Morning Ethics Warm-Up, 12/19/2017: ‘Due Process? We Don’ Need No Stinkin’ Due Process!’

Good Morning!

(Lights on the tree about 30% done, and the prickle wounds aren’t infected so far..)

1 Now, now, let’s not forget the wisdom of Joseph Goebbels...More questions about the objectivity, professionalism and fairness of the Meuller investigation are roiling D.C., even though the President isn’t about to fire the Special Counsel, though the mainstream news media went out of its way last week to make you think he was.

For example, were you following the Bruce Ohr fiasco? The former associate deputy attorney general, who was supposed to appear yesterday before the leaky Senate Intelligence Committee yesterday but didn’t, was demoted by the Justice Department when it was revealed that he had not disclosed that he had met with with officials from Fusion GPS, the people who prepared the salacious and discredited “Trump dossier.” Ohr had been part of the Meuller investigation too, but then it was learned that that his wife not only worked for Fusion GPS,  she worked on the anti-Trump opposition research that was apparently paid for by the DNC and the Clinton campaign. Is it partisan to question  how Meuller allowed people like Ohr and Strzok to be on his team in the first place? No, it’s not. In fact, it’s partisan NOT to ask that.

Meanwhile, Trump’s lawyers have challenged Mueller’s grab of transition team e-mails as a likely breach of attorney client privilege. (This will be in my next year’s Government Lawyer Ethics seminar for sure.) Writes attorney Robert Barnes, in part, on LawNewz:

According to published reports, Special Counsel Robert Mueller engaged in a mass seizure of all emails of the Trump transition team without even a warrant or a subpoena. In my opinion, a mass seizure – as is alleged here against Mueller – cannot conform to either Fourth Amendment standards or attorney-client privilege protections. The questions boils down to this: was there a reason for the individuals communicating by email, including with their lawyers, to believe their communications were private or privileged? Or, did the individuals forever waive or “implicitly consent” to any future search or seizure of their emails?

…The Mueller search runs afoul of many…established court precedents and Fourth Amendment privacy and privilege principles. First, it appears Mueller searched and seized every email, without any kind of categorical or keyword search. This is exactly the kind of search the Supreme Court made clear was not allowed under the Fourth Amendment. This means Mueller can only prevail if he didn’t seize a single email of a single individual that the individual could have any expectation of either personal privacy or attorney client privilege in.

The primary excuses proffered so far for the broad seizure is the faulty assumption the use of a government server waived all privacy and all privilege of every email ever made over that server. As identified above, that has never been the law…

These are legitimate issues, yet the media, as usual, is soft-peddling them and spinning them as mere Trump obstruction. Worse, however are the multiple Democrats, including a Senator on CNN yesterday, who I have heard repeat a version of the despicable statement that recently earned New York Times editors a collective Ethics Dunce: “If he’s innocent, he has nothing to worry about.”

Please, please reassure me that we don’t have a major political party that is circulating that motto of despots, grant inquisitors, dictators and the Salem witch trial judges as a talking point. Please!

2. Oh, is that all it’s good for?  That Big Brotherish concept was not the only unethical principle being extolled on cable yesterday (with nobody in sight to explain to our maleducated public why it is both wrong and dangerous). On a CNN panel discussing the batty idea that Al Franken might reconsider resigning,  Kirsten Powers, a Georgetown Law Center grad (I’ve got to stop procrastinating and burn all my diplomas) actually said, and I’m putting both hands, hard, over my skull as I repeat this, “Due process is for courts.”

You know, a news network would benefit from having me, or someone like me, in the studio with my finger on a buzzer to ensure that mind-poison like that doesn’t get injected into viewers brains. No, you idiot, “due process” is ensured by our Constitution because it is a core ethical principle, not merely a legal one. Process is a sub-category of fairness; it prevents injustice, harm to the innocent, abuser of power and oppression in all aspects of society, not just the courts. How could Powers say this? How could she think this? How could the panel  have no one competent enough to point out how wrong she was? How can CNN employ contributors this ethically ignorant?

3. “The Good, the Bad, and the Stupid” starring Matt Damon, Alyssa Milano and Meryl Streep. Actor Matt Damon is being attacked by the #MeToo mob by daring to say, in an interview with ABC News last week, that not all sexual misconduct is the same, and that the appropriate punishments vary according to circumstances. Nah! Due process is for the courts!

“You know, there’s a difference between, you know, patting someone on the butt and rape or child molestation, right?” Damon told Peter Travers of ABC. “Both of those behaviors need to be confronted and eradicated without question, but they shouldn’t be conflated, right?”

Right. 100% right. Rape and deliberate sexual assault are different materially from sexual harassment, which, as I keep accurately explaining even though grandstanding Georgetown Law professors shout “Come on!, often exists or doesn’t exist purely at the whim of the object of it.

“They all hurt,” actress Alyssa Milano wrote on Twitter in response. “And they are all connected to a patriarchy intertwined with normalized, accepted — even welcomed — misogyny.”

Got it. If they all hurt, then they are exactly the same. This is the level at which important social issues are debated in public now. And no, unwelcome flirting in the office is not proof of misogyny.

