It’s Time For Another 2020 Election Ethics Train Wreck Update! [Updated!]

Devil on shoulder

1. I find it nearly impossible to believe that the presumed election of Joe Biden can be reversed by now. Moreover, if it were over-turned, the reaction from the Axis of Unethical Conduct—they are the violent ones, after all—would be too frightening to contemplate. Richard Nixon, of all people, looks better and better in the rear view mirror. In one of his few noble and self-less acts, Tricky Dick of all people decided that the consequences of overturning an election because of fraud and illegal voting tricks weren’t even worth winning the White House. Of course, the political differences between Nixon and Kennedy were puny compared to the divide today.

2. However, there is legitimate doubt today whether allowing election manipulation allegations to just fade away without legitimate scrutiny—as they certainly would once the Democrats take over the Executive Branch—wouldn’t be as destructive as what Nixon feared. It Trump concedes, one could argue, he’ll be allowing election fraud to succeed and even to become a “norm.” Finding and punishing election cheats are important even if they didn’t change the result.

Continue reading

Noonish Ethics Quickies, 9/23/2020: Still More Weird Tales Of The Trump Deranged!

1. Senator Murkowski has the integrity of a shack made of cream cheese. She thought she could get cheap virtue signaling points by announcing that she would refuse to vote to confirm President Trump’s nomination to fill the SCOTUS vacancy, but now that it looks like her stand will be futile, she says she might vote to confirm after all. Throughout her nepotism-built career, Murkowski has repeatedly demonstrated that if you don’t like what she advocates, wait a minute. She’s untrustworthy, and the fact that Alaskans keep re-electing someone like her strongly suggests that they just don’t give a damn.

2.  A good friend just wrote on Facebook that 200,000 Americans would still be alive if Donald Trump wasn’t President. He really wrote this, and there was no joke attached. He cannot possibly believe that. What was he doing? Sucking up to his many Trump Deranged friends? Having a stroke? I was temped to respond, but decided to let it go. The post was embarrassing: even the average Trump Deranged citizen who now has the IQ of a winter squash could tell THAT claim is nonsense.

The social media narrative, echoed by the news media and Democrats, that somehow the deaths from the pandemic in the U.S. would be fewer, or far fewer, if only President Trump had “followed the science” and done something different that no one can quite identify, is , in my assessment, signature significance for either a fool or a liar. Every other day I mark a shift in the “scientific” consensus or some new theory, because the health community still doesn’t understand what it is dealing with.  The New York Times, simultaneously with pushing the “blood on his hands” Big Lie (that’s #9, if you’ve lost count), regularly includes items that contradict the narrative. On August 24, for example, it noted in a column in the Business Section–nicely buried!— that the CDC didn’t advocate wearing masks until April, after saying in January that wearing masks wasn’t necessary.

If Americans allow this ongoing and self-evident lie to influence their vote in November, they are as incompetent as the idiots, if there were any, who voted against Hillary Clinton because they believed that she was operating a child sex trafficking operation out of a D.C. pizza joint. Continue reading

On Progressives, Prof. Tribe, Race-Based Leadership,The Decline Of Integrity, And, Oh, Everything: A Critical Review

This drama,  reported by Campus Reform, exemplifies so much about what’s so wrong about so much and so many, that it boggles the mind. My mind, anyway. You may have a higher boggle threshold.

Act I: Once distinguished Harvard law professor Lawrence Tribe, recently crippled by Trump Derangement,  was among the signers of a letter addressed to Biden, urging the ex-Vice President to choose Sen. Elizabeth Warren as his most qualified running mate.

