Ethics Observations On The President’s “So-Called Judge” Tweet

Donald J. Trump - ø@realDonaldTrump The opinion of this so-called judge, which essentially takes law-enforcement away from our country, is ridiculous and will be overturned! 1:12 PM - 4 Feb 2017 Donald Trump Tweet

Ugh.

In case you were lucky enough to miss it, after Judge James Robart temporarily blocked  President Trump‘s Executive order halting  immigration from seven Middle East nations teaming with terrorists, nationwide, the President responded on Twitter yesterday:

Tweet 1.:

When a country is no longer able to say who can, and who cannot , come in & out, especially for reasons of safety &.security – big trouble!

Tweet 2.:

Interesting that certain Middle-Eastern countries agree with the ban. They know if certain people are allowed in it’s death & destruction!

Tweet 3.:

The opinion of this so-called judge, which essentially takes law-enforcement away from our country, is ridiculous and will be overturned!

The last one inspired expressions of alarm and horror:

Senator Schumer: “POTUS’s attack on Judge Robart shows a disdain for an ind. judiciary that doesn’t bend to his wishes & lack of respect for the Constitution.”

Bernie Sanders: “Trump has to learn the very important truth stated by Washington AG Bob Ferguson: “No one is above the law, not even the president.”

Representative Jerry Nadler: ” No “so-called.” Judge Robart is a GWB appointee who was confirmed 99-0. We are watching closely your contempt for our Judicial Branch.”

Evan McMullin—remember, the Independent who ran to be President of Utah?—wrote,

“Disagreeing with a court decision is fine, but undermining the legitimacy of a judge and the Judiciary Branch is a threat to the Republic.”

(Somehow I just don’t think that a President who has for three months watched an entire political party seek to undermine the legitimacy of a duly elected POTUS–him–with protests, riots, recounts, an Electoral College rebellion, calls for impeachment, calls for military coups, Hitler comparisons, accusations of incest with his daughter,  insanity, and conspiracy theories involving Russia will take too seriously the argument that three words in a tweet is a “threat to the Republic.” I could be wrong…)

Naturally bloggers, pundits and social media users have reacted to the three words with even more intensity.

Ethics Observations: Continue reading

Ethics Dunces: PayPal, And Those Applauding Its Unethical Grandstanding

PayPal-logo-1

The online payments company PayPal announced that it is cancelling plans to open an office in Charlotte, North Carolina because the state’s so-called “bathroom law” “violates PayPal values.” Dan Schulman, PayPal’s president and chief executive, wrote in a statement this week:

“The new law perpetuates discrimination and it violates the values and principles that are at the core of PayPal’s mission and culture. As a result, PayPal will not move forward with our planned expansion into Charlotte.”

My many knee-jerk progressive Facebook friends immediately slapped their seal-flippers together and barked their approval in unison. “I (heart) PayPal!” more than one wrote. “PayPal is my hero!” wrote others.

Never mind that a corporation has no business using financial muscle to exercise extra-legal vetoes over legislation in states where it is not a citizen and where the actual citizens, in their legal exercise of their rights, have elected representatives who duly passed it. This cheering on excessive and abusive influence on governance by big corporations is especially hypocritical coming from supporters of Bernie and Hillary, who regularly claim that allowing companies the right to engage in political speech magically robs voters of their ability to reason and causes all to vote, zombie-like, according to corporate America’s will.

This is why Bernie Sanders and Donald Trump are leading…wait, that doesn’t make sense, does it? Actually none of the popular and media attacks on Citizens United are grounded in reality, law, or comprehension of the Constitution, and virtually none of the indignant opponents of the decision have read it or listened to the revealing oral argument. But I digress. The point is that the progressives endorse the practice of corporations using their power to warp the system in directions progressives like, but believe that this—this meaning bullying, threats and coercion— is the only form of influence that should be allowed—certainly not speech and advocacy.

That is just half of what makes the cheering for PayPal foolish and cynical. For PayPal is playing these people like a harpsichord, and indulging in outrageous, hypocritical grandstanding. Moving an office into North Carolina where the bathroom privileges of trans citizens are being restricted “violates the values and principles that are at the core of PayPal’s mission and culture,” but somehow… Continue reading

Ethics Update: The Frontrunners

the-three-stooges6

There was ample evidence over the past week that all three of the candidates currently leading their respective party’s races for the presidential nomination are unqualified for the office by virtue of their deficiencies of competence, character, and principles. Hillary Clinton had the most spectacularly revealing week, but first, the other two….

