LATE Morning Observations On Election 2020. So Far…

Screenshot-2020-11-04-at-11.09.15-AM-600x391

Tip: The most important observation is the last one.

1. In the hours between when I started the last post when I got back out of bed two-and-a half hours later, two crucial states where the President was shown leading flipped to narrow leads for Biden. This does not prove or even suggest chicanery, but under the circumstances it looks bad. (“Gee, they cheat fast!” was a comment on one of the conservative blogs following the election live.) The meme above may be unfair, but it accurately expresses what went through my mind when I saw the new totals.

This is why it is unethical to create “the appearance of impropriety” if you have anything to do with the government. People need to trust the government, its institutions, and the fairness and openness of elections. The appearance of impropriety is just as damaging as actual impropriety. We have already seen this in the aftermath of the Mueller investigation and the prosecution of General Flynn.

2.  Both parties have worked to deliberately create suspicion about the political process, and the decision to vastly increase the use of mail-in ballots, in what should have been recognized as a close election, knowing that doing so would delay the process, create opportunity for mischief, and keep the results of the election mired in uncertainty for days and even weeks was either epically incompetent or sinister. Now, instead of the single state having a “too close to call” vote total with the Presidency hanging in the balance as in 2000, we have six, which will presumably multiply litigation and uncertainty. That’s a disaster, no matter what the final result is, and it is a disaster that should have been avoided at all costs. It was unethical and negligent not to avoid it at all costs.

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Early Morning Observations On Election 2020. So Far

Fox News Arizona

I got up at 4:30 am to scan the various news sources after going to bed at 1:30 am following a night of checking the incoming results online and on TV. Don’t expect eloquence….

Observations:

1. Chaos. This is why allowing main-in ballots was either galactically stupid or a deliberate effort to cause confusion and seed armed insurrection. The intent was so, so clear that I really don’t know what to make of those who supported it. Mail-in ballots create problems of security and chain of custody, unnecessarily delaying the determination of critical races, notably the Presidential election. The postal service is not reliable, as I can personally attest with all the checks from ProEthics clients that routinely arrive late, not at all, or end up at the wrong address. The fiasco, was, in turn, yet another creation of the politically motivated fearmongering over the Wuhan virus. It is not hard to vote “safely” in person while wearing masks and socially distancing. I never came close to touching or breathing on another person, or they on me, when I voted yesterday. The Left wants, and has always wanted, a less secure, effortless, commitment-free voting system which it believes helps low-information, easily-led voters to participate who couldn’t be bothered otherwise. (Next will be a push for online voting, once mail-in voting proves to be the catastrophe it was always sure to be.)

2. The narrative leading up to the election, that Biden had an insurmountable lead and that the President was certain to lose was false. Again, whether it was intentionally false to suppress pro-Trump votes, or just astounding incompetence, conformation bias and irresponsible reporting and polling at work, I don’t know (but I have my suspicions.) That narrative never made sense with all of the other factors involves…the nature of the Presidency, the behavior of Democrats since 2016, the disgrace of the news media, the pathetic Democratic ticket, the transparent dishonesty of blaming the President for the lock-down and pandemic deaths, the backdrop of the 2016 election, and more.

As I wrote here, over and over again.

That’s as close to “I told you so!” as I’m going to write, but you know, I do know some things. I’m not just sitting here pulling stuff out of the air. Have a little trust and faith. I think I’ve earned it.

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A Case Study: Here Is Why We Cannot Trust Polls And Pollsters

GARBAGE IN-OUT

The Marist polling organization, which also had a presidential race poll out over the weekend, was widely publicized recently for its poll asking fans of professional sports why they weren’t following them as they had in past seasons. (The NFL, NBA and Major League Baseball have seen significant TV ratings drops in their respective weird, pandemic-marred seasons.) The headlines in one news source after another focused on a single “finding”: the invasion of political posturing by athletes had not played the primary role in driving fans away. “No, the increased political activism in professional sports doesn’t explain the ratings decline,” wrote Yahoo Sports, repeated by AOL. “And no, the sports where that activism is the most pronounced, like the NBA, haven’t suffered more in comparison.”

That may or may not be true, but the Marist poll cited didn’t indicate either of those conclusions, because those polled were not asked about either issue with sufficient precision or clarity.

