Morning Ethics Warm-Up, 8/28/2018: Short, But Disturbing…

Good Morning!

1. Am I a chicken? Today I am doing an early morning CLE seminar for prosecutors and government lawyers, and there are a lot of juicy issues that I am staying away from. Last year’s seminar on this topic with this audience bogged down almost immediately in political arguments, and later I received complaints, which I almost never do. Despite the fact that the ethics of government lawyers have never been more under a microscope than  now, today’sthree-hour course is going to almost (almost) completely avoid the controversies surrounding the Mueller investigation, Rosenstein, Strzok and the rest. I am going to mention Andrew McCabe’s use of GoFundMe, but only in the context of lawyers crossing ethics lines while using the web.

Is avoiding the political controversies wrong and cowardly when they are so relevant to the topic of government ethics? I’ve been thinking about this for months. In the end, I have decided that the distraction and static is more damaging to the mission—giving government lawyers a chance to tune up their ethics alarms—than the embargoed topics are essential. There is more to cover than I have time for anyway.

2. More on the baseball mind-control front. Back in 2015, then-Mets second-baseman Daniel Murphy said in an interview that he “did not agree with the lifestyle” of a gay former player. Now, two teams later, he is playing for the Chicago Cubs, and the news media has resuscitated the “scandal”—apparently not agreeing with someone else’s lifestyle when that lifestyle has been officially sanctified is a scandal now—and Murphy is being examined, prodded and watched. Are his anti-gay—apparently not “agreeing” with something is to be “anti-“ too—attitudes a burden on the team? Are they “harming” gay fans? Gays in general? It is clear that Murphy will never stop being a target of political correctness-besotted reporters until he publicly embraces his inner gayness, announces that he has forsworn his sincere religious beliefs (they are  behind the times), and publicly endorses every LGBT issue under the skies. Of course, gay baseball fans in Chicago will be happy with Murphy as long as he hits and helps the Cubs win games, which is all that should matter, and in fact is all that does.

The lesson of Murphy’s ordeal is, I suppose, that no celebrity or public figure should dare utter non-conforming opinions or views, unless they are willing to be hounded by the political correctness Furies to the grave.

I don’t believe this condition is compatible with freedom of thought and expression, but then, neither are the Furies. And those who would deny Murphy leave to “disagree” with whatever he choose to disagree with want freedom of thought and expression to be constrained, or as the Supreme Court put it, “chilled.”

3. Flag up, flag down. Apparently there are people who have nothing better to do than watch flag poles. In response to Senator McCain’s death, The White House lowered its U.S. flag to half-staff on Sunday, raised it back up and on Monday lowered it again after the death of Senator John McCain, in a break with the tradition following the passing of a national leader. Based on the reaction of my Facebook friends, this was far more outrageous than the Catholic Church facilitating child rape for the last 50 years or so. Finally, under pressure from the news media, veterans and members of Congress, President Trump  ordered flags to half-staff, and came out with a late, grudging tribute to McCain.

Yes, the President should have treated McCain like prior departed leaders of his stature and duration on the national scene.

Yes, his response was petty.

Yes, he is petty, and yes, apparently Trump being Trump will perpetually be news.

Yes, John McCain is dead, and his orders that the President of the United States isn’t welcome at his funeral still stand.

Yes, the news media’s attitude is that McCain’s pettiness was justified, because any anti-Trump attitudes are per se virtuous and just, and Trump’s pettiness is just more proof that he should be impeached.

Got it.

4. Lanny Lanny Lanny…In July, CNN published a story claiming that President Trump knew about the planned Trump Tower meeting with some Russians bearing gifts of dirt on Hillary Clinton, or so they had claimed delegation. According to their anonymous source, former Trump fixer and Olympics-level slimemeister Michael Cohen claims Trump was briefed on the meeting. It now appears that the only source for CNN’s story was Lanny Davis, Hillary Clinton’s and Bill’s fixer and Olympics-level slimemeister. Now Lanny is saying that he was somehow “misunderstood.” You see, his client testified under oath to Congress that Trump did not know, so Lanny’s leak to CNN implicated his own Client in a crime—one that he hasn’t pled guilty to yet. Now all of the media outlets, notably the Washington Post, that went into full impeachment heat over the CNN story are having to backtrack, just like Lanny. [Pointer: Liberty Girls]

Nah, Chuck Todd is right, there’s no news media anti-Trump bias!

Sarcasm aside, I find it impossible to believe that a majority of the public isn’t sick of this.

26 Comments

Filed under Character, Ethics Dunces, Gender and Sex, Government & Politics, Journalism & Media, Law & Law Enforcement, Rights, Romance and Relationships, Sports, The Internet, Workplace

26 responses to “Morning Ethics Warm-Up, 8/28/2018: Short, But Disturbing…

  1. #1 No you’re not a chicken. Your job is to teach ethics and when a teacher find things that detract from the teaching goal they adjust their class accordingly.