Observations: The letter, signed mostly by aging old-school liberals like Tribe, but also socialist Robert Reich and flat-learning curve activist Jane Fonda among others,  is a depressing commentary 1) on the qualifications of Biden’s likely VP pool and  2) the reasoning ability and absence of integrity among  its signatories, “100+ progressive former public officials, authors, actors, activists,advocates and scholars.” Their theory is that Warren is ready to become President  by virtue of her experience and accomplishments. Nothing in the letter explains why a former academic with literally no leadership experience at all should be  considered for President or Vice President. Nor does the letter acknowledge that at 71, Warren would be the oldest Vice President in history, backing the oldest man to be elected President (and showing it). This is not surprising, I suppose, since the list of signers appears to have an average age of at least 71.

The gang lauds her policy skills, then cites among her brilliant policy nostrums reparations for slavery, and as evidence of her judgment, urging Trump’s impeachment after the release of the Mueller Report, which contained no valid justification for impeachment whatsoever, which Warren, as a legal scholar, undoubtedly knew.

Risibly, the letter says, “As you saw, she ran among the best-organized and well-funded presidential campaigns in history.” If it was so well-funded and well-organized, and Warren is so terrific, why was the canpaign a failure, failing even to win the primary in Warren’s own state, Massachusetts?

“Imagine her on stage debunking Mike Pence or needling ‘President Tweety’,” the letter says. There it is: the tell. It’s one more expression of mass anti-Trump fury. That’s Warren’s big plus for these angry Lefties: she would call the Bad Orange Man a poopy head with brio.

One would think many of the  one-time luminaries would be bothered by Warren’s habitual dishonesty and demagoguery, especially Stephen Gillers, the renowned (77 year-old) legal ethics guru. Nah! What’s most important is to have a quick-witted speaker who can  needle President Tweety’.” Warren’s  years of faking being a “person of color” to advance via affirmative action at Harvard and elsewhere? Her documented venal hypocrisy?

Warren asked a crowd, during the campaign this year, “How could the American people want someone who lies to them?,” thus using rhetoric to try to erase

  • Her decades-long Cherokee charade, her DNA test fiasco,
  • Her false claim that her children only attended public schools,
  • Her lie about being fired from a teaching job because she was pregnant,
  • Her false claim of  to being first woman to take the New Jersey Bar while breastfeeding,
  • Her cruel slander of a dead past employer, saying he “chased her around a desk” who, it turned out when her story was checked, not only had polio, and couldn’t chase anyone, he was also a friend and mentor whom Warren eulogized at his funeral.
  •   Warren’s  endorsment, knowing well it is a lie, of the “Mike Brown was murdered by a racist cop” fantasy,
  • Her claim to have represented women harmed by defective breast transplants when she represented the defendant, Dow Corning, in those cases,
  • …and more.

Thus does bias make you stupid. All these are accomplished and supposedly trustworthy people, and none of them apparently believe that cynical obfuscating at every turn is a disqualification for the Presidency unless the obfuscater is Donald Trump. The letter is one giant, embarrassing, epistolary Jumbo.

Act 2, Scene I:  Asked by the Washington Post if African-Americans would accept a non-black running mate for Biden, Tribe said it would be  “symbolic” to choose an African American running mate, but that “African Americans above all would be the first to say they are more interested in results than cosmetics.”

Observations: This  launches the popular game show so often played here: “Dumb or Lying?” Tribe’s answer is an amazing assertion now, of all times.  The George Floyd Freakout is fueled by demands that there be mandatory quotas for African-Americans among faculties, corporate boards, committees, sports team owners. scientific advisory committees, artistic award nominees and winners—pretty much everything, with skin color the primary criteria and not ability, with the only “result” mattering being…more blacks in positions of power and influence.

Act 2, Scene 2: Tribe’s statement to the Post and the pro-Warren letter made Tribe the target of the progressive Twitter mob. Some critics claimed that Tribe was overlooking the accomplishments of other black female candidates like Kamala Harris. Bakari Sellers, former South Carolina state representative, tweeted that Tribe made “snide remarks about the preparedness of the black women being vetted for VP.”  Former Democratic National Committee Chairman and Vermont governorHoward Dean said the letter and Tribe’s comments typify white peoples’ “clueless racism.”

