Ethics Nosegay,2/14/20: A New Ethics Train Wreck For Happy Valentine’s Day!

Love to all!

What does the Easter Bunny sing on Valentine’s Day? Every bunny loves some bunny sometime…

1. Yes, I think the Roger Stone sentencing mess is an Ethics Train Wreck now. As usual, several cars have been reserved by the President, whose dumb tweeting raised the appearance of impropriety and fed his ravenous critics, who will read anything he does in the worst light possible. Good for AG Barr for saying that such public White House word-barfs make it difficult for Barr to do his job.

The President really and truly does not seem to understand how his own job works: if he makes it known what his personal policy desires are, that’s potentially going to influence policy-makers who are supposed to be independent. Why is this so hard to grasp? True, it would be beyond moronic, if the President wanted to interfere with Barr’s handling of the Stone matter, for him to use Twitter rather than to pick up the phone. Also true: Trump has done things equally dumb.

Do you think the President knows the story of Thomas Becket’s murder, triggered when  King Henry II’s shouted out, to no one in particular, “Will no one rid me of this troublesome priest?” Two knights decided to make King Henry happy, though they had received no orders. Imagine if President Obama had tweeted—we know he would have been smart enough to just have an aide whisper in Lois Lerner’s ear— “Boy, these tea party groups are a scam! How do they warrant non-profit status?” before the IRS scandal unfolded.

Nonetheless, as is usually buried in Trump Derangement Enabling articles like this one, there are no knights in this case who can do Trump’s wish-fulfillment. “Just as he used US government power to smear Joe Biden in the Ukraine scandal, he succeeded in getting favorable treatment for a friend in the Stone case — though the final sentence will be up to a judge,” the CNN article reveals (let’s see) eight paragraphs in.  Trump can stand on his head shouting “Free Stone!” through a megaphone; he has no leverage with the judge. Continue reading

Ethics Dunce: CNN

Eliot Spitzer, disgraced New York Governor, law-breaking lawyer, spectacularly unfaithful husband and hypocrite for the ages, is just perfect, in CNN’s eyes, for trenchant and probing news commentary. He will be co-hosting a new talking head show on the network, partnered with conservative columnist Kathleen Parker, who as far as we know hasn’t operated any prostitution rings, not that it would matter to CNN.

Thus will the venerable cable news network adopt the strategy that has worked so well for Fox News and too many other media organizations: find infamous people who have thoroughly humiliated themselves and betrayed those who have trusted them—individuals who by all principles of justice and fairness deserve to be relegated to permanent obscurity until they have proven by hard work, good deeds and appropriate contrition, that they may again be worthy of trust—and give exposure, celebrity and employment to these anti-role models rather than to any of the large number of more deserving, talented, honest, reliable and admirable professionals who are available and capable. Continue reading