Donald Trump: Hubris, incompetence, disrespect and unfairness

1. “I could stand in the middle of 5th Avenue and shoot somebody and I wouldn’t lose voters,” Trump boasted at a campaign rally yesterday. I know, it’s a joke. It’s also an astoundingly stupid thing to say, even in jest, and reveals massive hubris, the quality that brought down many a Greek king and the worst and most dangerous of all Trump flaws. This is what will get him, sooner or later. 3000 years of history and literature teach us that. The comment also reveals utter contempt for his supporters; he is essentially calling them blind morons. The crowd in Iowa laughed….because they are.

2.“Our great veterans are being treated terribly,” Trump says in a new campaign video. “The corruption in the Veteran’s administration, the incompetence is beyond. We will stop that.” Then critics pointed out that the clips used showed Russian veterans, not Americans, and he pulled the ad.

This is the man whose only claim to legitimacy is his management wizardry. Such an error, however, is proof of sloppy oversight and incompetent delegation. Moreover, this is the second time a Trump campaign ad  included mislabeled material: his illegal immigration ad earlier this month used footage of people crossing the Moroccan border to represent the U.S.-Mexico border. Conclusion: he’s faking it, “it” meaning everything. This is all posturing and bluffing, like a student taking an exam for a course he never studied for. Continue reading

Stop Labeling The Sixth Circuit’s Approval Of Gay Marriage Bans As “Right Wing”

prop-8People who don’t (or can’t) read court decisions—and in this very large group I include most pundits and journalists—are prone to dismiss careful thought out and reasoned judicial arguments that took careful research and consideration as the product of political bias rather than what they (usually) are: sincere, honest, intelligent dissections of issues that are far more complex than advocates for opposing sides care to admit.

The Sixth Circuit just triggered an almost certain U.S. Supreme Court review of state same-sex marriage bans by upholding such bans in several states. Immediately, pro-gay marriage advocates and pundits attacked the decision as “right wing,” as if the court reached the decision from a starting point hostile to gays and homosexuality generally. The implication of this interpretation is that judges do not follow the law, legal principles and standards of jurisprudence and construction, but merely decide what result they wish to reach based on ideological and partisan biases, and then write essays of advocacy disguised as objective analysis.

The presumption is both ignorant, unfair, and convenient. It is ignorant because it assumes that the judicial profession and those in that profession ignore the primary ethical requirements of being a judge, standards that have stood unchanged and unchallenged for centuries and that every jurist swears to uphold. The first two Canons of the ABA Model Judicial Code state those standards clearly: Continue reading

Supreme Court Integrity and the Useless Times-CBS Poll

If you dislike these people,but haven’t read their actual opinions, don’t know their names and are basing your opinion on what other people say, I don’t care what you think, and neither should anyone else.

I suppose there may be could be some uses for the recent New York Times-CBS poll measuring public attitudes about the Supreme Court. It could be used to launch, for example, a discussion about how little the public understands about the Court and how it operates. It might prompt a discussion about the recklessness of the two parties, which regularly attack the integrity of the Court every time it arrives at a decision that one of them doesn’t like. It might even prompt a refresher course on what went on during the 2000 Florida vote recount, and why that case required the Supreme Court to play a unique role that had nothing to do with helping George Bush “steal the election.” All of these would require an unformed and responsible newsmedia. however, so what the poll is prompting instead  misleading debates among talking heads about what the Court needs to do differently.

The Supreme Court needs to do nothing at all differently. Continue reading

Incompetent Elected Official of the Month: Rep. Jim McGovern (D-Mass.)

Rep. Jim McGovern is the champion of the People’s Rights Amendment, which shows that some people are so violently opposed to the Citizens United ruling that they would be willing to give the government sweeping power to censor speech, political or otherwise. This Pandora’s box of an amendment states:

Section 1.  We the people who ordain and establish this Constitution intend the rights protected by this Constitution to be the rights of natural persons.

Section 2.  People, person, or persons as used in this Constitution does not include corporations, limited liability companies or other corporate entities established by the laws of any state, the United States, or any foreign state, and such corporate entities are subject to such regulation as the people, through their elected state and federal representatives, deem reasonable and are otherwise consistent with the powers of Congress and the States under this Constitution.

Section 3.  Nothing contained herein shall be construed to limit the people’s rights of freedom of speech, freedom of the press, free exercise of religion, and such other rights of the people, which rights are inalienable.

