The Unethical, Depressing, Bar Complaint Against Kellyanne Conway

kellyanneThis post is one I do not want to write, and the fact that I have to write it is profoundly depressing. It requires me to criticize, indeed blow the whistle on,  professional colleagues in the fields of law and ethics, some of whom I know and admired very much, as well as fellow members of the District of Columbia Bar. Some of these colleagues are also members, like I am, in a distinguished association dedicated to the field of legal ethics. A superb book on the topic by one of the professors involved  sits in a prominent place in my office bookshelf.  I can see it right now.

Yesterday evening, I learned that a group of fifteen law professors and lawyers have filed a professional misconduct complaint against White House Counselor Kellyanne Conway, claiming that she violated the Rules of Professional Conduct for attorneys by giving false statements to the media. The fifteen signed the complaint, which was filed with the D.C. Bar’s Office of Disciplinary Counsel. When I read the names, signed on a statement printed upon the official stationery of Abbe Smith, a distinguished full time professor at my alma mater, (and where I worked in the administration for four years), Georgetown University Law Center, my heart sank. While I did not need to read the whole complaint to know it was contrived and intellectually dishonest nonsense, I did, and it fulfilled my worst fears. The anti-President Trump hysteria that has caused so many previously fair and rational citizens on the Left to behave atrociously and to betray their previously held values has officially infected lawyers in the legal ethics field. They are now riding the rails on the 2016 Post Election Ethics Train Wreck.

To be absolutely clear and unambiguous: the complaint is a political attack, and a cheap shot at the President of the United States through his staff. There is no merit to any of its contentions.

The professors claim that they were “compelled” to file the complaint because D.C. Rule of Professional Conduct 8.3 (a) requires that

“A lawyer who knows that another lawyer has committed a violation of the Rules of Professional Conduct that raises a substantial question as to that lawyer’s honesty, trustworthiness, or fitness as a lawyer in other respects, shall inform the appropriate professional authority.”

They are either addled by partisan political animus or lying, because there is no way, no way, these fifteen professors could know that, or even validly conclude it, based on what they have written in the complaint. To call their accusations against Conway a stretch is to be too kind. They are forced, exaggerated, trivial and manufactured. From what I have read in past commentary and opinions of several of them regarding other matters of lawyer misconduct, I have serious doubts about whether they believe them. I know that’s a serious charge, but I see no other explanation, other than temporary insanity.

To begin with, Kellyanne Conway is not working in a legal position in Trump’s White House. She is Counselor to the President, not White House Counsel. The President and Conway may choose, for his protection, to treat her non-legal policy advisor position as a legal representation, but the fact remains that she is not providing legal advice and services, only policy-related ones. Now, lawyers can violate D.C. Rule of Professional Conduct 8.4, Misconduct, while not engaged in the practice of law, but unless the conduct involved is criminal or displays “moral turpitude” sufficient to call into question the lawyer’s fitness to practice the likelihood of the conduct being regarded as sanctionable by the Bar is vanishingly slim.

From everything I can determines, Conway, though she is a member of the New Jersey Bar and an inactive (she needs to pay back dues and take my mandatory D.C. Bar ethics course before she can practice) member of the District Bar, has not practiced law in more than 20 years. She has been a pollster, an activist, a flack and TV personality as well as candidate  Trump’s campaign manager, but none of her professional profiles refer to her as a lawyer. The complaint alleges that Conway “engage(d) in conduct involving dishonesty, fraud, deceit, or misrepresentation” in breach of D.C. Rule of Professional Conduct 8.4 (c), and did so while not engaged in the practice of law.  In order to bring down the wrath of the Bar, such conduct must be extremely serious, criminal or bordering on it. Rule 8.3 “limits the reporting obligation to those offenses that a self–regulating profession must vigorously endeavor to prevent.” What kind of non-law-related “offenses” must “a self–regulating profession…vigorously endeavor to prevent”?  It is well established that questionable statements that an individual with a law license utters in the course of political activity and advocacy is not such conduct.

In other words, politicians who are lawyers are not held to the same standards of truthfulness and candor as lawyers are when they practice law. Elsewhere in the Rules, “puffery” is specifically exempted from discipline, though puffery is just another word for exaggerating or fibbing in negotiation. No politician has ever been disciplined by a bar for campaign lies. No elected officer has been sanctioned for dishonest statements in office. None of the fifteen law professors filed a complaint against Hillary Clinton when she said on national TV that James Comey had backed all of her representations about her e-mails. They didn’t even file a complaint upon learning that Clinton had violated a signed pledge promising that her foundation would not seek or accept contributions by foreign governments, and violating sworn pledges, by a lawyer, is per se “moral turpitude.”

