Friday Ethics Catch-Up, 10/18/2009: Hillary Snaps, And More Evidence That Everything Is Spinning Madly Out Of Control

I am totally fried, and wondering if it is responsible to post in this condition. But ethics waits for no man…

1. Last chance to see my presentation at the Smithsonian, “Courtroom Drama:The Art of Cross-Examination.” Details here. There will be a lot of ethics discussed, as you would expect, plus some Clarence Darrow, Atticus Finch, F.Lee Bailey, Perry Mason, Cousin Vinny, and “You can’t handle the truth!,” among other highlights. I’m doing the two-hour program with my younger sister Edith, who, unlike me, has actually done cross examinations.

2. Whoa! Tell me again what an honorable, trustworthy woman Hillary Clinton is. Here’s Hillary, actually calling Jill Stein and Rep. Tulsi Gabbard, the lone moderate in the Democratic Presidential nomination race—well, the lone moderate who doesn’t habitually grope women—“Russian assets” in a podcast:

And brava to Gabbard, who didn’t mince words on Twitter in her response to the smear:

Fascinating! And one more example of how Donald Trump has changed the culture. I can’t recall any politician responding to an attack that forcefully before Trump made “Tit for tat” is trademark.

I was talking about Pete Best yesterday, the dumped Beatles drummer who despite career reversals that would drive most people insane, appears to be a devoid of anger and bitterness. Then there’s Hillary Clinton…

3.  In a criminal law context, this would be attempted suborning of perjury. From the Washington Examiner:

In a secret interview, Rep. Adam Schiff, leader of the House Democratic effort to impeach President Trump, pressed former United States special representative to Ukraine Kurt Volker to testify that Ukrainian officials felt pressured to investigate former Vice President Joe Biden’s son Hunter as a result of Trump withholding U.S. military aid to Ukraine. Volker denied that was the case, noting that Ukrainian leaders did not even know the aid was being withheld and that they believed their relationship with the U.S. was moving along satisfactorily, without them having done anything Trump mentioned in his notorious July 25 phone conversation with Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky. When Volker repeatedly declined to agree to Schiff’s characterization of events, Schiff said, “Ambassador, you’re making this much more complicated than it has to be.”

4. Speaking of Hillary and all those scandals that Barack Obama’s administration never had...From the Daily Caller (I’d use a mainstream media, left-leaning news source, but oddly, none of them seem to be reporting this story):

State Department investigators probing Hillary Clinton’s use of a private email server as secretary of state discovered nearly 600 security incidents that violated agency policy, according to a report the Daily Caller News Foundation obtained. The investigation, conducted by the State Department’s Bureau of Diplomatic Security, found 38 individuals were culpable for 91 security violations. Another 497 violations were found, but no individuals were found culpable in those incidents. The investigation concluded Sept. 6, and the report was issued Sept. 13. The investigation sought to determine if the exchange of emails on Clinton’s server “represented failure to properly safeguard classified information” and whether any individuals at State were culpable for any of the failures.

Surprise! It did. Clinton, of course, denied that there were any security beaches. More:

Investigators determined personal email use to conduct official State Department business “represented an increased risk of unauthorized disclosure.” Clinton’s use of the private server “added an increased degree of risk of compromise as a private system lacks the network monitoring and intrusion detection capabilities of State Department networks,” the report stated. Investigators said there was “no persuasive evidence” of “systemic, deliberate mishandling of classified information.”

One reason that investigators were unable to assign culpability in the 497 incidents was because of the duration of the investigation. Many of the subjects of the probe, including Clinton and her circle of aides, had left the State Department by the time the investigation began.

5. Thoughts on the Project Veritas CNN sting. You did see this, right?

  • I don’t see what James O’Keefe’s unethical faux journalism methods add to public understanding or recognition of media bias. He found some low-level employees to say on camera what anyone who watches CNN knows, and what the network hardly tries to hide.
  • By over-hyping his hidden camera “expose,” he makes it more difficult to prove to the deceived and naive among the public who trust the media arm of the Democratic Party that there is a legitimate problem. By covering his stunts, conservative outlets like Fox News just undermine their own credibility.
  • And now for something REALLY stupid: From the Hill:

An attorney representing President Trump‘s reelection campaign sent a letter to CNN on Friday threatening to sue the network over purported allegations of bias against the president. Trump attorney Charles Harder wrote to CNN President Jeff Zucker warning that the Trump campaign intends to seek damages from the network based on secretly recorded videos posted in recent days by the right-wing group Project Veritas.

