Morning Ethics Warm-Up, 10/19/2017: #MeToo, A Fact-Denying Fact-Check, And A “Resistance” Hit Job

Good Morning to you!

1 The contrived anti-Trump controversy over his conversation with a Gold Star widow is so disgusting and cynical that I hesitate to comment on it. This was so obviously a set-up: an anti-Trump woman, angry and grieving over the death of her husband, allowed a virulently anti-Trump Democratic Congresswoman to listen in on the call, then collaborated to make the accusation that Trump’s words that her husband “knew what he was signing up for” were a calculated insult. The New York Times somehow found this worthy of an above the fold article. No other President would ever be subjected to this kind of despicable “gotcha!” attack. No matter how clumsy Trump’s words might have been, and we can only take the word of two women who were predisposed to interpret them in the worst light imaginable, a President must be accorded a presumption of good will in such a situation. This, however, has been withheld from him in all situations by major segments of the Left from the beginning. Representative Fredricka Wilson (D-Fla) boycotted the President’s inauguration, and has made her motives and character explicit by laughing about how this latest controversy has made her a “rock star.” Well, maybe in “the resistance”–I have a somewhat different description for her. Now she’s race-baiting too, calling John Kelly a racist for referring to her, in his defense of the President, as an “empty barrel” who “makes noise.” Yup, I remember hearing stories about Klansmen calling blacks “Empty barrels.”

What did the wife of La David Johnson expect such a partisan, vicious hack like Wilson to do when she chose her to listen to the conversation with the President? It was another episode in the fake “the President is a white supremicist” pageant, and to anyone with a scintilla of objectivity, a blatant one. The Washington Post’s resident race-baiter, affirmative action Pulitzer Prize winner Eugene Robinson, wrote an unforgivable column calling Trump’s comment “mindless cruelty”he never never made a genuine case that there is anything wrong with what Trump said…because, you see, there isn’t. If the wife of a soldier doesn’t understand that when he enlisted in the armed services he was putting his life on the line for his country and knew it, then that’s her misconception. My father, who had his foot blown up in World War II, made this point more than once: if you enlist to fight, you can’t say you didn’t know that the possibility of being killed or wounded wasn’t part of the decision. If it wasn’t, there would be no innate courage in volunteering for service. This, like so much else that the President does and says, is only wrong because it is him saying it. This is the plan. This is how “the resistance,’ Democrats and their core seeks to cripple the government and undermine the President of the United States. They don’t even hesitate to politicize a simple condolence call and the death of a soldier toward that un-American end.

I think my favorite part of the negative spin put on Trump’s conversation with Mrs. Johnson was that “he appeared not to know the name” of the fallen soldier. Any parent who can’t resist excessive creativity and who names a boy “La David” has condemned him to having everyone hesitate to say his name for the rest of his life, as “Wait, this can’t be right…” locks their brains. This is Naming Ethics. Similarly, don’t name your girl “Mister Nancy.”

Accolades are due to another Gold Star widow, Natasha De Alencar, who has released the audio of a call the President made to her in April after her husband, a  member of the 1st Battalion, 7th Special Forces Group (Airborne) became the first American killed in combat in Afghanistan this year. That conversation shows the President as compassionate and willing to spend all the time necessary to express his respect—and she and her were Hispanic, and we all know that Trump just hates Hispanics. That call alone should ensure the President the benefit of any doubt regarding whether he would “insult” a military widow, but it won’t; not for those who want to assume the worst, and want to  make as many people as possible believe that the President of the United States is a monster.

This was an unconscionable hit job. The Democrats and the news media seem incapable of comprehending that the more ruthless, unjust and vicious they behave in their opposition to Trump, the more those who are not already incurable Trump-haters will conclude that their cure is worse than the disease.

2. Similarly, the more the news media makes it screamingly obvious that it is incapable of consistent, honest, non-partisan reporting and will routinely spin for Democrats and spin against the President and Republicans, the more they minimize their ability to influence elections or public opinion. Shouldn’t this be obvious? Indeed, the Left’s media may have already reached the point of no return.

The Hill—not a pro-Republican publication to say the least—re-launched a Clinton scandal by reporting that the FBI has evidence of Russian energy officials giving money to the Clinton Foundation while Secretary of State Hillary Clinton was in a position to reject a deal giving Russians control of Uranium One, an energy company with mines in the United States.

Newsweek—the news magazine that sent out an issue with President Hillary on the cover before the election— then announced on Twitter that “the Clintons were not paid millions by Russia,” with a link to the publication’s “fact-check.”

The article linked concludes,

Bill Clinton did receive $500,000 to deliver a speech at a Russian bank that was promoting Uranium One stock, according to The New York Times, and the company’s chairman donated $2.35 million to the foundation in four installments as Uranium One was being acquired by Rosatum between 2009 and 2013.