Observation: By any rational standard, Kamala Harris is even less qualified to be President than Warren. Her only asset is that she’s black. She’s an affront to #MeToo and feminists, having literally slept her way to the top; she has boasted of being a tough prosecutor, which spits in the face of the BLM “mass incarceration” grievance. She ran an even worse campaign for the nomination than Warren, having to drop out early despite heavy hype from the media.

And Tribe’s arguments for Warren weren’t “snide” or racist, except in the new race-bullying USA where  anything not  explicitly pro-African American objectives and individuals is evidence of bigotry.

Act 3. Tribe resorted to weasel words and gibberish to avoid being “cancelled”; as a lawyer, he has plenty of facility with both. He tweeted,

“I apologize for my choice of words…I’ve never doubted that racial identity is a significant variable in American governance. It should count heavily in favor of previously excluded groups as part of a person’s full record of background, skills, and values. I’m FOR Warren, not ANTI-excellent others.”

Observations:

Well, Larry used to be better at weasel words and gibberish in his prime.

  • He’s a lawyer: words are his stock in trade. Lawyers don’t get to use the “poor choice of words” excuse.
  • I literally don’t know what “racial identity is a significant variable in American governance” means.
  • The argument is over qualifications, not “variables.”
  • The proposition that race constitutes “skills and values” is  bigotry and an argument for black supremacy in this context.
  • “I’m FOR Warren, not ANTI-excellent others” should condemn Tribe to wearing a paper bag over his head. This is a binary choice, Professor; be definition being for one candidate is being against the others.

Finally, all of the media and blog reports on this fiasco say that Tribe “apologized.” He backtracked, tap-danced, and humina humina-ed, but he did NOT apologize, despite his use of the word “apologize.” He did not apologize for the letter, and he did not retract his opinion.

Ethics Dunce: Senator Chuck Schumer [CORRECTED]

“I want to tell you [Justice] Kavanaugh, I want to tell you [Justice] Gorsuch: You have unleashed a whirlwind, and you will pay the price.You won’t know what hit you if you go forward with these awful decisions!”

—–Democratic Senate leader Chuck Schumer, sounding like Sonny Corleone, in front of the Supreme Court.

How many ways was this demagoguery wrong, as in spectacularly unethical? Let’s see:

  • Schumer  threatened Supreme Court justices, by name. What does “pay the price” mean, if not, “Just you wait, you’re gonna regret this!”

There is no possible justification for such ominous rhetoric

  • It is an attempt at intimidation as well as  encouragement to others to follow through on Schumer’s threat. This prompted Chief Justice Roberts into a making an unprecedented protest, as he wrote, “Statements of this sort from the highest levels of government are not only inappropriate, they are dangerous. All members of the Court will continue to do their job, without fear or favor, from whatever quarter.”

Perfect.

Even addled Larry Tribe, the former Harvard Law School icon turned mad anti-Trump tweeter and conspiracy-monger, called Schumer’s outburst intolerable, tweeting,

These remarks by @SenSchumer were inexcusable. Chief Justice Roberts was right to call him on his comments. I hope the Senator, whom I’ve long admired and consider a friend, apologizes and takes back his implicit threat. It’s beneath him and his office.

Prof. Jonathan Turley joined the chorus and wrote, Continue reading

Morning Ethics Warm-Up, 4/15/2019: Patriots Day! Jackie Robinson Day!

Good morning!

It’s funny: over at Ann Althouse’s blog, she’s complaining about how there’s nothing to write about. From an ethics perspective, I am finding too much to write about, especially since, unlike Ann, I still have to work for a living.

1. Quick: what does Patriots Day commemorate (and no, it’s not Tom Brady)? My home state of Massachusetts, Connecticut, Maine (which was once part of the Bay State), and Wisconsin observe the holiday, which honors the twin battles of Lexington and Concord, the confrontations with the British (on April 19, 1775, the day after “The Midnight Ride of Paul Revere”) that launched the Revolutionary War. I visited both battlefields more times than I could count when I was living in Arlington, Mass., right next to Lexington. That battlefield, what’s left of it, is in the middle of busy streets on all sides; it’s hard to imagine the scene as described in the song above from “1776.” Concord’s battlefield, in contrast, is almost exactly as it was in 1775.

