Category Archives: Citizenship

Jumbo Alert, As An Integrity And Corruption Check For Pundits, Journalists, And All Your Hillary Clinton-Defending Friends Looms

Jumbo film

The real test of when someone will lie to your face is when they will insist that their former, perhaps bias-supported but still sincerely-held position is still valid after all justifications for it have vanished. This is Jumbo territory, the point where Jimmy Durante, giant elephant in tow, shrugged to the accusing sheriff in front of him and said, “Elephant? What elephant?” That, however, was a joke. This is tragic.

Many of us knew we would reach this point long ago, of course. As many, including me, have documented since the New York Times first broke the story of how Hillary Clinton had defied policy, best practices, competent national security management, technology common sense and perhaps the law by receiving and sending her official State Department e-mail on a home-brewed server. First she said there was nothing improper about doing this, then she said she had received no classified information, then she said she had received no material marked classified. She trotted out rationalizations: “everybody did it,” “other Secretaries of State did it,” “don’t sweat the small stuff,” ultimately adding a rationalization to the list, “It wasn’t the best choice.”

Those of us who have followed the pattern of Clinton scandals over the years knew that her camp was running out of smoke when it defaulted to the old “vast right wing conspiracy” diversion that worked so well—for a while—during the Monica Mess. The facts have been pretty clear for a while now, to anyone with the honesty and fairness to acknowledge them. Hillary Clinton, for her own convenience (as she has said) and to keep her communications out of the view of Congress, the public, political adversaries and law enforcement as she mixed personal business, politics and influence peddling with her official duties, willfully endangered US security and even the lives of intelligence personnel by handling official communications in an insecure manner.

The FBI has been investigating all of this—not her, her campaign keeps reminding us, just the e-mails!—and the State Department, which has been acting as a partisan ally when it’s duty is to the American people, finally was forced by a judge to review and turn over the e-mails involved, other than the ones Clinton had destroyed by her lawyer (nothing suspicious or irregular about that). With each new batch revealed, more e-mails that contained classified information have been found. Former Defense Secretary and CIA director William Gates said this week that Russia, China and Iran, among other foreign nations, probably hacked Clinton’s e-mails, “given the fact that the Pentagon acknowledges that they get attacked about 100,000 times a day.” Meanwhile, State has identified over 1,200 emails that it deems classified were sent over Hillary’s private server, making her first denials ridiculous, and her ultimate denials an admission of gross negligence and stupidity, even if they were true. The Secretary of State didn’t discern that any of 1200 e-mails contained information requiring care and confidentiality? This is the “I’m not corrupt, I’m stupid” defense, which is one no Presidential candidate ought to be allowed to get away with, especially one being extolled by the current President for her alleged competence and experience.

Now the walls, and the facts, are closing in. Yesterday, the Obama administration confirmed for the first time that Hillary Clinton’s home server contained closely guarded government secrets, and announced that 22 emails that containing material requiring one of the highest levels of classification were so sensitive that they could not be released.  Is that clear? These are communications that were on an insecure server, vulnerable to hacking, that Clinton saw, and either didn’t recognize as such—she’s not that stupid—or didn’t care enough to start being responsible. With such e-mails, it doesn’t matter if they are marked: they are self-marking: big, loud, throbbing documents that any Secretary of State, even Secretary Gump, must know are classified because of their content.

The State Department revelation came three days before  the Iowa presidential caucuses, and, incredibly, the Clinton campaign complained about the timing! Yes, it is certainly outrageous to let voters know about the duplicity and incompetence of a candidate for President before they vote for her. This is how Clinton thinks. If that doesn’t bother you, get help.

Federal law makes it a felony for any government employee to mishandle classified information, and here comes the integrity check. With this new information, Clinton has no defense. By definition, allowing top secret information to be received and perhaps forwarded on an insecure, private server is mishandling, and illegal.  Clinton’s campaign, of course, is lying and spinning: the current tactic is to dismiss this as an inter-agency dispute over what is classified. (The Clinton-enabling Vox made bolstering this deflection the centerpiece of its “explainer”) However, when the current State Department is so sure of 22 e-mails’ top secret character that it feels it must withhold them from the public and the media, it is obvious that this was no close call, especially since State has been covering and spinning for Hillary to a disgraceful degree already.

So the facts speak: Yes, she lied. Yes, she endangered U.S. security. Yes, she willfully exposed classified documents to hacking by our enemies. Yes, she did this for her own personal and political benefit.

Yes, she broke the law, and this law ain’t jaywalking. Continue reading

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Filed under Character, Citizenship, Ethics Alarms Award Nominee, Ethics Train Wrecks, Government & Politics, Journalism & Media, Jumbo, Law & Law Enforcement, The Internet

Unethical Quote Of The Month: MSNBC’s Chris Matthews, Whose Ethics Alarm Is Obviously Busted

Matthews

“Who is going to watch a debate between the two Cuban guys?”

