Morning Ethics Warm-Up, 3/25/2019: Woke Up Really Sick Of Democratic Party BS This Morning. I’m Sure I’ll Get Over It…

Good Morning!

…as the Mueller report lets the sunshine in…

1. Thank goodness judges don’t bake cakes…the American Bar Association’s Standing Committee on Ethics and Professional Responsibility have issued Formal Opinion 485. It holds that judges who perform marriages, either as an obligation of their office or by choice, may not refuse to do so for same-sex couples. The opinion emphasizes that regardless of their backgrounds, personal views or philosophies, judges must follow the law and act impartially, free from bias or prejudice.

I’d say the opinion is unassailable for a judge who regularly performs marriages  as a mandatory part of his or her job. A judge who is not so required, presumably, can choose not to perform any marriages at all. I bet some judge will challenge the proposition, however, that a  religion-based refusal to perform an optional civil wedding is per se “bias or prejudice.” [Source: Legal Ethics in Motion]

2. Welcome to my world...This week I am doing several ethics programs, one of which (not in legal ethics) I have presented over many years. Last year, I was told that the 2 hour program I had been presenting to the group only needed to be 90 minutes, so the materials I prepared and submitted indeed covered that amount of time, as did my presentation.  This year, I again prepared for 90 minutes. Now, looking at the conference’s two-day program, I see that my seminar is listed in the program as two hours again. That’s a mistake, but it’s too late to correct it: the attendees plan on getting professional credit. So what is my most ethical response? I could…a) stretch the material to two hours, but that’s a 30 minute stretch. b) At my own expense, create an additional 30 minutes of material, copy the materials, distribute them, and never mention that the conference manager, my long-time contact, screwed up. c) Use this crisis as leverage to negotiate a supplement to my fee for the necessary upgrade. d) End after 90 minutes, tell the attendees why, and suggest that they take up the matter of the missing credit with the conference organizers. e) Do the upgrade, present it, and then bill the conference for my time.

Oh, heck, you know what I’m going to do: the one that gives the attendees what they expect, avoid embarrassment for the organizers, and makes me no money. That’s the ethical course, but I don’t have to be happy about it.

3. AOC weighs in. Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez amplified the Bizarro World that so many Democrats and progressives reside in these days while retweeting a clueless tweet by George Takei. Sulu, who studied nothing but acting in school and has done virtually nothing but act in his career, and not all that much of that since the original “Star Trek” ended, decades ago has all the political expertise and civic acumen of Alyssa Milano. He tweeted,

“Let’s say Trump goes down in disgrace from Mueller or the SDNY or Congressional investigations. We’re left with a big question: How did a guy like that get elected? Why do so many still support him? We can’t just say “Fox News” or “Russians.” We have serious issues to sort out.”

This is part of the Big Lie “resistance” tactic. With what other President have people assumed, absent any substance that he is certain to “go down in disgrace”? Then we get into evidence of pathological cluelessness and delusion. Seriously, Sulu? You and your kith really don’t have any idea how Trump got elected? He got elected because the incumbent Democratic President was a flop and an empty suit, because Democrats rigged the nomination and nominated a spectacularly bad candidate and pathological liar who was caught red-handed intentionally violating national security regulations, because a large chunk of the American public was mad as hell and wasn’t going to take it any more, and because Trump’s straightforward opposition to illegal immigration was refreshing and necessary. Wow. If Democrats are still asking this question after three years, they really must exist in a parallel universe.

AOC’s reaction is instructive:

“This is the REAL conversation we need to have as a country. As horrific as this president is, he is a symptom of much deeper problems. Even foreign influence plays on nat’l wounds that we refuse to address: income inequality, racism, corruption,a willingness to excuse bigotry.”