When Barack Obama lied repeatedly about how the act dubbed “Obamacare” would allow citizens to keep their health care plans and doctors if they wanted to, none of these professors filed complaints. When Bill Clinton said, “I did not have sex with that women, Miss Lewinsky,” that was not deemed sufficient to compel a complaint to D. C. Bar Counsel. So what was Conway’s dire offense that mandated, they claim, this letter?

You won’t believe it. I couldn’t believe it. These professors are putting their reputations on the line, and have nothing to allege beyond these…

1. Conway referred to a “Bowling Green Massacre” while discussing the President’s executive order temporarily restricting travel from seven Muslim countries. This was an obvious gaffe, in which Conway conflated an incident involving two aspiring Iraqi terrorists with a non-existent “massacre.” “Ms. Conway knew there was no massacre,”  the letter alleges. Yes, and Barack Obama knew there were 50 states, not 57.  No lawyer, in D.C. or elsewhere, has ever faced discipline for an ambiguous episode like this. It would make no sense for Conway (who is by all evidence no idiot) to claim that an incident occurred that did not, when the fact could be and would be easily checked  I assumed it was a  brain-cramp, and only those whose confirmation bias imposes the worst interpretation of anything Trump-related would not do the same.

Law professors are supposed to be capable of avoiding confirmation bias.

2.  Conway made a false statement when she said that President Obama banned Iraqis from the United States after the so-called massacre.The complaint points out that there was no formal ban on Iraqis, only an order of enhanced screening. Yet the professors’ letter similarly keeps referring to Trump’s “travel ban,” which is also inaccurate. Conway’s poor choice of words is called “sloppy discourse in TV interviews.” It is not what Rule 8.4  describes  as “dishonesty, fraud, deceit, or misrepresentation,”  and every one of these professors know it.

3. Conway claimed that “alternative facts” supported the Trump administration’s claims regarding the size of the President’s inauguration crowd. The complaint says, “‘Alternative facts’ are not facts at all; they are lies.” Are you embarrassed for these professors yet? I am. Conway, if you think she was acting as Trump’s lawyer (I don’t) was engaging in desperate spinning for her client that by the normal standards of the profession was neither unusual nor discipline-worthy. If she was just being a flack, which is my assessment, she engaged in incompetent flacking. It was another gaffe, that’s all. Moreover, while using “alternative facts” may be lying (though not the kind of lying by lawyers in a political setting and while not acting as a lawyer, that attorneys have ever been disciplined for) saying that a conclusion has been based on “alternative facts” is not lying. It is no different than saying that the crowd estimate was based on bad facts. “Alternative facts” is a really dumb euphemism.

And that’s it! This  are the evidence the professors give the bar for the ridiculous contention that Conway  engaged in “offenses that a self–regulating profession must vigorously endeavor to prevent,” compelling the complaint.

That is more of a lie than anything Conway has said.

Moreover, as D.C. Bar counsel explained in an article for “Washington Lawyer,” a complaining lawyer must have actual knowledge of a violation of the rules by the other lawyer:

“The duty to report misconduct by another lawyer arises only when the reporting lawyer has “actual knowledge” of the misconduct, a very high standard. Thus, for example, a lawyer’s strong suspicions of wrongdoing by another lawyer, or even the presence of some evidence of an ethical violation by the other lawyer, does not create a Rule 8.3 duty to report.”

None of the lawyers can possibly know whether Conway was lying when she used the words “massacre,” or called the Obama order a “ban,” or when she referred to “alternative facts.” Only Conway knows it they were flubs, mistakes, bad choices of words or intentional deceptions.

The signatories seem to know that have little or nothing. “We are mindful of the Rule’s breadth and aware that disciplinary proceedings under this Rule could lead to mischief and worse. Generally speaking, we do not believe that lawyers should face discipline under this Rule for public or private dishonesty or misrepresentations,” they admit early in the letter. However, they say,

“… we believe that lawyers in public office—Ms. Conway is Counselor to the President—have a higher obligation to avoid conduct involving dishonesty, fraud, deceit, or misrepresentation than other lawyers. Although the DC Rules contain no Comment specifically relating to 8.4(c), the American Bar Association’s Model Rules of Professional Conduct (MR) make this point. MR 8.4(c), Comment 7 states that “Lawyers holding public office assume legal responsibilities going beyond those of other citizens. A lawyer’s abuse of public office can suggest an inability to fulfill the professional role of lawyers.”

This is, as anyone familiar with the D.C. bar would know, laughable and disingenuous. D.C.’s legal ethics rules vary from the ABA’s advisory, non-binding Model Rules as much or more than any jurisdiction in the country. If the  ABA’s language isn’t included in the D.C. Rules, that’s because the members don’t want it there. The signatories to the complaint can “believe” whatever they want,  but the ABA language is 100% irrelevant to a D.C. bar ethics complaint.