“Never in the history of this country has a President been the subject of such a sustained barrage of unfair, unfounded, unethical and unlawful attacks by so-called ‘mainstream’ news, as the current situation,” Harder wrote.

How embarrassing. There’s nothing actionable about bias. Who okayed this moronic letter?

This is the scary thing: the Democrats’ coup might succeed because the Trump campaign and the White House lack competent legal advisors and sufficient numbers of staff with the common sense of your average reptile.

27 thoughts on “Friday Ethics Catch-Up, 10/18/2009: Hillary Snaps, And More Evidence That Everything Is Spinning Madly Out Of Control

  1. 4. I’ve only seen this reported by a Fox News article. And we all know that, if only conservative news sources report it, it didn’t really happen.

  2. 2. Shouldn’t this end Hillary’s ever being able to appear as a public figure ever again? Who would ever want to hear anything she has to say?

      • Chelsea? Hah!

        I find it interesting that Bill is absolutely nowhere to be seen these days. I think he’s retired and Hillary is flying solo and, unfettered, she’s made an absolute mess of things. Can you imagine what her presidency would have been like? Maybe Bill would have kept her under control but maybe not. I wonder if Bill’s in some sort of decline.

        • Bill is in the same hot seat as Hunter Biden. He has clearly run afoul of acceptable behavior, but cannot be held publicly accountable due to it damaging the liberal cause.

  3. A NYTimes article (Oct. 12, 2019):

    What, Exactly, Is Tulsi Gabbard Up To?

    As she injects chaos into the 2020 Democratic primary by accusing her own party of “rigging” the election, an array of alt-right internet stars, white nationalists and Russians have praised her.

    WASHINGTON — Stephen K. Bannon, President Trump’s former chief strategist, is impressed with her political talent. Richard B. Spencer, the white nationalist leader, says he could vote for her. Former Representative Ron Paul praises her “libertarian instincts,” while Franklin Graham, the influential evangelist, finds her “refreshing.”

    And far-right conspiracy theorists like Mike Cernovich see a certain MAGA sais quoi.

    “She’s got a good energy, a good vibe. You feel like this is just a serious person,” Mr. Cernovich said. “She seems very Trumpian.”

    I do not know when HRC made her comment though it seems it was well after this NYTs article. It is interesting to note the way that these smears function.

    Note that when our own belovèd Chris was here that he showed himself an expert at using this tactic: if you do not like the ideas someone has, associate them with a known and hated figure, and then to ask people, more or less: How can you not condemn this person who is associated with one that you certainly hate?

    Surely if Bannon says he admires Gabbard, and because Bannon has been identified as *bad*, that must mean that Gabbard is of the same category. If Richard Spencer likes her that is 10 times worse. Note as well the reference to the opinion of an Evangelical Christian leader.

    And of course the association of white nationalists and Russians.

    It occurs to me that HRC is not inventing her own material regarding Gabbard, but is repeating the framing that has been established.

    [But the interesting thing about Gabbard is the way she talks. The way she enunciates her words and the way her thoughts are ordered. Seeing her, you get the sense that you are dealing with (at least) an authentic person with a sincere attitude and a clear mind. Also interesting is that she is advocating what was at one time a commendable populist position: not to get enmeshed in foreign wars. There is so much money and so many industries that have a stake in the ridiculous and destructive wars of the last 20 years (and more). At the very least she knows, first hand, what this is about and opposes it. And for that alone (I assume) she will have to be destroyed.

  4. Gabbard got her some stones; HRC got her some organic cerebral dysfunction.

    I’d recommend she avoid flying in private aircraft, bench-press benches, stepping in front of speeding bullets, and, you know, like, getting caught in the middle of…um…random robberies.

    Increasing her life insurance wouldn’t be out of the question. Heck, load up on Accidental Death coverage; it’s cheaper than tap water in WESconsin.

        • The Adventures of Rocky and Bullwinkle and Friends CHARACTERS? Waaaaay ahead of their time!

          Ahead of mine, too; I was between 4-n-9 when it aired originally.

          Boris Badenov? A cross between Jon Polito and Danny DeVito.

          Natasha Fatale? That LBD (little black dress), stiletto heels, sinister sneer, and flawless coif?

