Ethics Dunces: The Idiot Who Pretends To Be Barack Obama On Twitter, Plus The Idiot Who Hired An Idiot To Pretend To Be Barack Obama, Plus The President, Who Apparently Doesn’t Know Or Care That He’s Being Impersonated By An Idiot

ahistorical tweet

Let’s begin with the basics:  it’s unethical for the President to lend his name and office a Twitter account that purports to send out messages from him when in fact he neither sends out the messages nor approves them. It’s also stupid, and it’s unethical because it is stupid. A President’s credibility must be protected, by him and everybody else. If Obama isn’t sending a tweet, he shouldn’t permit an official tweet to go out that suggests otherwise. “Everybody” knows Obama isn’t sending the tweets, you say? If so, then why do so many Twitter users follow Fake Obama? Whether they believe it is him or not, he implicitly endorses and approves whatever is tweeted under his name. He is responsible.

From this follows the next point: it is irresponsible to hire a grade school drop-out to represent the President of the United States on the internet. Stating that Neil Armstrong walked on the moon in 1963 isn’t a typo: this was embodied in a graphic, and requires deep, frightening historical ignorance. I wouldn’t expect the President to have time to oversee this kind of petty operation, especially since he can’t find the time to oversee the I.R.S., the N.S.A, the V.A., the Secret Service, the Armed Services, or the Justice Department, all of which he should be holding to some standards of competence. I would expect, however, that whoever that supervision is delegated to would understand that making sure POTUS isn’t made to seem like Jessica Simpson on Twitter is paramount. I would also expect that the President himself would want to exert some effort to control the words others place in his mouth, as that would be the smart, responsible, professional and presidential thing to do.

But that is obviously expecting too much.


Pointer: Instapundit

Source: Ed Driscoll

Online Review Ethics: Yelp And The Law Firm

"...and so do our own employees!"

“…and so do our own employees!”

Is it professional misconduct for members of a law firm or the non-lawyer assistants for which they are responsible to post fake reviews of their work to a consumer website? I would argue that could be: it is almost certainly deceptive advertising, which is prohibited to a greater or lesser degree in all state ethics codes, and it is dishonest and misleading communications of the sort that has drawn discipline for some attorneys in other circumstances. Whether or not such a slimy, if common practice (at least among other professions, like wrtiting) is sufficient to raise “a substantial question as to that lawyer’s honesty, trustworthiness or fitness as a lawyer in other respects” will be determined by lawyers themselves, and you would be amazed at what many of them  don’t consider sufficient to do this. I am admittedly extreme on this issue: I don’t think lawyers should lie, and take a dimmer version of even harmless deception than most in my field. This is profession that depends on trust, and the more someone lies—I don’t care about what—the less trustworthy they are.

These issues arise because the online consumer site Yelp appears to have caught employees of the law firm The MacMillan Group posting fake positive reviews about itself, on behalf of fictional clients. Continue reading

Ethics Dunces: Organizing For Action

Guess whose Twitter account followed Samantha and her friends...

Guess whose Twitter account followed Samantha and her friends…

The Hollywood Gossip web page thinks its hilarious that the twitter feed supposedly assigned to the President of the United States was found to have, among the 650,000 odd twitter accounts it was following, at least one hard porn site listed. It’s not hilarious. It’s symptomatic.

This isn’t even the first time this has happened. Last year, the same site that purports to put out tweets from Potus (and occasionally does, which are marked with the notation “bo”) was outed as following the descriptively-named “Celebrity Side-Boob.” This year’s funky fave (it has since been removed) of  @BarackObama is Wicked Pictures, and it sells a lot more than “side-boobs.”


The President’s tweets are managed by Organizing for Action, the supposedly private, non-profit, non-governmental, non-political organization morphed out of Obama’s campaign apparatus (and if you think I have major ethics problems with a sitting President fronting a non-profit political advocacy group, you’re correct). Continue reading

The White House Is Lying To Us. Again. Why?

David Plouffe...or Dan doesn't matter, really...the voice is the same.

David Plouffe…or Dan Pfeiffer…it doesn’t matter, really…the voice is the same.

Nobody of sound mind who listened to top White House advisor (he’s the current David Axelrod) David Plouffe spin like the Wheel of Fortune on ABC’s This Week with George Stephanopoulos could continue to deny that the White House, a.k.a Barack Obama, is determined to obscure every thing and anything it can that might help us assign accountability for the Administration’s negligent oversight and management, if not outright abuse of power. The smoking gun was that this pre-programmed, trained and paid mouthpiece said this:

PLOUFFE: Well, I’d say first of all, you know back in the previous — or the prior administration, the NAACP was investigated after Republican members of Congress asked for it. But there’s been no suggestion — the independent — the prosecutor looked at this — excuse me, the inspector general, and said there was no politics involved in this. No one has indicated at all that the White House is involved. The IRS director was appointed at — under President Bush, served under both presidents attested. No one from — so, this was not a political pursuit.

