Saturday Ethics Warm-Up, Pearl Harbor Day, 2019: Actual Crimes, Misdemeanors And Other Despicable Acts Edition


1. The Bad Guys. This email message was received by George Washington Law School administrators urging it to punish Prof. Johnathan Turley for presenting a factual analysis of the Democrats’ contrived case against Donald Trump:

“I am writing you all after listening to Jonathan Turley’s disgraceful statement defending the corrupt and impeachable actions of President Trump at the House Judiciary impeachment hearing today. I know you all cringe inside knowing that you are affiliated in some way with Turley and have to work or study at the same institution in which he is employed. He is defending the indefensible and I hope that all of the Deans at GWU Law and the students will recognize that he is not serving in the best interest of our country and is a detriment to the success of your school’s future reputation. His actions today were spineless and shameful. He is clearly a lackey for the Trump Administration I trust you will act appropriately and reprimand this sad excuse of a man.”

The email was unsigned, but the school says it did not come from a student. Meanwhile, on his blog, Turley has stated that his “office and home have been inundated with threats from people irate over the fact that I would question the sufficiency of this record for impeachment.” He also has felt it necessary to respond to intentionally false arguments against his positions. That Turley’s employers would be told by anyone that the public courage and erudition of Prof. Turley could possibly be “a detriment to the success” of the “school’s future reputation” show how completely the  mass determination to “get” President Trump has entered the realm of Bizarro World ethics, or perhaps for younger fans of “Stranger Things,” the Upside Down.

A commenter on the post about the email at Legal Insurrection writes,

In The Coming of the Third Reich (2003), historian Richard J. Evans explains how, in the early days of National Socialist Germany, Stormtroopers (Brownshirts) “organized campaigns against unwanted professors in the local newspapers [and] staged mass disruptions of their lectures.” To express dissent from Nazi positions became a matter of taking one’s life into one’s hands. The idea of people of opposing viewpoints airing their disagreements in a civil and mutually respectful manner was gone. One was a Nazi, or one was silent (and fearful).

Today’s fascists call themselves “anti-fascists.” Just like the Nazis, they are totalitarian: they are determined not to allow their opponents to murmur the slightest whisper of dissent. Forcibly suppressing the speech of someone with whom one disagrees is a quintessentially fascist act.


2. The Legacy of Marion Barry.  Usually crooked D.C. politicians who are caught stealing money or passing it along to cronies —and there have been oh-so-many of them, resign, long-time member D.C. City Council member Jack Evans, however, became the first local scam artist to be kicked off the body, which voted this week that he  be expelled after a series of investigations found Evans, the city’s longest-serving lawmaker, used his public office to benefit private clients and employers who paid him hundreds of thousands of dollars.

“He has betrayed each and every one of us,” said council member Mary M. Cheh (D-Ward 3), who is leading the internal investigation of Evans. “You would speak to him about council things, but he was speaking for the people who were buying him.”

This time, for a change, the elected crook is white, so there will be no demonstrations by D.C. residents claiming racism. Whew!

3. And children are still not safe in the Catholic Church…After months of pressure from priests and church members, the Vatican said in a statement that it had accepted the resignation of Buffalo’s Bishop Malone, effective immediately. His Diocese, one of the largest on the East Coast,  is facing more than 200 child sex abuse lawsuits under the Child Victims Act. It is also under investigation by both the Federal Bureau of Investigation and the New York attorney general for its handling of abusive priests over many decades, most recently under Malone’s leadership.

In March 2018, as the controversy over predator priests roiled,  Bishop Malone released a list of 42 Buffalo priests accused of abuse over decades. An office worker, however, had seen 117 names on a draft list in the diocese’s secret files.She became a whistle-blower, exposing yet another cover-up favoring the Catholic bureaucracy over innocent victims of abuse.

Malone’s resignation letter contains this revolting passage:

Some have attributed this to my own shortcomings, but the turmoil also reflects the culmination of systemic failings over many years in the worldwide handling of sexualabuse of minors by members of the clergy. The crisis our Church is facing relates not only to the immoral and criminal acts of those who committed unconscionable offenses toward the most vulnerable, but also to the failure to regard these violations as grave offenses that warranted the full weight of civil and ecclesiastical justice.


4. Guess what his religion is. Take a wild guess. 35-year-old Ali Kourani, was born in Lebanon but immigrated legally to the US in 2003 he settled in New York City, where he surveilled Big Apple airports, federal buildings and military facilities — and sent reports back to his Hezbollah contacts. Prosecutors claim he fraudulently obtained citizenship in order to participate in IJO attack-planning missions. The former counterfeit Ugg salesman expressed no remorse for his actions or affiliation with the terrorist organization, but complained about “government overreach” and America’s “double standards.”

A jury found him guilt of terrorist activities, and the judge sentenced him to 40 years in prison.

President Trump’s decision to temporarily halt emigration from certain Muslim countries, however, was based on racism, and not legitimate, obvious concerns about terrorism. Or so we have been told by the same elected officials trying to remove him from office…

5. GOOD! Rep. Duncan D. Hunter (R-CA), who should have resigned long ago, finally  pleaded guilty to misusing over $250,000 in campaign funds this week. One of his illegal purchases  including spending over $1,500 for video games purchases. Yes, he’s an idiot. His equally dense constituents also elected him to Congress six times.

Hunter said in a statement: “It’s been an honor to serve the people of California’s 50th District, and I greatly appreciate the trust they have put in me over these last 11 years.”

I’ll bet he does. It’s so much harder to steal money when you aren’t trusted.


