Trayvon Martin-George Zimmerman Ethics Train Wreck Update: The Unethical “Witness Nine”

She looks credible to me!

Now where were we?

When we last left this ongoing orgy of unethical conduct in every corner, Mr. and Mrs. Zimmerman were caught lying to the judge about their financial resources, claiming to be destitute for bail purposes, and trying to hide all the money that had come in through contributions to their website. Now the judge is buying a ticket, and has ordered the release of the tape recordings of a woman only known now as “Witness 9.”

Witness 9 has a story that is old, irrelevant, but certainly calculated to inflame the public and the jury pool against the defendant. She says…

  • Zimmerman began sexually molesting Witness 9 when she was six years old and Zimmerman was about 8.
  • It continued until she when she was 16.
  • The molestation included forced kissing, fondling, groping, and inserting his fingers into her vagina.
  •  “We would all lay in front of the TV” to watch movies, “and he would reach under the blankets and try to do things. … I would try to push him off, but he was bigger and stronger and older.”
  • Zimmerman’s family doesn’t “like black people if they don’t act like white people. They like black people if they act white.”
  •  Zimmerman also does not like blacks, though she personally she had never seen him disparage blacks or act as though he hated blacks.

Let’s see:

1. An allegation of sexual molestation that is decades old, very strange (Uh, why did you keep watching movies under a blanket with a molester for ten years, ma’am?), impossible to substantiate, and 100% irrelevant to the crime Zimmerman is charged with committing..

2. A bizarre allegation about Zimmerman’s family, that is incoherent. So do they “like” blacks, or don’t they? I don’t like whites who act like idiots. Does that make me racist? And what is “not acting like a white person,” anyway? Not listening to Donny Osmond music? Not playing cricket? What? Is wandering around  in the rain and looking like you are casing houses acting white, acting black, or just acting like a crook?

3. An assertion about Zimmerman’s opinions of blacks that the witness can’t support with any statements or conduct…

4. …that is apparently not based on any recent evidence.

In addition, we know nothing about this woman on which to assess her credibility, except that she has a grudge against George Zimmerman.

There is a technical term for testimony like this: garbage. It was no less than malicious to release it, and is proof, as if more was needed, that the prosecution in this case is not interested in justice, but serving the agenda of activists who have threatened social unrest and violence if Zimmerman isn’t summarily sacrificed on the altar of racial politics. Fair trial? Can’t risk that.

I suppose, in an ethics train wreck of six months duration, it shouldn’t be surprising that George Zimmerman is being railroaded.

CORRECTION: In the original version of this post, I wrote that Witness 9’s testimony was released by the prosecution, and laid blame on prosecutor Angela Corey, who has tried to poison the jury pool in this case already. A helpful commenter produced an earlier news report that indicates that both the defense and the prosecution opposed releasing the testimony.

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Source: Slate

Facts: Orlando Sentinel

Graphic: tramthuynh

Ethics Alarms attempts to give proper attribution and credit to all sources of facts, analysis and other assistance that go into its blog posts. If you are aware of one I missed, or believe your own work was used in any way without proper attribution, please contact me, Jack Marshall, at  jamproethics@verizon.net.

The Congressional Black Caucus Walkout: Racial Bias, and Nothing But

Of course, they would also be staging a walk-out if a white AG was being held in contempt.

The Congressional Black Caucus  plotted to walk out of Thursday’s contempt of Congress vote regarding Attorney General Eric Holder’s stonewalling regarding legitimate oversight of the deadly Fast and Furious fiasco, and did, taking most of the other Democrats along. In so doing, the CBC, as if there was any doubt, unequivocally demonstrated its virulent racial bias, which interferes with its ability to discharge its duties in a fair, honest and legitimate matter.

The CBC had circulated a letter explaining its supposed rationale, which oddly manages never to mention that Eric Holder is African American. Yet it is unimaginable that the Congressional Black Caucus would stage a walk-out if Holder was the white Attorney General appointed by a white President. This is politics, but it is also dishonesty and naked tribalism. It should not be, pardon the expression, whitewashed, or allowed to proceed without calling it what it is—racial bias in the halls of Congress, where none belongs.

