Shaun King: Activist Ignoramus

Deep thoughts from Shaun King…

Activists who have neither knowledge nor understanding of the government, the Constitution, civics and basic political realities should be accorded no respect, attention or influence. Since their pronouncements and assertions are based on bad information and misconceptions (and perhaps stupidity), who cares what they think about an issue? The news media should ignore them; politicians should ignore them; everyone should ignore them. Well, except to mock them. They deserved to be mocked.

This brings us to Shaun King, the Black Lives Matter activist and writer—and the fact that someone as ignorant as King can make a living as a writer is disturbing in itself.  He is on the staff of The New York Daily News as the “senior justice writer.” I’ll remind you of this later.

King just delivered his signature significance self-exposé via his favorite mode of communication, social media, in this case, Twitter. This means that many thousands of his followers, as well as the news media, now have incontrovertible evidence to prove beyond a shadow of a doubt that he knows less about the country he lives in and its government than we should expect from a 7th grader.

Behold!

Yesterday, King announced on Twitter what he called “serious but wild” questions. Sit down for this. I mean it.

His first:

1. Can the people of the United States somehow hold a vote now, or next year, to oust Donald Trump? Like a recall of some sort?

His second…

In laymen’s terms, what would it take for the USA to pass a Constitutional Amendment for a President Recall like CA has for a Governor?

Uh oh…I was afraid of this…

There goes the head…

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In A Sufficiently Rational And Ethical Society, The Official Apology To African-Americans By The International Association Of Chiefs Of Police Would Begin A Productive Process Toward Healing Distrust Between Police And Black Communities. This Is Not A Sufficiently Rational And Ethical Society.

"Not a bad speech, Chief, but since we all know you and your kind are part of a racist conspiracy to murder unarmed black men, not nearly good enough."

“Not a bad speech, Chief, but since we all know you and your kind are part of a racist conspiracy to murder unarmed black men, not nearly good enough.”

Terrence M. Cunningham, the chief of police in Wellesley, Mass, and the president of America’s largest police management organization, announced a formal apology to the nation’s minority population this week.

Cunningham delivered his remarks at the convention in San Diego of the International Association of Chiefs of Police, whose membership includes 23,000 police officials in the United States. He said in part:

There have been times when law enforcement officers, because of the laws enacted by federal, state, and local governments, have been the face of oppression for far too many of our fellow citizens. In the past, the laws adopted by our society have required police officers to perform many unpalatable tasks, such as ensuring legalized discrimination or even denying the basic rights of citizenship to many of our fellow Americans.

While this is no longer the case, this dark side of our shared history has created a multi-generational—almost inherited—mistrust between many communities of color and their law enforcement agencies. Many officers who do not share this common heritage often struggle to comprehend the reasons behind this historic mistrust. As a result, they are often unable to bridge this gap and connect with some segments of their communities.

While we obviously cannot change the past, it is clear that we must change the future. We must move forward together to build a shared understanding. We must forge a path that allows us to move beyond our history and identify common solutions to better protect our communities. For our part, the first step in this process is for law enforcement and the IACP to acknowledge and apologize for the actions of the past and the role that our profession has played in society’s historical mistreatment of communities of color.

At the same time, those who denounce the police must also acknowledge that today’s officers are not to blame for the injustices of the past. If either side in this debate fails to acknowledge these fundamental truths, we will be unlikely to move past them. Overcoming this historic mistrust requires that we must move forward together in an atmosphere of mutual respect. All members of our society must realize that we have a mutual obligation to work together to ensure fairness, dignity, security, and justice.

It is my hope that, by working together, we can break this historic cycle of mistrust and build a better and safer future for us all.

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No, There Is Nothing Unethical Or Hypocritical About A Feminist Lawyer Defending Roger Ailes

"A feminist lawyer like Estrich taking on the same clients men do? That's outr...wait, what side am I on again?"

“A feminist lawyer like Estrich taking on the same clients men do? That’s outr…wait, what side am I on again?”

Fired Fox News creator Roger Aisle hired renowned feminist lawyer and teacher Susan Estrich to defend him against the sexual harassment law suit filed by former Fox Blonde Gretchen Carlson. Responding to shock and disappointment among some feminists and others that Estrich would “abandon her principles” to defend such a client, Slate’s feminism reporter Nora Caplan-Bricker authored a post titled “The One Good Reason for a Trailblazing Feminist Lawyer to Defend Roger Ailes.”