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Discrimination, Diversity, And The Tattooed Teacher

Sylvain Helaine, 35, has, as you can see above, gone to great lengths to cover nearly every centimeter of his body with tattoos, including the whites of his eyes. He is, believe it or not, a kindergarten teacher, and Helaine is complaining that he has been told he cannot teach young children because some of them find his appearance nightmare-inducing. This, he feels, is discrimination.  Nonetheless, he is still teaching older children.

He says that he hopes his tattoos will teach his students about acceptance so that “maybe when they are adults they will be less racist and less homophobic and more open-minded.”

I’m sorry this issue is emerging in France and not in the U.S. It’s an excellent Ethics Incompleteness Principle case. When an individual deliberately mutilates himself like this, a school rejecting him as a teacher of young children, and indeed older children as well, is fair, reasonable and responsible. His “disability” is self-inflicted, his appearance teaches that narcissism and lack of respect for others is admirable, and he is quite possibly mentally ill. Continue reading

Morning Ethics Warm-Up, 9/25/2020: “Snap Out Of It!”

This is applicable to so many aspects of today I don’t have space to list them. Prime among them are the apparent re-runs of the George Floyd riots in various cities, this time tied to the death of Breonna Taylor and the fact that the cops who didn’t murder her weren’t charged with murder.  Hmmm…are these more stupid than the St. George riots, less stupid, or exactly as stupid?

1. I wonder…has the NFL killed more innocent black men than police over the years? Gale Sayers, the legendary Chicago Bears running back, died this week from “complications of dementia,” almost certainly meaning he was another victim of CTE suffered from playing what a friend calls “Concussionball.”

Well, as much as NFL fans might resent having players pollute entertainment with half-baked politicsal grandstanding, you can bet they would rather watch meaningless kneeling during the “Star-Spangled Banner” than forfeit the fun of watching human beings destroy their brains for cash.

2. This guy isn’t helping...Officer John Goulart, Jr., reported that at a shopping center in Pineville, La, Goulart was shot once in the leg and anotherbullet hit the back door of his patrol car. However, investigators determined that Goulart  fired those shots, including the one that hit him in the leg,  himself.  Now he’s under arrest. [Pointer: valkygrrl] Continue reading

Further Reflections On “What Do We Do With Jeffrey Previte?’

The reason I posted the Ethics Quiz about the consulting company CEO caught on a security camera beating a small dog is that I genuinely do not know what society is supposed to do with people like that. The conduct is sick and evil, and as I noted in the post, Previte’s comments showed that he neither regretted his actions nor understood what people were upset about. The poll was included to get a sense of the assembled, and it has been one-sided:

It is the esteemed veteran ethics warrior Michael West who focused on the question from a practical viewpoint, and, after all, this is a practical ethics blog. In a series of comments he wrote,

I voted for the apology route because there’s no choice between apology and appropriate punishment that incorporates aspects of both. His conduct is gross and indicative of his character, but our society is getting to a point where we don’t allow for any rehabilitation ever. And that’s not a good development.

I had posited to another commenter a public official caught on camera terrorizing his family to counter the argument that it was unfair for this conduct to be made public, and Michael countered,

I think psychologically terrorizing family combined with being a public official changes the scope of invested parties and certainly justifies a larger body of people interested in knowing about the behavior. In this case, while not absolving him of being scrutinized and shunned by an appropriate section of society, “it’s just a dog” does guide the level of this man’s infamy as compared to your hypothetical. But yes, once the video is out the video is out. But, if, after appropriate demonstrations of genuine remorse, repentance and change of character and appropriate consequences are leveled against this man and…such as reduction to mere data entry job…I don’t think I would “take my business elsewhere” if I discovered he happened to be the man entering the data I need entered.

I mean at some point the “shunned by society” is clearly disproportionate…should grocery stores refuse his ability to buy food?

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Labored Ethics, 9/4/2020: Insanity, Desperation…And Poll Answers!

