Post-Zoom Hangover Ethics, 3-31-21….

People, even lawyers, just do not interact much in remote seminars. It makes a three-hour session far more tiring, even though I’m sitting down, rather than stalking through the space. Thus I am blotto now, after a legal ethics session earlier today.

1. And THIS is the best paper in the U.S…Two headlines on the New York Times front page this morning my high school paper faculty advisor would have rejected…and he would have been right:

  • “Gaetz Said To Face Inquiry Over Sex With Underage Girl” The fact someone says it is not news. Is he “facing an inquiry” or isn’t he? “Three people briefed on the matter” isn’t a source: we’ve seen how accurate the Times anonymous sources are, especially when the subject is a Republican, a conservative, and a Trump supporter. Why the front page for a rumor? Slow news day? Hey, I’ve got an idea: How about an article about how Joe Biden called Georgia “sick” based on a complete misrepresentation?
  • “Taliban Believes The War’s Over And They Won.” This is psychic news again, my favorite fake news form. How does the Times know what the Taliban “thinks”? Who cares what it “thinks”?

2.  Boy, the Chauvin prosecution really has nothing…or it is trying to ensure a reversal. The state is calling children as witnesses in its case, including a 9-year-old yesterday. I believe a judge allowing this is reversible error, and either the prosecution is deliberately choosing to bypass facts and real evidence for emotion, or it has insufficient evidence to make its case. A nine-year old lacks the experience and perception to understand a complex situation like the Floyd detainment; heck, most of the public doesn’t understand what was happening. This morning, HLN anchor-model Robin Meade kept shaking her head saying the third-grader’s testimony was “heart-breaking.” (Shouldn’t a nine-year-old be in fourth grade? Great—they are calling slow children as witnesses…)

3. A U.S. Congresswoman slanders a private citizen on TV! Oh, goodie…Actress Gina Carano was fired from Disney’s “The Mandalorian” for calling out the fascism on the left with tweets like,

“Because history is edited, most people today don’t realize that to get to the point where Nazi soldiers could easily round up thousands of Jews, the government first made their own neighbors hate them simply for being Jews. How is that any different than hating someone for their political views?”

So for that and other anti-fascist opinions, Carano was called “a Nazi” by former Democrat Sen. Heidi Heitkamp. She also called the actress someone “who hangs around with white supremacists” during a segment on Bill Maher’s “Real Time” show on HBO. This is mighty near the definition of defamation, and even Hietkamp–why does Maher only book assholes on his show?—seemed to realize it. When Maher asked  Heitkamp to elaborate on her smear, she worried out loud if her comment would make her “subject to defamation.” Let me translate for the inarticulate non-Senator: she means that her comments might be defamation, as I’d say Carano, a private citizen, has a good case

4. Why isn’t this national news? And is that a rhetorical question? The two boys originally facing manslaughter charges in the beating death of 13-year-old Diego Stolz in Moreno Valley (California) only were ordered to do 150 hours of community service and participate in rehab programs. the Riverside County District Attorney’s Office confirmed that “no further custody time was ordered.” Stoltz, who had been bullied for over a year by the two boys and others, was attacked and killed when a punch from one of the boys caused him to hit his head on a concrete pillar in 2019.

Riverside County Superior Court Judge Roger A. Luebs ordered both boys to do 150 hours of community service and that they will be required to “participate in various programs specifically tailored toward their rehabilitative needs.”

Wow. He really threw the book at them!

The judge said he believed advocates for jail time—after all, all these kids did was harass and beat up a young boy until they killed him: boys will be boys!—were motivated by public outrage rather than rehabilitation.

“The idea that they didn’t go to youth prison shouldn’t be seen as giving them a slap on the wrist, actually they’re going to have a lot of work to do to complete their probation, which probably won’t end until their 18th birthday,” said one of the defense attorneys, David Wohl, adding that prison “was not appropriate for 13-year-olds.” 

Oh.

