Morning Ethics Warm-Up, 1/23/2020: You Know, If People Keep Putting Impeachment Ethics Fouls In Front Of Me, I May Have To Comment On Them

Good Morning!

January 23 is a big day in ethics, good and bad. In 1964, poll taxes were finally banned via the 24th Amendment. In 1973, peace was finally declared in the Vietnam War (though it was hardly the “peace with honor” President Nixon called it.)In 1977, “Roots” debuted as a TV mini-series, helping to educate millions of Americans who knew very little about slavery.  In 1988, the Challenger exploded as a result of an engineering ethics breakdown. On this day in 1998, Bill Clinton looked America in the eye and denied having sex with Monica. Of course, he wasn’t lying, because he meant “sexual intercourse.” Sure. And finally, in 1989, Ted Bundy was electrocuted. Good.

1. Impeachment notes. I will not watch the trial, but these kinds of things that come to my attention cannot be ignored:

Instead, we are here today to consider a much more grave matter, and that is an attempt to use the powers of the presidency to cheat in an election. For precisely this reason, the President’s misconduct cannot be decided at the ballot box—for we cannot be assured that the vote will be fairly won. In corruptly using his office to gain a political advantage, in abusing the powers of that office in such a way as to jeopardize our national security and the integrity of our elections, in obstructing the investigation into his own wrongdoing, the President has shown that he believes that he is above the law and scornful of constraint.

Good Lord. Continue reading

Ethics Recovery, 12/19/19, Post Op Edition: Terrible People

Here I am, I think! Hello?

I’m still groggy from the anesthesia, and the doctor said not to do too much, and definitely not to make any important decisions. I remembered that advice just in time, when I was tempted to watch the Democratic Candidates’ debate, and realized I must still be disoriented. Then I turned to ABC, and thought I saw the Miss America Pageant, which is impossible in enlightened 2019, so I was definitely hallucinating. I’ve also been off my blood-thinner for two days, and could stroke out any second.

1. On Pelosi’s desperate stunt. The House of Representatives adjourned before voting to send the articles of impeachment to the U.S. Senate for a trial. Apparently Democrats are refusing to forward the impeachment to the Senate until they receive assurances the trial will be “fair” in their eyes. You know, like the partisan impeachment in the House, which began with closed hearings overseen by Adam Schiff, and no witnesses who had anything to offer but opinions and hearsay, and ended up with Articles that failed to assert impeachable offenses. Fair.

The Democrats have been following through on this insane scheme hoping to get as much TV time as possible showing Democrats insulting the President, hoping that more repetitions of “Orange Man Bad” supported by the seven Big Lies will somehow change enough votes to avoid a disaster in 2020. They know that absent some presently unknown smoking gun, there is no way they can get the two-thirds super-majority to convict (they’re wishing and hoping for that, too) and knew this all long. The plan now is to try to discredit the Senate acquittal in advance.

This requires a belief that the non-Trump Deranged among the public (think of the rest as the equivalent of the infected in “World War Z”) have the IQs of annelid worms, and the short-term memories of mayflies. The party really believes that after Pelosi and the rest said it was imperative to impeach Trump as soon as possible because the nation and the Constitution is in imminent peril, the decision now to stall the impeachment process won’t be seen as proof that the whole exercise was a cynical, dishonest, hypocritical sham. This is more than irresponsible and incompetent. This is a parody of irresponsible and incompetent.

2. More…It also illustrates the dishonest and insincere nature of the Democrat/”resistance”/mainstream media’s three-year  narrative about President Trump ignoring “democratic norms” and the Constitution. Prof. Noah Feldman, who made it clear when he testified that he wants to see Trump impeached and is willing to warp his interpretation of the Constitution to get it done, isn’t willing to endorse this trick. He wrote,

If the House votes to “impeach” but doesn’t send the articles to the Senate or send impeachment managers there to carry its message, it hasn’t directly violated the text of the Constitution. But the House would be acting against the implicit logic of the Constitution’s description of impeachment.

A president who has been genuinely impeached must constitutionally have the opportunity to defend himself before the Senate. That’s built into the constitutional logic of impeachment, which demands a trial before removal.

