Morning Ethics Warm-Up: 8/27/17

GOOOD MORNING!

(he said through gritted teeth..)

1. I received a nice, polite e-mail from a new reader here who accused me of engaging exclusively in “partisan/political rants.” “Further,” he wrote,  “everything you say appears to be entirely one-sided (right/conservative/republican is good, left/liberal/democrat is bad).”

The man is an academic, so one might expect a little fairness and circumspection, but then, the man is an academic. His description is in factual opposition to the contents of the blog (I’m trying to think of the last Republican leader, conservative or otherwise, I designated as “good”), but I know from whence the impression arises: the fact that the entire American Left, along with its sycophants and familiars, the universities, show business and the news media, have gone completely off the ethics rails since November 8, 2016. I don’t know how else I am supposed to address that. It would have been nice, for balance’s sake, if a conservative cast of white actors in, say, a hit musical called “The Ray Coniff Story” had stepped out of character and harassed, say, Chuck Shumer, but this didn’t happen. If it had, I would have treated that breach of theater ethics exactly as I did the cast of Hamilton’s harassment of Mike Pence. (I would not, however, have been attacked for doing so by my theater colleagues, and no, I haven’t forgotten, and I’m not forgiving.)

If a GOP figure working for CNN as an analyst, say, Jeffrey Lord, had used his connections at the network to forward debate questions to Donald Trump and then lied about it when he was caught red-handed, I would have eagerly written about it in highly critical terms—but the Republicans didn’t cheat. Donna Brazile and the Democrats did. 

If Hillary Clinton had been elected President and Donald Trump and the Republicans formed an anti-democractic movement called “the resistance,” tried to use a single Federalist paper as a rationalization to change the rules of the election and then pressured performers not to allow the new President the privilege of a star-studded, up-beat inauguration to unify the nation, and if a large contingent of Republican Congressmen had boycotted the ceremony, saying that they did not consider Hillary as “legitimate President,” Ethics Alarms would have been unmatched in expressing its contempt and condemnation. If conservatives were trying to limit free speech according to what they considered “hateful,” a step toward dictatorship if there ever was one, I would be among the first to declare them a menace to society. They haven’t advocated such restrictions, however. Progressives have. The Mayor of Portland has called for a “hate speech’ ban. What party is he from? Howard Dean said that “hate speech” wasn’t protected. What party was he the Chair of? I forget. What was the party–there was just one— of the mayors who announced that citizens holding certain views should get out of town?

“Need I go on? I could, because the uniquely un-American, unfair and destructive conduct from Democrats, progressives and the anti-Trump deranged has continued unabated and without shame for 10 months now.  That’s not my fault, and I don’t take kindly to being criticized for doing my job in response to it. I have chronicled this as unethical, because it is spectacularly unethical, and remains the most significant ethics story of the past ten years, if not the 21st Century to date.

And the reluctance and refusal of educated and usually responsible liberals and Democrats to exhibit some courage and integrity and vigorously oppose this conduct as they should and have a duty as Americans to do—no, I am not impressed with the commenters here who protest, “Hey, I don’t approve of all of this! Don’t blame me!” as if they bear no responsibility—is the reason this execrable conduct continues. It is also why I have to keep writing about it.

2. I’m still awaiting the apologies and acknowledgement of my predictive abilities from all of my friends who chided me for suggesting that the Confederate flag and statuary-focused historical airbrushing mania would shoot down the slippery slope to threaten the Founders and more.  CNN political commentator and former Congressional Black Caucus director Angela Rye proclaimed on CNN that the country must tear down all memorials and likenesses of George Washington and Thomas Jefferson.  Rye said on CNN that “George Washington was a slaveowner. Whether we think they were protecting American freedom or not, he wasn’t protecting my freedom.”

Her ignorance and arrogance is staggering. Naturally, no one on CNN had the integrity, historical perspective, courage or wit to explain why her position is destructive and foolish. Hey, but it’s all right! There’s no slippery slope!

Oh, Professor? When Republicans and conservatives start tearing down statues of, say, Margaret Sanger in the dead of night, you can count on me to condemn that, too.

3.  Now here’s a rant:

As I explained in the previous post, the President’s pardon of anti-immigration zealot Joe Arpaio was ill-considered and a poor use of the pardon power. To say, however,  that the attacks on it are wildly disproportionate to its actual impact is an epic understatement. The crime Arpaio was convicted of is a misdemeanor. The sentence is light. He is 85 years old, and there is no chance of him repeating the crime–criminal contempt—or doing any further harm, other than shooting off his mouth, Joe’s specialty.

I was watching CNN to see how hard Texas is being slammed by ex-hurricane Harvey, and the crawl about how outraged various politicians are over the pardon was almost continuous.  There was never such unbroken focus, by CNN or anyone else, when Bill Clinton took a bribe to pardon a rich fugitive with no redeeming characteristics whatsoever. There was no similar indignation about contempt for the rule of law when Obama’s Justice Department deliberately ruled that club-wielding Black Panthers intimidating voters at a Philadelphia polling place in 2008 was acceptable, because of their color.

Then an esteemed reader sent me this head-exploding link to a Huffington Post article by a HuffPo “social engineer”—give me a break!—making the claim that the pardon was unconstitutional and would have a major impact–get this— on the investigation by the special counsel. I responded to the link thusly, in part:

This is in the disgraceful category of other forced arguments that Trump has committed a “high crime” that can’t exist, or has triggered an opportunity to remove him, like the Emoluments clause, or the claim that it’s “obstruction of justice” to fire someone he has the power to fire, or that there’s a loophole to allow his election not to count….

I’ve researched this. That “social change engineer”—how can you take anything written by someone who calls himself that?—is intellectually dishonest. ALL pardons cross the separation of powers. Only impeachment is immune from a Presidential pardon, and even that is sort of misleading. Impeachment itself isn’t a conviction for a crime.

The post is garbage, and the theory wouldn’t last two seconds in the Supreme Court. The argument against the pardon is that it’s a bad pardon. It is unquestionably a LEGAL pardon.

Later, I read my New York Times front page article that said that the pardon is “almost certainly” legal. Since the Times has never seen an impeachment theory it didn’t like,  “almost certainly” almost certainly means, “No way, Jose! Even we can’t concoct an argument to back this up.”