All the publicity, even in Boston, about today will be dominated by the running of the Boston Marathon, but attention should be paid to the inspiring story of how ragtag groups of volunteers faced off against the trained soldiers of the most powerful country on Earth, sending the message that this rebellion would not be so easy to put down.  49 Colonists died, 39 were wounded, and five were unaccounted for. The British lost 73, while 174 were wounded,and 26 were missing.

2. It’s also Jackie Robinson Day. In every MLB game today, every player will wear Jackie’s number 42. The best way to honor Jackie for the rest of us is to tell his story to someone who doesn’t know who Jackie Robinson was, and it is shocking how many such people there are. The film “42” does an excellent job of dramatizing how Jackie broke the color barrier in baseball, simultaneously weakening segregation everywhere. The Ethics Alarms post about Robinson is here. Continue reading

Morning Ethics Warm-Up, 12/30/2017: Is Robert Mueller Biased? Are The Patriots Cheating Again? Is Larry Tribe Deranged? Is President Trump A Robot?

Good Morning!

(Nothing better than waking up to a light dusting of snow!)

1 When you can keep your head when all about you are losing theirs…Alan Dershowitz, a Democrat and legal expert who has prominently avoided the ravages of anti-Trump mania that have crippled so many of his distinguished colleagues, tried to clarify several issues in the Mueller investigation on Fox News.

On Special Prosecutor Mueller personally and professionally: “I don’t think he’s partisan, I don’t think he cares whether the Democrats or the Republicans benefit from this.I think he’s a zealous prosecutor and if he were going after Hillary Clinton, he’d be going after her with as much zeal.”

On his investigative team: “Now that’s not true for some of the people on his staff. He should never have allowed these people to serve on this investigative staff, if they had the points of view that they’ve had towards Hillary Clinton and towards Donald Trump. That was a mistake…when you’re going after a president or a presidential candidate, you have to be ‘Caesar’s wife,’ you have to be above reproach, and he didn’t do a good enough job in vetting the people that he brought on to the prosecution and the investigative team, and that hurts his credibility.”

Correct, and obviously correct. So why is the White House and Fox News being criticized daily for questioning the legitimacy, fairness, objectivity, and independence of the investigation? It doesn’t matter if Mueller is personally fair and objective if he appoints biased and conflicted lawyers to do the work. That still means the investigation is compromised and untrustworthy. It also means that Mueller undermined the investigation exactly the way he could not afford to if he wanted its results to be accepted.

There is nothing inappropriate about those being investigated pointing out bias, incompetence and conflicts of interest by the investigators. Criticism of a legitimate complaint, backed up by facts, indicates that those critics  don’t care about bias, incompetence and conflicts of interest, if they lead to the result they crave.

2. Suspicion! Why would the NFL’s New England Patriots sign a washed-up, 39-year-old Pittsburgh Steelers veteran, James Harrison, with only one game left in the regular season, at a cost of about $60,000 for that game and for any play-off games the Patriots participate in? Harrison has barely played all season, is no longer a top performer, and was a discordant and disruptive presence in the locker room. Many sportswriters and fans believe that he is being paid by New England to be a turncoat, and to reveal  Steelers’ secrets that might provide an edge if the Patriots, as many expect, have to defeat Pittsburgh on the way to another Super Bowl. The Patriots have been caught cheating more than once. Would this be cheating?

I assume not, unless Harrison had an enforceable non disclosure clause that prohibited him from revealing Steelers plays and strategies even after he was no longer on the team. Indeed, it would be unethical for Harrison not to help his new team in any way possible. When New England signed him, they signed his body, mind and accumulated experience. Continue reading