Mid-Day Ethics Madness, 8/19/2020: Susan B., Fauxahontas, Utah…And “Gordie”

When I was looking through the 2012 posts yesterday, ultimately stumbling upon the long discourse about Barack Obama’s disastrous Presidency, I was struck by how, even in an election year, so many non-political ethics issues were discussed here. This is something that was already driving me crazy about 2020. Thanks to the pandemic, there is virtually no popular culture news. Legal ethics news is drastically reduced, as are reports from other sectors of society and culture. In this warped environment, politics spreads like kudzu, or killer bees, or snakeheads—you can choose your favorite invasive species or opportunistic organism analogy. I’m trying, I swear, but my over-all impression looking back on 2012 is that writing, and I presume reading, an ethics commentary blog was a lot more fun.

I’m sorry.

1. Today’s rejected Ethics Alarms comment comes from “Gordie,” was opining on the post on Ellen De Generis’s late hit accuser. He wrote,

Ellen was an a$$ to this boy and shes paying for it now. All you lip huggers need to wake TFU and rejoice when you hear truth no matter how unsavory or unpalatable you find it. Be a bully, get bullied. Dont you all see that Karma train pullin up? And with enough hands to slap every butt as it goes on by toot toot

Observations:

  • Welcome to my world. This is why so few new voices are added to the commentariat here.
  • Does anyone know what a “lip-hugger” is?
  • Tells in the comment that let us know the writer can’t tell an ethics from fuzzy slipper: mentioning “karma,” and the statement, “Be a bully, get bullied.”

2. Here is some non-political legal ethics news, and it’s important, if technical.

Before this week, only the District of Columbia, where I am licensed, allows non-lawyers to be partners in law firms. The majority position in the profession is that non-lawyers inevitably have a different alignment of values from the legally trained, and thus are not likely to be as sensitive to duties to clients, like confidentiality, and conflicts of interest. Pure “investors” are also banned from buying a share of law firm profits, because they are deemed likely to be governed by financial needs and motives rather than the best interests of clients.

When the D.C. bar decided to break the mold decades ago, everyone assumed that other jurisdictions would follow its lead, and soon doctors, engineers, scholars and accountants, among others, would be joining firms and allowing them to add new services. (Europe and Australia already allow  such “multidisciplinary firms.”) It didn’t happen.

Now, however, the dominoes might be starting to fall.  From the ABA Journal: Continue reading

Saturday Ethics Warm-Up, 7/18/2020: The Unmasking Edition

1. Rep. John Lewis died, and respect should be paid. BUT...Lewis played extreme and divisive partisan politics for years, exploiting and abusing his reputation as a “civil rights icon.” His boycott of the Trump inauguration did incalculable damage to race relations in this country and undermined a new President before he had a chance to show what he could do. It was unforgivable, and like Barack Obama, Lewis is substantially accountable for the racial enmity we are witnessing today. And he should have retired long ago.

2. I guess I have to say something about Mary Trump. The parade of people, including employees and officials, choosing to cash in and trash the President of the United States while he’s in office and trying to govern has been disgusting for years now. It is more disgusting, of course, when the slimy tell-all authors are  those who had positions of trust, but the efforts of others, like Trump’s niece Mary Trump, to peddle dirt to the large Trump-hate market is nauseating as well.

Since the act of making such claims against a family member for profit is itself signature significance for a crummy, venal, untrustworthy and vindictive human being, there is no reason to regard her book as anything more than more anti-Trump porn. I have a pretty close family, and I can say with certainty that neither my many cousins, nor my sole surviving aunt, nor my nephew and niece, have sufficient first hand knowledge of my life to make any reliable claims about me at all, good or bad.

3. Quick observations on Andrew Sullivan’s departure from New York Magazine…Sullivan published his last column for the extremely left-wing anti-Trump magazine, announcing he was leaving because the culture there was intolerant of his insufficiently woke principles. At one point he writes, 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 Time At The Senate Senate Pandemic Hearing [Corrected]

There is no reason why a Democratic Senator couldn’t have distinguished himself or herself today during the Senate Health, Education, Labor and Pensions Committee hearing, eschewing politics and partisan talking points with a statesmanlike and courageous presentation, thus earning Ethics Alarms accolades.

Instead, we got disinformation from Senator Warren, the party’s prime demagogue.

Questioning the ubiquitous Dr. Fauci, director of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases, Senator Warren asked for Fauci’s confirmation of inflated figures.

“As I understand it, we have about 25,000 new infections a day and over 2000 deaths a day … and some are estimating we could be at 200,000 cases a day by June,” she said.

“Wrong, Fearmonger Breath!” the good doctor essentially said, as he disputed the 200,000 new cases per day by June figure and said he expected the real number to be much lower. The other two figures were also false, however.