I don’t know if it was “a political pursuit” or not, but I do know that when the people in power desperately don’t want their fingerprints to be found on something potentially sinister like this, I am more suspicious than I would be if they just let the facts out: Continue reading

A Side Benefit of the I.R.S. Scandal: Self-Identification By Dishonest Partisan Hacks

You know better, Gov.

You know better, Governor.

I mentioned this once already, but it bears repeating: any spinner, excuser, minimizer or defender of the I.R.S. scandal who uses the “it was a Bush appointee” talking point has insulted your intelligence or impugned his own, as well as marked himself or herself as an untrustworthy hack. I’m taking names and making lists myself now, and it’s growing by the hour.

Yesterday I added Pennsylvania Governor Ed Rendell, whom I once believed had some integrity, and Donna Brazile. Today Richard Cohen, among others, joined the list. It really is shocking, and it’s increasingly more difficult to shock me. It is also ominous. Things we haven’t yet learned must really be ugly for such a transparently desperate excuse to be trotted out so early by people who almost certainly know what garbage it is.

Yesterday I heard Rendell literally drive Joe DiGenova, the former Attorney General, to apoplexy—Joe’s eyes were popping out of his head and I though he was going to fall over to the floor foaming at the mouth— by stating repeatedly that the I.R.S. fiasco “couldn’t be a conspiracy because a Bush appointee was in charge.” This is either unbelievably ignorant or despicably dishonest, and I suspect the latter. As I wrote in a previous post, Continue reading

The Peculiar Delusion of Dan Pfeiffer, a.k.a. “The White House”

Captain Smith, of the "Titanic." Of course, there's no proof that he did anything wrong.

Captain Smith, of the “Titanic.” Of course, there’s no proof that he did anything wrong.

What does it tell us about the White House (and its primary occupant) that its “insider” and designated spokesperson, Senior Advisor Dan Pfeiffer, could utter a statement like this, in public, no less? On Fox News Sunday, one of four Sunday Morning Talk shows he appeared on yesterday to deliver the current White House position on multiple scandals, referring to Sarah Hall Ingram, who led the agency’s tax-exempt division when it targeted conservative groups and has been promoted to chief of the health care reform office, Pfeiffer said,

“No one has suggested that she did anything wrong yet. Before everyone in this town convicts this person in the court of public opinion with no evidence, let’s actually get the facts and make decisions after that. There’s nothing that suggests she did anything wrong.”

Such manifest nonsense would be depressing coming from a recent college grad, and grounds for demotion from a corporate manager or CEO, but it is nothing short of frightening coming from the heart of a nation’s leadership.

Continue reading

Integrity Test For The Public And News Media: The IRS Outrage

"It's OK...the King is sorry."

“It’s OK…the King is sorry.”

  • Scandal: Obama, Jay Carney, Susan Rice, Hillary and the State Department meticulously lying about the cause of the Benghazi attack during an election campaign

Media Response:Bah! Old news [about something the press never treated as news at all]! Politics! A ‘conservative story’!”

Media Response: “Oh, Please!—a typical conservative conspiracy theory…what? It really happened? Well, the public doesn’t care about it, and “Pigford” is a funny name, so no harm…”

Well, let’s try something really new. I wonder if the IRS admitting that it targeted and harassed conservative non-profit groups in an election year qualifies as a scandal that calls into legitimate question the ethics and competence of the Obama Administration, in the eyes of our fair and objective press, the guardian of our freedoms.  Is there any depth to the media’s complicity with this government’s misconduct? I suppose we’ll find out.**

From the Associated Press: Continue reading

The Intern, The Lawyer and The Recycling Bin: A Cautionary Tale

We entrusted the job to our intern: what could go wrong?

Here is a story that should frighten all lawyers who employ non-lawyers to assist with various tasks in their practice, which is to say, every one of them. If you have a lawyer, or ever expect to hire one, maybe it should frighten you, too.

A young woman dumped documents containing private information from the clients of Ashley Bell, one of Gainesville, Georgia’s most respected attorneys, in a newspaper recycling bin at The Gainesville Times. The Times said that a majority of the documents remained in their original file folders, and no effort had been made to conceal the contents or redact sensitive information. The files included phone and Social Security numbers of former clients, information on juveniles and reports and evaluations conducted by the Department of Family and Children Services and Court Appointed Special Advocates regarding the physical and sexual abuse, which state law requires be kept confidential.  From the Times: Continue reading

“The Good Wife” Ethics, Season #2: Alicia, Kalinda, and Pretexting

The acclaimed CBS series “The Good Wife” premiered last night, with an episode called “Taking Control.” The title is ironic in one respect. Because the legal profession regards lawyers as being in control of the non-legal staff that works for them, good wife and whiz-bang attorney Alicia Florrick (played by Juliana Margulies) violated one of the most important legal ethics rules in the very first episode. This was far from unrealistic, however. Her ethical breach is not only a common one, but also one that many lawyers are careless about. It is also unethical conduct that the public assumes is standard practice for lawyers…because movies and TV shows make it seem that way. Continue reading