This appears to be the culmination of part of the “over-incarceration” argument: the solution is devaluing human life.

5. “Clowns to the left of me, jokers to the right”…How many ways is this story idiotic? Volkswagen confirmed yesterday that it had put out a false news release saying that it had changed the name of its U.S. subsidiary to “Voltswagen of America.” It was a joke, see, to promote a new electric utility vehicle.

Morons. Major corporations are not known for putting out hoax PR releases. If this had been tomorrow—April Fool’s Day—maybe the move would be defensible. (Oh-oh.. I just had a flashback to when my mother threw me a surprise birthday party a week before my real birthday, and when everyone jumped out at me in the basement I thought I was going to die…) But it was March 30.

Volkswagen said they thought the news media would realize it was all in good fun. What? Those idiots think fake news is real all the time! The Associated Press, USA Today, CNBC and The Washington Post, among other, reported that name change as truth. Of course they did.

“The Associated Press was repeatedly assured by Volkswagen that its U.S. subsidiary planned a name change, and reported that information, which we now know to be false,” company spokeswoman Lauren Easton said. “We have corrected our story and published a new one based on the company’s admission. This and any deliberate release of false information hurts accurate journalism and the public good.”

Wait: there’s accurate journalism? Where? And since when were U.S. journalists interested in “the public good”?

Was that a joke too?

34 thoughts on “Post-Zoom Hangover Ethics, 3-31-21….

  1. #4: The juveniles must have been nonwhite, otherwise the media would have gone ballistic over the brutal killing of a minority and the subsequent “slap on the wrist” the offenders received.

    I’m aware that we will never know, but the media’s treatment of minority victims is wildly different based on who the offenders are.

  2. #2 I’m keeping a suspicious eye on any source covering this trial that doesn’t explain why there’s a pistol in the back pocket of the store owner/manager when he greets the two initial responding officers. So far all that seems to have been covered is that George was visibly high, the cashier was going to eat the cost of the counterfeit bill until management found out (dubious) and the vehicle passenger was judged the actual source of the bill (also dubious).

  3. So much stuff here…

    1. NY Times. How about “Rumor Has It That Gaetz Had Sex with Underage Girl.?” Front page; three columns across the top. The Times has lost every iota of journalism ethics. Why don’t they just lead with “We Hate Gaetz and Are Thrilled That He MAY Be in Trouble?”

    And by the way, when did the Taliban become a legitimate source for the Times? Just change the masthead to “Taliban Times” — “All the Opinion We Want to Print.”

    2. I saw the 9-year-old’s testimony. She had basically two things to say — which elucidated nothing of any substance. “Poor kid?” Where were her parents? Unless my child was subppoenaed he would never appear. Expect more of the same. Someone from New York will soon be testifying about what he saw on television…

    3. Gina Carano appears to be among the 1/100th of 1% of Americans who know some history. Nazism, World War II, the Holocaust shaped our world — and still is — and to call out totalitarianism of any kind is worthy of praise, not ridicule by a bunch of IQ-80 leftists.

    4. So two black kids bully and kill an Hispanic kid and get an astonishing 100 days of community service? Where is the outrage? We’d have riots everywhere if two white kids killed a black or Hispanic kid. The judge should be removed; the prosecution (if they even tried for a fair trial) should “withdraw noisily” (stretching the term) from their profession. What’s the use?

    5. Clearly Volkswagen has changed leadership or contracted some IQ-reducing virus. This is the company that lied for 10 years — 10 years! — about their emissions stats — selling millions of cars because they were ‘environmentally responsible,’ that is, until they got caught. Lest we forget, Volkswagen was the brilliant idea of their beloved Adolph Hitler.

    That’s it for now.

    • “3. Gina Carano appears to be among the 1/100th of 1% of Americans who know some history. Nazism, World War II, the Holocaust shaped our world — and still is — and to call out totalitarianism of any kind is worthy of praise, not ridicule by a bunch of IQ-80 leftists.”

