Tag Archives: Newt Gingrich

The 8th Annual Ethics Alarms Awards: The Worst of Ethics 2016, Part 1

bad-2016

Welcome, if that’s the word, to the 8th Annual Ethics Alarms Awards.

Last year, in a burst of self-pity as I began this annual task, I wrote,

“It is depressing and discouraging: 2015 was much worse than 2014, which was considerably worse than 2013. What am I doing here? What is the point of spending all of this uncompensated time—it is more profitable bagging groceries!—trying to nurture a more ethical culture and a more ethically competent public when all evidence points to utter futility as the result? Well, that way madness lies, I guess. I’m just going to grit my teeth and do my duty. Last year I began by saying that 2014 was the year of the Ethics Train Wreck. There were far more of them in 2015, and they were more serious and damaging. That should give you sufficient warning of the horrors to come…”

Then came 20i6.

To paraphrase  Margo Channing, “Fasten your seatbelts: It’s going to a bumpy post…”

Ethics Train Wreck of the Year

train-wreck-air

The Hillary Clinton E-Mail Scandal Ethics Train Wreck

I thought last year was the Year of the Train Wreck. Wrong. In 2016, we had the 2016 Post Election Ethics Train Wreck, the Campus Sexual Assault Witch Hunt Ethics Train Wreck, the Freddie Gray Ethics Train Wreck, the old stand-by Obama Administration Ethics Train Wreck, the still active Ferguson Ethics Train Wreck, and the Ethics Train Wrecks of both Presidential candidates campaigns. Hillary’s e-mails and their related lies in the long trail of cars called the Hillary Clinton E-Mail Scandal Ethics Train Wreck, was a clear winner though.

Passengers included President Obama, Bernie Sanders, Anthony Weiner, the F.B.I., Loretta Lynch, Bill Clinton, James Comey and more. And, of course, it played a significant and perhaps decisive role in bringing us President Trump.

Runner-Up: 2016 Post Election Ethics Train Wreck. It had less than a month to get up steam, but it caused lots of ethics carnage, and is still going strong.

Fraud of the Year

The Trump Foundation, which revealed itself to be a near total sham. RUNNER-UP: Fake lawyer Kimberly Kitchen, who worked as an estate planning lawyer at BMZ Law in Huntingdon County, Pennsylvania, and served as president of the county bar, though she never went to law school, and never took the bar exam, but forged documents to fool everyone that she had.

Most Unethical Act By A Major Church

The Catholic Church, which, incredibly, restored a convicted rapist to the priesthood. Father Joseph Jeyapaul,  a Catholic priest from India, while serving in the Crookston, Minnesota diocese from 2004 to 2005 raped at least two adolescent girls.  After being charged with the crimes, including rape and forcing at least one of his victims to perform fellatio on him, Father Joseph  escaped to India, where an Interpol warrant got him extradited back to Minnesota.  There he confessed, and as part of a plea bargain, received an outrageously light sentence of a year and a day for pleading guilty to one count of molestation. Jeyapaul was suspended from the priesthood and served his time in Minnesota. The U.S. deported him back to India, while the Minnesota diocese had to pay millions in a civil lawsuit, during which we learned that the rapist priest had told one of his victims  in the confessional that she was at fault, and had made Jeyapaul “impure” by letting him abuse her. In February, the Vatican lifted Jeyapaul‘s suspension and restored him to the priesthood. It then assigned him to a new parish in India, where he is now the diocesan head of its commission for education. 

Tell me again why that fake news story that the Pope endorsed Trump was supposed to help The Donald.

