Hillary Clinton and the E-mails: A Case Study In Ethics Corruption

corrupted

I’ve been meaning to write this post for a couple of days now, but haven’t had the heart. Frankly, I am really sick of having to make the same point about the Clintons over and over again—they never learn, and will never change—knowing that so many people will just immediately turn off their brains and run for the rationalizations dispensary any time dishonesty, hypocrisy, deceit or misconduct by one of them is uncovered.

This happens, you see, because the Clinton are perhaps the most prominent among a particular harmful species of individual in our culture, the ethics corrupter. Ethics corrupters are popular, powerful, successful and famous people who, because they are popular, powerful, successful and famous, many citizens conclude that they must also be good and wise, and therefor trustworthy. Since they are (many believe) good and wise, what they choose to do must also be good, and when they are accused of doing wrong, even when the evidence is unavoidable that they have done wrong, there can be only two explanations to those vulnerable to correuption. The first is that the evidence, no matter how strong, cannot be believed, and those wielding it are in fact enemies of right, good, honesty and fairness. The second is that if these good and wise people did it, then what they did cannot be wrong, or can be justified, usually by “the ends justify the means.”

Thus by gaining the trust and admiration of good people, usually through clever use of dishonesty, deception and manipulation, ethics corrupters set their admirers and supporters up to have their own values weakened or destroyed. Richard Nixon caused honest people to defend the covering up of crimes. Charlie Rangel caused people with integrity to support accepting bribes. Bill Clinton made feminists excuse exactly the kind of sexual harassment they persuaded Clinton to sign a law prohibiting, and inspired lawyers to excuse perjury because “everybody lies about sex.” Lance Armstrong made parents who once taught their children not to cheat to defend cheating, because he had a foundation with a noble cause. Brian Williams and Bill O’Reilly made TV viewers excuse lying by journalists.

Ethics corrupters make their supporters worse parents, friends, employees, employers and human beings; in turn, those corrupted supporters make society less ethical and more cynical as well. These are genuine cultural polluters; indeed, they are cultural pollution.

Hillary Clinton is an ethics corrupter, and the response to the revelations of her use of exclusively personal e-mails proves it beyond the shadow of a doubt.

There is no benign interpretation of her conduct regarding her State Department e-mails. It was not a mistake; one cannot claim that it was accidental. Since it was intentional, there must have been a purpose, and the only conceivable purposes are unethical ones. According to the 2009 National Archives and Records Administration regulations in effect when Clinton took office, “Agencies that allow employees to send and receive official electronic mail messages using a system not operated by the agency must ensure that Federal records sent or received on such systems are preserved in the appropriate agency recordkeeping system.”  With a private e-mail account and only using that for official correspondence, Clinton did not have a system that ensured such preservation. She, not the system, determined what would be preserved. Anything not preserved or left on her private account would not be subject to the Freedom of Information Act. Is there any explanation for having a private account only, an justification that is simultaneously responsible, plausible and does not suggest that Clinton wanted to control which of her communications could come before the public and the press?

No.
Continue reading

Let’s Be Clear: President Clinton’s Conduct Was WORSE Than Anthony Weiner’s

This won’t make some people happy, but it is true.

Who's more unethical? It's no contest.

Who’s more unethical? It’s no contest.

I always feel like Michael Corleone at times like these: just when I think I am finally through with having to point out the miserable ethics record of Bill Clinton, he (or his shameless supporters) puuuull me back …

The New York Post is reporting that…

“Bill and Hillary Clinton are angry with efforts by mayoral hopeful Anthony Weiner and his campaign to compare his Internet sexcapades — and his wife Huma Abedin’s incredible forgiveness — to the Clintons’ notorious White House saga…’The Clintons are upset with the comparisons that the Weiners seem to be encouraging — that Huma is ‘standing by her man’ the way Hillary did with Bill, which is not what she in fact did,’ said a top state Democrat…’The Clintons are pissed off that Weiner’s campaign is saying that Huma is just like Hillary,’’ said the source. “How dare they compare Huma with Hillary? Hillary was the first lady. Hillary was a senator. She was secretary of state.'”

My reaction to this?

Good!

Karma’s a bitch. Continue reading

“It’s A Cook Book!”

Nobody listens to me...

Nobody listens to me…

The issues at the core of the Anthony Weiner debacle—which is not the conduct of the ex-Congressman/absurd NYC mayoral candidate/sick puppy, but the fact that so many, like Dan Savage, Huma Abedin (Weiner’s wife, Hillary’s apprentice, carrier of the Clintonian ethisc virus),  Andrew Sullivan, and apparently 16% of New York Democrats still argue that his conduct doesn’t disqualify him from elected office—-are ones which I am especially passionate about, because they are the very issues that launched this blog’s predecessor, the Ethics Scoreboard:

1. There is no division between private unethical conduct and public unethical conduct. It is a false construct designed to assist scoundrels in getting elected. Private conduct is as reliable an indicator of trustworthiness as other prior conduct.