Happy Labor Day Weekend,

for those of you who don’t run your own business and will be working the whole time, because ethics never rests…

1. I guess it’s nice that Shaun King and Rachel Dolezal have another friend, but…I really don’t care about Jessica Krug, the suddenly “trending” professor and PhD who has, she now says, been pretending to be black her whole professional life, though she is a white, Jewish woman. According to George Washington University, she is an associate professor  and  a historian of politics, ideas, and cultural practices in Africa and the African Diaspora, with a particular interest in West Central Africa and maroon societies in the early modern period and Black transnational cultural studies.”

So either she’s a calculating con artist, like Elizabeth Warren, or she’s a nut. Either way, what she says now can’t be trusted, and beyond a a voyeuristic fascination with lunatics or the sight of someone engaged in extravagant self-flagellation ( “I am a coward. There is no ignorance, no innocence, nothing to claim, nothing to defend. I have moved wrong in every way for years….”), a can’t imagine any sock drawer more worth my time than reading about or thinking about this fraud.

We shall see if the next step is a book (“Fake Black Like Me”), a movie, or a series of interviews on NPR.

Meanwhile, it has been more than 24 hours since her confession was posted, and I assume—but who knows with a cheat or a lunatic?_-she gave her employer a heads up. Whether she did or not, she should have been fired by now. Why hasn’t she been?

2. The desperation continues. As the mainstream media and their political favorites finally admit that President Trump is increasingly likely to win in November, the signs of desperation and panic become palpable. A few days ago the rumor was that the President had three strokes, amazingly without anyone seeming to notice or leak to the news media. Who do they think he is, Grover Cleveland? It was ridiculous, and a Big Lie, but Trump felt he had to deny it (he did a good job, actually, with a funny tweet) , which is what Big Lies are supposed to make you do. He should not have. There will be rumors like this treated by the news media as genuine right up to the election. I predict there will be several that the New York Times runs front page stories about immediately, unlike, for example, the way it treated the still plausible accusation against Joe Biden of sexually assaulting a staffer. Continue reading

Day’s End Ethics,9/3/2020: Three Terrible People, And The NFL

This is really getting up late; I spent all day writing legal ethics song parodies, including a new version of the “American Pie” parody I posted earlier. I was going to discuss the answers to that one, but I am so sick of “American Pie” right now I could spit.

Did you know that there was different end of the last verse? It comes in after “And the man there said the music wouldn’t play.” It went,

And there I stood alone and afraid
I dropped to my knees and there I prayed
And I promised him everything I could give
If only he would make the music live
And he promised it would live once more
But this time one would equal four
And in five years four had come to mourn
And the music was reborn…

The Day the Music Died.

1 . Here’s someone to add to your venal scum list: Stephanie Winston Wolkoff, who has a “tell-all” book coming out exploiting her time as a trusted friend of Melania Trump. All of these wretched people—Omarosa, John Bolton, Mary Trump, “Anonymous,” the rest of them—are the same. They betray trust for money, like Judas, or Robert Hansson. By any ethical standard, such books should be written, if at all, after the individuals who trusted the authors are dead or at least out of the public eye. That rule is the same whether the scum is cashing in on being trusted by Bill Clinton, Barack Obama or Donald Trump.

And yes, those who reward such low-lifes by buying their books are endorsing, rewarding and encouraging unethical conduct.

2. Wait, why isn’t this guy “cancelled?” From the Times:

The rapper and internet troll 6ix9ine, one of the most polarizing figures in popular culture today, is by turns grating, defiant, relentless, hostile and savvy, a self-proclaimed car crash, a rat and an admitted domestic abuser. At 24, he is also inarguably compelling to many, having landed two Top 5 hits — including “Trollz” with Nicki Minaj, his first No. 1 — and racked up more than one billion new YouTube views in less than four months, since his early release from federal prison this spring.

… In February of last year, he pleaded guilty to firearms and racketeering charges stemming from his role in the Nine Trey Gangsta Bloods, a violent, drug-trafficking Brooklyn gang, and agreed to cooperate with prosecutors, delivering what the judge in the case called “game-changing” testimony against his former associates… he was sentenced to two years, including the 13 months he’d already served — but it also put his life and rap career in jeopardy…

6ix9ine, a rainbow-haired, suggestively tattooed attention addict, was already controversial — an endless source of Instagram beefs that often devolved into real-world violence, and a convicted sex criminal, having pleaded guilty as a teenager to the use of a child in a sexual performance. Then he repeatedly doubled down on his villain status. His new album is called “TattleTales,” out Friday via the independent distributor Create Music Group,

3. I have an impolitic question to ask after you’ve digested this… Continue reading

Monday Musical Ethics , 8/31/2020: A Number From Today’s Seminar!

