Tag Archives: “the resistance”

When The Raven In The Coal Mine During A Total Eclipse Calls The Kettle Black

I know. I could spend all of my time on Ethics Alarms finding absurd pieces of biased punditry and fisking the hell out of them. It’s amazing how many incompetently argued and badly reasoned pieces get published on the web, and how often their awfulness is rendered at the expense of basic ethical principles. I’m trying to cut down on fisking excercises, but now and then a column turns up that exemplifies a broader phenomenon. This column by Jennifer Finney Boylan,  a professor of English at Barnard College, was deemed worthy of publication in the New York Times op-ed page. It is called, despicably, but increasingly Times columns are headlines as flat-out ad hominem insults to the President, “Trump, the Monster Who Feeds on Fear.”

I read the column, which compares the President of the United States to a list of horror novel and movie monsters and villains, to see what the well-reasoned (well, at least it should be well-reasoned) and factually supported argument would be to justify such a hateful headline. There is literally neither. Read it: you’ll see. These are nothing but general and unsupported assertions. I don’t let comments on Ethics Alarms get out of moderation when they are like this. “Trump is an idiot,” “You’re wrong,” “Obama was a great President,” “Trump colluded with Russia”DING…DING…DING…DING. That kind of comment won’t make the cut, not without a substantive argument, not without some facts. Yet the New York Times deems Boylan’s fact-free attack on the President worthy of publication.

The piece is one more example of the Big Lie methodology that the Left has not just embraced of late, but is having sexual relations with. Just stating an assertion is enough. State it often enough, and people believe it. Continue reading

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Filed under "bias makes you stupid", Ethics Alarms Award Nominee, Government & Politics, Journalism & Media

Evening Ethics Leftovers, 11/8/2018: Acosta, Beto, Tucker, And Claire

Good evening…

1.  The Jim Acosta Affair. I suppose my analysis of this hypocritical flap will surprise no one. No White House reporter who behaved as Jim Acosta did at the press conference yesterday would have been defended by his employers or other journalists. Dan Rather (with Nixon) and Sam Donaldson (with Reagan) were rude and confrontational (Funny how the only examples of journalists being disrespectful to Presidents involve Republicans–nah, there’s no mainstream media bias!), but nothing like Acosta was and has been. Imagine a journalist defying President Obama like that! It wouldn’t happen, but as with so much else, the rules are somehow different for President Trump.  This news media’s reporters have decided, consistent with the attitude of progressives and the “resistance,” to withhold even minimum respect and deference to the Presidency as long as Donald Trump occupies the office.

Acosta was not asking questions, but arguing his position with the President. That’s not his job, or his privilege. When the President told him repeatedly “That’s enough,” Acosta did not stop. That, all by itself, justified pulling Acosta’s credentials. The White House was foolish to concentrate on Acosta pushing the intern away. He had crossed the line before that; indeed, he had crossed the line of what the White House should require from a journalist many times before.

If Acosta apologizes to the intern and the President, and promises not to abuse his opportunity to ask questions at press briefings and press conferences, to exhibit a minimal level of respect, then the White House should give him another chance.

Commentators calling Acosta’s punishment a First Amendment violation should be ridiculed for the hypocrites they are. Ann Althouse points out that journalists were up in arms when  Trump’s campaign manager Corey Lewandowski was charged with battery for grabbing Michelle Fields, a reporter. The level of contact in the two cases is similar. “Either both instances of battery matter or neither does. Pick one,” says Ann. But there’s a problem that Ann somehow doesn’t see. She writes, “I found myself thinking that Trump and Acosta are both in control and choosing to do this theater of mutual hate.” Acosta and Trump are not equals, however. Acosta is obligated to give due respect to the President of the United States, but the converse does not apply. Continue reading

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Filed under Character, Ethics Alarms Award Nominee, Etiquette and manners, Government & Politics, Journalism & Media, language, This Helps Explain Why Trump Is President, U.S. Society