          Oh yeah!

          • Wasn’t it Natasha Nogoodnik? “Darlink.”

            “Thay Rock, there seems to be skullduggery afoot.”

            A really tremendous cartoon show from the era when cartoonists treated their audiences as adults who could “get it,” regardless of their age. Where I first learned of puns: “Out of Gas in Moscow,” or, “Fuels Rush In.” And don’t forget Sherman and Peabody. Or “Fractured Fairy Tales.”

  5. 4.
    Under the watchful eye of Holder the administration facilitated arms sales to Mexican cartels, wiretapped reporters and their families, targeted opposition groups using the IRS, and under Lynch initiated an investigation of a competing presidential candidate using known questionable intelligence to obtain warrants.

    No, no scandal here because a scandal is only a scandal if it is publicized. So let’s just call it abuse of office activities.

  6. “It occurs to me that HRC is not inventing her own material regarding Gabbard, but is repeating the framing that has been established.”

    It’s a classic Clinton push me/pull you to be running with a smear that they planted in the first place. That pretty much describes the Trump-Russia smear.

    It is very odd that Gabbard, at 2% support, is where Hillary has showed herself.

    • As I say at times: there is the *surface* and then there is what lies under the surface. I realize that in America the notion of ‘Russia’ has many different inflections. I was researching the Boris & Natasha cartoon that Paul posted, above, and it is connected to an American cartoon The Rocky & Bullwinkle Show.

      There, you see the imago of the Dastardly Russians as nefarious characters who cynically undermine America as Righteous Nation. Yet Communism really was and I think really is a dangerous ideology. Bertrand Russell, I once read (I do not know if it is true) was said to have advocated atom-bombing Moscow because he recognized what a destructive power communist indoctrination is. It spreads like a contagion. So, there is an aspect of the fear of Russia that is real.

      But what is odd, and this part I cannot figure out, is that the Soviet Union with its communist infiltration does not exist anymore. Russia is no longer communist. So, how exactly is Russia an enemy? It is said to have an economy the size of Italy’s so it cannot be very powerful. I don’t get what the threat of it is.

      Interestingly though, and when one goes below *surface*, there is a certain communication between some political theory that was developed by Russian intellectuals — and one notable one Alexander Dugin — which have been of interest to some figures who have now been branded and slandered as *untouchables* such as Alain de Benoist and Tomislav Sunić. These are theorists who back in the 1960s were opposed to Europe’s revolutionary liberalism and felt that it had to be opposed intellectually. For example de Benoist created GRECE which is a source for substantial counter-liberal ideas. Because de Benoist sees America in a somewhat critical light, it follows that he would be condemned by all Americans who tend not to take any criticism positively. In fact they can hardly hear it at all especially if it is rational, intellectual critique. There is the exception when internal factions fight over their definition of America (for example between Democrats and Republicans). But largely it is hard for Americans to entertain ideas that deal with criticism, perhaps because America had always seen itself as God’s own manifestation into the Darkened World.

      A significant problem — I assume this issue will tear America apart and relatively quickly — is that *America* is in a substantial crisis-of-identity. What is it? Who *owns* it? Who will direct its destiny? What is its role now in the world?

      When the term ‘Alt-Right’ was grabbed and put into service by HRC she did so in substantial ignorance. And nearly everyone who became familiar with the term Alt-Right had the term framed for them by distorting media. The *real* (if you will permit me to say) Alt-Right is a group of critical ideas, mostly European in origin, which arose in opposition to both Communist totalitarianism and also in opposition to American Hyper-Liberal Mercantilism. Tomislav Sunić and also Guillaume Faye have written about America as an ‘adversary’ (but not as an enemy). Briefly, the Americanization of Europe was not welcome because, as in America, it flattens and reduces everything that it encounters. Thus: here you have a reference to a critique of America which is nearly impossible for any American to *hear*. Certainly those who write here: Jack, Steve and a dozen others.

      But what I want to point out is that the Alt-Right and the European Dissident Right has had an influence on the thinking of some Americans. I could mention Greg Johnson and also Richard Spencer (who is far more interesting intellectually than his cartoon-like image can allow). But there are theorists in Russia, notably Alexander Dugin, whose ideas about the crisis of both Marxism and Liberalism which is playing out right in front of us all, led to his development of The Fourth Political Theory.