And yet a smart, observant, progressive-minded reader found the “social change engineer’s ignorant claims persuasive! This is hate and confirmation bias run amuck, and, frankly, I’ve lost patience with it. The predominant approach to the Trump Presidency is that all previous standards of law, logic and fairness have been suspended, because Hillary’s legions and the impotent Republican bunglers who let Trump take control of their party are so furious that an unqualified, impulsive, narcissistic fool of inadequate education and intellectual resources became President of the United States.  Well, they haven’t been suspended, you bitter assholes. We have laws, and processes and precedents, and no matter how much you wish it were otherwise, you can’t make up reasons to void an election just because you really don’t like the winner, even if you have wonderful reasons to dislike the winner (and you do).

Owning hotels is not going to become a grounds for impeachment. Stop saying it is. Using his family members as advisors is not a high crime or misdemeanor. Saying and tweeting stupid things is not a high crime or misdemeanor, no matter how stupid they are. Doing things that other Presidents have done without consequences are not suddenly crimes because this President does them. The President is not “disabled” under the terms of the 25th Amendment just because you regard not bowing down to progressive cant and the Political Correctness Gods as proof of a mental illness. These and other biased, irresponsible crack-brained fantasies mislead the public, waste everyone’s time and energy, and worst of all, force me to defend a President who literally has no ethics alarms–thus getting myself accused of being a white supremacist— because double standards are unethical per se.

Cut it out. It’s embarrassing you. It’s aggravating me. It is harming the nation and the democracy. Meanwhile, it increases the likelihood that President Trump really will do something epicly stupid and destructive.  Just as Obama was a much worse President because the news media gave him a free pass and the impression that he was a brilliant leader when in truth he was a feckless fraud, the news media has squandered any ability it might have had to Trump him toward competency and responsibility by establishing itself as a relentless, inept, partisan adversary. Good job, Journalists. You are pathetic.

If everything Trump does is horrible, nothing is. If the narrative is that his very existence is grounds for impeachment, then the President has no comprehensible limits to what he can do. The assault, which has gone on literally from the second he was elected, is unethical indefensible, disastrous, destructive and incredibly stupid.

I have been, if anything, too tolerant of it. No more. This is wrong.

 

73 Comments

Filed under "bias makes you stupid", Ethics Dunces, Ethics Train Wrecks, Government & Politics, History, Journalism & Media, Law & Law Enforcement, Leadership, This Helps Explain Why Trump Is President, U.S. Society

73 responses to “Morning Ethics Warm-Up: 8/27/17

  1. Steve-O-in-NJ

    Amen.

  2. JP

    Bias makes you stupid, but if anything given enough time as the last 10 month have taught us it also makes you an a…ole.

  3. fattymoon

    #1 Agree.
    #2 Agree
    #3 Tire Fires says it best. I think it’s a metaphor… https://medium.com/geezer-speaks/tire-fires-8f783170717d

  4. Tippy Scales

    Don’t worry about charges of right-wing bias. As far as I can see, you always call out all unethical behavior, no matter who does it. This is one of the few sites I’ve found that is fair and balanced to all sides. That’s why I come here so often: To get a whiff of sanity in this hyper-partisan environment we’re in right now.

    And you hate John Lennon’s “Imagine” to boot!

    Don’t you ever change.

  5. I am the author of “Item #1” in Jack’s Morning Ethics Warm-Up for Aug 27 2017. For the record, here is the content of the email I sent him, which instigated Jack’s response:

    Jack —

    I’ve been following your website (https://ethicsalarms.com) since I “discovered” it a couple of months ago. Its About page is especially lucid and luring.

    The problem is, your posts don’t live up to the About advertisement. Specifically, the About page speaks only about whole-life ethics (a very laudable goal, what I was looking for), but says nothing about partisan/political rants. Yet, it seems like that’s what the website does, and only that. Further, everything you say appears to be entirely one-sided (right/conservative/republican is good, left/liberal/democrat is bad).

    Is that the way you really see things? Or am I missing something?

    Thx.

    — Walter Tuvell (PhD, Math, MIT & U.Chicago — i.e., “not-a-crank”)

    I counter-respond as follows:

    First: I am not an “academic” (well-educated, yes, but worklife has been in the computer industry). Nor am I an American leftist, sycophant, familiar, university, show business, news media, etc. Rather, I’m just a guy looking for serious ethical guidance in uncertain times, of the sort Jack mentions/advertises on his About page (https://ethnicsalarms.com/about).

    Second: My note was not, I think, an “accusation,” but rather an “observation,” based on the deviance of the website’s content vs. the wording of its About page. Granted I’m a relatively new reader, so don’t have the benefit of long-term familiarity, but from what I’ve seen to date, everything has decidedly political/partisan, in one particular direction (from left to right). That seems biasedly unbalanced (black-and-white, no gray) to me.

    Third: I maintain a website documenting a major cultural/governmental (but not “political/partisan”) phenomenon affecting many thousands of Americans yearly, namely Judicial Misconduct (http://JudicialMiscoduct.US). THAT’S the sort of thing I wonder what an non-political/partisan (though legally trained/savvy) ethicist thinks about. Start, say, with the “Smoking Gun” at http://JudicialMisconduct.US/CaseStudies/WETvIBM/Story#smokinggun.

    — Walter Tuvell

    • Thanks, Walter. I was hoping you would post.

      • And sorry for the mistake regarding your erudition. I come from a tradition where only scholars and academics attach their degrees and alma mater to their name. I know I don’t.

    • Alex

      Hello Walter!

      Welcome. I hope you enjoy it here. Jack has built a really nice place in here where there is genuine diversity of viewpoints and debate is almost always rational. We may seem like a rough crowd sometimes but there is a real feeling of a community that cares about ethical issues.

    • Red Pill Ethics

      I mean it’s nice of you to respond Walter, but Jack very clearly presented his case for why the ethics criticisms have been so one way – a large and sustained breakdown of ethics and reason in the left with many supporting examples. If you respond to anything I’d be most interested in hearing your response to that. Maybe something along the lines of an equivalent large and sustained breakdown of ethics and reason in the right with many supporting examples. If you can provide a good argument for that, then I’d 100% agree that the one sided coverage appears to show an ideological bent. If you can’t… then maybe an apology is in order.