      Kind of. Carano actually retweeted someone who said that, she didn’t write the words herself. She’s given interviews after this whole debacle happened, and what I get from them is that she was actually kind of politically naïve, and provides a case study in how the left pushes people away.

      The first landmine she stepped on was following a bunch of Twitter people getting very upset that she didn’t have pronouns in her bio. I want to point out that this is yet another example of mandate creep; these things always start out with “why are you making fun of the things I’m doing, they don’t effect you” and end with “if you don’t also do this thing I’m doing, you’re a bigot.” Carano did what I probably would have, from the safety of my relative online anonymity: She added “beep/bop/boop” as pronouns as a middle finger to them. As opposed to a fuck you to internet busybodies, it was determined that she was mocking pronouns in bios! So she was officially branded a transphobe.

      It went downhill from there, Disney’s corporate HR/PR engine took over, they wanted to subject her to struggle sessions, they went back and forth over what her apology was going to look like, it was all very Orwellian. It would have been interesting instead if Disney had taken a moment to step back and understand that they were dealing with a person. But they didn’t. There were people angry on Twitter, and even though their main demographic isn’t on Twitter, and even though they were joyfully touching penises with Chinese dictators, and even though Gwyneth Paltrow (Pepper Potts) has literally killed people with Goop, they decided THIS was where they were going to make a stand and signal their virtue with the force of 1000 stars!

      Take a step back and consider: You’re under siege. You made a joke on Twitter, and all of a sudden your career is on the rails, people are constantly misinterpreting what you’re saying when they aren’t outright lying about you, do you think that builds a good impression of those people? Course not. So she started getting support from the right, because the right is actually pretty good at welcoming people the left seem to hate, and she started to post (Dun dun DUUUUUUUN) right-leaning memes. Well! Now she’s al alt-right insurrectionist transphobe. Anti-Semitic too! One of the memes was about the holocaust (The one mentioned above). So again, Disney, great and mighty arbiter of morality, who airbrushed John Boyega out of movie posters for China because they thought that Chinese audiences were too racist to watch a movie with a black lead, decided THAT was the last straw, a holocaust meme! How dare she! Not taking into account that Pedro Pascal had just posted his own meme comparing Trump’s Kids in Cages™ to Nazi death camps, Disney, in their fair minded and ultimate wisdom, fired Carano, cancelled her planned spinoff, took her action figure off toy store shelves, brushed their hands together and called it a job done.

      And now…. Gina Carano is working with The Daily Wire’s new entertainment division. We’ll see how that pans out. Like I said: Case study in how the left pushes people away. The leftist political meat grinder took someone who wasn’t politically active, and put her on the Daily Wire.

      • What I find particularly amusing is Disney picked the wrong mob to cater to. There were only ever a handful of people annoyed with Carano’s posts. But ever since Carano’s firing every social media post from the Star Wars official channels has been saturated with comments supporting her, and most of their YouTube videos have more dislikes than likes.

      • And took that action figure of a strong female character out of the hands of little girls.

        Sorry, it’s been a controversy in the action figure industry about the need for figures of female characters so that they can inspire girls, despite the fact that young girls rarely buy action figures from sci-fi fantasy films and such figures tend to sit on the pegs for months before being discounted.

  4. I agree that remote seminars.

    However, there are two exceptions:

    The first were seminars that involved audience polls. I played along, begrudgingly.

    The second was an estate planning marketing seminar. Well-presented, lots of questions, very engaging. I can’t tell you what the key to such a reaction is; I can only tell you it is possible.

    -Jut

  5. Re No. 1: Gaetz gets . . . what . . . ?

    I don’t understand the story at all. Rep. Gaetz told Tucker Carlson last night that he and his family has been the target of an extortion scheme involving some big firm Florida attorney who said he could make the story “go away” for $25 million. Gaetz’s father agreed to wear a wire and recorded the lawyer’s “offer to help.” Gaetz categorically denied the allegations and is demanding that the FBI and DOJ release the tapes.