This is playing with Constitutional fire, designed to appeal to gullible citizens who don’t understand how the Constitution limits government power and the danger of  making simple-minded fixes. Prof. Eugene Volokh, an expert on Constitutional law, writes, Continue reading

Occupy Brain Pans

Allow me to translate: "Duh!"

The latest, dumbest and most telling of the endless Occupy group protests occurs today, as 111 Occupy Wall Street spin-offs across the country engage in “Occupy the Courts,” a protest to mark two years since the 2010 landmark U.S. Supreme Court decision in Citizens United v. Federal Election Commission, which held that the government cannot ban organizational spending on political campaigns. Move to Amend, the group that is sponsoring the protests, says that the goal is to build support for a constitutional amendment that would abolish corporate constitutional rights, such as the right to free speech, and declaring that political campaign spending is not a form of speech protected by the First Amendment.

If I were optimistic and naive, I would assume that this nonsense would finally shame the imprudent members of the media, Democratic Party and Obama administration who cynically hitched their wagons to the Occupy Wall Street anvil, hoping that eventually the groups would do or say something that justified all the attention and expense lavished on them. Instead, the Occupy movement has featured rapes, robberies, beatings, riots, obscenity, anti-Semites, homeless hangers-on, demonstrators defecating on cars, a woman placing her baby on railroad tracks, another child being abandoned to shiver in a tent, a pseudo-bomb being thrown at the White House, a demonstrator shooting a rifle at the White House, violated permits, squalor, disease and rats….all while the news media showed its stripes by maintaining with a straight face that this display was no different or worse than the comparatively dignified, focused and streamlined Tea Party demonstrations. Nonetheless, the facilitators of this embarrassment in the annals of civil protest seem determined to keep the faith until it blows up into a genuine tragedy or slinks away. If Occupy the Courts won’t convince the pols and journalists that they made an epic mistake, nothing will. But at least it settles the matter. These people have no idea, none, what they are doing. Continue reading

Ethics Quote of the Week: Justice Antonin Scalia

“Justice Alito recounts all these disgusting video games in order to disgust us — but disgust is not a valid basis for restricting expression.” 

Justice Supreme Court Justice Antonin Scalia, in the majority opinion of Brown v. Entertainment Merchants Association that over-turned a California law restricting the access of children to violent video games. Scalia was responding to the argument by conservative colleague Joseph Alito, who described the wide range of violent and offensive experiences a child could have though video-gaming, such as reenacting the shootings at Columbine High School and Virginia Tech,  raping Native American women or killing ethnic and religious minorities.

Scalia is the Supreme Court justice liberals love to hate, but he is the most stalwart defender of the First Amendment since Justice William O. Douglas and Justice Hugo Black on the Warren Court. As political warfare increasingly focuses on the tactic of suppressing and inhibiting speech and ideas rather than rebutting them, Scalia’s uniform rejection of any effort to squelch the free exchange of ideas, even disgusting ideas, is the last line of defense against government-imposed political correctness, nanny state thought control, and puritan censorship. While sufficiently important ends, such as protecting our children and our culture, may justify some extreme means, Scalia’s opinion reaffirms the core American principle that those means can never include government restriction of speech in its broadest definition. Continue reading

Ethics Heroes: The U.S. Supreme Court

As the perfect tonic for all the attempts to silence Gilbert and Sullivan songs with controversial lyrics, reject bus ads espousing controversial positions, and declare that words like “target” are just too darn inflammatory for the sensitive, politically-correct ears of CNN viewers, here comes the U.S. Supreme Court, galloping to the rescue with a near unanimous (8-1), ringing reaffirmation that free speech is a bastion of American democracy, even when the speaker or speakers are vicious, unfair, cruel, radical and deluded. Continue reading

Schemes, Slander and Deception: The Most Unethical Maneuvers of Campaign 2010

Well, I have to admit they were creative. And despicable.

2010’s most unethical maneuvers ran the gamut from lying to zombie exploitation, from false identity to extortion. Unfortunately, most of the worst stunts were pulled by or on behalf of Democrats; I say unfortunately because I try awfully hard to keep these kinds of lists in partisan balance. But the Democrats and their progressive fans were especially slimy this time around, and it it figures. When the going gets tough, the tough get unethical, and it is the Democrats who are facing ballot box carnage. They have been pushing the envelope, to say the least, in their campaign tactics, and I think it probably made their situation more dire rather than less.

Here, in reverse order of ethical outrageousness, are the Ten Most Unethical Maneuvers of Campaign 2010: Continue reading