      • Chris

        The election of Donald Trump was a massive failure of ethics on the right.

        • Quit this tired argument.

          It has been made absolutely clear that the ENTIRE election, Democrat side as well, was an ethics failure.

          That your side continues to pretend like Hillary wasn’t as horrible of an option as Trump (the two of them having their own uniquely horrible qualities) is just further demonstration that your side has no self-awareness or accountability.

          • Chris

            I’m not the one dodging accountability here. I agree that leftists bear some blame in helping getting Donald Trump elected. But the primary responsibility for electing Trump has to go to the people who elected him. Just as the primary responsibility for electing Clinton, had she won, would have gone to Clinton voters. Republicans had 16 other choices, only one or two of which would have been as unethical a choice as Trump. They chose Trump. This was an ethics failure at the highest levels of the Republican party, as well as on the level of voters. Democrats played a part in that failure, but the primary responsibility lies with Republicans.

      • walttuvell

        Red Pill Ethics: You say I should “apologize” if I don’t provide a case for (an examples of) large and sustained breakdown of ethics and reason on the right.

        I have no idea what you’re talking about. It is not ME who supports OR denies any breakdown of ethics/reason on the left OR right. Thought, that appears to be what (all?) others here care about.

        With the few short notes I’ve posted here, I’ve made it clear (but I’ll repeat again) that I care nothing about partisan politics, be it under the guise of “ethics” or just plain naked pot-calling-kettle-black. And I certainly won’t apologize for that.

        To the contrary, I tuned into this site in the hope/expectation of finding a discussion of ethics, without the smokescreen of partisan politics clouding the air. I even proposed a topic, Judicial Misconduct, with examples (http://JudicialMisconduct.US). But no takers. Such things appear not to be what this site is about.

        • “Such things appear not to be what this site is about.”

          Then you should take the time to avail yourself of the 1000s of posts Jack has composed over the decade plus of his discussion group.

          Jack isn’t partisan or biased. It’s just demonstrative of how far off the rails the Left has gone in it’s unethical conduct post election. And Jack IS frank about his view their their current insurrectionist and counter-constitutional mindset and conduct ARE the gravest threat to our nation.

          So of course they seem to get more coverage. But that isn’t a bias problem of Jack’s.

          • walttuvell

            I’ve already disclaimed my inexperience with this site, being a new-ish user of only a couple months’ standing. Unfortunately, from what I’m seeing, it’s doubtful that “taking the time” of absorbing the whole past of the site, as you suggest, will disabuse me of my initial assessments.

            For, what you just wrote (and which you claim is representative of the site) is itself quintessential troll-like partisanship: “Everything Jack/we say is non-partisan, because the Left has gone unethically off the rails in their insurrectionist/counter-constitutional mindset/conduct, representing a grave threat to the nation.”

            • So you’re not going to even try?

              Good strategy.

              • walttuvell

                Correct. The whole partisan politics thing is tiresome/boring, and I have no dog in that fight. I just don’t care about that whole “I-am-not, you-are-so” scene, from any direction. Silly.

                • KABOOM! If it is silly, why did you choose that precise issue to begin with?

                  • walttuvell

                    Oh Come On, Jack, I did NOT “choose that precise issue,” and you know it. I wrote a private note to you about “am I missing something,” in thinking I was seeing mostly partisan-politics-pretending-to-be-ethics. THAT’S the “topic” I chose (expecting a simple private respose). Instead, it got twisted (intentionally?).

                    The topic of THIS (“silliness”) subthread is that some people think I should give some sort of apology, and/or some sort of arguments/examples about how the Left is better than the Right in some sense — “as if” I’m some kind of Leftist and believe that — because somehow I got tagged with being some sort of Leftist in some sense. But I’ve made no proclamations/hints whatsoever about being any such thing. Perhaps this happened because I was misperceived initially as an “academic,” and some people somehow lump “academics” into the Left. Though in fact I’ve long disavowed being either Right or Left, and care nothing about it, because it’s a silly tempest-in-a-teapot.

                    Why are you (and others) pretending otherwise?

                    • Chris

                      Walt, some advice from one of this blog’s leftists: Move on. Jack’s blog is very valuable to me, and has taught me a lot about ethics. From my perspective most of his posts lately have been about politics, but that’s because politics are a great window into the ethics of a country, especially at this moment in time. I *do* agree with you that Jack, like all people, has a bias, and I think he’s been less careful about mitigating that bias lately. But I’ve made a case for that when I’ve seen it, whereas you have just repeated it without really citing evidence for it. If you choose to stick around I hope you will do the same, but right now you’re going in circles trying to justify your original comment, which, to me, was overly broad and unsupported.

            • Walt, I’m not obligated to do this, but just for you, I picked the last full month of the blog, and kept score, running backwards, regarding whether a post criticized the left or the right. In doing so, I ignored the Daily updates, since they are mixed topics, and also decided to place criticism of President Trump down as criticism of the right, as he is technically a Republican. I did not score posts that did not involve politicians, government, new reporting or public policy debates.

              I stopped after checking 16 posts, when the score was 8 to 8. I have done this before, with similar results. I’m sure, indeed I know, that there are periods when the balance is not this close, but I picked July 2017 at random. My survey simply does not support your claim. Neither would your own survey.

              People are wedded to their own world view, come here, see that i designate some position that they have an emotional attachment to as based on unethical principles, and default to bias as an explanation.

              Your claim is simply unsupportable on the facts, as is the claim that the blog is primarily political in nature. As I often note, the fact that the Left has inexplicably bundled issues and made it part of its cant does not make rejection of one of those issues partisan or political. Saying that illegal immigrants should get a free pass to the benefits of citizenship isn’t liberal, it’s idiotic and wrong. Holding that gay Americans shouldn’t have all attendant rights of citizenship isn’t a conservative position, it’s an ignorant position.

              You can believe what you choose; most people do. But I work extremely hard to avoid exactly the kind of bias you accuse me of, and I stand by the results. I am not always right, but when I am wrong, it is not because of partisan bias.

