Still More Mar-A-Largo Raid Ethics…

The PDF of the unsealed search warrant and attachments is available here.

  • The central ethical conflict in this mess is between the danger of criminalizing politics, a warning sign of, as conservative talk show host Mark Levin says, creeping Stalinism, and appropriate revulsion at allowing anyone, including Presidents, ex-Presidents and would-be Presidents, to be “above the law.”
  • This inevitably leads to “whataboutism” arguments, and legitimate accusations of double standards. Hillary Clinton committed acts that other, lesser mortals have been prosecuted for, despite James Comey’s typically dishonest statements to the contrary. The Clinton Foundation, which operated–cleverly, creatively and mostly carefully—as a money laundering, pay-to-play and influence peddling operation for the benefit of Clinton family members in perpetual violation of basic non-profit practices and guidelines, mysteriously wound down to nothingness once Hillary had no influence left to peddle and no prospects for regaining any. An FBI raid of Clinton Foundation offices would have almost certainly turned up some fascinating documents, but the Trump Justice Department, which was, as we know, stuffed with Clinton loyalist holdovers, never went that far in its investigation, such as it was. There is a substantial distinction between crowds chanting “Lock her up!” and serious attempts to actually lock her up.

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Ethics Dunce (And Partisan Hack): Former Assistant U.S. Attorney Daniel Goldman

Daniel Goldman earns the Ethics Alarms clip with Sir Thomas More’s scalding indictment of the character of “A Man For All Seasons” villain Richard Rich, “Why Richard, it profit a man nothing to give his soul for the whole world. . . but for Wales?”

Donald Trump, fighting a coordinated (I believe) Democratic assault from all sides in a desperate effort to neutralize him (an effort than has continued unsuccessfully for a ludicrous six years!) invoked his Fifth Amendment rights against self-incrimination at a deposition for New York Attorney General Letitia James (D). While the ongoing January 6 kangaroo court in the House seeks to prove that Trump planned an “insurrection,” and the Justice Department raided his home ostensibly to find sufficient evidence to prosecute him for mishandling of classified documents, James is continuing her state’s long-running attempts to prove Trump engaged in illegal financial activity and/or corrupt business practices

After Trump’s non-response was reported, Goldman, who was an assistant U.S. attorney in the Southern District of New York for 10 years, tweeted,

“The Fifth Amendment ensures that people are not forced to incriminate themselves. But you don’t take the Fifth if you didn’t do anything wrong.”

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Why Must I Be A Blogging Ethicist In Ethics Zugzwang?

I was going to sing it, but it doesn’t fit the music…

Here is my problem…

Describing the ugly developments arising out of the Democratic Soviet-style show trial aimed at neutralizing Donald Trump by criminalizing his post election excesses, and, if possible, intimidating and harassing his supporters past and present, esteemed former federal prosecutor Andrew McCarthy writes in part, Continue reading

Ethics Observations On The Fake Trump Interview Walk-Out Story

Yesterday, the conservative New York Post reported,

Former President Donald Trump blasted Piers Morgan as “very dishonest” while walking out of an interview with the TV presenter and Post columnist after being pressed on his claims that he lost the 2020 presidential election due to voter fraud.

The walk-out story was picked up and reported in many other publications and forums. It wasn’t true. Morgan and whoever handles his promotion had sent out edited segments of a much longer interview on his new TV show, “Piers Morgan Uncensored” on Talk TV, which debuts next week.

An audio recording indicated that the interview did not end with Trump storming off the set, as the promotional video indicated and the Post and others reported. According to the recording, the two men thanked each other and laughed as the interview came to an end. Continue reading

Incredible: Trump’s Lawyers Try An Even More Unethical Judicial Recusal Argument Than The One Democrats Are Using Against Justice Thomas

Where does Donald Trump find his ridiculous lawyers? Did they get degrees by sending in applications from match book covers or comic books like the one above?

Trump attorneys Alina Habba and Peter Ticktin want U.S. District Judge Donald Middlebrooks to recuse himself from Trump’s lawsuit accusing Hillary Clinton of being part of a conspiracy casting his 2016 campaign as colluding with Russia (which, of course, she was). Their motion, filed this week argues that Middlebrooks could be biased because Hillary’s husband selected him for the court in 1997.