All told, $145 million went to the Clinton Foundation from those linked to Uranium One and UrAsia, but it went to the charity organization and not the Clinton family. Furthermore, most of those donations occurred before and during Hillary Clinton’s 2008 campaign, according to The Post.

Assessment: Yes, the foundation received money and Bill Clinton was paid to give a speech, but there’s no evidence the Clintons were paid by Russians to push through the uranium deal.

Amazing.

  • There is no longer serious controversy over what the Clinton Foundation is: a loophole-exploiting family foundation that provides the Clintons with travel, perks, access, tax avoiding  options, and cover for influence peddling.

To say that that the payments didn’t go to “the family” is pure deceit.

  • The Clinton Foundation had been forbidden from soliciting or receiving donations from foreign interests while Clinton was at State, and Hillary allowed these anyway, keeping them secret.

She had pledged to Congress as a condition of her confirmation that such donations would halt

  • In quid pro quo arrangements, whether pay-offs come before or after the desired and bargained for actions is irrelevant. They are suspicious and create the appearance of impropriety either way.

$500,000 was more than twice Bill usual speaking fee. Do you really think he was being paid for the just the speech Does Newsweek? Really?

  • This is false: “but there’s no evidence the Clintons were paid by Russians to push through the uranium deal.” There is no smoking gun; there is no proof.

The contributions are, however, evidence.

3. Two Harvey Weinstein Ethics Train Wreck notes:

A. Miramax superstar director Quentin Tarentino  admitted in an interview that he had heard accounts of abuse by Weinstein and now regrets not acting on it:

“I knew enough to do more than I did. There was more to it than just the normal rumors, the normal gossip. It wasn’t secondhand. I knew he did a couple of these things. I wish I had taken responsibility for what I heard. If I had done the work I should have done then, I would have had to not work with him….What I did was marginalize the incidents, saying he wrote them off as mild misbehavior. Anything I say now will sound like a crappy excuse.”

Observations:

—Such statements are cheap now.  Weinstein made Tarantino a fortune, and into a supers-star. Does anyone really believe that he wwas ethically capable  of  exposing  Weinstein while his career depended on him? It sounds “crappy” because we know that he would do the exact same thing today, under the same circumstances. He doesn’t really regret what he did.  He just knows a genuinely ethical person would regret it, and so this is what he is saying.

—Tarantino gets a couple ethics points for candor, and admitting that he knew. Still, everyone in Hollywood knows he knew, so he might as well admit it.

B. #MeToo, a hashtag launched on Twitter by actress Alyssa Milano, has picked up over a half-million tweeters by women who say they have been assaulted or harassed in the workplace. All this shows is how naive or ignorant much of the public is about the pervasiveness of sexual harassment. I’d estimate that 95% of all actresses experience harassment in all levels of show business and all mediums. The percentage in government and corporate offices may be slightly less, but still high. I had an all-female staff for seven years at a powerful national association, and I saw almost all of my employees harassed, by members, and by my bosses. I had to intervene several times.

38 Comments

Filed under Around the World, Ethics Alarms Award Nominee, Ethics Train Wrecks, Government & Politics, Journalism & Media, Law & Law Enforcement, Leadership, Social Media

38 responses to “Morning Ethics Warm-Up, 10/19/2017: #MeToo, A Fact-Denying Fact-Check, And A “Resistance” Hit Job

  1. 3-B Monica Lewinsky joined in and Jaunita Broaddrick slammed her for it.

    http://www.foxnews.com/politics/2017/10/19/bill-clinton-accuser-broaddrick-slams-lewinsky-over-metoo-tweet.html

    I’d like to see some other WJC vicitms speak out, AGAIN, if for no other reason than to see Lefty & HRC, et al, flail helplessly as they try to explain it away.

  2. #1) this is just a battle (this particular one that the democrats are losing) in a series of battles. The most notable fight in this series was when Trump, in blithering idiot fashion does what Trump does and pettily accuses Obama of communicating with gold Star families. This go around the democrats thought they could maneuver Trump into some glaringly horrible comment, when in reality they should’ve just left it at the anti-Obama spite and hammered him for that.

    But now they’ve ensured no one is going to pay attention to the wrong comment about Obama and now people will see just how much more debased they can be in their republic-destroying anti-Trump tantrum.

    Well done Dems. Snatching defeat from the jaws and victory.,

    • Chris

      I think I agree with this.

      It seems Wilson wanted to catch Trump in a gotcha–“Oh, you lied and said past presidents didn’t call? Well, let’s see what you say when you do call.” And whether Trump’s comments were insensitive or not (and I could see them as either positive or negative depending on the context), leaking them was unethical and simply used this particular soldier as a political tool.

      And then Trump had to first lie about what he said before the narrative changed to “I said it, but meant it in a positive way,” which should have been the first response anyway as it is more believable and is probably true!