This is in the category of a supposedly enlightening post that actually makes readers less informed. There only needs to be one Reason for a Trailblazing Feminist Lawyer to Defend Roger Ailes, and it is a great reason. Susan Estrich is  a lawyer; lawyers defend people who are sued; lawyers do not have to agree with, support or approve of  a client’s alleged actions requiring such a defense; and there’s is no reason in legal ethics or any other ethical system that argues that a U.S. citizen shouldn’t have access to the best representation possible.

For her part, Estrich has said that she is taking the case because “The individual gets convicted long before he or she has had an opportunity to defend himself. And that’s not fair, whether it is happening to a woman or a man.” That’s the civil law equivalent of the late Johnnie Cochran defending his accepting O.J. as a client by saying, “In this country, everyone has the right to be treated as innocent until found guilty by a jury of his peers.”

Partial translation of both statements: “I’m a lawyer, and I don’t judge my clients. That’s not my job. My job is to help them use the law and legal system for their own purposes and protection, like any other citizen.”

I’ve written about this aspect of lawyers’ vital function in society, one that non-lawyers just cannot seem to grasp, so many times. Here’s a recent post; but maybe this one from 2015 is more on point. That one was about progressive legal icon and Harvard law prof Larry Tribe representing Peabody Energy, the world’s largest private-sector coal company, in a lawsuit that sought to invalidate some EPA regulations adverse to their horrible, evil, earth-destroying–but legal!–business. Tribe was called a traitor to the Cause of turning the U.S. into a wind and solar run nation, and I explained that the attacks on him, like all such attacks, were based on a stubborn lack of comprehension by non-lawyers, writing..

That is what lawyers do, and what they exist to do: represent citizens and companies as they seek to avail themselves of their guaranteed right to use the law to protect their interests. The public and media just don’t get it, and appear to be immune from educating on the subject: what your lawyer personally believes about your cause doesn’t matter. His or her job isn’t to judge you or your purpose. It is to give you the chance to use your rights to due process and the courts to have the law work for you rather than against you, and to have your position, if legal, serious and offered sincerely, represented by the best legal talent available.  Whether or not Tribe personally believes or supports the position being taken by his client is irrelevant to his role, unless he is so unprofessional (as in emotional and unable to overcome his own biases) that he can’t represent a client whose objectives he opposes. Then he would be obligated to refuse the representation. Then he would also be a poor lawyer, and Lawrence Tribe is anything but.

Replace “Larry Tribe” in that paragraph with “Susan Estrich”, and save me some time.

Thanks! Continue reading

Gov. Rick Scott Provides A Perfect Example of “Punching Down.”

A political activist ambushed Florida Rick Scott when he stopped by a Gainesville Starbucks to get a cup of coffee, calling him an “asshole” and arranging to have the whole encounter videoed, so it could be placed on YouTube, where it  promptly went viral. I wrote about it here.

In a sad and petty example of tit for tat, Scott has unveiled an attack video against his tormenter, Cara Jennings, a former Lake Worth city commissioner. Beginning with Jennings asking, “A million jobs? Great, who here has a great job?” a male voice answers, “Well, almost everybody – except those that are sitting around coffee shops, demanding public assistance, surfing the Internet, and cursing at customers who come in.”

Scott’s video was called “Latte Liberal Gets an Earful,” appeared Friday on Scott’s official YouTube channel and features the words “Sponsored by Let’s Get to Work,” which is the governor’s political action committee.

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.

___________________

Facts: Sun-Sentinal

Pop Ethics Quiz: Showdown At Starbucks

Florida Governor Rick Scott just wanted to get a cup of coffee during a visit to a Starbucks in downtown Gainesville, but instead was ambushed by former Lake Worth City Commissioner Cara Jennings, who was already at a table, just by coincidence, of course.

“You cut Medicaid so I couldn’t get Obamacare,” she yelled at Scott, as a man who, also by coincidence, happened to have a political YouTube channel and just happened to be ready with his camera recorded everything to post online. “You’re an asshole. You don’t care about working people. You should be ashamed to show your face around here.”

The surprised Governor retorted  that he had created a million jobs, and his tormenter mocked,“A million jobs? Great, who here has a great job? I was looking forward to finishing school. You really feel you have a job coming up?”

“Shame on you Rick Scott,” she added. “We depend on those services. Rich people like you don’t know what to do.”

Scott left without his coffee.

Now quick, in three seconds: what was the most unethical conduct on display here?

I have checked the comment threads in conservative and left-leaning blogs and news sources, and no commenter has mentioned it. Continue reading

Observations On The Center for Medical Progress Indictment In The Planned Parenthood Case

Never mind....