To be sure, if the House just never sends its articles of impeachment to the Senate, there can be no trial there. That’s what the “sole power to impeach” means.

But if the House never sends the articles, then Trump could say with strong justification that he was never actually impeached. And that’s probably not the message Congressional Democrats are hoping to send.

Alan Dershowitz, who has derided this impeachment from the beginning,writes.

“It is difficult to imagine anything more unconstitutional, more violative of the intention of the Framers, more of a denial of basic due process and civil liberties, more unfair to the president and more likely to increase the current divisiveness among the American people…President Trump would stand accused of two articles of impeachment without having an opportunity to be acquitted by the institution selected by the Framers to try all cases of impeachment. It would be as if a prosecutor deliberately decided to indict a criminal defendant but not to put him on trial.”

Civil rights attorney lawyer Harvey Silverglate described Pelosi’s gambit as  “manipulation of the system.” The whole impeachment sham has been a manipulation of the system, and now Pelosi’s defenders will have to go deeper into denial to defend it. Professor Turley, no surprise, also condemned the maneuver.  “Articles of impeachment were not meant to be articles of barter,”  Turley wrote.  “Just as the House elected not to seek to compel the testimony of critical witnesses, the Senate can make the same decision for its own house.” Continue reading

Impeachment Ethics Update, Holiday Edition, Part Three: The Deluge

Before getting into the selected items and outrages, let me say again that I don’t think I have ever known any issue to so hollow out the skulls of so many usually rational intelligent people—either that, or somehow create a mass ethicsectomy. Today on Facebook one of those erstwhile bright and informed individuals among my legally educated friends decided to pander to the Borg and hold a poll regarding the “worst defense against impeachment.” His #1 was that the impeachment was really an attempt to undo the 2016 election. I stopped reading right there, and you can imagine, regular readers, what I wrote, but it ended with this, with which I assume you are familiar. Of course, I could have also used this, in which we learn that Democrats indicate that they intend to keep investigating the President and seem likely to keep impeaching him until they are stopped.

1. Let’s start with the massive hypocrisy, nicely noted by David Hirsanyi. Why his piece? Because it encapsulates what is one of the biggest ethical offenses of th entire fiasco, the Democrats concocting double standards specifically to wield against this President, while daring the public not to notice…or to notice and corrupt themselves by supporting the coup efforts anyway. He wrote in part,

Not very long ago, [Democrats] were rationalizing and cheerleading unprecedented abuses of power under the Obama administration. And they’ll be cheerleading for more abuses of the Constitution the next time they win the White House.  Nancy Pelosi can dress in black, recite the Pledge of Allegiance, and act as if this impeachment is her solemn obligation, but everyone saw the Democratic party’s hysterical reaction to the 2016 election. Everyone saw dozens of candidates running in 2018 — either implicitly, but most often explicitly — on getting rid of the president. Just last week we learned that people within our intelligence agencies subverted the law to help Democrats concoct a three-year national panic meant to undermine the veracity of a fair election…. If your contention is that the Constitution protects abortion on demand through the ninth month but are fine with undermining property rights, gun rights, religious freedom, and any meaningful separation of power, you’re not a custodian of the Constitution, you’re partisan with an agenda. So do what you must. But it’s been insufferable watching you playact sentinel of the American Republic — whose presumptions, institutions, documents, and Founders you don’t really seem to like very much.

2. Back to you, Alan Dershowitz, who wrote a clear and convincing explanation in The Hill of why both Articles of Impeachment failed Constitutional standards. Key paragraph:

Both are so vague and open ended that they could be applied in partisan fashion by a majority of the House against almost any president from the opposing party. Both are precisely what the Framers had rejected at their Constitutional Convention. Both raise the “greatest danger,” in the words of Alexander Hamilton, that the decision to impeach will be based on the “comparative strength of parties,” rather than on “innocence or guilt.”

3. Polls cannot be trusted, and in this area especially there have been polls to support every confirmation bias, The story here, however, is how the Democratic Party/”resistance”/ mainstream media has  so entered the zone where they are walled off from reality that they literally can’t handle the truth. CNN legal hack Jeff Toobin (I’m sorry, but that’s what he is) threw an on-air fit as  he rejected the results of CNN’s own poll showing  Democrat support for impeachment dropping from 90% down to 77%. (The reason for this, Jeffrey, is that it is dawning on the smarter progressives  that this divisive and dangerous scream at the sky will make the President stronger).

