The Brazen Dishonesty Of Move-On.Org

If you know the background, this is hilarious…but not surprising.

Move-On.org has been an ethics burr under my saddle since they first sullied the political scene with their emergence during the Clinton impeachment drama. The name of the organization stood for the proposition, an out-growth of the ethically corrupting Democratic defenses of President Clinton’s conduct, that we should all get along, that the President and the nation had suffered enough, it was all just a big misunderstanding over sex and “private personal conduct,” and in the interests of everyone, we should just “move on to pressing issues facing the country.’”

This was transparent and dishonest partisan garbage at the time, and I wrote about it extensively on the old Ethics Scoreboard (which will be back on-line as soon as I have the stomach to fight via-email with the cheap hosting site that refuses to allow any direct phone contact, and is improperly holding my website hostage.) The group’s underlying supposition was and is corrupt: yes, the President illegally used an intern as his sex toy in the White House, lied under oath in a court proceeding, and used his power to hide evidence and cover-up his acts, but we should just let that go because there are more important things to worry about. The “ethically corrupting Democratic defenses of President Clinton’s conduct’ that spawned the cynical Move-On efforts were 1) It’s just sex. 2) lying about sex under oath isn’t really lying, because “everybody does it” 3) the President using his power and position to get sexual favors from an intern and U.S. government employee is no big deal; and 4) Come on, lots of other Presidents did bad stuff. Continue reading

Ethics Observations On The Sessions Resignation And Reaction

In ethical, legal and Constitutional terms, there isn’t really very much legitimate controversy here. The key word here is “legitimate.” “The resistance” is trying its best to spin the issues and confuse the public—yet again. The news media wants to help. They have nothing.

—Attorney General Sessions should have resigned long, long ago. He debased himself by remaining in office. His boss, the President, was publicly abusive, and obviously did not want him to continue in the job.

—I cannot begin to express sufficiently my contempt for the dishonest and absurd argument that Sessions leaving office constitutes an “obstruction of justice” under even the most tortured interpretation of the term. A President can fire and replace his own Cabinet members; this was the issue that technically led to Andrew Johnson’s impeachment. Congress had passed a law (later ruled unconstitutional) that prohibited firing a Cabinet member without Congressional consent. The current theory is even more crack-brained than the claim that Trump firing James Comey, who was incompetent, devious and untrustworthy was obstruction. The “theory,” if you can call it that, is that replacing an AG who had a conflict of interest and had to recuse himself from an investigation is somehow sinister, because the new AG will actually be able to do his job, and supervise a Justice Department investigation.

—The investigation is officially about Russian interference with the 2016 election. Because the Trump campaign and its participants (not the Trump administration: this occurred before the election) might have been implicated or drawn into the investigation, Sessions, who was part of the campaign organization, had to recuse himself as a potential target, witness, or otherwise involved person, both for potential conflicts reasons and to avoid any appearance of impropriety. However, these do not apply to Sessions’ successor, much as Democrats and “the resistance” would want Mueller’s investigation to be completely without supervision by anyone approved by the President.

—There is no reason in the world why the acting AG, Matt Whitaker, should recuse himself from involvement in the Mueller matter. Claims to the contrary are made without grounding in law or ethics. Continue reading

Comment Of The Day “Morning Ethics Warm-Up: 1/27/2018: “If You Want It, Here’s How To Get It” Edition”

Chris Marschner, who has had several, scored another Comment of the Day today with his reflections on the strange nature of “obstruction of justice ” charges, when justice would in fact be for no charges to be brought at all.

He was focusing on #3 in today’s warm-up,  which discussed yesterday’s “resistance” theory that  allegations  that the President wanted to fire the Special Prosecutor (but didn’t) prove that he was trying to obstruct justice when he fired James Comey, who so, so deserved it.

I see unmistakable signs that the “resistance” is losing its already tenuous grip on reality, and is increasingly yielding the raw hate and fury that long ago supplanted any rational criticism of Donald Trump. Consider has-been Leftist documentarian Michael Moore, who with fellow progressive performers Mark Ruffalo, Whoopi Goldberg, Rosie Perez and Cynthia Nixon, who have to do something between jobs, is pushing  Monday’s Counter-State of the Union , which is only slightly more sensible than the “scream pointlessly at the sky” event. Remarkably, among Moore, Whoopie, Rosie, Cynthia and Mark there isn’t a single political science, history, economics, or government major. In fact, there isn’t a single college degree of any kind between them, or business, government or executive experience of any kind.

 Michael Moore, speaking on behalf  of MoveOn.org (Do the Time’s Up and #MeToo crowd recall that Move-On was spawned to protest Bill Clinton facing accountability for his cover-up of sexual misconduct? Nah.), sent out an email that read in part, before the fundraising pitch,

Donald J. Trump has proven himself to be completely unfit for office, a threat to our country, and an imminent danger to the world. He is not well; he is a malignant narcissist and an active sociopath. And because he holds the codes to fire nuclear weapons, he is a singular threat to humanity.

