On Climate Change And The First Amendment, Yale’s Law School Dean Gives Us A Reason To Be Very Afraid

I just wrote in a comment thread,

“The one thing that could change my mind to believe that Trump is less dangerous than Clinton is that the trappings of Trump and his followers reek of stupidity, and the trappings of Hillary and her allies are redolent of totalitarianism.”

The effort by Democrats and anti-gun zealots to deliberately breach the Fifth Amendment to allow “pre-crime” anti-gun laws was one example of the Obama/Clinton/Sanders left’s creeping embrace of totalitarian principles.

Here is another.

Over the weekend, Robert Post, the current dean of Yale Law School where both Bill and Hillary learned to be unethical lawyers, authored a shocking 0p-ed for the Washington Post. In it, he attached his influence and credibility to the idea that the government should use the power of prosecution to intimidate opponents of government policy and widely accepted left-wing agenda items. I have never seen such a disgraceful breach of academic prestige. If I were a Yale grad, I would be heavily involved in calling for Post’s resignation.

Post is supporting the attempts by Democratic, climate change policy-supporting attorneys general to target Exxon-Mobil for fraud because the company opposes certain climate change measures. This comes after eco-facists like Robert Kennedy, Jr. and climate change shills like  Bill Nye (The Self-Promoting Not-Really-The-Expert-He- Pretends -To-Be  Science Guy) have suggested that “climate change deniers” should be jailed. That’s not the theory, though. The theory is that Exxon-Mobil has defrauded investors by misleading them about the results of their own research. Thus the company has been hit by demands for documents by the Massachusetts and New York attorneys general to reveal all of that research.

Exxon-Mobil, as well as others, has condemned this effort as an attempt to chill First Amendment debate. Post, who has allied himself with the censors because climate change is “settled science,”  bolsters the political inquisitioners’ deceit. “It may be that after investigation the attorneys general do not find evidence that Exxon-Mobil has committed fraud. I do not prejudge the question. The investigation is now entering its discovery phase, which means it is gathering evidence to determine whether fraud has actually been committed,” the esteemed dean writes.

Cute. Of course, once the precedent had been established that the government can force someone into expensive legal defense for “the fraud” of disagreeing with the pronounced truths of the State, then dissent and political opinion will be repressed, suppressed, and discouraged. Continue reading

Revisiting The “Ten Ethics Questions For Unshakable Hillary Voters”

Hillary Rally

Less than a year ago, I responded to a series of what I regarded then (and now) as irresponsible expressions of support, bias and denial by Hillary Clinton supporters with ten questions designed to rescue them from corruption. At the time, the possibility that an even worse candidate would (or could) be nominated by the Republican Party never crossed my mind.

Although it was largely buried over the last week in the aftermath of the Orlando shooting, Clinton’s e-mail fiasco was further exposed as the deep evidence of  long-term Clinton corruption that it is.  One of the most damaging e-mails handled on her private server, for example, was not turned over to the State Department (Hillary has sworn repeatedly a that ALL State Department business-related e-mails were turned over, raising the rebuttable presumption that she had other State communications among the 30,000 or so that her personal lawyers had destroyed.) We also learned that State Department staffers struggled in December 2010 over a serious technical problem that affected emails from the improper server, causing State staffers  to temporarily disable security features on the government’s own systems, thus making them more vulnerable to attack.

In a deposition under oath, Clinton’s IT specialist Bryan Pagliano, a central figure in the set-up and management of Clinton’s personal server, invoked the Fifth more than 125 times.  Meanwhile, the shadowy Clinton Foundation machinations came to the fore once again. An Associated Press review of the official calendar Hillary Clinton kept as Secretary of State identified at least 75 meetings with longtime political donors, Clinton Foundation contributors, corporate and other outside interests that were not recorded.  The calendar omissions naturally reinforce suspicions that she sought to hide possibly improper or even illegal uses of her influence and position to raise funds for the foundation. While the news media tried to spin Donald Trump’s statement in his attack on Hillary last week that “Clinton’s State Department approved the transfer of 20% of America’s uranium holdings to Russia while nine investors in the deal funneled $145 million to the Clinton Foundation,” his statement was accurate. For a change.