Incompetent Elected Official of the Year

kkane

Kathleen G. Kane (D), Pennsylvania’s ex-Attorney General.  In October, a judge sentenced her to 10 to 23 months in prison for her conviction on charges of perjury and abuse of her office. You can’t be more incompetent, I’d say, than an elected attorney general who can’t stay out of jail herself. I regret not writing about the Kane saga last year, but her ethical void was fairly apparent back in 2013, the only time I did write about her, after she leaked grand jury testimony, which is illegal. I wrote at the time (I must have been in a bad mood)…

“Leaking grand jury testimony is both illegal and spectacularly unethical for a lawyer, yet Pennsylvania’s Attorney General, Kathleen Kane, appears to have done it for the slimiest of reasons, and is offering the most cynical of defenses in the most offensive of ways. (Incidentally, I don’t understand how this could happen. After all, Kane is a woman, the first Democrat and the first woman to be elected to the post, and since having a vagina alone is supposed to imbue a candidate with trustworthiness, surpassing competence and virtue, this makes no sense at all.)”

Unethical Elected Official of the Year

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From The “When Ethics Alarms Don’t Ring” Files: Newt Gingrich’s December 7th Tweet

gingrich-tweet

Some random thoughts on an incredible display of terrible taste, as I wrestle to keep my cranium from blowing…

1. Why in the world would Newt do this? How could he, or anyone, not understand that this would be hurtful to many, and appreciated by none? Has he decided to compete with Donald Trump for most Reckless Twitter-User? Is he trying to make Trump look responsible by comparison? Why, Newt? Why?

2. Perhaps this is the beginning of regular laudatory tweets from Newt in appreciation of other geniuses that did Americans harm.

March 6: “Today we celebrate Santa Anna’s brilliantly executed surprise dawn raid on the Alamo, and his efficient slaughter of more than 200 Texans in 1836”

April 14: “A date for all Americans to commemorate John Wilkes Booth’s superb planning and marksmanship, confounding President Lincoln’s security to shoot him in the head with flair in 1865!”

August 8: “Let us not fail to admire surgical precision with which the dedicated follower of Charles Manson carried out their slaughter of five people in 1968”

September 11…well, you get the idea.

3. What’s truly nauseating is that poor, insecure Newt is so desperate for affirmation that he will use, of all things, the tragedy of the attack on Pearl Harbor to make himself appear, (he thinks), worldly, cerebral and analytical. All he really accomplished is to reaffirm what most cognizant Americans have known for decades…

4. …that Newt is about as big a jerk as this society has ever produced.

 

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Filed under Character, Ethics Alarms Award Nominee, Ethics Dunces, Government & Politics, History, Social Media, Unethical Tweet, War and the Military

Ethics Observations: Comey’s Second Letter On The Clinton E-mail Investigation

comey-letter-2

FBI director James  Comey informed Congress yesterday, two days before the culmination of the Presidential campaign, that the recently re-opened inquiry into Hillary Clinton’s  irregular handling of classified e-mails uncovered no new evidence that would change July’s recommendation that she shouldn’t face criminal charges.

“Based on our review, we have not changed our conclusions that we expressed in July with respect to Secretary Clinton,”  Comey wrote in a letter to the leaders of several congressional committees.

Observations:

1. Good.

If Clinton wins the election, she should be able to start her term of office without this scandal of her own making still hanging over her head. After all, there are sure to be new scandals in due time, unless she turns over a new leaf like Richard Nixon did when he finally became President in 1968. Herblock, the Washington Post’s iconic Republican-hating cartoonist, even symbolically gave him a shave. (Herblock drew Nixon with a five-o’clock that made him look like an axe murderer.) Yes, the irony is intentional.

If Hillary loses, Comey’s late “never mind!” might stop Democrats from claiming that her inevitable coronation was prevented by a deliberate FBI plot, and allow them to further undermine trust in law enforcement. It might, but it probably won’t.

2. In fact, this process has already started. The Washington Post’s political columnist Chris Cillizza quickly filed a piece called “It’s hard to see how James Comey could have handled this last 9 days any worse.”