Moreover, I just saw the compilation of the practice areas of the hundreds of lawyers disciplined by the D.C. Disciplinary Counsel in 2016. The number of government lawyers was minuscule. The number of lawyers serving in non-legal government jobs, like Conway, who were disciplined?

Zero.

Finally and desperately, the professors charged that Conway “misused her position” when she promoted Ivanka Trump‘s brand on television from the White House, but they admitted that this did not necessarily violate the attorney ethics rules. And it doesn’t.

“We do not file this complaint lightly,” the professors ( they are also beclowning their respective law schools, including Georgetown, Yale, Fordham, and Duke ) write. “We believe that, at one time, Ms. Conway, understood her ethical responsibilities as a lawyer and abided by them. But she is currently acting in a way that brings shame upon the legal profession.” No, these professors are bring shame on their profession. (And how could Conway bring shame on the legal profession while not practicing law and when almost nobody knew she was a lawyer?)

I wouldn’t file an ethics complaint against these 15 unethical professors, though their conduct while not engaging in the practice of law is far worse than what they allege of Conway. I don’t believe it calls into question their fitness to practice law. It calls into question their fairness, judgement, and willingness to abuse their positions, however. Their basis for the complaint is minimal. Their arguments are inflated and disingenuous. Their motives are unprofessional, and obvious.

They want to embarrass Conway, thus wounding the President. If that was not the goal, they would not have released the complaint to the journalists, who, unlike me, for example, don’t know enough about the substance to see it as the blatantly political attack that it is. Complaints to the bar are virtually always made without fanfare, and the bar investigates and settles the issues raised without publicity, unless discipline is warranted. I am not involved in bar discipline, and cannot speak for the lawyers who are, although I know most of them.

I can and will say that I will be stunned if their reaction to this disgraceful abuse of the Bar’s function, the disciplinary process and the Rules themselves differs from mine in any way.

_________________________

Source: Washington Post

64 Comments

Filed under "bias makes you stupid", Ethics Alarms Award Nominee, Ethics Dunces, Government & Politics, Law & Law Enforcement, Professions, This Helps Explain Why Trump Is President, U.S. Society

64 responses to “The Unethical, Depressing, Bar Complaint Against Kellyanne Conway

  1. E2 (nee Elizabeth I)

    This is horrific: I thought I had see the worst of the Democrats’ and the press’s ongoing egregious, hateful, fear-mongering anti-Trump disinformation campaign. But apparently not. Now, in addition to the major news outlets, “scientists” marching, Facebook becoming a morass of anti-Tump drivel, and so on, we now have the legal profession as an active participant in this effort to de-legitimize and cripple this Administration. They lost, but won’t let it go. I am not a Trump supporter, but he is the President of the United States, and if they want to foment revolution they are working pretty hard at it. They will lose AGAIN. Thanks, Hillary.

    Pretty brave of you to take this on. They’ll be after you next!

  2. joed68

    Sorry, Jack. For what it’s worth, I don’t think this is a reflection of the decline of the legal, or legal ethics, professions. This is just par for the course in left-wing academia.

  3. Other Bill

    These people have lost their minds.

  4. valkygrrl

    To begin with, Kellyanne Conway is not working in a legal position in Trump’s White House. She is Counselor to the President, not White House Counsel. The President and Conway may choose, for his protection, to treat her non-legal policy advisor position as a legal representation, but the fact remains that she is not providing legal advice and services, only policy-related ones.

    I’m confused. I’m assuming this is a hypothetical?

    If that hypothetical were the case, she would be practicing law, even if only very technically, and therefore subject D.C. Rule of Professional Conduct. Your argument only works so long as what he does for the Trump administration i never considered legal representation.

    Or am I missing something?

  5. But Jack, when a person or group of people firmly believe that the ends justifies the means any accusation aimed at anyone within the Trump administration is totally acceptable and must be fact because they say it’s fact, they know that this accusation will be endlessly used in Progressive Magical Thinking.

    This certainly won’t be the last of these kinds of direct and indirect attacks on the Trump administration.

    • But I KNOW these people. I talk to them as much as I talk to you—they are not like this, or weren’t. They are supremely rational, and they care about the rules and legal ethics.This is not just out of character; it betrays the values they spend their careers asserting.

      • I know exactly what you’re talking about, I’m seeing what appears to be the negative effects from a traumatic political stress disorder, and I’m seeing it way too often! What you are describing truly is the result of an ethical flush where they’ve dumped previous values in favor of the ends justify the means.

