Tag Archives: lies

Fordham, Marquette and Brown Revoke Bill Cosby’s Honorary Degrees


They want the robe back too, Cos...

They want the robe back too, Cos…

From a Brown University release last week:

“It has become clear, by his own admission in legal depositions that became public this summer, that Mr. Cosby has engaged in conduct with women that is contrary to the values of Brown and the qualities for which he was honored by the University in 1985. On Friday, September 25th, the University’s Board of Fellows held its first regularly scheduled meeting since that information became available. The Fellows deliberated and determined to revoke and rescind the honorary doctorate conferred upon Bill Cosby by Brown University.”

This was the right thing to do, and the three universities—Fordham and Marquette had beaten Brown to the dishonoring of Cosby by a few days— all deserve praise for doing it. No, this verdict isn’t inconsistent with my post condemning Disney’s decision to remove Cosby’s bust in its Academy of Television Arts and Sciences Hall of Fame Plaza. I made it very clear that the problem with that decision was that it involved withdrawing an honor that had nothing do with Cosby’s character, and was one that was earned and still warranted: Continue reading


Filed under Arts & Entertainment, Character, Education, Gender and Sex, Popular Culture

The Ethics Verdict On Rep. Polis’s Apology For Recommending That Students Be Expelled For Sexual Assaults They Probably Didn’t Commit

Apparently the demon Pazuzu and the Congressman from Boulder agree!

Apparently the demon Pazuzu and the Congressman from Boulder agree!

My rule: if you say something clearly and unequivocally with all the available evidence and defend it later in another forum, all your subsequent apology means is “Gee, I didn’t expect to get in so much trouble for that. I guess I better apologize and pretend I didn’t realize what I was doing.”

Rep. Polis of Colorado, a Democrat and clearly no student of American justice, inherited the wind with his statements in a Congressional hearing suggesting that the already manifestly unjust “predominance of the evidence standard” that the Obama administration forced on universities (you know, so women could get as many male students punished as sexual predators as possible) was too fair. First he said…

“I mean, if I was running [a college] I might say ‘well, you know, even if there’s a 20 or 30 percent chance that it happened I wouldn’t want … I would want to remove this individual. Why shouldn’t a private institution, in the interest in promoting a safe environment, use an even lower standard than a preponderance of evidence, like even a reasonable likeliness standard?”

Then he said…

“I mean, if there’s 10 people that have been accused and under a reasonable likelihood standard maybe one or two did it, seems better to get rid of all 10 people. We’re not talking about depriving them of life or liberty, we’re talking about their transfer to another university.”

Later, interviewed over the phone by Reason well after the hearing, Polis was unambiguous, and extensively defended his statements in the hearing, with no equivocation or doubt. Ah, but he did not expect so many publications, pundits, bloggers and ethicists to have such an adverse reaction to, you know, discarding due process, fairness, and basic principles of justice just to make the Democratic Party’s man-hating feminist base happy. So he apologized.


He began with the Full Pazuzu: Continue reading


Filed under Character, Ethics Alarms Award Nominee, Ethics Train Wrecks, Gender and Sex, Government & Politics, Incompetent Elected Officials, Law & Law Enforcement, Rights

Note To The News Media: You Can’t Claim Hillary Apologized Until She Acknowledges The Lying

"Clinton Lies? Sure, you're cleared! Go on in..."

“Clinton Lies? Sure, you’re cleared! Go on in…”

Almost a month ago, in a post titled “Ten Ethics Questions For Unshakable Hillary Voters,” I wrote,

Hillary could have said, when this first arose, “I am sorry. I was foolish and irresponsible, and I never should have used a private system for official business. It was a serious breach, and I will cooperate completely by turning over all of my e-mails to the State Department.” That she didn’t can only mean 1) that she has something really bad to hide, 2) she isn’t sorry, 3) is stupid, 4) just reflexively lies whenever she is in trouble, and arguably all of them. Do you think someone like that should be President under any circumstances?

Grasping that this was a problem,  the Democratic Party agents posing as objective reporters—that is, most of them—set out over the last month to nudge, hint, push, cajole and beg Mrs. Clinton to apologize for her e-mail fiasco whenever she allowed herself to be interviewed, which wasn’t often. Her responses still ranged from disdain (“With a cloth?”) to outright refusal (“I did nothing wrong”) to carefully calibrated deceit (“It wasn’t the best choice”) while her campaign and surrogates blamed the entire controversy on the GOP and officially termed it “nonsense.” Undaunted, and apparently convinced that even now, an apology from Clinton would magically make the problem go away, or perhaps more accurately, they would allow the apology to  make the problem go away,  the media kept pushing,either not comprehending or choosing to ignore the fact that the apology I hypothesized  would have only been effective if it had been Hillary’s immediate response when her use of a private server was revealed, and not a mere Plan F after all the denials, lies and spin had failed.