After Alisyn Camerota did some spinning, saying “Democrat support for impeachment had softened “a little bit”—this is another variety of fake news: deliberate mischaracterization—Toobin erupted, “I don’t believe that poll for one second, the 90 to 77%. I don’t believe it! It makes no sense that that number would change like that . . . David [CNN political director David Chalianong], that poll is wrong. Just because I said so, okay?

This gives us some sense of what the reaction will be when Trump wins the election in 2020. Continue reading

Friday Ethics Catch-Up, 10/18/2009: Hillary Snaps, And More Evidence That Everything Is Spinning Madly Out Of Control

I am totally fried, and wondering if it is responsible to post in this condition. But ethics waits for no man…

1. Last chance to see my presentation at the Smithsonian, “Courtroom Drama:The Art of Cross-Examination.” Details here. There will be a lot of ethics discussed, as you would expect, plus some Clarence Darrow, Atticus Finch, F.Lee Bailey, Perry Mason, Cousin Vinny, and “You can’t handle the truth!,” among other highlights. I’m doing the two-hour program with my younger sister Edith, who, unlike me, has actually done cross examinations.

2. Whoa! Tell me again what an honorable, trustworthy woman Hillary Clinton is. Here’s Hillary, actually calling Jill Stein and Rep. Tulsi Gabbard, the lone moderate in the Democratic Presidential nomination race—well, the lone moderate who doesn’t habitually grope women—“Russian assets” in a podcast:

And brava to Gabbard, who didn’t mince words on Twitter in her response to the smear: Continue reading

Afternoon Ethics Tea, 9/26/2019: A Drunk Lawyer, A Disgraceful Congressman, Uncivil Peanut Butter And The Dolls America Needs [UPDATED!]

These trustworthy scones are divine!

1. First, the important stuff: peanut butter ethics. Now Jif, the peanut butter, has joined the detestable ranks of consumer products that deliberately evoke the vulgarity “fuckin'” in its advertising. Booking.com was the first company chided here for this particular offense against minimal civility, when I wrote,

Ethics dictates that one communicates with respect for anyone within hearing distance, and unless ugly words serve a material purpose, using them is not the mark of a good citizen, a good neighbor, or a trustworthy human being. Nor is spouting vulgarity witty, and unless you are 11, and employing obvious code words that sound like curses, epithets and obscenities isn’t especially funny either, since we pretty much exhausted the possibilities at summer camp. I have no idea why anyone would want to recast the culture as a place where professionals curse like sailors and the words “fuck” and “cocksucker” are as likely to issue from a debutante’s lips as those of a hip hop artist, but that seems to be the objective now. … TV stations happily accept money from advertisers using code words for “ass” (Verizon), alluding to sexual intercourse (Reese’s), and evoking the word “shit” (K-Mart and DraftKings).

Booking.com no longer uses this device, but Jif now pronounces itself “Jif’n good!” Fortunately, this peanut butter aficionado regards Jiff as the least of the  national brands and varieties (1. Skippy Natural 2. Skippy regular, 3. Peter Pan crunchy 4. Peter Pan smooth…and Jif, bringing up the rear.

Now I won’t even buy this peanut smutter when it’s on sale.

2. Apparently the mainstream media AND the Democrats are determined to dash what’s left of their rotting credibility to smithereens with this last ditch impeachment push:

  • Today’s “Japanese Bombs Pearl Harbor” size headline across the New York Times print edition: TRUMP ASKED FOR ‘FAVOR’ IN CALL, MEMO SHOWS.” Again, this would be really funny if it wasn’t so destructive.
  • Showing unprecedented lack of respect for the office of President (and proving beyond any doubt that no American who wants fair and objective reporting on politics should tune into MSNBC), the network’s Nicole Wallace cut off the  audio at President’s   first news conference since House Democrats opened a formal impeachment inquiry,, saying,  “We hate to do this, really, but the president isn’t telling the truth.”
  • In Congress, on TV, Rep. Adam Schiff read into the record his “paraphrase” of the transcript of the President’s phone call to the Ukraine President. Sample:

“I’m going to say this only seven times, so you better listen good, I want you to make up dirt on my political opponent, understand, lots of it, on this and on that, I’m going to put you in touch with people.”

