Labored Ethics, 9/4/2020: Insanity, Desperation…And Poll Answers!

Happy Labor Day Weekend,

for those of you who don’t run your own business and will be working the whole time, because ethics never rests…

1. I guess it’s nice that Shaun King and Rachel Dolezal have another friend, but…I really don’t care about Jessica Krug, the suddenly “trending” professor and PhD who has, she now says, been pretending to be black her whole professional life, though she is a white, Jewish woman. According to George Washington University, she is an associate professor  and  a historian of politics, ideas, and cultural practices in Africa and the African Diaspora, with a particular interest in West Central Africa and maroon societies in the early modern period and Black transnational cultural studies.”

So either she’s a calculating con artist, like Elizabeth Warren, or she’s a nut. Either way, what she says now can’t be trusted, and beyond a a voyeuristic fascination with lunatics or the sight of someone engaged in extravagant self-flagellation ( “I am a coward. There is no ignorance, no innocence, nothing to claim, nothing to defend. I have moved wrong in every way for years….”), a can’t imagine any sock drawer more worth my time than reading about or thinking about this fraud.

We shall see if the next step is a book (“Fake Black Like Me”), a movie, or a series of interviews on NPR.

Meanwhile, it has been more than 24 hours since her confession was posted, and I assume—but who knows with a cheat or a lunatic?_-she gave her employer a heads up. Whether she did or not, she should have been fired by now. Why hasn’t she been?

2. The desperation continues. As the mainstream media and their political favorites finally admit that President Trump is increasingly likely to win in November, the signs of desperation and panic become palpable. A few days ago the rumor was that the President had three strokes, amazingly without anyone seeming to notice or leak to the news media. Who do they think he is, Grover Cleveland? It was ridiculous, and a Big Lie, but Trump felt he had to deny it (he did a good job, actually, with a funny tweet) , which is what Big Lies are supposed to make you do. He should not have. There will be rumors like this treated by the news media as genuine right up to the election. I predict there will be several that the New York Times runs front page stories about immediately, unlike, for example, the way it treated the still plausible accusation against Joe Biden of sexually assaulting a staffer.

Today the Big Lie is from the Atlantic, among the group of three “all-antiTrump venom all the time” magazines (New York Magazine and Vanity Fair are the others, running a story citing “unnamed former officials” saying that the President disparaged American war dead in 2018. Two years old, no one willing to go on record, pure hearsay—this is the essence of fake news (well, one variety.) It’s being denied by the White House and former officials who were on the trip at issue, but never mind: the point is to put it out there. The Trump Deranged will believe it because “that’s the kind of person he is,” and the President’s supporters won’t care whether it’s true or not. By the election, this one will look mild compared to the fake or unprovable stories we’ll see. [Pointer: Steve-O-in-NJ]

3. Here are my answers to the legal ethics questions about the scenario in the American Pie parody. (You can review it here.)

This one is close, which speaks well of the legal ethics instincts of the voters. The ABA’s verdict was that a lawyer could help a father disinherit the lawyer’s client without triggering a conflict of interest. The ABA is dead wrong. The lawyer is taking money to engage in an act that will harm his client, and would have a duty to tell his client what was about to happen—which would be a breach of confidentiality. The lawyer would have to withdraw.

“It depends” is acceptible, although I voted “no.” The statement as quoted is not a true threat, and absent more, it’s a confidence that even the various state ethics rules exceptions don’t cover.

Nope, that’s not enough evidence to take away a client’s autonomy. Model Rule 1.14 says that a lawyer with a disabled client should try to treat him or her as a normal client, and lawyers are ethically obligated to give all clients the benefit of the doubt. Besides, is a client who says he takes orders from God crazy?

A client is supposed to “abide” by a client’s decision regarding proposed settlements (Rule 1.2), but a lawyer is also obligated to try to keep clients from making  bad mistakes. (Rules 1.3, 1.4, 2.1) Threatening to quit, however, crosses the line, and lawyer have been punished for trying to coerce a client that way.

In most states, even learning about client perjury or fraud doesn’t obligate a lawyer to reveal it to the tribunal after the result of a case is final. An exception is Virginia, which holds that a lawyer must report such new information when ever he or she learns it, forever.