The “horrific President” trope is another Big Lie. Essentially Democrats argue that the President is “horrific” because they say so and don’t like him; it’s like saying Obama isn’t a citizen. Opposing pet progressive policies doesn’t make a leader objectively “horrific.” As for the rest, what and who is she talking about? “Income inequality” is only a “wound” to a socialist. Her party is the one that endorses race-based hiring and college admissions, and also the one that endorses Black Lives Matter. Corruption is a bipartisan problem: do Ocasio-Cortez and George really not know about the lucrative influence peddling by Hillary’s foundation while she was Secretary of State? Excusing bigotry—wait, I’m confused: which party demoted its loud-mouthed white supremacist House member, and which refused to condemn the openly-anti-Semite in its ranks?  Then OAC really goes all in, tweeting,

“He can stay, he can go. He can be impeached, or voted out in 2020. But removing Trump will not remove the infrastructure of an entire party that embraced him; the dark money that funded him; the online radicalization that drummed his army; nor the racism he amplified+reanimated.”

1) Good little totalitarian that she is, I’m sure OAC would love to make sure the US had one party system. 2) The Republicans never “embraced” Trump, they were just forced to nominate him, or thought they were. They support him now because, well, look at the alternative. 3.) Dark money? What “dark money?” Trump funded his own campaign to a substantial extent, and spend a fraction of what Hillary and the Democrats did.  4) What “online radicalization”? If there’s one thing Trump voters weren’t, it’s radical. 5) And, of course, again the racism lie, because beginning in 2008, opposing Democrats meant that you were a racist. Or is Trump a racist for wanting to enforce our immigration laws? (I just covered this canard, here, and here—not that reality matters to race-baiters.) [Pointer: Sara Harkins]

4. Gimmick? What gimmick? From Axios, via Althouse:

“Close advisers to former Vice President Joe Biden are debating the idea of packaging his presidential campaign announcement with a pledge to choose Stacey Abrams as his vice president…The popular Georgia Democrat, who at age 45 is 31 years younger than Biden, would bring diversity and excitement to the ticket — showing voters, in the words of a close source, that Biden “isn’t just another old white guy. But the decision poses considerable risk, and some advisers are flatly opposed. Some have pointed out that in a Democratic debate, he could be asked why no one on the stage would be a worthy running mate. Advisers also know that the move would be perceived as a gimmick.”

Ya think?

  • I don’t understand: how does the identity of his VP show the Biden isn’t an old white guy?
  • Wait: I thought it was Republicans who were bigoted…
  • Stacy Abrams has four qualifications for executive leadership in Democratic Party terms: she’s black and she’s a female, she’s an experienced race-baiter, and she emulates Hillary Clinton by refusing to be a graceful loser.  She’s a tax attorney.
  • Watch out, though: you know how the news media will relentlessly question her level of experience to be a Presidential understudy, like they did with Sarah Palin. Hey—I managed to type that without dissolving in laughter and falling on the floor!

25 thoughts on “Morning Ethics Warm-Up, 3/25/2019: Woke Up Really Sick Of Democratic Party BS This Morning. I’m Sure I’ll Get Over It…

  1. “4) What “online radicalization”? If there’s one thing Trump voters weren’t” Actually, because of progressive pushiness over the last few years, they have pushed a traditionally politically apathetic group: geeks. Geeks ARE much more tied to the online world and have been ferreting out progressive ploys like the shills at Rotten Tomatoes. It is the Streisand effect completely, progressives are making their enemies, who did not exist before. A geek group is making a free speech review site.

      • Although legal seminars as I’m told by a lawyer friend tend to be more tight assed about time constraints than my profession, I think adding a Q and A segment would be a great way of using the allotted time. Being talked to death even by an interesting presenter, is an inefficient way to teach.

          • Okay Jack, Hold that thought, it is justifiable a brilliant flash of insight!

            And at the same time reflect on the (minor?) gap between (a) your ambition to “avoid embarrassment for the organizers” and (b) your need to share “this crisis” on your blog.

            While I am at it, let me suggest some textual improvements (in bold).