      But Democrats still look bad for using this to their advantage, and you’re absolutely right that we should have focused on the initial lie about past presidents.

      An ethics trainwreck.

      • Yes, Trump can be counted upon to over-react, spout defensive nonsense, and undermine his position even when he’s on rock solid ground. That’s one reason why this keeps happening…he can be goaded and set-off. But a bad reaction in response to unethical treatment doesn’t make the treatment that created the bad reaction any less wrong.

        • I think it’s one of the more egregious news crappy things the Left does. Intentionally goading him for a spiteful reaction. We get it. It’s one of his traits. It’s not a good trait. But every time you *intentionally* trigger it, you are willingly damaging the nation.

          Stop.

  3. This reminded me of your post from a month before the election where Trump discussed his favorite part of “Pulp Fiction” — probably the most misogynistic part.

    https://ethicsalarms.com/2016/10/08/republicans-leaders-are-shocked-shocked-that-donald-trump-is-donald-trump/

  4. Other Bill

    I’ve never watched a Tarantino movie. The trailers seem to show they’re hideous, verging on depraved and corrupting. And didn’t he do a movie called “Kill Bill?” I have wikied him and as I recall, he became qualified to direct movies by working in a video store (remember them?) and watching a lot of the inventory. Great, become a movie guy by regurgitating other movies. Makes for great art.

  5. Real PA Voter

    Trump is an imbecile, pain and simple

    • No, your comment is imbecilic. The observation is 1) not literally true 2) not relevant to any of the issues here. He’s an imbecile so..his election doesn’t count? …we don’t need for him to do the best job possible?…it justified treating him unethically?…it justifies misleading news coverage? ….it means that his conduct shouldn’t be assessed according to the same standards as an other President?

      Your emotion-based expression of disrespect and contempt contributes nothing, adds nothing. It does suggest you have nothing useful to contribute to any intelligent discussion, however.

    • Congratulations on painting a “I’m a partisan idiot” target on your own forehead with that trolling nonsense Real PA Voter.

  6. Neil Dorr

    Jack,

    Friendly corrections (three in a row):

    if you enlist to fight, you can’t say you didn’t know that the possibility of being killed or sounded [SIC] wasn’t part of the decision. It [SIC] it wasn’t, there would be no innate courage in volunteering for service. This, like so much else that the President does and says, is only wrong because it is hi [SIC] saying it.

    Have a wonderful day!

  7. Chris marschner

    It appears that the resistance has found tbe use of human shields to trash Trump an easy play. As we know another Gold Star family was used to during the campaign and when Trump simply responded to Kazir Kahn’s diatribe against him during the DNC convention, the headlines all read Trump attacks a grieving gold star family. Even here, he was criticized for punching down. That criticism was fair at the time but he will be criticized even if he does nothing.

    He is being blamed for politicizing the deaths when he answered a question of a journalist factually. Her question was if he had called tbe families of the fallen. He responded by saying he will be but in due time. He followed up by saying something to the effect that past presidents don’t alway call, he did not know their policies in such matters, and they could check with General Kelly to find out if Obama had called him

    In my opinion, the politicization began with the reporters question. How is that even news unless one wants to paint him as an uncaring ogre not willing to even take a few minutes to console the grieving family. I suspect that Trump understood this was a baited question and felt the need for a preemptive defense by stating other presidents did not call every fallen soldier.

    I gave the family the benefit of the doubt regarding their feelings about his words. I doubt they took offense initially but where manipulated by the Congresswoman into believing it was disrespectful. I can see her now after the call say ” I cant believe that Trump disrespected you that way. . . Imagine someone saying he knew what he signed up for . ..” She then signaled to the family that she would get him back for his callousness. The family is not going to rebuff this Congresswomen. They are willing pawns.

  8. #3 re:A. Miramax superstar director Quentin Tarentino admitted in an interview that he had heard accounts of abuse by Weinstein and now regrets not acting on it:

    Any bets as to whether Hollywood will hound Tarentino like Paterno, tear down statues? I’d put heavy odds on ‘no.’ Forgive all bystanders who should have done better or forgive none. This having it both ways really annoys me and detracts from the criminals’ sins.

  9. Re No.1

    The dust up with Pres. Trump and the grieving widow is really frustrating, a needless self-inflicted wound. Somebody has got to rein in his twitter account change the password, put parental blocks on it, something.

    From what I gather, he called the widow of a fallen soldier and, according to the story line, shrugged his shoulders, said something callous about “well, he knew what he the risks, so, oh well”, and mispronounced the soldier’s name. I don’t think his comments were either clumsy or inappropriate. Ret. Gen. Kelly spoke eloquently in his press conference about the process, the calls, the ways presidents handle the loss of member of the armed forces, and what Pres. Trump said seems to be in line with that tradition. If the other widow’s conversation with Pres. Trump is any indication of how the call went, then I applaud Pres. Trump’s efforts. That has got to be an awful call to make.