MSNBC host Chris Matthews, reacting on the air to the news that wittle Donald Twump will be avoiding Thursday’s Republican candidates’ debate on Fox because he’s afwaid that mean, old Megyn Kelly will wag on him and make him cwy.

The “Cuban guys” are two  U.S. citizens and public servants named Mark Rubio and Ted Cruz. “Who is going to watch a debate between Rubio, Marco Rubio and Ted Cruz?” Chris went on. (Yes, Chris, we know who you meant). “Who cares?””

I just got back from a New York day trip to do an ethics training seminar for a large law firm. I read about Matthews’ hateful, ugly, bigoted statement just as I was getting ready to leave this morning, and it  bothered me the rest of the day. I haven’t checked—has Matthews apologized? Has he been sacked? Have Hispanics and Latinos rallied to support the Republicans he attacked?

There is no spin, no excuse, no rationalization that removes Matthews’ comment from the realm of hateful, gratuitous partisan bile. This is also the guy, remember, who sees racism in the use of the word “Chicago.” Let’s see if we can find any equivalent statement that wouldn’t be legitimately and immediately  identified as the calling card of a bigot:

“Who is going to watch a debate between the two black guys?”

“Who is going to watch a debate between the two Jewish  guys?”

“Who is going to watch a debate between the two gay guys?”

“Who is going to watch a debate between the two Muslim guys?”

“Who is going to watch a debate between the two women?”

Yet this just vomited out of Liberal Chris’s mouth like it was perfectly reasonable and fair, just like you hear other bigots default to “nigger” without blinking. The statement radiates contempt for a nationality, assumed superiority by a comfortably white hack , and absolute disrespect—because the two men are Republicans, and thus don’t deserve decency or fairness at his hands. That’s how Chris thinks. That’s the culture of MSNBC. That’s the attitude of a shocking number of U.S. “progressives.” Continue reading

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Filed under Character, Citizenship, Ethics Alarms Award Nominee, Ethics Quotes, Etiquette and manners, Government & Politics, Journalism & Media, Race

Ethics Dunces: Professor Robert Donald Weide, And Any University That Employs Him

crushing dissentThe results of the Curmie Award vote are up at Curmudgeon Central, where blogger Rick Jones tracks episodes of supreme embarrassment for his profession, education. I think next year’s winner may have already arrived. It’s not that I can’t imagine worse conduct by an educator—I have a lively imagination—it’s just that the conduct California State University, Los Angeles (CSULA) professor Robert Donald Weide is an apt symbol of why U.S. higher education is no longer a solution to anything, but a tragic problem in itself. There is no reason, none, why any school shouldn’t immediately sack a faculty member who behaves like this. If the issue is tenure, then tenure needs to be abolished. Tenure should not shield campus fascists.

What did Weide do? CSULA’s branch of Young Americans for Freedom, a conservative political organization, dared to invite Ben Shapiro to give a lecture called “When Diversity Becomes a Problem” about such emerging issues as Black Lives Matter, “microaggressions,” “safe spaces,”  trigger warnings and other assaults on free speech on campuses and elsewhere. Naturally, since the topic is an important and legitimate one, many at CSULA are attacking the event and arguing it should be blocked by the university, citing trigger warnings, safe spaces,  microaggressions, and, of course, the ever-useful censorship concept of “hate speech.”

Perhaps here is as good a place as any to note that I wouldn’t cross the street to listen to Ben Shapiro, and wouldn’t do so even before his website, Breitbart, decided to shill for Donald Trump. That, however, doesn’t alter the fact that he is every bit as worthy of a campus speaking gig as Lena Dunham, Bernie Sanders, Sean Penn, or the Pope. Continue reading

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Filed under Character, Citizenship, Education, Ethics Alarms Award Nominee, Etiquette and manners, Facebook, Race

Ethics Update: The Frontrunners

the-three-stooges6

There was ample evidence over the past week that all three of the candidates currently leading their respective party’s races for the presidential nomination are unqualified for the office by virtue of their deficiencies of competence, character, and principles. Hillary Clinton had the most spectacularly revealing week, but first, the other two….

Donald Trump: Hubris, incompetence, disrespect and unfairness

1. “I could stand in the middle of 5th Avenue and shoot somebody and I wouldn’t lose voters,” Trump boasted at a campaign rally yesterday. I know, it’s a joke. It’s also an astoundingly stupid thing to say, even in jest, and reveals massive hubris, the quality that brought down many a Greek king and the worst and most dangerous of all Trump flaws. This is what will get him, sooner or later. 3000 years of history and literature teach us that. The comment also reveals utter contempt for his supporters; he is essentially calling them blind morons. The crowd in Iowa laughed….because they are.

2.“Our great veterans are being treated terribly,” Trump says in a new campaign video. “The corruption in the Veteran’s administration, the incompetence is beyond. We will stop that.” Then critics pointed out that the clips used showed Russian veterans, not Americans, and he pulled the ad.

