Tag Archives: Plan E

Morning Ethics Warm-Up, 1/26/1918: It’s Incompetence Friday!

Good Mronign!

Competence is often not regarded as an ethical value, but it is one of the most important of them all. It is also one of the most commonly breached, usually with the rationalization that “everyone makes mistakes.”

1 “The Nip” Redux  In a legendary “Seinfeld” episode, Elaine’s Christmas card features a photo, taken by amateur photographer and inveterate screw-up Kramer, in which one of her nipples is exposed. Kramer, however, was an admitted amateur. What is Vanity Fair’s alleged professionals’ excuse for its current cover (I’m not talking about the nauseating pandering to Hollywood it represents, for which there is no excuse), which shows actress Reese Witherspoon with three legs?

Vanity Fair may have been too focused on photoshopping out actor James Franco, who was in the original photo but became model-non-grata when he was accused of sexual harassment, and as #MeToo has taught us, an accusation is all the due process these male scum deserve.

2. Segue Alert! And speaking of Hollywood, there has been much ballyhoo over the fact that the nominated Best Actresses this year play feisty, unglamorous, tough, in several cases outright repulsive women. Question: Who likes watching such characters (and more are on the way)? The Academy snubbed the most popular film with a female star, Gail Gadot in “Wonder Woman,” who probably is still too politically incorrect because men—ick!—find her attractive. 2017 was a catastrophically bad year at the box office, meaning that Hollywood proved incompetent at its job, with is making movies people want to see. It also displayed incompetence—not to mention arrogance, bias, condescension, hypocrisy and stupidity–by shooting off its various mouths on political matters, making the entire film industry, which should be a unifying force in the culture, polarizing, like everything else in 2018.

The Hollywood Reporter has a report about the role politics plays in the Academy Award voting; this has always been true, but never more than now. I cannot imagine who would care what or who wins the statuettes when it is all transparent political grandstanding, virtue-signalling and an attempt to meet quotas. Next crisis on the horizon: Hispanic artists are gearing up to show how they have been statistically insufficiently represented in nominations and awards. I presume Asians will do likewise. Why are there not more roles and awards for the differently-abled? Trans performers? Hollywood is committed to the Left, the Left is committed to tribalism, and tribalism has nothing to do with popular entertainment.

Or democracy. But I digress. Continue reading

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Unethical Quote Of The Month: A Reporter At The Press Conference By Dr. Ronny Jackson,The President’s Personal Physician.

“Did you tell the current president about his predecessors’ exercise routine and does this president ask you about how he could follow his predecessors’ example to be as fit as Barack Obama was?”

Unidentified reporter at today’s press conference by Dr. Ronny Jackson regarding President Trump’s physical.

It doesn’t matter who this particular biased, incompetent, unethical journalist was. It is impossible for an objective individual—that is, one who is not totally  unhinged by the Trump Presidency like the “resistance” fanatic who told Nancy Pelosi  at her Q and A session over the weekend,

“The idea that we are going to put all our eggs in the basket of the 2018 midterm election is seriously delusional…[he is] “threatening the whole world with nuclear weapons, right, plundering our precious ecosystems, now opening up our coastline right now, accepting the fact that we are going to have a white supremacist in power for four years and Nancy Pelosi has said impeachment is off the table.”

—to have retained any respect for or trust the rotting profession that has so obviously abandoned all shreds of its traditional ethics. If the idiot who asked that question of Dr. Jackson was an outlier, or an imposter, or a performance artist, one could ignore it. But the assembled journalists didn’t laugh, or jeer. They probably all thought it was a fair question. It wasn’t. It showed that the news media’s absurd and crippling infatuation with Obama is still choking its collective brain by the stem.

Obama is a decade and a half younger than the President, so one possible answer to the query would be,  “I told him to find Doc Brown’s DeLorean.” There is also scant evidence that Obama was especially fit. Unlike Trump, the President was (and perhaps is still) a smoker. He used recreational drugs, and he uses alcohol, none of which are activities that Trump ever engaged in. Unlike Obama’s predecessor, President Bush, he was not a conspicuous exerciser. He was younger and thinner than Trump, that’s all, and his medical condition was as vaguely described to the public as Trump’s was. Based on family history, Trump is a good bet to live longer than Obama. “It’s called genetics,” Jackson said.  “Some people have great genes. I told the President if he had a healthier diet over the next 20 years, he might live to be 200 years old.”