    Rep. Wilson (why was she listening in on the phone call?), though, decided to make an issue of it and accused the President of being disrespectful. So far, a minor skirmish. Then, Pres. Trump did the trumping. Why does President Trump fall for these stupid games? Rep. Wilson set him up and he took the bait. Why?! What good would it serve him to attack some back-bench irrelevant member of Congress who insulted him? It makes him look petty and unpresidential. I just don’t get it. I guess he just can’t help himself.

    But, wait. Over at CNN, the cast of usual Anti-Trumpsters on Don Lemons’ show decided that this stupid story was worthy of more airtime than the Uranium One scandal. To a person, they demanded to know what happened in Niger (as if any of those bozos knows where Niger is and who and what Boko Haram is – oh, wait #bringourgirlshome). There must be an inquiry. We need to know (NOW!) why our troops were there, what they were doing, and why they were killed. These are the same people who gave lip service to Benghazi, dismissing it as a video-inspired riot rather than the outgrowth of having Gaddafi taken out and shot in the street.

    It was a that time the light bulb went off in my Dr. Pepper addled head. This is the Republican/Trump version of Benghazi2.0.com. Trump will be pasted with this mess. Ret. Gen. Kelly is correct: nothing is sacred any more. The death of soldier on the battle field is now fair game of political gain. Rep. Wilson, self-congratulatory and rock star that she is, should be ashamed of herself.

    My wife, a foreign national, came here in the 1990s because she saw in the US opportunity, order, the potential for a more perfect union, and liberty. She adores this country and our armed forces. Yet, yesterday she watched some cowboy-hat-wearing clown from Florida provoke the President of the United States with unjustified and unjustifiable criticism, and it broke her heart. You must understand: she thinks that members of the government should behave with the grace, dignity, and seriousness that this great experiment in representative democracy deserves. It breaks her heart to see buffoons denigrate public office, not because it is an abuse of her tax dollars, but because it diminishes the ideal of this nation. She asked, with sadness, “How can a nation with such marvelous potential lose its way like this?”

    jvb

    • Chris marschner

      John

      I agree with much of what you and most others have said. However, the resistance will attack no matter what he does.

      Had Trump ignored Wilsons diatribe the next days headline could be expected to read. “Trump ignores grieving family’s complaint of insensitivity” or Trump doesn’t deny his disrespect of a Gold Stat widow.

      I used to agree with Jack that punching down is not presidential. However in light of of the degree of amimus on constant display I think he needs to address his critics headon if he is to achieve anything. Accusations of impropriety without denials are seen as admission of fact. Case in point. Tillersons reported comment regarding Trump is a moron. Tillerson brushed it off as a non issue but the fact he did not deny it became prima facie evidence that he did. That story stayed in the news for a week.

      The media focuses on literal and Trump speaks figuratively when pushed. For the media when he says ” I did not say that”, He might be saying I did not mean that. He also said “that was not the content of what I said ” could easily be that was not the context of what I said

      Perhaps if Trump was not constantly having to avoid the daily attacks he might stop feeling the need to impulsively defend himself.

      • Other Bill

        Perhaps if Trump was not constantly having to avoid the daily attacks he might stop feeling the need to impulsively defend himself.

        No kidding.

        • I have no doubt the Left is terrified that Trump would actually be a reasonably effective President and that terror pushes them to undermine him every second of the day, lest their nightmare come true.

          Then again, I’d have to ask myself, why would the Left be afraid of a president being good at what he’s doing?

          • ”why would the Left be afraid of a president being good at what he’s doing?”

            I dunno…an EVIL>/b> Male Y-Chromosomal Unit is democratically elected who wasn’t pre-determined by Lefty, what’s not to dislike?

            C’mon, another EVIL>/b> Male Y-Chromosomal Unit waxed her @$$ 8 + years ago.

            Sexism? IMHO, it’s way past time we have a X-Chromosomal Unit as Commander-in-Chief.

            Just not Hillarity.

            I’m not alone on this, the late Ted Kennedy would agree.

          • He has been a reasonably effective President in some significant wasy, if one ignores the chaos, the feuds, the assorted incompetents and the increasingly divided country, for which he is not solely responsible.

  10. luckyesteeyoreman

    The World Series isn’t over yet with the Yankees winning, so I will forgive the commentariat temporarily for not increasing the volume of these two truths:
    1. Anti-Trumpism =(in part) Racism Against Whites.
    2. (connected to #1) Donald Trump = First White Whipping-Boy.

    There is probably a healthy dose of misandry in all that anti-Trumpism, too.

    It is just SO entertaining to see so many “progressives” acting like such KKK-like conservatives! (I’m convinced they always had more in common with that racist demographic.)

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