Morning Ethics Warm-Up, 12/6/18: The Defended And The Indefensible

Goooood Morning!

Baby, it’s stupid outside…

1.PLEASE stop making me defend Hillary Clinton. In a “controversy” reminiscent of the mainstream media’s hyped and manufactured criticisms of every word. sigh, look or twitch by President Trump, the conservative web is in an uproar over Hillary Clinton’s “snub” or Melania Trump yesterday. Hillary didn’t wave at Melania, you see. She just “nodded” her head. Good Lord, leave the poor woman alone. She’s obviously not well. We know she’s bitter, angry and depressed. Now she and Bill are facing sparse audiences on their ill-advised tour together. So she didn’t greet Donald Trump’s spouse with enthusiasm at a funeral—so what? If she had, everyone would be saying that she’s a hypocrite and a phony. She is, of course, but that’s not the issue.

Fake snub.

2. Oh, fine, now I have to defend Natalie Portman… Inexplicably acclaimed actress Natalie Portman apologized to has-been singer/actress/ sex-symbol Jessica Simpson after  Simpson said Portman was slut- shaming her. Portman said in an interview with USA Today that as a teenager she was”confused” by a sexy photo of Simpson “on the cover of a magazine saying ‘I’m a virgin’ while wearing a bikini.” Portman said, “Like, I don’t know what this is trying to tell me as a woman, as a girl.”

This triggered a long rebuke by Simpson on social media:

“I was disappointed this morning when I read that I ‘confused’ you by wearing a bikini in a published photo taken of me when I was still a virgin in 1999. As public figures, we both know our image is not totally in our control at all times, and that the industry we work in often tries to define us and box us in. However, I was taught to be myself and honor the different ways all women express themselves, which is why I believed then – and I believe now – that being sexy in a bikini and being proud of my body are not synonymous with having sex. I have always embraced being a role model to all women to let them know that they can look however they want, wear whatever they want and have sex or not have sex with whomever they want. The power lies within us as individuals. I have made it my practice to not shame other women for their choices. In this era of Time’s Up and all the great work you have done for women, I encourage you to do the same.”

Portman immediately backed down, saying her comments were not meant as a jab toward Simpson, saying, “I would never intend to shame anybody and that was absolutely not my intention. I was really talking about mixed media messages out there for young women and completely apologize for any hurt it may have caused because that was definitely not my intention. What I said was I was confused by mixed messages when I was a young girl growing up, and there are a lot of messages for how women should be, and women should be allowed to do whatever they want.”

The issue Portman raised was and is a legitimate ethics conflict, and should be discussed openly by women, men, and culture.

Here’s a typical Simpson bikini shot—I can’t figure out which one Portman was referring to, but it will do, Pig, it will do…

This wasn’t a role in a movie, now. This was how Simpson presented herself to the public. Pairing such a photo with the statement “I’m a virgin” is confusing, to young women and men…and intended to be. It recalls a workplace exchange I recall from decades ago, when a voluptuous but devout young woman who worked for me admonished a male lawyer from another staff for clearly focusing on her breasts, which were accentuated by her garb, including rather workplace inappropriate cleavage. “Hey John, eyes up!” she said sharply.

Bullshit,” he replied. “If you don’t want guys to look at your boobs, why are you dressing like that?”

3. Not the way to encourage whistleblowers….Former FBI contractor Dennis Nathan Cain privately transmitted documents pertaining to the Clinton Foundation and Uranium One to the Justice Department’s inspector general and the Senate and House intelligence committees. His reward was to have his home in Union Bridge, Maryland raided and searched by sixteen FBI agents over a six-hour period.  Cain informed the special agent who led the raid that he was “a recognized protected whistleblower under the Intelligence Community Whistleblower Protection Act,” but to no avail.

Senator Chuck Grassley (R-Iowa) has sent a letter to FBI Director Christopher Wray requesting an explanation about why a recognized whistleblower would be treated this way.

“On November 19, 2018, the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) reportedly raided the home of a former FBI contractor, Mr. Dennis Nathan Cain, who reportedly made disclosures to the Department of Justice Office of the Inspector General in accordance with the Intelligence Community Whistleblower Protection Act (ICWPA),” Grassley wrote in his letter to Wray.