Scenes From The Ethics Apocalypse

In this morning’s warm-up, I refereed to the anti-Kavanaugh tantrum.  I’m watching the extended tantrum on TV right now.Look! Here are furious CNN Democratic operatives (that is, CNN’s reporters) proclaiming the collapse of civilization because a completely standard issue judicial conservative with strong credentials was nominated by the elected President and confirmed as the Constitution directs is intolerable because the Democratic Party’s unconscionable tactics of personal destruction didn’t work, and because the new cultural standard that a man is guilty if accused of sexual assault by a woman though she has no supporting evidence whatsoever, and that high school misconduct is more important than adult rectitude. (That’s not how they describe it, of course, but the reality of what was “going on here”) And there are angry protesters who haven’t read a single Kavanaugh opinion, but who are equally convinced that he is unqualified to be Supreme Court Justice and a “sexual predator.”

Boy, am I sick of writing about this stuff, and boy, am I depressed that so many people have had their minds and ethics reduced to a vile, smelly, infectious goo. I can’t compose any more essays right now without snapping and running amuck in the streets wielding a deadly frozen pork roll  and clubbing people to death. (I can’t find my Hank Aaron baseball bat.) So with your leave, I’m going to note some more recent points in this nightmare Seurat painting, occasionally commenting, sometimes leaving it to my readers’ abundant intelligence to figure out what’s wrong on their own. Here we go…I’ll stop either when my head explodes, or the Red Sox start playing the Yankees: Continue reading

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Filed under "bias makes you stupid", Character, Ethics Train Wrecks, Gender and Sex, Government & Politics

Admit It, Liberals, Progressives, Democrats, “The Resistance,” The Left, Or Whatever You Call Yourselves*: You’re The Bad Guys [UPDATED!]

In “Falling Down.” a movie I like better every time I see it (or think about it), Michael Douglas plays a man who snaps, Sweeney Todd-like, and  begins shooting people after the collective injustice, meanness, cruelty, stress and stupidity of daily life becomes unbearable. Finally cornered, he hears a law enforcement officer demand his surrender. “I’m the bad guy?” he says, in a stunning moment of self-awareness. “How did that happen?”

We’re still waiting for that moment of self-awareness from the Left. How it happened in their case is a matter of historical record: accumulated arrogance, cynicism and the rejection of their own ideology’s core principles–you know, liberalism?—did the trick. What was left was pure power-seeking, anger, hate, and “the ends justifies the means,” the “ethic” of fascism and totalitarianism.

When the metaphorical ethics Rubicon was finally crossed could be debated. For me, it was when Hillary Clinton, confident of her historic landslide victory,  lectured designated loser Donald Trump about how despicable and un-American it was for him to hint that he might not accept the legitimacy of her election as President. Then, as soon as he was the victor, Clinton, her party and all of its followers proceed to challenge the legitimacy of his election—and have continued to do so in various ways ever since.

The fact that this exacerbated dangerous national divisions, endangered the Constitution and undermined the ability of an elected President to govern didn’t, and apparently doesn’t, faze them at all. Patriotic Americans, fair human beings,  ethical people and the “good guys” don’t behave like this. It is signature significance for bad guys.

Now, I certainly knew that electing a walking ethics vacuum like Donald Trump would rot the culture’s values, as I warned here repeatedly. I did not anticipate that the primary agents of turning the U.S. into a nation of assholes would be the Left. I assumed that they would hold the values line as best they could, and not challenge the President in a race to the bottom of the barrel, much less win it. All they needed to do was to uphold traditional standards of justice, honesty, civility, respect for institutions  and integrity to ensure that Trump, at worst, would be a short-term aberration. Or, as Glenn Reynold likes to say, all they needed to do was not act crazy. They couldn’t do it.

The Left has rejected freedom of speech, accepting the often violent efforts of college students to threaten and silence speakers whose views they regard as “hate speech.” It has opposed the rule of law in immigration policy, labeling the essential sovereign function of controlling borders as “racism.” It has advocated dividing society into favored and disfavored groups Women must be “believed”; men must be presumed guilty; police must be presumed racist.

There are too many examples to cover in less than a book; I think Ethics Alarms has dealt with most of them. The current low point, however, is the issue at hand: the Kavanaugh nomination. Only the fact that the Left and its biased allies in their misguided quest, the news media, have so thoroughly corrupted their sympathetic followers among the public can explain why there isn’t a mass declaration of outrage. I’m still surprised and disappointed. I thought my liberal friends had more integrity. This is the lowest of the low, and the terrifying question is what the next low point will be.

