Evening Ethics Reflections, 2/11/2020, While Waiting For Joe Biden To Go Down


It looks like Joe Biden will end up fourth or worse in the New Hampshire primary, and if he does, it will all be over but for the shouting, or in Joe’s case, the blathering. This was pre-ordained from the second Joe entered the race: how anyone knowledgeable and paying minimal attention could see Joe was a shell of his former self, and his former self was never anything to get excited about in the first place. I have never believed that President Trump thought Biden was a threat to defeat him; if his determination to unravel the Biden’s influence peddling in the Ukraine had a personal component, it was that he just wanted to stick it to Joe and expose his hypocrisy. We will never know, I guess. But I assume trump knew he didn’t need to “cheat” to beat Biden.

It’s amusing and somehow fitting that Joe’s inexplicable “Lying dogfaced pony soldier” outburst is serving as a tipping point, with a lot of people suddenly smacking their heads “I could have had a V-8!” style and thinking, “Hey! This guy really is an idiot!” Yes, he really is. The fact that the bland Amy Klobuchar is surging as the new moderate (relatively) savior of the party shows just how bad Biden has been, and also just how unforgivably incompetent and unattractive a field the Democrats have offered America in 2020. On the hopeful side, at least Democratic voters have recognized Senator Warrren as the manipulative, untrustworthy demagogue she is. If a Massachusetts leftist Senator can’t beat Buttigieg and Sanders in New Hampshire, she’s not going to win anywhere.

All of this couldn’t happen to a more deserving party.

1. The President thinks Pete Rose belongs in the Hall of Fame. Of course he does. Our President has an unhealthy tolerance for liars and rogues. There has been a depressing outbreak of renewed sympathy for Rose, the game’s all-time hits leader who was banned from baseball for life after being proved guilty of betting on baseball games while a manager, betting on games his own team, the Reds, was playing, and lying about both over many years. The reason is the recent sign-stealing scandal, because, of course, one cheating scandal mitigates a completely different offense that didn’t have anything to do with cheating.

Naturally, there’s a tweet…

It’s a very dumb one. Gambling almost destroyed baseball in 1919, so that activity by players and team staff is the “third rail” of the game: automatic lifetime banning, strict liability, no exceptions, no mercy. Everyone in the game knows it, yet Pete Rose, a baseball genius who is an idiot everywhere else, decided to rely on a), not getting caught, b) lying, and c) the King’s Pass. (The President is a fan of the King’s Pass, having benefited from it so often.) His argument shows Trump’s ignorance of baseball and gambling. Since Rose bet on his own team intermittently, every time he didn’t bet on the Reds, gamblers had reason to suspect there was a reason, and it changed the odds. There’s no character requirement for the White House, but there is for the Hall of Fame, and Rose fails it spectacularly, A true low-life, Rose broke baseball’s #1 law, lied over and over about it, to the media, to the Commissioner, to everyone; he cheated on his taxes, and went to prison for it. Pete Rose doesn’t belong in the Hall of Fame any more than Joe Jackson or Barry Bonds.

2. Wait! MORE baseball ethics! A theme in the aftermath of the Astros scandal is that there were pitchers whose careers were ruined because the cheating Astros made them look less than MLB-worthy. Now one of those pitchers is suing.

USA Today reportedthat former pitcherr Mike Bolsinger has filed a lawsuit against the  Astros in a California state court.

32-year-old Bolsinger blames Houston for the collapse of his big league dreams. His last MLB appearance, in a Toronto Blue Jays uniform, was a disastrous August 4, 2017 outing  in the  same game where the trashcan banging scheme became undeniable. Bolsinger  released by the Jays the day after the Astros seemed to be taking batting practice off his pitches.

To prevail, Bollinger’s lawyers will have to show direct causation, a tough standard. The pitcher is trying every theory he can think of, including  unfair business practices, negligence, and intentional interference with contractual and economic relations.

I think the suit is a long-shot at best, especially since  Bolsinger’s career was hardly thriving with or without cheating batters.  Before that beating by the Astros,he had already  been demoted by the Jays twice that season.

We shall see.

3. What’s going on here? It’s impossible to tell. Roger Stone is a long-time Trump ally   who was convicted of lying to Congress, witness tampering and obstructing the House investigation into whether the Trump campaign coordinated with Russia to tip the 2016 election.  last evening, prosecutors asked that Stone be sentenced to between 87 and 108 months in federal prison, which they said would be consistent with federal guidelines. Such a sentence, they argued, would send a message to deter others who might consider lying or obstructing a congressional probe or tampering with witnesses.