What was striking about the ten questions, looking at them again, is how little I would alter them today. The major change is that the arguments of those who claimed that evidence of Hillary’s unethical conduct was partisan or inconclusive look even more desperate and dishonest than they did last August. For the same reasons, the passage of time makes Clinton’s shameless and insulting lies seem even more shameless and insulting. The Democratic Party also looks worse and more corrupt: it rigged the nomination for this woman of demonstrably untrustworthy and venal character, as well as of dubious skills. Nothing can surpass the complete abdication of its duty to the United States by the Republican Party and its voters, but this was a betrayal by the Democrats.

Here is the list. I’ll have a few observations along the way, in bold.

“Ten Ethics Questions For Unshakable Hillary Voters” Continue reading

Johnny Manziel’s Lawyer’s E-Mail Ethics Disaster

email mistake

In an article last year inspired by increased attention in the legal profession prompted by Hillary Clinton’s epic incompetence handling her e-mail, New York’s Legal Ethics Reporter last year published “Ethical Implications & Best Practices for Use of Email.” It began with a quiz:

Which of the following statements are true?

A. Email is a wonderful tool for the successful practice of law.

B. Email not only saves time and money, but also allows for prompt communication with clients, colleagues, and opposing counsel.

C. Email is overused, often results in incomplete or inaccurate responses to inquiries, and fills up your Inbox with useless information.

D. Careless use of email can subject the sending lawyer to embarrassment, unhappy clients, lost income, breach of the duty of confidentiality, discipline, or claims of malpractice.

E. All of the above.

The correct answer is E— All of the above.

One reason lawyers are, as a group, far less forgiving of Hillary’s nonsense (and lies) is that her conduct, if it involved a client, and not just a relatively minor institution like the U.S. State Department, would constitute a clear violation of  the ethics rules covering competence and confidentiality. (Let’s ignore, for now, the rules requiring honesty and the avoidance of conflicts of interest.). Work- and case-related e-mail must be handled with care, or disasters occur. One of the lawyers for disgraced ex-NFL quarterback Johnny Manziel just provided a lesson in how that can happen, and it is going directly into my next seminar.

Defense attorney Bob Hinton, representing  Manziel  in a hit-and-run case, accidentally sent an Associated Press reporter an e-mail intended for the athlete’s legal team. The misdirection appears to be the result of an auto-address feature that assumed whom Hinton wanted to communicate with based on the first few letters he typed.

In the memo, Hinton expresses exasperation at the extent of Manziel’s dependence on illegal drugs, and reveals that he has a receipt that shows Manziel may have spent more than $1,000 at a drug paraphernalia store just 15 hours after he was involved in the crash. “Heaven help us if one of the conditions is to pee in a bottle,”  the lawyer wrote. This is a problem, since Manziel is seeking a plea deal that almost certainly would require periodic drug tests. Continue reading

NPR Gets Careless With Its Bias (And The Post Tries To Provide Cover)

Shannon Watts. Well, not really...

Shannon Watts. Well, not really…

Ethics Alarms returns to the evergreen topic of the journalism ethics defying left-agenda bias of the Mainstream media with the most defiant and annoying perpetrator of all, National Public Radio. Its solemn, cultivated con on this occasion involved, naturally, the news media’s war on guns, which, for those you don’t understand the concept of “fair and objective reporting,” is supposed to be “the news media explicating the left’s war on guns.”

A week ago, NPR’s Chris Arnold reported on the emergence  of a “powerful new gun control group,” Everytown for Gun Safety. The organization came out of  the union of former New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg’s Mayors Against Illegal Guns  and Moms Demand Action for Gun Sense in America, a group launched by Shannon Watts during the post-Newtown gun control push.