Sticking only to what Ethics Alarms designates the Brett Kavanaugh Nomination Ethics Train Wreck, one has to wonder what more documentation the Left needs to spark its collective conscience and to arrive at the same conclusion as “Falling Down’s” tragic hero. This debacle  began with the Left, all components, announcing its monolithic opposition to a qualified judge who would have been overwhelming approved under any other administration, in any other era. The very left-leaning ABA Standing Committee on the Federal Judiciary gave its highest rating to Kavanaugh. Never mind: the Democratic Party commenced a campaign of fear-mongering, insisting that in some case not yet in existence, the judge, who has been vocal in his support of stare decisus (following well-established SCOTUS precedent), would join with the so-called “conservative” wing of the Court to overturn Roe v. Wade.

This convenient prognostication was enough to lead to angry demonstrations by feminists and pro-abortion activists who had never read a Kavanaugh judicial opinion in their lives, and probably no SCOTUS decisions either. The tactics of the Left here were intimidation and misrepresentation, as well as revenge, tit-for-tat, or what Ethics Alarms sometimes calls “Mob Ethics.” Call attention to the treatment of Kavanaugh—it was Barack Obama who pointed out that elections have consequences, after all—and, failing to locate a legitimate defense, the social media Left’s reflex argument was “Yeah, well what about Merrick Garland?”

Of course, Ethics 101 teaches that past unethical conduct does not make unethical conduct in response less wrong, but the two strategies are not equivalent, legally or ethically. No one set out to slander and smear the character of Garland to justify doing what they had already made up their mind to do. The approach of the Democrats—decide that you want an opponent removed, so seek to find an allegation, an incident or an accuser to make that removal possible, is the opposite of what our legal process requires. Starting out with the presumption of guilt and then using the power of the prosecutor to search for a crime to pin on a target is a fascist strategy (and exactly the Democratic/”resistance” plan to undo the 2016 election by removing President Trump), and an unequivocal violation of prosecution ethics, as well as fairness and justice.

It does embody “The ends justify the means,” however: the motto of all Bad Guys in fiction and history.

Despite its own history of having the excesses of the #MeToo witch hunt mentality bite hard—Senator Al Franken was forced to resign primarily because of his pre-Senatorial conduct as a comedian before any due process or investigations—an old, old allegation of sexual misconduct was the chosen weapon for Kananaugh’s destruction. First, the discovered 30 year plus memory of another liberal professor, Christine Blasey Ford, doing her Anita Hill impression was deliberately held for two months by Senator Feinstein, thus preventing Kavanaugh from responding to them in a non-ambush scenario. Bad guys.

The tactic was unfair and cynical, based solely on the Democratic desire to run out the clock on Kavanaugh’s confirmation so maybe a “blue wave” could give the Democrats a Senate majority. As the Ford scenario has developed, the intent of stalling has become increasingly obvious. At the same time,  Democrats and their propaganda machine in the media began making the case that any attempt to defend himself would by itself make Kavanaugh unfit to serve. After all, even women making three decades old accusations at the last minute to derail the confirmation of a qualified jurist deserve respect.  Anyone, even the target of her attack, doubting her words or motives would obviously be a sexist pig, and an apologist for rapists. This is what the Democrats now regard as justice. It’s also the kind of double bind, heads you lose, tails I win process favored by James Bond villans.

Bad guys.

Meanwhile, not a thought has been given, apparently, to the disastrous long-term consequences to the political process, society and the culture if the Blasey Ford scheme is successful.:

  • High school conduct will now be considered legitimate cause to punish adults and impugn their character long after they have established  and earned public trust. No longer will any quarter be given for bad judgement and poor choices before majority.
  • No man, anywhere, will be safe from old grudges, newly “woke” indignation, and accusations by women times perfectly to undermine trust and support.
  • The standard will now be that anyone—well, any man— accused of sexual assault must be presumed guilty, and has the burden of proof of proving a negative. Two columnists for the New York Times have endorsed this standard, as well as various Democrats and activists. The accusation is enough even if it is unsubstantiated. This doesn’t even have the Salem safeguard of throwing the accused witch into the lake (Sink, and you’re innocent, though dead. Float, and you’re a witch…and soon to be dead.)
  • Women, and only women, will have been granted the power to destroy lives, careers and reputations. They will use it.
  • American society, already dangerously divided along racial, generational, regional and partisan fissures, will be more divided along gender lines as well.