2. Leaders in a democracy should be held to an exemplary level of conduct, not the average or common conduct of those they seek to lead.

3. Some instances of unethical conduct have “signature significance“for the individual involved, meaning that contrary to the common rationalization that “anyone can make a mistake,” there are some things that ethical people never would do even once, and thus the fact that an individual does do it is persuasive evidence that they are generally untrustworthy.

Thus I believe Weiner’s story is more important than the mere sordid political drama involved: if people pay attention, if people learn, if people can get by their partisan biases and convenient ethics misconceptions, maybe we can begin establishing a better, more sensible, beneficial standard for our elected leaders, who, perhaps you have noticed, are, as a group, an embarrassment to the legacy of July 4, 1776. I don’t have illusions that I have any influence, and it is unseemly to say “I told you so,” but sometimes I feel like one of the doomed heroes in science fiction/horror scenarios who end up screaming “They’re already here! You’re next!” or “It’s a cook book!” to unheeding crowds blithely proceeding to their own destruction.

Yesterday the news surfaced that should be the smoking gun on Anthony Weiner’s corrupt character that readers of this blog, at least, did not require to render a verdict—that Weiner’s conduct was not just an irrelevant personal quirk, that his initial lying about it was proof of a corrupt character, and that he is no more trustworthy than John Edwards, Lance Armstrong, Ryan Braun or anyone else who lies to the public to keep its trust. Maybe it will convince Dan, Huma, Andrew and the rest that Anthony Weiner is too corrupt—never mind sick—to lead. If it doesn’t, I think that is signature significance about them. Continue reading

Profiles In Expediency: Former San Diego Assemblywoman Lori Saldaña

"You knew!"

“You knew!”

If you have been wondering, as I have, how it could have been possible for his party and colleagues to nominate hands-on San Diego Mayor Bob Filner, serial sexual harasser, predator, and master of “the Filner Headlock,” without knowing of his ongoing War on Women (karma’s a bitch, Democrats!), so have I, and so have a lot of San Diegans. Sure enough, it turns out that indeed the party did have advance notice that Filner had a problem (though not as big a problem as any female staffer who came within his reach), but inflicted him on San Diego anyway.

So says former Democratic assemblywoman Lori Saldaña, who told the media that in the summer of 2011 six San Diego women prominent in local politics, business and education alerted her that Filner had physically or verbally harassed them.  Saldaña said she duly warned former party Chairman Jess Durfee about the evidence and Durfee was among a group of Democratic leaders who met with Filner to discuss the issue that summer. Nothing happened. Filner was nominated and elected, and the rest is history, headlocks, fanny pats, gropes, stolen kisses and mayoral solicitations of sex from subordinates and colleagues.

San Diego is such a friendly city.

“As disgraceful as Bob’s behavior has been, it’s been tolerated by our Democratic Party leadership,” Saldaña scolded. Continue reading

Ethics Dunce: Huma Abedin, a.k.a Mrs. Anthony Weiner

"Carlos Danger," running for an office that won't have anything to do with him if he wins it. Where is Monty Python when we need them?

“Carlos Danger,” running for an office that won’t have anything to do with him if he wins it, he tells us. Where is Monty Python when we need them?

There are periodic moments when I feel I am wasting my life. A recent one occurred when I heard Huma Abedin, the humiliated wife of New York mayoral candidate and serial penis-texter Anthony Weiner, or, as his friend call him when he’s showing his junk, “Carlos Danger,” say that his pathological and gross conduct, bolstered by public lies, deceit and posturing, isn’t a legitimate concern for voters, and that it is just “between us, and our marriage.”

As Stephen King would put it, a muffled scream builds to inevitability deep in my chest. Continue reading

Ethics Hero: Sen. John McCain

It’s good to have the old maverick doing what he does best.

“Bachmann!”

Rep. Michele Bachmann, Minnesota’s shame, used her oxymoronic presence on the House Intelligence Committee to argue in a June letter to the State Department and a letter this week to fellow Minnesota Representative Keith Ellison, that  Huma Abedin, the top aide of Secretary of State Hillary Clinton, may be a security risk  because Abedin’s late father, mother, and brother had or have connections to the Muslim Brotherhood.  Abedin’s position, Bachmann suggested  ominously, ‘‘affords her routine access to the secretary and policy-making.’’ Her letter to Ellison was signed by  five other Republicans: Reps. Trent Franks of Arizona, Louie Gohmert of Texas, Thomas Rooney of Florida and Lynn Westmoreland of Georgia.

Sen McCain angrily took to the Senate floor to call this example of ethnic profiling and Muslim bigotry what it is: Continue reading