              • walttuvell

                Unfortunately, you’re misrepresenting me (see initial email) again, because all you doing is “keeping Left/Right score.” I don’t care about Left/Right anything! What I care about is Ethics per se, as opposed to partisan political rants of any kind, which is what appears to dominate this site (and seemingly from the Right=Good point of view, but that’s a sub-observation, not the main theme of my interest).

                I was initially attracted to you because you’re trained/savvy in the law, and I wanted to ask you opinion about the ethics of Judicial Misconduct, specifically in the sense of institutional abuse of the Summary Judgment process (e.g., http://judicialmisconduct.us/CaseStudies/WETvIBM/Story#smokinggun). You’ve done nothing to address that, and nobody on this site appears to have any inclination to so.

                Fair enough. But at least please be straightforward about it, instead of twisting what I’m saying beyond all recognition.

              • walttuvell

                Oh, and another thing: Why in the world did I ever think that Jack (and by extension this blog/website) might be interested in Judicial Misconduct?

                Why, because it’s advertised on the About page, of course: “I [Jack] specialize in legal ethics …”

                • You sound more and more like another incarnation of a guy who would frequent this blog beating on ONE topic and ONE topic only…every thread that guy began seemed “new” but ended up ALWAYS redirecting to Supreme Court malfeasance and Judicial misconduct…

                  Hm.

                  He’d always get banned…

                  Then he’d always come back under another name.

                • Or, you could search for judicial ethics, or judges, right on the blog! The last judicial conduct post was almost exactly a month ago. They come up when they come up.

                • ATTENTION: Walt Tuvell is banned from commenting here.

                  I don’t even care to spend any more time on him, but I’ll give some background. He sandbagged me. He submitted nothing but whiny posts denying that he had accused Ethics Alarms of being obsessed with partisan political topics, then denied he had done that, then said the all he was looking for was a discussion of a judicial conduct issue (but did this initially with a link in a comment to another commenter, causing me to miss it) then just posted a comment saying that the blog advertised itself as covering judicial misconduct and doesn’t (there are dozens of judicial ethics posts), and THEN, when I finally get the link to the ethics issue he says he was seeking a reaction to—HINT: if you want a reaction to a specific issue, the best way is to write me at jamproethics@verison.net, and ask, “What do you think about this?” If it’s a good issue, I’ll respond like a good little ethicist and jump through your hoop.

                  But no, Walt began by accusing me of pure partisan bias, and issued bitching comment after bitching comment until, finally, he actually revealed his agenda, and GUESS WHAT?

                  Come on, guess!

                  Walt’s “issue” is about his own case, and the link goes to his single issue website, which you can try to wade through here

                  The case is Tuvell v IBM, and skimming his messy post that teeters on the edge of madness, I discern that the reason Walt is interested in judicial misconduct is that the judge decided that his case was lousy, and dismissed it. That obviously means that the judge is unethical.

                  I was going to, as a favor to Walt, because i am a nice guy, show my good faith by addressing his issue even though he didn’t have the courtesy or honesty of fairness to come right out and say what he wanted. Then I read as much of the entry on his blog–which purports to be about judicial misconduct in summary judgments generally, but is in fact only about his case—as I could stand, and realized that Walt is, in technical terms—this is an opinion, Walt, not an assertion of fact, you can’t sue me: put down the banana— a few cherries short of a sundae. This became clear in this passage..

                  Tuvell suffered severe shock/dismay/devastation, and worse. For, Tuvell was/is a long-term victim of whistleblowing/bullying-instigated PTSD, stemming from previous defamatory/abusive workplace incidents he’d experienced more than a decade previously while at another employer, but which was since in remission (“passive”/“dormant” phase). Knabe/Feldman’s accusation immediately caused/“triggered” Tuvell to reexperience an acute/“active” PTSD “flashback”/relapse.

                  I used to get letters from people like this, long rambling things with court cites and exclamation points. I answer phone calls from people like Walt, and try to help them if possible, but it’s usually futile, and often they keep calling and calling until I have to just duck the calls. And I get e-mails with long, rambling court dicuments. This is the first time, however, someone has abused Ethics Alarms for a personal agenda.

                  I’m sorry for Walt’s troubles, but he was not honest, and misrepresented his purpose by the charming device of insulting my integrity. Obviously, he wanted to check and see whether my sympathies would be with his cause before submitting it for consideration. As I tell my clients, I can’t be bought, and you take your chances.

                  Walt was also obviously looking for a cheap, as in free, expert opinion that he could use in his crusade against the judge.

                  What an asshole! The fact that he may be a desperate asshole doesn’t justify wasting my time, and others who responded to him and misrepresenting his motives.

                  For this, Walt earns the ultimate ban. He will not be re-instated, and if he submits one more comment having been so warned, I will delete every one of his comments so the stench of his abuse no longer lingers here.

                  Can you tell that I’m ticked off?

  6. Hal Mirlan

    Mr. Marshall,
    I share your frustration and appreciate your continuing efforts to promote ethical behavior and civility in hopes of preserving American democracy. Please don’t give up! Thank you! Hal Morlan

  7. Here is ABC’s Sunday talking heads orgy making this single pardon into what it isn’t. What is a fair word for this, other than stunning bias? Hysteria?

    ABC
    This Week
    August 27, 2017
    9:28:56 AM Eastern

    (…)

    ROLAND MARTIN: I do not want us to forget what Arpaio did: He racially profiled individuals. I’m not dealing with the politics. He defied a court order, that’s what he did. What Trump has been doing is pushing the racial resentment buttons of white Americans from the elections to the present day. He was also in line with the birther who was racist and shameful, his attacks on President Obama. Trump and Arpaio have yet to apologize for that. What is more shameful, are these conservative evangelicals who stand with Trump, who do not condemn inhumane treatment from Arpaio. And that’s Paula White, that’s Jerry Farwell Jr., that’s Ralph Reed. They are more focused on the p-r-o-f-I-t of the faith, not the p-r-o-p-h-e-t. Be prophetic voices who lead!

    MATTHEW DOWD: Just to drop back a little bit on this is – Donald Trump in his desire to destabilize the status quo, which needs reform and all that. Has gone out of his way to decimate the common standards and the attributes of our country and the institutions of our country. Where the last two weeks have demonstrated how much we need the institutions of our government. Charlottesville was a demonstration of on how much we need a president that can heal, that can bring the country together and unify, and not benefit from racial divisions in this. The hurricane that we’re in, is a demonstration how important the institutions of the government are. And as and Donald Trump, one after another after another, decimates those institutions, we have an inability as a country to unify and fix it.

