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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Re Rudy Giuliani’s “Interim Suspension”

rudy_giuliani_ap

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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Res Ipsa Loquitur: “State Election Board Report –November 13, 2020 Unabridged Notes Detailing Everything Witnessed Nov 2-Nov 7, 2020”

Report

Tell me again how there is no reason to doubt the integrity of the 2020 Presidential election, and how President Trump’s claims that the election was “stolen” are baseless, and how any skeptic who states that the vote totals may have been manipulated is “lying.”

A private report from a contractor hired by Secretary of State Brad Raffensperger to monitor the Atlanta-area election process” was released yesterday by Just the News.

The report chronicles seven days of problems, unexplained behavior, and ominous irregularities.

Constructed like a minute-by-minute diary, contractor Carter Jones cited double-counting of votes, insecure storage of ballots, possible violations of voter privacy, the mysterious removal of election materials at a vote collection warehouse, and the suspicious movement of “too many” ballots on Election Day.

“This seems like a massive chain of custody problem,” Jones warned in the memo delivered by his firm Seven Hill Strategies to Raffensperger’s office shortly after the election. (Why we are only seeing it now is a topic for investigation all its own.) That obervation occured at 4:00 p.m. on Election Day, as Jones observed absentee ballots arriving at the county’s central absentee scanning center at Atlanta’s State Farm Arena “in rolling bins 2k at a time.” “It is my understanding is that the ballots are supposed to be moved in numbered, sealed boxes to protect them,” he wrote. They weren’t. He also observes, “Too many ballots coming in for secure black ballot boxes,” he observed.

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Ethics Catch-Up, 6/10/2021 (But I Keep Falling Further Behind!)

Hamster wheel

That’s not me, by the way. I would never wear a shirt like that…

1. Not substantiated, but worth mentioning: Fulton County, Georgia, poll manager Suzi Voyles says that when she sorted through a stack of mail-in ballots last November, she noticed strange uniformity in the markings on ballots favoring Joe. Biden. All the absentee votes contained perfectly filled-in ovals for Biden, except that each of the darkened bubbles featured an identical white space inside them in the shape of a tiny crescent, indicating they had been marked with toner ink instead of a pen or pencil. All of these ballots were printed on different stock paper than the others she handled as part of a statewide hand recount of the 2020 Presidential election, and none were folded or creased, as mail-in ballots usually are. To her, the Biden votes looked like they’d been duplicated by a copying machine. At least three other poll workers observed the same thing in stacks of absentee ballots for Biden they handled, have joined Voyles in swearing under penalty of perjury that they something was—is—seriously amiss. A state judge has ordered that all of the 147,000 mail-in ballots counted in Fulton be unsealed to allow a closer inspection of the Biden ballots for evidence of counterfeiting. Observations:

  • Why is this only happening now, rather than before the results were certified?
  • Even if the audit show that Trump “won” Georgia, indeed even if similar audits show that he should have won the election, nothing will change as far as the current government is concerned. You can’t unring that bell. Congratulate the Democrats: it worked!
  • Even the Georgia audit alone, if it turned up sufficient counterfeit ballots, would still force some accountability on the news media and progressive pundits, who have rather too vigorously insisted that the election was as pure as the driven snow.
  • So far, the mainstream media has ignored this story, and will continue to if it comes to nothing. Right now, it’s officially just more conservative conspiracy theory.
  • I am certain that there are many in authority who believe that even if there was widespread fraud in 2020, it shouldn’t be revealed because that knowledge would cause civil unrest. I almost feel that way myself, except that Democrats and news media have been shouting from the rafters that complaints about the loose controls on mail-in ballots are fanciful, and that Trump is “lying” when he says the election was stolen. Now the truth has to be determined, so that highly dubious narrative doesn’t prevent essential reforms.
  • If the Xeroxed ballot accusation turns out to be legitimate, things will get ugly. At that point, maybe they have to.

2. Accountability Ethics, Baseball Division. The last two nights, the Houston Astros were booed lustily in Boston by fans indignant about that team’s cheating in 2017, including during a close play-off series with the Red Sox on the way to the Astros’ World Championship. There’s a disconnect here: the primary villain in the cheating scandal is the current Red Sox manager, Alex Cora, who engineered the sign-stealing scheme the team used to help it’s hitters all season. Cora, of course, hasn’t bee jeered at all. Alex said that the booing of his former team made him uncomfortable. Good! He told the press after the game in part,

“Tough to hear it. Because at the end, I was part of that. I was part of the 2017 Astros, and I was part of the whole sign-stealing situation and them being booed and screamed at … I was part of that, too. I know there’s a lot of people in this town who are fans of the Boston Red Sox that don’t agree that I’m the manager [Note: Like me…] There’s others that yeah, they’re OK with it and others, they’re just happy that we have this [winning] record. But that was something I was wondering for a while — how people were going to treat them — because at the end, we were part of it. [Clarification: Not “part of it,” Alex. You were the instigator of it.] Me and [current Red Sox player] Marwin [Gonzalez] were part of that, and it was a tough one last night. When I got home, I thought about it. I was like, ‘Wow.’ It was tough. It was a tough night.”