        What steers me to believing that this is truly a traumatic political stress induced disorder is the fact that their tunnel vision causes them to actually “believe” that they are right while completely disregarding all logical counter arguments. As a friend of mine says, they now seem to be looking at the world through “industrial-strength weapons-grade thickened ideological blinders” #Cornelius_Gotchberg

        • This Cornelius_Gotchberg an academic of sorts?

          https://www.inkpixi.com/items/academy/sports-grey/adult-t-shirt?imsz=750&sku_letter=A&var1=The%20Gotch

          Anywho, I read here Professor Glenn Reynolds suggested: “I wrote if Donald Trump was elected President, we’d have a nation of assholes, and I was RIGHT!”

          He’s damn skippy he was!

          Anyone that leans even slightly to the right is finding people in their sphere acting in a manner they not only didn’t expect but in one heretofore thought completely outside the realm of possibility, or as Jack puts it: ”This is not just out of character….”

          Lefties (most, not all) are experiencing the destructively negative, yet powerfully motivating, feeling of ‘betrayal.’ Embracing whole the “why aren’t I ahead by 50 points” mindset, this was to be a done deal, or so they were completely convinced.

          Smugly careening toward a secular Promised Land, while sanctimoniously passing a Republican Party in hysterical disarray, they tore downhill with a strong tail wind at terminal velocity, only to hit a wall of harsh reality with a resounding KERSPLOOEY.

          It would appear many are not handling it too well, quite the opposite I’m loathe to report.

          I’m regularly accused of defending President Trump, a guy I didn’t vote for and who I think is monumental dick.

          Sheesh! ”Defending” has now “evolved” to describe the approach of anyone that isn’t cutting him a new one 24/7.

          • Paul W. Schlecht asked, “This Cornelius_Gotchberg an academic of sorts?”

            Yes, of sorts.

            Cornelius_Gotchberg is an architect of Shakespearean stylized rhetorical “poetries” endeavoring to school others on topics closely related to politics of the day; either you get it or you don’t.

            Being a select member of the Gotch Academy is an honor that only a few can appreciate.

      • Isaac

        I stand by my theory that the Left is suffering from such serious cognitive dissonance right now that they are almost literally mass-hallucinating. They believe that Trump is lighting the Constitution on fire and dancing on it. If he isn’t, they will create their own reality in which he is.

        Look at how angry they get whenever a media outlet portrays Trump as a human being. “They’re NORMALIZING his EVIL!” “Don’t they know he’s Hitler?”

        The Left is acting like a Doomsday cult typically does, in the months after the predicted Doomsday fails to arrive. In those situations most cult members have invested so heavily in the cult-leader’s scam, that they’d rather go on following than just admit that they were taken for fools. And so the cult goes on, even as its predictions keep failing.

        These people bet everything on Trump being an unelectable devil. Just watch that clip of Ann Coulter from 2 years ago on the Bill Maher show being laughed at by everyone, to her face, for declaring Trump the most likely to win. What do you do when you were so horribly, horribly wrong, and you spent months mocking, cursing, and shunning everyone who turned out to be right? You either humble yourself and be decent, or you double down. Human nature is to double down. In this case, that means the Left NEEDS Trump to be Hitler. They need to believe that his election was a “white-lash” even after the numbers come in to prove it wasn’t. They now need to believe not only that Trump is Hitler, but that millions of American voters are willing, aspiring Nazis who made the biggest mistake in all of history. If Trump isn’t Hitler, they will MAKE him Hitler. They are doing it for their own psychic well-being.

        I didn’t think Trump would win either. I think it was a mistake to elect him. But I wasn’t so heavily invested in his personal failure. Frankly I see more upside to the current situation that a Hillary presidency, which would have just been 8 more years of a slow slide into oligarchy. If I had spent two years warning everyone that Trump’s election would bring about the immediate Apocalypse, I’d be tempted to root for him to fail now, too. Maybe if I were unscrupulous enough, I’d even try to sabotage him to protect my own ego, perhaps even at the expense of America. At least I’m trying to understand the impulses behind the current Left freakout.

  6. Chris

    I have to agree. I despise Conway and think she’s a pathological liar, but this complaint is frivolous.

    I do quibble with your contention that it is inaccurate to call the travel ban a travel ban. It prohibits people from seven countries from traveling here; that is a travel ban. Whereas further research on Obama’s action regarding Iraqis showed it to be a slowdown; there was no month during the period in question that we did not accept Iraqi refugees. Conway was being dishonest conflating the two. But nothing she said suggests she is unfit to be a lawyer.

    • Chris Marschner

      Chris, no one ever said it was not travel ban. The complaint was that it was a defacto muslim ban because these were primarily muslim nations.

      The Dems wanted to create the impression that the motivation was strictly anti-muslim. That is deceit.

      If alternative facts are always lies then we should never publish any scientific or medical papers until any chance of obtaining different or disputing data has zero chance of occurring. We must also require that everyone uses the same measuring methods in determining said facts.