            Welcome to my world as a reflection of myself… This week I am doing several ethics programs, one of which (not in legal ethics) I have presented over many years. Last year, I was told that the 2 hour program I had been presenting to the group only needed to be 90 minutes, so the materials I prepared and submitted indeed covered that amount of time, as did my presentation. This year, I didn’t give it much thought, didn’t check with the organizer, acted on autopilot [* choose the one which best describes the situation)I again prepared for 90 minutes. Now, looking at the conference’s two-day program, I see that my seminar is listed in the program as two hours again. That’s a mistake, but it’s too late to correct it: the attendees plan on getting professional credit. So what is my most ethical response? I could…a) stretch the material to two hours, but that’s a 30 minute stretch. b) At my own expense, create an additional 30 minutes of material, copy the materials, distribute them, and never mention that the conference manager, my long-time contact, screwed up. c) Use this crisis of my own making as leverage to negotiate a supplement to my fee for the necessary upgrade. d) End after 90 minutes, tell the attendees why, and suggest that they take up the matter of the missing credit with the conference organizers. e) Do the upgrade, present it, and then bill the conference for my time.

            Oh, heck, you know what I’m going to do: the one that gives the attendees what they expect, avoid embarrassment for the organizers indirectly embarrasses the organizers by blogging about it, and makes me no money gives me some warm feelings and uplifting comments from my blog readers. That’s not the ethical course, but I don’t have to be happy about it I am proud of it.

            • A lot of unwarranted assumptions there.The materials for this particular program were due months ago, before any promotional materials had been mailed with program details. The organizer did not alert me to any changes from the previous year: one 2 hour program, and one 90 minute program. The materials are submitted for approval for X number of minutes of credit: it said right on the materials “90 minutes.”

              Nobody, but nobody, would expect the program to be repackaged as a two hour program, certainly without 1) asking the presenter or at least alerting him to the change. Get this: when I asked the organizer what was up, she said that I went over the one hour scheduled last year, so she made it two! She thought she was DOUBLING my time, and didn’t think I needed to know. I checked: I didn’t go over last year, I did 90 minutes, as agreed and scheduled. So what she thought she was doing was even worse than what she did: doubling the time attendees pay for expecting to get credit, and not telling the speaker in time (or at all) for him to prepare. She DESERVES to be embarassed.

              But she won’t be. This for a profession(not lawyers) infamously uninterested in ethics, and less interested in ethics training. I changed enough details in the account that nobody would be able to guess which presentation it is without knowing my calendar, which isn’t published. I expect 20 or so attendees: the odds that even one of them read EA are worse than the odds on the Orioles winning the World Series. There is NO chance the organizer reads the blog, or any blog, or even knows what a blog is.If an attendee who does read the blog figures out what happens, the organizer won’t be embarrassed anyway, because there would be no way to know that anyone knew. And since I’m going to deliver the two hours, with materials (that I have to now put paying work aside to complete), and everyone will get what they have been promised, nobody will care.

  2. Re #3,

    While your choice of corruption within the Democrats is a fine one, I think what is more ironic (and seems to be forgotten from time to time) is that the party corruption exposed through the “interference” by Russia’s hacking was the Dems’ own inner party corruption. This whole Russia collusion investigation was a classic response to whistleblowing where the whistleblower is attacked and the issue that is exposed is denied and swept away.

    I have issues with hacking and WikiLeaks and so don’t resent that aspect of the investigation but the fact that the Dems’ corruption was swept away to be forgotten and at least some of the participants seem to have been rewarded, it makes pronouncements like this one by AOC so hypocritical and sickening.

    For Bernie Sanders to entertain yet another run at a Dem nomination given his treatment by the party last time makes him either the most resilient person ever or the most stupid (yeah, yeah, why not both you say).

  3. 1. ABA Standing Committee gay marriage opinion

    I have no fundamental problem with it. But how many judges actually perform marriages? I thought that’s what a Justice of the Peace was for.

    Well, anyway, I suspect very few. If they have a religious objection, this would seem to be a good reason to refuse to marry anyone — unless, of course, you are a JoP.

    If it’s mandatory for them, I guess they’ll have to decide whether their faith or their job comes first, because it seems that a religious objection argument would not likely work for something like civil marriage. I don’t think the creative nexus exists to make the cake baker exception, and we know from prior rulings that religious objections are not a universal antidote to having to do something for gay couples.

    2. Small businessman’s world

    Been there, done that, got the T-shirt.

