The “Lying Hillary” Smoking Gun Video

I know it’s viral now, and perhaps not news. Indeed, the fact that Hillary Clinton is one of the most prolific, shameless, media-enabled and successful serial liars in United States political history is certainly not news, and is undeniable by anyone not yet corrupted by her scorched earth march to power. Nonetheless, this is an ethics blog, and one that has devoted an extensive effort, much criticized as obsessive, to document why the words “ethical” and “Hillary Clinton” must never be used in close proximity to each other. I have to post this.

Does it prove she is spectacularly untrustworthy? Of course it does. Does it prove she is unfit to be President? Yes, except in the horrible hypothetical circumstance that someone even more unfit is running against her, such as, oh, let’s pick someone that no sane and patriotic American would ever consider as a potential President, like Jessica Simps…no, worse, like Alec Baldwi…no, still not bad enough. Okay, let’s say..I know, I know, it’s ridiculous, but…Donald Trump. (I almost said Justin Bieber.)

The stunning thing about the video is that it isn’t nearly complete. For example,  it does not include that dozens, indeed hundreds, maybe thousands, of  instances when Clinton employed deceit, the family specialty. Of course, if it did, the video would be 13 hours long. Days, maybe.

I do have some questions and observations for Hillary Clinton supporters in light of the above. Continue reading

The AWOL Walter Fauntroy, Flawed Black Martyrs And The Duty Of Outrage

Walter Fauntroy, D.C. icon, civil rights hero, fugitive, coward, crook...but still a hero. Somehow.

Walter Fauntroy, D.C. icon, civil rights hero, fugitive, coward, crook…but still a hero. Somehow.

As I was composing this post in my head, I stumbled upon—and I mean that, because I normally avoid her columns like cheap Chinese food—Kathleen Parker’s latest column. Parker is the sort-of conservative, sort-of op-ed pundit who has mastered the art of compassionate equivocation, meaning that her opinions on public affairs usually consist of one long sigh. She was at it again here, except that the topic she was sighing about confounds me, he who does not shrink from assigning blame, almost as much as it does she who usually spreads blame so evenly that its ethical impact is nil.

Parker wrote…

At the same time that people avoid too-sensitive subjects, they seem to fear stating the obvious lest their thoughts be interpreted as an act of betrayal to “the group.” Politicians are the most risk-averse of all. Few are the Democratic women who will find (or express) fault with Clinton. It is the rare African American who finds fault with Obama. When Rawlings-Blake also said that she “gave those who wished to destroy space to do that,” her Democratic colleagues spoke only of her “poor choice of words.” Not poor thinking? Not lousy leadership? Republicans don’t get a pass. Heaven forbid they should call out someone who wants to inject biblical end-times into political debate.”

Ah, how it makes my chest fill with pride that I have flagged all three of the ethical breaches Parker mentions within the few daysHillary Clinton’s brazenly suspicious conduct and the disgraceful refusal of her cheering section to either acknowledge or question it…Rawlings-Blake’s “lousy leadership”… and Republicans who use religiosity as a prop. Parker being Parker, she had earlier used an example of missing outrage that sets my teeth on edge because, while correct, it calls to mind another area of missing outrage and societally-damaging martyrdom that I can’t quite figure out how to talk about.

Where is the outrage beyond the African American community about police brutality and the deaths of young black males? Where are members of Congress other than those belonging to the black caucus? My God, the list of those killed is staggering,” she writes, “yet this is not a new phenomenon. Baltimore’s Freddie Gray, the 25-year-old who suffered spinal injuries while in police custody and died, is but the most recent. Yet you see only the usual black activists speaking up.”

True. The missing paragraph, however,  is this: “Where are the African-American activists asking why so many young black men are constantly in positions that place them in conflict with the police? When protesters chant the names and carry photos of police victims like Freddie Gray, Walter Scott, yes, and Mike Brown, they are presenting in honored terms African-Americans who weren’t credits to their communities or examples for the next generation to emulate. Indeed this ritual sanctifies lives and backgrounds that are part of the same urban pathology as the police attitudes that killed them.”

Freddie Gray was only 25-years-old, and yet he already had a staggering 18 previous arrests since he turned 18-years-old. His mother was a heroin addict; he had no father in his life. Why was someone like this even out of jail, in a position to become yet another victim of police anger and contempt against the endless wave of young, irresponsible, law-defying young men who undermine the vitality of their own communities and the nation?

The fact that Gray’s death was undeniably the greater outrage shouldn’t allow the outrage of lives like his to be ignored. Black crime and police dysfunction are part of the same pathology. If only the Bill O’Reillys are going to ask the hard questions about black communities policing their young and changing their deadly culture—and are they really hard for O’Reilly, whose audience is inclined to look for ways to side with the police even when they commit murder?—then those questions and their equally hard answers, involving, among other things, avoidance of responsibility and accountability, can be and will be largely ignored.

