Ethics Overview, 1/6/2021: Don’t Believe Women If They Are Married To Democrats, Helen Keller Is A Myth, Christmas Trees Are Yummy, And More!

Calvin And Hobbes Ethics

1. About the Georgia special elections:

  • I’d love to know why people who live in big cities run by incompetent Democratic mayors still happily vote for Democrats. Atlanta and its suburbs are driving the likely victory of both Democratic candidates, yet the mayor of Atlanta, like her counterparts in Washington, D.C., New York City, Chicago, San Francisco, Portland, Seattle and so many other Democratic strongholds is objectively terrible. Amazing. There is no accountability at all.
  • That said, none of the candidates for either party last night have much to recommend them except their party affiliations. I wouldn’t vote for Purdue, unless he were running against as bad a candidate as Ossoff, and maybe not even then. (From the December post on that race: “If the Republicans lose the Senate because enough voters are disgusted by this and refuse to trust a Senator who used his position to benefit financially, it is the party’s own fault. Republicans should police such conduct, and could. They apparently care more about their own riches than the fate of the nation.”)
  • Raphael Warnock’s win should kill any credibility #MeToo has for Democrats and progressives for good. He’s been accused of spousal abuse by his ex-wife, in a direct statement by her that would have prompted screams of indignation had he been a Republican. After Joe Biden’s win and now Warnock, Al Franken must feel like the biggest dupe on Earth. And he should.
  • Would the GOP have at least won one of the two Senate seats in Georgia had not the President been unable to restrain his inner asshole for a few weeks in the interests of his party and the nation? I think so.

2. Madness! Madness! I keep reading in multiple sources about how there is growing support for a national 15 dollar-an-hour minimum wage, as President-Elect Biden proclaims his support for the measure. With the disastrous shutdowns across the country killing small businesses and the restaurant industry in particular, this is the worst possible time to mandate an increase in restaurants’ expenses, but I’m sure it will happen anyway though it is irresponsible and incompetent.

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Last Gasp Ethics, New Year’s Eve 2020

Happy New Year, Everybody!

1. A late entry in the “Most Unethical Lawyer of 2020” competition! McGinnis E. Hatfield was stripped of his license to practice law by the West Virginia Supreme Court. What did he do? Well, this section of a transcript of his conversation with a female client explains things pretty well:

Female: “I thought like when we first started out, I was just going to pay you. I didn’t know that you wanted sex out of the whole thing.”

Hatfield: “Well, I’d have to charge you like $1,500 bucks. You don’t have $1,500, do you?”

Female: “No.”

Hatfield “So come on out here. Just come. What time do you want to come?… [I]t’s just not going to work unless you do what I say.”

Female: “What do you want me to do?”

Hatfield: “… “Well, I want you to let me eat your pussy, and then I want you to let – I want you to suck my dick, and then, you know, I just have to – I’m as straightforward as I can be. And if you don’t want to do that, then fine. I don’t have any- I like you. And if you don’t want to do that, then we’ll just have to call it off.”

Female: “Is that not – all right. That’s fine. Whatever.”

Hatfield: “Is that okay?”

Female: “I mean no, not really because I’m not a whore.”

Hatfield: ” … And like I said, if you won’t want to do that, then that’s fine by me. I wish you luck. And if you don’t want to do that, then I’m not going to try to represent you. So that’s a benefit for you. And I’ll give you some money, too[.]”… You know, I’m shooting straight with you. I told you from the beginning that sex was important to me. I want some now. Nobody’s tried to trick you. And it would be safe, too. But anyway, if you don’t want to do it, that’s fine by me, honey, but you’ll have to get somebody to help you with your divorce, too.”

Female: “Okay, That’s fine.

Of course, it’s not fine. Lawyers are prohibited from having sex with clients in most jurisdictions. Lawyers cannot encourage individuals, including clients, to commit a crime. Mr. Hatfield compounded his problems when he flunked the easiest part of a disciplinary inquiry, telling the judge who asked Hatfield whether in retrospect, he found his behavior inappropriate or unethical,

“I think my conduct in this whole situation is human. And that’s the only defense I’m offering. Lord knows, we all need that. So that’s as far as I’ll go with that.”