Today, the Justice Department official called the original recommendation “extreme” and “grossly disproportionate” to Stone’s crimes, and said it would file a new sentencing memo. The President had also weighed in with a tweet hours before, saying that the sentence recommendation was “very horrible and unfair.” Justice said that its decision to challenge the prosecutors’ recommendation had been made before the tweet, and the President denied that he has spoken to anyone at Justice about his objections. Of course, his tweet made his wishes known.

Following all of this, the prosecutors in Stone’s case resigned en masse. Two of them had been on Mueller’s team. Of course, Adam Schiff has called for an investigation.

The decision regarding Stone’s sentence still rests with the judge, who can follow the original recommendation.

I can’t figure this out until…

  • I know whether Stone was targeted as a Trump ally, and how much of this, if any, was politically motivated.
  • What the sentencing guidelines are, and exactly what Stone did.
  • What the reasoning of the Justice Department was in opposing its own prosecutors’ judgment.
  • To what degree the President influenced the decision.

Nobody else can, either, but that won’t stop them from taking sides. I can say, however, that this is just one more example of the President’s tweeting addiction getting him in trouble needlessly.

20 thoughts on “Evening Ethics Reflections, 2/11/2020, While Waiting For Joe Biden To Go Down

  1. On Pete Rose. I agree with your assessment but I believe changing attitudes toward what used to be called vices are what is driving the perspective that Rose should be in the HOF.

    Gambling is considered normal even states are getting into the casino biz. Like slavery and abortion attitudes shift dramatically especially when only the superficial is considered. If those advocating for Rose’s induction were charged with protecting the reputation and long term brand image they might see things differently. Fans always view things differently than management when it comes to decisions involving fan favorites. They just fail to understand the bigger picture.

    As forRoger Stone, it is interesting to see that Trump’s adversaries are quick to pounce on this but are stone cold silent on McCabe’s non prosecution for lying on several occasions under oath. The claim that Stone tried to get a witness to lie is exactly one of the charges (guilty) brought during the Clinton impeachment by Ken Star. No one suggested Clinton get 9 to 12 years for his perjury and witness tampering.

    If these career prosecuters resign en masse on principle that’s fine but before we put them on a pedestal lets look at their prosecutorial history on who they target. Resigning en masse with a known lucrative job opportunity is not exactly throwing oneself on ones sword.

    • As forRoger Stone, it is interesting to see that Trump’s adversaries are quick to pounce on this but are stone cold silent on McCabe’s non prosecution for lying on several occasions under oath.

      What were these lies?

      The claim that Stone tried to get a witness to lie is exactly one of the charges (guilty) brought during the Clinton impeachment by Ken Star. No one suggested Clinton get 9 to 12 years for his perjury and witness tampering.

      I am old enough to remember Democrats excusing Clinton for these crimes against Paula Jones.

      • I will have to look up the exact contradictory statements during Congressional hearings. However, McCabe’s name is on the FISA applications which carry the statement regarding penalties of perjury. These applications state the information was verified after the FBI had information to the contrary and have been shown to have been created to purposely mislead the FISA court.

        Actually, I can also point directly to Adam Schiff’s so called parody of the call. He specifically added false information to the text that Trump would later release which refutes Schiff’s statement that Trump demanded Zelenski make up dirt on Biden. Schiff’s oath of office would proscribe him from entering knowingly false information into the record. I know he was not, and/or can not be prosecuted for these lies but they are still lies nonetheless and he walks free with impunity. The fact is members of Congress are above the law when it benefits them.

        I do not argue that Stone should be pardoned but we have to ask why one citizen can be jailed for years while another that does the same but is a favored member of the government can walk free with no punishment.

  2. I haven’t seen any commentary on this yet, but it will be very interesting this year when the voting starts to hit the states which have full open primaries. With Trump having a lock on the Republican nomination, Republicans in such states (South Carolina, Georgia, Texas, etc.) will be free to select democrat ballots and play whatever havoc they wish with them…perhaps even coordinating to enhance Bernie’s totals and push the DNC into further disarray. What fun!


  4. So, who is wondering how Biden led in all those polls for all this time? He had little fundraising and not much of a campaign. He has been a bumbling fool since before he became vice-president. How was he the frontrunner all this time and suddenly collapses as soon as votes are counted.

