You know when I mentioned that Ted Lieu was NOT the most “foolish, dumb, frightening” member of Congress? Steve King was one of the people I was thinking of.
In case you haven’t heard the widespread mockery, King asked Google’s CEO Sundar Pichai at this week’s House Judiciary Committee hearing about alleged bias and abuse of power by the tech behemoth,
“I have a 7-year old granddaughter who picked up her phone during the election, and she’s playing a little game, the kind of game a kid would play. And up on there pops a picture of her grandfather. And I’m not going to say into the record what kind of language was used around that picture of her grandfather, but I’d ask you: How does that show up on a 7-year old’s iPhone, who’s playing a kid’s game?”
Pichai responded, “Congressman, the iPhone is made by a different company.”
Kindly leaving out the obligatory, “You moron.” Continue reading
Enlighten, Impress And Depress Your Friends! Explain Why The President’s Alleged Election Law Violation Was Not One, Much Less A Justification For Impeachment
When Trump lawyer/crony/fixer/slimeball Michael Cohen was first arrested, multiple lawyers, legal experts and commentators who principles and integrity had not been melted by “the resistance” pointed out that paying hush money to a an old sexual partner threatening disclosure couldn’t possibly be an election law violation. Oh, details, schmetails: the point is to get Trump; what does the law have to do with it? After all, Representative Al Green, who has entered an impeachment resolution twice already, now says his next try will be based on “bigotry.” Hey, most Democrats in the new House would probably vote for impeachment based on “covfefe.”
Sure enough, when Cohen, trying to save his own neck, was bullied into pleading guilty to a non-crime, the media and social media hills were alive with the sounds of impeachment. The celebrants, however, are just wrong. Cohen’s plea shows a cowardly, disgraceful unethical lawyer; it shows that his lawyer, Lanny Davis, may be more interested in getting Trump than representing Cohen; it shows that the prosecutors in the case are unethical, and that the judge should not have accepted a plea to something that was not and cannot be a crime. It does not show that the President violated the federal election laws.
Attorney Bradley Smith, a former head of the FEC, explains why clearly, concisely, and decisively, here.
Of course, all the logic, facts and law in the world won’t put a dent in Stage 4 Trump hate. (To be fair, the news media and pundits aren’t helping them any by refusing to cover the issues and law straight.) But at least you will have given them a chance. It is Christmas time, after all.
(Though any day that begins with the legal gossip scandal-sheet website Above the Law sending me a “media inquiry” as they dig for dirt is not a good day.)
1. In brief. Well I have now received the appellant’s brief in a certain lingering law suit regarding Ethics Alarms. What fun. Anyone who wants to read it is welcome; those who have dealt with pro se submissions will immediately recognize the syndrome, lawyers may be amused, and non-lawyers may be edified. I expect to knock out the reply brief today, which won’t have to be more than a few pages. It’s not like I have better things to do or anything…
2. Speaking of cases that should have been thrown out of court…Reason reports:
In June, an Oakland County sheriff’s deputy pulled Dejuante Franklin over in front of a gas station for a traffic violation. While handing Franklin his ticket, NWA’s “Fuck tha Police” began to play in the background. As it turns out, James Webb, who did not know Franklin, witnessed the stop. He decided on his own accord to turn the song up louder before walking into the gas station store. When he exited, the officer slapped him with a ticket for misdemeanor noise violation, citing that Webb played the song at an “extremely high volume.”
It took 9 minutes of deliberation for a jury to bring in a verdict of not guilty. This was an obvious attempted end-around the First Amendment by the officer, and the judge shouldn’t have let it get to a jury at all.
3. And speaking of abusing First Amendment rights…as well as “A Nation of Assholes,” MSNBC’s “Morning Joe’s” co-host and wife-to-be (don’t get me started on THAT) Mika Brzezinski, called Secretary of State Mike Pompeo a “butt-boy” during yesterday’s show. Why not? After all, CBS lets its on-air personalities call the President a “cock-holster.” Mika wouldn’t have had her filters down, of course, if the culture around MSNBC wasn’t rife with such hate, but she realized mid-show that this wasn’t exactly professional or civil news reporting, and babbled an apology. Too late!
An ethical, professional news station would suspend her, but this is MSNBC, and there are no ethical, professional news stations.
4. Meanwhile, speaking of media bias and unprofessional reporting...A New York Times “fact check” on the contentious meeting among Trump, Pence, Pelosi and Schumer had this amusing note:
“Mr. Trump has long charged that Democrats want open borders, slinging accusations at a higher clip in the waning days of the midterm elections campaign in November. Democrats do not want open borders, evidenced in part by border security legislation that Democrats have supported. What Democrats do not want is Mr. Trump’s costly border wall.”