Their motion says in part,

“There is no question that Judge’s Middlebrooks’ impartiality would be questioned by a disinterested observer, fully informed of the facts, due to Judge’s relationship with the Defendant, either, individually, or by the very nature of his appointment to the Federal Bench, by the Defendant’s husband. The most important issue is not simply that justice must be done, but also that justice must appear to be done. This could not be more important in a case like the above styled cause, where wrongs in regard to a presidential election are to be redressed.

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Serious Question: What Kind Of Person Would Want Someone To Be U.S. President Who Would Consider Something Like This…

…never mind say it out loud?

During a speech to donors in New Orleans, Louisiana a few days ago, Donald Trump actually, really, honest-to-goodness said that maybe the U.S. could trick Moscow and Beijing into fighting each other by disguising its F-22 fighter jets with Chinese flags “and bomb the shit out” out of Russia! “And then we say, China did it, we didn’t do, China did it, and then they start fighting with each other and we sit back and watch.”

Oooh, good plan!

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On “Decertification,” Everybody’s Wrong (Or Lying)…

When everybody’s unethical, it begins to be difficult to figure out what “ethical” would be.

In Wisconsin, some Republican officials have launched a serious (though ridiculous) “decertification” effort, an effort to persuade the Wisconsin Legislature to rescind the state’s 10 electoral votes, thereby starting a movement in other states where President Trump lost by a narrow margin and there are reasons to doubt the integrity of the count. In Arizona, a Republican state legislator running for secretary of state, and other GOP candidates for Congress, have also called for withdrawing the state’s electoral votes, which went to President Biden. Last September, Trump wrote a letter to Georgia officials asking them to decertify Biden’s Peach Tree State victory, but there was no response, appropriately.

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Baseball Hall Of Fame Ethics: This 2016 Post Just Became Ripe And Moot At The Same Time

The sportswriters who decide who is admitted to the Major League Baseball Hall of Fame voted in David Ortiz yesterday. The Red Sox and Boston icon (Carl Yastrzemski once said that while Ted Williams was the greatest Boston baseball player, Ortiz was the most important, and he was right) sailed into the Hall in his first year of eligibility, an honor few players have ever been accorded.

It was no surprise. In addition to having unquestionable statistical qualifications, “Big Papi” is also personally popular. That matters, a lot; the writers this year rejected Boston pitching ace Curt Schilling who also has impeccable Hall qualifications, because they don’t like him. Schilling is opinionated, combative, religious, and worst of all, politically conservative. Can’t have that. On the plus side, the writers also rejected steroid cheats Barry Bonds, Alex Rodriguez and Manny Ramirez, as well as almost certain steroid cheats Roger Clemens, Sammy Sosa and Gary Sheffield.

In 2016, anticipating and dreading yesterday’s news, I wrote a post titled, “The Wrenching Problem Of David Ortiz, The Human Slippery Slope.”

Here it is again.

Ethics conflicts force us to choose when multiple ethical principles and values point to diametrically opposed resolutions.  Often, a solution can be found where the unethical aspects of the resolution can be mitigated, but not this one. It is a tale of an ethics conflict without a satisfactory resolution.

I didn’t want to write this post. I considered waiting five years to write it, when the issue will be unavoidable and a decision mandatory. Today, however, is the day on which all of Boston, New England, and most of baseball will be honoring Red Sox designated hitter David Ortiz, who will be playing his finale regular season game after a 20 years career.  His 2016 season is quite possibly the best year any professional baseball player has had as his final one; it is definitely the best season any batter has had at the age of 40 or more. Ortiz is an icon and a hero in Boston, for good reason. Ortiz was instrumental in breaking his team’s infamous 86-year long “curse” that saw it come close to winning the World Series again and again, only to fail in various dramatic or humiliating ways. He was a leader and an offensive centerpiece of three World Champion teams in 2004, 2007, and 2013. Most notably, his record as a clutch hitter, both in the regular season and the post season is unmatched. You can bring yourself up to speed on Ortiz’s career and his importance to the Red Sox, which means his importance to the city and its culture, for nowhere in America takes baseball as seriously as Beantown, here.