The Chicago Tribune’s John Kass writes,

It threatens Republicans now, and Democrats tomorrow. It will threaten even those who don’t give two figs for politics and see all such talk as lies told by knaves to fools.

What we are seeing are founding American principles being swept — among them the presumption of innocence and the rights of the accused — to feed the appetites of power politics

That’s what Kavanaugh is dealing with, having to testify and defend himself against uncorroborated allegations of sexual predation 36 years ago, when he was in high school and in his freshman year of college.

The short-term politics of all this is quite clear, a movement led by cynics and assisted by their handmaidens in the Democratic Media Complex.

It is designed to convince suburban women voters that Republicans are hateful creatures, help Democrats pick up congressional seats in the November midterm elections and do away with President Donald Trump.

But look deeper and you’ll see something else.

The sweeping away of traditions that have been carefully nurtured from the founding of this nation, to protect individual liberty and shield us from the passions of the mob.

Without these principles, we are no longer a republic.

Kass’s analysis isn’t some novel theory. It’s essentially the same thing I have been writing since Democrats and “the resistance” plotted to defy the Electoral College. But all of this is tolerable, apparently, if a theoretical future SCOTUS opinion  in a non-existent case that might restrict the possibly too wide-ranging rights of a woman to kill her unborn child for any reason or whim can be prevented by destroying the reputation of  the presumed decisive vote in that future case.

Sounds like SkyNet’s plan in “The Terminator,” doesn’t it?

The latest news from the Brett Kavanaugh Nomination Ethics Train Wreck would have Michael Douglas’s character begging, “Enough! Enough! I get it! I’m the bad guy!” halfway through the list….but then, he had some integrity. For example: Continue reading

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Filed under Arts & Entertainment, Character, Education, Ethics Dunces, Ethics Train Wrecks, Etiquette and manners, Government & Politics, Law & Law Enforcement, Leadership, U.S. Society

Ethics Observations On “I Am Part Of The Resistance In The Trump Administration” [UPDATED]

You can find the instantly sensational op-ed here, as well as the New York Times’s various and predictable articles exploiting their own “scoop.”

“I work for the president but like-minded colleagues and I have vowed to thwart parts of his agenda and his worst inclinations,” says this alleged “senior official.” “…Meetings with him veer off topic and off the rails, he engages in repetitive rants, and his impulsiveness results in half-baked, ill-informed and occasionally reckless decisions that have to be walked back….The erratic behavior would be more concerning if it weren’t for unsung heroes in and around the White House…. It may be cold comfort in this chaotic era, but Americans should know that there are adults in the room. We fully recognize what is happening. And we are trying to do what’s right even when Donald Trump won’t….

Observations:

  • It doesn’t, or shouldn’t to fair and rational readers, matter what the author claims. He, or whoever he, she or it is, is inherently without credibility, just as all anonymous hit pieces are.  By his own admission and the evidence of the essay, the author is a liar, a coward, a spy, a mole and a saboteur, and an individual who is deliberately attempting to undermine democracy. There is no justification for trusting any aspect of his representations. Of course, those who want to believe the worst  about the President will believe everything he writes, because they want to, and because confirmation bias is strong. Nonetheless, the piece is untrustworthy on its face. It would not be admissible as evidence in any investigation or formal proceeding. No manager or leader would treat such a document as useful or probative.

The essay is less credible and less worthy of discussion or serious consideration than the inflammatory claims of Omarosa, the hearsay/speculation/ fantasies of Michael Wolfe in the generally debunked “Fire and Fury,” orthe latest hearsay and anonymously sourced Bob Woodward “tell-all.” And none of those are respectable either. At least, however, those authors have the decency and courage to reveal their own identities.