    Tell them up front if the discussion begins to veer off into the realm of politics you will respectfully redirect the discussion and focus on ethics not politics..

  2. Jack wrote, “I find it impossible to believe that a majority of the public isn’t sick of this.”

    I’m sick and tired of being sick and tired.

  3. #4 “It now appears that the only source for CNN’s story was Lanny Davis, Hillary Clinton’s and Bill’s fixer and Olympics-level slimemeister. Now Lanny is saying that he was somehow ‘misunderstood’. “

    Propaganda is all about getting the smear out there and spreading it as fast as possible to brainwash the masses into a negative emotional response against the target of the propaganda. Once the emotion has taken hold then issue the retraction and the brainwashed won’t give a damn about the retraction because the negative emotion is what will stick.

    It’s as if there is a pile of psychologists steering the political left in their propaganda campaign.

  4. JimHodgson

    #1. Strongly agree! As a trainer I assiduously avoid wandering from the lesson plan to explore issues that will ultimately detract from the core focus of the training. As a “contract” employee, I am expected by the agencies who pay me to be there to provide the product I promised. In my classes on Character and Leadership, I employ a “parking lot,” device: a list where side-topics can be “parked” and discussed after the actual class, if participants really want to explore those issues. I have frequently stayed late – on my own time, really- to engage in such discussions, often to much mutual benefit.
    #2. The Left’s PC weaponization of sports, as with every aspect of our culture, continues. Chilling indeed.
    #3. Apparently we are to accept that an anti-Trump “tat” is much more virtuous than a pro-Trump “tit.”
    #4. Hummina, hummina hummina. The sleazy beat goes on. Yes, every reasonable person I know IS sick of this. A good, objective team of prosecutors and investigators should have wrapped this mess up in six months or less, without tossing immunity out like Mardi Gras beads to anyone willing to speak a discouraging word against the POTUS.

    • “Apparently we are to accept that an anti-Trump “tat” is much more virtuous than a pro-Trump “tit.”

      I am channeling Lucky this morning… heh, you said ‘tit.’

      So a tattoo is more virtuous than a lady’s breast? What a confusing thought!

      Seriously, you have hit the nail on the, er, head. Anything done against POTUS is fair game, and anything for him is wrong.

      • You aren’t “channeling” me – you are reflecting my (regrettable) influence. I will return to silence now, in deference to you and other much more on-topic and constructive commenters. But first, just one more thing:

        “TRANS FAIL PROG” – somebody, please, PLEASE make a politically incorrect joke about that! I need the laugh. Gad! I wish I had an army of Furies at my instant command, to sic on anyone who says they “disagree with” MY lifestyle!

  5. Chris Marschner_

    It is not cowardly to avoid a headlong rush into current political ethics topics. Creating the equivalent of Picketts charge in developing your approach would not be an effective instructional approach anyway. That is not to say you should not approach the issues. By not using specific people or actual recent events you can address these issues without alienating your audience. Using specific current events will cause some to simply tune you out or worse argue that you are wrongly assessing the situation.

    You know the issues so crafting hypotheticals should not be difficult.

  6. 1. Teach the subject, and place rabbit trails on a separate list, as Jim suggested. You have a job to perform, and the TDS victims are not going to listen to reason anyway, especially not in a public setting. ‘Pearls before swine’ is an apt analogy. Apologies to swine for equating them with lawyers! 🙂

    2. As Zoltar has said, until the Furies are personally exposed- as in, bitten in the ass by their tactics- I don’t see this stopping. I am beginning to believe that the go-to response will have to be an automatic search into the accusers past when they make such accusations and demands. Given the vileness of most progressives on social media over the past decade and the way what is acceptable has changed, I bet there is plenty of material on people who act this way.

    3. Trump is petty. McCain was his equal in that regard. Neither is used to tempering their impulses. Wanna bet the flag dip stunt was on purpose? I won’t take that bet.

    Worse, Trump could crash John’s funeral as a final sign of disrespect for the man and his wishes. He IS a narcissist: the funeral is all about Trump, right? THOSE optics would be horrible.

    4. These Clintonistas have broken laws with impunity for decades. Why should they not lie? The ends justify the means, after all, and a little lie is not even against the law!

  7. A.M. Golden

    Or perhaps you could find less polarizing true life examples that could get them thinking…? I wish you the best.

  8. JutGory

    On item #1, it seems that your concern is that the topics you are avoiding are the very topics you should be using. So, I agree with the others that it is not cowardly to focus on items that satisfy the goal of the seminar: to teach.

    But, if you think they are relevant issues, something along the lines of JimHodgson’s suggestion is fine: point out relevant questions relating to contemporary events that they can feel free to analyze on their own time.