13 thoughts on “Saturday Ethics Warm-Up, Pearl Harbor Day, 2019: Actual Crimes, Misdemeanors And Other Despicable Acts Edition

  1. The Q-Bridge in New Haven did its job yesterday. When I was driving home through New Haven, I saw it lit up and briefly wonder why. Officially called the Pearl Harbor Memorial Bridge, it reminded me the significant of this infamous date in history.

  2. 1. Academia has become a minefield. Welcome to the whack a mole world Professor.

    4. This week should be a warning to President Trump. Vigilance is more than words to frighten our enemies. Stick to your knitting on terrorism with inward as well as outward facing policies that are actually workable and work.

    5. Why is it so many politicians turn into egocentric grifters? Good riddance Representative Hunter.

    • Why is it so many politicians turn into egocentric grifters?

      A. Because the ones with ethics, morals, and scruples have been chased out of politics the past three decades (by the Swamp)

      B. Because the treatment of Trump, a non Swamp dweller, and anyone associated with him has given pause to anyone with ethics, morals, and scruples when considering seeking office.

      C. Because the mainstream media has happily created false narratives on page one and recanted on page 40 such that a smear on anyone can live forever.

      D. All of the above

      …the answer is all of the above.

  3. 1. Academic freedom does have its downside — having to put up with rants like the above is one of them. “In order to have enough freedom, it is necessary to have too much.”

    2. Thank God the DC city council isn’t racist in terms of electing corrupt thieves.

    3. Ugh.

    4. Orange Man Bad trumps national security every time.

    5. Good, indeed. May a syphilitic camel drag his dangly bits across the former rep’s prison meals.

  4. 1. All four of Evans’ Third Reich books (“The Coming of the Third Reich”, “The Third Reich in Power”, The Third Reich at War” and “The Third Reich in History and Memory”) are excellent resources for a straightforward narrative about Nazi Germany that novices about the period can understand and benefit from.
    4. The Pensacola shooting appears to show flaws in the vetting of trainees from Saudi Arabia. And Lebanon isn’t even listed among the Muslim-Majority countries in the travel ban. It would appear that, perhaps, the number of countries on the ban is too limited. You’ll never get the Left, which is constantly critical of our relationship with the Saudis, in particular, to allow the list to be expanded however.
    5. Misuse of campaign funds is bad enough, but video games? I wish he could forced to doubly resign.

  5. In March 2018, as the controversy over predator priests roiled, Bishop Malone released a list of 42 Buffalo priests accused of abuse over decades.

    I am all for investigating child abuse claims which were made prior to the victim’s 25th birthday.

    But why should abuse claims dating decades ago even be considered for adjudication?

    • Let’s add to that the writers, artists, and thinkers jailed in Czechoslovakia in the late 70’s and early 80’s.

      “…all one has to do is accept it, and suddenly everything becomes clear once more, life takes on new meaning, and all mysteries, unanswered questions, anxiety, and loneliness vanish. Of course one pays dearly for this low-rent home: the price is abdication of one’s own reason, conscience, and responsibility, for an essential aspect of this ideology is the consignment of reason and a conscience to a higher authority.”
      -Vaclav Havel on the dictatorship of a political bureaucracy

  6. Off topic, but I find the media’s irredeemably spittle-flecked slobberfest over SanFranNan…um…addressing a shouted question, of which she clearly wasn’t fond, the same way The Donald does regularly, a bit much.

    • Boy, I found it shockingly weak. First, we have had only three previous impeachment efforts, and all were different. Turley is still correct that the last two involved a thorough investigation by the House. Second, Turley is analogizing the House vote with an indictment, and that is correct. It is reasonable, ethical and consistent with history and precedent to regard it that way as well, and to require similar standards. It is unethical for a prosecutor to take the attitude that an unproven allegation can still be sent to trial and let that settle the issue. Third, Turley is 100% correct that every previous impeachment push began with an unquestioned crime, and that there is no crime here.(That’s because the Democrats resolved to impeach Trump first, and have been looking for a crime, or other justification, ever since.)

      Turley is obviously right that “abuse of power” absent some kind of clear standard is a perilous and dubious basis for an impeachment. Fourth, the “inconsistency” the author sees with Turley’s Clinton commentary just isn’t there. His main theme then, and I followed Turley’s commentary closely, was that it didn’t mitigate Clinton’s perjury under oath that the lie was “about sex.” For a President to lie, under oath, in court, is a breach of his duties to uphold the law, and a serious crime for the President.

      In short, Turley’s main point is that impeaching a President is a big deal, and obviously a bigger deal than impeaching a judge. It shouldn’t be done casually, or without strong evidence, and certainly not on a slippery slope that cripples the office. That’s why he says that the closest comp is the Johnson impeachment, in which a party that had resolved to get rid of Johnson one way or the other, devised a technically legal but in fact rigged theory to do it. But even Johnson had the chance to begin his time as President before an impeachment plot was underway. As I have shown here too many times, Democrats started floating impeachment theories before Trump was sworn in. This taints the whole exercise now; it shows per se bias. To overcome that, a speculative crime or serious misconduct just isn’t enough, or shouldn’t be. Impeachment is a big deal, and the case for it should be strong and based on facts, not guesswork. Nadler’s report’s statement pretty much shows that the opposite is true: “The question is not whether the President’s conduct could have resulted from permissible motives. It is whether the President’s real reasons, the ones in his mind at the time, were legitimate. Where the House discovers persuasive evidence of corrupt wrongdoing, it is entitled to rely upon that evidence to impeach.”

      That’s just nuts. There are two possible motivations; one is clearly valid and not an abuse of anything; the other could be termed “inappropriate” or “an abuse of power.” In all likelihood, both motivations were involved, but if the act itself was legal, based on tradition and POTUS precedent, and it was, an illicit motivation cannot be presumed, and certainly is an invalid basis for impeachment.

Leave a Reply

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

You are commenting using your 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.