Comment Of The Day: “Ethical Quote Of The Week: Donald Trump”

Just as Barack Obama’s despicable quote came to my attention shortly after a post directly relevant to it, James Hodgson’s comment on that post was perfectly timed as further exploration of my follow-up post, which I put up seconds before reading what James had written. It’s fate! Kismet! I couldn’t resist making his fortuitous observations relevant to two posts, one of which he hadn’t read yet, a Comment of the Day.

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“his admirers…regard his exaggerations, careless misstatements, and counter-factual pronouncements as trivial compared to his willingness to say out loud what other politicians and elected officials will not.”

Certainly the Leftist media will never give Trump credit even for just saying what everybody already knows about polls and how they are used.

Like many conservatives who ultimately supported Trump in 2016 (and again in 2020), I did so not because he was my first (or even second) initial choice but because he was the only candidate who seemed to grasp the degree of popular discontent with the Left, its consistent march toward socialism, and their impatience with the GOP’s tepid response to these efforts.

He was the only candidate who, although not a hard-core conservative himself, understood conservatives’ continuing (and expanding) dissatisfaction with the establishment GOP for hijacking the “Tea Party” movement and quietly smothering it to death, and the rise of the neocons, who like the country-club RINOs aren’t trying to conserve anything. Conservatives were (and are) well and truly pissed about widespread federal misfeasance and overreach, and Trump assured conservatives that they were right to be pissed. Then he told them what he intended to do about it. He was as successful as could be expected after being opposed and vilified 24/7 for his entire term by the united forces of the Left.

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An Analysis Of How The Government, The Resistance And The News Media Forfeited The Trust of The American People

Image: Pro-Trump Protesters Gather At State Capitols Across The Nation On Day Of Electoral College Ratification

I wish it were my analysis, although every component of it (I think) has been covered here in the past, most of them several times.

One of those elements is the complete betrayal of the American public and our democracy by the news media. President Trump was excoriated and condemned for his pronouncement of the mainstream media as the”enemy of the people,” typical meat-axe rhetoric for him in an area that calls for more nuance and restraint by a President, but he was generally right, and Ethics Alarms declared him so. Similarly, he decried the weaponization of “fake news,” an accusation which was undeniable, yet people of good will and intelligence (well, they were once anyway) denied it, no matter how many instances occurred before or afterwards.

Last week a Rasmussen poll—it’s a conservative outfit: the other pollsters wouldn’t dare ask the questions—reported that 58% of likely voters agree with the “enemy of the people” assessment. It’s amazing and disturbing that the figure isn’t much higher. Who are the 23% who told Rasmussen they “strongly disagreed” with that description? What are they? Idiots? Saboteurs? Relatives of journalists? Or just progressives covering for their allies in a hostile takeover of the culture and nation?

But as I said, this was just one element. The tweeted epic by “Martymade,” apparently a podcaster whose real name is Daryl Cooper, covers far more than that. He wrote this in a series of 36 tweets on July 8, making it essentially unreadable by people like me (especially people like me who have quit Twitter), but managed to “go viral” nonetheless. Tucker Carlson read it all on Fox, but of course it’s not Fox News viewers who need to consider the analysis, but everyone else.

Here is the whole thing, made possible by an innovative new app called Threadreader. It is long, but it needs to be long. It is also clear, and true; I cleaned it up a little for readers here:

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A “Bias Makes Professionals Stupid And Unprofessional” Update

Trump photo defaced

Perhaps the saddest aspect of the 2016 Post Election Ethics Train Wreck and the resulting mass effort to bring down Donald Trump was the corruption of virtually all of our society’s professions, and the vast majority of their members. Educators, psychiatrists, teachers, judges— journalists, of course, though they were already pretty far gone; broadcasters, of course. Entertainment professionals and performers, heaven knows (That’s the Dixie Chicks and their clever and subtle political commentary above.) In addition to theater professionals, two more of my professions have disgraced themselves: lawyers and ethicists. The listserv of a legal ethics organization I belong to was virtually cackling with joy over Rudy Giuliani’s partisan and dangerous interim suspension in New York, while the same group has been notably unenthusiastic about criticizing out-of court hyperbole by anti-Trump lawyers like the recently sentenced Michael Avenatti. (I may have missed some more balanced attention because I dropped out of the group for about 18 months in disgust over its bias.) Here is a tweet by a conservative attorney that was just offered to the group for comment on whether it raised issues of professional misconduct:

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Re Rudy Giuliani’s “Interim Suspension”