Not tough enough. I also liked how he threw his own player under the metaphorical bus. Most Boston fans had forgotten that Gonzales, now with the Sox , was one of the Astros’ sign-stealing cheats. I’m sure he was happy to hear his manager remind everyone in his new city.

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“Trump Lost, Didn’t He?” One More Piece Of Damaging Anti-Trump Fake News Is Proven False

When President Trump claims the election was stolen, this is the kind of thing he should focus on.

The U.S. Department of Interior’s Office of the Inspector General released its findings after investigating law enforcement’s actions on June 1 of 2020, when police removed protesters from Lafayette Square in Washington, D.C., ahead of President Donald Trump walk to St. John’s Church, after “peaceful protesters” had set it aflame. The authorities made the decision to clear out the park in order to install fencing amid ongoing rioting in the area following the death of George Floyd, the investigation determined, and not for to give Trump a photo op, as the news media furiously reported. Inspector General Mark Lee Greenblatt’s thorough and detailed report concludes,

“We found that the USPP had the authority and discretion to clear Lafayette Park and the surrounding areas on June 1. The evidence we obtained did not support a finding that the USPP cleared the park to allow the President to survey the damage and walk to St. John’s Church.”

Oh! That’s funny…at the time, ABC News anchor George Stephanopoulos reported that “The administration asked police to clear peaceful protesters from the park across the White House so that the President could stage a photo op.” “Reported” means it’s factual, right? ABC checked it out, it didn’t just follow what protesters said and the DNC told them to say, right? Just like NPR‘s headline “Peaceful Protesters Tear-Gassed To Clear Way For Trump Church Photo-Op” had to be based on solid facts and objective reporting, or it would have said “allegedly” or “some say,” correct? The New York Times–you know, the best of the best?—would never have printed “Protesters Dispersed With Tear Gas So Trump Could Pose at Church” if it wasn’t true, isn’t that how the “paper of record” is supposed to work? In a widely circulated video, a man interviewed on the scene said, “To me, the way our military and police have behaved toward the protesters at the instruction of President Trump has almost been Nazi-like.” Perfect!

Then, handed a false narrative, another Big Lie to run with, Democrats didn’t disappoint. Here’s Joe Biden or his ventriloquist:

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Dear Red Sox: That Was An Unethical Banner, But You Asked For It

trump-won-banner-fenway-park

During yesterday’s late afternoon game Red Sox game against the Miami Marlins in Fenway Park, some fans unfurled a huge “Trump won — Save America” banner over the centerfield wall during the fourth inning. The banner was confiscated and the fans ejected from the game. Some of the players and quite a few spectators were amused. Similar messages appeared on banners unfurled during Mets and Yankees games in recent weeks.

The Red Sox have long had a policy prohibiting large signs and banners in the park, though I have seen some appear without the park staff taking action. Political signs have always been taboo. In 2017, this sign…

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Ethics Dunce: Prof. Jonathan Turley

Charliebrown-1-

Oh, fine. Now Professor Jonathan Turley, whom Ethics Alarms often relies on for sound, unbiased reasoning and constitutional expertise, is perpetuating an apparently unkillable progressive false narrative. And there is no excuse for it. Not for Turley, not for anyone.

I was going to reference his commentary regarding the idiotic and ignorant claim being pushed by deplorables—like Trump lawyer Sidney Powell, a real embarrassment to the legal profession—that Trump could be “reinstated” as President once it is proven that the 2020 election was stolen and he really won. As shouldn’t even need to be explained, not by Turley, not by a community college volunteer civics teacher with a losed head injury, that cannot happen. Never. Even if it could be shown that Trump won, which is also so close to impossible that it’s not worth discussing, there is still no way to undo a Presidential election. Then, right in the middle of Turley’s explanation, I read this:

“In Florida, later tallies indicated that Al Gore likely won that state. It did not matter. George Bush was already sworn in as president.”

Et tu, Turley? That’s something Trump might write, but he’s not a professor or a lawyer. It’s something Powell might write, but she’s an idiot. Hey, I know blogging takes a lot of time, and checking the accuracy of what you write when you just want to get a post up is a pain, but people trust you, damn it. You have an obligation not to be careless. You have an even greater obligation not to perpetuate Left-wing lies and propaganda.

I trust Turley to such an extent that I began to doubt my own knowledge and research. Wait, could that be true? How did I get that wrong for all these years? It took me 42 seconds to confirm that Turley repeated an easily-checked partisan falsehood, probably because so many of his leftist colleagues at the George Washington law school believe it. From that infamous conservative lie machine, PBS:

Media Recount: Bush Won the 2000 Election

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The Bureau of Land Management’s Ethics Wild Horse Wreck

Wild horses

By purest coincidence, Tucker Carlson had a segment on Fox New last night about the federal government’s wild horse fiasco (I didn’t see it), a topic I’ve had on the Ethics Alarms issue runway for the better part of a month.