Good afternoon!

We ran out of time and had to dash through our last number on today’s version of Ethics Rock (By the way, Mike Messer really looks like the logo, which was designed before we found him), so I’ll let the legal ethics whizzes here (and everyone else: non-layers often do better on these quizzes than lawyers do—take a shot at the questions…Are you ready? “NJSBA” means “New Jersey State Bar Association,” you stress the “J” to make it scan.

“The Day My Ethics Died”

[A ProEthics legal ethics parody to the melody of “American Pie” by Don McLean]

A long, long, time ago,
I can still remember
Legal practice used to make me smile
And I knew if I could get my shot
I’d win my cases, like as not,
And then I could drink Chivas for a while.

But ethics rulings made me nauseous
I’m no good when over-cautious.
Clients give a cruel look
When they see you check the rule book.

I can’t remember if I cried
When I finally knew my brain was fried…
I took the rules and looked inside,
The day my ethics died.

So, hey, hey, NJSBA
Your committee has no pity for us lawyers today;
When black and white start to fade into gray
We ask, “Do you really mean what you say?”
“Do you really mean what you say?”

Oh, I’m the king of slip and falls
My suits make safer lawns and halls
(At least my wallet tells me so.)

My client, Mick, is lame and sore
Since he hit his head on a banker’s floor
And his injury has left him kinda slow.

Now his father has me change his will
To take out Mick and give him nil;
I know its Dad’s estate—
But doing this to Mick I hate!

Then there’s the day when Mick pulls out his gun
And points to strangers in the sun
He says, “I’d like to shoot them, one by one!”

The day my ethics died.

And I am singing,

Hey, hey, NJSBA
Your committee has no pity for us lawyers today;
When black and white start to fade into gray
We ask, “Do you really mean what you say?”
“Do you really mean what you say?”

Crying, lying, everything I’m trying
But Mick is nuts, there’s no denying
I do what he says and we’re dead.

This guy hears commands from Outer Space
And that strange expression on his face
Tells me something has pulled loose inside his head.

He’s pushing theories that won’t fly
And making arguments that I
Would never use in court…
Perhaps I should abort!

Or instead, before his fate is sealed
A guardian can make him yield;
I should have found a better field
Before my ethics died.

So now I’m singing,

Hey, hey, Mister VSBA
Your committee has no pity for us lawyers today;
When black and white start to fade into gray
We ask, “Do you really mean what you say?”
“Do you really mean what you say?”

Then, surprise! Just as I’m feeling sick
A settlement is offered Mick…
A deal like this won’t come again…
So come on Mick, be prudent, don’t be slow!

Drop the claim and take the dough
I’m sayin’, as your lawyer and your friend!

But Mick says no, it’s not enough
I argue, beg, and then get tough:
“You take it, or I’m through!
I’ll quit unless you do!”

Then as a last resort, I shout out, “Hey!”
“The Space Lords dictate what I say!”
And Mick says, “Really?! Then okay!”
The day my ethics died.

So I was singing

Hey, hey, NJSBA
Your committee has no pity for us lawyers today;
When black and white start to fade into gray
We ask, “Do you really mean what you say?”
“Do you really mean what you say?”

When the check arrived for Mick to take
He admitted that his pain was fake,
And I just groaned and turned away.

I tried to learn from CLE
But I fell asleep so rapidly
Though the man there gave me credit anyway.

And in the court the judges screamed
The juries drooled and the clients schemed
But nothing really mattered
My ethics all were shattered.

And the three things that inspired me
Justice,
Love, and a
Giant fee
Just seemed to be a mockery
The day my ethics died.

We started singing…

Hey, hey, NJSBA

Your committee has no pity for us lawyers today;
When black and white start to fade into gray
We ask, “Do you really mean what you say?”
“Do you really mean what you say?”

[SING ALONG!]

Hey, hey, NJSBA
Your committee has no pity for us lawyers today;
When black and white start to fade into gray
We ask, “Do you really mean what you say?”

Questions… Continue reading