    The weird part is that Gaetz says the NYT story somehow and for inexplicable reason blunted the investigation by reporting it, which he said was released to embarrass him because he is an outspoken conservative. Yet, he didn’t answer or clarify whether there is, in fact, an FBI or DOJ investigation, just that the allegations are false. It was a very strange segment. Yet, considering the political leanings of both the FBI and the DOJ there is no way of telling.

    jvb

      • I went down that rabbit hole, too: “Rep. Gaetz? Did you have sex with a 17 year old? You didn’t? What about Abigail McCafferty of Tampa.? Remember her? You told Tom Hendershot that you and she got hot and heavy in the back her dad’s Plymouth K car. Remember that?” Then, the NYT will declare that Gaetz should resign and be prosecuted for statutory rape and the world will explode, demanding that a pedophile should be run out of Congress on a rail. Abigail, who is married to the local Sherwin Williams Paint store general manager in Boca Raton will go on The View to talk about her trauma and what this has done to her marriage. No one on The View will think to ask her when and where it happened because she would have to say that she and Gaetz were sophomores in high school, they were both 16 at the time, very curious about “things” but nothing really happened because her dad came into the garage just when “things” were getting interesting, saw what was going on in his beloved K car and chased Gaetz off with a shotgun and a shovel.

        jvb

    • Between the allegations and the bizarre interview he gave, I have no idea what actually happened, but my gut tells me that Gaetz knows he did something wrong here. It might not be what was alleged, and it’s fully possible that he’s telling the truth, nothing untoward happened from his side, and I’m letting my bias speak for me (Gaetz has always been one of my least favorite Republicans), but I have no doubt that we’ll eventually get the whole story. It’s too political and scandalous for it to just die quietly.

      • I guess “where there’s smoke, there’s fire” is what is bouncing around in my caffe mocha-deprived brain. The Tucker Carlson interview was very strange. I didn’t understand why Gaetz brought up an old accusation against Carlson that proved to be nothing or the dinner engagement with Carlson and his wife, and Gaetz and his lady friend. All very weird. I read something this morning (but I can’t remember or find the source) that there is, indeed, an extortion investigation involving the Florida lawyer shaking down Gaetz and his family. So, there’s that . . .

        jvb

  6. This appears to be the culmination of part of the “over-incarceration” argument: the solution is devaluing human life.

    I am beginning to understand why Fred Guttenberg wanted to meet with Brett Kavanaugh. After all, Kavanaugh may very well read a petition arising from the Nikolas Cruz murder trial. How can we be sure that Cruz (if convicted) will even be sentenced to imprisonment, let alone execution?

    And whatever happened to the idea of revenge? I am old enough to remember stories about people taking revenge for things like this? Is revenge so bad, so wrong, that it must be avoided at all costs?

  7. “Because history is edited, most people today don’t realize that to get to the point where Nazi soldiers could easily round up thousands of Jews, the government first made their own neighbors hate them simply for being Jews. How is that any different than hating someone for their political views?”

    Here is what Lisa Rankin posted.

    https://lissarankin.com/its-not-cancel-culture-its-accountability-culture/

    So, yes, let’s hold people accountable without dehumanizing them. Should we hold accountable a President who lies, incites violence, promotes unfounded conspiracy theories, and makes violent threats against people he doesn’t like? Yes- although this past weekend’s acquittal by the Senate (again) clearly shows this isn’t happening. Should we hold the gurus who raped their vulnerable students accountable? Yes. Should we hold accountable doctors like Christiane Northrup and Kelly Brogan, who are betraying their professional oath by promoting Covid denialism, anti-vaccination lies and misinformation, and fascist propaganda? Yes. Should we hold accountable people in positions of power who abuse their power for personal, sexual, and financial gain? Yes. Should we hold accountable Hollywood stars who make racist, anti-Semitic, trans-phobic, anti-public health guideline public statements? Yes. Should we hold accountable any Republican Senator who does what helps them politically or financially over what’s best for the future of democracy in this country? Hell yes. We must hold accountable EVERY Republican Senator who did not hold Trump accountable in the 2022 election. Cancelled!