      • valkygrrl

        If alternative facts are always lies then we should never publish any scientific or medical papers until any chance of obtaining different or disputing data has zero chance of occurring. We must also require that everyone uses the same measuring methods in determining said facts.

        good one Kellyanne.

        Facts are facts. You may use them to draw different conclusions. You may dispute data because there isn’t enough or that the methodology was flawed, that isn’t an alternative fact, that is a desire for more information but there are no alternatives to facts. Reality is not subjective. Don’t try to peddle post-modernism here.

        • Chris Marschner

          Val
          We treat opinion as fact all the time. We treat man made global warming as indisputable fact based solely on computer models.
          These are not facts they are theories. If these scientists are proven wrong will you call them liars?

          Can you prove systemic racism exists or is it just based on the intrepretation of the observer.

          By definition a fact is something that is an immutable truth. Unfortunately, we have yet to design a device that eliminates human bias. Therefore, we accept as facts those bits of knowledge that reflect our desired understanding of the world.

          Case in point why do we call it the European slave trade when African kings were the initial suppliers of slaves? Why do we call current slave trade “human trafficking”?

          Ironically today we hold suppliers of goods liable for damages today such as tabacco and asbestos, yet we only condemn the buyers of human chattel in the nineteenth century. See how facts reflect our desired understanding.

          • valkygrrl

            There’ a lot packed into your comment.

            Let’s start simple, I believe it’s called the Atlantic slave trade and how it worked is far more complex than African Kings. People in Africa captured and sold slaves in exchange for money and technology not readily available in West Africa, guns guns and more guns. Muskets could win wars and protect borders. But much like Europe for most of forever, border moved around and anyone who wanted to change them raised an army and… war, war never changes*. ONce one side got muskets others needed parity, so they needed to start raiding and capturing slaves to trade for more muskets. Lather rinse repeat, they’re till living with the results, so are we.

            They supplied a demand, the people who created that demand are worthy of condemnation.

            There would have still been smaller scale slavery in Africa, and while slavery in any form is worthy of condemnation we shouldn’t blind ourselves into thinking all forms are equal. The difference between bad and worse is always more profound than between good and bad. Chattel slavery in the Americas with it’s dehumanization brought slavery to a very low point compared to systems in which slaves are till though of as people rather than talking animals.

            Human trafficking is a less charged way to say enslaving. It also encompass some of the areas around the edges of slavery that would otherwise be fuzzy. Need I go into detail about the different arrangements that still end with people essentially owned?

            *fallout yay!

            Can I prove systematic racism exists? No, I can form the opinion that it does, moreso in some places and for some groups than other. I’m convinced but you could find a way to argue almost every case, It take inductive reasoning.

            As does global climate change. There are trends, they’re based on facts, the facts aren’t the conclusion.

            But when the phrase alternative-facts was uttered, it was in support of an easily provable falsehood. There is no situation where x > y = True can be interpreted in such a way that x > y = False. One of those will be objectively wrong. Ergo, saying something happened that didn’t actually happen or something didn’t happen that actually did, is in no way an alternative fact unless alternative fact is a fancy way to say a lie. A crowd is bigger or it is not, a vote total is either higher or it is not, x > y is true or it is not.

            • joed68

              “Need I go into detail about the different arrangements that still end with people essentially owned?”

              No, not another feminist screed about marriage!
              🙂

              • valkygrrl

                You think you’re being funny, but child brides aren’t exactly free people now are they?

                • joed68

                  I’m supposed to feel guilty?
                  Now that’s funny!

                  • valkygrrl

                    No, caring about what happens to people who aren’t you would require empathy.

                    • joed68

                      Oh, give it a rest. People who joke lack empathy? You can’t begin to imagine, in your wildest dreams, how I’ve suffered in this world. Ever hear of complex posttraumatic stress disorder, or bipolar I? You’re not likely to encounter people with more empathy than me. People who’ve had to walk some particularly dark paths are the ones who cultivate genuine empathy, not the kind so many wear on their sleeves. People who’ve endured shit that would utterly destroy many others usually do so because they’ve maintained their sense of humor.
                      God, people like you tire me.

                    • joed68

                      The kind of shit that you wail and gnash your teeth over, I’ve seen and experienced up close and personal. Save the virtue-signalling horseshit for your SJW circle-jerks.

                    • joed68

                      Wow, I’ve GOT to stay off the computer late at night.

            • Chris Marschner

              You are proving my point. First you call into question my use of the term European Slave trade. You automatically assumed I was speaking only in terms of reference that you understood.

              Europeans were engage in the slave trade long before the new world was founded.