The judge tried again, asking, “Are you remorseful?” Hatfield replied, “No. I have no remorse. I feel like I’ve been victimized.”

What an idiot.

It put me in mind of the Steven Wright line, “How did the fool and his money get together in the first place?”

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Morning Ethics Warm-Up, 12/23/2020: Remembering Private Slovik

149326-The-Day-Before-Christmas-Eve

1. President Trump says will veto the so-called “stimulus bill.” He should. A nice, articulate Presidential veto statement about what’s wrong with a pork-loaded goody bag that will increase the National Debt even deeper into the red zone would be nice, but he hasn’t come up with more than a couple a nice, articulate statements in four years, so I rate the likelihood as slim.

But there is no downside at all of a Trump veto, even if Mitch McConnell gets the Senate to over-ride it. As Ethics Alarms commenter Humble Talent pointed out two days ago, the thing is a monstrosity and wildly irresponsible, never mind that virtually none of the elected representatives who voted for it knew what they were voting for.

Meanwhile, let’s give an Ethics Hero call-out to Rand Paul, who anyone could have predicted would have a head explosion over this bill, and he did not disappoint. Senator Paul excoriated his fellow Republican senators who voted for the multitrillion-dollar relief package and omnibus spending bills, saying that they abandoned their “soul” and their “fiscal integrity” for political expediency. Paul called the bill an example of the fantasy that “government can spend whatever it wants without the need to tax.” How can anyone seriously dispute his logic when he said,

“If free money was the answer … if money really did grow on trees, why not give more free money? Why not give it out all the time? Why stop at $600 a person? Why not $1,000? Why not $2,000? Maybe these new Free-Money Republicans should join the Everybody-Gets-A-Guaranteed-Income Caucus? Why not $20,000 a year for everybody, why not $30,000? If we can print out money with impunity, why not do it?”

In addition to Paul, only Republicans Rick Scott (FL), Marsha Blackburn (TN), Mike Lee (UT), Ron Johnson (WI) and Ted Cruz (TX) had the courage and integrity to vote “NO.”

Yahoo News, incidentally, really and truly has a story up titled, “Did Congress get it right with the new coronavirus stimulus?” It really does. Note that it doesn’t begin to cover all the junk that’s stuffed in the bill, because the reporter obviously hasn’t read the whole bill either.

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2020 Election Ethics Train Wreck Update: Well THIS Doesn’t Bode Well…

spelling problem

That’s the embarrassing first sheet of the more than 100 page lawsuit filed by lawyer Sidney Powell asking that 96,000 ballots (“at minimum”) in Georgia be disqualified. This is apparently the attack on the Georgia election that Powell referred to as releasing “the Kraken.”

Nobody seems to feel it’s necessary to explain that “Release the Kraken” is a reference to the semi-cheesy Ray Harryhousen stop-action film “Clash of the Titans,” which starred “LA Law’s” Harry Hamlin as Perseus, the Greek mythological hero. In the movie (though not in mythology), Perseus defeats the monstrous Kraken, which is released by the bad guys to kill him and Andromeda (it’s complicated). For some reason Perseus, in addition to carrying around Medusa’s head (which turns the Kraken to stone), rides the winged horse Pegasus. Pegasus was the transportation of a different Greek myth hero, Bellerophon. Neither Bellerophon nor Perseus had anything to do with the Kraken, which is not even a Greek myth monster. It’s Scandinavian, and is basically a giant squid.

Observations:

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Election 2020: The Appearance Of Impropriety Or Real Impropriety? Part I, Georgia On My Mind

Georgia vote Count

I woke up this morning to find that overnight (at about 4 am) Georgia, a state President Trump had to must win to wend his way through the tiny window now open to his re-election (Arizona, Alaska, Georgia, North Carolina, Pennsylvania) had flipped to the Biden side with a less than a thousand vote edge to the ex-VP. This now makes three crucial states (the others being Wisconsin and Michigan) that switched leads in the dead of night…possibly a coincidence, but not a good look for Democrats, or the nation.