The Bureau of Land Management is charged with the care of the nation’s wild horses and burros. These once numbered in the millions in North America, but after the Western settlement and the diminishing of the open range after the 19 century, the beasts were widely hunted and turned into fertilizer and dog food. By 1971, when they were finally given protection by law, there were fewer than 20,000 left. But freed from predators (like man) wild horse herds increase by about 20% a year. The herds started growing faster than the government had planned or budgeted for.

About 3,500 mustangs and burros a year are rounded up and resettled into a network of government storage pastures and corrals known the holding system. The 51,000 animals in the system cost taxpayers $60 million a year, leaving little in the budget to protect the rest of the wild mustangs running free. Legislators and regulators are afraid of the wrath of PETA and voters who would he horrified at the government killing these symbols of the old West and wild America, so the country is stuck. What to do?

Well, some genius came up with the Adoption Incentive Program in 2019, which was supposed to move wild mustangs and burros out of government corrals into what dog rescue groups call “forever homes.” Horse-lovers were paid a cool $1,000 for each equine friend they adopted, a good deal for Uncle Sam, who has to pay an average of $24,000 during the lifetime of each wild horse. Thousands of alleged wild horse enthusiasts signed up to get their horses and checks. The number of horses leaving the holding system more than doubled. The Bureau of Land Management pronounced it “a win for all involved” that was helping “animals find homes with families who will care for and enjoy them for years to come.”

OK, now, you’re smart. What is the obvious flaw in this plan? Come on. Fredo Corleone could figure it out with a little effort.

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Morning Ethics Warm-Up, 5/28/2021: Memorial Day Weekend Edition

Jack Marshall Sr Army portrait

I’ll be visiting the Major (and Mom) at Arlington National Cemetery this weekend.

1. Well, let’s start the morning and end the week with evidence of progress…Mickey Callaway, the former manager of the New York Mets and recently fired pitching coach of the California Angels, has seen his baseball career implode because of what appears to be a habit of harrassing women in his workplace, which is Major League Baseball. Callaway, who has been banned from the game at least through 2022 after an investigation of the complaints made by more than five women, released a statement that is as close to a Level One apology on the Ethics Alarms Apology Scale as one is likely to see. That’s this one:

An apology motivated by the realization that one’s past conduct was unjust, unfair, and wrong, constituting an unequivocal admission of wrongdoing as well as regret, remorse and contrition, as part of a sincere effort to make amends and seek forgiveness.

Here’s Callaway’s version:

“My family and I fully support MLB’s strong stance against harassment and discrimination and are grateful to the Commissioner and his office for their thorough investigation. I apologize to the women who shared with investigators any interaction that made them feel uncomfortable. To be clear, I never intended to make anyone feel this way and didn’t understand that these interactions might do that or violate MLB policies. However, those are my own blind spots, and I take responsibility for the consequences.In my 25 years in professional baseball I have never taken for granted the privilege of being even a small part of this great game of ours. To say I regret my past poor choices would be an understatement. I remain hopeful that I can return to baseball when eligible at the conclusion of next season, but for now, I plan to work on my own shortcomings and repairing any damage I have caused with my colleagues and, particularly, my family.”

Joe Biden could have made that exact apology, without the baseball reference, of course. He never had to.

2. Incompetent question, perfect answer:

Monica tweet

Those are eye-roll emojis. Monica also gets points for brevity. She just missed tying author Victor Hugo for the record for shortest published message, in his case, a telegram to his publisher regarding the fate of his submitted manuscript for “Les Miserables.” Hugo wrote “?“. The publisher replied, “!“.

I won’t even take away ethics points from Monica for pandering to the Worst of the Woke by listing her preferred pronouns.

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More Evidence Of How The Presidency May Have Been Stolen. More Is Surely On The Way…

President Trump was wrong to keep claiming that voter fraud was responsible for his 2020 election loss; indeed he was wrong to be the one to question the fairness of election at all. However, the constant mantra in the mainstream news media that his complaints that the election was “stolen,” “rigged” or “fixed” are “false” meets the classic standard for “protesting too much.”

The 2020 election was rigged, as I explained here. The rigging by the mainstream media began from the second Donald Trump was elected, causing Democrats, progressives and especially journalists to abandon tradition, sound democratic principles, fairness, responsibility and ethics to do everything in their power to undermine the elected President of the United States, because they didn’t vote for him, didn’t like him, and refused to accept Hillary Clinton’s well-earned defeat. Out of this, what I have (correctly) termed the worst ethics breach in our society since at least the Second World War, we got the succession of Big Lies and the series of plots to remove Trump from office, including two unjustified and unethical impeachments.

I doubt that any President in our history could have overcome the deliberately biased news coverage and the barrage of fake negative news Donald Trump was attacked with for four straight years. It’s impossible to say, since no elected President, not even Richard Nixon, was subjected to anything similar. It is also impossible to say, it must be emphasized, that the despicable and unethical journalism used to undermine Trump actually caused his loss. This is, however approximately the same argument the defense in the Derek Chauvin trial is making. The media’s knee was on the President’s neck, but there were other things that might have killed his Presidency. It does not make the news media’s conduct any less wrong.

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