Category Archives: Government & Politics

The Ethics Meltdown Of Elie Mystal Continues

Surprise! This isn't MY head exploding. It's Elie Mystal's!

Surprise! This isn’t MY head exploding. It’s Elie Mystal’s!

“Above the Law”‘s Elie Mystal has crossed over from being a provocative, if often emotion-driven and unprofessional, legal news analyst to being an Angry Black Man for whom law and justice is tangential. As Ethics Alarms covered here, Mystal already has proclaimed that the existence of a single intransigent juror who hung the jury in the Michael Slager trial proves that whites are incapable of race-blind justice. In his latest stage of racist fury, Mistal now wants black jurors to sabotage the justice system.

“Black people lucky enough to get on a jury could use that power to acquit any person charged with a crime against white men and white male institutions. It’s not about the race of the defendant, but if the alleged victim is a white guy, or his bank, or his position, or his authority: we could acquit. Assault? Acquit. Burglary? Acquit. Insider trading? Acquit.Murder? … what the hell do you think is happening to black people out here? What the hell do you think we’re complaining about when your cops shoot us or choke us? Acquit. Don’t throw “murder” at me like it’s some kind of moral fault line where the risk of letting one go is too great. Black people ARE BEING MURDERED, and the system isn’t doing a damn thing to hold their killers accountable. Sorry I’m not sorry if this protest idea would put the shoe on the other foot for a change.”

You can read the rest; it’s all like this. Mystal is bonkers. There’s no reasoning or fairness in his screed. He’s just fulminating, growling and slobbering like a rabid dog. It’s sad. Nobody can take anyone who expresses this kind of irrational hate as a response to frustration seriously. He’s not accurate, he’s not truthful, he’s not responsible. He has left law and logic so far behind he may never work his way back to them.

I’ll touch on just a few splashes of Mystal’s projectile hate-vomit: Continue reading

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Filed under Character, Citizenship, Ethics Alarms Award Nominee, Ethics Dunces, Ethics Train Wrecks, Government & Politics, Journalism & Media, Law & Law Enforcement, Professions, Race

Ugh! Here’s One More Unethical Practice (Of Many) Trump Needs To Eliminate From His Repertoire, And Quickly

trump-tweet-at-union-head-jpg

It’s pretty simple, though President Obama hasn’t figured it out in in eight years:

The President of the United States must not attack or criticize private citizens or negatively characterize their actions, nor should he interfere with local matters, criminal justice, the courts, the news media, or private businesses,  unless it is absolutely necessary, which it almost never is. This applies to his treatment of journalists, celebrities, athletes, local officials, accused criminals, military personnel, lawyers, other professionals…

…and union representatives.

Chuck Jones, the president of the local chapter of the United Steelworkers union that represents Carrier employees in Indianapolis, told The Post on Tuesday that the Trump exaggerated the number of jobs he claims to have saved, since 550 of the union’s members will lose their jobs anyway. Trump immediately sent the tweet above, directly attacking Jones by name. Shortly after the tweet, Jones says, he began getting threatening phone calls. “Nothing that says they’re gonna kill me, but, you know, ‘You better keep your eye on your kids. We know what car you drive.’ Things along those lines,” he told the Post.

I’m not surprised, but Trump’s “punching down” would be just as wrong if there was no response at all. This is an abuse of power. It is an abuse of influence. It is an abuse of office, and once he is President, it will be an abuse of the “bully pulpit.” The conduct is bullying,  as well as irresponsible, dangerous, and stupid.

I did call it, though! My post in April about Gov. Rick Scott attacking a citizen, in his case a coffee shop critic, in a campaign ad ended with this statement:

It is hard to imagine a more petty, needless, demeaning example of “punching down.” Jennings isn’t running against Scott; she is just a citizen critic, if an especially rude and nasty one. For a governor to focus an attack ad on a mere citizen is an abuse of power and position. It is ethically indefensible.

It is exactly what Donald Trump would do, though.

It is far worse for a President-Elect to punch down, of course; it’s even unethical for a Presidential candidate nobody thinks can win to do it. Trump’s pre-emptively calling Bowe Bergdahl a traitor is now a fair trial problem in the ex-prisoner of war’s court-martial. This is a terrible habit to indulge, and it opens the door to far more harmful misuses of Presidential power.  Continue reading

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Filed under Business & Commercial, Government & Politics, Leadership

Announcing “The Fake News Ethics Train Wreck,” And Related Developments [UPDATED]

train-wreck-air

This morning I checked four news sources and caught stories about”fake news” in all of them. Some of this has been fueled by the flesh-meltingly idiotic Comet Ping Pong pizzeria story out of D.C., which culminated in a moron named Edgar Maddison Welch firing an AR-15 inside the joint, saying later that he was horrified at the reports that the establishment was at the center of a child sex ring run by…wait for it…the Clinton campaign. He got some bad information, Welch told authorities.  Ya think???