The translation of the foolish question that I highlight today is, essentially, “We all like Obama much better than Trump. Why can’t be more like our idol?” That’s all. The news media should be embarrassed, but they are not.  In 2013, Barbara Walters told an interviewer regarding Obama, Continue reading

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Morning Ethics Warm-Up, 1/11/2018: “Clean-Up On Ethics Aisle 10!” Edition

Good morning…

1 “And the survey says…! The results of the polls in yesterday’s 1/10 warm-up (so far) are..

  • Chris Christie is the leader in the “most hubris” poll, with 38.53% of the vote, but its pretty close. I’m pretty sure “All of them” would be leading if I had included it.

(I voted for Steve Bannon.)

  • 50% voted that journalist interviewers should be trained to recognize and flag invalid rationalizations.

A solid second was the choice, “They couldn’t do it objectively,” at 43%

  • By a 2-1 ratio over either of the other choices, over 50% believe that Plan E, the 25th Amendment removal plot, should be thoroughly discredited but the news media won’t let it go.

2. I also worry about Bobby DarinYesterday’s lament about declining cultural literacy and how movie artists that we should remember for our society’s enlightenment, perspective and inspiration are increasingly falling into a dark memory hole is relevant to a current development on Broadway: “The Bobby Darin Story” will kick off the new “Lyrics” season from January. 20 to 22, with rising star Jonathan Groff as Darin. Bobby Darin, one of my favorite performers and an unusually versatile and eclectic one, died before he was 40 and just barely hangs on in the culture now, thanks to his classic recording of “Mack the Knife.” (Also this month, the jukebox musical about Darin, “Dream Lover,” opened in Sydney.) Everything about Darin has been unlucky, his bad fortune culminating in the weird 2004 biopic that starred Kevin Spacey as Bobby. The movie was a bomb, and Spacey’s ugly fall guarantees that the film will be seen  by future generations about as often as Annette in”Muscle Beach Party.” As the Cary Grant post noted, sometimes all it takes is a vivid reference to rescue a lost life of note.

Darin’s own lost life is itself an ethics thought experiment. He knew at a young age that he was not going to live long, because he had an irreparably damaged heart. His response was to be furiously creative and to live life at a mad and reckless pace. The new show’s director says, “He lived a gritty, driven life. He hurt people along the way and people hurt him.” Continue reading

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Morning Ethics Warm-Up, 1/10/2018: All Poll Edition [Updated and Corrected]

Good Morning, everybody.

1 The ancient Greeks in my family were pleased. Yesterday could be used in public schools to teach the concept of hubris. I doubt that public schools teach concepts like hubris, unfortunately. (I doubt that most public school teachers could explain hubris.) For in a single day..

  • We saw Steve Bannon dismissed from his kingdom, right-wing propaganda organ Breitbart.
  • We learned that Joe Arpaaio, who is only not facing prison time because of a generous pardon frm President Trump, and who lost his latest election for sheriff, and who is 85-years-old, announced his candidacy for the U.S. Senate in Arizona.
  • NJ Governor Chris Christie gave his farewell address, celebrating himself. Earlier this week he said that he would be President today if not for Donald Trump.

2. “What’s done is done.” Yesterday, a Democratic mouthpiece who sounded like Kristin Chenoweth on speed (looked like her too) was confronted with videotapes of the last two Democratic Presidents swearing that they were committed to strengthening the borders and enforcing immigration laws. “We are a nation of immigrants,” intoned Bill Clinton. “We are also a nation of laws.”

“What’s done is done,” blathered ‘Kristin.’

This is the unethical rationalization known on the Ethics Alarms list as #51 . The Underwood Maneuver, or “That’s in the past”: Continue reading

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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

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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.

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Morning Ethics Warm-Up, 1/8/2018: Regrets, “It Rings True,” Bannon The Weasel, And “But It Would Be Wrong…”

Good Morning, everyone!