The 200,000 new cases per day by June estimate was probably from that leaked draft  report that the Times put on its front page this week, presumably to scare people. The White House disavowed the report and its predictions, the CDC disavowed the report and its predictions, and the scientist that created the model disavowedthen too, since  there were multiple possibilities included and he hadn’t completed his calculations.  Elizabeth Warren quoted the half-baked model anyway, because that’s the kind of thing she does.

Her other numbers…well, nobody knows where they came from.  According to the NBC News  death tracker, which compiles information from state officials, the daily Wuhan virus death rate in the U.S. has been under 2,000 since the beginning of May. NBC News’ new case tracker shows that while the number of new cases was around  25,000 a day through April, the rate has fallen off since the beginning of May.

The White House corrected Warren’s misrepresentations later.

From the truth-seeking perspective, rather than the false narrative-building approach, we had Senator Rand Paul, who is a physician (an ophthalmologist), challenging the authority of experts from a position of some authority himself. Continue reading

Amy’s Exit, Joe’s Door-Hanger [UPDATED!]

1. Senator Klobuchar eliminated the “none of the above” option from Democratic primary voters by dropping out today. This makes little sense: she’s dropping out because Biden won in South Carolina, where he was expected to win all along? Then she endorsed Joe Biden, which is irresponsible. Biden is a slowly devolving wreck, and every member of the Democratic Party has an obligation to at least try to present a mentally capable candidate for the public to consider. At his current rate of decline (let’s see, not to complain, just to be up-to-date, what did he say today? Nope, nothing, He must have been resting),

UPDATE! Joe wasn’t resting, so he did have brain synapse issues. From the Washington Examiner (Pointer:  77Zoomie):

2020 Democrat Joe Biden stumbled over his words as he attempted to recite the Declaration of Independence ahead of Super Tuesday. “We hold these truths to be self-evident,” the former vice president said during a campaign event in Texas on Monday. “All men and women created by — you know, you know, the thing”….he also accidentally referred to Super Tuesday as “Super Thursday” before correcting himself.

Joe will be a walking, babbling appeal to the 25th Amendment before November rolls around.

Ah-HA! Could that be why Amy endorsed him? Biden’s Vice-President choice will be scrutinized more carefully than any #2 since Richard Nixon in 1956 when Ike was running for a second term following a heart attack. (My wife asked today what Mrs. Biden was like, referencing Mrs. Wilson secretly taking over for Woodrow after his devastating stroke. Biden presumably has to pick an African American or a woman as his running mate.

Her choice is also a betrayal by the sisterhood of Elizabeth Warren, who is still hanging around, hoping for intervention from The Great Spirit, or something. Biden is a serial sexual harasser and assault master. The feminist, #MeToo wing of the Democratic Party  are as hypocritical in its support of Joe as the NAACP is in its support of Michael Jackson imitator Gov. Ralph Northam. In all the debates, neither Warren, nor Klobuchar, nor Kamala Harris, nor even pariah Tulsi Gabbard had the guts and integrity to confront Biden on his dirty old uncle routine. No Democratic woman should endorse Biden; it’s as unethical as cheering Bill Clinton. Oh, right…

The consensus among pundits right now is that Klobuchar’s endorsement signals that the Democratic establishment is desperate to stop Bernie Sanders from getting the nomination. That Joe Biden is their “firewall” tells us just how spectacularly the party has failed its job of finding a competent and trustworthy candidate, just as both parties failed in 2016.

2. Klobuchar’s withdrawal won’t have as much impact on tomorrow’s primaries because so many states allow early voting. This is one more reason early voting is wrong, and should be banned. It deceives voters into making a crucial decision without all the data is in, sometimes rendering votes null and virtuously void.

3. The party of women, minorities and the young somehow has managed to reach the nomination’s final laps with four white candidates, with Senator Warren being the only woman and the relative whippersnapper at 70. Of the remaining three men, one isn’t a Democrat (Sanders), one served in his only significant elected position as a Republican, and the other is relying on his connection to the inexplicably popular Barack Obama, whose failure to endorse him is a neon indictment.

Yikes. Good job, everybody! Continue reading

More Evidence Of The Ethics Void That Is Elizabeth Warren.

As America waits for the results of the epically botched Iowa caucuses, the fact that Elizabeth Warren still attracts any support at all is more testimony to the fact that 1) a lot of people are just as dumb as Warren thinks they are, and 2) Democrats just aren’t paying attention.

In an awful field for the Democratic Presidential nomination, Warren stands out for her Machiavellian manipulation, pandering and abuse of her presumed authority as a scholar. After I posted on Facebook about her head-explosionworthy promise to let trans teens have a veto over a cabinet position, maybe the most ridiculous pledge I’ve ever heard from any candidate regaring anything, a Facebook friend wrote that I appeared to be biased against Warren. It’s true—I am irrationally biased against politicians who say things they obviously don’t mean in order to get votes, and who are shameless, lying, demagogues.