Matt’s comments weren’t without dishonesty and his own idiocy, unfortunately. For example, he said of Harvey Weinstein, “Nobody who made movies for him knew.” This comported with a recent statement by Meryl Streep, who also protests that she had no idea that Weinstein was a serial sexual predator.

They are both lying. There is no question in my mind. Too many other performers did know, and it strains credulity that with Weinstein that prominent, that dangerous, and that flagrant in his abuse for so long, some credible rumors wouldn’t have made their way to A-listers like Damon and Streep. If they were ignorant, it was contrived ignorance.

Damon also told ABC that “The day of the confidentiality agreements is over.”

Sure, Matt. Whatever you say.



16 thoughts on “Morning Ethics Warm-Up, 12/19/2017: ‘Due Process? We Don’ Need No Stinkin’ Due Process!’

  1. Dammit. I thought we could trust Mueller and his team to do everything by the book, so no matter what the outcome, we’d have something CONCRETE and TRUSTWORTHY. They know better, and whatever they get like that is in the long run unusable. Dammit. This is giving doubts to everyone and fodder for the vitriol to those who don’t want the investigation to finish its work. And in this town, vitriol matters. AND I don’t doubt that the rumors Prez wanted to fire Mueller were pushed from both sides, because we know some of them are desperate for him to be fired so it will all stop, and others are scared he will be, but then they could start screaming about it. Ugh. Can we even trust Santa, either?

  2. #1 Given current trends, the president won’t have to fire anybody on the investigation, Mueller will have fired most of his staff for being partisans. Then all by himself, he will present the conclusion that the investigation was shut down, because the tax cuts caused a deficit, so they ran out of funding, and this was Trump’s insidious plan all along. And then arrest Congress for conspiracy to obstruct justice! Nailed it!

    #3 Also, the First Amendment is for Congress (or govt related entities) not censoring stuff. But private people and business don’t have to do that, duh!

    #3 To satisfy Alyssa Milano, I recommend bringing back “Separate, but equal”, but only in regards to genders. That way you won’t have any unwanted mixing of the genders, that may cause upheaval and mischief! How can one commit sexual misconduct on the opposite gender if they’re not there? Added bonus, orthodox Jews, strict Muslims and other religions, that promote gender segregation will be placated. A win for all!

  3. Well, to be fair to Matt Damon he does make a point about the scale of what constitutes sexual abuse. In a non work situation, patting some attractive female on the ass is rude if not invited. It hardly constitutes what Harvey Weinstein did however and Damon claiming he was unaware of Weinstein’s behavior is pure bs.

  4. Second try…

    2. I called it in a comment in this blog, a week ago or so: namely, that Franken would NOT resign. That he would “recant,” or retract, or withdraw, from resignation. I said (to Other Bill, I believe): “Let’s watch.”

    Yes – let’s.

    3. What we non-lefties are not getting is that social justice mandates “sex assault equality” for all offenses-that-the-left-is-currently-obsessed-with:

    Man beats his wife? Verdict: GUILTY. Sentence? Lifetime unemployment, lifetime on-the-streets homeless and begging, with all funds taken from begging garnished to pay for abortions. Man must dumpster-dive for life, for any calories not provided by gifts of food from others out on the same street. Immunity for all persons who hit man on the head with articles of food, such as walnuts inside a sock, or long loaves of stale French bread.

    (In 1982) Single man accidentally ONCE brushes his hand momentarily against butt of long-time co-worker, while both are crunched together as passengers being crammed onto a commuter bus?
    (In 2017) Same verdict (GUILTY) and sentence as for the man who beat his wife. Plus, a life-long injunction against the man, barring him from using any public transit system anywhere in the nation – including when his ticket is bought as a gift from someone else. Plus mandatory, state-funded, monthly “Hands Up, Don’t Cop a Feel” counseling and training, for life.

    Now, THAT’s sex assault equality!

    • Oh, Franken’s trapped now. He’d ruin Gillibrand if he came back, though that would be a gift. His replacment, a woman, has already been appointed by the governor. He’d be a laughing stock, and they’d find 10 more women who he groped or french-kissed in a skit, or something, and he’d be a pariah AND a joke. No, Al’s a gonner.

  5. Present CNN headline ‘The US rescued her. Now Trump wants to send her back’. The deal is that the temporary status granted Haitians after the 2010 earthquake is going to end, after several extensions. CNN had to find the most heart-wrenching case (a daughter who needs special medical care) among the thousands and make it matter of Trump personally wanting to kick *this poor little girl* of the country. How mean!

    “None of her options look good. She can choose to return to Haiti before the termination date or wait to be caught and forcibly sent back. Or she can opt to continue her life in America without legal status and join the millions of undocumented immigrants who live in the shadows.”

    Why isn’t ‘applying for citizenship’ listed as one of the options?

    Anyway, this isn’t reporting the news. This is propaganda. It’s becoming more and more heavy-handed. Where is the tipping point where people finally see it and wake up to the fact they’re being manipulated?

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