Last Gasp Ethics, New Year’s Eve 2020

Happy New Year, Everybody!

1. A late entry in the “Most Unethical Lawyer of 2020” competition! McGinnis E. Hatfield was stripped of his license to practice law by the West Virginia Supreme Court. What did he do? Well, this section of a transcript of his conversation with a female client explains things pretty well:

Female: “I thought like when we first started out, I was just going to pay you. I didn’t know that you wanted sex out of the whole thing.”

Hatfield: “Well, I’d have to charge you like $1,500 bucks. You don’t have $1,500, do you?”

Female: “No.”

Hatfield “So come on out here. Just come. What time do you want to come?… [I]t’s just not going to work unless you do what I say.”

Female: “What do you want me to do?”

Hatfield: “… “Well, I want you to let me eat your pussy, and then I want you to let – I want you to suck my dick, and then, you know, I just have to – I’m as straightforward as I can be. And if you don’t want to do that, then fine. I don’t have any- I like you. And if you don’t want to do that, then we’ll just have to call it off.”

Female: “Is that not – all right. That’s fine. Whatever.”

Hatfield: “Is that okay?”

Female: “I mean no, not really because I’m not a whore.”

Hatfield: ” … And like I said, if you won’t want to do that, then that’s fine by me. I wish you luck. And if you don’t want to do that, then I’m not going to try to represent you. So that’s a benefit for you. And I’ll give you some money, too[.]”… You know, I’m shooting straight with you. I told you from the beginning that sex was important to me. I want some now. Nobody’s tried to trick you. And it would be safe, too. But anyway, if you don’t want to do it, that’s fine by me, honey, but you’ll have to get somebody to help you with your divorce, too.”

Female: “Okay, That’s fine.

Of course, it’s not fine. Lawyers are prohibited from having sex with clients in most jurisdictions. Lawyers cannot encourage individuals, including clients, to commit a crime. Mr. Hatfield compounded his problems when he flunked the easiest part of a disciplinary inquiry, telling the judge who asked Hatfield whether in retrospect, he found his behavior inappropriate or unethical,

“I think my conduct in this whole situation is human. And that’s the only defense I’m offering. Lord knows, we all need that. So that’s as far as I’ll go with that.”

The judge tried again, asking, “Are you remorseful?” Hatfield replied, “No. I have no remorse. I feel like I’ve been victimized.”

What an idiot.

It put me in mind of the Steven Wright line, “How did the fool and his money get together in the first place?”

2. Curioser and curioser! U.S. District Judge Leslie Abrams Gardner refused to recuse herself from a challenge over voter eligibility for the upcoming special Senate election in Georgia, despite being the sister of Stacey Abrams, who has led the effort to register voters in the state. Then the judge rejected the purging of the rolls of roughly 4000 inactive voters, which her sister also opposed. While a legitimate case could be made that the judge did not have a conflict of interest, at a time where distrust of voting systems generally is rising after the 2020 Presidential election fiasco, with Georgia one of the states under suspicion, the prudent (ergo ethical) course would have been to take special care to avoid the “appearance of impropriety.”  She chose not to, but now it appears that Gardner has reversed herself, issuing anew order upholding the purge.

So if she was conflicted, it didn’t affect her final decision, even if it looked like it may have affected her first decision.

I have no idea what the thought process was that led to this.

3. Riiiight. President-elect Joe Biden’s new White House press secretary Jen Psaki told NPR that she will “restore a tradition” by taking questions from reporters each day. “I think more than any point in history … part of the job of the White House press secretary is to rebuild trust with the American people,” she said in an interview with NPR’s Morning Edition. Psaki promised to be “as fact-based as I can be.” She says she won’t limit right-wing media outlets’ access to White House briefings but adds that “we’re not going to allow the briefing room to be a platform for propaganda.”

This is laughable. You can’t see me, but I am laughing right now:

  • All press secretaries are paid liars. All of them. Some are better at it than others, and when the news media is willing to tolerate it, as they did with Obama’s liars, it’s a lot easier to get away with.
  • The key phrase is “as fact-based as I can be.” That’s deceit right there. She can’t be fact-based in her job.
  • If she’s not going to allow the briefing room to be a platform for propaganda,” then she will end up doing what the Trump administration did: either try to ban the opposition biased media, or not taking questions every day. The news media bombarded Trump’s press secretaries with anti-Trump, progressive propaganda every session.

4. Answer: because nobody cares, or should care. Conservative entertainment reporter Christian Toto asks, “Why Are Reporters Covering for Hilaria Baldwin’s Epic Con?” If you haven’t been paying attention, meaning you have a life, Hilaria Baldwin is Alec Baldwin’s wife, and has been pretending she is Spanish for some reason, even though she was born in Boston to American parents, and is as Spanish as I am Mohican. Hilaria (her real name is Hilary) is only a celebrity because she is married to thug/bully/asshole Alec Baldwin, a talented actor who, like many in his field, mistakenly thinks his opinion on political issues has more value than that of the average sanitation worker. The fact that she would marry this insufferable asshole tells us all we need to know about Hilaria’s character: if she pretended to be a Martian, a pet rock or a tricycle it wouldn’t be worthy of a news note in the most desperate blog on the web. This is a “scandal’ because conservatives want to strike back at Baldwin for his ugly (also unfunny and incompetent) impression of President Trump on Saturday Night Live, by attacking his wife…much as the Axis of Unethical Conduct attacked Milania, because they are mean and petty.

The posturing of Alec Baldwin’s wife deserves a Kaufman if anything does.

6 thoughts on “Last Gasp Ethics, New Year’s Eve 2020

  1. I can’t get into the ethical issues tonight, but I do wish everyone here the best for the new year. I also want to thank Jack and the thoughtful commenters who make this site so valuable. Bless you all.

  2. Happy New Year, Jack! And to EA readers too. Let’s hope for a better year where everything goes closer to plan than it did the last one.

  3. 3. Jen Psaki? Jen Psaki? Who says Obama can’t serve a third term?

    4. I find the Hilarious Baldwin story edifying in that it shows the media (who are wannabe celebrities) cover for the cool people in the most preposterous ways in the hopes the cool people will be nice to them. It’s pathetic. Media people don’t speak truth to power, they suck up to power in all its various forms. Assholes. And, as Arthur In Maine points out, lots of readers of US and People and their ilk love people like the Baldwins and are emotionally involved in their wonderful lives and like to see them glorified and will pay to read articles doing so.

  4. I came across a comment on Facebook that I suspect is pure evil.

    I think this restaurant owner said the host indoor and outdoor dining parties and people rowing religious events need to be denied access to hospitals when they get sick because they will get sick and there are people that have been doing the right thing and still get sick screw those that are too selfish to do the right thing

    – Toni Rae Engberg (emphasis added)

    Do you have an ethics analysis on this?

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