Great. I’m sick again.
It’s psychological, I’m sure of it. I dread the Whitewaters of Life period from November 17 through New Years, encompassing the anxiety of Thanksgiving, the anniversary of my father’s perverse decision to kick-off on my birthday, the annual 10-hour prickle-fest of decorating an eight-foot live tree to meet family traditions, maneuvering around the Christmas season while trying to make it special and feeling deep inside that those days are long gone, struggling with the rotten timing of wanting to spend without penny-pinching on thrilling loved ones while one’s own small ethics business is at its cash-flow nadir, and fighting off the ghosts of more carefree times with the missing, including my dad and especially my mother, who was a Christmas fanatic, and now Rugby, whose trick of sniffing out his presents and unwrapping them, and only them, with typical elan was always a Christmas morning highlight. This year, I have the extra burden of not one but two multi-day ethics road trips, one to carry musical ethics down the metaphorical chimney in Las Vegas, and to by car to New Jersey, where Paul Morella, alias Clarence Darrow, and I have two dates. Both trips are guaranteed to leave me feeling like I have been run over by a reindeer.
Shut up, Perry.
1. Plan T watch. Note that the ethics Alarms home page finally has a link directly to the growing list of 19 attempted removal plans that have been launched to various degrees by the Democratic Party/ “resistance”/mainstream media soft coup alliance against President Trump. This version is slightly revised, including a reference to a consist statement of what is going on that echoes what I have written, but is nicely turned: “Donald Trump daring to serve as President is itself impeachable.”
Meanwhile, Plan T might be imminent. The tortured logic of Plan S, the basis of the current inquiry, is convincing no one, in part because the average American doesn’t know impeachment from a pear tree, and mostly because Plan S is dishonest and bats. To their shame if they had any, the impeachment mob has been polling and using focus groups to determine which accusation will stick.
The Washington Post reports that Democrats are easing out the term ‘quid pro quo,’ instead using “bribery” as the favored term to describe Trump’s alleged impeachable conduct:
“The shift came after the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee conducted focus groups in key House battlegrounds in recent weeks, testing messages related to impeachment. Among the questions put to participants was whether ‘quid pro quo,’ ‘extortion’ or ‘bribery’ was a more compelling description of Trump’s conduct. According to two people familiar with the results, which circulated among Democrats this week, the focus groups found ‘bribery’ to be most damning.”
Great idea, except that what occurred can’t credibly be described as bribery, and if it was, every time the government or a President linked cooperation with U.S. goals to foreign aid, weapons sales, or other benefits, that was “bribery” too.
I think they should poll on “cannibalism.”
2. There must be something unethical about this representation, but nobody appears to have flagged it. The ABA Journal tells the weird saga of Frank Carson of Modesto, California, who sought dismissal of the charges against his client, former California Highway Patrol officer Walter Wells. Wells was also his co-defendant before Carson was found not-guilty of murder. Prosecutors had alleged Carson , the lawyer, was the ringleader of a conspiracy including Wells to kill Korey Kauffman, whom Carson believed to have stolen scrap metal and scrap from Carson’s property. A Modesto Bee editorial called Carson a prominent defense attorney “who dared to oppose [the district attorney’s] underlings in court, too often with an irritating smirk and smug arrogance, and then had the audacity to run against her in 2014.”
Usually a lawyer would be banned from such a representation because he would be a necessary witness in his own client’s case.
3. Res Ipsa Loquitur Corner. From yesterday’s impeachment hearing…
Rep. Chris Stewart : “Do you have any information regarding POTUS accepting bribes?”
Former Ambassador Yovanovitch: No.
Rep. Chris Stewart : Do you have any evidence of any criminal activity from POTUS?”
Former Ambassador Yovanovitch: No.
4. Return to Plan H! Plan H on the list is “Tweeting stupid stuff is impeachable.” While the bitter ex-ambassador was whining under oath, President Trump couldn’t restrain himself from tweeting,
Stipulated, this is idiotic, petty, and self-destructive. Anyone who calls it “witness tampering,” or “witness intimidation,” however, is making an ass out of himself or herself.
5. More from “The Best People” files. The New York Times headline is “Before Joining White House, Stephen Miller Pushed White Nationalist Theories,” and a more convoluted mess of disreputable participants it would be hard to find in a news story, beginning with the Times, which refers here and in other articles to the discredited Southern Poverty Law Center as a “watchdog.” That is false: the SPLC long ago morphed into an untrustworthy, McCarthy-style partisan hit group that tars organizations good and bad as “hate groups” to raise money and intimidate opposition.
Miller, now an influential White House advisor, arguably has enough email skeletons in his closet to put on a Halloween spectacular. 900 messages Miller sent to Breitbart News from March 2015 to June 2016 show Miller passing along material he found on at least one website that espouses white nationalist viewpoints, including fringe theories that people of color are trying to engage in “white genocide.” The SPLC says it will turn the emails into a series to prove how how Miller brought anti-immigrant beliefs to the White House and turned them into policy.
Here is the list of people and entities that are untrustworthy here:
- Miller, who certainly hangs out with some fanatics and has been careless about his coziness with white nationalists.
The President would be well-served by finding advisors with less questionable public positions. That goals isn’t helped by the Axis of Unethical Conduct making sure that anyone agreeing to join the President’s team is likely to be harassed, smeared and possible indicted.
- SPLC, for all the usual reasons.
Like a cornered animal, it is fighting hard to maintain its influence despite having to fire its founder and having its abusive methods exposed.
- Katie McHugh, a fired editor at the extreme right wing website Breitbartwho leaked the emails but now says that she said she renounces far-right views.
No, I don’t trust anyone who has such a mid-career ideological conversion, be it David Brock or Dennis Miller.
- The Times, which in the article describes show that Mr. Miller tried to shape news coverage with The law center’s investigation, which the group says it will turn into a series, seeks to illustrate how Mr. Miller brought anti-immigrant beliefs to the White House and turned them into policy. Among the exchanges it cites as showing Miller’s white nationalist sympathies was one from June 2015 in which Miller appeared concerned about the removal of Confederate merchandise from e-commerce websites like Amazon as a reaction to the Charleston church shooting by Dylann Roof.
Gee, that’s funny—I expressed the exact same concern here when the National Park Service started censoring images of the Confederate flag as well as Confederate merchandise as a foolish over-reaction to a killer who flaunted them. I don’t think I’m a white nationalist, but I’m sure the SPLC would be happy to brand me as one for daring to criticize it.
- The White House, which resorted to ad hominem tactics, dismissing the report because it said the SPLC is “a far-left smear organization.” Of course it is, but the emails are the emails whether they are revealed by “a far-left smear organization.” or the American Red Cross.