This is part of the loyalty to “the group” phenomenon that cripples the African-American community and warps its values. It is especially powerful when prominent leaders, those African-Americans who should be leading the way away from self-destructive conduct and who have the power, visibility, and credibility to do so, demonstrate an atrocious lack of ethics themselves. Where are the black voices—those not belonging to black women he sexually assaulted, that is—condemning Bill Cosby? Or Al Sharpton? Charles Rangel?

Washington, D.C.’s overwhelmingly black population was conditioned to accept black leadership outrages by the late Marion Barry. I was not quite aware of the extent of this cultural purging of the ability to hold prominent African-Americans to ethical standards until I read a jaw-dropping Washington Post feature about the wife of local civil rights legend Walter E. Fauntroy, who helped Martin Luther King plan the 1963 March on Washington, and who served as the District’s congressional delegate for two decades. The tone of the article is enough to make a reader think he or she is going mad. The loving 80-year-old wife, Dorothy Fauntroy, speaks about her husband in glowing terms that nothing in the article suggests is inappropriate. Continue reading

Accountability Check: No, Sarah Wasn’t “Sacrificed” And She Has Nobody To Blame But Herself

Yeah, that's all you need, Sarah...

Yeah, that’s all you need, Sarah…

When one woman who drives me crazy sets out to defend another one using ethics-crushing illogic, I cannot withhold my hand.

Or gorge.

The wimpiest pseudo-conservative op-ed columnsit who ever roamed the Earth, Kathleen Parker, has delivered a column titled “The Sacrifice of Sarah Palin.” Its thesis? “Blame for her general collapse beginning in 2008 can be placed in large part upon her own party, which used her and cast her aside.”

Well, Parker proves with her fatuous essay that blame can be placed on Republicans, but she doesn’t prove that it should be. Sarah’s reputation is on life support after delivering a speech at the Iowa Freedom Summit that included passages like these… Continue reading

Jonathan Gruber’s Obamacare Fraud Confession [UPDATE]: “Nothing To See Here…Move Along”

[Yes, I know I’ve had this video up twice already, but since the mainstream media is pretending that it either doesn’t exist or is the equivalent of one showing a cat getting its head stuck in a jelly jar—come to think of it, they would probably show that—I’m going to keep posting it, and asking you to send it far and wide, until every American with two objective brain cells to rum together can see it and consider what their elected leadership thinks of them.]

Give credit to the Washington Post: four days after a video surfaced in which Affordable Care Act architect Jonathan Gruber told an academic audience that the Affordable Care Act was intentionally written to hide the fact that it was a tax and that the process intentionally avoided transparency to deceive “stupid voters,” it is the only member in good standing of the Mainstream Media Obama Administration Promotion and Defense Club to mention Gruber’s revelations. Not in its print edition, mind you (well, not exactly: more on this in a bit), but online. That’s still an achievement, because as of my writing this, news sources referencing Gruber’s cheery admission that the Administration willfully lied to the American public include: Hot Air, Fox News, The Weekly Standard, The Huffington Post, Mediaite, Politico, The Boston Herald (Boston’s conservative alternative to the Globe), The Washington Times, Bangor News, Forbes, The Free Beacon, The Federalist, The Blaze, National Review, Bloomberg, and the Daily Caller. (Oh: MSNBC, the official Obama shilling network,  put Gruber on to defend himself on friendly turf. His defense? His words were “inappropriate.”)

See a trend? No NPR, CBS, NBC, CNN, ABC, New York Times….it’s a conservative story, you see. Pay no attention, you know how those “baggers” are. They make stuff up, or twist things, or edit tapes to make it look like Democrats and Obama are doing bad things. It’s mostly racism. Bigotry. You don’t want to go there. Stick with us! We’ll tell you the Truth.

The problem with this approach—-which has certainly served Obama well, as the media has largely minimized the damage from multiple scandals and flagrant instances of disastrous incompetence that the same news media would be proclaiming its horror in skywriting if the Administration was headed by a Reagan, Bush or Romney—-is that this one can’t be hidden, won’t go away, and has unavoidable significance. Obamacare is going back to the Supreme Court, you see, and the issue will turn on what the words and the intent of the law is. Will it make a difference that one of the key figures in writing the law—which never went through a House or Senate committee, nor was subjected to floor debate in its final form—admitted, indeed boasted in public that the text of the law was an exercise in obfuscation and deception?  It just might. That makes the video not just news, but big news, news the public has a right to know, news that is fit to print.

