Ethical Quote Of The Week: James Carville

“Last night on CNN, Bernie Sanders called me a political hack.“That’s exactly who the fuck I am! I am a political hack! I am not an ideologue. I am not a purist. He thinks it’s a pejorative. I kinda like it! At least I’m not a communist!”

Political consultant and long-time Clinton acolyte James Carville on Snapchat with former CNN reporter Peter Hamby.

You have to love this. Yes, I think it’s a remarkably ethical statement from Carville. He is, unlike so many of his fellow operatives and strategists, not pretending to be someone and something he isn’t. He has delivered welcome honesty where we almost never receive it. Carville is loyal to those who pay him, like a lawyer, like lobbyists, like so many members of Congress. His candor also solved the long-time mystery (to some) of how the supposedly progressive Clintonista could be happily married to Mary Matalin, a prominent Republican strategist and mouthpiece. Now we know: he and she are true soul mates in cynical Washington. Their mutual missions are facilitating political warfare and skulduggery, for pieces of silver. The honesty is so refreshing!

And Bernie is a Communist. The public needs to know it, and cheers to Carville for ripping off the bandaid.

Unethical Tweet Of The Week: NBC News (And It Goes Right Into The “Nah, There’s No Mainstream Media Bias!” Files]

That’s the tweet. Here was DJT Jr.’s response:

And here was non-partisan blogger Ann Althouse’s response to that:

He’s right. They are hacks. And it was blackface.

And NBC knows it was blackface, though the truly awful Bahar denies it on the link.

Althouse is right that Trump Jr. Is right, and that they are hacks. All of the mainstream media are untrustworthy, biased, dishonest and manipulative hacks, as we enter a crucial political campaign and impeachment fiasco in which public civic literacy and awareness are critical, even as these organization attempt to  undermine it to advance their own political and ideological agendas. Their behavior could hardly be more dangerous, divisive, or destructive.

Now tell me again why it is wrong for the President to call them out as “enemies of the people.” That description is as accurate as “hacks”, and far more correctly alerts us to the seriousness of their corruption.

And to disgrace and expose themselves to hold common cause with the sordid likes of “The View’s” most ignorant and hateful loudmouth! Astounding! I am again reminded of this moment in “A Man For All Seasons,” as Sir Thomas More confronts the man who lied under oath to falsely prove More'[s alleged treason:

But for Joy Behar!

At CNN, Bias, Incompetence And Unethical Journalism Earns A Promotion.

You have to understand that CNN’s Chris Cuomo is an irresponsible, reckless and not very bright left-wing hack. Let’s just review the Ethics Alarms Chris Cuomo files from most recent back. Remember, he’s just one small part of what we follow here. If I watched Cuomo regularly, which I won’t, or read his social media blather, which I wouldn’t, this list would doubtlessly be much longer:

  • Here, he breezily asserted that Americans with mental illness should lose their rights.
  • Here, he falsely claimed that the President used “shithole” so children were exposed to the word, as Cuomo wrote it on a whiteboard, exposing children to the word.
  • Here, he told the public that “hate speech” wasn’t protected under the First Amendment, and ordered everyone to read the Constitution, which he obviously doesn’t comprehend.
  • Here, he advocated harassing, intimidating and threatening a private citizen for exercising his right to publicize his views on the internet if the views don’t meet with liberal approval.
  • Here, he cackled over a Simpsons clip that was run on his show solely because it attacked President Trump.
  • Here, he tried to spin an accurate story as false because it reflected badly on the Obama Administration.
  • Here, he promoted a documentary that pushed the false narrative that Michael Brown had his hands up and was crying “Don’t shoot!”
  • Here, he intentionally misresprested a Trump tweet condemning Berkeley’s student riots aimed at shutting down free speech as support for the extremist speaker.
  • Here, and my personal favorite, signature significance for an idiot, Cuomo told viewers that they couldn’t download the Wikileaks leaks, saying—and this guy’s a lawyer!— ”Also interesting is, remember, it’s illegal to possess these stolen documents. It’s different for the media, so everything you’re learning about this, you’re learning from us.”
  • Here, and there are dozens, maybe hundreds of other examples, Cuomo unethically took the role of a partisan advocate to debate a Trump surrogate.
  • Here, despite being a lawyer, Cuomo allowed the term “homicide” and “murder” to be conflated by non-lawyer protesters, who at least have an excuse for their ignorance.
  • Here, he stood by as a guest declared Thomas Jefferson as the author of the Constitution, not only failing to correct the gaffe, but endorsing it.
  • Here, a pattern, he encouraged an advocate of preventing “crazy people” from have gun ownership rights.
  • Here, he pandered to Jorge Ramos, saying that he “respected as a journalist” the  openly activist Mexican broadcaster who was properly ejected from a Trump campaign event.
  • Here, he led an embarrassing, partisan, live laugh-fest mocking the fact that the GOP was “stuck” with Donald Trump as its nominee.
  • Here, he showed his complete ethics ignorance by saying that rules determine whether conduct is wrong. I wrote, as my brains dripped down on me from the ceiling,