    GEORGE STEPHANOPOULOS: Jen Psaki, you see lot of Democrats saying in the wake of this Arpaio pardon, that what that really was was a signal to anyone who might be a target of Robert Mueller’s investigation, “I’ve got your back.”

    JEN PSAKI: Well, yes. And here’s why. The process piece of this that should be concerning to people is one, he sought out his attorney general to see if he could get rid of the nasty piece of legal business against his political friend. And two, the Department of Justice was not remotely involved in the pardon, which they’ve said. That is what is very different from past presidents.

    So it just furthers this belief that he lives above the law. That he doesn’t think that he’s all powerful. That the checks and balances that have been in place for decades, hundreds of years, don’t apply to him. And that’s concerning to people because people suspect there could be a need for more pardons to come for over political allies.

    DOWD: He ran on this law and order candidate and has done his very best to try to dent the law and order of our country and the rule of law.

    • Chris

      I can’t find a single line in there I find inaccurate or over-the-top, Jack.

      On the other hand, your false claim that the Obama DOJ ruled the Black Panthers’ voter intimidation as “acceptable” is ridiculously over-the-top, has no relation to reality, and is far beneath the standards you have set for this blog.

  8. Chris

    Jack:

    There was no similar indignation about contempt for the rule of law when Obama’s Justice Department deliberately ruled that club-wielding Black Panthers intimidating voters at a Philadelphia polling place in 2008 was acceptable, because of their color.

    I have much more to say on this thread, but this line really jumped out at me, Jack. It is blatantly untrue. This massively misstates both the judgment in this case and the bipartisan process that led up to it. You need to edit to update this article and issue a correction; as long as this lie stands, you are simply confirming your friend’s allegation of partisan bias.

    • Matthew B

      Are you saying the US Civil rights administration is lying about the case?

      http://www.usccr.gov/NBPH/USCCR_NBPP_report.pdf

      • Chris

        I’m not reading a 232-page document. Point me to the part that supports Jack’s claim that the Obama administration, which filed an injunction against one of the Black Panthers in this case, found their actions “acceptable.”

        • Matthew B

          Well there is a logic jump necessary. If someone commits illegal actions, and those with the authority to prosecute, do not do so because they disagree with the enforcement not because of the strength of the case, it’s not a stretch to say that those electing not to prosecute find the conduct “acceptable.”

          As to where: Start reading 1/2 way down on page 50 and read the next 9 pages. Do you consider it acceptable for African Americans to intimidate voters? Or is it only bad if whites do it? If you are for the latter, you’re a disgusting person.

          • Chris

            Well there is a logic jump necessary. If someone commits illegal actions, and those with the authority to prosecute, do not do so

            The ringleader of the intimidation was prosecuted.

            because they disagree with the enforcement not because of the strength of the case, it’s not a stretch to say that those electing not to prosecute find the conduct “acceptable.”

            The Bush administration filed a criminal case against the two Black Panthers, but dropped it. Do you assume that the Bush administration found their actions acceptable?

            As to where: Start reading 1/2 way down on page 50 and read the next 9 pages. Do you consider it acceptable for African Americans to intimidate voters? Or is it only bad if whites do it? If you are for the latter, you’re a disgusting person.

            Do you beat your wife? If so, you are a disgusting person.

        • The Panthers were indicted, had already defaulted in their trial by not showing up, and the racialist Obama Civil Rights division deliberately withdrew the charge. If that doesn’t signal behavior is acceptable, what else do you call it?

          • Chris

            Where are you getting your info from? The government got a default injunction against one of the Panthers after he failed to show up. I don’t know if that counts as an “indictment,” but as far as I know it was never withdrawn. The charge against the other Panther, who was not carrying a nightstick, was withdrawn, but I don’t believe he was ever indicted. The case was weak; no voters who claimed to have been intimidated were ever found. By your logic, any time the government withdraws a charge against someone, we can accuse them of finding the underlying behavior behind the charge “acceptable.” That isn’t reasonable.

            • The law does not require that voters claim to be intimidated. That’s a dodge (not YOUR dodge, but the dodge that was used at the time.) I don’t want to relitigate this one again; I wrote about it a lot at the time. It was a pure, race-based decision, with Perez taking the position that blacks doing what whites had been charged with and punished for doing was not worth addressing when the perps were black. This signaled the racial bias that would poison the entire Obama administration for eight years, and sowed the seeds that bloomed into the disastrous racial divide we have now.

              This was a per se and undeniable violation.

              • Chris

                Why did the Bush administration drop their criminal case?

                • Here was the account by J. Christian Adams, a civil rights attorney who resigned from DOJ over the case:

                  On the day President Obama was elected, armed men wearing the black berets and jackboots of the New Black Panther Party were stationed at the entrance to a polling place in Philadelphia. They brandished a weapon and intimidated voters and poll watchers. After the election, the Justice Department brought a voter-intimidation case against the New Black Panther Party and those armed thugs. I and other Justice attorneys diligently pursued the case and obtained an entry of default after the defendants ignored the charges. Before a final judgment could be entered in May 2009, our superiors ordered us to dismiss the case.

                  The New Black Panther case was the simplest and most obvious violation of federal law I saw in my Justice Department career. Because of the corrupt nature of the dismissal, statements falsely characterizing the case and, most of all, indefensible orders for the career attorneys not to comply with lawful subpoenas investigating the dismissal, this month I resigned my position as a Department of Justice (DOJ) attorney.

                  The federal voter-intimidation statutes we used against the New Black Panthers were enacted because America never realized genuine racial equality in elections. Threats of violence characterized elections from the end of the Civil War until the passage of the Voting Rights Act in 1965. Before the Voting Rights Act, blacks seeking the right to vote, and those aiding them, were victims of violence and intimidation. But unlike the Southern legal system, Southern violence did not discriminate. Black voters were slain, as were the white champions of their cause. Some of the bodies were tossed into bogs and in one case in Philadelphia, Miss., they were buried together in an earthen dam.