Liz had a particularly revealing few days before the caucuses.  The Wall Street Journal reported: Continue reading

Unethical Quote Of The Month: Senator Elizabeth Warren

“We should not be criminalizing mamas and babies trying to flee violence at home or trying to build a better future. We must pass comprehensive immigration reform that is in line with our values, creates a pathway to citizenship for undocumented immigrants including our DREAMers, and protects our borders.”

—Massachusetts Senator and Democratic Party chief (no pun intended) demagogue Elizabeth Warren

I was excoriated on Facebook earlier this year for suggesting that Democrats and progressives now support open borders but just don’t have the guts to be honest about it. Of course, there is no other explanation for the behavior of the House and Democrats—as well as the news media that now works for them—regarding the illegal immigration issue except stealth institution of an open borders policy.

Thus, in a perverse way, we should all be grateful for Elizabeth Warren for revealing her considered calculation–she’s a Harvard prof, remember, so she must be smart—that a declaration of support for this suicidal policy is what the Democratic “base” craves.

However, the statement (more here) is so flagrantly self-contradictory and dishonest that it makes you want to plotz, as Woody Allen would say, and the fact that a law professor would endorse a Bizarro World system in which an act is illegal or not depending on one’s motive for breaking the law shows just how brazen, cynical and untrustworthy this woman is. The entire statement is calculated to both make people dumber and to exploit those who are critically impaired intellectually already.

How can the borders be protected if anyone can cross them without fear of consequences, and the U.S. has removed the law that sends a clear message, “Don’t do this!”? And how spectacularly dishonest must a politician be to use the transparently meaningless and deceptive cliché  “comprehensive immigration  reform” in this context? Continue reading

Oh, Great. ANOTHER Fake Stat That Everyone Will Cite As True For A Decade Or More: The $400 Emergency Expense Lie

“Good news, Fake Campus Sexual Assault stats, Fake Gender Pay Gap stats, Fake Gun Violence stats, and the rest of the club! You have anew member!

Senator Kamala Harris cited the stat in April, and if someone doesn’t stop her, it will become part of the pro-socialism “narrative” during the 2020 election campaign.  “In America right now today,” she said, “almost half of Americans are a $400 unexpected expense away from complete upheaval.”  Naturally the statistic appealed to Top Demagogue Senator Elizabeth Warren, who echoed Harris last month: “The gap between incomes and costs is so gaping that 40% of Americans can’t come up with $400 in an emergency.” Then there is  Bernie, or course,  who says: “Four in 10 [Americans are] unable to afford a $400 emergency expense.”

I’m sure the rest of the field will come around to using the stat too; dishonesty loves company, especially when the idea is to frighten the members of public who trust what politicians say. And why shouldn’t they? Warren was a Harvard professor—she must know what she’s talking about! She wouldn’t use a statistic like that without checking it, would she? Nah! Warren and Harris are both lawyers too, and lawyers have enforced ethics rules that say they must not lie. All three—Warren, Harris and Sanders—are U.S. Senators. Surely three distinguished Senators wouldn’t all use a false statistic to deceive us! Would they? Continue reading

Morning Ethics Warm-Up, June 5, 2019: Ethics Corrupters In The House, The Senate, The White House, The Times….

The next morning was going to be a crucial one, but not exactly “good”…

Good Morning!

1. How to expose a demagogue. Senator Elizabeth Warren is near the bottom of my ethics rankings of the various Democratic Presidential candidates, and not just because of the way she handled her crisis of color. She’s a pure demagogue, and a particularly dangerous one, as she is a stirring speaker and apparently shameless.

It takes clarity of thought and rhetoric to expose demagogues, especially Warren’s breed, which carry the trappings of authority—after all, she’s a Harvard professor, so she must be smart (or so those who did not attend Harvard seem to think.) The President’s favored tactic of name-calling is of limited value for this purpose, but Rep. Dan Crenshaw, the veteran mocked by Saturday Night Live because of his war wounds,  is providing an ongoing seminar on how to expose Warren’s dishonesty.

When Warren tweeted this high-sounding sentiment…

…Rep. Crenshaw  zeroed in on its deception.

Note also the gently mocking imitation of Warren’s flip use of “thing,” so much more rhetorically effective than calling her “Pocahontas.”

Here is how Crenshaw eviscerated another typical bit  of Warren pandering…

Then there was this expert take-down….when Warren grandstanded with this…

Crenshaw pointed out exactly what was wrong with it…

Why, yes, that’s exactly what it is.

2. Censorship and keeping the truth from the public is not ethical, nor is it a legitimate way to address problems in a democracy. Continue reading