              ” Slavery and slave trading had been part of European experience long before the beginning of the transatlantic slave trade. It was most widespread in the continuing conflict between Christians and Muslims in the Mediterranean. There, and around the Black Sea, slaves were created as each side enslaved the other as part of the spoils of war. The numbers were enormous – indeed as late as the mid 17th century, far more European slaves were held in Islamic regions (where the ownership of Muslim slaves was prohibited) than Africans were shipped into the Americas.” (http://www.understandingslavery.com/index.php-option=com_content&view=article&id=315&Itemid=150.html)

              That is what I learned in the 1960’s. Is that an alternate fact?
              The term Transatlantic Slave trade specifically deals with the slave trade initially developed from Africa to San Salvador, Cuba, Dominican Republic, Brazil, etc. by the Portuguese and the Spanish to cultivate sugar cane. Later, the agricultural business concept of the “plantation” took root in the U.S. which is when we the US became involved in the Atlantic or Transatlantic Slave Trade. Technically, Transatlantic Slave trade is more accurate.

              This administration plays fast and loose with the language. I will stipulate to that but to hang her out to dry for the use of the term “alternate facts” is just as irresponsible. All the clamor over this point fails to reconcile that Sean Spicer said what he believed to be true. Ergo, you want it to be a lie therefore it must be because your guys say it is.

              Chuck Todd:
              “Why did he do that?” Todd questioned, referencing Spicer’s incorrect assertion that the audience at Friday’s inauguration was the largest to ever witness the ceremony both in person and around the globe. “It undermines the credibility of the entire White House press office on day one.”

              Conway dismissed the question.
              Conway:
              “Don’t be so overly dramatic about it, Chuck,” she replied. “You’re saying it’s a falsehood and they’re giving — Sean Spicer, our press secretary, gave alternative facts to that.”

              “Alternative facts?” Todd shot back. “Look, alternative facts are not facts, they’re falsehoods.”

              How does Chuck Todd know the assertion to be false? By comparing photos of the mall. What was the actual assertion? “. . . the audience at Friday’s inauguration was the largest to ever witness the ceremony both in person and around the globe”.

              Prove that assertion false. Obviously, “around the globe” changes that which is to be measured. Omitted facts that change the original meaning create falsehoods as well.

              This was my entire point. We see what we want to see or as Jack says so often “Bias makes us stupid”. That is not peddling post modern anything its just an observation.

              • Chris

                There were no facts supporting Spicer’s contention that ““. . . the audience at Friday’s inauguration was the largest to ever witness the ceremony both in person and around the globe.” None. Nada. Zilp. Zilch.

                That’s what makes “alternative facts” so galling. Conway wasn’t describing a questionable set of statistics, a flawed methodology, or any observable data. She was describing made-up bullshit. Putting this on the same level as “Well, scientists disagree on global warming data” is extremely obtuse.

              • valkygrrl

                No Kellyanne, it was not alternative facts, you were just deliberately misleading using by the term African Kings which strongly implies sub-Saharan so you could make a smug reply if I bit.

        • Isaac

          Nonsense. Of course there are alternative facts. They are unrelated or different facts (not contradicting ones) that serve as evidence of an alternative narrative.

          No one uses the term “alternative facts” because, as Jack said, it’s a stupid and confusing term, one that Kellyanne surely made up on the spot in the middle of a heated argument. What she should have said was, “facts that tell a different story” or something to that effect. Everyone not suffering from cognitive-dissonance-inspired-mass-liberal-hallucinatory disease brought on by the Trump election knows what she was trying to say. We’ve all been in heated discussions in which something came out stupid.

          Leaving aside the issue of whether humans are qualified and capable of always determining what are and aren’t objective facts (we aren’t), even when facts are correctly known, they can still be used to promote a false narrative, in which case more facts (“alternative facts”) can be brought to light to supply the missing information that provides the correct narrative. That is also often called “supplying context.”

          In a world of tweets and hashtags, the people who think carefully, or are actual experts on topics, are finding their influence diminished by Google-researchers armed with quick quotes and factoids. This is a bad thing for all of us, and the “alternative-facts” meme is evidence of that.

          • Isaac

            All of which is to say nothing of whether or not Conway was lying about the size of the inauguration crowd (she most likely was.) The assertion among the millions of goons laughing at the term “alternative facts” is that the Trump administration believes that contradictory realities can exist, because Conway used the term “alternative facts.” That assertion does not reflect reality.

        • Tom Kline

          Your friend peddles his own 100% weapons grade bolognium.

      • Chris

        Chris Marschner:

        Chris, no one ever said it was not travel ban.

        Jack just did:

        Yet the professors’ letter similarly keeps referring to Trump’s “travel ban,” which is also inaccurate.

        The motivation wasn’t “strictly anti-Muslim,” but there is at plenty of evidence that it was at least partly anti-Muslim. See Trump’s comments about a Muslim ban during the campaign, and Guliani’s comments after the election.

        And you know that’s not what Conway meant when she said “alternative facts.” She had no “measuring methods” when she asserted the false figures for Trump’s inauguration crowds. The measuring method is “tell my boss whatever will stroke his ego, in defiance of reality.”