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Morning Ethics Warm-Up, 11/22/17: Uber, Thanksgiving Hate, Accountability, Trump’s Unavoidable Choice, And Ruing The Day That Changed Everything

Good Morning.

…But 54 years ago it seemed like a beautiful morning in Dealey Plaza…

1 “President Kennedy is dead…” I heard those word over my little black transistor radio that I mostly used to listen to Red Sox games. Let’s see how many news stories take note of the historical significance of today: the anniversary of the assassination of President John Fitzgerald Kennedy in Dallas. It is the date when a disturbed crypto-Communist radical took the fate and future of an entire nation and culture in his hands, and squeezed them to pulp—one of the three or four most unethical acts in U.S. history. As readers here know, I am not a Jack Kennedy admirer. Nonetheless, in “Back to the Future II” terms, it’s impossible to imagine what 2017 America would be like had Lee Harvey Oswald not shot the top of JFK’s head off in 1963, but it’s easy to imagine that we would be better. The assassination created a violent shift in the time/space continuum, and we never got back on track.

2. Bye-Bye Uber, you’re also dead to me. Uber is untrustworthy and unethical, and anyone who trusts the company going forward is a fool as well as an enabler of corporate misconduct. This is signature significance: the company revealed that hackers stole 57 million driver and rider accounts last year, yet Uber withheld that fact from the public until now after paying a $100,000 ransom to the hackers. Ethical, competent, trustworthy companies don’t operate this way.

It wasn’t just the company’s juvenile and piggish former CEO and co-founder Travis Kalanick. The company he created inherited his ethical deficits like a lethal gene. Any company is obligated to reveal hacks of personal data to members of the public who might be harmed by them immediately.

If you use Uber after this, you’re an idiot. You’re also sending the message that an epic breach of trust by a corporation will be shrugged off via one or twenty rationalizations, like 19. The Perfection Diversion: “Nobody’s Perfect!” or “Everybody makes mistakes!”

Keep sending that message, and pretty soon they’ll be using 1. The Golden Rationalization, or “Everybody does it.”

3. More Tales of the Anti-Trump Deranged: This essay in the virulent Trump-hating CG is meant humorously, but also is serious in its nastiness. Joe Berkowitz’s call to good little resistance members and Hillary bitter-enders to “ruin thanksgiving” as their “civic duty” stands as a self-indictment of the ugly, divisive mindset that so much of the Left has descended into over the past year. In fact, with just a few tweaks, it could have been written by a conservative satirist—if there were such things.

One aspect of Trump’s election turning the U.S. into a “Nation of Assholes” that I did not see coming was progressives and Democrats feeling liberated to go full-asshole themselves. This article shows the phenomenon. In particular, Berkowitz demonstrates how the Left can no longer distinguish between legitimate policy disagreements and what should be a matter of non-partisan consensus. His argument for using Thanksgiving to punish Trump supporting relatives by turning a celebration of faith and family into a table-top Gettysburg goes like this:

They can’t stand idly by while President Deals tramples every other American tradition and yet somehow expect that Thanksgiving will be normal too. [Note: Supporting the elected President is one of those traditions, and a crucial one.]…Here are a few suggestions for how to ruin Thanksgiving, arranged by ascending order of righteous fury:

Don’t show up. For some parents, your absence will speak louder than any sodden arguments over the density of pumpkin pie. If you can’t even look them in the eye, they’ll know you mean business. [Note: Is he joking? I know many families who are eschewing family gatherings for exactly this reason. Yes, I put most of this on the Angry Left and Barack Obama, aided and abetted by late night TV comics and the news media. They have set out to divide the nation by race, gender, age, class and party, seeking to build metaphorical walls where once there were divisions that could be forgotten or ignored during recreation and the shared commonality of citizenship. .]

Show up and be kind of an asshole. No hugs; only stiff, formal handshakes. During the football game, talk about police brutality nonstop. Take any opportunity to emphasize just how much Bruce Springsteen and the entire E Street band loathes Trump….[Note: See?]