Here is the offensive and disingenuous letter being circulated by the CBC—with some commentary by me in brackets: Continue reading

Fast and Furious: AG Holder’s Ethics Train Wreck

Let’s get a few things settled.

If you look closely, you can see Eric Holder in his engineer cap.

Fast and Furious is a true scandal, not a trumped-up distraction, just as Watergate wasn’t a “third-rate burglary.” When the U.S. government intentionally allows laws to be broken, secretly seeds violent crime in a neighboring country and gets both foreigners and Americans killed as a result, that’s a scandal any way you cut it. The U.S. Congress has an oversight role to play after such a fiasco, and getting to the bottom of what went sour is its duty, regardless of how much enjoyment partisan Congressmen appear to have making Administration officials sweat. Any politician or member of the media who suggests otherwise is trying to manufacture a cover-up and intentionally misleading the public. The mantra that “this is a waste of time when Congress should be doing the nation’s business” was used by Republicans during Watergate, Iran-Contra, and the Valerie Plame affair, and by Democrats during Whitewater, Lewinsky, and now, as Fast and Furious is finally bursting out of the hole of obscurity where the biased media tried to stuff it. A badly managed, law-breaking Justice Department isn’t trivial, and when utterly stupid, reckless operations like Fast and Furious come to light, it is essential that there be full disclosure and accountability. The voices trying to bury this scandal do not have the best interests of the United States or the public at heart. Let’s start with that.

Fast and Furious was so jaw-droppingly dumb that its very stupidity is almost a boon to defenders of Attorney General Holder’s department, since the normal reaction to such facts is that some crazy Republican must have made up the whole thing. Unfortunately, this really happened.  In 2009, the US government allowed Arizona gun sellers to illegally sell automatic weapons to suspected criminals. Then ATF agents (Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives)  were directed to  allow the guns to “walk” across the border and be delivered to the Mexican drug cartels. The House Oversight Committee’s report explains, “The purpose was to wait and watch, in hope that law enforcement could identify other members of a trafficking network and build a large, complex conspiracy case…. [The ATF] initially began using the new gun-walking tactics in one of its investigations to further the Department’s strategy.”

Gee. What a great plan! What could possibly go wrong?

Oh, only everything.

1,608 weapons ended up in the bloody hands of Mexican criminals. The ATF lost track of them, until they turned up at shootings and crime scenes. Many Mexicans, though we don’t know how many, died from being shot by the planted guns, and when a US federal agent, Border Patrol Agent Brian Terry, was killed by one of them in battle with drug-runners, the fiasco became public. (ATF whistle-blower also helped.) In a sensible, fair, ethical system, the next steps would follow like Summer follows Spring:

  • The news media would give the story major coverage  and do its own, unbiased, competent investigation.
  • The Administration would express horror and regret, and set about its own internal investigation.
  • Both parties of Congress would aggressively seek answers, and make certain that systemic failures were exposed and responsible individuals were identified.
  • Those responsible would resign or would be fired.

But we do not have a sensible, fair, ethical system, at least as it is currently functioning. As a result, the Fact and Furious mess has become an ethics train wreck that appears to be gathering steam. The evidence so far: Continue reading

Ethics Dunce: Gina Chon

“The question I continue to have is when will the conversation return to issues?  Because when they do, I know Brett will become the next ambassador to Iraq.”

Just JKF’s type. Also a Communist spy, but hey, nobody’s perfect!

Thus did loyal wife Gina Chon rationalize away Republican objections to the appointment of her husband, Brett McGurk, to be Ambassador to Iraq. Her point, apparently, is that the fact that he carried on an illicit and secret affair with a reporterher—while on a previous State Department assignment to Iraq and exchanged e-mails “joking” (?) about exchanging intelligence for sex should be an issue in his conformation.

Let’s see, now. One of the gazillion women President Kennedy may have had an affair with while he was in the White House was Ellen Rometsch, an East German spy. (JFK consistently ranks #1 in polls of which Presidents Americans think were the best. Discuss) Imagine that this came to light, that somehow JFK avoided impeachment for it (he would not have), and avoided Oswald’s magic bullet in Dallas. How would Jackie have sounded, if she argued to the press that since Jack didn’t blab state secrets during his pillow talk, his indiscretion jeopardizing U.S. national security was a non-issue?