Oh, that’s a fact, is it? No, Democrats, at least a great many of them, DO want open borders, evidenced in part by their wilful refusal to distinguish between illegal immigrants and legal immigrants, their insistence on signalling through their support for “Dreamers” that bringing children across the border illegally is a virtuous act, their position that illegal immigrants should be allowed to stay in the U.S. as longs as they don’t break any more laws, their constant demonization of necessary border enforcement efforts, and their proposals to abolish ICE. Continue reading
I guess there are more foolish, dumb, frightening members of Congress than this guy. Think about that.
Lieu, the very model of a modern California Democrat, told CNN host Brianna Keilar, among other things,
“I would love to be able to regulate the content of speech. The First Amendment prevents me from doing so, and that’s simply a function of the First Amendment, but I think over the long run, it’s better the government does not regulate the content of speech.”
And then, he tweeted,
“Would I like to regulate Fox News? Yes, but I can’t because the First Amendment stops me. And that’s ultimately a good thing in the long run.”
You see, people qualified to the leaders of a democracy don’t want to operate like totalitarians. I don’t trust people who want to summarily execute or imprison political opponents without due process or a trial, but who add “But I can’t because of the Constitution, and I guess that OK.” Or, say things like “I wish I could keep slaves/ outlaw religions/ confiscate guns/ nationalize businesses/ take away private property and give it to whoever I want but there’s that dang Constitution.” Such people are wannabe totalitarians, don’t really like our rights, and would crush them in a second if they saw a chance.
That’s Ted Lieu. That’s a lot of Democrats and progressives. Lieu is just of the few dumb enough to admit it.
Well, that was humbling. Given the opportunity with this week’s open forum experiment to fly solo, the Ethics Alarms commentariat exceeded all reasonable expectations, producing multiple excellent topic threads and over a hundred comments (and counting) by 22 participants. It also generated several Comment of the Day quality posts, and I may end up posting all of them.
First up is this one, by Michael R, prompted by Steve’s jump-ball:
Now, a few years after women have been allowed to join the infantry, and hundreds have tried, only 30 percent pass compared to over 90 percent of males, but there are still only 24 women total in the Marine Corps Infantry.
Is it ethical to continue such an expensive and inefficient program?
Here is Michael R’s Comment of the Day on the training thread on the post, Open Forum Ethics:
Happy pre-Christmas panic days!
Once we’re under the two week mark, it’s all anxiety, regrets, list-making, fatigue, nostalgia, and tree needles under the nails. This is what Andy called “the most wonderful time of the year.
1. The theory: political correctness and historical airbrushing is a higher priority than education. The University of North Carolina \Board of Trustees’ approved of a proposal to build erect a $5 million history center that would, among other things, house “Silent Sam,” a statue dedicated to fallen UNC grads who fought for the Confederacy. The statue stood on campus until protesters tore it down in August. Now some faculty members and graduate assistants are threatening to go on a “grade strike,” withholding grades on papers and exams to force the school to abandon “Silent Sam” for all time. They are also trying to encourage students to support their protest.
Wrote the UNC administration in response:
“This afternoon it came to my attention that some instructors have used their roles in the classroom to ask students to take a stand on the strike,” Blouin said in the email, a copy of which Campus Reform obtained. “The University has received student and parent complaints. Such actions have been interpreted as coercion and an exploitation of the teacher-student relationship and in fact are a violation of students’ First Amendment rights as well as federal law….Our students are entitled to receive their grades in a timely manner. It is especially critical for the students preparing to graduate next Sunday, as well as the thousands of students whose scholarships, grants, loans, visa status, school transfers, job opportunities, and military commissions may be imperiled because lack of grades threaten[s] their eligibility,” the provost stated. “The proposed strike exposes the University and individuals who withhold grades to legal claims for the harm they cause to students…“Failure to meet [the faculty and GA’s] responsibilities to their students, including timely submission of final grades, will result in serious consequences.”
Firing, I hope.
2. Boy, that Trump is such an uncivil boor! House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, setting a civility example for us all while describing her meeting with the President on “the wall’: “It’s like a manhood thing for him, as if manhood could ever be associated with him….It goes to show you: you get into a tinkle contest with a skunk, you get tinkle all over you.”
Imagine the howls of indignation if the President described a foreign leader in such terms. Or the mass condemnation from both parties and the news media if any prior President had been insulted that way by a member of Congress.
3. “A person, a group, an idea, or an object that “for better or for worse… has done the most to influence the events of the year.” I would applaud TIME’s choice of journalists as the fading magazine’s “Person of the year” if it had the integrity to point out that this is an example of “the worse.” Indeed, journalists have deliberately warped and sabotaged public debate and discourse, withheld or buried information the public needs to know, divided the nation, defied their profession’s ethical standards, undermined their own institution and with it the health of American democracy, relentlessly worked to destabilize the Trump administration and undo the election, and have engaged in repeated incompetence, bias, dishonesty and conflicts of interest. The harm journalists have done is incalculable, and probably irreversible.
Quipped “Dilbert” cartoonist Scott Adams: “Fake News is TIME’s “Person of the Year.”
Bingo. Continue reading