It should be used in classes to illustrate what “hindsight bias” means. He also makes a persuasive argument in favor of Comey’s letters—both of them—thinking he’s doing the opposite: Continue reading

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The Clinton Foundation’s OTHER Ethics Problem—And An Ethics Trainwreck Update

clinton_foundationEven if it weren’t being used for what looks like influence peddling…even if the foreign contributions to it didn’t create a textbook “appearance of impropriety,” which is prohibited for a Secretary of State…even if Hillary Clinton’s unilateral destruction of thousands of e-mails makes her surrogates’ (and imagine: one of those surrogates is an ABC new show host, and the network sees nothing wrong with that) argument that there’s no “smoking gun” evidence of wrongdoing a shining example of gall for the ages…there is another ethics problem with the Clinton Foundation, one that is beyond reasonable debate, and one that even the most shameless Clinton acolytes won’t be able to deflect by attacking the messenger.

It’s an unethical foundation, by well-established non-profit standards, and that has nothing to do with politics. Continue reading

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Newt Gingrich, Creep

I'm not posting any more Newt Gingrich photos, so here's a Mastiff puppy, in honor of National Puppy Day. And good night, Patience (my late, beloved Mastiff), wherever you are!

I have made myself abundantly clear clear about my assessment of New Gingrich’s ethical instincts, so yet another example of his unethical creepiness is hardly necessary. I will keep this brief:

Bill Clinton, when confronted by a Truther at a public appearance, gave an indignant lecture to the questioner about unjust smears on the patriotism and integrity of American leaders.

John McCain, facing a women in a 2008 campaign stop who declared that Barack Obama was a Muslim, told her she was wrong, saying, “No, ma’am. He’s a decent family man, citizen that I just happen to have disagreements with on fundamental issues and that’s what this campaign’s all about. He’s not, thank you,”

Today, when an audience member at a Newt campaign appearance in Louisiana told him he believes President Obama is a Muslim and a student of Saul Alinsky, and continued,  “And I believe that it’s his policy to bring this country to its knees and ruin the United States of America. Your comment?” Newt replied that:

  • Obama was a “radical.”
  • “If the price of that is that we’re poorer and we have fewer jobs and that we have less energy, that’s fine with him. It’s a price he’ll pay.”
  • “I agree with you about Alinsky.”
  •  I think he’s driven by a radicalism to remake America and he doesn’t frankly care what level of pain it costs the rest of us.”

He never addressed the Muslim canard, later telling Gretta Van Susteran that “I don’t have an obligation to go around and correct every single voter about every single topic.”

Interesting which statement Newt chose not to correct.

Creep.

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Newt Gingrich’s Desperate, Dishonest, Irresponsible Pitch

In 1960 the better hair beat the better debater. Maybe Newt's basing his strategy on his hair.

I heard it again on a radio ad for Newt yesterday, and decided that it was unfair to slam him for it, because the sponsor was his Super Pac, and we all know that (cough!) Super Pacs have no contact with the candidates they support. Then, last night, Gingrich made the argument himself, and not for the first time. The reason Newt Gingrich should be the Republican nominee for President is that he is the one best equipped to trounce Barack Obama in the debates.

“Wouldn’t it be great if we had our smartest guy going head to head against their smartest guy in the debates?” the perky actress playing a Newt supporter ( a dumb Newt supporter) said in the ad. “ “Newt would win for sure!”

The ad, please note, said absolutely nothing about whether Gingrich had any skills actually relevant to being President of the United States, and never said what his policies would be or how he would govern. Newt himself has talked about these things, but in the end he too boils his pitch down to one asset: He’s a better debater than Barack Obama. And the proper responses to that are, in order,

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“Baby-Killing” Ethics

No "moral right to life"?

Aided by Rick Santorum’s over-heated rhetoric, the concept of infanticide (I’m against it, by the way) has been hot in the marketplace of ideas lately.

A group of medical ethicists at Oxford made headlines by arguing that parents ought to have the option of killing their newborns because they are “morally irrelevant” and thus ending their lives is no different from abortion. After some recent examples of the press mangling the real message of scholarly papers, I was dubious about the news reports, but son of a gun, that’s what these ethicists wrote.

The article, entitled “After-birth abortion: Why should the baby live?”, was authored by Alberto Giubilini and Francesca Minerva, who argue, Continue reading

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