I discovered that never embedded one of the questions, and it is a favorite of mine: In order to save a disabled client from harming himself (remember, poor Mick rejected a gift of a settlement because, he said, the voices from Outer Space said he should), is it ethical for a lawyer to use the client’s delusion to persuade him?


22 thoughts on “Labored Ethics, 9/4/2020: Insanity, Desperation…And Poll Answers!

  1. 2. I’ve been thinking about this…Its damning. There is no getting around that. The question is this: is it true? That is where it gets interesting. It is certainly within the presidents character to say these things. Normally he says these things (Like in the case of Bush or McCain) when it benefits him or he has something personal against them. He as also been known to spout nonsense and speak off the cuff (another terrible trait in a leader). However, he has also done a lot for veterans.

    So we look at the source. Who’s the source? We don’t know. We do know that the news media as printed things about him that has turned about to be untrue. This has even happened when it comes to hearsay. I think a lot of this comes down to confirmation bias as well. The news media as proven time and time again when it comes to Trump and anon. sources they can’t be trusted. This event also happened 30 months ago. Why are we just now hearing about it? I have no clue if this this even happened and we have to rely on memory so far out of context? That is not in good faith. This makes it seem like a political hit job especially given the announcement made today regarding the middle east.

    So who’s right? I honestly have no idea. Occam’s razor doesn’t apply because both are likely and the simple explanation. Halon’s razor says not to attribute malice to where a mistake/misunderstanding, or stupidity could apply. The golden rule says to give Trump the benefit of the doubt. I am incline to lean more towards Trump telling the truth on this one and here is why: Bolton. Bolton specifically mentioned the event where this took place in his book on how terrible Trump is. Why didn’t he mention it? Maybe he wasn’t there when this was said, but It seems like something that would have been shared among others.
    This would be easier if the were objective when it came to Trump (of if Trump himself were a more moral and ethical person).

    • I’m sorry, but what middle east announcement today? I’ve been looking at news sites and don’t see a thing and now it’s driving me batty. Have I missed something?

        • Well, that’s pretty nifty, actually. Not something I saw coming — and a coup (so to speak) for Trump, I’d say.

          What is strange is that, as of just now, both Fox News and CNN don’t appear to have gotten the memo.

          I looked up and down their home pages and at their World home pages — nothing. I did see what looked like a similar video to the one on the AP web site, but it was labeled something about ‘Outnumbered’.

          I’m sure if we give them a bit, they’ll catch up. They do both have stories about the UAE and Israel establishing relations, so they’ll get to it eventually.

  2. I’m still skeptical as to whether President Trump will win re-election. If the election were 100% fair, then I’d say he’d win; but, I’m not sure what kind of activities are going on behind the scenes. All this talk of mail in voting has me worried about the integrity of results. The “resistance” will do anything to prevent Trumps re-election. If the results are close either way it’s going to be a fiasco in my opinion. Even if one wins by a large margin, close races in a large number of swing states may still bring doubt.

    • Excellent point, Edward.

      Here is some anecdotal evidence that mail-in ballots are principally a means of Democrats stealing the 2020 election:

      Yesterday, I paid bills (which I hate with every ounce of my being), writing checks, stuffing them into the ill fitting envelopes where the damn addresses don’t line up properly in the windows! I ran them through my postage machine but learned that the mail carrier had already come and gone. Not to worry, I thought. I could run them to the UP Post Office on Timmons. Why? Because the Post Office is a block away from my office and they have those lovely blue mail boxes outside and pickup time is 5:30 Monday through Friday and it was only 4:45 pm. Besides, the workers at this facility are actually very friendly and helpful.

      I dutifully drove over to the Timmons Post Office and spotted the aforementioned blue mail box sitting forlornly in the driveway. Pulling up to the box, I lowered my window to put the mail in the box. Can you guess what happened? The ten letters I needed to mail did not fit. Why? I’m glad you asked. It’s because the mail box was so completely full of mail another letter would not fit, and believe me, I tried to make it fit. Completely stuffed to the top of the box. I mean it was so full my letters fell out on the ground, causing me to have to pull forward so I could get out of my car to pick them up, much to the outrage and great consternation of the person behind me, who almost ran me over.