Thus this is a journalism scandal as well as a scandal of trust. Continue reading

No Ruth, Monica Is Still A Victim, Bill Is Still A Predator, And Why Do “Feminist” Pundits Still Make Excuses For The Clintons?

biil-and-monicaThe Washington Post’s brigade of shamelessly ideological or just plain incompetent columnists has been out in force of late, placing me in a dilemma: if I write full posts calling all of them on their deceitful and irresponsible essays, I make Ethics Alarms look like Newsbusters, and if I don’t, only the angry, equally ideological columnists on “conservative media sites” will, and what they say doesn’t matter, because they’re all mean, lying “wingnuts,” don’t you know. So I’m going to let it pass that Kathleen Parker wrote yet another of her wishy-washy, hand-wringing protests against the fact that ethical decision-making requires policy makers to make tough choices, her craven proclamation that while it is true that some criminals deserve to die, she isn’t willing to accept her part in society’s obligation to see that they get what they deserve. I will note that either she or the Post scrubbed the online version of a sentence in the print version that actually said that explicitly, but never mind. Parker is still clear in her high-minded cowardice.

And I will restrain myself from awarding the Baghdad Bob Award to Eugene Robinson, who increasingly makes me wonder how much of a role affirmative action played in his Pulitzer Prize. He submitted a certifiably batty column proclaiming that the Obama administration has been a wonder to behold, that the economy is “fixed”, that the latest jobs and economic numbers were glorious, that Obamacare is an unequivocal success, and that the Democrats should declare that all is well, because it is. Meanwhile, just about every fact-based story in his own, relentlessly liberal newspaper rebutted his words. Robinson’s an opinion columnist: a point of view is necessary. Misleading readers ( “Critics have stopped talking about a hypothetical “death spiral” in which the health insurance reforms collapse of their own weight, since it is now clear that nothing of the sort will happen,” he wrote. I was able to find several such predictions from credible analysts written within the last two weeks, and I didn’t spend much time looking. Here’s one of them…) and partisan cheerleading, however, is unethical and unprofessional. The Pulitzer just isn’t what it used to be, I guess. Sort of like the Nobel Peace Prize.

I am going to take on Dana Milbank’s description of the Benghazi scandal as a “nothingberger”Shouldn’t referring to a coordinated, news-media-assisted cover-up of  intentional public deception by a President in the midst of a Presidential campaign as “nothing” (never mind that the incident at the heart of the deception involved the deaths of four Americans, including an ambassador) disqualify a columnist from regular publication by a respectable news source?—-but not today.

No, today the winner is Ruth Marcus, a member of the Post’s editorial staff whose column this week spun the new Monica Lewinsky Vanity Fair piece as a boon to Hillary Clinton: Continue reading

A Sterling Ethics Train Wreck Update, Ethics Heroes Opposing The Mob, and The Comment of the Day

thoughtpoliceEthics Alarms commenter Chris Marschner again scores a Comment of the Day regarding the subtext of my recent post about Peoria Mayor Jim Ardis, whose stunning abuse of government power to punish a citizen’s free speech was ignored while destroying NBA team owner Donald Sterling, because he privately articulated offensive views to a vengeful girlfriend, became a media obsession and a national rallying point.

Before I get to Chris’s excellent comment, however, I should bring us up to date on the Donald Sterling Ethics Train Wreck, which has proceeded as I feared it would: Continue reading

Incompetent Elected Official Of The Month: Rep. Alvin Holmes (D-Alabama)

Alvin-HolmesRep. Alvin Holmes is a hatemonger and a race-baiter, but is he a wacko?

This question was inspired in the aftermath to my post about the ridiculous Bob Marshall,  a Virginia legislator who blights the Republican Party in my home state. The question I raised in that post was whether it was true that GOP elected nut-cases are further out in orbit than their Democratic counterparts. The related theory offered (not be me) in the ensuing thread was that while liberal-slanted media sources criticize the deranged in their ideological camp, conservative media sources tend to defend the GOP’s mutants. In fairness, I thought that I should raise the case of Mr. Holmes.

He was recently featured in a column by the Washington Post’s mildly conservative—perhaps the better term is “wishy-washy”—columnist Kathleen Parker. She notes, accurately, that he has at various times… Continue reading

Op-Ed Columnist Kathleen Parker, Case Study: Why A Truthteller Can’t Be A Weenie

You are so NICE, Kathleen! Now please find a another job where that's an asset.

You are so NICE, Kathleen! Now please find a another job where that’s an asset.

“I tend to be generous with the benefit of doubt,wrote Kathleen Parker, the mildest of conservative Washington Post columnists, in a recent effort at punditry. That’s an understatement, but then, understating is what Parker does. She also excels at writing equivocal near-condemnations that end up in pretzel form and stuck in dead-ends of ambiguity when clarity is called for.

