1. It is a matter of constant fascination to me how all of President Trump’s personal lawyers appear to be flaming jerks, whatever their legal skills may be. Here’s an example from this week: Marc Kasowitz, President Trump’s personal attorney on the Russia conspiracy theory investigation, was contacted by a stranger, a retired public relations professional, who had read ProPublica’s unflattering story on Kasowitz. He sent the lawyer an email with the subject line: “Resign Now.’’
Kasowitz used the 30 minutes between 9:30 p.m. and 10 p.m. to bombard the man with threats and epithets, writing such dignified messages as,
“I’m on you now. You are fucking with me now Let’s see who you are Watch your back , bitch/”
“Call me. Don’t be afraid, you piece of shit. Stand up. If you don’t call, you’re just afraid.”
“I already know where you live, I’m on you. You might as well call me. You will see me. I promise. Bro.”
This isn’t a legal ethics violation, though it almost certainly would be if Kasowitz were addressing an opposing counsel in such a manner. It’s just generally unethical as outrageous, inexcusable, gratuitous incivility, reflecting poorly on him, his profession and his client. A client who was minimally concerned about ethics would fire him.
2. Speaking of a minimal concern for ethics, Trump’s defense of his son’s dumb but legal meeting with the Russian lawyer promising dirt on Hillary included the statement that “most people would have taken that meeting.” Once again, we have evidence that Donald Trump literally doesn’t know what ethics is. Oh, his rationalizations are the same ones the average ethically-retarded citizen uses—this is why he is President. They are still rationalizations. Yes, Mr. President, and most people would accept extra money from an ATM and not tell the bank about it. And most people lie to get out of trouble. And most people do all sorts of unethical things, which doesn’t make them ethical, responsible or appropriate.
He is the President, though, and this is how we will inevitably become a nation of assholes.
3. And speaking of assholes, there is Nancy Pelosi. Because a female journalist was blocked from access to the House of Representative by a Sergeant of Arms who properly pointed out that she was wearing a sleeveless dress, always forbidden according to Congress’s dress code, we were suddenly subjected to the false narrative that those mean, sexist Republicans were abusing women again, as well as being typically antediluvian in their ideas about propriety. (Men can’t go sleeveless either, but never mind.) Paul Ryan was the target here, as the Speaker is officially charged with enforcing such rules. The narrative was not really about the dress code, but just part of the over-all “Get Republicans” news media strategy to make the party as unpopular as possible. Yesterday Paul Ryan plausibly said that he wasn’t aware of the rule in question, and was happy to amend it. Then Nancy Pelosi piled on, tweeting, “Glad to see [Speaker Ryan] is updating the dress code for the House Floor. These unwritten rules are in desperate need of updates.”
Pelosi was Speaker for four years, her tenure ending just six years ago. The same rule Ryan is being attacked for was in place during her entire tenure. Why didn’t she fix it herself, dedicated feminist that she is? Her tweet is such obvious hypocrisy that it calls attention to the double standards employed by Democrats, the news media and women. Pelosi could have cheered the change without appearing to duck her own responsibility for their continuation. Instead, she acted as if she was an innocent bystander.
Nancy Pelosi is a major reason the Democratic Party has become a party of assholes. Who but an asshole would tolerate a national leader like this as the face of his or her party in Congress? Are Democrats proud of this woman? Do they endorse her tactics and rhetoric? We have to assume so, don’t we?
4. And speaking of accountability for behaving like an asshole: Columbia has agreed to a settlement with Paul Nungesser, CC ’15, whom the University allowed to be publicly humiliated and tarred as a racist by classmate Emma Sulkowicz, who accused him of sexual assault in 2012 A University investigation found her accusation without merit, so she targeted Nungesser in her senior art thesis, “Mattress Performance (Carry That Weight),” in which she carried a mattress with her at all times to proclaim his guilt and her victimization. The thesis made national headlines. Senator Kirsten Gillibrand (D-NY) invited Sulkowicz as her guest to the State of the Union Address, along with the mattress. Marvel Comics then declared the Senator a “Senators of Steel” in honor of her fight against campus sexual assault. Obama’s United States Ambassador to the United Nations, Samantha Power, praised Sulkowicz for helping show that “true change is possible.”
Nungesser’s suit charged that the University failed to protect him from the protest by Sulkowicz and even encouraged it. Columbia had argued that it was not obligated to censor Sulkowicz’s speech or the subject matter of her art thesis, and that allowing her performance did not constitute gender discrimination. That’s right: “This student is a rapist” is art. After Nungesser amended his complaint to allege that Columbia had participated in gender-based harassment, sexual harassment, and gender-based misconduct against him, the University decided to surrender. Its statement reaffirmed that Columbia’s investigation had found Nungesser not guilty of the accusations against him, and expressed regret that his subsequent treatment was “very difficult for him and not what Columbia would want any of its students to experience.”
Columbia also promised to reform its gender-based misconduct so that all students, “accuser and accused, including those like Paul who are found not responsible,” are treated with “respect.”
This reform doesn’t do Paul any good, however.
Where is the accountability of the other conspirators to destroy an innocent student: Sulkowicz, Gillibrand, and Powers? Where are the apologies from them for this ugly and cruel episode?
I’m waiting for Senator Gillibrand to tweet that it’s high time that Nungesser received justice.
5. Moving on from assholes to incredible incompetence, we have this jaw-dropping headline, from Fred the Ethics Scout:
Black teenage woman, mistaken for machete-wielding black man, alleges police brutality
A black 19-year-old woman was punched in the mouth by an officer, bitten by a police K9 and arrested last month after an officer said he mistook her for a 180-pound bald man suspected of threatening people with a machete at a nearby grocery store.
Fred observes: “Any sufficiently advanced incompetence is indistinguishable from malice.” True, but still, Hanlon’s Razor applies: “Never attribute to malice that which is adequately explained by stupidity.”
However, there is no adequate explanation for this level of stupidity, is there?