Send in the Clones: Hillary Clinton’s Hilarious Fake Spontaneous Supporters

"Here at the Clinton Foundation Paid Mouthpiece Cloning Facility, we are building for the future..."

“Here at the Clinton Foundation Paid Mouthpiece Cloning Facility, we are building for the future…”

Mediaite sarcastically points out that “in a massive coincidence, every single Hillary Clinton staffer and surrogate who watched the Democratic presidential candidate’s Meet the Press interview [Sunday] had the exact same thoughts, sometimes using identical language.”  On MSNBC, Willie Geist and Chuck Todd, who handled the interview,  joked about it.

“Everyone who is remotely a part of the campaign tweeted out simultaneously that it’s time to move on,” said NBC’s Willie Geist. “I saw that!” a grinning Todd said.“That was a little ham-handed….Especially when it’s exactly the same, right? It’s clear somebody cut and paste from the email, from whatever email.”

HAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHA!!! How hilarious! All of those guests that MSNBC and NBC and the rest have on to give their honest, objective, expert opinion on Clinton’s misconduct, machinations and lies are reading from scripts provided by Hillary’s campaign! That’s so funny! And the news media present them as if they are presenting independent opinions and are trustworthy! HAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHA!!!

Here are the tweets in question: Continue reading

KABOOM! Sen. McCaskill Disgraces Herself On National Television

head blowsWhat a horrible thing for a U.S. Senator to inflict on her state. Brains must have been splattering all over ceilings, furniture, family members and TV screens during her excruciating live interview with Martha Raddatz on ABC’s “This Week With George Stephanopoulos.”  There she was, a member of the U.S. Senate representing the great state of Missouri, grinning like a zany and spewing the Clinton campaign’s desperate talking points—from March!—falsely and insultingly insisting that in maintaining a secret and non-conforming private e-mail server while Secretary of State that, as Democratic hack Donna Brazile said later on a truncated round table, that Clinton did nothing wrong.

Just violating policy, being irresponsible, placing official data in jeopardy, destroying potential evidence, and lying about it, but nothing wrong...

“This is a partisan witch hunt!” said Senator McCaskill. Hillary has been forthcoming and complied with every request! She wasn’t the first Secretary of State to use private e-mail! The materials weren’t classified when she had them! There’s no indication she had a motive to expose national secrets! (This is a new one on the talking points list and an audacious straw man. Nobody has argued that Clinton was a spy or committing treason; what she did was place State Department communications at risk to hackers and exposure for her own protection and advantage.) Then McCaskill paraphrased the “let’s change the subject” talking point we have heard now almost verbatim from Clinton and her surrogates: “Hillary Clinton is a fighter, and she will fight through this and continue fighting for Americans”—all while smiling madly as if the whole thing was a big joke, since it all is “nonsense.” Continue reading

Look! “An Illustrated Book of Bad Arguments”!

bad arguments

As various thought fallacies and flawed arguments are constantly being exposed, used, debunked or otherwise referenced during our ethics discussions and debates—the Ethics Alarms compendium is here–this looked like something readers would enjoy. I probably should dedicate this post to former blog Commenter of the Year tgt, in appreciation for his ending—maybe just briefly, we shall see—his latest sabbatical with a flurry of 70 comments while I was lecturing in Newport last week. I didn’t have time to properly engage him or even read all the comments, but he seemed in characteristic form.

Tgt loves the fallacies and delights in slapping them down whenever they occur. His favorite is “No True Scotsman.” I immediately thought of him when I  stumbled upon “An Illustrated Book of Bad Arguments” by the multi-talented Ali Almossawi. Tgt’s  pet fallacy is here, as well as ad hominem, appeals to authority, the straw man, equivocation and others, some under different names than those I am used to. I haven’t read it carefully: there may be one or two that needs to be added to the Ethics Alarms list.

This is a well-researched and written exposition of some major fallacies with lovely illustrations, presented like a vintage children’s book. Someone should actually publish a children’s book like this: I would have been grateful for one when my son was a boy, or when I was a boy.  I’m grateful for this now.

You can find this amazing work of art, ethics, rhetoric and logic here. I’ve already sent the link around to many friends, young and old, and you may want to do the same.

 

Some Hillary E-Mail Ethics Test Results: Dowd, Carville, Maher, Whitehouse, Boxer, Huffington

F minusLast week I pointed out that the controversy over Hillary’s secret e-mail server and the various deceits and lies she has employed to justify is invaluable, not merely as further evidence of the character of the woman Democrats seem determine to stuff down America’s throat as the next President, but also as an integrity and values test for the politicians, elected officials, pundits and journalists who choose to publicly defend her…or not.