    (1) The DNC ordained him and hoped that by publishing polls showing that he was ahead that they could make it happen, so they faked the polls.

    (2) They needed Biden to be the frontrunner or their impeachment arguments would be even more laughable than they were, so they fake the polls.

    (3) People being polled were so disappointed in their options that they just chose Biden because they recognized his name right up until the minute they had to vote, but the instant they had to vote, they voted for someone else.

    Any other options?

    • The polls basically called this though, Biden’s polling numbers were in freefall for the week or so before Iowa. Maybe it was his tendency to tell people not to vote for him whenever anyone questioned anything about his record.

      Regardless, I don’t think the polls were the tail wagging the dog, at least not in this case.

      • On second reading, that’s not what you were implying at all, sorry. I think it was a media-driven exercise, as these things often are.

        One thing I find amazing is that despite most non-fox media being very progressively skewed, they were in the pot for Biden over candidates like Bernie, despite probably liking the ring of Bernie’s politics. The question is whether this is a matter of principles, pragmatism or commerce,

    • Name recognition, pure and simple. Most people jsut don’t pay attention, because Americans are essentially satisfied and don’t think the names and details of politicians matter. So it was “Oh, right. That guy. He seems OK” until they started listening and watching, and it turned into, “Oh, that old fool.”

  5. The Federalist is suggesting that the prosecutors submitted a sentencing request that was far harsher than they had discussed with their DOJ superiors. The two prosecutors are reported to be former Mueller team members. This would explain their sudden resignations and indicate more Deep State dirty tricks. This also brings up the question as to why you would allow Mueller team members to go after Roger Stone? Doesn’t the DOJ have any other employees?

    • And the media act as if all four have been marched off to Siberia or have walked away from their jobs and paychecks. No, they’ve simply returned to their regular posts at other DOJ offices. These guys are not martyrs for the truth. Just deep state creep holdovers.

  6. I can’t figure this out until…

    I know whether Stone was targeted as a Trump ally, and how much of this, if any, was politically motivated.

    Of course the prosecution of Stone was politically motivated. How many people in history have lied to Congress? Thousands and thousands. How many people have ever been prosecuted for lying to Congress? A tiny handful. How many people lied to Congress about the Russia collusion hoax? Lots, I’m pretty sure, including James Comey, John Brennan, Peter Strzok and a raft of other anti-Trump partisans. Were any of them prosecuted?

    What the sentencing guidelines are, and exactly what Stone did.

    Here’s the indictment of Stone.

    If you remember the publicity around the indictment, the story was that it supposedly laid out the “clearest evidence yet” of collusion between the Trump campaign and Russia via Stone’s links to Julian Assange of Wikileaks. If you read the indictment itself, though, what you find is that Stone had no serious links at all to Assange, although he had loudly and publicly pretended that he did. His lies seem to have been designed to cover up the fact that he didn’t actually know anything. He had no evidence that was material to Congress’s investigation or to Mueller’s. Compare and contrast the prosecution of Stone on seven felony counts with the non-prosecution of Comey, Brennan and Strzok, who lied to Congress about very material matters.

    The prosecutors who recommended the 7 to 9 year sentence for Stone claimed that it was justified because he had made violent threats against a judge. That claim was based on this tweet.

    Supposedly, the crosshairs near the judge’s head, the use of the word “hitman” and the phrase “fight for my life” amounted to a solicitation or threat to murder the judge. I think that’s farfetched.

    What the reasoning of the Justice Department was in opposing its own prosecutors’ judgment.

    According to this article and others that I have read,


    the sentence that the prosecutors recommended was not the one that they briefed to their superiors. That fact, combined with their quite obviously orchestrated simultaneous resignations, suggests that they deliberately made this outlandish sentencing recommendation for partisan reasons – so that their superiors would have to walk it back and the Democrats could turn it into another phony scandal.

    To what degree the President influenced the decision.

    According to the Fox article and others, the decision to reverse the outlandish recommendation was made without consulting Trump.

      • One point that I had forgotten about the political nature of the Stone prosecution:

        Remember how these prosecutors sent a heavily armed SWAT team Gwith searchlights and helicopters to arrest him in the middle of the night in front of a CNN camera crew?

  7. 2)I briefly heard some commentary this morning on ESPN where they were apparently concerned that this suit could open the floodgates to any number of players who also played against the Astros filing suit for mega damages as well. It could be horrific if a bunch of players sued.

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