“Is he just making this up?” Committee member Mile Turner (R-Ohio) asked. Indeed he was. Althouse’s commenters are having a field day on this. Ann’s readership is ideologically mixed, but you couldn’t tell that from the utter contempt Schiff’s stunt inspired. Continue reading

I KNEW He Could Do It! As Impeachment Plans A-Q Look Like Losers, Rep. Adam Schiff Invents Plan R!

It should be obvious what the Democratic Party’s game plan is now, especially since Robert Mueller’s testimony yesterday dashed hopes that he would blow wind into the limp sails of the SS Overthrow The Republican. Instead, the ostensible Special Prosecutor  made the case for “high crimes and misdemeanors” look weaker and more contrived than before. One by one, the weak, weaker and weakest “resistance” plans to remove President Trump have fallen into various states of hopelessness and ruin, and the bitter-enders are now resorting to denial or impeachment rationalizations unmoored to anything at all, like this guy, who says that “history demands” an impeachment. [Pointer: Zoltar]

The Democrats will just keep the impeachment fires burning until the election, hoping that 1) one of the horrible candidates Democrats get to choose from will defeat Trump, which looks like a Hail Mary at this point (but who knows what the President will tweet next) or 2) the Democrats will take control of the Senate, and 3) the public will tolerate them spending another 4 years trying to overthrow an elected President without getting disgusted and turning the House back over to the GOP.  Does this sound rational and responsible to you? I wonder why it sounds reasonable to Democrats.

Meanwhile, I was beginning to think the Ethics Alarms list of coup theories had maxxed out at Q, plan #17. [ The most recent  updated list is here] But somehow I knew, deep in my heart, that Rep. Adam Schiff, who has lied, puffed, exaggerated and grandstanded all manner of impeachment justifications that didn’t exist in fact or law, but somehow isn’t walking around Washington D.C. with his head in a bag, would be equal to the daunting task of coming up with a new plan. And so he has.

Perhaps anticipating the  Mueller Meltdown,  Schiff unveiled Plan R in his opening statement as Chair of the House Intelligence Committee.  His theory? President Trump was “disloyal”:

“Disloyalty to country. Those are strong words. But how else are we to describe a presidential campaign which did not inform the authorities of a foreign offer of dirt on their opponent, which did not publicly shun it, or turn it away, but which instead invited it, encouraged it, and made full use of it? That disloyalty may not have been criminal. But disloyalty to country violates the very obligation of citizenship, our devotion to a core principle on which our nation was founded, that we, the people, not some foreign power that wishes us ill, we decide, who shall govern, us.”

Continue reading

More Ethics Observations On The Post-Mueller Report Response

1.The video montage above is the “Nah, there’s no mainstream media bias” smoking gun for all time.

2. If the Democratic Party had competent and ethical leadership, this is what those leaders would do right now. They would thank Robert Mueller for doing a thorough, professional and objective  job under difficult circumstances. They would say that that American needed to be assured that there were no illegal and wrongful efforts by the President, his campaign and his party to conspire with a foreign power to undermine a fair election. They would say that they look forward, now that the cloud hanging over the White House has been removed, and President Trump’s assertion that there was no wrongdoing has been confirmed, to working with President Trump in the spirit of cooperation and mutual concern for the national interests, without rancor or recriminations, and hope that he will do the same.

They would also, not publicly, instruct elected officials from their party to accept the conclusions of the report, to be gracious rather than bitter, to end what will now appear to be vindictive investigations, and to get on with the job of governing.  This is a grand opportunity for them to regain the respect of the non-hate polluted public, and to behave like adults, patriots and statesmen for the first time since November, 2016.

If they don’t do this, and it is already obvious that they won’t, it will demonstrate that the party is cowering in fear of its most radical and irrational base, that it is following rather than leading, that it has neither integrity, honesty, decency, or the sense God gave a marmoset. Continue reading