1 On the other hand, “Bite me!” I find myself feeling bad about a Facebook retort yesterday laying out an old friend, also a former Democratic official’s staff member, for taking a snide shot at my “bias” after my answer to a query about anti-Trump legal ethicist Richard Painter. Painter has been on the “remove Trump by any means possible” bandwagon since the 2016 election, and because he was an ethics advisor to the Bush White House, he has been a favorite go-to source for CNN and MSNBC while authoring bizarre op-eds that distort the Constitution.  My response about Painter was that he has apparently been driven mad by the whole Trump experience, and is now in the process of wrecking a very fine reputation as his colleagues in the field, like me, roll their eyes and weep. (Painter is a Bush family loyalist, and the guessing is that he is following the lead of the two Georges, who hate Trump to pieces.) Yes, Richard was among the first to advocate Plan E, removing Trump because he is “unable” to do the job, so he’s especially hot right now.

I feel bad because I’m a nice guy, but I’ll be damned if I will put up with being called “biased” for correctly pointing out what is dishonest and wrong about the various plots to circumvent the election. It’s not a “bias” to believe that an entire party attempting to undermine an elected President is wrong, and that lawyers and ethicists who pander to that mob have slipped a professional cog. I sent my friend to this website to find any evidence that I am a Trump fan, other than being the apparently rare critic who will give the President credit when he deserves it, and who will defend him against fake news and dishonest accusations. I’m a passionate supporter of U.S. values, the system, our institutions, the Presidency itself and elections. That’s not bias. That’s called being an ethical citizen.

2. Signature significance for a weasel. Five days after his reported quotes in “Fire and Fury” including one accusing Don Jr. of “treason” caused President Trump to slam him on Twitter, former White House aide and Breitbart power Steve Bannon sent an “apology” to Axios, of all places. This is known as ” crawling back.” Bannon, while at the White House, leaked to reporters and played both ends against the middle to further his own agenda, and betrayed the President’s trust and confidence by aiding and abetting sleazy political gossip-monger Michael Wolff.  Now, after Bannon’s split with Trump has obviously cost him support, influence and credibility, the man who chomped on the hand that fed him wants a do-over. Only the worst species of unethical and unprincipled weasel would try something like this. If he genuinely regretted the quotes, he would have  immediately said that they misrepresent him, and repudiated them. Waiting five days makes it clear that Bannon was waiting to see how the episode was playing in the media and public to decide whether to stand by his own words or not. The short version of this is: “Integrity? What’s that?”

Moreover, the text of the “apology” shows that Bannon isn’t very bright. Why bother looking pathetic and weak if you aren’t even going to do it effectively? He doesn’t even apologize:  he says that he regrets his “delay in responding to the inaccurate reporting regarding Don Jr has diverted attention from the president’s historical accomplishments in the first year of his presidency.”

Ha! I bet he does. But this is a Level 10 apology on the Apology Scale:

An insincere and dishonest apology designed to allow the wrongdoer to escape accountability cheaply, and to deceive his or her victims into forgiveness and trust, so they are vulnerable to future wrongdoing.

3. Is expressing “regret” the same as an apology? Let’s look closely at which mainstream media outlets call Bannon’s statement an “apology.” Axios does. When President Obama was making his so-called “apology tour,” as it was dubbed by the Right, journalists rushed to his defense, arguing that saying in multiple nations that he “regretted” the policies of his predecessors and the past actions of the United States was not the same as apologizing for them.

4. Somewhere, Dan Rather is smiling...I’m putting this in the Warm-Up because, as you may have noticed, yesterday’s posts were dominated by “the resistance’s” Plan E and the news media’s dutiful assist by hyping “Fire and Fury.” Incredibly—yes, I’m an idiot: the degree to which the news media will abandon core journalism ethics if it means bringing Trump down still surprises me–there was little effort on the news shows yesterday to hide the fact that much of Wolff’s book is unreliable,  and that the author admits it. Nonetheless, they reported on the salacious quotes and accounts, debated in panels whether it “proved” the President is disabled, and generally presented the book to the public as fact, not fiction.

How can journalists possibly justify this? It can’t be justified, but the news media’s anti-Trump bias has made them stupid and incompetent.

For example, CNN MEDIA ETHICIST—I have to place both hands over my head to prevent an explosion when I type that, which means I have to type with my noseBrian Stelter tweeted,

Big picture point: Wolff’s errors are sloppy, but many Trump experts say the book “rings true” overall.

Continue reading

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