                  Based on my firsthand experiences, I believe the dismissal of the Black Panther case was motivated by a lawless hostility toward equal enforcement of the law. Others still within the department share my assessment. The department abetted wrongdoers and abandoned law-abiding citizens victimized by the New Black Panthers. The dismissal raises serious questions about the department’s enforcement neutrality in upcoming midterm elections and the subsequent 2012 presidential election.

                  The U.S. Commission on Civil Rights has opened an investigation into the dismissal and the DOJ’s skewed enforcement priorities. Attorneys who brought the case are under subpoena to testify, but the department ordered us to ignore the subpoena, lawlessly placing us in an unacceptable legal limbo.

                  The assistant attorney general for civil rights, Tom Perez, has testified repeatedly that the “facts and law” did not support this case. That claim is false. If the actions in Philadelphia do not constitute voter intimidation, it is hard to imagine what would, short of an actual outbreak of violence at the polls. Let’s all hope this administration has not invited that outcome through the corrupt dismissal.

                  Most corrupt of all, the lawyers who ordered the dismissal – Loretta King, the Obama-appointed acting head of the Civil Rights Division, and Steve Rosenbaum – did not even read the internal Justice Department memorandums supporting the case and investigation. Just as Attorney General Eric H. Holder Jr. admitted that he did not read the Arizona immigration law before he condemned it, Mr. Rosenbaum admitted that he had not bothered to read the most important department documents detailing the investigative facts and applicable law in the New Black Panther case. Christopher Coates, the former Voting Section chief, was so outraged at this dereliction of responsibility that he actually threw the memos at Mr. Rosenbaum in the meeting where they were discussing the dismissal of the case. The department subsequently removed all of Mr. Coates’ responsibilities and sent him to South Carolina.

                  Mr. Perez also inaccurately testified to the House Judiciary Committee that federal “Rule 11” required the dismissal of the lawsuit. Lawyers know that Rule 11 is an ethical obligation to bring only meritorious claims, and such a charge by Mr. Perez effectively challenges the ethics and professionalism of the five attorneys who commenced the case. Yet the attorneys who brought the case were voting rights experts and would never pursue a frivolous matter. Their experience in election law far surpassed the experience of the officials who ordered the dismissal.

                  Some have called the actions in Philadelphia an isolated incident, not worthy of federal attention. To the contrary, the Black Panthers in October 2008 announced a nationwide deployment for the election. We had indications that polling-place thugs were deployed elsewhere, not only in November 2008, but also during the Democratic primaries, where they targeted white Hillary Rodham Clinton supporters. In any event, the law clearly prohibits even isolated incidents of voter intimidation.

                  Others have falsely claimed that no voters were affected. Not only did the evidence rebut this claim, but the law does not require a successful effort to intimidate; it punishes even the attempt.

                  Most disturbing, the dismissal is part of a creeping lawlessness infusing our government institutions. Citizens would be shocked to learn about the open and pervasive hostility within the Justice Department to bringing civil rights cases against nonwhite defendants on behalf of white victims. Equal enforcement of justice is not a priority of this administration. Open contempt is voiced for these types of cases.

                  Some of my co-workers argued that the law should not be used against black wrongdoers because of the long history of slavery and segregation. Less charitable individuals called it “payback time.” Incredibly, after the case was dismissed, instructions were given that no more cases against racial minorities like the Black Panther case would be brought by the Voting Section.

                  Refusing to enforce the law equally means some citizens are protected by the law while others are left to be victimized, depending on their race. Core American principles of equality before the law and freedom from racial discrimination are at risk. Hopefully, equal enforcement of the law is still a point of bipartisan, if not universal, agreement. However, after my experience with the New Black Panther dismissal and the attitudes held by officials in the Civil Rights Division, I am beginning to fear the era of agreement over these core American principles has passed.

                  • Chris

                    J. Christian Adams? Seriously?

                    Why don’t I just use Media Matters to rebut him, since we’re using biased partisan hacks as trustworthy sources for information now?

                    I know you can do better than this because I’ve watched you do better than this.

                    • That’s just ad hominem, Chris. This occurred before anyone heard of Adams. In part, this episode made him a conservative blogger. He is a lawyer, He testified under oath. His view should be respected. It’s what he saw, and how he saw it. That doesn’t mean he’s right in all respects. he was accurate regarding the process timeline, which was what you asked about, no?

                      But what he wrote was before OPR (the office of professional responsibility) filed its report, which I wrote about here. I concluded,

                      One of the reasons the incident generated so many articles is that there were multiple ethical issues involved: the original decision, the media’s immediate reaction of assuming the critics were politically motivated, the intellectual dishonesty and deceit of some pro-Administration flacks in describing the incident as “trumped up,” the late coverage of the story by papers like the Washington Post, ultimately condemned by the paper’s own ombudsman, and more. In my view, the eagerness of the media to bury the story was more disturbing than the allegations themselves.

                      The OPM report, thorough as always, reviews its investigation and concludes that there was not, in fact, a race-based decision made regarding the two men, and that whether or not the Justice Department made the right call, it was a good faith call that was defensible under the facts.

                      Case closed. I’ve read the report; you can too, if you like, here. Already, I have read accusations on various blogs that it is a whitewash: this is utter nonsense. OPM is independent, and exists to root out unethical attorney conduct in the U.S. Government, not to protect it. The report is thorough, covers all sides and allegations, and is scrupulously fair.

                      The fact that the allegations were shown to be unsupportable, however, does not in any way vindicate those who tried to ignore the seriousness of the allegations and pretend that there was nothing to investigate. There was a prima facie case of biased enforcement that, like many prima facie cases prosecuted every day, could not be proven with the available evidence. I continue to believe, having read the report, that while the handling of the case was not unethical and was in good faith, it was spectacularly stupid, and unnecessarily sowed distrust in the Obama Justice Department.

                      That was written 6 years ago. Now that I have seen how the Justice Department behaved in the following years, I’m less sanguine about the OPR report. I wouldn’t call it a whitewash, but it relied on the good faith of Perez and others, and I have learned that Perez especially should not be trusted.

                    • Chris

                      Jack, if I cited Media Matters to rebut you, I’d expect you wouldn’t waste your time reading it. That’s how I feel about Adams. Call that ad hominem all you like; I’ve read his accounts of the incident before, and I have come to the conclusion that he’s a dishonest person.