    3. AOC clown show

    So what’s her suggested course of action to cure the country of all this madness? Arrest and imprison Trump voters? Outlaw the Republican party? Overturn Citizens United v. Federal Election Commission by packing the Supreme Court with Leftists?

    Sounds likely to me. I think Stalin is smiling benevolently down up at her.

    4. Biden/Abrams

    This is so Joe Biden. Please let it happen. Plus, we get to see him creepily touch his VP nominee for over a year. The joy!

    • Again, there is no way either Bernie or Joe gets the nomination after all the white male bashing the Democratic base has been doing. The last white male it nominated was Kerry. No matter how much they hate Trump, there’s no way the kiddie Socialist crowd comes out to vote for Joe.

  4. 3. George Takei’s problem with the general populous is it’s not sufficiently gay and therefore not sufficiently intelligent, sophisticated, urbane and enlightened. To George, heterosexuals are beyond redemption.

    As did Obama, when AOC says “we need to have a conversation,” she means she needs to lecture us and set us straight. Or NOT straight, come to think of it.

  5. 3. It’s unfortunate that George is so intransigent about this. I’ve met him two or three times at conventions. He’s a genuinely friendly guy who, unlike many celebrities, asks his fan’s names, asks about them, invites everyone to go jogging with him the next morning.

    • Meddling in politics with unsupported opinions is not a “gay thang;” – it’s a celebrity’s prerogative. They’re supposed to Say Something, so that lesser mortals can Do Something about whatever something stands in the way of their Progress.
      ==========
      If you pronounce OAC with care – it has to come out WACK.

  6. Regarding a Biden/Abrams ticket, I’m old enough to remember when Democrats were calling a white guy a racist exploiter for featuring a black female colleague as an example of someone’s lack of racism… Ah, those halcyon days, those simpler times…three weeks ago.

  7. I saw an interview with Walter Koenig discussing Star Trek, Shatner, and Takei. It really gave me a new view on the whole dynamic. For decades, Shatner has been criticized for being a complete selfish jerk to his coworkers as well as petty and vindictive. After decades of reflection, Koenig gave a very different description of the working dynamics of Star Trek. He said that on the job, Shatner was cordial and professional, but not buddy-buddy with the minor character actors. Shatner didn’t socialize with any of the cast, was having marital problems involving money, and was trying to make sure the show didn’t get cancelled. When asked why many of the cast members (like Takei and Koenig) had hard feelings toward Shatner, Koenig answered that Shatner never took any interest in developing their careers and characters further. They hadn’t asked Shatner to, they just assumed he was supposed to do that for them. Koenig told that he confronted Shatner decades later about these slights and Shatner was taken aback, essentially stating that he never thought it was his job to advance their careers or characters. I think Koenig really began to change his mind about the situation when he found out that Takei had always hated him. Takei was in a different movie one season and Koenig had been hired to fill his place until he returned. When Takei returned, it was decided to keep both of them, but Takei felt that Koenig should have quit to allow Takei more screen time and had resented him ever since. He never asked Koenig to quit, he just assumed that Koenig should have known that he was eating into Takei’s spotlight and should have selflessly exited for Takei’s benefit. Koenig only found this out after Takei had he and Nichols be the attendents at Takei’s wedding. Koenig then realize he was just a publicity prop for Takei and that Takei’s friendship all those decades had been a lie.

    It seems that for George Takei, the world and everyone in it exist for George Takei’s benefit. I read his statement with full knowledge that its purpose is to benefit George Takei.

    • In the fall of 1969, I saw a poster in the college student center for the main entertainment at the nearby Oneida or Herkimer County fair: William Shatner. This was after “Star Trek” had completed its first (and at that time, presumably, only) TV run. So the Priceline Negotiator was working the county fair circuit to make a buck. My favorite college professor was an authority on American actors and actresses. He recalled Shatner’s days as a young Shakespearean.

      • Shatner’s autobiography recalls how he was in the process of getting a divorce while “Star Trek” was ending and the alimony was calculated based on his status as the lead actor in a TV show. He had to go on the road for summer stock shows, do commercials, bit parts in other programs, etc. to keep up with the payments. I absolutely believe he did a fair or two.

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