Late yesterday, the State Bar of California announced that Orange County attorney John Eastman (above), a former law school dean, law professor, and a long-time respected member of the bar, is the target of a disciplinary investigation into whether he violated laws while advising President Trump on options available to him in the wake of his election defeat in 2020. Eastman wrote two legal memos that advised Vice President Mike Pence that he could declare that the results in several states were disputed and therefore their electoral votes would go uncounted. The State Bar’s chief trial counsel, George Cardona, announced that Eastman has been the center of an investigation since September, saying in part, “A number of individuals and entities have brought to the State Bar’s attention press reports, court filings, and other public documents detailing Mr. Eastman’s conduct.”
That’s odd: bar investigations of ethics complaints are supposed to be confidential, so complaints can’t be used as political weapons or to impugn lawyers’ reputations. Why is Eastman being treated this way? Oh, I’m sure there is some fine print exception somewhere, but the real reason is obvious from the LA Times story headline yesterday: “Breaking News: Trump-connected lawyer John Eastman under investigation.” Eastman is “Trump-connected,” so it’s guilt by association, a Joe McCarthy specialty and a favorite tool of despots for centuries. Beware, any lawyers out there prepared to give counsel, representation and legal assistance to He Whom Progressives Hate and Fear! There will be consequences.Continue reading →
One of the most disturbing aspects of the 2016 Post Election Ethics Train Wreck was the ugly spectacle of once esteemed professions deciding en masse to ditch their integrity in order to join the “Get Trump!” mob with the cool kids. Historians, lawyers, judges, psychiatrists, scholars, civil libertarians, journalists, educators…yes, and ethicists—all these groups disgraced themselves and breached the one, overarching mandate for those who supposedly labor for the public good: be trustworthy. Then came The Great Stupid, compounding the damage to society and the culture by showing “experts” to be equally unreliable, burdened as they were by crippling bias, political agendas, and flawed skills and assumptions.
Two recent examples highlighted this trend. First up, the ethicist.
Doriane Lambelet Coleman, a professor at Duke Law School, is co-director of the Center for Sports Law & Policy and a senior fellow at the Kenan Institute for Ethics. She authored a jaw-droppingly lame op-ed for the Washington Post headlined, “Yes, Kamila Valieva should be skating in Beijing.” There isn’t a single valid ethical principle behind her entire, constructed-for-sentimentalists argument.
Her first sentence would normally make me quit reading any opinion piece: “Russian Kamila Valieva is the best figure skater on the planet, she is gorgeous to watch perform and she should be skating in Beijing.” This is the equivalent of “Barry Bonds is a great player and we should ignore the fact that’s he’s a steroid cheat.” An ethicist is openly elevating the most obvious non-ethical consideration seasoned with personal bias, that the author thinks she is “gorgeous” on the ice, over the clear ethical consideration that the skater broke the rules, and had they been enforced, she wouldn’t be at the Olympics at all.
Taking off from Part 1 (which took off from this), let’s review some (only some) of the anti-democratic conduct of the Democrats, their Congress and their President.
We saw President Biden withdraw troops from Afghanistan without consultation with Congress and in opposition to the military, abandoning thousand of U.S. citizens in the process.
We have seen the individual liberty-defying mask and vaccine mandates in Democratic states and cities.
We have witnesses attempts at the state and national level to discriminate against one racial group in such benefits as Small Business assistance and pandemic remedies.
We have watched the Senate Majority leader directly threaten the Supreme Court if it fails to support Democratic Party policies and positions.
We have seen the escalating air-brushing of history, to eliminate references to individuals and ideas that the party in power opposes.
We have seen Democrats and their allied professions and institution attempt to discriminate against religious groups, using the pandemic to ban their activities while favoring gatherings of similar size when they supported leftist activism.
We have seen concerted efforts to disarm law-abiding citizens, including removing the right to bear arms from those judged mentally or emotionally ill, both historical tactics of totalitarian governments.
We have seen the effort to corrupt the criminal justice system and the Rule of Law by demonizing and presuming the guilt of police officers, conservative protesters and others (like Kyle Rittenhouse) based on skin color and political preferences.
