Sunday Ethics Warm-Up, 1/26/2020: A Legal Ethics Lesson From Ted Cruz, A Ridiculous Apology From Dallas Keuchel, Res Ipsa Loquitur From George Stephanopoulos, And The AUC’s Character Con

I need a little blood-stirring today, and my father’s favorite hymn always does the trick…

You know, character is my business, and my record is visible, public extensive and undeniable regarding the position that leaders, and especially U.S. Presidents, should have exemplary character—not just average character, but outstanding. It is exceedingly dangerous to our culture in the short and long term to have a leader whose ethical values are obviously lacking. I say obviously, because leadership is substantially symbolic as well as substantive: a President who has a seriously flawed character does minimal harm if he 1) knows how the govern and lead and 2) is skilled at playing a leader of exemplary character, despite sociopathic tendencies, or worse.

However, as importunate as character is, the evident lack of it is not justification for impeachment or removing a President between elections. The false, opposite claim is essentially the basis of the entire three year coup attempt by the Axis of Unethical Conduct (Democrats, the “resistance” and the news media). That is why so much of the “case for impeachment” are really ad hominem attacks on the President’s presumed motives, personality and alleged beliefs, none of which are remotely relevant to impeachment. It is the duty of educated experts not driven by bias, as well as the news media (which is now incapable of doing it’s job, which is informing rather than confusing the public) to explain that impeaching a President for having an objectionable character (according to his critics) is an incompetent, illegal and destructive act. Yet this—he’s a liar, he’s a racist, he’s an idiot, he’s a sexist, he’s corrupt, etc., etc, and so on-–is the guarantee default retort when anyone correctly points out to the Trump-Deranged that the Democrats and the resistance have no evidence of impeachable offenses at all. This is also why the polling shows so many people want the impeachment to succeed; not because they have a clue about the limitations on the the act of impeachment, but because they interpret the question as, “Don’t you wish we had a President who wasn’t such an asshole?”

Maureen Dowd, the Times whatsit columnists who is half political commentator and half-Joan Rivers, thoroughly disgraced herself yesterday by writing,

“You don’t realize how important character is in the highest office in the land until you don’t have it,” Schiff said. But the more impressive the Democrats’ case is, the more depressing the reality becomes. They want to convince themselves that character matters. But many Americans knew they were voting for a thug. They wanted a thug who would bust up Washington, and they got one.

The Democrats are relying on facts, but the Republicans are relying on Fox.

No, Maureen (are you a dolt or a brazen liar?), the Democrats are relying on facts that have nothing to do with impeachment. Character matters (although during the entire two terms of Bill Clinton  the Democrats argued it didn’t), but it doesn’t matter in an impeachment trial. Acts matter in an impeachment trial. The Constitution matters. Precedent matters. Our institutions matter.

It is the mark of how incompetent and irresponsible the President’s critics are than the impeachment debate is being argued at this base level of civic and ethics ignorance.

1. Nah, there’s no mainstream media bias…

Yes, that was George Stephanopoulos, desperately signaling ABC to cut off Trump defense lawyer Jay Sukalow before he could complete an answer to a reporter’s question. Of course, if ABC News didn’t continue to pretend that a long-time Clinton staffer could be trusted to cover stories involving either the Clintons or those they hate, we wouldn’t have to wonder about such episodes.

2. Why thank-you, Ted! Ted Cruz neatly explained an unethical lawyer’s trick that has been used in the impeachments hearings and trial multiple times:

“Here’s a particular logical construct that the House managers use to be deceptive. They used this several times, and it’s a logical construct of ‘X, not Y.’ They say, for example, that “President Trump and Republicans bought the narrative that Ukraine, and not Russia interfered in the 2016 election.” Now, X is right, Ukraine did interfere in 2016. The lie, the deception, is the “not Y.” … It is obvious that Russia…did interfere in 2016…that happened and anyone who looks at the evidence recognizes that. The fact that Russia did [interfere] doesn’t mean no other country did….

[Or..]The House managers said over and over and over again: “The president wanted the announcement of an investigation and not an actual investigation.” X, and not Y. There’s lots of evidence Trump wanted an investigation announced. There is zero evidence that Trump did not want an actual investigation. The House managers asserted over and over again “an announcement, and not an actual investigation.”They’ve never cited any evidence whatsoever. By the way, think about it, in what universe would Trump not want an investigation?

The media does this [“making a true statement and using the true statement to cover-up for the false statement they say immediately afterward”] all the time,…That logical construct, ‘X and not Y,’ is a real give-away that they’re engaging in lawyerly sleight of hand.”

3. Astros cheating scandal update: Is this the most incoherent apology ever? It’s got to be close.

Of the direct participants and beneficiaries of the 2017 Houston Astros cheating scandal that has wounded baseball’s image and integrity and cost four men their jobs, only fired Mets manager Carlos Beltran has apologized for his role, and he stooped to the Pazuzu Excuse, ‘This was not who I am.’ (If it wasn’t you, Carlos, who was it?) No current Astros players have apologized to fans or the players they cheated against, and fired Red Sox manager Alex Cora, who was found to have divised and operated the scheme that continued into the World Series (which the Astros won), has yet to admit his accountability or offer apologies for anything.