        • I’m tired of arguing about the term, but I made the case clearly in my post on the order. The EO halted immigration from six of the countries for a limited period of time, pending study. That’s a suspension, not a ban. Or a halt. The same people who called the EO a travel ban often said that the Washington judge “struck down” the “ban.” Same mistake. That was a temporary restraining order, and the ban isn’t “struck down” by it any more than travel was “banned” by the order.

          • Chris

            That’s a suspension, not a ban. Or a halt

            All three of those words are synonyms, Jack. This is the first example when you Google the term “ban:”

            “he was banned from driving for a year”

            A temporary ban is still a ban.

        • Tom Kline

          Right. It is a ban on Muslims. Get your facts straight.

          • Of course, it isn’t, but don’t let facts get in the way of outrage. It’s a responsible pause in insufficiently vetted immigrants from failed Muslim states where the likelihood of terrorist slipping through is unacceptably high.

            • Chris

              It isn’t a ban on Muslims, though it may be an attempt at setting a precedent for one.

              Jack:

              Of course, it isn’t, but don’t let facts get in the way of outrage. It’s a responsible pause in insufficiently vetted immigrants from failed Muslim states where the likelihood of terrorist slipping through is unacceptably high.

              It boggles my mind that you still believe this. Almost no one in national security agrees with you that this is “responsible,” which is why they weren’t consulted before the ban, and it was instead written by bloggers. If the likelihood was unacceptably high, it would have happened already, yet no one from the banned countries has committed an attack on US soil in decades. It created chaos overnight, alienated our allies, made the US an international pariah, helped ISIS spread the narrative that the West hates Islam, and helped ensure that they have more victims to slaughter; what part of that is responsible to you?

              • switching the topics. I wrote as clearly as it can be written that the original order was botched. That’s incompetence. The purposes of the order are, as I said, responsible.

                • Chris

                  You said the executive order was a “responsible pause.” That implies you’re describing the order, not just its “purpose.” The purpose of bans on gay marriage was to protect the family; the purpose of gun bans is to keep people safe. Having a noble purpose does not make ones’ actions responsible.

                  I have no idea what a “responsible pause” would look like. What kind of executive order would you have crafted that wouldn’t have had any of the flaws I outlined above?

                  • What? The order suggests that the current process isn’t sufficient, and pauses immigration from especially risky areas until the vetting can be examined and strengthened. That’s the order and its purpose, and the purpose is responsible.

    • Chris wrote, “I despise Conway and think she’s a pathological liar”

      I don’t care if you despise Conway or not, heck I don’t really like her much either but I’m really confused as to how you justifying that “pathological liar” part. I’m going to be brutally honest with you on this one and say that your statement falls directly in the category of bias makes you stupid; but, I’d really like to read why you’ve come to the conclusion that Conway has a condition that is widely regarded as a psychological or mental disorder.

      Please explain.

      • Zoltar, Your fanciful simulacrum of an oracle of comic darkness conjures the pastiche of an automaton that is seldom correct once never mind twice a day. You defend Kellyanne from Chris’ hyperbolic reference to a DSM V entry while granting her what is, at the very least, statements that are the product of a disconnect between mind and tongue. She has accomplished enough to presume that she can regulate her voice. That leaves me with the thought that you defend her out of bias when as a government official she makes statements of false nature that remain false whether you call them alternative facts or the desperate spinning of a lawyer on a client’s behalf. Such acts of desperation by attorneys give all attorneys a bad reputation and are performed in a craven need to not offend a client for lack of zeal in the interest of the benefits to be had from a continued relationship with the client. Donald loves her, he says for now. Good job Kellyanne. Is that sufficiently bias free for you?.

        • “Your fanciful simulacrum of an oracle of comic darkness conjures the pastiche of an automaton” wins the Ethics Alarms Award for Most Pompous Beginning to a Comment, for this or any other year. An impressive achievement!

        • Tom Kline,
          Let’s get one thing perfectly clear Tom, I haven’t defended anything Conway has said, not a damn thing; what I did was to challenge Chris to back up his claim that Conway is a “pathological liar”. Personally I think Chris was just parroting some subversion propaganda and showing us how bias can make even a person that appears to be reasonably intelligent look pretty damn stupid.

          Now to directly address the content of your comment; it’s nothing but attacking the messenger trolling bull shit. If political hacks believe that Conway is a pathological liar, which is a condition that is widely regarded as a psychological or mental disorder, then the political hacks need to prove their accusations or shut the fuck up. I didn’t make the subversion propaganda claim, Chris did.

          By the way Tom; I think that Jack pointed out quite clearly that Conway is not an attorney.