We have seen an endorsement of mob rule, with “defund the police” being advocated across the country, radical progressive prosecutors refusing to prosecute crimes “of need,” and police being turned into targets by more than six years of demonizing by the Left.
We have seen an unprecedented attack on the Constitution and various amendments, with the goal of undoing protections wisely placed in the documents by the Founders. Among the targets: the First Amendment, the Second Amendment, the Due Process Clause, the Equal Protection Clause, the amendment process (so the dead-letter Equal Rights. Amendment can pass after the deadline for adoption has passed), the Electoral College, the composition of the Senate, and more.
We witnessed the Democratic party embracing a Marxist, anti-American, anti-White, violent and corrupt organization, Black Lives Matter.
We are watching that same party continue to support a program of anti-American, pro-Left indoctrination in the public schools.
We are seeing the deliberate promotion of class divisions and hostility, while the Democratic Party pursues radical ideological goals such as the devaluing of citizenship, the elimination of meritocracy and the pursuit of excellence, and
Perhaps most glaring of all, we witnessed, for the first time in our history, not just one but two contrived impeachments based not on the kinds of “high crimes” prescribed by the Constitution, but on the simple fact that one party had a House majority that it abused to attempt to remove an elected President it despised, plus
…so, so much more that represents a gross weakening of democracy and its values by the conduct and rhetoric of Democrats. The four year effort to cripple Donald Trump’s Presidency by withholding the basic, crucial, core aura of respect and deference to the office that every other President was bequeathed by his predecessors is, in my view, the worst of these, which is why Ethics Alarms has laboriously tracked it with the tag “2016 Ethics Post-Election Train Wreck.”
This has all occurred in plain sight, so for Democrats and progressives to pick this moment in history to declare Republicans as an existential threat to democracy is Jumbo-level audacity. Is this gaslighting the result of desperation, idiocy, delusion, or “It’s so crazy, it just might work”? Continue reading →
“Hillary Clinton’s 2016 presidential campaign paid an internet company to “infiltrate” servers at Trump Tower and the White House in order to link Donald Trump to Russia, a bombshell new legal filing alleges.
The Friday filing from a Department of Justice prosecutor tasked with investigating the origins of the FBI’s Russian probe served to throw cold water on Democrats’ longstanding allegations of collusion.
Special Counsel John Durham filed a motion related to potential conflicts of interests in connection with the case of Clinton campaign lawyer Michael Sussmann, who is charged with lying to the feds, according to Fox News.
Sussmann allegedly told the FBI he was not working on behalf of Clinton when he presented the agency with documents that supposedly linked the Trump Organization to a Kremlin-tied bank two months before the election.
The lawyer has pleaded not guilty to the charge of making a false statement to a federal agent.
Durham’s motion reportedly alleged Sussmann “had assembled and conveyed the allegations to the FBI on behalf of at least two specific clients, including a technology executive (Tech Executive 1) at a U.S.-based internet company (Internet Company 1) and the Clinton campaign.”
Records showed he “repeatedly billed the Clinton Campaign for his work on the Russian Bank-1 allegations,” which involved an investigative firm, a tech executive, cyber researchers and numerous employees at internet companies, the motion reportedly stated…
Among the accusations leveled at that time was that suspicious DNS lookups by Russian-affiliated IP addresses “demonstrated Trump and/or his associates were using supposedly rare, Russian-made wireless phones in the vicinity of the White House and other locations,” the motion reportedly said.
The allegations “relied, in part, on the purported DNS traffic” that Tech Executive-1 and others “had assembled pertaining to Trump Tower, Donald Trump’s New York City apartment building, the EOP, and the aforementioned healthcare provider,” according to Fox’s report.