    Guess whom did this dumb bitch omit from her rant?

  8. #3. Her comments are even funnier when you realize that Gina has been hired by Daily Wire to direct a move for them. (Ben Shapiro’s corner of the political/ entertainment sphere). He’s a practicing Orthodox Jew, in case you didn’t know. I give it 50% odds they will sue, or minimum she’s probably going to get a humiliating headline on the Daily Wire from it. Oops…

    • Yes, life is now satire. In Heidi Heitkamp’s press release she stated that “The Füherer has ordered that we must eliminate these Nazi Jews. We can not allow such scum to dirty our streets and pollute the citizenry”. The only problem is that the brainwashing is too severe. I watched one of the ‘Ask political questions to the idiot populace for clicks’ videos on YouTube before the election. The interviewer was asking about comments from a Democrat calling a Jewish person a nazi. The interviewer asked “So, you think that the biggest problem in this country is Jewish nazis?” and the person replied that yes, this was our biggest problem. In my fondest dreams, I wish for this country’s biggest problem to be Jewish nazis.

      • Hmm. Poor Jews. They always get accused. It would definitely be a more manageable problem if our biggest issue was Jewish nazis. I hope they were being sarcastic. You really can’t tell anymore!

    • Her tweet about Nazis came before her Disney firing.

      She was “hired” by Daily Wire *after* the Disney firing and as a consequence of the controversy.

      I’m not sure what your comment means here.

  9. My grandson is six and started kindergarten this past year. His birthday is in September and past the cutoff to start school. According to you, he’s “slow.” Just leave that part out of your argument against the nine-year-old testifying, please. Your remarks are sometimes unnecessarily cruel, which is, I believe, unethical.

  10. The Times does have some journalistic standards. The original headline for the Gaetz article was “My Best Friend’s Sister’s Boyfriend’s Brother’s Girlfriend Heard From This Guy Who Knows This Kid Who’s Going With A Girl Who Saw Rep. Gaetz With An Underage Girl”. I guess it didn’t fit on the front page, so they had to cut it down a bit.

  11. USA Today is now running an article with the headline “Hate speech cases are hard to win. So police, prosecutors use workarounds to jail white extremists”, implying that the prosecutions of over illegal guns, drugs, bombs, or threats are politically motivated “workarounds” actually intended to punish people for constitutionally protected wrongthink – and that this is a good thing.

    Hopefully, it’s an April Fool’s joke.

      • Sure, but it’s one thing to use secondary crimes, like tax evasion in the case of Al Capone, as a workaround to punish other things that are crimes, as opposed to things which are not. “Hate speech cases” are not “hard to win”, they simply aren’t a thing, they cannot be a thing, fundamental constitutional rights prevent them being a thing.

  12. Completely unrelated, but I’m not going to be online tomorrow because of Good Friday:

    Alison Collins is an Asian-American San Francisco school board commissioner. She was stripped of her committee appointments after calling insufficiently woke Asian Americans, and I quote: “house niggers”. Well…. Cancel culture and political correctness run amok, am I right? She sure thinks so, because she is now suing the board & five board members for $15 million each for “severe emotional distress,” among other things, including that her free speech rights were curbed.

    I’m something of a free speech purist, but I can’t really bring myself to get overly excited about this one, for some strange reason.

    • *Chef’s Kiss*

    • So…. I’m so used to reports using “n****r” instead of the word that when I see reporting with “n****r”, I assume that the person being quoted used the word. Collins didn’t, I’m wrong, her quote was actually;

      “Where are the vocal Asians speaking up against Trump? Don’t Asian Americans know they are on his list as well? Do they think they won’t be deported? profiled? beaten? Being a house n****r is still being a n****r. You’re still considered “the help.””

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