          To be perfectly clear about my opinion of Conway; I think she has shown a signs of what I call Foot-In-Mouth Syndrome; but that in itself does not make her a “pathological liar”. People like Conway shouldn’t be presenting things to the public, she’s not good at knowing when to keep her mouth shut to hide her own ignorance and make herself look foolish.

  7. Steve-O-in-NJ

    This complaint is essentially throwing mud to see what will stick and sticking out whatever you can in the hopes it will make the administration trip. After a year of virulent campaigning with a twist ending the left is knocked so completely for a loop that they are turning to desperate measures.

    • But as the professors know, that’s never how disciplinary complaints work. Even valid complaints don’t stick much of the time. Phony ones like these have no change of sticking at all. All they can do is cause trouble for the target, embarrass her and her employers, make work for the bar, and mislead the public. Nice.

      • Steve-O-in-NJ

        Exactly right, but in the meantime maybe they can take away just a little more credibility, effectiveness, and seriousness from Conway and the monster who employs her, and isn’t that doing at least SOME good?
        /sarc

  8. Margie

    It makes me wonder whether these 15 are acting on their own, or whether they are under some sort of duress. Information IS power, and there is an awful lot of it being collected and stored.

  9. Well, a Resistance Warrior named ANC slimed his or her way on to the Moderation queue and presented this obnoxious idiocy, as ensured his banning within a single sentence, writing,

    “While I did not need to read the whole complaint to know it was contrived and intellectually dishonest nonsense..”

    Yeah. You sorta do.

    And speaking of intellectually dishonest nonsense, you should know that lawyers can behave unethically when they are – not – acting as lawyers. If I rob a bank, traffic in drugs or humans, or use a public position of authority to profit from sales of Made-In-China junk, I would be bringing shame to my profession. This is old law, which you would know if you are the expert you so disingenuously claim to be. See ABA Formal Opinion 336 (1974). Nixon, another unethical fascist, inspired it.
    You might be optimized for Google, but you are not optimized for much else..

    I wrote in response…

    “While I did not need to read the whole complaint to know it was contrived and intellectually dishonest nonsense..”
    Yeah. You sorta do.”

    Yeah, and I sorta did, jerk, as I wrote in the same sentence:“While I did not need to read the whole complaint to know it was contrived and intellectually dishonest nonsense, I did, and it fulfilled my worst fears…” Boy, when a commenter has trouble understanding “I did,” that’s a baaaad sign.

    I knew it was nonsense the second I encountered the “Bowling Green Massacre” used as an instance of a lie, which was the impetus for that sentence. Don’t come on this blog and make your first comment being snotty to me. It doesn’t go over well.

    “And speaking of intellectually dishonest nonsense, you should know that lawyers can behave unethically when they are – not – acting as lawyers. If I rob a bank, traffic in drugs or humans, or use a public position of authority to profit from sales of Made-In-China junk, I would be bringing shame to my profession.”

    What in the post made your pea brain assume I don’t know that? I wasn’t giving a treatise on lawyer misconduct, but discussing this particular complaint and its alleged theory, which did not include the claim that any serious crime had been committed. That’s Rule8.4 B, and not even cited by the 15 unethical profs. You don’t need to cite a law, or an ABA Formal Op, which, you clown, has no force whatsoever in the District of Columbia or anywhere else. The Rule is clear on that point. I, unlike you, know the rule like I know The Major General’s Song.

    I did write, though you obviously don’t read well enough to understand it…

    “The complaint alleges that Conway “engage(d) in conduct involving dishonesty, fraud, deceit, or misrepresentation” in breach of D.C. Rule of Professional Conduct 8.4 (c), and did so while not engaged in the practice of law. In order to bring down the wrath of the Bar, such conduct must be extremely serious, criminal or bordering on it.”

    Never mind. You just want to rationalize Trump bashing, and are willing to make a fool out of yourself doing it where the average IQ triples your own.

    So, essentially, you have outed yourself as a partisan jackass making erroneous assertions that you are too stupid to even research properly, and challenging someone who is an expert on the topic at hand when you don’t even comprehend it! Got it. I didn’t have to finish reading your addled garbage comment to figure out it was as I have described, either, but I did. Your smoking gun moment was the “another unethical fascist line.” No, Nixon wasn’t a fascist; Trump isn’t a fascist, and I recommend going back to junior college and learning what a fascist is. Or ask your mommy.

    You are banned, ANC—Annoyingly Nasty Creep? Anti-Trump Non Composmentis? Arrogant Nuisance Commenter? I don’t care, really, but nothing with your stink on is getting out of moderation until the stars turn cold.

    Bye!

    And may I note, based on the Not My President types that have ventured here, what an ugly, snide, and intellectually bankrupt group they are.

  10. Did they file any complaint against Eric Holder when he lied to Congress and admitted it?

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