This situation is a nightmare. And the only reason that things aren’t FAR WORSE than they already are is that millions of us have come together to engage in our democracy, resist, and organize.

But our problems go far beyond one sociopath president. The mission that we are on and the work that we must do is to tear down the rigged system that produced Trump in the first place. We must imagine the America that we want to live in. We must create the post-Trump America.

And this is actually possible: The fierce, determined Resistance movement that began after Trump’s election could create an avalanche at the polls this November. Together, we can stop Trump and the GOP and begin the work of creating the country that we imagined.

The country the Moore imagined was called the USSR. But I digress.

Here is Chris Marschner’s Comment of the Day on the post, Morning Ethics Warm-Up: 1/27/2018: “If You Want It, Here’s How To Get It” Edition: Continue reading

Morning Ethics Warm-Up, 11/17/2017: Groping And Griping [Updated]

GOOOOOOD  Morning!

1 Well THAT took an excruciatingly long time! Ethics Alarms finally reached its high water mark in followers this week, and has held the line for a change. Traffic has been disappointing in 2017; this will be the first year in which visits have fallen from the previous one. I blame the anomalous lack of any viral posts, which usually number two or three a year, (and are completely unpredictable), and the Trump-and-Hillary-driven polarization of the web. I have seen a significant net drop in followers every time Ethics Alarms unequivocally criticizes one “side” over the other, no matter how richly the ethics criticism is deserved.

People really do prefer echo chambers. It’s dispiriting.

Update: Right after I posted this, EA lost a follower.

2. Speaking of echo chambers..It is incredible how quickly the Democrats and progressives on Facebook  started defending Sen. Al Franken in the exact same terms, excuses, rationalizations and fallacies used all week by Roy Moore’s unprincipled defenders. The timing is suspicious…it’s only one time…this is politically motivated…we need his vote regardless…I believe him, not her…it was a long time ago…why did she wait so long?…he wasn’t in politics then…What about Trump?...everybody does it. In many cases they  mocked virtually the exact same statements by Republicans spinning for Moore that they are now making themselves.

Those who aren’t quite so hypocritical nonetheless praise Franken’s deceitful and manipulative apology. I guess Al’s supporters and journalists are exactly as dumb as he’s betting they are. The news media has also swallowed that apology whole. If they would just read Ethics Alarms, they wouldn’t embarrass themselves. Well, not so much and so often anyway.

(I’m sorry. The traffic stuff is getting to me…)

3. Read this, and get a surprise! Here’s an interesting website: Your Morals. Org. It has a list of studies you can participate in online—there’s a registration process that isn’t too time consuming— that gather data while purporting to measure your values, political leanings, tolerance for opposing views, and “morality.” I took the political orientation and attitudes survey.

I scored almost exactly in the center, leaning juuust a smidge…Democrat!

4.  NOW they tell us! I’m sorry, but I don’t care to hear Democratic politicians say  that Bill Clinton should have resigned during the Lewinsky scandal. Senator Gillibrand, who brought “Mattress Girl” to the State of the Union, has the immense gall to say that, 20 years after the  issue became moot. Of course he should have resigned. He lied under oath, lied to the American people, directly, calculatedly and intentionally, and obstructed the investigation, legally and illegally. But Democrats and feminists threw their principles into a big bonfire for political expediency, and it is a cheap, transparent and nauseating tactic to reverse themselves after all the damage Clinton’s pass for his “personal conduct” —I remember all the doges and rationalizations–did to the culture.

Paul Mirengoff,  a prominent Maryland-based lawyer who handles labor and employment-law cases, does an excellent job debunking a current Democratic talking point being used to explain why the party’s disgraceful posturing and enabling for Clinton was the result of sexual harassment “not being taken as seriously as it is today.”  He concludes,

Given the history I’ve just described, the argument that feminists and Democrats shrugged off claims of sexual misconduct against Clinton because of “the times” is unsustainable. The argument that, if Bill Clinton were president today, feminists and Democrats would believe Clinton’s accuser, or even just treat them with a modicum of respect, is unpersuasive.

The claims against Clinton were brought at a time of intense consciousness of the problem of sexual harassment. If anything, that consciousness subsided after Clinton’s presidency, thanks to the unwillingness of feminists and liberals to take his sexual misconduct seriously.

That unwillingness cannot be defended on the theory that times were different.

An aside: I saw that Move-On.Org has called for Franken to resign. Hilarious. The organization was created to argue that the nations should “move on” from the Clinton-Lewinsky scandal and let Bill off the hook. I invoke the Ethics Alarms principle of Ethical Estoppel. This group, of all groups, may not argue that any politician should resign after allegation of sexual misconduct. Ever.
Continue reading

For Once, To “Move On” Concerning Clinton Scandals Is The Right Thing To Do

No.

No.

Ethics Alarms didn’t want to make heads explode all over American by designating the President Elect an Ethics Hero, for that would go too far. Still, his statement to the New York Times that he won’t recommend prosecution of Hillary Clinton, adding that she has already “suffered greatly,” is a welcome one as well as the ethical course to take.