This makes her very useful to the mainstream media, which like to present the illusion of balance while rigging the game. When I see her on a Sunday morning “roundtable” as one of the conservative voices recruited to spar with sharp, aggressive, no-holds barred progressives like Kathleen van der Heuvel  or Van Jones (and a left-biased moderator), I know that the discussion will make any uninformed viewers believe that the truth consists of the midpoint between progressive spin, and Parker smiling and raising her eyebrow. She is, in short, a weenie. A nice weenie, to be sure, but when your job is battling in the marketplace of ideas, unyielding politeness, measured words, and the insistence that all sides have merit—which is often, indeed usually true–results in shorting her side, and giving the contest to the combatant with no such reticence about full-throated advocacy. Parker isn’t wrong. Parker is incompetent at her job, as it has evolved. Thus when she accepted a co-hosting gig in a CNN “Cross-Fire” clone as the Right commentator to Eliot Spitzer’s Left, he completely dominated her (he was also a bully and a boor in the process) until Parker left the show, frustrated and humiliated.

I was horrified recently to discover that Parker had written a column about the President’s non-apology apology that tracked closely with mine (posted the following day), because I dreaded  Ethics Alarms readers concluding that I was cribbing from her. Her column was also notable for its theme, which was signaled by its opening sentences: Continue reading

Don’t Blame Nixon

They can’t lay this one off on you, Dick.

I know it is much the vogue in Washington these days for leaders to blame previous leaders for persistent problems rather than to accept accountability and responsibility for not successfully solving them. Trendy though this attitude may be, however, Washington Post columnist Kathleen Parker’s column assigning fault for the U.S. public’s growing and frightening distrust of government institutions to Richard Nixon and the Watergate scandal shows its folly. It flies in the face of history and fairness, and lets literally thousands of subsequent leaders, elected officials, journalists, pundits and assorted knaves and hypocrites off scot-free.

Parker writes,

“Beyond the obvious, Nixon and the Watergate episode did great, perhaps irreparable, harm to the American spirit. A generation already traumatized by a war that ended up killing 58,000 of its brothers, boyfriends, husbands and fathers lost any remaining innocence, as well as trust in authority and faith in governmental institutions. The flag our forefathers raised on the moral high ground looked suddenly shabby and soiled. When even the president of the United States was willing to burglarize the American people, there was no one left to trust”

Oh, nonsense. The Watergate scandal, by the end, was one of the American system’s finest hours. The system worked, and worked on live television for all to see. A brave judge, John Sirica, showed integrity and grit in refusing to cave in to Presidential intimidation, ordering Nixon to turn over the tapes that ultimately proved his guilt. Senators and House members of both parties handled a complex inquiry diligently and well, with ethics heroes emerging on the Republican side, in individuals like Sen. Howard Baker, and the Democratic side, with the inspiring Senator Sam Irwin and others. When Nixon decided to fire the Special Prosecutor, Archibald Cox, who was getting too close to the truth, his own Cabinet member, Attorney General Eliot Richardson, resigned rather than do Nixon’s dirty work. Ultimately, Republicans and Democrats alike on the House Judiciary Committee voted for impeachment, forcing Nixon to resign. Yes, Tricky Dick was unethical and untrustworthy, but Americans had known that—and called him Tricky Dick— for decades. Then as now, too many Americans decided that “policies” trumped character, so they elected a man whose flawed values and integrity was a matter of public record—twice. Nonetheless, when he and his minions violated the law and threatened the principles of democracy, the vital institutions of the House, the Senate, the judiciary and the press showed their strength and virtue. Nixon was corrupt, not the Presidency, not the government. Continue reading

Easy Question With A Sad Answer: If The New York Times Is The Nation’s Most Respected Newspaper, What Does The Patrick Witt Story Say About The State of American Journalism?

Patrick Witt, rapist. Well, accused rapist. OK, he was accused of something that might have been rape.All right, all right, we can't say what he is accused of or did, but he must be a bad guy, or we wouldn't be publishing this story about what some people say he did. Because the public has a right to know. Thank god for Freedom of the Press!

The jaw-dropping Patrick Witt story in Friday’s New York Times was heavy on my mind when I wrote yesterday’s post about the collapse of the news media’s ethical standards. I decided that it needed its own spotlight. When I read the piece about Yale’s former quarterback, what kept going through my mind was, “What does the Times think it’s doing?” I still can’t figure it out.

Reporter Richard Perez-Pena uses an anonymous complaint of sexual assault levied against Witt as justification for raising questions about a young man’s integrity and character and to undermine his reputation with innuendo, speculation and rumor. The article would be outrageous if it was written about a public figure. Publishing such a cruel and unfair attack on a relatively obscure student athlete defies all reason. Obviously, it is also bottom of the barrel journalism…from America’s premier newspaper. Continue reading