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New York’s Supreme Court took the draconian step of suspending Rudy Giuliani, former federal prosecutor, former mayor of New York City, and counsel to former President Trump, from practicing law based on his statements, allegation and, in some cases, presentations in court and court documents, regarding the 2020 election and his clients claims that it had been “stolen.” From the opinion:

“For the reasons that follow, we conclude that there is uncontroverted evidence
that respondent communicated demonstrably false and misleading statements to courts,
lawmakers and the public at large in his capacity as lawyer for former President Donald
J. Trump and the Trump campaign in connection with Trump’s failed effort at reelection
in 2020. These false statements were made to improperly bolster respondent’s narrative
that due to widespread voter fraud, victory in the 2020 United States presidential
election was stolen from his client. We conclude that respondent’s conduct immediately
threatens the public interest and warrants interim suspension from the practice of law,
pending further proceedings before the Attorney Grievance Committee (sometimes AGC
or Committee).”

Note that Giuliani has been suspended before the completion of an investigation of the claims against him, or a hearing, based on a conclusion that the public is literally endangered by the possibility of his continuing to make the same claims that former President Trump and many others are making in public every day. The stated justification for the extremely rare interim suspension never explicitly made clear: exactly what is the danger to the public that justifies this? The Supreme Court of the State of New York is simply continuing the false narrative that there was a “violent insurrection” by misled members of the public on January 6 caused by the insistence of the President and others that the election was stolen by the Democrats, and Trump was really elected. Indeed, the Court writes,

“One only has to look at the ongoing present public discord over the 2020 election, which erupted into violence, insurrection and death on January 6, 2021, at the U.S. Capitol, to understand the extent of the damage that can be done when the public is misled by false information about the elections. The AGC [Attorney Grievance Committee] contends that respondent’s misconduct directly inflamed tensions that bubbled over into the events of January 6, 2021 in this nation’s Capitol.”

I shouldn’t have to point out that neither Trump nor any non-lawyers making the “stolen election” claim t have been or can be punished by the the Courts or the government, but the New York Bar’s Rules of Professional Conduct can be used to do just that to Giuliani for serving a client the judges don’t like (they are all Democrats). To justify this, the opinion uses the fact that a lawyers’ speech is more subject to regulation than normal citizens because of their “persuasiveness,” supposed trustworthiness as members of a profession that is forbidden from lying, and bootstraps its argument by noting that the real purpose of the Rules us not to punish lawyers, but to protect the public. That is true, but the purpose is to protect the public from being represented by bad and untrustworthy lawyers, or substantively harmed by lawyers assisting criminal or predatory clients, not to muzzle lawyers from making controversial statements in the public square.

This case has been the subject of much debate by my legal ethicist colleagues of late, with a depressing near-consensus that Rudy is getting what he deserves. This is because, I detect, the vast majority of lawyers cannot see through their political biases and Trump hate. At the most simple level, the ruling is premature because contrary to the Court’s certitude, all of the evidence is not in, though the claim that there was widespread election fraud and that the election was “stolen” has for many months been pronounced “a lie” by Democrats and the mainstream media with suspicious vigor. While the opinion makes a convincing case that many of Giuliani’s statements, including some made to courts and government bodies, were careless, sloppy, badly sourced, unprofessional and wrong, it cannot know at this point that his (or Trump’s) general claim is false. If its is not false, then raising doubts among the public cannot be called dangerous to the public. It is more dangerous to keep opinions, arguments and ideas from the public’s awareness “for their own good.”

Thus this is a First Amendment problem. Except for one assertion about the status of a complaint, which he later corrected, Giuliani is not accused of improprieties in court proceedings where he functioned as an advocate. The Court’s focus is almost entirely on Giuliani’s public statements on the radio, in podcasts, on TV shows and news interviews. Alan Dershowitz, along with Jonathan Turley among the very few well-known lawyers (and Democrats) who have managed to maintain their integrity during the nearly five-year attack on Donald Trump, reacted to the interim suspension by telling Breitbart (which I will not link to after being burned to many times),

“I taught legal ethics for, I don’t know, 35 years at Harvard Law school. I think of myself as a leading expert on legal ethics. I’ve never ever seen a case where a lawyer was essentially disbarred … without a hearing. The most basic concept of due process is you don’t deprive somebody of his living, of his freedom, of his ability to work without a hearing. And then the criteria under which they suspended his law license is so vague. It says in the course of representing a client, a lawyer shall not knowingly make a false statement of fact or law to a third person. In other words, if he goes on your show, or he goes on my podcast, or he goes on Fox or anywhere else, and he makes a statement which turns out to be false, and he had reason to believe it was false, he could be disbarred. Do you know how many lawyers we’d have left if we applied that standard across the board? … We have case after case after case where prosecutors, defense attorneys, lawyers of every kind, have made statements … which turn out to be untrue, and they’re never disbarred. And certainly not without a hearing. And so, this is a first. …The atmosphere is such today that if you defended President Trump in any way, they’re out to get you. And they’re certainly out to get Rudy Giuliani.