Like a loyal wife, like a loyal Democrat, and like an idiot.

Like Chon. Continue reading

The Reporter and the Diplomat: Anatomy of an Ethics Train Wreck

Gina Chon, who handled the Iraq beat for the Wall Street Journal, “quit under pressure,” a.k.a. “was fired”, yesterday after it had been discovered that she had carried on  a romantic affair with Brett McGurk, a high-placed American official, while both lived in Baghdad in 2008. McGurk was on the National Security Council staff during the Bush administration and has been nominated by President Obama to be ambassador to Iraq.  Chon was covering McGurk’s activities while she was also romantically engaged with him, a cardinal ethics sin for a journalist. She also shared “certain unpublished news articles” with him, also a violation of Journal policy and journalism ethics. The relationship had been hidden by Chon, and only came to light when racy e-mails between the two were revealed. Of course, the fact that they had recently divorced their respective spouses and married each other probably should have been a clue.

This is a full-fledged ethics train wreck, and it is not over yet.  Let us review the participants so far:

Typical of ETW’s, the coverage itself was ethically flawed. The Washington Post story about the Chon-McGurk affair appeared in the Post’s Style section, which covers media, entertainment, and gossip. McGurk is the current Obama administration nominee to be Ambassador to Iraq, a key post. This was the last line in the Style story:

“The disclosure has intensified doubts about McGurk’s nomination for ambassador among some Republican members of the Senate, but the Obama administration has stood by him.” Continue reading

Now Boarding the Trayvon Martin-Goerge Zimmerman Ethics Train Wreck…George Zimmerman!

Well, why not?

It’s been running over him again and again since the beginning; he might as well buy a ticket!

Not so fast, George!

This epic ethics train wreck, which has already engulfed the news media, civil rights activists, defense attorneys, prosecutors, bloggers, pundits, members of Congress, Barney Frank, Spike Lee, the Congressional Black Caucus, President Obama, Martin’s mother, and maybe even you, just picked up George Zimmerman.

Zimmerman just had his bail revoked because he and his wife misled the court at the bail hearing, claiming they had minimal financial resources when in fact a fund for Zimmerman’s defense had already raked in $135,000. As a result, the original bail was set at a minimum level. Now Zimmerman has to turn himself in to authorities again, and whether he can get bail a second time is in doubt.

Lying to a judge is always stupid and wrong, but this instance is spectacularly so. Zimmerman’s account of what happened on the fateful night that he shot Trayvon Martin is likely to be a key aspect of his defense on second degree murder charges, and having the fact that he already lied to the court once in the case isn’t going to help his credibility with the jury. It doesn’t make him a murderer, of  course. It does make him less convincing when he denies that he is a murderer.

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Facts: Associated Press

Graphic: Now Public

Ethics Alarms attempts to give proper attribution and credit to all sources of facts, analysis and other assistance that go into its blog posts. If you are aware of one I missed, or believe your own work was used in any way without proper attribution, please contact me, Jack Marshall, at  jamproethics@verizon.net.

Legal/Ethical Train Wreck in Indiana: The Case of the Poisoned Fetus

Mother, failed suicide, accused murderer, and ethics train wreck engineer.

If there are logical and ethical holes in a law, you can count on a case eventually coming along that will make them obvious and painful. Thus it is that the the case of Bei Bei Shuai, a Chinese immigrant living in Indiana, was concocted by the vengeful Gods of Inconsistency to highlight some of the legal problems in two notorious ethical gray areas, abortion and suicide. I’m not going to even try to solve the mess. It’s hard enough to describe it.

Suicide is illegal in Indiana, but attempted suicide is not. In Indiana, as in most jurisdictions, however, if one’s unsuccessful  suicide kills another by accident, that could be prosecuted as manslaughter, through the doctrine of transferred intent. In the case of Shuai, she drank poison, ostensibly to kill herself. But she also wrote a note saying that she was “taking the baby.” Of course, when a pregnant woman kills herself, that usually suggests that she understands that her act will kill her unborn child as well.  Perhaps she was trying to kill herself and wasn’t considering the baby. Perhaps she was trying to kill the baby, and not herself. Perhaps she was trying to kill both herself and her child.