Durham said his office found “no support for these allegations,” claiming the supposed evidence Sussmann provided was incomplete and skewed…”
If you only follow the mainstream media, meaning only those outlets that are directly doing everything they can, every day, in every way, to bolster Democratic Party narratives, progressive agendas and the prospects of minimizing the public’s support of the Republican Party, you are learning about this for the first time. Continue reading →
[Introduction: These two entries from this week’s Open Forum are a collective natural for a combined post. A.M. and Steve-O take different approaches to what President Biden’s second State of the Union message is likely to be. You can guess which one I would rather see delivered. [Notice of Correction: I erroneously wrote that this was the first Biden SOTU. What confused me was that last year the Speaker of the House neglected to perform the traditional “tearing up of the speech” that marks the official end of the event…]
In case you missed it (or have a life and aren’t following the nauseating race for Governor in Virginia) five people holding tiki torches and pretending to be fans of the Charlottesville white supremacy group, Unite the Right, that sparked a riot in 2017 showed up to show their support for GOP gubernatorial candidate Glenn Youngkin last week. The stunt was met with furious criticism of Youngkin’s opponent, Terry McAuliffe, who was presumed to be behind the incident, and why wouldn’t he be? As the slimy former Clinton fundraiser has slipped in the polls, his “ends justify the means” approach to politics (and life) has become especial pungent. However, the Never-Trump group The Lincoln Project came to McAuliffe’s rescue, claiming responsibility for the deception.
Yesterday one of the group’s co-founders, Stuart Stevens, refused to apologize for attempting to influence an election by deceiving voters. “Listen, every day I hear people pleading with the Lincoln Project to help show Democrats how to win, how to play hardball. You know, this is an example,” he said on CNN. “The question here is not about some guys who showed up at a rally,’ said Stevens. ‘It’s why hasn’t Glenn Youngkin denounced Donald Trump for saying that there are good people on both sides? I mean, that is absolutely outrageous. And it’s because Glenn Youngkin wants it both ways. And I think that’s the message that needs to be driven here. You know, the Lincoln Project was the first in this race to put Charlottesville in an ad. And some people thought maybe it went too far. But we did it. And it worked. And then McAuliffe’s campaign followed us and put Charlottesville in a very good ad they did. So I think the question here is, we can’t ignore what happened in Charlottesville, the question is why hasn’t Glenn Youngkin denounced Donald Trump?”
Meanwhile, the McAuliffe campaign pronounced the hoax “disgusting” and called on the Lincoln Project to apologize.
Part I of this series appeared in May of this year. I bet you thought I had forgotten about it, didn’t you?
The second metaphor explained the election of Trump as President in 2016, as well as his march to the nomination fueled by a populist base that crossed party lines and that took political “experts” completely by surprise. It occurred to me when a friend, a Democrat and progressive (like most of my friends—and relatives) opined bitterly that electing someone like Trump was “stupid.” At a basic level I agreed with that: I had been writing exactly this for more than a year. But his words triggered an epiphany, and, as is often the case with my rare moments of clarity, a movie scene came to mind.
Electing Trump certainly seemed stupid. Yet it served a purpose, indeed several purposes, just like the “stupid and futile gesture” that is the climax and operatic finale of “Animal House,” when the abused members of Delta House turn Faber College’s homecoming parade into a violent riot.
What was the election of Trump supposed to accomplish? Other movies come to mind, like “Network.” A segment of the population decided that the system was rigged against them, that Democrats and Republicans were both involved in a massive, decades long con in which their primary goal was not to do what was in the public interest, but what was most likely to keep them in power and eventually line their pockets, and that their voices were not just being ignored, but that they were being insulted while being ignored. The so-called “deplorables” were mad as hell, and they weren’t going to take it any more. Voting for Trump was an “Up yours!” to the elites, the sanctimonious media, the corrupt Clintons, the hollow Obamas, and obviously corrupt Democrats like Pelosi and Harry Reid, machine Republicans like Mitch McConnell, and pompous think-tank conservative like Bill Kristol.
“Americans got tired of being pushed around, lectured, and being told that traditional cultural values made them racists and xenophobes. They decided to say “Screw that!” by electing a protest candidate whose sole function was to be a human thumb in the eye, because he was so disgusting to the people who had pretended to be their betters. Don’t you understand? It’s idiotic, but the message isn’t. It’s “Animal House”! and “Animal House” is as American as Doolittle’s Raid….In Germany, The Big Cheese says jump and the Germans say “How high?” In the US, the response is “Fuck you!” Obama never understood that…. I love that about America. And much as I hate the idea of an idiot being President, I do love the message and who it was sent to. America still has spunk.
