Crucial Events on the Morals Front, One Good and One Bad

Just when you thought no one was thinking, Pope Francis unleashes one of his all but patented decisions that will likely drive half the people crazy and the other half thanking God he is in Rome. On the other hand, President Trump went pissing into the wind again with a “call” for the Attorney General to end the Russia investigation.

The Pope came out and just said what a lot of observers have felt for quite some time, the death penalty is trouble we can avoid. The man is an inspiration, which I suppose is part of his job description. I go back to an ancient school kids song, “What Did I Learn In School Today,” and the verse about bad men and their crimes.

“I learned that the government is very strong, always right and never wrong, I learned that bad men die for their crimes, even though we make a mistake sometimes,” is how that one went. What we have now is a moral argument that mistake or not, the death penalty is a bad response for whatever the crime.

Here is a little look at what the Pope concluded.

“In addition, a new understanding has emerged of the significance of penal sanctions imposed by the state. Lastly, more effective systems of detention have been developed, which ensure the due protection of citizens but, at the same time, do not definitively deprive the guilty of the possibility of redemption.”

Even the worst among us, in the view of the church, should have the chance to repent and embrace redemption. It’s a lovely thought, far more lovely than strapping someone to a gurney and pumping the character full of drugs until death arrives.

The second option in today’s moral philosophy lecture involves President Trump, that thoughtless scoundrel who sits in the Oval office except when he is golfing at one of his resorts. He’s arguing that it’s time to crush the special prosecutors efforts aimed at, well, at him.

You already have heard all the rhetoric about evil conspiracies of Democrats and the like. This one stopped just short of dismissing the Attorney General, advocating instead that the AG just shut down the Russia probe.

This comes as Special Prosecutor Mueller’s team is unleashing what it knows about former Trump Campaign Chair Paul Manafort, a greasy opportunist who found ways to live so high off the hog you would not believe it, even when the checking accounts were empty.

At the very least he is a big time fraud, criminal enough.

I think Mueller is going to squeeze Manafort until he screams uncle, then turn him against President Trump.

Which is one reason why Trump wants all this to end.

One bright thing flowing from the Trump part of all of this is Rudy Giuliani’s argument that tweets mean nothing and carry no weight, so it’s safe to ignore them.


Here is how the New York Times covered that part of the argument.

“The White House and Mr. Trump’s lawyers moved quickly to minimize the president’s statement, dismissing it as merely a case of venting by a president who has grown increasingly angry with an investigation that he considers illegitimate — and not a direct order to a cabinet secretary to interfere with a continuing federal law enforcement matter.

“But in saying that Mr. Sessions, the United States’ top law enforcement official, should take specific action to terminate the investigation, the tweet crossed a line that Mr. Trump has never explicitly crossed — until now.”

Hmmm. Smells like obstruction to me.