Ethics Nosegay,2/14/20: A New Ethics Train Wreck For Happy Valentine’s Day!

Love to all!

What does the Easter Bunny sing on Valentine’s Day? Every bunny loves some bunny sometime…

1. Yes, I think the Roger Stone sentencing mess is an Ethics Train Wreck now. As usual, several cars have been reserved by the President, whose dumb tweeting raised the appearance of impropriety and fed his ravenous critics, who will read anything he does in the worst light possible. Good for AG Barr for saying that such public White House word-barfs make it difficult for Barr to do his job.

The President really and truly does not seem to understand how his own job works: if he makes it known what his personal policy desires are, that’s potentially going to influence policy-makers who are supposed to be independent. Why is this so hard to grasp? True, it would be beyond moronic, if the President wanted to interfere with Barr’s handling of the Stone matter, for him to use Twitter rather than to pick up the phone. Also true: Trump has done things equally dumb.

Do you think the President knows the story of Thomas Becket’s murder, triggered when  King Henry II’s shouted out, to no one in particular, “Will no one rid me of this troublesome priest?” Two knights decided to make King Henry happy, though they had received no orders. Imagine if President Obama had tweeted—we know he would have been smart enough to just have an aide whisper in Lois Lerner’s ear— “Boy, these tea party groups are a scam! How do they warrant non-profit status?” before the IRS scandal unfolded.

Nonetheless, as is usually buried in Trump Derangement Enabling articles like this one, there are no knights in this case who can do Trump’s wish-fulfillment. “Just as he used US government power to smear Joe Biden in the Ukraine scandal, he succeeded in getting favorable treatment for a friend in the Stone case — though the final sentence will be up to a judge,” the CNN article reveals (let’s see) eight paragraphs in.  Trump can stand on his head shouting “Free Stone!” through a megaphone; he has no leverage with the judge.

This is CNN! How did Trump use his power to “smear” Joe Biden? He didn’t. How did he get “favorable treatment” for Stone? That hasn’t happened either.

The President is also one of the luckiest human beings on the planet. He’s probably not going to have to pardon Stone, and the sentencing is likely to be moot, because Tomeka Hart, the foreperson on  the jury that convicted Stone on seven counts of making false statements, witness tampering and obstruction, was almost certainly pre-biased against Stone, and hid that extent of that fact from the attorneys and the judge (Because it was a federal case, the judge would have interrogated the jurors). Her background, party affiliation and social media comments make it pretty hard to deny that she should not have been on the jury, especially not the foreman, and lied to be empaneled. She’s also a lawyer, and looking at both disbarment and jail time. If it is determined that she poisoned the jury against Stone—and how could a biased foreman, sorry, foreperson,not?— his conviction will be vacated or reverses on appeal.

2. This is how popular culture makes the public stupid.  Daytime talk show host Wendy Williams  criticized Chicago special prosecutor Dan Webb for indicting  Jussie Smollett, the former “Empire” who reported a contrived “hate crime” attack on himself for some bizarre reason, and for an even more bizarre reason, was initially allowed to avoid trial and punishment. On her show’s “Hot Topics” segment this weak, she proved that her reasoning tools regarding law and ethics were restricted to rationalizations and cliches.

“His prison life has already started. He’ll never work again,” she said. (He’s suffered enough!) “Nobody cares about him,.” (The Apathy Defense, or “Nobody Cares.”)…I mean, the man will never work again. Whoever hires him is going to be protested with the pickets outside. (#38 A.“Mercy For Miscreants)…“Chicago should just let this go. Let it go, man. You’re wasting time with the court system. Jussie Smollett is alleged to have done a horrible thing, but with the gang violence and the bad school system in Chicago — you guys have bigger fish to fry.” (#22 The Comparative Virtue Excuse: “There are worse things”) celebrities with talk shows are presumed by a large segment of  the American public to have superior knowledge, judgement and perception; after all, why else would they be given such a platform? Thus opinionated, ignorant and unsophisticated characters like Williams (or all of the ladies on “The View”) act as virtual human lobotomies for our culture.

We need to think of Williams any time a pundit or a politician cites polls showing the public’s opinions on matters of law or policy. Hers is the level of analysis much of the statistics reflect. Garbage in, garbage out.

3. This would be an “Incompetent Elected Official Of The Month,” except that it’s too stupid even for that.

Alabama state Rep. Rolanda Hollis, (D-Birmingham) filed a bill yesterday that would require Alabama men to get a vasectomy once they reach 50 years old or father three children, “whichever comes first.” The legislation requires men  to pay for the vasectomy “at his own expense.” Hollis, who is clearly an idiot, think this is a rational analogy to Alabama’s almost certainly unconstitutional anti-abortion legislation, currently waiting to be struck down by the Supreme Court. “The vasectomy bill is to help with the reproductive system, and yes, it is to neutralize the abortion ban bill …it always takes two to tango,” she says. “We can’t put all the responsibility on women. Men need to be responsible also.”

