plans.

Plan A: Reverse the election by hijacking the Electoral College.[Status: FAILED and DEAD, until it rises again in 2020]

Plan B: Pre-emptive impeachment.  [Status: FAILED and DEAD]

Plan C : The Emoluments Clause. [Status: Still twitching! ]

Plan D: “Collusion with Russia” [Status: On life support]

Plan E : ”Trump is mentally ill so this should trigger the 25th Amendment.” [Status: Amazingly, still being talked about .]

Plan F: The Maxine Waters Plan, which  is to just impeach the President as soon as Democrats control both Houses, because they can. [Status: Hope springs eternal!]

Plan G : “The President obstructed justice by firing incompetent subordinates, and that’s impeachable.” [Status: LAME, but ONGOING]

Plan H: “Tweeting stupid stuff is impeachable” [Status: ONGOING]

Plan I:  “Let’s relentlessly harass him and insult him and obstruct his efforts to do his job so he snaps and does something really impeachable.” [Status: ONGOING]

Plan J : Force Trump’s resignation based on alleged sexual misconduct that predated his candidacy. .[Status: FAILED and DEAD]

Plan K: Election law violations through pay-offs of old sex-partners [Status: ONGOING]

Plan L: The perjury trap: get Trump to testify under oath, then prove something he said was a lie. [Status: To be determined.]

Plan M: Guilt by association. Prove close associates or family members violated laws. [Status: Ongoing.]

Plan N: Claim that Trump’s comments at his press conference with Putin were “treasonous.”

I’m sure you’ve noticed that the soft coup-complicit news media hasn’t been predicting impeachable results from the Mueller investigation lately, which seems odd, since they have been fanning flames of anticipation and suspicion from the day it started. This is because most rational observers are pretty certain that Trump, as he has said from the beginning, did nothing wrong, and certainly nothing impeachable regarding Russia. Never mind:  Democrats have made it clear that this soon-to-be-pronounced dead horse will be flogged by them into goo as long as it attracts donations and is a viable means of stopping the elected President from doing the job he was duly elected to do. Continue reading

Lunch Time Ethics Warm-Up, 3/8/2019: An Ethics Hogie! Dogs and Death, As Democrats Openly Embrace The Dark Side…

Yum Yum!

(I’m Atlanta bound on business and pleasure, but I’ll have significant downtime. With some luck and if my laptop doesn’t explode, it should seem like I never left.)

1. Not unethical, just stupid. I would have warned everyone in advance that I was going to be experimenting with the layout, but I didn’t know it myself. There was a surprise upgrade offer from WordPress that was too good to pass up, but I assumed (Felix Unger: “When you assume, you make an ass of u and me!” that the blog wouldn’t change until I changed it. Nope: the second I clicked on the payment button, the design blew up and was unreadable. Again, my apologies. And also again, this may not be the final design. I’ll be experimenting while I’m in Georgia.

2. But would they let Will Smith play Bill Jenkins? Bill Jenkins died last month, and naturally the news media paid little attention. He was an African-American scientist who was working as a statistician at the United States Public Health Service in the Sixties when learned of the horrific Tuskegee study, one of the worst ethical breaches in the history of U.S. medicine. The federal government deceived hundreds of black men in Macon County, Alabama into thinking that their cases of syphilis  wer being treated when they were not. The researchers were investigating what unchecked syphilis would do to the human body. The black men were being used as human guinea pigs, without their informed consent.

Appalled by the study’s unethical and cruel design, Jenkins spoke to his supervisor, who told him, “Don’t worry about it.” The supervisor was, in fact, monitoring the study. Jenkins defied him and wrote an article about the study that he shared with doctors and journalists. Nobody appeared to care. The study, which began in 1932 , continued through 1972, when another health service scientist exposed it and got it shut down.

Jenkins was haunted by the research and his inability to end it. He went back to school to train as an epidemiologist. The Times reveals the rest of the story:

“He would go on to devote himself to trying to reduce disease and illness among African Americans and other people of color, in part by recruiting more such people into the public health professions.

He was one of the first researchers at the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention to recognize how dramatically AIDS was affecting black men. He helped organize the first conference on AIDS in underserved neighborhoods and became the C.D.C.’s director of AIDS prevention for minorities.

And for 10 years he oversaw the government’s Participants Health Benefits Program, which provides free lifetime medical care to the men of the Tuskegee study and their eligible family members.”

3. Dog show ethics. (This is late, and I apologize to everyone, dogs included.) Lesson: even dogs have conflicts of interest. Continue reading

Saturday Ethics Warm-Up, 3/2/2019: Road Trip Epiphanies…And The Washington Post’s “Note” On The Covington Fiasco

Hi, everybody! It’s good to be back home!

I was torn whether to mention in this morning’s post that I would be Northern Virginia-bound from the Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania area (Washington County) for most of the day. Who knows what banned and lurking commenters would seize on that intelligence to raid the forum here while I was unable to moderate, as occurred yesterday?

1. I wonder if most lawyers have the same reaction… The Pennsylvania lawyers I spoke to all seemed to share the same impression of the Michael Cohen testimony that I had. Why would anyone believe someone like that? What is the point of Congressional testimony by a convicted liar and disbarred attorney? No one disagreed that Cohen couldn’t be a witness in any proceeding, not would his testimony be admissible. How could anyone see this as anything but a transparent and  base effort by Democrats in Congress to try to smear the President with ad hominem slurs and unprovable allegations by someone obviously trying to somehow improve his own, self-made, miserable position? The lawyers are also concerned Congress is weakening the crucial attorney client privilege by encouraging a witness to breach it.

2. Ethics Corrupter: Nancy Pelosi. How dare the speaker of the House insult the President before the public by saying, “Do the country a favor, don’t run in 2020?” The democratic Congress continues to lead the effort to strip the President and his office of all the respect and basic deference they both must have for the government to function. Her snide condescension is unprofessional and nauseating….as well as bizarre, coming after the Trump-led economy just had its best month of growth in a decades—just as he promised it would. Given the state of her own party right now, a plea of “Do Democrats a favor, don’t run in 2020” would be more logical.

3. Engineering ethics. My GM rental car was keyless. It’s cool and all, but why? Congress is trying to pass new safety regulations because keyless cars are killing people. Drivers leave them running without realizing it, and sometimes poison themselves or other with carbon monoxide. They also may be easier to steal.

What, exactly, is the problem that keyless ignition was needed to solve? The “improvement” adds to the cost of cars, and appears to be a classic example of fixing something that ain’t broke, just Americans like gadgets. I have attacked the “if it saves one life” idiocy of the anti-gun lobby, but that’s because guns have very valid uses. If a completely gratuitous change in engineering and technology kills anyone without conferring some counter-balancing advantage, then that change is irresponsible and reckless.

4. Not good enough—not even close. The Washington Post, which is being sued by lawyers for 16-year-old Nicholas Sandmann for its role in focusing partisan hate on a student who had in fact done nothing wrong, issued an “Editor’s Note” on the episode late yesterday. Here it is in its entirety: Continue reading