      I suspect that the trope *Russia* and the notion of Russian Influence on America is America’s projection of its fear that America is in deep crisis, does not understand what is happening to it, and can hardly think about itself because it always and only approaches itself through patriotic and *permitted* forms and descriptions. America does not know itself. I say this sincerely. My idea is that it can hardly *see itself* and for this reason is having a very difficult defining itself. What I have learned here, on this blog, has been that there is a sort of Old Definition (the patriotic one) that people are trying, desperately, to cling to, but that the ground under their feet has substantially shifted. If the Republicans have a ‘definition’ it is a business-oriented and militaristic vision (the neo-imperial America, that is America that has a financial empire, not the Democratic America that it once was), and the Democrats struggle to define a socialistic Multi-Cultural America which, for them, is and can only be a sort of overturning of the old order.

      In any case: Dugin’s Fourth Political Theory is quite interesting and he is definitely having an effect both in Europe and to a lesser degree in America.

      Millerman is a Canadian academic, quite lucid, who has devoted a good deal of time to analysis of Dugin’s ideas. Millerman had quite a time of it within Canadian academe due to its ultra-liberalism. Any of the political theories that oppose that sort of Hyper-Liberalism are of course associated with fascism and evil. Here is a quite interesting talk on Dugin and his FPT. The point is that underneath the blind fear of *Russia* is, once again, a fear about ideas.

      • There’s not a blind fear of Russia. It’s a fear of a nationalist Russia, as opposed to a socialist (internationalist) Russia. Leftist America has bitten hard on Russian conspiracy theories because much of their own ideology originated in Soviet disinformation, which taught them that the Soviet Union had all the right ideas, and all they had to do was tweak them a little to establish a Paradise.

        • Now that is a very interesting observation. It puts a different spin on Russia-hysteria. The Left or these Democrats — or the Media systems possibly in collusion with (so-called) ‘deep-state intelligence’, are projecting something about themselves into this ‘Russia collusion’ and the Russia-terror.

          That is an interesting key to understanding what does not, on the face, seem very logical.

          I just ordered a Russian cookbook to see if I can get myself more in the spirit of things! [I might even have to change my name here to ‘Natasha’.]

          RUSSIAN COOKING : Foods of the World: Russian Cooking represents the best and most characteristic dishes of: Great Russia; the Baltic Republics of Estonia, Latvia, and Lithuania; the Ukraine; Armenia and Georgia in the Caucasus; and the four states of Central Asia together with neighbouring Kazakhstan. Beautifully illustrated throughout. Appendix includes Glossary, Foreign and English Recipe Index and General Index. The metal spiral bound soft cover recipe book has been designed for use in the kitchen. It contains all of the 49 recipes printed in the hard cover volume plus 54 more.

  7. 4. Today’s unbiased story from NBC, headlined “AG Barr expands mysterious review into origin of Russia investigation”:

    A review launched by Attorney General William Barr into the origins of the Russia investigation has expanded significantly amid concerns about whether the probe has any legal or factual basis, multiple current and former officials told NBC News.

    The article goes on to explain that unimpeachable source John Brennan says that the investigation is “bizarre” and other CIA and FBI officials who are being investigated say all of the theories that Barr could possibly be investigating are of Russian origin and have been totally “discredited” and “debunked” by the CIA, the FBI and the New York Times.

    • So the theory that the CIA and FBI were engaged in skullduggery has been “debunked” by…the CIA and FBI, so there’s nothing to see here? Yeah, that seems legit.

  8. Flip side; the last thing I’d want to do is defend them, but as despicable as (IMO) the Clintons are, they STILL have LOW-LIFE friends in high places.

    And as conniving and calculating as she is, it’s hard to believe that HRC would float something of that magnitude without any justification whatsoever; it’d be so Un-Clintonista-like.

    • Au contraire, mon frere. She has friends in high places who can make up all sorts of narratives and put them out in the media. If she really expects reasonable people to believe those narratives, she’s gone around the bend. She’s gone around the bend. Her next act will be the mad scene from “Lucia di Lammermoor.”

  9. There’s an update on 2.

    Media sites are now reporting that Mrs. Clinton meant Republicans, not Russians. Even though that’s not what she said.

    My favorite part of the article:
    “It was unclear Wednesday night how so many news reports misunderstood Clinton’s quote, or why it took so long to clarify the remarks.”

    Maybe because they didn’t misunderstand it? Is this just damage control?

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