As you are aware, the ICWPA applies to FBI contractors and provides them a mechanism by which to report waste, fraud, abuse, and mismanagement to Congress and the Inspector General. During the raid, agents reportedly seized documents that Mr. Cain had provided to the Inspector General and that the Inspector General later provided to the House and Senate Intelligence Committees. These documents relate to the Clinton Foundation and Uranium One transaction. To better understand the FBI’s basis for performing the raid, please answer the following no later than December 12, 2018:

1. Was the FBI aware at the time of the raid that Mr. Cain had made what appeared to be lawful disclosures to the Inspector General? If so, was the FBI aware that these disclosures were passed to the House and Senate Intelligence Committees, per the ICWPA process?

2. Does the FBI consider Mr. Cain’s disclosures to be protected? Please explain.

3. On what basis did the FBI decide to carry out the aforementioned raid on November 19, 2018? Please explain and provide a copy of the warrant and all supporting affidavits.

4. Did the materials seized by the FBI during the raid contain any classified information? If so, was that information classified at the time Mr. Cain brought them to his residence?

Good questions all. The buzz in Conservativeland is that this was a message from the Deep State not to mess with the Clintons. I don’t know what the intent was, but this certainly seems to be counter to the intent of the whistleblower laws.

The immediate ethics question is this: why isn’t the raid being widely covered by the non-conservative news media? Had you heard about it?

4. I will NOT defend Trump Tweets. Gah. The stock market panicked and prices dived after the President tweeted…

….I am a Tariff Man. When people or countries come in to raid the great wealth of our Nation, I want them to pay for the privilege of doing so. It will always be the best way to max out our economic power. We are right now taking in $billions in Tariffs. MAKE AMERICA RICH AGAIN.






Flat learning curve.



Filed under Arts & Entertainment, Business & Commercial, Ethics Dunces, Gender and Sex, Journalism & Media, Law & Law Enforcement, Popular Culture

45 responses to “Morning Ethics Warm-Up, 12/6/18: The Defended And The Indefensible

  1. sgs

    Could you please do a post about the Pennsylvania Supreme Court case to protect the identity of Catholic priests accused of children-related abuses –

    How would one balance the priests’ right to reputation against the need for parishioners to protect their families? Can the church be forced to disclose these names?

  2. Luke G

    For whatever reason, it seems that police overreach in public such as excessive use of force on defenseless suspects or “scared” police shooting people on the vaguest of hunches tends to outrage the Left more, and police overreach in private such as excessive no-knock or retaliatory raids tends to outrage the Right more*. I’m not sure exactly why, since they seem like two sides of the same coin.

    *Exceptions to be made, of course, for the unshakably pro- and anti-police outliers and a few principled watchdogs who care more about the police’s actions than the specific details of the event.

  3. A.M. Golden

    1. Of course, that hasn’t stopped the MSM from criticizing President Trump for not shaking everyone’s hand before he sat down in the Presidents’ Pew or analyzing Hillary’s glances at him or Michelle Obama’s side-eye or…

    But, yeah, it’s really annoying.

    • Luke G

      The big theme I see is everyone chortling about how Trump looks unhappy because he’s not the center of attention, and the other Presidents look unhappy because they have to sit near him. Yes, because it IS newsworthy that people look unhappy at a funeral.

      • valkygrrl

        Bored isn’t the word. He looked like a petulant child with his arms crossed and lips pursed. Polite attentiveness, or at least a facsimile thereof, is not a lot to ask of a grown man.

        • Luke G

          Honestly I think he always looks that way. He hunches, his lips protrude, his brow is heavy so he looks like he’s glaring or squinting. That wouldn’t even be the Julie principle- it’s not a thing he does, it’s just his neutral body pose when he isn’t specifically and deliberately making a different expression. If you look at pretty much any photo where he’s listening to a speaker he usually has his arms crossed and a similar facial expression.

  4. 2)

    Portman immediately backed down, saying her comments were not meant as a jab toward Simpson, saying, “I would never intend to shame anybody and that was absolutely not my intention. I was really talking about mixed media messages out there for young women and completely apologize for any hurt it may have caused because that was definitely not my intention. What I said was I was confused by mixed messages when I was a young girl growing up, and there are a lot of messages for how women should be, and women should be allowed to do whatever they want.”