Of course this is substantially the result of mail-in ballots, which the Democrats championed. Anyone capable of thought could figure out that the system was a recipe for fraud, manipulation and chaos, so it is basic logic to presume that this is what the Democrats (and their allies, the news media) wanted. As I have read in maybe ten places this morning alone, the longer and more convoluted a process is, the easier it is to rig it. That is true.

See the tweet above? It appears that Democrats in Georgia organized to “get out the vote” after the election. Maybe there’s an innocent explanation, but 1) you can’t blame people for being alarmed 2) there are no such tweets from the Republicans.

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Saturday Ethics Warm-Up, 8/15/2020: Of Cancellations, Retractions, Rants, Lies And Signs

Never mind the small talk; let’s get to it.

1. Hmmm…What’s going on here?  New York officials originally decided to cancel  “‘Tribute in Light,” the  twin beams that shine over lower Manhattan as part of the annual  9/11 commemoration. The National September 11 Memorial & Museum, which oversees the installation, said in a statement this week,”This incredibly difficult decision was reached in consultation with our partners after concluding the health risks during the pandemic were far too great for the large crew required to produce the annual ‘Tribute in Light.'”

The announcement caused widespread puzzlement. How large could the necessary crew have to be? Geraldo Rivera opined on Fox News that the decision was political, as Democrats sought to “make everybody miserable” so President Trump could be blamed. That theory was quickly picked up by others, along with complaints from New Yorkers that the popular memorial celebration was cancelled for no good reason.

Then, today, New York officials made a U-turn. “Honoring our 9/11 heroes is a cherished tradition. The twin towers of light signify hope, resiliency, promise and are a visual representation of #NewYorkTough,” Cuomo said. “The virus has taken so much and so many. But now the tribute will continue.”

2. Now THIS is Trump Derangement! When did it become considered acceptable and professional for news anchors and public events show hosts to behave like this?  MSNBC “Morning Joe” co-host Mika Brzezinski went on an extended, fanciful, hateful anti-Trump rant on yesterday’s broadcast. Here’s a transcript of a supercut video featuring the bulk of Mika’s meltdown: Continue reading

The Murder Of Mary Phagan And The Forgotten Heroism Of John M. Slaton

I  just brought The Ethics Alarms Heroes’ Hall of Honor up to date. There are 44 men and women whose inspiring stories reside there, and I know who #45 will be: John Marshall “Jack” Slaton (December 25, 1866 – January 11, 1955),the 60th Governor of Georgia.

This won’t be the official entry for John Slaton; I want to do him justice, and the story of his moment of principle and sacrifice is not only complicated, but I am having a hard time settling the facts. The short version is this:

Mary Phagan, 13, an employee at Atlanta’s National Pencil Company where Leo Frank was the manager, died of strangulation on April 26, 1913. Her body was discovered in the factory’s cellar the next morning.  Over the course of their investigation, Atlanta police arrested several men, including the night watchman Newt Lee, Frank, and Jim Conley, a janitor at the factory. Lee and Conley were black; Frank was Jewish. Though this was the height of Jim Crow in the South, prejudice against Jews was as strong in Atlanta as racism.

On May 24, 1913, Frank was indicted on a charge of murder and the case was tried at Fulton County Superior Court beginning on July 28. The prosecution’s key witness was  Conley, who described himself as an accomplice, assisting Frank in disposing the girl’s body.  Frank’s defense lawyer argued that Conley was the real killer.

The jury pronounced Leo Frank guilty verdict on August 25, 1913. Then followed a series of unsuccessful appeals, the last being before the U.S. Supreme Court, which rejected it in April of 1915. Georgia Governor John M. Slaton was a popular figure about to leave office, and considered a rising political star whose ascension to the U.S. Senate was likely, if not a forgone conclusion. It was assumed that he would quickly reject Frank’s request for a pardon, given the extensive appeals and the overwhelming public outrage regarding Mary Phagan’s murder.

Those assumptions were wrong. A trial lawyer before entering politics, the Governor reviewed the evidence, acquired some evidence that had not been presented at trial , and interviewed some of the witnesses, including Conley. who had changed his story several times.  Slaton also heard arguments from both the prosecution and defense.