Plan E was an insulting non-apology, as Hillary told Andrea Mitchell that she was sorry…that the matter had “been confusing to people,” and that “there are answers” without actually providing any. (Mitchell didn’t feel that it was seemly to ask for these answers as a real journalist might, because, as she explained later, she was afraid it might upset Hillary’s campaign, and heaven forbid that she would do that.) Frustrated, the Hillary-enabling news media asked her to apologize again—We’re your friends, Hillary, don’t you see that? Just say the magic words “I’m sorry” somewhere in the vicinity to “private server” and we’ll do the rest, we swear, just as we have buried the implications of your greedy influence peddling through your foundation!–and finally, to ABC’s David Muir, she sort of  allllllmost did so, in one of the ugliest, most insincere apologies I’ve ever seen, heard or read.

As I had guessed, the news media decided Plan F was the best they were going to get, and began implementing their plan to treat this awful half apology as if it settled the issue. Here’s Chris Cilizza, the supposedly non-partisan Post political reporter, writing about Hillary’s falling poll numbers:

It’s uniquely possible that we are looking at the nadir of Clinton’s numbers. Her straight-up apology this week for having used a private e-mail server when she was secretary of state suggests that she may finally be listening to advisers (and donors) who see the issue causing major erosion in her numbers.

“Straight up apology?” That’s what Cilizza calls “straight up”? A scripted, grudging statement that essentially apologizes for the fact that deflection plans A-E didn’t work ( “I do think I could have and should have done a better job answering questions earlier”) while insisting that what she did was “allowed” and, ludicrously for a secret server, “above board,” followed by a robotic “I made a mistake” (what was the mistake?) and a rote “I’m sorry”? Continue reading


Filed under Character, Ethics Heroes, Ethics Train Wrecks, Government & Politics, Journalism & Media, Leadership

Unethical Presidential Candidates Sunday (EXTENDED): Hillary Clinton’s Amazing Unethical, Ethical, Unethical, Unethical,Unethical, Unethical Non-Apology


Jethro Gibbs, the hero of CBS’s long-running hit procedural drama NCIS, enlightens his charges with “Gibbs’ Rules.” As I have mentioned before, I like Gibbs’ Rules, but one of them is almost always dead wrong. The most cited of the rules is #6: “Never apologize — It’s a sign of weakness,” a rule that Gibbs and the show’s writers borrowed from John Wayne’s character in “She Wore A Yellow Ribbon.” ( “Never apologize, mister, it. It’s a sign of weakness.”). Sincerely apologizing for genuine harm, mistakes or misconduct is not weakness, but a sign of character, accountability, honesty, courage, respect and fairness.

Hillary Clinton doesn’t believe in accountability, honesty, courage, respect and fairness, so it’s not surprising that she never apologizes. Neither does Donald Trump. It’s a clanging, earsplitting ethics alarm for anyone seeking a leader, for this means that they do not have the integrity or decency to admit genuine wrongdoing, and seek instead to maintain the illusion that they are infallible. It is even possible that they are in the throes of Rationalization #14, Self-validating Virtue, the mark of narcissists. Refusing to apologize is a terrible sign for a leader, a manager, even a friend.

Out of this ominous character flaw has come one of the most remarkable non-apologies in decades. When prompted by MSNBC’s Andrea Mitchell to apologize for her mishandling—her intentional mishandling, remember— of the e-mails she sent and received while Secretary of State, the Remarkable, Astounding, Ethics-Defying Candidate Hillary Clinton told her…

“At the end of the day, I am sorry that this has been confusing to people and has raised a lot of questions, but there are answers to all these questions.And I take responsibility, and it wasn’t the best choice.”