                      Your previous analysis is far more fair, and I don’t think you’ve provided anything to support your claim in this article that the DOJ ” ruled that club-wielding Black Panthers intimidating voters at a Philadelphia polling place in 2008 was acceptable, because of their color.”

                      If a lefty responded to Trump’s pardoning of Arpaio by saying “Trump ruled that Arpaio’s targeting of Latinos was acceptable, because of their color,” you’d take that as evidence of Trump Derangement Syndrome. And yet you fall into Obama Derangement Syndrome here.

                    • No, actually I’m pretty sure Trump does think profiling Hispanics to find illegal immigrants is acceptable, and that is one of the messages the pardon sends. Just like Obama pardoning drug sellers in part sends the message that drug use is acceptable. Anytime anyone is pardoned, there are ancillary messagaes, real or perceived.

                    • Chris

                      Fair response, Jack, but the Black Panthers were not pardoned.

        • Chris marschner

          Page 92. Doj filed suit. Not contested by Shabazz. Court issues default judgement for DOJ then DOJ withdraws dropping all sanctions.

  9. Chris

    The man is an academic, so one might expect a little fairness and circumspection, but then, the man is an academic. His description is in factual opposition to the contents of the blog (I’m trying to think of the last Republican leader, conservative or otherwise, I designated as “good”), but I know from whence the impression arises: the fact that the entire American Left, along with its sycophants and familiars, the universities, show business and the news media, have gone completely off the ethics rails since November 8, 2016. I don’t know how else I am supposed to address that. It would have been nice, for balance’s sake, if a conservative cast of white actors in, say, a hit musical called “The Ray Coniff Story” had stepped out of character and harassed, say, Chuck Shumer, but this didn’t happen. If it had, I would have treated that breach of theater ethics exactly as I did the cast of Hamilton’s harassment of Mike Pence. (I would not, however, have been attacked for doing so by my theater colleagues, and no, I haven’t forgotten, and I’m not forgiving.)

    I have no doubt this is true.

    If a GOP figure working for CNN as an analyst, say, Jeffrey Lord, had used his connections at the network to forward debate questions to Donald Trump and then lied about it when he was caught red-handed, I would have eagerly written about it in highly critical terms—but the Republicans didn’t cheat. Donna Brazile and the Democrats did.

    I have no doubt this is true.

    But when Don Trump Jr. was caught red-handed attempting to get dirt on Hillary Clinton from what he was told was the Russian government, you said it was no big deal.

    then pressured performers not to allow the new President the privilege of a star-studded, up-beat inauguration to unify the nation, and if a large contingent of Republican Congressmen had boycotted the ceremony, saying that they did not consider Hillary as “legitimate President,” Ethics Alarms would have been unmatched in expressing its contempt and condemnation.

    I have no doubt this is true.

    But when Donald Trump decided to boycott the White House Correspondents’ Dinner, you said this was an ethical decision.

    If conservatives were trying to limit free speech according to what they considered “hateful,” a step toward dictatorship if there ever was one, I would be among the first to declare them a menace to society. They haven’t advocated such restrictions, however.

    Conservatives have also advocated many restrictions on free speech. For instance, the ban on doctors asking about guns in Florida. Threats to take away funding for colleges that perform plays conservatives don’t like. Trump’s threat to open up the libel laws.

    What was the party–there was just one— of the mayors who announced that citizens holding certain views should get out of town?

    What party was the president who said that citizens who protested against him should be investigated? What party was the president who said the press was “the enemy of the people,” which you called an ethical statement?

    I have no doubt that you would have condemned Republicans for doing the same things the Democrats did in the statements above. I also have no doubt that if Democrats did some of the things I just talked about Republicans doing, you would have absolutely condemned them, even though you did not condemn the Republicans in those cases. If Chelsea Clinton had attended a meeting with the expectation that she was going to get damning intel on Trump from the Russian government, I think you would see that as a major scandal. If President Obama had refused to attend the WHCA because Fox News would be there, and called them “the enemy of the people,” I think you would have seen that as a threat to the First Amendment and evidence of an embarrassingly thin skin.

    So I think that while the reader who e-mailed you is overstating their case, you do show evidence of a bias against the Left.

    2. I’m still awaiting the apologies and acknowledgement of my predictive abilities from all of my friends who chided me for suggesting that the Confederate flag and statuary-focused historical airbrushing mania would shoot down the slippery slope to threaten the Founders and more. CNN political commentator and former Congressional Black Caucus director Angela Rye proclaimed on CNN that the country must tear down all memorials and likenesses of George Washington and Thomas Jefferson. Rye said on CNN that “George Washington was a slaveowner. Whether we think they were protecting American freedom or not, he wasn’t protecting my freedom.”

    Her ignorance and arrogance is staggering. Naturally, no one on CNN had the integrity, historical perspective, courage or wit to explain why her position is destructive and foolish. Hey, but it’s all right! There’s no slippery slope!

    That a few people start making dumb arguments using the same talking points as other, better arguments, does not mean that the worst-case scenarios of a slippery slope will come to pass. There are pedophiles who use similar talking points as the LGBT community used to argue that pedophilia should be legalized. Does that mean gay rights are a “slippery slope” that naturally lead to tolerance of pedophilia?

    3. Now here’s a rant:

    As I explained in the previous post, the President’s pardon of anti-immigration zealot Joe Arpaio was ill-considered and a poor use of the pardon power. To say, however, that the attacks on it are wildly disproportionate to its actual impact is an epic understatement. The crime Arpaio was convicted of is a misdemeanor. The sentence is light. He is 85 years old, and there is no chance of him repeating the crime–criminal contempt—or doing any further harm, other than shooting off his mouth, Joe’s specialty.

    The response isn’t about what Joe has been convicted of, it’s about everything he’s gotten away with. He faked an assassination attempt against himself. He tortured people in his jails. Dozens of people died in his jails as a result of the conditions. He ignored sex crimes to focus on targeting Latinos. He had critics arrested. Trump’s pardon of Arpaio signals his approval of all of this.

    Yes, the pardon was legal, and liberals who say otherwise are idiots. But outrage is absolutely appropriate here.