What happened, however, is that she lived. The baby was born, but died shortly thereafter as a consequence, prosecutors say, of the poison Shuai swallowed. Continue reading

Ethically Confounding Quote of the Year (Trayvon Martin-George Zimmerman Ethics Train Wreck Division): The Washington Post

“It is unclear how the new documents might bolster or undermine the state’s case against Zimmerman, who has a Peruvian mother and a white father.”

—-The Washington Post, reporting on the release of evidence and testimony in the Trayvon Martin shooting.

Other sentences that would have been just as reasonable and appropriate:

  • “It is unclear how the new documents might bolster or undermine the state’s case against Zimmerman, who is a big hockey fan and hates cheese.”
  • “It is unclear how the new documents might bolster or undermine the state’s case against Zimmerman, who really liked his second grade teacher, Miss Felton.”
  • “It is unclear how the new documents might bolster or undermine the state’s case against Zimmerman, who can do this really gross trick with his tongue.” Continue reading

Trayvon Martin-George Zimmerman Ethics Train Wreck Update: An Integrity Test For The Lynch Mob

As Emily used to say, “Never mind!” Al? Spike?

The news coverage of the  emerging evidence in the Trayvon Martin-George Zimmerman was slow in coming this week, perhaps because it makes the news media look bad. Reluctantly, however, it is finally getting out, though perhaps not with the breathless urgency the media mustered when it was actively manufacturing fake evidence—-a doctored 911 tape, a grainy film showing no injuries to Zimmerman’s head—so Martin’s shooter could be pronounced a killer-racist before he was even charged.

ABC News, perhaps attempting to atone for its disgraceful coverage of the case in March, released a through report on its website of latest developments, revealing that:

  • “Two police reports written the night that George Zimmerman shot Trayvon Martin said that Zimmerman had a bloody face and nose”
  • “Zimmerman seemed to have a battered nose and bloodied face…and the back of his clothing was soiled with wet grass…Zimmerman was also bleeding from … the back of his head.”
  • “Two witness accounts appear to back up Zimmerman’s version of what happened when they describe a man on his back with another person wearing a hoodie straddling him and throwing punches.”
  • “The documents state that Zimmerman can be heard yelling for help 14 times on a 911 call recorded during the fight.” Continue reading

New Passengers on the Roger Clemens Ethics Train Wreck

Hey Andy! Listen to that guy behind you…you won’t believe what he’s saying about you!

First, an Ethics Train Wreck recap, before we get to yesterday’s developments:

The Roger Clemens ethics train wreck officially started rumbling down the tracks in 2008, when Major League Baseball’s Mitchell Report, itself something of a train wreck to begin with, revealed that Roger Clemens’ trainer, a rather shady character named Brian McNamee,  had told the investigative commission that he had injected the pitching great with banned performance-enhancing drugs, or PED’s. In rapid succession there was ethics carnage everywhere. Clemens, under the pretense of inquiring about the health of his former trainer’s child, who was gravely ill, tried to get the trainer to admit he was lying. Congress, absurdly, called a special hearing on the matter. Clemens visited select Congressional offices beforehand, which tainted the objectivity of questioning. The Congressional committee, rather than seeking to illuminate the Clemens dispute or the status of PED’s in baseball, instead decided to take sides, with Republicans defending Clemens (a Bush-supporting Texan) and the Democrats seeking his scalp—facts had nothing to do with it. Clemens, meanwhile, made several dubious statements, and showed his class by telling the world that his wife, not he, was the PED-user in the family. A few months before, Clemens prevailed upon his friend Mike Wallace, then in his late 80’s and semi-retired, to tarnish his reputation as a tough and objective truth-seeker by tossing soft-ball questions to Clemens on CBS, so the pitcher could deny his drug use to a famously skeptical interviewer who was, in fact, thoroughly conflicted. Continue reading