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

Ethics Update: The Frontrunners

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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

Unethical Quote Of The Month: Hillary Clinton (And By The Way, KABOOM!)

head exploding

“I was surprised that he used personal email account if he is at State.”

Hillary Clinton, responding to a 2011 e-mail sent by senior aides  about a dispatch from John Godfrey, a State Department employee.

This wasn’t the most explosive of the Clinton e-mails revealed today by the court-ordered State Department release, but it’s the one that made my head explode. How long did Hillary claim that her using a private e-mail sever for official communications was “permitted,” that she did nothing wrong, that no State Department procedures or policies dictated otherwise, four years after she expressed surprise at the irregularity of Godfrey’s conduct? Hillary wasn’t just careless or clueless—she knew all along that using a personal e-mail account was wrong and risky. Why else would she be “surprised”? Who is surprised at employees doing what is allowed and appropriate? Continue reading

Update On Hillary’s Stupid E-Mails: She Lied, Of Course.

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Once Bernie Sanders, Hillary Clinton’s fake competition for the Democratic nomination, declared twice during televised debates that since the public was “sick of hearing” about Clinton’s stupid e-mails, most of the news media decided that it had permission to stop covering the issue. That serves the public interest badly, of course, since the public has a right to know whether a woman presuming to become President of the United States either 1) lied in to  face of the public by stating outright that she never sent or received classified material on her illicit private e-mail server, 2) was unable to recognize what was obviously classified material, thus placing it at risk on an unsecured server, and/or 3) has the technological acumen of an Irish Setter. An old Irish Setter.

More than 1,200 emails from Hillary Clinton’s private server during her time at State have now been deemed classified, after the agency publicly released its eighth batch of the messages late Thursday.

On New Years Eve, the State Department released roughly 5,500 more containing more than  1,200 e-mails culled from the private account that Clinton exclusively used while Secretary of State. New Years Eve, when as few people would notice as possible. This kind of stunt has become expected from that most transparent of all administrations, as it routinely tries to bury bad news. There was bad news too: Continue reading

Ten Ethics Observations On The Democratic Candidates Debate

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1. It was rigged, and rigged to boost Hillary. Anyone who believes that she just happened to end up dead center—you know, like Trump ended up dead center in the first GOP debate?—by luck of the draw will believe anything. There was Clinton, a lone woman surrounded by men, next to Sanders, the only man in the group that would make her appear young by comparison, with the two candidate, Sanders and O’Malley, who have refused to criticize her directly positioned as her wing men, and the one candidate, Jim Webb, most likely to draw blood as far away from Clinton as possible. (She never addressed him once during the debate.) I don’t know if the placement was the work of the DNC, which would be my guess, but it was blatant and unfair.

2. The debate didn’t actually start for almost a half hour after its scheduled time. Anderson Cooper was talking as fast as an auctioneer, and always trying to cut off candidates in their comments. That extra time would have helped. Speaking of delays and padding, why the Star Spangled Banner? This wasn’t a ball game.

3. Apparently CNN imported the audience from Bill Maher’s HBO show. The frenzied screaming, primarily for Clinton and Sanders and anytime anyone mentioned free stuff, bashed Republicans or gave tacit, coded approval of open borders, was juvenile and made the event feel like a partisan rally…. Continue reading

Democratic Candidate Debate Integrity Watch: Will Anderson Cooper Make Hillary Defend Her Unethical Private E-Mail? Will Her Opposition?

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The Democratic Party is in the process of ridiculing democracy at work on the other side of the aisle, as it seems to be emulating the Communist Party, USSR style. Its pre-anointed nominee for President, Hillary Clinton, is being exposed—exposing herself, really—as a liar, as incompetent, as a terrible campaigner and as possessing no core values (but she’s a fighter!), and yet her alleged rivals refuse to call her to account on the issue that has revealed so many of her deficits, the private e-mail server. The party is limiting debates to protect her from the public realization that she’s a dud, and Democratic talking points keep surfacing to confuse and distract regarding the e-mail issue. The story was broken by the New York Times, the lies were authored by the Clinton campaign team, and the irregularity was sufficient to spark an ongoing FBI investigation, yet everyone from Clinton’s surrogates, loyal pundit supporters and the candidate herself—and her Deceit Sensei husband—continue to represent the matter as a GOP concoction.

The evidence is strong that CNN, which hosts tonight’s debate, is in on the fix. Here’s an exchange from last week between CNN’s Ashleigh Banfield and Democratic strategist, a.k.a Hillary Clinton strategist, Robert Zimmerman:

BANFIELD: But you’ve got to – you’ve got to admit, Robert, that the Republicans are delivering any script that – that Bernie Sanders may need to go after [Hillary] Clinton. What’s her ammo against Bernie Sanders?

ROBERT ZIMMERMAN, DEMOCRATIC STRATEGIST: Look, here’s the deal: any Democrat who resorts to reciting Republican talking points is going to hurt themselves amongst the grassroots-

BANFIELD: So you’re saying you don’t think he’s ever going to touch the e-mail scandal – or, it’s not even a scandal-It’s really a controversy. But ‘scandal’ is the Republicans’ word for it-

ZIMMERMAN: Yeah-

BANFIELD: So far, no one has determined there’s any scandal there.