“Netflix…the tech company that revolutionized Hollywood, is now in an uproar as employees challenge the executives responsible for its success and accuse the streaming service of facilitating the spread of hate speech and perhaps inciting violence.”
1. It’s time—way past time, in fact—to emphatically define what “hate speech” is. First of all, hate speech, whatever it is, is 100% protected speech. It is Constitutional, First Amendment, lawful, beyond all argument speech. Second, I use “whatever it is” because the phase is deliberately vague and subjective so those seeking to censor discourse, advocacy, non-conforming points of view, satire and insults can place the expression of ideas by someone else into a category that suggests malign agency and intent.Then, those crying “hate speech” can advocate silencing whatever it was they are labeling.
We’re on to them, or should be by now. Calling something “hate speech” is like the Southern Poverty Law Center’s dishonest “hate group” label. It’s a cheat.
2. Hate is not a good thing in human relations (there are exceptions), but it is legal and, like all emotions, not unethical. Acting on the hate may be unethical, but not hate itself.
3. I have watched “The Closer,”Dave Chappelle’s Netflix special now under fire, twice. There is nothing hateful in it, unless one thinks that all mockery, satire and jokes with an edge are hate.
I don’t think “The Closer” is very good, especially by Chappelle’s standards. It’s not especially funny, for instance. It’s also not very smart, and Chappelle, if nothing else, is smart and usually shows it. It’s not smart because the controversy over how society should regard transgender individuals is interesting, perhaps difficult, raises interesting ethical and practical issues, but in the grand scheme of things, it’s just not as important as the attention paid to it makes it seem. This is a tiny minority: yes, these issues are important to them. But Chappelle’s show is like a deliberate employment of the Streisand Effect: he’s obviously annoyed about having to deal with trans issues, so he spends a whole, high-profile special complaining, explaining, and riffing regarding it. Since he’s a comedian, this could be justified if he mined it for comedy gold, but he doesn’t.
If he isn’t going to be funny, then he has to be profound, or he’s wasting our time. Not only is the thing not profound, it’s barely coherent. Not that there’s anything wrong with that: stand-up is a high wire act, and the best comics sometimes fall hard. But the contrived controversy over “The Closer” is giving the performance more significance than it deserves, and allowing Chappelle to accept accolades for a performance that was really subpar.
I missed the warm-up yesterday, as life, deadlines and the Red Sox-Yankee one game play-off interfered. Now I’m horribly backed up.
Yesterday was an important ethics date in our history, and an especially bad one for Native Americans. On October 5 in 1813, during the War of 1812, a combined army of British and Native American forces were defeated by General William Harrison’s American army at the Battle of the Thames in Ontario, Canada. The leader of the Indian warriors was Tecumseh, the powerful Shawnee chief who organized inter-tribal resistance to white settlers on Native lands. He was killed in the fighting, spelling doom for Native American resistance east of the Mississippi. The defeated tribes soon moved west, which bought them time but no peace. Sixty-five years later, on the anniversary of Tecumseh’s defeat, Chief Joseph of the Nez Perce tribes surrendered to U.S. General Nelson A. Miles in the Bear Paw mountains of Montana. Joseph was another remarkable Native American leader: after the U.S. government broke a land treaty with the Nez Perce that forced them out of their homeland. The area in Idaho they were ordered to move to was unacceptable, so over three months, Chief Joseph led about 300 Nez Perce to the Canadian border, a 1,000 mile trek, as they fled and fought 2,000 pursuing U.S. soldiers. Only 40 miles short of the Canadian border, Chief Joseph’s group was trapped by the U.S. Army, and escorted to a barren reservation. His famous quote expresses the futility and sadness of the entire, cruel but inevitable destruction of the Native American tribes and the appropriation of their territory by white settlers.
Is something that experience teaches us cannot be avoided still unethical? I believe so, but that conclusion leads to the slippery slope of “life is unfair” and what can or should be done about it.