No, Ed, you got a really bad education in America’s rotten public schools, and before that you were playing hop-scotch when the brains were handed out.

What prompted Ethics Alarms to officially move the fake news uproar into Ethics Train Wreck status, however, was the interview CNN had this morning with two small business owners in the same block as the evil pizza place. “The internet isn’t regulated like it could or should be,” one said, with no comment or clarification from CNN’s Alisyn Camerota. Politicians are among those who have to address this problem, agreed her partner.

In other words, we need internet censorship. Oh, they did say that citizens should be a bit more discerning before grabbing an AR-15 and shooting up a pizza parlor because someone on Instagram said that John Podesta was selling little girls and boys, but obviously the big arm of the State has to step in.

In other developments:

  • The fake Washington Post news story about fake news that I highlighted here may prompt a defamation law suit from one of the organizations that the Post accused, without checking their source, of spreading fake news.

“You did not provide even a single example of ‘fake news’ allegedly distributed or promoted by Naked Capitalism or indeed any of the 200 sites on the PropOrNot blacklist,” James A. Moody, attorney for Naked Capitalism, a finance and economics blog with a stated mission of “shedding light on the dark and seamy corners of finance,” wrote to the Post. “You provided no discussion or assessment of the credentials or backgrounds of these so-called ‘researchers’ (Clint Watts, Andrew Weisburd, and J.M. Berger and the ‘team’ at PropOrNot), and no discussion or analysis of the methodology, protocol or algorithms such ‘researchers’ may or may not have followed.”*

Highlights from that 120-page report:

  • Since 1980, U.S. GDP per capita growth has been far below its long run average, and since 2007 it has been almost negligible.
  • Deterioration in the quality-to-cost ratio for healthcare, housing and education is dragging down economic growth. After spiraling price increases, these sectors accounted for 36 percent of total national spending in 2015, up from 25 percent in 1980.
  •  The U.S. population’s health has stagnated or even declined on several measures since 1980, especially for the working-age population.
  • Housing costs have swallowed up a larger share of income without a corresponding increase in quality.
  • Educational quality is weak and stagnant at all levels. The U.S. education system has failed to instill any measurable gains in the cognitive performance of children and young adults for decades, as U.S. students and adults struggle with poor rates of literacy and numeracy despite high spending growth.

You know…”a strong economy.”

Would you like to speculate on which fake news had a greater likely impact on the popular vote for President—the Pope’s endorsement, Podesta’s pizza parlor sex ring, or that nifty Democratic policies had the national economy working like a Swiss watch? Continue reading

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Filed under Around the World, Ethics Alarms Award Nominee, Ethics Train Wrecks, Government & Politics, Journalism & Media, The Internet, U.S. Society

From The “When Ethics Alarms Don’t Ring” Files: Newt Gingrich’s December 7th Tweet

gingrich-tweet

Some random thoughts on an incredible display of terrible taste, as I wrestle to keep my cranium from blowing…

1. Why in the world would Newt do this? How could he, or anyone, not understand that this would be hurtful to many, and appreciated by none? Has he decided to compete with Donald Trump for most Reckless Twitter-User? Is he trying to make Trump look responsible by comparison? Why, Newt? Why?

2. Perhaps this is the beginning of regular laudatory tweets from Newt in appreciation of other geniuses that did Americans harm.

March 6: “Today we celebrate Santa Anna’s brilliantly executed surprise dawn raid on the Alamo, and his efficient slaughter of more than 200 Texans in 1836”

April 14: “A date for all Americans to commemorate John Wilkes Booth’s superb planning and marksmanship, confounding President Lincoln’s security to shoot him in the head with flair in 1865!”

August 8: “Let us not fail to admire surgical precision with which the dedicated follower of Charles Manson carried out their slaughter of five people in 1968”

September 11…well, you get the idea.

3. What’s truly nauseating is that poor, insecure Newt is so desperate for affirmation that he will use, of all things, the tragedy of the attack on Pearl Harbor to make himself appear, (he thinks), worldly, cerebral and analytical. All he really accomplished is to reaffirm what most cognizant Americans have known for decades…

4. …that Newt is about as big a jerk as this society has ever produced.

 

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Filed under Character, Ethics Alarms Award Nominee, Ethics Dunces, Government & Politics, History, Social Media, Unethical Tweet, War and the Military

Unethical Quote Of The Week: Harry Belafonte

“In a few weeks from now, if there is a platform on which I will be privileged to stand and speak, my opening remarks will probably be something like “Welcome to the Fourth Reich.”