Sound the trumpets and summon the sculptors! That is an unethical non apology for the ages: Continue reading


Filed under Character, Ethics Alarms Award Nominee, Ethics Train Wrecks, Government & Politics, Law & Law Enforcement, Leadership

Welcome To “Unethical Presidential Candidates Sunday”! First Up, Rationalization 19 A: The Insidious Confession, Or “It Wasn’t The Best Choice”

Presidential cnadidates

I have tired of suppressing legitimate ethics issues regarding the various Presidential candidates, especially the most obviously unethical ones, Hillary and The Donald, for fear of having this pan-ethics blog mired in the swamp of politics. For this day, at least, I’m going to stop wrestling myself to the ground and stop holding back my rising gorge, and focus specifically (though maybe not exclusively: you never know) on the 54—or is it 22? I get the number of Bill Cosby victims mixed up with the announced Presidential candidates sometimes—on the pack of Republicans and Democrats with designs on the White House. So look out, Jeb, Ben, Chris,  Ted, Carly, Jim Gilmore), Lindsey, Mike, Bobby,  John, George, Rand, Rick, Marco, Rick, Donald Trump, Lincoln, Hillary, Martin, Bernie, Professor, Jim (Webb)….this is

Unethical Presidential Candidates Sunday!

First up…Hillary Clinton gave us a new rationalization! Say hello to Rationalization 19A, the latest addition to the Ethics Alarms Rationalizations List, #19A The Insidious Confession, or “It wasn’t the best choice.”

When Hillary Clinton first used her poll-tested, Campaign War Room generated description of her arrogant, defiant, incompetent and irresponsible (and possibly sinister) choice to send official communications on a private email server as not “the best choice,” I recognized it as misleading and dismissive, but assumed it was just a wan variation on my least favorite rationalization, the dreaded #22, “It’s not the worst thing.” Hillary used the same phrase this week, cementing my conviction that it is a talking point, but also making its real meaning clear.

“It wasn’t the best choice” is really a sneaky sub category of Rationalization #19:
Continue reading


Filed under Character, Ethics Train Wrecks, Government & Politics, Law & Law Enforcement

Translation: “OK, Lying And Denying Responsibility Haven’t Worked; Let’s Try Lying And Accepting SOME Responsibility.”

Said Candidate Hillary Clinton at a campaign stop in Iowa:

“I know people have raised questions about my email use as secretary of state, and I understand why. I get it. (1) So here’s what I want the American people to know: My use of personal email was allowed by the State Department. (2) It clearly wasn’t the best choice. (3) I should’ve used two emails: one personal, one for work. I take responsibility for that decision, and I want to be as transparent as possible, which is why I turned over 55,000 pages (4), why I’ve turned over my server (5), why I’ve agreed to — in fact, been asking to — and have finally gotten a date to testify before a congressional committee in October. (6) I’m confident that this process will prove that I never sent, nor received, any email that was marked classified. (7).

Notes: Continue reading


Filed under Character, Government & Politics, Science & Technology, The Internet

More E-Mail Deception From State: Does Anybody Care? Well, I Do. And You?

Another day, another Hillary advisor, another scandal...

Another day, another Hillary advisor, another scandal…

The private server of Hillary Clinton isn’t the only intrigue going on the should make us wonder just how corrupt our leaders and aspiring leaders are. There has been a new development involving another set of emails that should cause public outrage and alarm…if the news media had the integrity to report on it.

In 2012, Gawker filed a Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) request asking the State Department to produce e-mails related to Deputy Assistant Secretary of State Philippe Reines (now a top Hillary Clinton adviser) and his contacts with  thirty-three listed media outlets. Reines was involved in an intemperate email exchange with Gawker journalist Michael Hastings in which he told Hastings to “fuck off;” naturally Gawker, being Gawker, wanted to dig up dirt on him.

[It’s a side issue, but any high ranking government official  that tells any journalist to “fuck off” should be forced to apologize and be punished or sacked.  This just one more example of the Obama Administration’s aversion to accountability and management competence.]

The U.S. State Department officially stated in 2013 that there were no such emails, reporting that “After a thorough search . . . no records responsive to your request were located.”

Last week, after a federal judge demanded a“court-ordered status report,” Justice Department lawyers, reporting on behalf of the State Department, announced that the previous statement was a teeny bit off. The State Department had found of “5.5 gigabytes of data containing 81,159 emails of varying length” sent or received by Reines, of which about 17,855, or 22%, were relevant to the initial FOIA request.

Wait…what?? Continue reading


Filed under Ethics Alarms Award Nominee, Ethics Train Wrecks, Government & Politics, Journalism & Media, Law & Law Enforcement, Leadership, The Internet, U.S. Society