Describing Watts, the NPR feature said:

“Much of the groundswell behind this crusade comes from just regular people pulled into it for their own reasons. For a woman named Shannon Watts, she was drawn in by another mass shooting — the murder of 20 schoolchildren 6- and 7-year-olds in Newtown, Connecticut. Watts wasn’t there: She lived 800 miles away in Zionsville, Indiana. She was folding her kids’ laundry, actually, when the news broke. And she wanted to do something. ‘I was obviously devastated but I was also angry and I went online and I thought, ‘Surely there is a Mothers Against Drunk Driving for gun safety.’ And I couldn’t find anything. Watts had never done anything political before but she made a Facebook page and she called it One Million Moms for Gun Control [now Moms Demand Action for Gun Sense in America].”

Now, this is how the news media can slant an issue and later say, “Who, us?” This paragraph is designed to send the visceral, lizard-brain-level message “Anti-gun activism GOOD.” The public, especially the college educated, generally well-off listeners of NPR, is rightly suspicious of lobbyists and activists of all stripes, and sophisticated, well-funded efforts to influence public policy. They are most likely to trust the instincts of, well, themselves, or people like themselves, or better yet, “innocents” driven by conviction and unselfish, unsophisticated democratic motives, like, say “Guns BAD’ and “Do something!” Thus the paragraph above describes a hero that Every Listener can identify with, for many of them see themselves as ” just regular people” who “never done anything political before.”

They also melt like lemon drops over activism by moms, because many are moms, and everyone loves mom.  This is also why savvy activists like to name their groups after mothers.

You have to love the details NPR chose to include and what they suggest. “Zionsville, Indiana”…might as well be called Everytown. Watts was folding her kids’ laundry when she heard of Newtown. Can’t you just picture Donna Reed or Marion Cunningham hearing the news on NPR, probably with tears in her eyes, getting a that look of determination in her eyes (“I know that look, honey!”) and deciding to, dammit, do something, having never done “anything political” before?

But in the case of Shannon Watts, that was an intentionally misleading image, crafted by her and abetted by NPR to promote sympathy for the anti-gun movement.

Let’s look at NPR’s  correction after Newsbusters, the conservative news watchdog, newsbusted the story in a post titled “Dishonest NPR Tells of ‘Regular’ Mom Who Put the Con in Gun Control”: Continue reading

Observations On The Redacted Orlando Terrorist’s 911 Call Transcript Fiasco

Lynch white House

Polls show that as citizens consider the horrors of Clinton and Trump, Obama’s approval numbers are going up. This makes sense, of course: competence and virtue are relative. I haven’t seen a poll but it would not surprise me if, after almost 8 years of Obama, Jimmy Carter’s poll numbers have risen too, as well as Herbert Hoover’s and, across the pond, maybe even Neville Chamberlain’s.

Just so we don’t get carried away with nostalgia for an arrogant and incompetent leader as we anticipate his corrupt or unhinged successor, I feel obligated to use Bon Jovi’s “turn back time” device to return to last weekend, when Obama gave us perhaps the most damning evidence yet of how cynical, dishonest, contemptuous and inept his”transparent” leadership has become. Mea culpa: I passed over it last week in my concentration on the mad flare-up of anti-gun hysteria.

As all but the most denial prone Democrats will acknowledge, President Obama has gone to ridiculous and dangerous lengths to avoid formally citing radical Islam as a terror threat, because it requires acknowledging that a large (okay, large enough) component of the Muslim population abroad and maybe here as well wants to kill us. Truth is the enemy to liars, frauds, totalitarians and the deluded: take your pick here. Either way, for Attorney General Loretta Lynch to say of Omar Mateen in a press conference, as she did Tuesday, that “I cannot tell you definitively that we will ever narrow it down to one motivation. People often act out of more than one motivation,” is an insult. This is blatant equivocation. Yes, I’m sure Mateen may have gotten up on the wrong side of the bed, and maybe there were some people among the hundred or so he shot that he didn’t like, but he was a Muslim, his father was an anti-American, pro-Taliban zealot, he had pledged himself to ISIS, he launched a one -man terrorist attack, and his religion persecutes gays. Gee, what could his motive have been? I’m stumped. Are you stumped? Loretta is stumped.

No, Loretta has been told to be officially stumped.