  • Despite all the hype and horror, this could have been written by an Ethics Alarms commentator—in fact, I could name some likely candidates— as one more familiar, standard statement of why any Trump-hater is determined that he should be impeached. It is a generic brief on the theory that “Donald Trump is unfit to be President and must be removed,” the first assertion of which was rejected by the electorate, and the second of which is legally unsustainable at this point.

The only aspect the op-ed arguably newsworthy is that the author claims to be a Trump administration official.

  • It should be unnecessary to point this out, because it is obvious, but I will anyway: such an op-ed could be issued by any arrogant, self-anointed “savior” who disagreed with the policies and character of any and every President. Every White House has enemies who would write essentially the same words and accusations. Why has this White House been the first to vomit out such vile stuff in the pages of the Times? My guess is that the vicious culture of the anti-Trump Left has created confidence that there will be a critical mass of journalists and others who will represent this inexcusable conduct as not just excusable, but laudable.

The conduct would never have been regarded as anything but despicable coming from a senior official (if he actually is one) of any other administration.  Democrats, “the resistance” and NeverTrumpers have jettisoned all ethical norms in their hatred of this one man who dared to foil them, who is in fact no different from any other President in the most important respect: he was elected, he holds the office, and he should be allowed to do his job.

  • If the op-ed is not a hoax, and if there are, as the writer says, highly placed members of the Trump Administration who are pretending to be loyal government employees but who are actually trying to undermine the President and his policies from within, then the assertions by conservatives and Trump supporters of the existence of a “deep state,” much mocked by the news media and Democrats, have been accurate all along.

This was apparent, or should have been,  before the op-ed, of course.

  • Should the Times have published this? If they confirmed to their satisfaction that it was genuine, and really came from a senior official who revealed to them his identity, sure. The public should know that there are pompous, lying, unethical saboteurs in their government. And it should scare the hell out of them.

We knew this too, though, before the op-ed.

  • President Trump is not blameless here. He and his staff have shown absurd incompetence in vetting staff high and low. It should surprise no one that a President who would allow the likes of Omarosa, Steve Bannon, Anthony Scaramucci and others to have places of trust within the administration would blunder into admitting other moles, spies and turncoats as well.

The fact that a manager or leader takes inadequate measures to ensure ethical conduct does not justify or mitigate the unethical conduct that results, however.

  • I assume that we will eventually learn who wrote this. Besides firing, what is the  appropriate punishment for someone who deliberately betrays the trust of elected leaders and who sets out to undermine the efforts that he or she is obligated to support? Such conduct flagrantly violates federal regulations, as promulgated by President George H.W. Bush’s Executive Order 12674. issued on October 1990. That EO begins,

By virtue of the authority vested in me as President, by the Constitution and the laws of the United States  of America, and in order to establish fair and exacting standards of ethical conduct for all executive branch employees, it is hereby ordered as follows… To ensure that every citizen can have complete  confidence in the integrity of the Federal  Government, each Federal employee shall respect and adhere to the fundamental  principles of ethical service as implemented in   regulations promulgated under sections 201 and   301 of this order:

The “Principles of Ethical Conduct” following that the anonymous writer has violated and is violating include,

(a) Public service is a public trust, requiring employees to place loyalty to the Constitution, the laws, and ethical principles above private  gain.

(e) Employees shall put forth honest effort in the performance of their duties.

(h) Employees shall act impartially and not give preferential treatment to any private organization or individua

 (j) Employees shall not engage in outside employment or activities, including seeking or  negotiating for employment, that conflict with official Government duties and responsibilities.

(k) Employees shall disclose waste, fraud, abuse, and corruption to appropriate authorities. [NOTE: The New York Times is not an appropriate authority.]

(n) Employees shall endeavor to avoid any actions creating the appearance that they are violating the law or the ethical standards promulgated pursuant to this order.

  • Of course, the President is taking the bait, and now fulminating in his usual clumsy and childish way against the writer and the New York Times. In this he again falls into the trap being constantly set and re-set by those who are engaging in the slow-motion coup.

I wish he’d let me ghost write his tweets.

