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I suppose one ought to congratulate the Rethugs. In George Santos they have found, or produced, a victorious candidate who may be an even bigger liar than 45, if that's possible. And in Solomon Pena they have produced a politician who personally engineered the attempted murder of several political rivals. I guess he wanted to outdo the MAGA stalwart who tried to murder Paul Pelosi when he couldn't find Nancy. Way to go, MAGAts, and savor the moment while you can, because your star will soon fall.

AlanCliffe 6 Jan 19

Enjoy being online again!

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You illustrate such an adult vocabulary when you use the word "Rethugs".

While George Santos should be thrown out of Congress, it certainly is not because of any "deep thinkers" such as yourself.


My biggest disappointment in practicing law was the conduct of other lawyers. I would regularly get one on the other side of a file that was more concerned with being successful for their client than they were about the greater truth, lawyers who would lie, cheat and steal in order to win. What I loved most about the practice of law was enabling my clients to pursue and obtain what the law said they were entitled to, not more and not less. But in the final analysis as I closed the door on my practice for the last time, I wondered if my clients had been at a disadvantage because unlike many other lawyers I was not willing to embellish the strengths of their cases for a better outcome.

Here on this very website over the last few years, even recently, I have watched the Conservative Atheists infiltrate the general feed (I was peremtorily blocked from that group without ever having set foot in it) with dubious and possibly libelous claims that they refuse to support with evidence immediately resorting to insults snd namecalling when their unfounded claims are not accepted as fact.

The primary reason I am and have always been an atheist is because the truth is more important to me than anything else. I don't have much else, but the one thing I will always have that the lying lawyers and conservative atheists will never have is knowing that I have never misled anyone to benefit myself. I won't be as wealthy as the lying lawyers and I'll never be a member of the Conservstive Atheists, but I will always have what they can never have, a clean conscience (presuming they even have consciences).

But if lying and cheating is beneficial even in the short term as it appears to be, perhaps the value of a clean conscience is overpriced. Perhaps there is no greater value to always doing the right thing and presuming that course of action to produce a greater sum total overall in the end. Of course, I made up my mind about this long ago and it is no longer a choice, but have you (a general inquiry)?

I have a stain or two, so I can tell you that a clean conscience means you don't have the stains to think about. (I was also blocked from the Conservative group. Honestly, no loss. And it is telling that they have left the main feed as their ideology is seen more obviously to be bankrupt.)

@racocn8 Yessir, the types of choices I've outlined are not nearly as simple as I've made them appear and drawing the necessary lines are part of the process and not necessarily easily. Early on I had such a decision to make and in discussing it with a friend he said "I know you'll do the right thing" so it was then I realized I wasn't just making these decisions for myself but other people were relying on me to make the right decisions.

And please don't understand me to claim to be free of errors but it was those errors that ultimately placed me on the track to avoid future errors and I'm not sure I would have gotten there without them. Thank you for responding, you are often someone who adds a new dimension to how I have been viewing the issue at hand. If I ever write something that offends you, please do me the courtesy of bringing it to my attention.

In re lies and the lying lawyers who tell them: You're the lawyer, I am not, so what I am about to say and ask may appear uninformed or simplistic, but here goes. One time a guest on William Buckley's TV talk show said something like this: We have a legal system set up so that the arguments of each side, prosecution and defense, may be more advocacy than truth, but the idea is that such a system will be nonetheless conducive to finding the truth of the matter. (I'm trying to think of the right adjective for the epistemology of said system: Contentious? Combative? Dialectical? It WAS Leon Trotsky, no slouch at dialectics himself, who said "Let us find the truth by comparing the lies." ) Do you agree with that assessment of the system? If so, do you think it is not, in fact, conducive to getting at the truth? And, again, if the description is true, would it follow that legal mendacity is in the DNA of the system, i.e. it's the system, which predates any lawyer now living, that gives birth to lying lawyers? And, supposing you more or less agree with Buckley's guest's description, are you aware of any polities that have a fundamentally different one? Could it be changed here with or perhaps without a Constitutional overhaul?

As for your question, I too--at least, so I like to think--have an orientation toward doing the right thing. Although I'm not always quite sure what that is.

@AlanCliffe Thank you, this is a very important distinction not easily understood without active involvement in its application. I should first let you know that I was raised, educated and practiced law in Canada. I have had some exposure to the American legal system since I returned in 2006 and find mostly similarities but also some differences. The primary similarity leads us directly to your question in that all common law countries have adversarial legal systems as opposed to the alternative inquisitorial civil law system.

Some coubtries like France snd Italy (had to look it up) use an inquisitorial legal system where the judge actively investigates the case to arrive at the facts upon which to base their decision. Most countries, including Canada and the US employ an adversarial legal system where each side mounts their mist vigorous case In the form of evidence and the impartial judge or jury arrives at judgment on the basis of that evidence. So your question pertains to adversarial legal system and I think I understand what you are getting at.

Most lawyers never see the inside of a courtroom because most cases don't ultimately involve litigation. The rules, formal and informal, for what is acceptable inside vs. outside a courtroom will differ. I had a 3 inch binder of rules I had to comply with at all times, even in my personal life. I am not sure how this compares with Americsn requirements for counsel, so I will only speak for myself. A lawyer who represents a criminal defendant in court can not mislead the Court. For instance, a guilty client is still entitled to representation at trial, but the lawyer can not lead evidence that they know is false. Outside of court, I do believe lawyers have a duty to represent the best interests of their clients but can not ethically mislead the other lawyer as to the facts or the law.


@AlanCliffe Law is certainly a specialized form of advocacy, but in my view dishonest advocate will bring the entire system into disrepute. For instance, I had a very experienced lawyer on the other side of a file once, but he was the kind who tried to use his experience to intimidate you rather than enhance the process. I caught his client having liquidated matrimonial assets during the course of litigation which is expressly illegal in that jurisdiction. He did everything he could think of to undermine what his client had done rather than working with me to address and stop the problem and in doing so his client ultimately fared much worse despite having the more experienced (and expensive) lawyer. What the client did was not okay and by downplaying it rather than facing it, the lawyer made a strategic error by not utilizing the truth to the extent that he could have.

So using these two examples as my supporting evidence, I just don't think I can get on the advocacy vs. truth train. Our legal system relies on people telling the truth as its basis for evidence so in my view settling for lies snd deception would topple a system which is already disfunction in some ways, economic injustice for starters and I personally put my career on the line every day to defend that principle.

Great criminal defense lawyers are part thespian. Many lay people don't understand why alleged criminals, especially those whose guilt seems sure, get a trial and the assistance of a lawyer. The only way we can be as sure as we possibly can be that we have the right perpetrator is by giving them the best opportunity to defend themselves, but still losing. To interfere with someone's liberty, we have to meet the duty of truth to the best of our ability. I am personally opposed to lying and misleading anyone at any time and I would be devastated to find that any of the lawyers I admire would resort to lying or even misleading the Court or other lawyers to achieve personal success.

I hope I've understood and addressed all of your issues thoroughly. Some say we may be witnessing the fall of the American empire. Our own President lied to us during his presidency last term. The success of right wing media is based the ability to convince its readership to accept its lies. On this website and others, conservatives lie regularly without knowing or even caring to know the accuracy of their claims. If the truth is not sufficient, it should be easy to see that lies will lead us somewhere much worse. I would like to see lying made illegal, unfortunately it is just too common for such a law to be enforceable.


I say this belongs in a political group, not in Hellos.

Well, what can I tell you. I've got my own ways of saying hello. And I'm sure you know what Pericles had to say to persons uninterested in politics.

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