Wow. With thinking like that, I wonder what her other policy ideas are like. No.maybe I’d rather not know.

Saying she is both pro-life and pro-choice, Hollis explained,  “I do not believe that women should use abortion as a birth control, but I do believe that if a women is raped or if it’s incest or anything like that then she has the choice to do what she wants to do.”

Without going into the weeds of her cretinism, it is obvious that her bill is meant as  satire or some kind of searing analogy. It is unethical to waste the legislature’s time with bills that are not serious, or that are blazingly unconstitutional.

It’s also unethical to vote for someone who reveals the utter emptiness of her skull like Hollis has.

Give her a talk show.

12 thoughts on “Ethics Nosegay,2/14/20: A New Ethics Train Wreck For Happy Valentine’s Day!

  1. 3) Rolanda Hollis is a vicious transphobe. Her bill only mandates that “men” must be compelled to get vasectomies, but completely neglects women who were born with testicles!


  2. 3. I’m having a hard time seeing how her proposed bill mirrors, satirizes or otherwise comments upon the restrictive and unconstitutional new abortion law. Over my head, I guess.

  3. Related to point 2:
    The DOJ has decided it will not pursue charges against McCabe because they do not think they can get a conviction in the DC area. Apparently the jury pool is comprised of only those that want Trump and associates drawn and quartered or there are a lot of McCabe allies in the DOJ.

    It was Horowitz that referred McCabe for prosecution for perjury.

  4. I humbly offer this as an example of political entitlement by an elected official:

    “She Pulled Rank to Avoid a $50 Ticket. Now She’ll Pay a $5,000 Fine.

    Vanessa L. Gibson, a councilwoman from the Bronx, called the commanding officer of the 44th Precinct in 2014 after she was pulled over for using a cellphone while driving.

    It seemed like a routine traffic stop. An officer from the 44th Precinct in the Bronx pulled over a motorist for talking on her cellphone while driving. The motorist faced a $50 fine and five points on her license if it was a first time violation.

    But this wasn’t just any motorist. Officer Michele Hernandez had pulled over City Councilwoman Vanessa L. Gibson, chair of the public safety committee.

    While her car was stopped, Ms. Gibson called Kevin Catalina, the commanding officer of the 44th Precinct, who was at home at the time of the incident. Deputy Inspector Catalina instructed the desk officer at the precinct to tell Officer Hernandez not to issue a ticket, Ms. Gibson said.

    When Officer Hernandez returned to Ms. Gibson’s car, the councilwoman handed the officer her cellphone. Deputy Inspector Catalina — who was later promoted to deputy chief — was on the line…”

    And to demonstrate her contrition:

    “Mr. Sanders said that the ruling and fine will only deter future whistle-blowers.“This says you can abuse your authority and there will be no repercussions,” he said. ”

    • I wonder if that same officer goes through with writing tickets when he finds out the person he pulled over is an off duty officer?

      Or is it selective outrage just for politicians?

  5. #1 – do you actually think Tomeka Hart will be disbarred or jailed? I have no faith in either.

    McCabe committed Martha Stewart level offenses and apparently is going free. I have a hard time anyone breaking the law to commit “resistance” would ever face consequences.

  6. Jack wrote:

    Imagine if President Obama had tweeted—we know he would have been smart enough to just have an aide whisper in Lois Lerner’s ear— “Boy, these tea party groups are a scam! How do they warrant non-profit status?” before the IRS scandal unfolded.

    Oh, you mean like this “dog whistle” from his weekly address of August 21st, 2010:

    As the political season heats up, Americans are already being inundated with the usual phone calls, mailings, and TV ads from campaigns all across the country. But this summer, they’re also seeing a flood of attack ads run by shadowy groups with harmless-sounding names. We don’t know who’s behind these ads and we don’t know who’s paying for them.

    The reason this is happening is because of a decision by the Supreme Court in the Citizens United case – a decision that now allows big corporations to spend unlimited amounts of money to influence our elections. They can buy millions of dollars worth of TV ads – and worst of all, they don’t even have to reveal who is actually paying for them. You don’t know if it’s a foreign-controlled corporation. You don’t know if it’s BP. You don’t know if it’s a big insurance company or a Wall Street Bank. A group can hide behind a phony name like “Citizens for a Better Future,” even if a more accurate name would be “Corporations for Weaker Oversight.”

    Not a tweet, to be sure, but not quite a whisper, is it?

    2. Shorter Wendy Williams: “Leave him alone you white devils!”

    3. The woman is an idjit.

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