  • The conduct the writer extols and claims to be engaged in would be unethical and indefensible in any organization, large or small. The ethical responses to opposing ones’ superior’s conduct or the policies of one’s organization are to resign, or not to take the post in the first place. Joining an organization and actively working against the authority of superiors is never justified or justifiable except in wartime or as part of a law enforcement exercise.

Reactions to the op-ed from around the web:

Althouse:

“If I didn’t maintain rudimentary trust in the basic integrity of The New York Times I would think that there is no real person behind the famous anonymous op-ed. I’d think it was a concocted composite based on the Woodward book and motivated by the Woodward book. Look how that little thrown together collection of paragraphs is now drawing more attention than the book Woodward labored over, which dominated headlines on Tuesday. Wednesday, this column comes out. What is in the column that couldn’t have been extracted from the book and worked up into an op-ed purporting to be from a senior official in the White House?”

(Why does Althouse have any trust in the integrity of the New York Times?)

She also writes,

“This person is singing about his own heroism. We just don’t know his/her name, because he/she has got to stay hidden to continue sabotaging the work of the President the deplorables elected”

Bingo!

The LA Times:

“If you’re reading this, senior White House official, know this: You are not resisting Donald Trump. You are enabling him for your own benefit. That doesn’t make you an unsung hero. It makes you a coward. “

Liz Shield:

“How does it feel to learn that there is a powerful self-interested bureaucracy asserting itself above and against the will of the people?”

Byron York (Washington Examiner):

“Early in the piece, the author admits that the Trump administration has had significant success on the issues most important to American voters. “Many of [the administration’s] policies have already made America safer and more prosperous,” he writes. Later, he makes a list: “effective deregulation, historic tax reform, a more robust military and more.” Perhaps the author doesn’t see it that way, but peace and prosperity are any president’s two most important accomplishments. Conceding Trump’s achievement undercuts the broader theme of the article.”

Glenn Greenwald:

The irony in the op-ed from the NYT’s anonymous WH coward is glaring and massive: s/he accuses Trump of being “anti-democratic” while boasting of membership in an unelected cabal that covertly imposes their own ideology with zero democratic accountability, mandate or transparency

Professor Reynolds: 

“The more they tell us Trump’s crazy, the crazier they act. Meanwhile lefties are starting to push the 25th Amendment again — it’s like they’re cycling now — and I have to say, if you think removing Trump will leave you in a better position, well, it won’t. Getting rid of Trump won’t return things to “normal.” It will make sure things are never normal in our lifetimes. But why do I bother? These people are crazy.”

Nick Gillespie (Reason):

There is no question that Trump was a uniquely unqualified candidate to run for president and he seems to have virtually no expertise in anything other than Twitter trolling. He clearly understands nothing about trade deficits, for instance, and his policies clearly don’t add up to anything particularly coherent (then again, they didn’t on the campaign trail, either). He is not a traditional Republican, but since when is that an impeachable offense? The author genuflects to John McCain, a well-respected public figure but also one whose incoherent and grandiose economic, social, and foreign policy positions were hardly worth emulating, and concludes

“Senator John McCain put it best in his farewell letter. All Americans should heed his words and break free of the tribalism trap, with the high aim of uniting through our shared values and love of this great nation.”

With all due respect: What the fuck does that even mean?

Few outlets have been more stridently #NeverTrump than The New York Times, a fair stand-in for the legacy media which also has nothing but contempt for Donald Trump and sympathy for Hillary Clinton (it was her time!) and a broad Democratic agenda of more-active government. The anonymous op-ed can only be read through that light and thus discounted.

To sum up, the Times op-ed is just one more manifestation of the horrific mass misconduct that the entire left side of the political spectrum has persuaded itself is responsible, fair, rational behavior when it is in fact dangerous, undemocratic, and reckless. I am bored with pointing out this fact, but this President was faced with impeachment demands before he took office, was not accorded the minimal election spoils of united acceptance of his election traditionally symbolized by a peaceful, joyous celebration of our system and history at his inauguration, and he has continued to be undermined by behavior that never would have been tolerated by the public or the news media if focused on any other Chief Executive.