    -Juit

  9. JP

    3. I had a frustrating conversation on facebook with an old college friend. He shared a twitter that said something along the lines of Trump no longer lowered the flags at the White House. See he doesn’t care about flag protocol. I don’t want to hear it when he complains about football players.

    Me: He followed the flag protocol. Day of and the day after. The flag went back on Monday.

    Him: Trump doesn’t care about decorum.

    Me: Maybe, but in the case he did.

    Him: The complaint is he wasn’t being disrespectful to McCain.

    Me. No, the complaint was about the flag. It specifically mentions the flag. If that is the case, then just say so. Otherwise your just spreading lies.

    Him. That is the point. He is just trying to score some cheap military points, when he really doesn’t care about the military at all. No one is making the claim he isn’t following flag protocol.

    Me. Did you even read what you shared? You just made that claim by sharing it.

    Seriously, where does a person go from here? I

  10. Rusty Rebar

    2.

    The lesson of Murphy’s ordeal is, I suppose, that no celebrity or public figure should dare utter non-conforming opinions or views, unless they are willing to be hounded by the political correctness Furies to the grave.

    The obvious problem is, how is one to know what “non-conforming opinions” will be in 5 or 10 years. You can have a perfectly acceptable opinion today that makes you a “literal nazi” in 2 years.

    • Great observation Rusty! Great idea, too – to organize a “community” of “future Nazis” as an oppressed group, based on anticipation of future political correctness infractions, given that political correctness will only become ever more perfect and “inclusive” over time.

      Franz Kafka would be so proud of us! He could come back to life and weep with joy, sounding a little bit like Sally Field at the Academy Awards: “You GET me! You really GET me!”

      • No social media. Full stop.

        I have REALLY unpopular opinions… but you cannot dig up dirt on social media I never wrote.

        • You’re probably right – the community organizing would have to be done completely off line. Besides, all real nazis – even future nazis (I goofed using the capital “N” earlier) – are sneaky bastards.

          Your opinions are popular with me, slickwilly – keep opining!

          • {locks windows and door, pulls shades, starts white noise generator, and Oscilloscope based frequency generator with A.R.A LPD-410-105 jamming antenna}

            (whispers) Come close.

            Closer.

            I support…

            The Constitution.

            • Thanks, I needed that laugh. You’ll have to create a hand signal for that.

              • Already got one. First you raise your arm, elbow bent at a 45 (or so) degree angle toward your target. Make a fist, palm up, and carefully extend your digitus medius while keeping all other fingers in the fist.

                With practice, one can strengthen that finger to hold the position of hours at a time.

  11. Jack: Avoiding the political controversies in your seminars when they are so relevant to the topic of government ethics might be wrong, but not necessarily cowardly. Your challenge is to make sure the learners have some useful take-aways, some real learning about applied ethics, and not, “Somebody ought to sue Jack Marshall for defamation.” The pathology of pettiness in the culture makes it virtually mandatory that you avoid government ethics cases-in-point involving TRUMP or any of his “resistance” heroes. That is unfortunate, but such is the swamp of “education” today.

  12. “Donald Trump has never accepted the fact that he is the head of state.”

    TRUMP?! TRUMP has never accepted the fact?! Steve-O (and of course you know this), that makes the answer too easy: TRUMP hate came first. That quote above, from the link in Steve-O’s comment, speaks giga-giga-terabytes (times a googol) about the self-inflicted blindness of TRUMP-haters. Blind to their own hate. Blind to their own biases. Blind to the fact that their intended propaganda targets are NOT blind, in large numbers.

    Here it comes…I’m going DeNiro…FUCK the swamp media!

    • AND THIS, from the same linked article: “[A] paradox is that Trump in many ways has created the very environment he now chafes against.”

      WHAAAAAAAT??????!!!!!! TRUMP is merely giving the founders of the Nation of Assholes their due assholery. Poor little victims! No safe space for them in the White House, or before the POTUS. What a tragedy.

  13. PennAgain

    1. This is what your brave-chicken opening should have been … as in the almost title of a 1949 musical starring Milton Berle and Virginia Mayo: Always Leave ’em … Thinking:

    [T]oday’s three-hour course is going to almost (almost) completely avoid the controversies surrounding the Mueller investigation, Rosenstein, Strzok and the rest. I am going to mention Andrew McCabe’s use of GoFundMe, but only in the context of lawyers crossing ethics lines while using the web.

    Is avoiding the political controversies wrong and cowardly when they are so relevant to the topic of government ethics? I’ve been thinking about this for months. In the end, I have decided that the distraction and static is more damaging to the mission—giving government lawyers a chance to tune up their ethics alarms—than the embargoed topics are essential. There is more to cover than I have time for anyway.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.