    The issue Portman raised was and is a legitimate ethics conflict, and should be discussed openly by women, men, and culture.

    How would you frame the ethics conversation raised?

  5. valkygrrl

    2: If you don’t want people to stare at your bald head why are you walking around without a hat?

    • Because people LOVE staring at bald heads and get aroused by it. Good analogy.

      • Other Bill

        Quite possibly the stupidest thing I’ve ever heard or read.

      • PennAgain

        It’s a sure sign of virility, I hear.

      • A.M. Golden

        Hasn’t hurt Patrick Stewart…

      • valkygrrl

        What does or does not arouse you sound more like a you-problem than a me-problem. I refuse to accept any obligation to think about your dick when I choose what to wear. The onus is on you to control your behavior no matter what I wear.

        • Not even close to a rational or respectable argument. No one is saying that immodest and deliberately seductive dress is an excuse for sexual assault. If a women went to work naked, that wouldn’t change. A woman deliberately dressing provocatively cannot play victim when men look at her consistent with her presentation. The term in the workplace is “professionalism.”

        • Glenn Logan

          We are in agreement. My problem is I like to look at pretty girl’s figure, even more so if they dress to provide visual access to said figure.

          If you’re fine with that (and your hypothetical choice of clothing suggests you are), we have no problem at all. You have no need to worry about my dick. I’ll do that all by myself. I’ve had plenty of practice, after all.

          • valkygrrl

            It’s December… Or Duodecember, 10’th month is a lousy name for the 12’th month. Either way, it’s cold outside, my choice of clothing would be a toasty warm wool cloak. Don’t mind if people stare at it but they yell things so I’m limited to a coat. Sadface.

            • Glenn Logan

              Heh. Why do they yell at your cloak? I think they look great.

              • valkygrrl

                Why they yell? One can only guess alcohol is involved since the cloak looked fine, looks fine, it lives in my closet. I modeled it on one made in the 1790s that colonial Williamsburg has in their collection, sized up naturally, I think the woman who owned the original was five foot even.

    • Other Bill

      So my bald head is as sexually arousing to women as a nubile, young, well displayed rack is to guys? Good to know. I’m getting rid of all my hats as we speak, winter and sun be damned.

    • Luke G

      I’m a fairly fat man with an extremely long torso. I take care to dress so that I’m in no danger of my stomach hanging out under my shirt and over my belt, or exposing innocent passersby to my plumbers crack because my shirt rode up and my pants rode down. I know plenty of guys with my build who aren’t so considerate, and are laughed at because of it.

      If you have a body that deviates from the norm, you are free to dress to accentuate it or to mitigate it. If you choose the former people will stare.

  6. 4) He has a far more reckless and dangerous tweet, openly declaring what every politician believes but CANNOT and MUST NOT say…when he tweeted that he does not care about the national debt or deficit spending because he’ll be gone before America has to deal with it.

    • Well, at least that has the virtue of candor. That’s been the attitude of every other President, but they just lied about it.

      • Ah dang it. I’m wrong.

        This was another leaked and supposed comment by Trump. I’m not sure how true it his that he actually said this. I saw the report ON twitter. The President didn’t tweet this.

        But if he openly declares this, it absolutely dangerous and “candor” doesn’t fix it. What does America become once it *openly* declares it doesn’t care about debt spending (which vicariously means we don’t plan on ever paying it back?)

        Hint: It looks a lot like a system that promises the government can make anything happen for free.

        That should scare us all.

  7. 2: I really think the outrage and furies attacking has made many apologize far too often. And yeah, pairing a hot photo with bragging about virginity is a terrible conflict of concepts. Attractive does not always have to mean nearly naked, and if you truly were proud of virginity, why insist on so much skin to try to erase the horrible ‘V’ word from the discussion? I trust walk the walk over talk the talk, so that verbal boasting meant very little compared to a sexy pose.

    It would be very easy to find another ten starlets who have made similar statements with similar cheesecake posters, so Ms. Portman’s observation holds some truth. Too bad it has become too politically incorrect to have even mild opinions that admit that these ‘mixed messages’ are counter productive.

  8. Michael R.

    Well. the FBI is exempt from the whistleblower protection act. They are allowed to retaliate against FBI personnel who report FBI wrongdoing. Maybe they think this allows hem to retaliate against ALL whistleblowers?

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