There is no question that it is wrong. The only question is how much damage it will do to the United States of America before it has run its course, and whether that damage will be permanent.

 

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Filed under Character, Ethics Alarms Award Nominee, Ethics Dunces, Ethics Train Wrecks, Government & Politics, Journalism & Media, Law & Law Enforcement, U.S. Society, Workplace

Ominous Anti-Free Speech Quote Of The Year: U.S. District Judge Robert Lasnik

“The Court declines to wade through these issues based on the limited record before it and instead presumes that the private defendants have a First Amend ment right to disseminate the CAD files. That right is currently abridged, but it has not been abrogated. Regulation under the AECA means that the files cannot be uploaded to the internet, b ut they can be emailed, mailed, securely transmitted, or otherwise published within the United States. The Court finds that the irreparable burdens on the private defendants’ First Amendment rights are dwarfed by the irreparable harms the States are likely to suffer if the existing restrictions are withdrawn and that, overall, the public interest strongly supports maintaining the status quo through the pendency of this litigation.”

—U.S. District Judge Robert Lasnik, in his preliminary injunction issued today blocking the federal government from allowing publication of the blueprints of 3-D printable guns.

The injunction will stand until final resolution of the multi-state lawsuit seeking to keep the blueprints offline. Lasnik had issued a temporary restraining order in the case July 31, prompting this post, which states the Ethics Alarms position still:

“It sure sounds like prior restraint to me, and I suspect, when this gets to the Supreme Court, which it inevitably will, that will be the conclusion.

This began as one more example of the Obama Administration playing fast and loose with the Bill of Rights. Now, it may well be, as the suit by the states alleges, that the Trump Administration didn’t handle its legal U-turn properly, it being, after all, the Trump Administration. Nonetheless, the government blocking the online publication of information, which is what a blueprint is, when no copyrights, patents or trademarks are being violated or national secrets revealed, seems like a pretty clear First Amendment violation.”

If Lasnik’s langauge about “abridged, but it has not been abrogated” doesn’t send chills down your spine, I guess that means you’re a typical progressive or Democrat these days. The First Amendment says that “Congress shall make no law…abridging the freedom of speech,” meaning that the judge here admits that his ruling and the law suit are efforts to cut another chunk out of our core national values. But hey, it’s all cool! The ends justify the means, and we all know that guns are bad. That Second Amendment thingy? Once we take down the First, the Second will be a piece of cake.

As was discussed at length in the excellent thread on the previous post, it’s a long, long way, not just from May to December, but also from having the blueprint of a #-D printable gun and actually having a gun. Does the judge full comprehend that? I doubt it very much. If there is one theme that runs through judicial decisions and opinion involving rapidly evolving technology, it is that most judges and too many lawyers don’t understand the technology well-enough to regulate it or make coherent policy.

I still think this is such an obvious example of prior restraint that the Supreme Court will knock it down, especially after Kavanaugh joins the Court, and I hope I am wrong that the anti-Second Amendment liberal wing will unite in dissent, but I believe that is likely.

Sigh.

Ought I to say this? What the hell….

I am increasingly coming to believe that what is really at stake in the upcoming elections is the Bill of Rights, and perhaps our democracy itself.  The “resistance’s” attempt to undo the election of President Trump is just part of a long-term, concerted assault on our institutions, by a growing faction that believes that freedom and liberty are too dangerous to be left in the wrong hands, and must be constrained—abridged, so to speak—by those who know best.

Them.

________________________

Pointer and Source: ABA Journal

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Late Verdict On The Helsinki Press Conference Freak-Out: I’m Convinced. It’s Just More Unethical, Double-Standard, Anti-Trump, “Resistance” And News Media Coup-Fodder, Only Noisier And Dumber Than Usual

I don’t appeal to authority very often.