Now comes Dallas Keuchel, the ace on the 2017 team and  employed elsewhere, to admonish his former team mates for not apologizing. The pitcher said,

I think first and foremost, apologies should be in order … for everyone on the team. When the stuff was going on, it was never intended to be what it’s made to be right now.When stuff comes out over the course of a big league ball season, it’s always blown up to the point of, ‘Oh my gosh, this has never happened before,'” Keuchel said at the first day of the White Sox’s winter fan fest. “I’m not going to go into specific details, but during the course of the playoffs in 2017, everyone was using multiple signs. For factual purposes, when there is no one on base, when in the history of baseball has there been multiple signs? “There was probably six out of eight teams using multiple signs. It’s just what the state of baseball was at that point and time. Was it against the rules? Yes, it was, and I personally am sorry for what has come about, the whole situation…I could tell you, not every game there was signs being stolen. Sometimes we did, as a group, have signs, but we still couldn’t hit the pitcher. Not like every game we had everything going on. So at that point that’s when the whole system, it really works a little bit, but at the same time, there was a human element where some guys were better than our hitters…It just happened to come out with the Astros. Did pitchers benefit from any of that? Not really. At the same time we may have had a few runs more per game.I never thought anything would have come like it did. I myself am sorry.”

Let me try to tansalate: Nobody thought it would be such a big deal, and everybody was doing it, and this is the kind of thing that always gets blown out of proportion, and he personally as a pitcher, didn’t benefit from it, but really, the batters didn’t benefit THAT much from it, plus it wasn’t as if it was going on every day, however he’s sorry the whole thing is coming out now.

You know, Dallas, if you can’t apologize any better than that, don’t bother.

12 thoughts on “Sunday Ethics Warm-Up, 1/26/2020: A Legal Ethics Lesson From Ted Cruz, A Ridiculous Apology From Dallas Keuchel, Res Ipsa Loquitur From George Stephanopoulos, And The AUC’s Character Con

  1. 3. “At the same time we may have had a few runs more per game.” Doesn’t “few” usually connote (or denote?) “more than two” or “three or more?”

    No big deal there, big boy. What dollar value would sabremetricians put on “a few runs more per game?”

    • I’d call Dallas’s what, ramble, Authentic Frontier Gibberish? He may have a future as a car wreck lawyer once his arm is gone.

  2. As much as I dislike George Stephanopoulos, I think you are wrong here.

    A question got answered and they went on to a second question. When they cut to George, he wanted to start talking about that first question.

    This looks like a production flub. He wanted them to cut back to him; they kept going; he signals them to cut; and the camera goes to him making hand signals.

    It wasn’t that he did not want Trump’s lawyer to answer the question; he wanted to discuss the answer to the previous question.

    That was my read anyway.


    • And you may well be right. The point is that since George shouldn’t be in a position to cut off Trump’s attorney, since his conflict of interest is disqualifying, this kind of thing creates reasonable doubt. Would he cut off Schiff is a parallel situation? I don’t know—but I don’t trust him, especially on hyper-partisan matters like this. ABC is unethical to put me in this position.

      When I see that throat cutting move, all I can think of is Mayor Daley telling them to cut Abe Ribicoff’s mic at the ’68 Democratic Convention when he was accusing Daley of orchestrating the beating of protesters outside on the streets of Chicago. “Get that Jew off the stage!” Daley shouted.

      This is what comes of having too good a memory…

      • Yes, you have the larger point: he should not be there.

        I saw him last weekend and he was asking questions of a senator and Dershowitz, I believe. They demurred, the senator to avoid the appearance of prejudging the issue and Dershowitz because he was appearing as Trump’s advocate.

        Later in the round table segment, the group commented about how neither could defend what Trump did (something to that effect-I should find it, but the 3 events occurred over the hour so it would be hard to post excerpts). Completely misrepresented what they were saying


  3. What your preface points out is why the future of this country in peril or worse. These people just want what they want, like screaming children at the grocery checkout. Facts, laws, proper process be damned.

    By the way, where the eff is the “whistleblower”? Where is his or her testimony? Where is the cross examination? Oh yeah, never mind. It’s Trump, Republicans, and the Constitution…we don’t need any of that. They are so dangerous the rules don’t apply. Got it.

    • Yeah, what we need are more high character stalwarts of the truth like Schiff. Are you effing kidding me?

      When myriad lies and intentional misrepresentations are not disqualifying to prosecutors, it’s pretty much all over.

      • Clinton lied under oath — a crime — and he tried to get others to lie under oath. Remember, he was later disbarred.

        Had he been removed, it would have sent a vital message about character in the presidency, and made Trump’s election unthinkable.

    • I really wish Jacoby wouldn’t have stated things the way he did. He seems to be implying that “Democrats want to impeach President Trump for his poor character…well, they should have done that with President Clinton twenty years ago.”

      No, no no…a thousand times no!!!!

      Character is very important, but lack of character is not impeachable. High crimes and misdemeanors are impeachable. President Clinton was impeached for perjury and the associated cover-up. That’s an impeachable crime. Yes, he had low character, but that didn’t matter back then. His tweet implies it does. This is the same sort of statement the Christianity Today editor wrote a couple months back.

      I don’t know whether Jacoby meant it to come out that way, but that’s the way I read it, and it’s precarious to write things like that. The defense of the President Trump is that he didn’t commit a crime, not that his character is no better than President Clinton, who wasn’t convicted.

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