1. “That Dog” Ethics. I can think of more accurate and meaner names for Omarosa than “that dog,” but then my vocabulary is larger and more versatile than the President’s…but then, whose isn’t? I have never heard of “dog” being identified as a racist term—because it isn’t one—though it is a sexist term, often used to denote an unattractive female. Nonetheless, this is presidential language, indeed gutter, low-life language that demeans a President, his office, and the nation he leads when it issues from the White House.
Among the rationalizations that suggest themselves are 1A. “We can’t stop it” (apparently not, and neither can John Kelly), 2. A. “She had it coming” (nobody short of a traitor or a criminal deserves to be attacked by the President of the United States using such language), 7. “She started it” (which is excusable if you are in kindergarten), 8A. “This can’t make things any worse” (oh, sure it can), 22. “He’s said worse” (true) and many others: I don’t have the energy to go through the whole list.
Of all the dumb, incompetent, self-inflicted impediments to doing the job he was elected to do, the Omarosa fiasco might be the worst and most unforgivable. I’m not sure: I’d have to go through that list, and not only do I not have the energy, I think I’d rather rip my eyelids off.
2. I’m sure glad the new Pope fixed all of this. This story would normally fall into the category of being so obviously unethical that it isn’t worth writing about. Moreover, Ethics Alarms had referenced the Catholic sexual predator scandals in many ways, on many occasions. What distinguishes the latest chapter in this ongoing horror is that the latest revelations are coming after all of the lawsuits, damages, mea culpas and promises of reform, and they did not come from the Church. This means that the cover-up was and is ongoing. It means that even with the thousands of children who were raped and abused that we know about, there were many more. It also means, in all likelihood, that the abuse is continuing.
From the Washington Post:
More than 300 Catholic priests across Pennsylvania sexually abused children over seven decades, protected by a hierarchy of church leaders who covered it up, according to a sweeping grand jury report released Tuesday.
The investigation, one of the broadest inquiries into church sex abuse in U.S. history, identified 1,000 children who were victims, but reported that there probably are thousands more.
“Priests were raping little boys and girls, and the men of God who were responsible for them not only did nothing; they hid it all. For decades,” the grand jury wrote in its report.
The 18-month investigation covered six of the state’s dioceses — Allentown, Erie, Greensburg, Harrisburg, Pittsburgh and Scranton — and follows other state grand jury reports that revealed abuse and coverups in two other dioceses. The grand jury reviewed more than 2 million documents, including from the “secret archives” — what church leaders referred to the reports of abuse they hid from public for decades, state Attorney General Josh Shapiro said at a news conference Tuesday.
You can read the entire report here.
I think I’ll publish my ethics conclusions regarding this in a free-standing post. I’ll provide this preview, however: there is no longer any valid argument to be made that the Catholic Church is not a thoroughly corrupt and criminal institution unworthy of trust, and one that has no moral standing whatsoever. [Correction notice: in the original post, I left out the rather crucial word “not.” Thanks to Alizia for the alert. This is another example of my lifetime affliction of occasionally saying the exact opposite of what I intend to say, and not realizing it.]
3. The West Virginia Supreme Court Ethics Train Wreck. The West Virginia House of Delegates’ impeached all of the remaining justices on the state’s Supreme Court of Appeals this week. Now the case goes to the state Senate.
What’s going on here? Good question. The vote in the House was completely partisan, with Republicans voting for and Democrats voting against. Is this a cynical effort by the state GOP to get a conservative court on the bench? Maybe, perhaps even probably. However, the charges against the four justices were and are substantial. Could an entire appellate court become corrupt, and support various kinds of misconduct by their colleagues? That seems plausible. It also seems that if there are enough genuine allegations of malfeasance, responsible justices would resign to support public trust—and if they did not, then impeachment would be justified.
The impeachment came after earlier federal criminal charges had been filed against two of the court’s five justices, one of whom who retired from the court in late July, just days before he was charged with federal wire fraud. Another justice announced her retirement the day after the impeachment vote.
Just because the motives of the Republican legislators aren’t pure, it does not necessarily mean that the justices shouldn’t be removed. It is more disturbing, from an ethical perspective, that no Democrats would vote for impeachment, because convictions would mean that the state’s Republican governor would be able to appoint replacements until the next election, in 2020.