In other words, the suspension is a politically motivated silencing. I strongly suspect that anti-Trump bias was at the heart of this slap at Giuliani, as Dershowitz says. Turley, in a piece for The Hill, expressed similar concerns:

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Objective Take-Aways From Fiona Hill’s “Fire Alarm” Story

Fiona Hill

I know how I missed this: I won’t watch CNN, and especially not the ridiculous Don Lemon, unless there’s the equivalent of a gun at my head. I finally caught wind of it when a New York Times’ hard left op-ed writers, Nick Kristoff (who is one of the few rational ones in that group) referenced the tale as if it is indisputable proof of President Trump’s awfulness. On June 16, Fiona Hill, once Trump’s top Russia adviser, told Don Lemon that she was so upset at how Trump’s 2018 press conference with Russian President Vladimir Putin was proceeding that she looked for a fire alarm to pull and considered faking a medical emergency when she couldn’t find one, just to disrupt it. “I just thought, let’s cut this off and try to end it. I couldn’t come up with anything that just wouldn’t add to the terrible spectacle,” Hill said on “Don Lemon Tonight.”

The “terrible spectacle” she was trying to avoid was that Trump refused to support US intelligence conclusions that Russia had tried to interfere in the 2016 presidential election. Her self-glorifying account—at least to Trump-haters—didn’t get much coverage beyond CNN: little from the mainstream media, none from the conservative media. I sense, however, based on Kristof’s use of it, that it is destined to be wielded by Democrats as a “this is how terrible it was to have Donald Trump as President” story evermore.

But what Hill’s grandstanding really reveals is something every different, which is how this President, unlike all those before him, was sabotaged actively and passively by members of his own staff and administration who didn’t like him, trust him, respect him, or believe that he was a legitimate President. The media-derided term for what Trump had to contend with was the “deep state,” which had a conspiratorial ring and allowed those who correctly reported what was flamingly obvious to be ridiculed as paranoid. That term, however, was misleading.

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Ethics Villains: The Boston Globe Editorial Board

Globe Logo

The Boston Globe has just published an editorial splashed on its website in the flamboyant style its previous owner, the New York Times, reserved for “important” declarations and propaganda like the “1619 Project.” “The Case For Prosecuting Donald Trump” is the latest installment of the Globe’s ongoing attack on former President Trump, which, of course, began from the moment he was elected. This screed is the current chapter, the sixth, in a project called, clumsily enough, “Future-Proofing the Presidency.” It is, even for the bottom of the barrel level of partisan and biased journalism that is now routine, nauseating. Even the timing of it is unethical—partisan, cynical, and embarrassingly obvious. Donald Trump isn’t President, and the Globe’s claim of fictional urgency regarding an exited POTUS is unprecedented.

Is this worse than the Globe’s stunt in 2016, when it published a fake front page showing what a future Trump Presidency would yield? Oh, I don’t know. I do know that a newspaper that would publish that would be capable of issuing an editorial this bad…and so it has!

The past week has exposed the irresponsible policy calculations of the Biden administration, notably with inflation arising as anyone could have predicted it would with a government that tosses away trillions like money is confetti. The President’s corrupt son has again come under examination, reminding us how the news media, including the Globe, deliberately embargoed information regarding his slimy activities that legitimately raised questions about “The Big Guy.” The illegal immigrant rush to the border, a surge that Democrats and Joe Biden invited, is a disaster. Kamala Harris, assigned the job of managing it, was anointed as a President in Waiting, and has demonstrated (again) how frighteningly unqualified she ,

The party the Globe works for has revealed itself as harboring anti-Semites within its leadership. The previous Democratic President has begun attacking white America and evoking the racist views of his “spiritual advisor” Rev. Wright, though candidate Barack Obama condemned such divisive views in order to get elected in 2008. Yet another false narrative the news media used to undermine President Trump’s re-election prospects was exposed as a lie this week, and the Democratic Party’s plans to enact a radical agenda without anything resembling a popular mandate by eliminating the Senate filibuster have crashed. Another IRS scandal under a Democratic President is emerging—and with all of this happening, and more, the Boston Globe’s priority is examining the Presidency of Donald Trump?