The news, shocking to some of Trump’s more vindictive followers and also to those who, for some reason, believed that anything Trump has said, promised, pledged or mused about isn’t subject to reversal at any time, was revealed in tweets from New York Times reporters Mike Grynbaum and Maggie Haberman, who attended a meeting between the President-elect and reporters and editors at the paper. The reporters tweets were confirmed by Trump’s campaign manager, Kellyanne Conway.

One of the Clintons’ prime strategies when they are caught in misconduct is to deny, deny, deny while delaying and stalling, throwing up smoke, confusing the issues, boring most of the public stiff and making their accusers seem like Inspector Javert from “Les Miserables.” Then, before there is any resolution and the investigations seem as stale as last year’s Halloween candy, the Clinton Corrupted, on cue, begin saying that it’s time to “move on, ” which translates into, “Let the Clinton (one, the other, or both) get away with it.” The perpetually juvenile far-left activist group Move-On.Org was launched by that mantra during Bill Clinton’s impeachment travails.

It is an infuriating tactic since it has worked so often, but for once, the argument dovetails with ethics. The United States political process, much as hyper-partisans would enjoy it to be otherwise, must not descend into the ugly practices of lesser nations, where leaders and politicians who fall out of power face show trials, imprisonment and even execution. If there has ever been an incoming President who might be expected to push us in that undemocratic and divisive direction it is Trump, who appears to be historically ignorant and has only rudimentary ethical instincts at best. During the presidential campaign, Trump pledged to appoint a special prosecutor to re-open investigations of  Clinton’s possible security breaches and possible influence peddling while at State. He happily joined his throngs as they chanted “lock her up!,” and in one debate  muttered to Hillary that if he were President, “you’d be in jail.” Continue reading

Bernie Sanders Fails An Integrity Test…and Worse

Sanders protest

At the conclusion of yesterday’s post in reaction to the violent protests in Chicago that shut down a planned Donald Trump rally, I wrote, as my final observation…

8. Ethics test: Let’s see if Bernie Sanders, without prompting,  has the integrity to condemn the conduct of his fervent fans.

My guess?

No.

Well.

Bernie Sanders has escaped much scrutiny of his character thus far, in a crowd of frighteningly flawed competitors. He’s not as corrupt or dishonest as Clinton, nor as ruthless as Cruz, nor as weak as Rubio, nor lacking any redeeming qualities of character at all,  like Donald Trump. Here, however, Berrnie betrays the moral rot of the leftist revolutionary, willing to excuse violence to overturn the established order for “the greater good.” We saw this during the last Democratic debate, in which he refused to condemn the Castro regime in Cuba nor repudiate his past praise of Fidel’s accomplishments.  Hillary Clinton, given an under-hand soft-ball pitch to hit out of the park, swung from then heels and launched it into the stands:

“You know, if the values are that you oppress people, you disappear, you imprison people, even kill people, for expressing their opinions … that is not the kind of revolution of values that I ever want to see anywhere.”

Bingo. But Bernie Sanders, like the Communist totalitarians he admires for their health care and distribution of wealth, is willing to put up with some violence to achieve his revolution, and he proved it here. Abetted in some respects by the biased news media that were thrilled to blame an example of violence squelching political speech on the victim rather than the true offenders—because they don’t like the victim, you see, and if journalists and pundits don’t like someone, they discard the basic standards of decency and fairness that they will rush to demand for their political favorites—Sanders released a telling defense of the actions of his supporters, even though his supporters had admitted their deliberate mounting of a near riot to silence Trump: Continue reading

Observations On The Chicago Trump Rally Protests

Trump rally riot

Donald Trump postponed a rally in Chicago after fights between supporters and demonstrators and protests in the streets convinced him that the event could no longer be held safely. “People For Bernie,” a pro-Sanders group that grew out of the Occupy movement, claimed early credit for shutting down the rally. Later, the left-wing sophomores at Move-On.Org announced that they were responsible, their leader, Illya Sheyman, stating,

“Mr. Trump and the Republican leaders who support him and his hate-filled rhetoric should be on notice after tonight’s events. These protests are a direct result of the violence that has occurred at Trump rallies and that has been encouraged by Trump himself from the stage. Our country is better than the shameful, dangerous, and bigoted rhetoric that has been the hallmark of the Trump campaign. To all of those who took to the streets of Chicago, we say thank you for standing up and saying enough is enough. To Donald Trump, and the GOP, we say, welcome to the general election. Trump and those who peddle hate and incite violence have no place in our politics and most certainly do not belong in the White House.”

Observations:

1. Trump was right to postpone the rally. It is true that this kind of anti-democratic speech censorship should not be encouraged by giving protesters a success from their unethical tactics, but violence was likely.

2. The protesters, whoever they were, are completely responsible for the incident. Blaming it on Trump’s “hate speech” and “irresponsible rhetoric” is a transparent rationalization. He has a right to hold a private event and say anything he wants to say. This is unequivocal.

3. Has Trump been playing with fire by taunting protesters in other events? Yes. He’s a jerk. That’s a reason to not vote for him for President, not to blame him when the left’s fascists disrupt his rally. Continue reading