—Legendary singer and long-time civil rights activist Harry Belafonte, now 90, speaking at a “Democracy Now!” event with an audience of 2000.

Harry Belafonte radiated sunniness and spirituality when he sang in his unique, whispery voice, but his political activism was always angry, radical, and with the passing years, increasingly bitter and paranoid. It was predictable that, health allowing, “The Banana Boat Song” artist would be in his element in the 2016 Post-Election Freak-Out and Ethics Train Wreck, and, sadly, he did not disappoint.

In his remarks, Harry mentioned with affection Paul Robeson, the late actor and singer who left the U.S. for the worker’s paradise of  Stalinist Russia, and America-hater Noam Chomsky. He might have mentioned Fidel Castro, for whom Harry frequently expressed his admiration in the past. Back in 2012, Belafonte told another one of his pals, Al Sharpton, that since the evil, racist Republicans wouldn’t do Barack Obama’s bidding, “The only thing left for Barack Obama to do is to work like a third-world dictator and put all these guys in jail!”

But Donald Trump is a Nazi. Continue reading

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Filed under Character, Ethics Alarms Award Nominee, Ethics Train Wrecks, Government & Politics, History, Popular Culture

It’s Time For That Exciting Ethics Alarms Game Show,”Spot The Hypocrisy!”

time-to-play

Are you ready?

Here comes…

Hypocrisy Challenge I

The New York Times

Like much of the mainstream news media but more so, The New York Times is flogging the “fake news” narrative. In part there is something legitimate to report, as with the crazy conspiracy theory about a pedophilia ring run out of a Washington, D.C., pizza place by John Podesta and Hillary Clinton that culminated in a nut case showing up there with a gun “to rescue children.”  (Most of the “fake news” crisis is really the “Stupid people” crisis.) The media’s excessive enthusiasm and daily fulminating about fake news, however, appears to be a desperate effort to make its own incompetent, inaccurate, slanted and dishonestly selective reporting during the campaign and election just completed appear more palatable by invoking Ethics Alarms Rationalization #22, Comparative Virtue, or “It’s not the worst thing.” This story, for example, was on today’s Times front page, where its headline read, “As Fake New Spreads Lies, More Readers Shrug At Truth.”

Meanwhile, tucked away at the bottom of the op-ed page of the same issue, was this “Correction”:

Because of an editing error, an Op-Ed essay on Friday about Donald Trump’s efforts to keep jobs in the United States misstated the change in auto sector employment in both the United States and Mexico between 2007 and 2015. In Mexico, jobs grew to 558,000 from 405,000, not to 675,000 from 174,000. In the United States, auto jobs declined to 762,000 from 828,000. The article also misstated plans by Detroit car companies in Mexico. Ford and General Motors plan to invest a combined $9.1 billion and hire 12,200 more workers; Detroit car companies are not planning to invest $30 billion and hire 30,000 more workers.

Now…

Spot the Hypocrisy!

Continue reading

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Filed under Government & Politics, Journalism & Media

Now THIS Is An Incompetent Judge…

oops

U.S. District Judge Patricia Minaldi was removed from St. Charles, Louisiana jury trial for criminal fraud in February, then her replacement declared a mistrial. Nobody knew why until the Associated Press got transcripts unsealed. They do not give one great confidence in the management of the justice system.

In one unsealed transcript (PDF), federal prosecutors and a public defender jointly called  U.S. District Judge Donald Walter ,who took over the case from Minaldi,  to ask him to grant a mistrial. The chief judge had assigned Walter to the case in an order that cited Minaldi’s inability to be present at the trial, but provided no additional explanation.

Minaldi was unable to be present because she doesn’t have the requisite awareness of the world around her or of the requirements of her job to be a judge. The botched trial included this ominous incident:

On the last day of the trial before it was suspended, Assistant U.S. Attorney Robert Moore was questioning a witness about the defendant’s grant application which had been filled out on a computer. Judge Minaldi interrupted the witness to ask what a “drop-down box” and “drop-down menus”  were.

“I have no idea what that means,” Minaldi said, regarding the reference to drop-down menus.  “No offense, but if I don’t understand it, I don’t think anybody else is going to understand it,” she continued. “I’ve been to law school. I’ve been doing this for 30 years. I have no idea what y’all are talking about.” After another question—Minaldi didn’t understand references to “Y’s and yeses” in relation to the answers to yes or no questions on the application—the judge recessed the court for lunch.

“Get your act together. Okay,” Minaldi told Moore. “I have no idea what’s going on here. Get your act together.”

Because it was HIS fault she had no idea what was going on. Continue reading

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Filed under Ethics Alarms Award Nominee, Government & Politics, Law & Law Enforcement, Professions, Rights