Scorched Earth. Not even a handshake; just stare, disgustedly, at their outstretched arms….[Note: Among the  inarguable outrages that the essayist claims justifies such treatment: not supporting an increase in the minimum wage, refusing to uncritically accept climate change propaganda, and the President speaking “almost exclusively in racist dog whistles and ‘locker room talk.'” You know, racist dogwhistles like opposing the tearing down statues of Robert E. Lee,  correctly stating that a white nationalist group has the same rights to assemble and protest as anyone else without being attacked,  or objecting to NFL players inflicting an incoherent protest on their captive audience. ]

I was asked for ethics advice regarding looming political disputes during Thanksgiving, and here it is: It is rude and unkind to raise a topic you know is emotional and painful for people at the table. So don’t do it, just as you wouldn’t (I hope) deliberately raise such topics as Cousin Cecile’s abortion, Jim Jr.’s arrest, or Uncle Ethan’s IRS problems. Continue reading

Dear Lisa Bloom, You Unethical Hack: Stop Making Me Defend Kathy Griffin!

I had to get this post up before the Morning Ethics Warm-Up, because it warmed ME up by almost exploding my head.

Lisa Bloom, the daughter of feminist muck-raking celebrity attorney Gloria Allred, has already shown the she has either no regard for legal ethics, or is spectacularly ignorant of them. She has publicly breached the duty of loyalty, attacking her former client, Harvey Weinstein; she took on Weinstein in the teeth of a blatant conflict of interest that she also publicized, as if it was something to be proud of. Yesterday, she showed that she is unfamiliar with, or perhaps just doesn’t give a damn about, the core legal ethics principle of confidentiality, perhaps the most important legal ethics duty of all.

Her latest ex-client to be the victim of Bloom’s unprofessional conduct and disloyalty is Kathy Griffin, she of the severed head. Griffin announced that she had fired Bloom, and wasn’t nice about it—but then when is Griffin ever nice?—saying, “Yes, I got Bloomed. Yes, I didn’t have a good experience with her. Yes, I feel that she and her husband exacerbated my personal situation.” Disaffected clients can say anything they choose about their lawyers. They can do it on Yelp, on the lawyer consumer site Avvo,  to the Hollywood Reporter or hire a skywriter. What a client says, mean or not, untrue or not, still  does not alter a lawyer’s continuing ethical obligations one whit. A lawyer cannot get into a public fight with a former client over what did or did not occur during the representation. Every lawyer knows this, or is supposed to.

Yet Bloom—I would say “incredibly” had we not seen other examples of her professional ethics cluelessness—released this statement on Twitter:

[My head told me in a statement that it would have exploded over this but determined that doing so over Kathy Griffin and Lisa  Bloom was demeaning to head-explosions. I concur.]

The fact that Bloom had prepared Griffin’s remarks for the press conference, the fact that they worked on them together, the fact that Griffin discarded them, the fact the performer “ad-libbed” and “extemporized” are all client confidences. For all we knew, Griffin’s claim during the press conference that she was ignoring her notes was part of a pre-planned strategy.  I assumed it was; Griffin is an actress. “It’s best if you show that you are talking from the heart, Kathy,” is advice I would expect Griffin’s lawyer to give. A lawyer cannot tell the public that a client ignored her advice. Only the lawyer and the client know that. Revealing it is to disclose information the lawyer learned during the course of the representation that will harm or embarrass the client, a serious ethics violation and betrayal of trust Continue reading

That Settles It, If It Wasn’t Obvious Already: Lisa Bloom Is An Unethical Hack (But I Could Be Wrong…)

Now, don’t sue me, Lisa! Remember what it says in the “About” section (above), this is all just my opinion. When I say you are a stunningly unethical lawyer, that’s just my analysis; it’s true I know something about legal ethics, teaching and consulting on it full time, but I can’t assert my opinion as fact. I can’t read your mind or slog through your soul. I don’t know what a bar disciplinary committee would decide, though I know this is a famously gray area in legal ethics, so unethical conduct is unlikely to be punished.  And when I say you’re a hack, remember that “hack” isn’t a description subject to objective proof, any more than, say, “asshole.” Perhaps your definition of “hack’ is different from mine. In fact, I’m sure it is.

That said, your conduct is a professional disgrace. I think. Who knows? I may be wrong.