ZIMMERMAN: Of course not! And I think Senator Sanders is too fine a person to engage in reciting Republican talking points like that. But there will be debates around issues; debates around policy; and it’s going to be pretty exciting. This is going to be an historic debate, because CNN’s present – really, bringing the Democrats to the nation for the first time.

Some notes on this disgraceful example of a journalist behaving as a partisan flack:

Continue reading

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

fireworksWOW!

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

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

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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

Tales of The Corrupted: David Ignatius’s Hillary E-mail Scandal Whitewash

This is how the world ends. The ethical world, anyway...

This is how the world ends. The ethical world, anyway…

I am charting the Clinton Corruption of the Democratic Party and how it spreads to other populations, like progressives, feminists, journalists and voters. I fear that a map of the projected progress will look like one of those scary plague or zombie computer progressions in scenes from movies like “Outbreak,” showing the entire nation turning blood red over a series of progressions beginning with a single carrier in Montana or someplace. “We have 72 hours, gentlemen, until the whole nation is infected!”

Still, there is hope. Last week I was struck by the sad cast of Clinton surrogates that her campaign trotted out to argue that it is ridiculous for anyone to think that a Secretary of State should be expected to follow her own department’s best practices, take proper steps to protect sensitive communications or tell the truth. The most raving was Howard Dean, who essentially adopted the Big Lie approach employed by James Carville. “Look,” Dean told “Meet the Press” host Chuck Todd last week, “this is, in fact, manufactured partly by a press that’s bored and partly by the Republicans….She can’t be blamed for this. So I look at this as the usual press frenzy, the pack journalism, and I think it’ll go away, because there’s no sense to it.” Dean should have also mentioned the bored FBI, the bored judges, and the hundreds of bored lawyers I have discussed the issue with in ethics seminars. If there is one of the latter group who agrees with Dean (who isn’t being paid by the Clintons), he or she hasn’t had the guts to say so out loud. Then Hillary sent a sacrificial lamb to Fox News, a poor ex-Bill Clinton State official named Ellen Tauscher who looked terrified…

Tauscher

….spoke in a shaky voice,  stumbled and stuttered and made no sense at all, teeing up junk like this…

TAUSCHER: Look, Secretary Clinton has former foreign service officers, civil servants. I did as undersecretary too, that make sure all of this information is protected. It is physically impossible to move things from the classified system to the unclassified system. We are only talking about the classified system, unclassified system. Everything on the classified system is where it belongs and there is no question about that. The Federal Records Act makes very clear that the person that transmits the information is responsible for the classified — classification of the information. And is it possible that Secretary Clinton was passed something by somebody and somebody and somebody? Yes. That would have been true if it had been on the state dot-gov e-mail system. But I mean, I think that we all understand that Hillary Clinton is held to a different standard. But let’s get it straight. Let’s be lawful and let’s be smart about this. We’re talking about unclassified e-mails. We’re not talking about classified e-mails, we’re talking about unclassified e-mails and they are clearly subject to what people interpret…. And there are differences between the State Department and the intelligence community right now.

As Olsen Johnson said in response to Gabby Johnson’s “authentic frontier gibberish” in “Blazing Saddles,” “Now who can argue with that?”

My impression was that no articulate, honest, credible Democrat was willing to defend Clinton, hence the campaign’s reliance desperate resume peddling hacks like Tauscher and principle-free madmen like Dean and Carville.

This week, it was more of the same. On “This Week With Martha Raddatz Pretending To Be George Stephanopoulos,” Hillary’s designated liar was a state senator I had never heard of who refused to answer Raddatz’s questions. My favorite exchange: Raddatz asked her about polls showing that a majority of the public believes that Hillary lies and isn’t trustworthy, and whether this wasn’t a serious concern for the campaign?

“Well, I certainly don’t feel that way!” the surrogate answered, with that frozen smile these people get when they have to stick to talking points and admit nothing.

Still, the Clinton Corruption Contagion (CCC) is spreading to the thoughtful and credible. The venerable Cokie Roberts, on the ABC roundtable today, has embraced the deceptive and misleading media spin that the only issue is whether the e-mail revelations ultimately costs Clinton significant support. No, that’s not the issue at all, at least not the one the news media should be concerned with. The issue is what Clinton did and what she said, and whether being incompetent, conflicted, reckless with sensitive communications and lying about it repeatedly, plus destroying evidence, disqualifies a former Secretary of State from being considered as a legitimate Presidential contender. Cokie Roberts’ analysis has now deteriorated into “Will Hillary’s lies and blame-shifting work?”

Hearing her talk like that is like watching Dana Wynter open her cold, inhuman eyes post-podding in “Invasion of the Body-Snatchers.”

Then there is David Ignatius, one of the Washington Post’s more trustworthy pundits, who authored an op-ed some CCC infected staffer headlined “The Hillary Clinton e-mail ‘scandal’ that isn’t.” Continue reading

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