Although he knew, and had been warned, that taking any action favorable to Leo Frank would not only end his political career in Georgia but also place him and his wife in mortal peril, Slaton commuted Frank’s sentence from capital punishment to life imprisonment. In his official statement, he wrote,

I can endure misconstruction, abuse and condemnation, but I cannot stand the constant companionship of an accusing conscience, which would remind me in every thought that I, as a Governor of Georgia, failed to do what I thought to be right.

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Everything About This Story Is Discouraging: The Carrollton Video [Corrected]

Chapter I: In Georgia, two Carrollton High School  seniors made a truly cretinous video. Filmed in a bathroom, the male and female students students pretend to be doing a   cooking show as they pour cups of water into the sink.

Showing their faces in the mirror, she announces, “Hey, today we’re making…”as the  camera aims at the sink where there’s a piece of notebook paper with “niggers” written on it. The male student intones the word. The male student lifts cups of water and pours each one into the sink, over the paper. Under each cup is a piece of paper with the name of an “ingredient” written on it, which the young woman reads.

“First we have ‘black,'” she says. He then pours the cup of water into the sink over the paper with the slur. “Next we have, ‘Don’t have a dad!'” Other ingredients include “eating watermelon and fried chicken” and “rob people.”

“Specifically whites,” guy adds as he refills the “robs people” cup over and over using the sink tap.  One cup labeled “make good choices” is empty. The couple  feign surprise over the cup having nothing in it.

Once their opus was complete, the couple was so proud that they posted it online.

Why this is discouraging: In what alternate universe would anyone from the age of seven up think something like that would be acceptable to publicize? What kind of polluted culture is being fostered in Carollton? What are they teaching in the schools?

Even passing on that, how could anyone be so stupid as to think posting an overly racist video wouldn’t have serious consequences? Again, who is teaching critical thinking in that community? What have the parents been doing for 17 years, getting stoned? Continue reading

Incompetent Elected Official Of The Month: Georgia Governor Brian Kemp, Or “What A %#$!@ Idiot!”

In more shocking news, I now have it on good authority that the Pope is Catholic…”

Kemp should resign over this.

Yesterday, Governor Kemp said he  had just learned some “new information,” and was “finding out that this virus is now transmitting before people see signs.”

“Those individuals could have been infecting people before they ever felt bad, but we didn’t know that until the last 24 hours,” he said.

He added that the state’s top doctor told him that “this is a game-changer.”

He should resign too.

Game-changer? I knew that asymptomatic people could spread the disease after Dr. Fauci explained that in a press conference in late January. It was being openly discussed on television and in the news reports in early February. When I did my last live ethics seminar on March 5—in Atlanta!—the lawyers were all discussing the fact that they couldn’t be sure if they were infected, or if I was.

And this idiot goes to a podium and says;  ‘Stop the presses! I just found out that people who feel fine might still spread the virus!’ Continue reading

Ethics Quiz: Santa In A MAGA Cap

Frank Skinner, who has played  Santa Claus at a mall in Waycross, Georgia for 50 years, says he was nearing the end of a long shift with kids on on and off his knee and the mall  was finally empty. For fun, he put on a MAGA cap as he sat in his Santa chair and took his own photo. Then he shared it for friends on his Facebook page.Predictably, some jerk sent it  to the mall’s management with a complaint.To be clear, the picture didn’t show Santa reading Hustler, or feeling up a busty co-ed, or snorting coke. It showed him wearing the campaign cap of the President of the United States.

The mall responded, “We apologize for this occurrence and will be addressing this right away. The Mall at Waycross does not support any specific political party. Thank you for bringing this to our attention. Kindly, Mall Management.” Then  the mall’s manager told reporters that the posing of the photo was “done completely without our knowledge” and added that “it’s safe to say he will not be wearing this hat around here. This particular Santa has been replaced.” Frank was fired.

Your Ethics Alarms Christmas season Ethics Quiz of the Day is…

Was the mall’s action fair and responsible?

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