1. ‘Where have you gone, Jackie Robinson?’ Rochester Mayor Lovely Warren is resigning from office after accepting a plea deal regarding charges of financial misappropriation. She joins a long list of black, female mayors in major cities—San Francisco, Chicago, Washington D.C. and Baltimore, which has had a succession—that have embarrassed their cities, parties and supporters by proving utterly untrustworthy and incompetent, if not outright corrupt. This doesn’t help. If the idea is to increase the number of female, black officials, it is important that all of these ‘firsts” actually be good leaders. Having one spectacularly awful black, female mayor after another is how biases take hold. Of course the fact that so many black, female mayors of recent vintage have been unqualified, obnoxious fools shouldn’t reflect negatively on future mayoral candidates who are deserving of support and trust, but inevitably it will. This is why parties and voters can’t adopt the Kamala Harris Standard that the Democrats imposed on us: “gender and color is qualification enough.” No, they aren’t. They aren’t qualifications at all.
2. Sometimes I think Biden isn’t even trying. Banks and their trade groups, including the American Bankers Association and the Independent Community Bankers of America, are almost certainly going to oppose Biden’s choice to lead the Office of the Comptroller of the Currency. Why? Oh, not much, just that her past writing suggest that she’s a communist. The Wall Street Journal wrote that Omarova wants to adopt a Soviet-style banking system, which isn’t too surprising since “she graduated from Moscow State University in 1989 on the Lenin Personal Academic Scholarship. Thirty years later, she still believes the Soviet economic system was superior, and that U.S. banking should be remade in the Gosbank’s image.”
She’s tweeted about the deficiencies of the free market in terms of guaranteeing gender equity—why should any economic system generate gender equity? She also doesn’t like the idea of supply and demand determining the salaries and product prices; she wants these set by the government. Yeah, if there is one thing banking organizations want, it’s a Commie setting their regulations. Does the Biden administration vet these people at all? Or is the fact that she’s a minority female—another potential first!–automatically mean she’s a great choice in the eyes of the White House gang.
“The core of all of this and the source of our most significant concerns is we look at everything that she has said or written publicly, there are bold ideas that essentially look at eliminating the banking system as we know it today,” said Rebeca Romero Rainey, the president of the Independent Community Bankers of America.
If this is mistaken, wouldn’t you think the supporters of Comrade Omarova would have a rebuttal ready? So far, no comment.
There is a legitimate “bombshell” story rapidly flashing across the news today. Its speed and prominence—specially on MSNBC and CNN, naturally— is explained by the fact that it can be used to attack and weaken Donald Trump, of whom the Axis remains justly terrified of having back in the White House (as should we all, though for other reasons). That the mainstream news media can barely restrain their glee and that Democrat partisan hacks will over-hype the revelation doesn’t make the story any less revolting. Nor does the fact that it should surprise no one.
“Two weeks after the 2020 election, a team of lawyers closely allied with Donald J. Trump held a widely watched news conference at the Republican Party’s headquarters in Washington. At the event, they laid out a bizarre conspiracy theory claiming that a voting machine company had worked with an election software firm, the financier George Soros and Venezuela to steal the presidential contest from Mr. Trump….By the time the news conference occurred on Nov. 19, Mr. Trump’s campaign had already prepared an internal memo on many of the outlandish claims about the company, Dominion Voting Systems, and the separate software company, Smartmatic. The memo had determined that those allegations were untrue. The court papers, which were initially filed late last week as a motion in a defamation lawsuit brought against the campaign and others by a former Dominion employee, Eric Coomer, contain evidence that officials in the Trump campaign were aware early on that many of the claims against the companies were baseless. “The documents also suggest that the campaign sat on its findings about Dominion even as Sidney Powell and other lawyers attacked the company in the conservative media and ultimately filed four federal lawsuits accusing it of a vast conspiracy to rig the election against Mr. Trump.”
I try to limit the number of posts here commenting on obvious unethical conduct unless the conduct is extreme, unusual, or culturally significant. Of course the conduct of the Trump campaign was unethical, but it was also distressingly close to what Trump’s enemies have been saying about the January 6, 2020 riot, and, to make another more apt comparison, what the Democrats, led by Hillary Clinton and Deep State saboteurs within the government, attempted to accomplish with their contrived “Russian collusion” plot. The objective in both cases was to use false information to shake the American public’s faith in their own institutions and systems of government to justify seizing power illicitly.