Just two days before her transparently dishonest statement (Maybe this was the kind of transparency Obama promised in 2008?), Lynch toured all five Sunday talking head shows (ABC, Fox, CBS, NBC, CNN) to lie about the transcripts of Orlando terrorist Omar Mateen’s calls. This is known at Ethics Alarms and elsewhere as “doing a Susan Rice.[It’s fun to go back to that 2012 post and read the comments from the denial brigade, like now-self exiled far-left blogger Ampersand, who defended Rice and the administration. “For your statements to make sense,” Barry wrote, “we’d have to believe that US Intelligence had determined with certainty what had happened either while the attack was ongoing or within hours afterward, neither of which is true.” We now know both are true. Thus Hillary told her daughter shortly after the attack that it was an organized terrorist plan. Later, with the election in mind, the YouTube video cover-story was concocted, and Rice was dispatched to spread it.]

President Obama wanted to make the Orlando massacre about gun control rather than Islamic terrorism. His post attack speech did not mention ISIS or Islamic terrorism at all, but quickly pivoted into exploiting the tragedy to call for gun controls, knowing that his lap-dog, gun-hating allies in the mainstream media would let him get away with it. There was a problem, however: Mateen’s phone calls made it clear to anyone paying attention that this was an ISIS-related terrorist attack (not just an “act of terror”—the same equivocation used after Benghazi.)

Here were the redactions:

Mateen: “I pledge of allegiance to [omitted]. “I pledge allegiance to [omitted] may God protect him [in Arabic], on behalf of [omitted].”

The dumbest Wheel of Fortune contestant in the world could fill in those blanks, especially after many of the news reports.

Nevertheless, our Attorney General was willing to humiliate herself trying to justify the withholding of facts from the public, saying on ABC’s “This Week”: “What we’re not going to do is further proclaim this man’s pledges of allegiance to terrorist groups, and further his propaganda.” How lame is THAT? Not as lame as the excuse she gave the same day on CNN’s State of the Union,  where Lynch said:“The reason why we’re going to limit these transcripts is to avoid re-victimizing those people that went through this horror.” What? I’m sure that blatantly censoring information that the public has a right to know will make the victims’ families feel much better. How do the facts that our government thinks the public is made up of gullible idiots, that the President is in denial over Islamic terrorism, that the Attorney General is willing to lie repeatedly on national television and act as a political tool, and that the administration is as transparent as slate make the victims’ families feel? It sure scares the hell out of me.

Occasionally the news media declares, as a friend of mine is fond of saying, “There is some shit I won’t eat,” or at least eat and say “Yum-yum!,” so the censorship of the obvious was roundly mocked and condemned by both the media and Republican leadership. (Oddly, no Democrats stood up for transparency. Democrats: please explain, and explain why this is fine with you.)

So the Obama Administration and the Justice Department caved the next day,  and released a full, uncensored transcript of tMateen’s 911 call on the night of the massacre, and referred to the controversy over omissions in the document “an unnecessary distraction.” (And whose fault was that?)

Omar Mateen made the 50-second 911 call in which he claimed responsibility for the terror attack and pledged allegiance to the Islamic State’s leader at 2:35 a.m., about  a half hour into the June 12 murder spree. Now, with the blanks filled in, the transcript read…

“I pledge allegiance to Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi may God protect him [in Arabic], on behalf of the Islamic State.”

Continue reading

It’s Time To Fire And Discipline Marilyn Mosby

Mosby in 2015, ruining lives, pandering to the mob, and undermining justice...

Mosby in 2015, ruining lives, pandering to the mob, and undermining justice…

The third (of six) indicted Baltimore police officer charged in the death of Freddie Gray was acquitted last week, and how the rest of the trials, if they even occur, will play out is now a foregone conclusion. To be fair, this was a forgone conclusion from that moment that Baltimore City Attorney Marilyn Mosby charged the officers a year ago without sufficient justification beyond her own political ambitions, those of her husband (who is now running for mayor), racial bias and a desire to mollify rioters. Most commentators believed the charges were premature, rushed to avoid civic unrest. To say that is really to say that she allowed a mob to dictate to law enforcement. This was unethical, dangerous and despicable then, and remains so today.

