Good morning, Ethics Lovers!
The solo performer is the immortal Doodles Weaver, Sigourney’s uncle.
1. This is indefensible, and—I hate to keep using this word, but don’t blame me, blame prevailing political winds—totalitarian. Carl Malamud believes that there should be open access to government records, and he has a group that has been putting them online for years. When his group posted the Official Code of Georgia Annotated, however, the state sued for copyright infringement claiming that giving the public access to the state’s laws and related legal materials without the state’s authorization is the “strategy of terrorism.”
No, having laws that the public has no way to see or understand without paying for them is the strategy of dictators. A federal appeals court has ruled against the state, and now Georgia wants the Supreme Court to step in. So does Public.Resource.Org, Malamud’s group, which also wants SCOTUS to resolve the issue, since the question of who owns the law is current in 20 other states that have copyrighted their annotated codes. The issue is whether citizens can have access to “the raw materials of our democracy.”
I think Georgia is going to lose and lose ugly, though I have given up prediction 9-0 Supreme Court rulings. That’s what this one should be, though.
2. More on “the best people” front. One awful aspect of the Trump Administration that cannot be defended is the President’s irresponsible appointments, which are too numerous to list. In the case of Dr. Ben Carson, whom Ethics Alarms assessed as some kind of idiot savant based on his embarrassing performance in the debates, we knew, or should have known, that Trump appointing him Secretary of HUD was a guaranteed fiasco in the making.
Now comes GAO general counsel Thomas Armstrong to notify Congress that Clueless Carson violated official policy by spending $31,561.00 for the purchase of a dining set for the HUD Secretary’s dining room and $8,812.84 for the purchase and installation of a new dishwasher and associated water treatment system in the kitchen connected to the dining room without providing advance notice to the Committees on Appropriations of the House of Representatives and the Senate.
Armstrong further wrote in his letter,
“Further, because HUD obligated appropriated funds in a manner specifically prohibited by law with regard to the dining set, as well as the dishwasher and associated water treatment system, we conclude that HUD violated the Antideficiency Act.”
I’d say that appointing a completely unqualified individual like Carson to head any agency violates the Antideficiency Act, whatever it is. You can read Carson’s ridiculous explanation here, if you must.
3. Speaking of that word again...Here is anti-male bigot and fortunately flopping Democratic Presidential hopeful Senator Kirsten Gillibrand (D-NY) bloviating in Georgia over the passage of the state’s controversial “fetal heartbeat” bill.
“I would ensure that no state can pass laws that chip away at access to reproductive care or criminalize reproductive health care providers. Federal law should supersede harmful state laws that take away women’s reproductive freedom… if you are a person of deep Christian faith, one of the tenets of our faith is free will. One of the tenets of our democracy is that we have a separation of church and state, and under no circumstances are we supposed to be imposing our faith on other people, and I think this is an example of that effort. It’s against our Constitution and it’s against Christian faith.”
Demagogue, liar, idiot.
The President does not have the power to tell states what laws it can and cannot pass, nor can Congress, as the recent SCOTUS on-line gambling decision held. Gillibrand is promising a dictatorial action that would be laughed out of the Supreme Court, so illegal is it. And she knows it’s illegal. Like fellow shameless demagogue Elizabeth Warren, the Senator deliberately seeks to inflame the public with misrepresentations she thinks will be believed by non-lawyers and low-information voters.
That’s not all. The false assertion that opposing abortion is an exercise of religion and that passing laws limiting abortion is “imposing one’s faith” is truly despicable, and, not surprising for an ethics-free hack like her, ignores ethics. I oppose unlimited abortion because my ethical analysis tells me that unborn human beings are still human beings, and that hard as it may be, defending life must take precedence over unlimited female autonomy. I haven’t been in a church since I was married, and the last time I prayed I still had my baby teeth. Are criminal statutes against murder, theft and other crimes condemned in moral codes also “imposing faith’?
The contest to decide which Democratic candidate is more despicable, dishonest and ethically inert is closer than the nomination race
4. Not to be outdone, Senator Harris makes her move as the most unethical candidate. During an interview with CNN host Jake Tapper on “State of the Union,”—I have to say, Tapper seemed to regard Harris as about as he would regard a bug, and that’s lousy journalism, even when contempt is justified— Tapper asked if Harris supports the language of Sen. Bernie Sanders’ Medicare-for-all bill, saying,
“The bill… says, quote: ‘Every individual who’s a resident of the United States is entitled to benefits for health care services under the Senate,’ not every individual who’s a citizen, but every individual who’s a resident. So you support giving universal health care and Medicare for all to people who are on this country illegally?”
Why, of course! Harris answered:
“Let me just be very clear about this. I’m opposed to any policy that would deny in our country any human being from access to public safety, public education, or public health, period.”
So not only would anyone breaching our borders and defying immigration laws get to stay here, but they would also be guaranteed government health care and education. This pandering to the open borders crowd, and it’s pandering to illegal immigrants and potential illegal immigrants. “Come on over, everybody! Free stuff awaits!”
5. Today’s “Nah, there’s no mainstream media bias” notes:
- A new report from venerable think tank the Rand Corporation examined trends from before 2000 to 2017, and found a major shift in how news is presented on TV and in online reports. News in a Digital Age compared the periods for newspapers, broadcast TV, cable, and online, looking at the words used without analyzing the politics of the stories, reporters, or outlets. It found that newspapers have shifted away from the traditional who, what, when, where, why and how approach to “narratives” and personal perspective. Broadcast has shifted toward opinions and arguments. Cable TV prioritizes opinion over news. Online “news” is now dominated by opinion and advocacy.
Did we really need a study to show that?
- Tweets journalist Lauren Duca: “Yo, I’m in the best mood. Sending good vibes to everyone, except for the Republican Party, which is a terrorist organization.” This is doubtlessly intended to reference recent GOP anti-abortion laws. Whatever one thinks of the laws, it is odd to call the party that is dedicated to saving what it believes are human lives a terrorist organization. But Duca has never let facts or civility get in the way of bias and venom. The 28-year-old author of How to Start a Revolution tweeted last year when Billy Graham died, “The big news today is that Billy Graham was still alive this whole time. Anyway, have fun in hell, bitch.”
This summer Duca has been hired to teach a class at NYU called “The Feminist Journalist” that will “focus on intersections of feminist ideology and the practice of journalism.” Writes conservative blogger Vodkapundit, aka Stephen Green,
That NYU finds someone so viciously partisan worthy of training tomorrow’s journalists tells you everything you need to know about the actual worth of an NYU journalism degree.
Or pretty much any journalism degree.