The editorial is deliberate misdirection, and desperately so. Its translation, as a whole, comes to this: “Never mind what’s going on now: wasn’t that last President horrible? Don’t you think we should get him?”

I haven’t read the previous editorials in the series, but as a lawyer, the headline was clickbait. What is the case for prosecuting Trump? The Globe’s editorial board doesn’t make it; they don’t even make a good faith effort. Unbelievably, the Globe’s indictment consists of three “crimes”:

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The Wuhan Virus Origin Debacle: A “Bias Makes You Stupid” Classic

Times Wuhan hack

I periodically am asked why I insist on referring to the pandemic virus, which unquestionably originated in China, almost certainly in the Wuhan province, and was allowed to spread world-wide in part by cover-up activities by the Chinese government, “The Wuhan virus.” After all, the edict came down from our politically-correct betters that this term was “racist,” despite the fact that it conveyed useful and accurate information that the technical term “COVID” does not.

I typically reply that I call it the Wuhan virus because that’s where it came from, and virtually every other virus has been named for its place of origin (sometimes inaccurately). I also do so in defiance of the open scheme among the news media to try to advance the Big Lie that President Trump was being racist by using the term when the news media itself had employed it before deciding this was one more opportunity to undermine Trump’s Presidency.

In addition, I furiously reject the proposition that because idiots and assholes react to truthful statements by behaving unjustly, violently and stupidly, as with the still relatively few who have attacked or abused Asian-Americans using the same cretinous rationale as those who killed dachshunds during World War I, anyone should shade the truth or avoid stating a fact. I reject the Asshole’s Veto, in other words.

There is also this motivating me: China is an international villain, and nobody should pretend otherwise or make any effort to excuse or disguise that nation’s true nature. Moreover, I am not running for office, and have succeeded in making anyone trying to justify the ban on calling a Chinese virus a Chinese virus look like the race-baiting tool that he or she is.

The entire effort to label as racist any statement, theory or belief that China bears responsibility for the virus that has killed millions and savaged the world economy would not have occurred with such fervor if it were not fueled by anti-Trump hatred and bias. Now the inconvenient truth that the virus may have originated in a Wuhan lab is exposing the despicable censorship effort for what it is, so its purveyors are desperately trying avoid the opprobrium they richly deserve.

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Morning Ethics Warm-Up, 5/25/2021: The George Floyd Ethics Train Wreck Is One Year Old Today

happy-birthday-cake-for-1-years-old-girl_225938

It really is amazing: I have already read three references today to George Floyd’s death as a cultural watershed in the U.S. society’s recognition of racial injustice, yet there remains not a single piece of evidence or a logical argument that Floyd’s death had any relationship to his race whatsoever. This was a manufactured narrative that the news media deliberately advanced in flagrant defiance of the facts. I have challenged more indignant progressives than I can count to justify treating Floyd’s death as anything but negligence and brutality by a local cop who should never have been allowed to keep his badge. All they can come up with is that the officer was white, and Floyd was black—in other words, presumed racism based on skin color, which is itself racism, or that the episode had a positive impact, justifying treating it as something it was not. That, of course, is an “ends justifies the means” rationalization.

The ugly episode is a lesson, not in “racial reconciliation,” but in how events can be manipulated for political gain—in this case, involving violent protests and virtual societal extortion— if there is no trustworthy news source to keep the public informed.

Today is also the anniversary of another ethics low in U.S. history. It was on this date in 1861 that President Lincoln suspended the right of habeas corpus so he could keep a Maryland state legislator locked up on the charge of hindering Union troops.

SCOTUS Chief Justice Taney issued a ruling stating that President Lincoln did not have the authority to suspend habeas corpus, but Lincoln, channeling his inner Andrew Jackson, just defied the Court. Five years later, another Supreme Court case held that only Congress could suspend habeas corpus.

1. The Confederate Statuary Ethics Train Wreck misses its biggest target. Good. The giant images of Jefferson Davis, Robert E. Lee and Stonewall Jackson carved into Stone Mountain as Confederate nostalgia’s answer to Mount Rushmore have survived the latest effort to tear them down. The Confederate flags at the base of Georgia’s Stone Mountain, placed there by the United Daughters of the Confederacy, will be removed, and new exhibits will offer a more thorough history of the park, including the role the Ku Klux Klan and resistance to desegregation played in its creation. Also good. The thing is a pro-Confederacy monument to be sure, a defiant one, but it also is a piece of history that should be seen, debated and thought about.