If officer Caesar R. Goodson Jr., who drove the police transport van in which Gray suffered the spinal cord injury that killed him, could not be found guilty of intentionally killing Freddie Gray, nobody can. Says the New York Times,

“His acquittal on seven counts leaves the state without any convictions after three trials, in one of the nation’s most closely watched police misconduct cases — and continues to leave open the question of what, exactly, happened to Mr. Gray inside the van….Judge Barry G. Williams, who presided over the Goodson trial, issued the verdicts to a hushed, packed courtroom. He drew no conclusions about exactly when during the van ride Mr. Gray got hurt, saying there were several “equally plausible scenarios.” And he rejected the state’s contention that the officer had given Mr. Gray an intentional “rough ride” and knowingly endangered him by failing to buckle him into the van or provide medical help.” 

The prosecutor isn’t supposed to ruin the lives and careers of presumptively innocent law enforcement officials to try to find out what happened to Freddie Gray. The prosecutor is supposed to investigate until sufficient evidence tells her that a crime was committed, and the she has enough of that evidence to get a legitimate conviction. The three trials have shown that such evidence either doesn’t exist, or was never found. No, we don’t know what killed Freddie Gray, and that’s called “reasonable doubt.” Continue reading

Ethics Hero: George Will

Republican no more...

Republican no more…

Principled, thoughtful, erudite, serious and informed conservative pundit George Will has announced that he has officially left the Republican Party, changing his status in Maryland, where he resides, to unaffiliated.  He urged conservatives not to support presumptive GOP nominee Donald Trump even if it leads to a Democratic victory in the 2016 presidential election.

“Make sure he loses. Grit their teeth for four years and win the White House,” Will said during an interview after his a Federalist Society speech in which he said, “This is not my party.”

I have read Will for as long as he has written, and heard him speak twice. This has to be hard for him, but it also is the only decision for someone who cares about and understands language, law, values, leadership, history, U.S. culture and the duties of citizenship. He is modelling integrity, as clearly as Paul Ryan, for example, is not.

This is what integrity looks like. Though Will does not profess to have any hope that the GOP will have the courage or determination to reject Trump at this point, his announcement still increases the pressure on the party to do so.

____________________

Pointer: Fred

 

 

Why Does Colby College Think That It’s Ethical To Keep A “Bias Incident Log”?

Might be time for a new motto, Colby. On the other hand...

Might be time for a new motto, Colby. On the other hand…

Wait…you say that more than a hundred campuses have this or the equivalent?

Oh-oh.

I am scheduled to teach a legal ethics class in the avoidance of bias in the practice of law next year, and I’m already worried. Past engagements of mine on this topic have been popular with attendees, but not always appreciated by my clients. The bar associations that make such training mandatory usually want to get someone to drone on about how lawyers should love Big Politically Correct Brother and search their souls for any germ of an attitude that would make Chris Matthews say they are racist, or the President of NARAL say they are sexist, or a Black Lives Matter activist call them privileged.  In other words, these are often devised as political indoctrination courses, using “bias” as code for “non-conforming thoughts according to progressive orthodoxy.”

I can’t and won’t teach that, because it’s as wrong as it is boring. Bias includes all ideas wedged in our minds that overcome reason and prevent just, even-handed, logical and fair decision-making. Bias makes us stupid, and for lawyers, the kind of bias I’m talking about undermines justice. Ironically, what most proponents of anti-bias courses want to do is instill biases that they and their partisan allies approve of. Once that is done, the Orwellian process is complete. “Bias” then means “not accepting our biases, which aren’t biases because we believe them, and we are good.”  The rationalization involved is 14. Self-validating Virtue.