That’s only half the story for Ortiz. Much of his impact on the team, the town and the game has come from his remarkable personality, a unique mixture of intensity, charm, intelligence, generosity, pride and charisma. After the 2013 terrorist bombing of the Boston Marathon, which shook the city as much as any event since the Boston Massacre, Ortiz made himself the symbol of Boston’s anger and defiance with an emotional speech at Fenway Park. Then he put an exclamation point on his defiance by leading the Red Sox, a last place team the year before, to another World Series title. Continue reading

From An Ethics Perspective, No Change Since 2015: Almost Anyone But Trump As The GOP Nominee In 2024

It’s too early, of course; many a Presidential candidate has emerged out of the primordial ooze to evolve from a near unknown to the nominee in three years. In the case of the Republicans (and the Democrats too) such an emergence is greatly to be wished. However, two objectives will remain constant: it is imperative that the lying, Machiavellian, totalitarianism-embracing Democrats be ejected from both branches of the government with sufficient force that they ponder their sins and reform, and that Donald Trump does not return to the Presidency.

Trump himself isn’t dangerous. If fact, in many ways he was an effective President, and his policies were more often reasonable than not; my objections to him as President involve character and style (and they are major objections that his accomplishments cannot counter-balance). However, the Left’s reaction to him is an existential threat. They have convinced themselves that eliminating him is a mission that must be accomplished by any means necessary, and they will continue to work to terrify the weak-minded, inattentive and gullible from now until the 2024 election…and, if necessary, after, no matter what the consequences may be.

They succeeded in convincing millions of Americans that he would destroy the country when he was elected the first time; he didn’t, but their tactics against him nearly did, and might yet. The nation cannot withstand another polarizing election with both sides claiming the other is trying to wreck all that is good about America, and with Trump as the Republican nominee.

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Observations On The Rasmussen Poll Showing Trump Crushing Biden If The Election Were Held Today

First of all, polls.

The one in question is Rasmussen, which is the among the few polling organizations that do not have a perpetual left-wing bias, and that may have a conservative political bias. It is also worth noting that the election will not be held today, or even this year. Thus it is in the category of fake news that Ethics Alarms calls “future news.”

Many doubt, with some justification, that Joe Biden will last as President until 2024. He’s 79, and before this year is out will turn 80, what my father called the threshold to “the red zone,” when anyone that ancient or older faces a not insubstantial daily risk of dropping dead with little or no warning. Dad made it to 89 before dying—unexpectedly—during a nap, but he looked and seemed a lot healthier and less on the decline than Joe these days. Comedian Bob Saget was just 65 when his time ran out last week, also without warning, and he wasn’t even in the yellow zone.

Trump is no spring chicken either. He’ll be 76 this Spring: would you want to bet the farm that he’ll make 78 sufficiently hale and hearty to run a vigorous campaign, hold chatty rallies, and insult everyone who disagrees with him daily? The life expectancy of a 78-year-old male now is less than 10 years. That’s cutting it close. I’ll keep that farm, thanks.

Oh yeah, about the poll. A new Heartland Institute and Rasmussen Reports national telephone and online survey concluded that if the election were held today, 40% of likely U.S. voters would vote for President Biden, and 46% would vote for the previous POTUS, a large advantage.  10% say they would choose some other candidate in a Biden-Trump rematch, which doesn’t mean much: nobody knows who those other candidates might be, or if there will be any worthy of attention. If the also-rans are no better than the pathetic alternatives who were on the 2016 ballot, 10% is a highly inflated number.

Trump would get 81% support from GOP voters—that’s against Biden, remember: he’d get almost 100% when if he ran against, say, a piece of cheese. Biden would get 75% of Democrats, which is low for a party’s incumbent President.  With  independent voters, however, Trump would win today by a 16-point margin,  45% to Biden’s 29%.

Other observations that flow from this data… Continue reading