      So, I ask you this: If the USPO can’t empty a mail box on its own premises, not 50 feet from the main door, what kind of hope do I have that the USPO will handle my mail in ballot properly and get it where it needs to go in a timely manner?


    • I have the same thoughts as yours here, Edward. The outcome of the elections that I am anticipating follow from some other thoughts that I believe stem from accurate observations of mine.

  3. 1. If one’s sex, gender, sexual orientation, whatever it’s called, is up to the individual, why isn’t one’s race? If there’s gender fluidity, why not racial fluidity? I don’t see a difference. If a Jewish person (I thought Jews were of color– I’m confused) decides to be a black person, how does that inflict violence upon all black people? If a woman decides she’s a man, how does that inflict violence on men?

  4. November 11, 2018 was a bit of a disappointment. I thought the president’s appearance needed to be one for the ages, in fact I even wrote a speech I thought he should deliver:

    Good afternoon your Majesties, your Royal Highnesses, Mr. President, Madam Prime Minister, veterans, friends, and honored guests. I thank you for your hospitality and the honor to address this assembly on this most momentous day. One hundred years ago on this field, at the eleventh hour of the eleventh day of the eleventh month, the guns fell silent, the gas clouds lifted, and the destroyer of lives that was the Western Front ceased. The Allies had won, but the world was a very different one than the one they had marched to war in, merrily whistling or even singing, four years before that day. Gone was the swagger of empire, gone was the smug security of wars only being things you read about in the evening paper over tea, gone were four of the nations that had stood as pillars holding the world up. Gone too, was most of a generation, some of whom take their eternal rest not far from here, and some of whose descendants are here today, having given their tomorrows to save others’ today. France lost just over a million, the British Empire just under a million. Because we Americans joined the fight late we lost only 126,000, still nearly four times as many as we lost in Korea, still more than twice as many as Vietnam, still many times more than we lost in the War on Terror. Every one of these men had a life, a family, a history. It’s easy to say a number. It’s almost impossible to comprehend the wiping out of that many individual lives.

    It’s also easy to apologize, easy to pay respects, and easy to rhetorically ask why, and imply or say this should never have happened. But even the most heartfelt apology, the most beautiful respect, or the most eloquent query can’t undo the past, and to say none of this should ever have happened is simply wishful thinking that ignores facts that are easy to know if you put the time against seeking them out. The fact is that some nations of the time had done very well for themselves building empires while other nations were late to the empire-building table and eager to make names for themselves. The fact is also that other nations were eager to hold onto what power they still maintained in a changing world. The third fact is that there were unsettled grievances all over Europe – in Alsace, in the Adriatic, in Poland. The fourth fact is that the first three facts had led to nations making promises to support like-minded nations in the event of conflict. The first fact was the charcoal. The second was the sulfur. The third was the saltpeter. The fourth was the fuse. I submit that the leaders of the time didn’t grasp just how easily that fuse would ignite, or how quickly the resulting conflagration would spread, whether from nations keeping promises to back their brethren’s attack, or from nations determined not to let others be mistreated, often in brutal fashion. It is an honorable thing to keep a promise, but not at the expense of doing a greater wrong. The same kind of promise that set the Royal Fusiliers up on a ridge to stop Ypres from being burned down set the Saxon regiments on the march to it, destroying libraries and churches on the way. The fire had been lit, and now it would have to burn itself out. The Gordian Knot was so tangled that it could only be cut.