A Houston grand jury investigating undercover footage of Planned Parenthood taken in a lengthy hidden-camera sting operation engineered by the Center for Medical Progress not only found no wrongdoing by Planned Parenthood, it instead indicted the anti-abortion activists involved in making the videos. The Center’s founder David Daleiden was indicted on a felony charge of tampering with a governmental record and a misdemeanor count related to purchasing human organs. Another activist involved in the operation, Sandra Merritt, was indicted on a charge of tampering with a governmental record, which carries a maximum penalty of 20 years in prison.

1. It looks like they may have violated the law, at least it looks that way sufficiently to justify an indictment. In order to sting Planned Parenthood, the Center and its allies 1) used a fake drivers license and 2) allegedly offered to buy human baby parts, which is against the law. I have no problem with the indictment, and neither should anybody else. The ends don’t justify the means, and an activist group trying to do what it thinks is right has no more leave to break laws than anyone else.

2. The Center for Medical Progress defends it actions  by arguing that its activists use “the same undercover techniques that investigative journalists have used for decades in exercising our First Amendment rights to freedom of speech and of the press.” That’s an everybody does ut argument. As the Volokh Conspiracy, points out, journalists have no more right to break laws than anyone else.

3. Kevin Drum, at Mother Jones, of all places, questions the indictment because “the law prohibiting the solicitation of human organs for purchase was clearly intended to prevent a black market in such things, not to punish people who are so against the sale of human organs that they falsely represent themselves as buyers in hopes of discovering and shutting down illegal activity.”  I take it back; that sounds like a Mother Jones argument. It’s like saying that murder laws exist to stop good people from being killed by bad people, and shouldn’t apply to good people killing bad people. Or that laws against theft were never intended to punish a poor family trying to feed its children. Laws are put in place to stop conduct that society doesn’t want to occur. When an exception is necessary, then an exception must be drafted,  passed, and signed into.  law. Continue reading

Debate Questions No Democrat Will Ever Be Asked (2): “Do You Agree With The Obama Dept. Of Education That A School Must Allow A Physically Male Student Who Identifies As Female And Is A Member Of A Girl’s Sports Team To Change And Shower In The Girls’ Locker Room Without Restrictions?”

showers

It is ironic that so soon after Rachel Dolezal finally admitted the undeniable and agreed that she is, in fact, white, the federal government accepted the Caitlyn Jenner Fallacy and declared that all it takes to turn a male into a female for school policy purposes is feelings, no re-assembly required.

From the New York Times:

Federal education authorities, staking out their firmest position yet on an increasingly contentious issue, found Monday that an Illinois school district [Township High School District 211] violated anti-discrimination laws when it did not allow a transgender student who identifies as a girl and participates on a girls’ sports team to change and shower in the girls’ locker room without restrictions. 

To be blunt, and I mean blunt, this means that if a human being with a fully functioning penis says he’s a girl, a public high school is obligated by the Constitution to pretend he does not have said penis, and he must be treated as a girl and no different from any other girls in all respects. This right that nobody ever heard of before thereby means that the boy-with-a-penis-who-identifies-as-a-girl-without- one is legally able to demand that he is allowed to embarrass, upset and threaten girls who do not have cocks by forcing them, rather than him—oops, her— to dress and shower away from the group.

Everyone except the victimized members of the school’s team are wrong on this one, and there will be consequences. The school was wrong to pander to a nascent transgender social justice warrior by allowing him-becoming-her to be on the girls team in the first place.”Here’s the rule,” they should have said, “The only way we can separate girls and boys is the same way doctors do when a baby is born. How you feel is irrelevant. Which team you want to be on is irrelevant. If you have a penis, which you do, and no vagina, which you do not, then you play on the boy’s teams, or no team at all. Your choice.” Unfortunately, most school are not just run by liberals, but cowardly, intellectually lazy liberals. Nor did they see that transgender activists, like most activists, will push for more and more until they end up alienating many who support their basic argument.

Then there is the boy/girl, who was offered reasonable accommodations by the school, and decided to be a trailblazer for all similarly encumbered self-identifying females [ I made a cheap and vulgar reference here, and deleted it. I am ashamed.] and fight for their right to parade such male accessories in the faces of young women who should not have to be confronted with them in the girl’s shower.

Read my commentary on this problem. I am sympathetic, and I believe that the transitioning male-born kid who is certain that he has no snakes and snails and puppy dog tails inside should be respected and treated with dignity and compassion on his way to her-dom. He shouldn’t be bullied and he shouldn’t be discriminated against. But a rule that holds “No penises in the girl’s shower ” is not discrimination. It is common sense. It is manners.

Nor does transitioning genders make it ethical to be an asshole. Continue reading