    • Isaac

      Sure, the minimum amount of outrage, maybe. It’s pretty well accepted now that Presidents pardon people who are convicted of crimes. That’s kinda the point.

      You may recall that Bill Clinton pardoned over 400 convicted criminals, including his scoundrel brother (who proceeded to go out and drive drunk within a year), people who fell on their sword to protect him in the Whitewater scandal, terrorist bombers, tax frauds, Democrat Congressman child pornographers and embezzlers from the government, a guy who stole millions of dollars that was supposed to go to starving people in Iraq, various people who had given Bill and his wife money over the years, friends, associates, kidnappers, drug cartel guys, money launderers, etc.

      Either you want the President to be able to pardon people, or you don’t. But we’re WAY past accepting that a President might use the power of the pardon in a myriad of shady and unethical ways. Clinton pretty much covered the entire spectrum of them, and was (after a lot of handwringing) found to have been within his rights.

    • Red Pill Ethics

      I’m gonna be honest I only skimmed this response but at least aprt of it was so wrong that I felt compelled to respond.

      “Conservatives have also advocated many restrictions on free speech. For instance, the ban on doctors asking about guns in Florida. Threats to take away funding for colleges that perform plays conservatives don’t like. Trump’s threat to open up the libel laws.”

      No conservatives don’t advocate restrictions of free speech you hack. This is a blatant mischaracterization.A single state (my home state of Florida) passed a stupid bill that censored a single extremely narrow and easily identifiable topic. That law was subsequently struck down with absolutely no protest or rioting from the right. That’s a *far* cry from the comically vague hate speech that mayors, governers, congressmen, senators, and the base from every corner of liberal America actively push for and occasionally riot over when they don’t get their way. I also recall that Jack criticized the law here.

      I’m not familiar with the theater thing and I threw a few google searches at with nothing to show for it. If you shoot me a link I’ll check it out.

      As for Trump’s libel nonsense, I’ll also need a link but I can guess what it was about. In the end though Trump is Trump and actions speak louder than his half formed thoughts. What actions has he taken to stifle freedom of speech in the US and when have those actions been widely embraced by the conservative base? I’m betting not a lot and hardly ever. Compare that to the Obama’s administration where the hate speech witch hunt would occasionally rear it’s ugly head to thunderous applause from across the left.

      • Chris

        No conservatives don’t advocate restrictions of free speech you hack

        …I just showed you that they have, and in response, you didn’t provide any argument that they haven’t; you just said they haven’t done so to the same degree as the left. I agree.

        Let me repeat that: I agree that the majority of threats to free speech, at this moment in time, are coming from the left.

  10. Matthew B

    Mike Rowe (of “Dirty Job” fame) recently dealt with a similar attack where he was accused of being a white supremacist in a massive logical fallacy. His response is pretty impressive: https://www.facebook.com/TheRealMikeRowe/posts/1639271342749669

    This is truly a derangement syndrome on the part of many people. They’ve had all logical reasoning overridden by emotion and can’t discuss anything rationally.

  11. Wayne

    Jack I dedicate this song to the mainstream media, the Democratic Party, NEA, and liberal academics everywhere:

  12. walttuvell

    Right, Jack, you don’t “wear you credentials on your sleeve,” to your credit, which I generally agree with (though your bio does indicate you’re a “Harvie (Harvard),” whereas I’m a “Techie (MIT)”). I only appended the “not-a-crank disclaimer” as a prophylactic, because “on the Internet, nobody knows you’re a dog” (https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/On_the_Internet,_nobody_knows_you%27re_a_dog). The point being, that some sort of cred-establishment is more-or-less required upon an initial encounter, esp. on the Internet, where “everybody is a troll, until proven otherwise” (just like in Court, “everybody is a liar, until proven otherwise”).

    • I know. Sorry, I was teasing. I am unusually anti-credentials. Some of the wisest, smartest people I know have none, and some of the biggest fools have an alphabet after their names. I am also disgusted with scholars, academics and alleged smart people right now. I shouldn’t have taken it out on you.

      I apologize, Walt; you didn’t deserve the snark,

      Just for that, you can call me partisan again.

    • Eternal optometrist

      In court, a person is not a liar until proven otherwise. In fact, just the opposite. There are jury instructions that you should assume witnesses are telling the truth until you have evidence to the contrary.

      • walttuvell

        Are you, perhaps, referring to the aphorism (not “jury instruction”) that “the accused is presumed innocent until proven guilty” (https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Presumption_of_innocence)? If so, then you’re misinterpreting what I (intended to) say, and we’re actually in agreement. For, what we’re both saying amounts to “the burden of proof is on the prosecution/claimant” — i.e., “the prosecutor/claimant (not the accused) is presumed to be lying, until they provide proof of what they’re saying (to some standard, e.g., ‘beyond a reasonable doubt’)”.

  13. Isaac

    It WOULD be nice if we could claim a moral equivalency and not have to single out one side for most of the outlandish behavior. It would be nice, if:

    -Thousands of conservative rioters, most of whom didn’t even vote, had wrecked several American cities in anger after the election of President Obama.

    -Millions of Men’s Right’s Activist alt-righters had swarmed Washington and other large cities with their junk hanging out, dragging kids along and holding nasty signs, wearing penis-hats, and then left mountains of trash and junk all over the streets for public servants to clean up.

    -Thousands of people were dying in cruel attacks all over the world perpetuated by Bible-thumping, Christian fundamentalists, targeting completely innocent families and children. And with the tacit approval of somewhere between 15-35% of all self-identifying Christians. And with Rightist politicians, local governments, and celebrities insisting that being too concerned about this was definitely anti-Christian and therefore racist.

    -Universities and corporations were singling out Left-wing points of view, even fairly moderate ones, and banning them from public platforms under flimsy pretenses.

    -Right-wingers were using major news outlets to campaign against the very idea of free speech and a marketplace of ideas, insisting that the government and corporations should be allowed to decide arbitrarily what ideas and people should be allowed to be heard.

    -The Tea Party was pooping on police cars, blocking streets, and hiding rapes within their ranks from the police, instead of just having a bunch of potlucks and peaceful meetings.

    If THAT were the case, than I wouldn’t have to look like a “partisan hack” for pointing out the obvious: that there are massive differences in scale between the crazy Right and the crazy Left right now.

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