In an interview with BuzzFeed News published this weekend, Bloom, speaking of her recently terminated representation of Harvey Weinstein, said

“I can see that my just being associated with this was a mistake. All I can say is, from my perspective, I thought, ‘Here is my chance to get to the root of the problem from the inside. I am usually on the outside throwing stones. Here is my chance to be in the inside and to get a guy to handle this thing in a different way.’ I thought that would be a positive thing, but clearly it did not go over at all.”

Bloom added that she will no longer represent men accused of sexual misconduct, “even those who convincingly tell me they are innocent….I will just make the best choices I can out of every situation. I have clearly not been successful. I think anybody who does big bold things fails. And I definitely failed on this one.”

What Bloom has failed at is called “being a trustworthy and competent lawyer.”

The next day, during an appearance on Good Morning America, Bloom even more explicitly threw her former client under the metaphorical bus:

“It’s gross, yeah,” Bloom told GMA. “I’m working with a guy who has behaved badly over the years, who is genuinely remorseful, who says, you know, ‘I have caused a lot of pain.’”

Did Bloom actually graduate from law school, or did she just apprentice in her mother’s office (she is Gloria Allred’s daughter) and somehow get an honorary license? Did she never learn about the a lawyer’s duties of loyalty and confidentiality? She obviously didn’t know about conflicts of interest, since she represented Weinstein while agreeing to let him turn her book into a TV miniseries.

Ethics Alarms has previously criticized lawyers who have publicly undermined their former clients. The most recent example  was last year, when a former Trump lawyer used his experiences while representing the future Presidential candidate decades earlier to write a scathing mid-campaign attack on his former client in the Huffington Post. I wrote,

There is strong disagreement in the profession about whether the answer to “Is this unethical?” should be an outright yes. The status of loyalty among the legal ethics values hierarchy is as hotly contested now as it ever has been. If a lawyer wants to attack a former client in a matter unrelated to the representation and no confidences are revealed in the process, is that a legal ethics breach? If it is, it would be a very tough one to prosecute. I think it’s a general ethics breach, as in wrong and unprofessional. It is disloyal, and clients should be able to trust their lawyers not to come back years later, after a client let the lawyer see all of his or her warts, and say, “This guy’s an asshole.” It undermines the strength of the public’s trust in the profession.

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THIS Is CNN. How Embarrassing…For You, Me, Ted Turner, James Madison, Gutenberg, Australopithecus, Everyone

I watched this jaw-dropping exchange this morning on CNN’s New Day, unable to process what I was seeing. An alleged debate between two evidently paid CNN commentators, moderated by Alisyn Camerota, supposedly a professional broadcaster, the exchange was neither enlightening, informed or vaguely like anything the Founders could have recognized as “the press.” The level of logic and expression has been exceeded on multiple Jerry Springer episodes. The Kardashians could top it.. on a lucid day. Throughout the interminable segment, the “moderator” made no effort to control the rhetoric, correct screamingly obvious errors,or insist on decorum.

I think the best approach is to have you read it, if you can. When the transcript became available, I realized that what I had seen was even worse than I thought at the time. I was going to challenge you to pick out the most idiotic statements, but that’s too easy: closing your eyes and pointing at the screen would work. Here’s a more worthy test: see if you can identify an intelligent statement, one that wouldn’t be out of place in a bar debate between a soused kindergarten teaching assistant and truck driver recovering from a closed head injury.

But first,a word about Ana Navarro. When CNN started using her as its token conservative in studio panel discussions, I assumed it was one more example of the mainstream media stacking the deck to ensure that the liberal message prevailed by finding the lamest conservatives possible. She’s wishy-washy, inarticulate, and smug. Then Trump was nominated, and CNN found it had a Trump-hating Republican representing the Right on every issue: perfect! Navarro doesn’t even try to hide her hatred of Trump—the CNN anchors don’t try very hard, but they do a better job than Anna.

On the other hand, she not a persuasive advocate for anything, and ridiculous more often than not. As you shall see:

7:38 a.m. ET

BEN FERGUSON, CNN POLITICAL COMMENTATOR: You have a right to do a lot of things in this country, and there are consequences, and the NFL got it wrong. The NFL got out and tried to play both sides of this issue. And then they tried to say, “Oh, we’re America’s team, we’re America’s game, we’re America’s sport,” while allowing their employees to disrespect this country. You have the right to do it — there’s consequences. The NFL boycott is real —

ALISYN CAMEROTA: Listen, I just want to be very clear. They say they’re not disrespecting the country. They say that their protest is about the treatment —

FERGUSON: Well, that’s what they say.