What I do occasionally do is look for someone with judgment, experience and honesty I trust whose assessment of a particular situation jibes with my ethical analysis at times when I have begun to judge my own sanity. When I started reading people writing, in horror-stricken tones,”Can you believe what Trump said at that joint press conference?,” which I initially missed because these events are always stagey, insincere, all-puffery affairs, I assumed that President Trump finally done something really over-the-top this time, like spitting at CNN reporter, or singing “The Volga Boatman” to irritate Putin. When I read what he in fact did say, and saw the videos, my brain literally couldn’t reconcile it with the hysterical claims that it was “treasonous,” or like “Pearl Harbor,” or “Kristallnacht” or warranted impeachment (Plan N). It didn’t compute, as the robot in “Lost in Space” used to say.

I know I don’t often seem like it, but I have my doubts sometimes. I write as if I am certain I am right, because that’s my style, but often within me there meet a combination of antithetical elements which are at eternal war with one another. Driven hither by objective influences — thither by subjective emotions — wafted one moment into blazing day, by mocking hope — plunged the next into the Cimmerian darkness of tangible despair, I am but a living ganglion of irreconcilable antagonisms. All right, that was from my favorite exchange in “H.M.S. Pinafore,” but I’m not completely facetious. When I read almost every one of hundreds of Facebook friends writing, to universal agreement from their echo ch..freinds, that an extemporaneous statement in a Finnish press conference proves that Putin “has something” on the President, I begin to think, since I don’t see it at all, that the problem must be me. I am so thoroughly sick and disgusted at the relentless unethical and unprecedented efforts to interfere with this President, and his efforts to do the job he was elected to do, by Democrats, progressives, “the resistance” NeverTrumpers and the news media, that maybe my indignation against their dangerous, democratic institution-eroding vengeance because this odd and offensive man shattered the dreams of the Obama Worshipers and the Clinton Conned, had finally metastasized into bias, and made me impervious to something that should have me, for once, agreeing with them. For bias makes us all stupid, you know.

That is why I was so relieved to read this, the transcript of the comments of NYU Russia expert Stephen F. Cohen, a contributing editor at “The Nation,” the most extreme leftist magazine of national prominence in the country. He is clearly NOT being driven by bias, but his analysis was exactly the same as mine:

“The reaction by most of the media, by the Democrats, by the anti-Trump people is like mob violence. I’ve never seen anything like it in my life. This is the president of the United States, doing what every president… since FDR in 1943 with Stalin, meeting with the head of the Kremlin. And every president since Eisenhower, a Republican by the way, has met with the leader of the Kremlin for one existential purpose: To avoid war between the two nuclear superpowers. Today, in my considered, scholarly, long-time judgment, relations between the U.S. and Russia are more dangerous than they have ever — let me repeat, ever — been, including the Cuban missile crisis. I want my president to do — I didn’t vote for this president– but I want my president to do what every other president has done. Sit with the head of the other nuclear superpower and walk back the conflicts that could lead to war, whether they be in Syria, Ukraine, in the Baltic nations, in these accusations of cyber attacks. Every president has been encouraged to do that an applauded by both parties. Not Trump. Look what they did to him today. They had a kangaroo court. They found him guilty. And then you had the former head of the U.S. CIA, who himself ought to be put under oath and asked about his role in inventing Russiagate, calling the President of the United States treasonous. What have we come to in this country? And what is going to happen in the future?”

Whew! What a relief: I thought I was going crazy. Like Cohen, except not close to matching his scholarly efforts, I know quite a bit about how past Presidents treated Russian leaders in their various summits, meetings and diplomatic encounters. Only Trump was expected to insult the Russian leader to his face. Only Trump was asked an outrageous question inviting him to insult a Russian leader to his face. (The reporter should have been ejected from the conference.) President Trump was not only criticized for behaving as every other President has and should have behaved, but was excoriated for doing so.

I wish, of course, that the President’s rhetorical skills were not so blunt and confounding, so he could defend his own conduct without resorting to “fake new!” retorts. I wish he had the nuance and sense to simply dodge such a disruptive and irresponsible question without walking into a true “when did you stop beating your wife” question that made him choose between undermining U.S. intelligence or undermining the whole reason he was at the summit in the first place. I wish that the President was not so much like Donald Trump, in other words, but unlike Anderson Cooper, George Will, Chuck Schumer, John McCain and my hysterical Facebook Friends, I regard constantly becoming more and more irrational over something that happened 19 months ago  to be civic incompetence. Continue reading

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