This is the man whose only claim to legitimacy is his management wizardry. Such an error, however, is proof of sloppy oversight and incompetent delegation. Moreover, this is the second time a Trump campaign ad  included mislabeled material: his illegal immigration ad earlier this month used footage of people crossing the Moroccan border to represent the U.S.-Mexico border. Conclusion: he’s faking it, “it” meaning everything. This is all posturing and bluffing, like a student taking an exam for a course he never studied for. Continue reading

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Filed under Character, Citizenship, Gender and Sex, Government & Politics, Law & Law Enforcement, Leadership, Science & Technology

From The “Ethics Isn’t Easy” Files: The FBI, Child Porn, And “Playpen”

key-computerIn order to probe “the dark web” and to apprehend those partaking of the pleasures of child pornography, the FBI emulated the illegal conduct of hackers, using a warrant to surreptitiously place malware on all computers that logged into a site called Playpen. When a user connected, the malware forced his computer to reveal its  Internet protocol address. Next a subpoena to the ISP  yielded his real name and address, and a another warrant allowed a subsequent search of the user’s home. Incriminating evidence, indictments and trials followed.

The problem of tracking computer related crime is far ahead of the law, and in the vacuum, ethical principles are being nicked, mashed, or ignored. Ahmed Ghappour, a professor at the University of California’s Hastings College of the Law, says, “It’s imperative that Congress step in to regulate exactly who and how law enforcement may hack.” If hacking is illegal, and wrong as an uncontested intrusion on privacy, when is it ethical, and thus legal, for law enforcement to do it? Continue reading

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Filed under Childhood and children, Citizenship, Ethics Alarms Award Nominee, Gender and Sex, Law & Law Enforcement, Rights, Science & Technology, The Internet

Ethics Musings While Sitting In Line At The Gas Station

My future, if I don't figure this out...

My future, if I don’t figure this out…

In the middle of a 20 minute errand that became a 90 minute ordeal today, I found myself sitting in an unexpected long line at the gas station I usually patronize.  Maybe it was because people wanted to top off tanks before the blizzard hits tomorrow, but I was really almost out of gas, and the second I moved into the “tank on the right” line, I was socked in. Finally I had only  one car ahead of me, and an absurdly long line of automobiles behind.

The lady in the car ahead, however, was unbelievable. She wasn’t elderly, but she was obese, had something wrong with one leg, and apparently had never filled a gas tank before in her life. She dithered, she paused, she disappeared and returned. She punched in so many characters at the pump that her Debit card password must have been a chapter of “Martin Chuzzlewit.”

Finally she replaced the pump, after pausing and contemplating it like it was Yorick’s skull, walked around to the driver-side door, then decided to walk back—S-L-O-W-L-Y— and make sure she had replaced the gas tank cap, then again s-l-o-w-l-y  limped and waddled back to the door. She opened the it, stared, then decided to unzip her coat, started to take it off, changed her mind, paused again. The line of cars behind me now reached to Falls Church.

I was just a smidgen of impulse control away from getting out of my car, which was turned off, and walking up to her, whereupon I would have said, not especially nicely: Continue reading

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Filed under Character, Citizenship, Daily Life, Etiquette and manners, U.S. Society

Unethical Quote Of The Month: U.S. Senator Barbara Mikulski

mikulski

“So let’s solve the problem. Let’s not get involved in constitutional arguments, and let’s help our American people be safe and secure in their home, their neighborhood, their school and their house of worship.”

—-Senator Barbara Mikulski (D-MD) in her opening remarks ahead of a Senate Commerce, Justice, Science, and Related Agencies Subcommittee hearing, prior to testimony from Attorney General Loretta Lynch regarding the Administration’s proposed gun control measures.

Mikulski, who is mercifully retiring, has been a relentless opponent of gun rights, and if you wanted a poster child for Democrats who would ban guns in a heartbeat if they could, Mikulski’s perfect.

“Let’s solve the problem and never mind what the Constitution says” could be the motto of the Obama Administration and the Democratic Party as it is evolving. The quote is signature significance: no elected officials who take their oath of office seriously—you know, the like one taken bu U.S. Senators in which they swear to “support and defend the Constitution?—-would ever say, “Let’s not get involved in constitutional arguments…” in considering any legislative act or Presidential order, because the Constitution must be followed and respected in everything the government does.

This is the arrogant, lawless, totalitarian mindset that the hard-left progressive establishment represented by Mikulski now embodies. Why didn’t any mainstream media journalists immediately expose this? Why was it only the conservative bloggers and news sources who found her statement outrageous? And why didn’t any other Senators have the wit, integrity and sense of responsibility to lay her out for saying such a stupid, arrogant, un-American thing?

Constitutional arguments are what keep us free. Those who sneer at them like Mikulski have other plans.

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Filed under Character, Citizenship, Ethics Alarms Award Nominee, Ethics Dunces, Government & Politics, Incompetent Elected Officials, Journalism & Media, Law & Law Enforcement, Leadership, Rights