Many dedicated historical censors are upset that the mountain art will not be blown up any time soon. arguing that racist anger, not a desire to honor the South’s heroes, inspired the monument’s creation. OK, and so what? It is a vivid historical relic. Fall River’s Joe Aronoski, 82, told the New York Times after touring Stone Mountain, “It’s American history. It shouldn’t be destroyed. What are you going to do? Make-believe the Civil War didn’t happen?”

Well yes, that’s the general idea behind statue-toppling: make believe any events that make some people “uncomfortable” didn’t happen.

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Trapped In MSNBC Hell!

The_Garden_of_Earthly_Delights_by_Bosch_High_Resolution

My doctor’s waiting room this morning had MSNBC on for some perverse reason. Astounding. Pure propaganda from an alternate reality. I do not understand how anyone with an IQ above that of clam chowder can watch such garbage without having a stroke. Maybe my doctor is trying to drum up business.

This seems unethical to me.

I saw gas lines while driving to my appointment. Israel is under attack again, and the Biden Administration is giving comfort to the Palestinians. Inflation is looming; illegal immigrants are literally being courted by the government. The public is being paid not to work; the CDC has its knee on the neck of our basic liberties. Crime is surging in the major cities as law enforcement is being demonized.The President is essentially Chauncey Gardener. And what does MSNBC consider the most important story of the day?

House Republicans are stripping Liz Cheney of her leadership position. Seriously. MSNBC had a stern-looking panel that was treating this bit of inside baseball as if it was a momentous occurrence. Why? Easy: it allowed the talking heads to talk about Donald Trump, to cheer someone who hates him as much as they do, and to denigrate Republicans for doing what any responsible political party would do, because MSNBC is a Democratic Party propaganda organ.

Of course Cheney is losing her post. A party can’t have one of its leaders constantly bashing its previous President who over 75 million people voted for just months ago! That’s suicidal. Like it or not, Donald Trump is popular with the GOP base, and Liz Cheney, whose animus toward him is at least as personal as it is substantive, can’t change that, especially since she has the personal charisma of a toilet brush. All she can do is weaken the party.

Can you imagine how long it would have taken the Democrats to dump a Congressional leader who dared to criticize Barack Obama? Hilariously, MSNBC was prominently featuring the certifiably incompetent Michael Steele, former Republican National Committee Chairman, as a critic of his party’s action against Cheney. This was the man who prompted Tucker Carlson to facepalm during the debate among candidates for the RNC position when Steele answered the question, “What is your favorite novel?” with the howler, “‘War and Peace’…’It was the best of times, it was the worst of times!” Under his leadership, Republicans sent out fundraisers disguised as official census documents. Steele isn’t just an idiot, he’s an unethical idiot.

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Three Ethics Metaphors: The Rise, The Presidency And The Fall Of Donald J. Trump, Part I

dog pilot

I have to cleanse the blog of Trump related markers, like having “The Presidential Impeachment And Removal Plans, 2016-2020” link under the home page banner, and the “This Helps Explain Why Trump Is President” categories to tag articles. I’m not nostalgic or anything, I just hate blog housekeeping. But It’s also time to close that chapter with an ethics assessment of the Trump Presidency.

Three metaphors I applied to the nation’s Trump adventure nicely encapsulate what went on, I think. Beginning in late 2015, I derided the idea that electing (or nominating) Donald Trump to be President was the equivalent of the passengers in an airplane navigating a storm voting to let a dog (in some versions, a chimp) try flying the craft. The metaphor was apt, and it’s still apt, even though the dog/chimp equivalent did not crash the plane and kill everyone in it. That was moral luck, as pure as it can be. It was madness for this country to permit a man with Trump’s well-documented character flaws and proven proclivities both and executive and a human being control the destiny of the nation in 2016. Concluding otherwise is indefensible. A valued commentator here has apparently abandoned commenting here because he objected to my tendency to designate what he considered opinions as facts. I’m sure that he considers this one of those, but he’s wrong and I’m right. It’s a fact that Donald Trump had proven beyond the shadow of a doubt that he was unfit to be President before the 2015 debates, and he did nothing during the campaign to undercut that conclusion. It’s a fact that a dog shouldn’t fly a plane, and similarly, it’s a fact that Donald Trump should not have been allowed to come within miles of the White House, except as a visitor. Hillary was right: for the most part, those who were advocating Trump’s Presidency were deplorable: ignorant, reckless, irrational, walking and voting examples of the perhaps fatal flaws in democracy. She was just the worst possible individual to make that observation, since giving Clinton and her party the power she sought, while different from allowing a dog to fly the plane, was still wrong. It was just more like allowing a kamikaze pilot to fly the plane.

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