The news and ethics issues are reaching one of those crisis points for me where everything seems to be connected to everything else, and I am torn whether to write one huge, conceptual post (the ones most readers skip) or a series of single episode posts. Facebook, a topic on its own, is revealing most of my friends whom I would identify as Democrats or progressives as in the grip of a crippling cognitive bias-based malady. Why did they think it was just wonderful for so many elected officials to deliberately ignore the core Constitutional principle of due process? Why did they reflexively attack the British vote to leave the European Union as “racist” or “xenophobic” rather than recognize it as a principled reassertion of their nation’s autonomy and democratic principles? How did freedom of speech, freedom of thought, true civil rights, and democracy itself become so alien to so many supposedly intelligent and self-proclaimed liberal adults?

Don’t worry, I’m coming back to Colby. It really does come down to bad and anti-American education poisoning the culture. In an excellent though disturbing essay on the Ethics And Public Policy website, Stanley Kurtz persuasively argues that U.S. education itself has turned against liberty, resulting in an increasing majority of citizens who do not believe or accept the virtues of core American ideals.

The incident that brought my attention to the Colby Bias Incident Log, which, at Colby and elsewhere, sends a Bias Response Team into investigation mode, was one in which a student was reported for allegedly using the idiom “on the other hand.”

No, this is not a hoax. It is not a joke. And what the fact that I am writing this suggests is far from funny. It is tragic. Continue reading

I LOVE This Story! If You Don’t Love This Story, Something’s Wrong With You…Or You’re A Mainstream Media Journalist

pointing and laughing

Following the Orlando terror attack, Chicago Sun-Times columnist Neil Steinberg, convinced that the attack wouldn’t have occurred if only we had sufficient gun regulations, decided to demonstrate how easy it would to obtain an AR-15 in Illinois. [This was already a bad start to his investigative reporting, since Steinberg didn’t investigate the gun used in Orlando: it wasn’t an AR-15. Then again, since anti-gun zealots don’t care about such details (“All guns BAD”) and low-information citizens still trust the news media not to misinform them, this didn’t matter to the reporter. But I digress…)

A background check was triggered by Steinberg’s application for the weapon,  and he was rejected. It seems the reporter had an “admitted history of alcohol abuse,” and there was a charge for domestic battery on his record.

Isn’t that wonderful?

Children: here is the meaning of “to be hoisted by your own petard.” Say thank you to Mr. Steinberg! Continue reading

Ethics Dunces (All-Star “Shut Up And Sing ” Edition): Cher, Lady Gaga, Britney Spears, Billy Joel, Paul McCartney, Jackson Browne,Nick Jonas, Sia, Zayn Malik, Barbra Streisand, Beck, Questlove, Pusha T, Ringo Starr, Sting, Ricky Martin, Lin-Manuel Miranda, Selena Gomez, Stevie Nicks, Michael Bublé, Melissa Etheridge, Trent Reznor, Kesha, Katy Perry, Tony Bennett, Yoko Ono…

Billborad letters

A couple hundred famous singers and musicians have banded together to sign a fatuous and misleading “open letter” to Congress dictating U.S. gun policy. The letter which is being used as a publicity gimmick by Billboard (and the stars, of course), reads:

As leading artists and executives in the music industry, we are adding our voices to the chorus of Americans demanding change. Music always has been celebrated communally, on dancefloors and at concert halls. But this life-affirming ritual, like so many other daily experiences—going to school or church or work—now is threatened, because of gun violence in this country. The one thing that connects the recent tragedies in Orlando is that it is far too easy for dangerous people to get their hands on guns.

We call on Congress to do more to prevent the gun violence that kills more than 90 Americans every day and injures hundreds more, including:

  • Require a background check for every gun sale
  • Block suspected terrorists from buying guns

Billboard and the undersigned implore you—the people who are elected to represent us—to close the deadly loopholes that put the lives of so many music fans, and all of us, at risk.

The letter is many things:

1. It is scaremongering nonsense. Gun deaths are way down, and the odds of any citizen being killed in a mass shooting is beyond minuscule. Based on 2015 statistics by the broadest definition, you have a 0.00000143% chance of getting killed in a mass shooting. These wealthy and privileged people, who often have bodyguards (with guns) have much less of a risk than that. Nothing is “now threatened.” We are safer from gun violence now than five years ago, ten years ago or 20 years ago. Continue reading