    So terrible was the carnage that we called it the war to end all wars. We know better now, or we’d like to think we know better now. Wilson thought he knew better at the time, saying “the world must be made safe for democracy” before pouring American doughboys into Europe ultimately at the rate of 10,000 a day until the numbers reached nearly 3 million. They all fought bravely, here, at Amiens, at Belleau Wood, at Cantigny, at Chateau-Thierry, in the air above, and on the seas where the dreaded U-boats roamed. A few names you probably remember: Douglas MacArthur, already a colonel, who would be a brigadier general before it was all over, leading the men of the 42nd Division through the barbed wire to take Chatillon, Major George S. Patton, leading the first American unit armed with this new contraption called a tank, Sergeant Alvin York, pacifist turned hero, who captured 132 German soldiers unaided. But there were many names you probably don’t, Frank Gaffney, who lost his right arm taking down multiple German foxholes, Henry Johnson, of the famous Harlem Hellfighters, who wouldn’t get the Distinguished Service Cross he deserved until 2003, Lenah Higbee, chief nurse and first woman to win the Navy Cross. The list goes on and on, and so does the list of their deeds, none too lowly, none too insignificant to merit honor, until finally they pushed the Germans off Blanc Mont Ridge while our gallant British allies pierced their line at Cambrai. The Germans realized they couldn’t win, and, a hundred years ago, it ended.

    We all thought we’d made the world safe for democracy, and maybe we had, for the moment. The Ottoman Empire was soon to come apart, Austria-Hungary was dismantled, and the German Empire was pushed back and disarmed. However, Russia had also collapsed, hastened by Vladimir Lenin’s political pestilence, France had lost a generation, and the UK most of a generation and a good amount of its wealth. We decided to place the burden for all that had happened on Germany’s shoulders and simply walk away, leaving anger, resentment, and the desire to get revenge and blame someone or something. All of that was fertile ground for a certain demagogue, who I won’t mention by name, to grow the poisonous weed of National Socialism, and take the world to a very dark place. Some who’d come once to these fields had to come again, and more than a few of them lie not too distant.

    The world is safer for democracy now, and the march toward that democracy began right here, a hundred years ago, on this field, made sacred by the blood of those who lie here, who we will honor shortly by the placing of this wreath. God bless the fallen of this war. God bless the fallen of every war in the cause of freedom and all veterans in that cause everywhere, and God bless America and our allies. Thank you and a very happy Veterans’ Day.

    (presumably after that there would be placing of wreaths and the sounding of Taps, Last Post, Aux Morts, and so on)

  5. Many of us assumed there would be a “full-court press” in the months before the election, consisting of drummed up “scandals” amplified into a big deal by media outlets loyal to the Democratic Party.

    We know they do this sort of thing often; we even have the smoking gun proof thanks to that DNC hack 4 years ago.

    But this is still really shocking.

    Without going back too far, we’ve had:

    -Trump is sending storm troopers to kidnap peaceful protesters
    -Trump is sabotaging the post office and destroying mailboxes
    -Trump wants to start a race war and the riots are all his fault
    -Trump had 3 top-secret mini-strokes
    -Look at how bad Trump’s economy is (after the virus only) compared to Obama!
    -Trump hates dead soldiers

    Intriguingly, each of these “scandals” acts as a sort of countermeasure; ways to deflect from issues where Joe Biden looks terrible and try to go on offense and deflect them over to Trump:

    -Trump has helped incarcerated Black people; Biden and Harris have a record of overincarcerating and wrongly imprisoning them.
    -The Democrats are known for ballot-harvesting, and are pushing for universal mail-in ballots, which have a long track record of being rife with fraud; voters are concerned with this.
    -Voters are concerned that actual mobs of Leftists are destroying their cities, and the Leftist media, along with Joe and Kamala, have been using inflaming race-war rhetoric, to which voters are catching on.
    -Voters are concerned with Biden’s declining mental health and inability to think on his feet
    -Trump’s record on the economy has been undeniably good
    -Trump has been viewed more favorably than Obama among veterans, and Biden needs support of large numbers of seniors to win.

    Given Trump’s recent successes in the Middle East, I’d guess there will be at least one more rumor-mill-based scandal along those lines in the next month, to be quickly dropped before too many people start fact-checking vigorously.

  6. 2. There’s so much one could say about the President’s condition “after 3 mini strokes” versus VP Biden’s condition after…well…anyways. But I won’t be the one to do it.

    Just like the veterans stuff, the Deranged are grasping at straws. Next they’ll say the President is a space alien, flying around in a little orange spaceship when no one is looking.

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