CAMEROTA: They’re the sources. They’re doing the protesting. They’re the protesters.

FERGUSON: I have the right to disagree with them. I’ll say this. I think many of the NFL players are frauds. Most of them did not go and vote in the last election, including Colin Kaepernick who’s never voted in an election — while coming out and claiming —

ANA NAVARRO, CNN POLITICAL COMMENTATOR: Voting is not a requirement to protest. Voting is not a requirement to voice a political opinion.

FERGUSON: If you’re going to be the leader of a political statement, as Colin Kaepernick was —

NAVARRO: Donald Trump’s children didn’t vote, and they are advisors in the White House!

FERGUSON: And I criticized — and I criticized them for that. I’m consistent.

NAVARRO: Well, fine, you criticize them for everything, but don’t tell me, then, that they don’t have a right to protest when the senior advisors in the White House didn’t vote.

FERGUSON: Colin Kaepernick comes out and says, “I’m going to lead this group.” When was the last time he went to a Black Lives Matter — the guy saw a bunch of TVs and a bunch of cameras and said, “I’m going to kneel right now, but I’m not going to back it up.”

CAMEROTA: That’s his right.

FERGUSON: He has a right, but it also means you’re a fraud.

NAVARRO: Can I tell you something, Ben? Ben, how white of you to think that going to a Black Lives Matter rally —

FERGUSON: It’s not white — don’t even go there. Don’t even — I’m sorry — that’s absurd.

NAVARRO: No, no, who are you to tell a black person what makes them black — what makes them have black credible?

FERGUSON: Again, it has nothing to do with race.

NAVARRO: Look at yourself in the mirror. What he is saying might be more significant than what — than going to one of the rallies.

FERGUSON: If I go out there every day and I champion a cause and I never do it in real life, I’m a fraud.

NAVARRO: Who died and made you the judge of blackness — to tell Colin what’s’-his-name that the fact he voted or not allows him to have a political opinion?

FERGUSON: If you go out there every day and you fight for something that you say is so near and dear to your heart, and then I find out in reality you’re never involved in the issue other than being on national TV, you’re a fraud. You’re a fraud and a fake.

NAVARRO: Well, then talk to Ivanka Trump! Talk to Ivanka Trump who didn’t vote!

FERGUSON: Again, we’re talking about Colin Kaepernick.

NAVARRO: No, no, because you want to hold this one standard for this one set of people and another one for another set of people.

FERGUSON: I did. I said this. I said this. You should have voted in an election.

NAVARRO: Ivanka Trump and Donald Trump Jr. are frauds because they didn’t vote in the Republican primaries!

FERGUSON: They should have voted in elections. I said that. You also voted for Hillary Clinton, and you say you’re a Republican, so that’s a little bit of a fraud, isn’t it?

NAVARRO: No, no, no, there’s a lot of Republicans who did.

FERGUSON: By using your standard. You come on here and say you’re a Republican. You say you’re a Republican, and you voted for Hillary Clinton. So you’re not a Republican, by your standard.

NAVARRO: You voted for a man who was a Democrat and then an independent, and then when he was an opportunist, he became a Republican. So, really, don’t go there for me because I have been supporting Republican candidates for President probably when you were still in diapers!

FERGUSON: Again, you voted for Hillary Clinton, and you say you’re a Republican.

NAVARRO: I voted for Hillary Clinton because I refuse to vote for a racist, misogynist, even though he was a Republican nominee.

FERGUSON: And you have every right to do that.

NAVARRO: And it was the first time in my life that I did not support the Republican nominee because I found him absolutely disgusting, and I was going to put country over party! And you are nobody to question Colin Kaepernick what’s-his-name’s blackness or my Republican credentials, okay? You are not judge and or jury! You can do whatever you want for yourself — you cannot judge me — you cannot judge whether he is black enough!

FERGUSON: I can judge Colin Kaepernick. It doesn’t have anything to do with his blackness. This the weakest argument — let me finish, though —

NAVARRO: Oh, you’re saying — you’re saying he’s not black enough because he didn’t go to Black Lives Matter.

FERGUSON: Again, I’m going to finish my point here because it’s really important.

NAVARRO: And you are black because you went to a Black Lives Matter rally!

FERGUSON: Let me finish – let me finish — again, let me finish. Colin Kaepernick coming out and saying this is a big issue to him, but he never goes out into the community and is involved in it — doesn’t even care enough about the issue which he says everyone else should care about to go register to vote and vote. That is hypocrisy — it has nothing to do with being black or white. It’s called being a hypocrite.

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