So it has been, and continues to be. Unfortunately, Republicans and reliably conservative pundits are disqualified from the test, as they would be condemning Hillary whether there was an ethical defense of her e-mails or not. They will end up on the right side of this issue by simply following their ideological proclivities, and thus deserve no credit for being incidentally correct.

Here is what you have to remember, however: the fact the Republicans and conservatives who reached their position on this issue without giving it any thought detest and distrust Hillary Clinton and are being, in some cases, unattractively gleeful about the scandal does not make Hillary’s defense any stronger. As I explained in the earlier posts, she has no legitimate defense, just spin, rationalizations and deceit. That’s why the e-mail incident challenges the non-Hillary haters to exhibit integrity.

I was tempted to exempt Democratic strategists and Clinton consultants from the test as well, since they are, in essence, paid liars. For anyone inclined to believe them, however, the fact that these people—Karen Finney, Donna Brazile, Lanny Davis, David Brock, James Carville— will go on national TV, look an interviewer and the American public in the eye and say what they know is false should prove that their level of trustworthiness is below sea level.

Carville, for example, gave a tour de force of rationalizations on ABC’s “This Week” yesterday, making the recently popular argument that the Clinton’s just can’t get away with fudges and sneaks that other politicians do, and that this is so, so unfair.  Let’s go to the Rationalizations List! This is the Golden Rationalization (“Everybody does it”) squared by the #39. The Pioneer’s Lament, or “Why should I be the first?” (That argument is disingenuous, because the Clintons are not like everyone else. They have a long, ugly record of deception and rule-breaking. At this point, they cannot credibly claim, “We just made a mistake” —# 19 and #20. There is a pattern. Once a pattern is established, you have to be especially careful not to repeat it, or there is a rebuttable presumption that you can’t help yourself. Is it unfair to an alcoholic to make a bigger deal out of him coming home drunk than when an occasional drinker does the same thing?) Continue reading

Comment of the Day on… Oh, Never Mind, It Had Nothing To Do With The Original Post Anyway

Make Believe sign

This mind-blowing comment by the one-hit wonder “bubbabru” struck me as uniquely appropriate as we head into next week’s elections. I apparently set him off by my response to a commenter expressing wonderment at the defenses being offered by supporters of an animal abusing and crooked veterinarian. She wrote, ” I can’t even figure out the kind of mindset that requires pooh-poohing such overwhelming evidence of someone who is, at the very least, a depraved and wicked person.” I responded,

“Why do people still claim Michael Jackson was pure as the driven snow? Why do people still say Nixon was hounded from office, or that Clinton was a victim? Why does anyone say that JFK was a great man? Why is anyone fooled by Hillary? Why do people still insist that Obama is a brilliant, honest, skilled leader? Why do people still think the Rosenbergs were innocent? It’s self-delusion, because people fight to hold on to their illusions, and resent those who try to point out the horrible truth, especially when it makes them feel like dupes.

This relatively bi-partisan list of delusions unwittingly triggered the vomiting up of the Angry Left talking points, lies and mythology that follow. Is this what the “base” of a major party is like? (I assume that there is a polar version, equally unhinged, fact-resistant and hateful,  for Republicans.) If so, one can only diagnose being part of a base as akin to being a member of a cult. For any responsible politician to intentionally nurture and try to profit from this kind of disability is not only antidemocratic, it approaches evil. How many American are mired in the hyper-partisan hate fantasies illustrated by this Comment of the Day? Can they be saved?

I worry about the answers to those questions, and a third: how can we stop this crippling contagion from spreading? Here is the Comment of the Day. Res ipsa loquitur: Continue reading

In Massachusetts, The Unethical Kind Of Prosecutorial Discretion

The DA explains why he's glad the law was broken. Wait...WHAT?

The DA explains why he’s glad the law was broken. Wait…WHAT?

Prosecutorial discretion is a critical aspect of the prosecutorial function. There are many good reasons for a prosecutor  to charge an individual with a crime in a particular case, and among the factors a prosecutor may legitimately consider in making this decision are, according to the American Bar Association’s ethical guidelines:

  • whether there is evidence of the existence of criminal conduct;
  • the nature and seriousness of the problem or alleged offense, including the risk or degree of harm from ongoing criminal conduct;
  • a history of prior violations of the same or similar laws and whether those violations have previously been addressed through law enforcement or other means;
  • the motive, interest, bias or other improper factors that may influence those seeking to initiate or cause the initiation of a criminal investigation;
  • the need for, and expected impact of, criminal enforcement to punish blameworthy behavior; provide specific and/or general deterrence;
  • provide protection to the community; reinforce norms embodied in the criminal law; prevent unauthorized private action to enforce the law;
  • preserve the credibility of the criminal justice system; and other legitimate public interests.
  • whether the costs and benefits of the investigation and of particular investigative tools and techniques are justified in consideration of, among other things, the nature of the criminal activity as well as the impact of conducting the investigation on other enforcement priorities and resources
  • the collateral effects of the investigation on witnesses, subjects, targets and non-culpable third parties, including financial damage and harm to reputation
  • the probability of obtaining sufficient evidence for a successful prosecution of the matter in question, including, if there is a trial, the probability of obtaining a conviction and having the conviction upheld upon appellate review; and
  • whether society’s interest in the matter might be better or equally vindicated by available civil, regulatory, administrative, or private remedies.

None of these suggest that the prosecutor’s personal sympathy with the motives of the lawbreaker is a sufficient or ethical reason not to charge when a serious crime has been committed. That, however, appears to be how Bristol County (Massachusetts) District Attorney Sam Sutter sees his role: arbiter and enabler of righteous criminal activity. Continue reading

The I.R.S. E-Mails: The New York Times, Flagship Of The Respectable Mainstream Media, Proves Its Corruption

IRSInvestigations

Washington, DC – Today, Ways and Means Committee Chairman Dave Camp (R-MI) issued the following statement regarding the Internal Revenue Service informing the Committee that they have lost Lois Lerner emails from a period of January 2009 – April 2011. Due to a supposed computer crash, the agency only has Lerner emails to and from other IRS employees during this time frame. The IRS claims it cannot produce emails written only to or from Lerner and outside agencies or groups, such as the White House, Treasury, Department of Justice, FEC, or Democrat offices.

You can be forgiven if you somehow missed this story, though it is obviously alarming, newsworthy, and possibly sinister. Many in the mainstream media have gone out of its way to ignore it. Yet this is likely or certainly possible spoliation, the illegal destruction of documentary evidence during litigation or an official investigation, which the House inquiry into the IRS’s irregularities regarding the approval of conservative groups prior to the 2012 election certainly is. If a private company “lost” key  and potentially incriminating evidence like this, indictments would follow. (RIP: Arthur Andersen) Recall, please, that Lerner pleaded the Fifth Amendment to avoid self-incrimination—her right, but hardly cooperative or comforting. This news is even less so.

Oversight Subcommittee Chairman Charles Boustany Jr., M.D. (R-LA) added, “In the course of the Committee’s investigation, the Administration repeatedly claimed we were getting access to all relevant IRS documents. Only now – thirteen months into the investigation – the IRS reveals that key emails from the time of the targeting have been lost. And they bury that fact deep in an unrelated letter on a Friday afternoon. In that same letter, they urge Congress to end the investigations into IRS wrongdoing. This is not the transparency promised to the American people. If there is no smidgen of corruption what is the Administration hiding?”

Good question.

And yet, The New York Times decided that this wasn’t “news fit to print” anywhere. Roger Kimbell marvels: Continue reading

The Ethics Alarms List of Debate Cheats and Fallacies

fallacy

I realized it was time to post the definitive Ethics Alarms List of Debate Cheats and Fallacies after once again having to point out to an indignant commenter that calling  him a jerk based on a jerkish comment was not an ad hominem attack, and that saying idiotic things on-line carry that risk. Here, at last, is the current list, adapted from multiple sources. As with the Rationalizations List, with which this occasionally overlaps, I invite additions. Participants here should feel free to refer to the various fallacious arguments by number, and to apply critically them to my posts as well as the comments of others. Am I immune from occasionally falling into one or more of these bad debate techniques and rhetorical habits? No. The other reason I wanted to get the list up was to reinforce my own efforts to be persuasive without being manipulative.

1. Ad Hominem Attack

An ad hominem attack means that one is substituting the character or quality of an adversary’s thought for the argument the adversary is presenting. This is unfair, as well as misleading. “Your argument is invalid because you are a crook, a fool, an idiot” is an ad hominem attack. It is not an ad hominem attack to prove an argument idiotic, and conclude, on the basis of signature significance, (which requires that an  argument be so idiotic that no non-idiot would conceive such a thing and dare express it),that the one making the argument is an idiot, since only an idiot would make such an argument. Confusing the true ad hominem attack with the latter is a useful deflection by poor advocates of the fair consequence of their advocacy. Idiots can still hold valid positions, and disproving the position has nothing to do with proving they are idiots.

1 a. The Toxic Introduction.

A more subtle application of the ad hominem attack is The Toxic Introduction, where the argument of another is introduced by noting a negative quality about the individual. The effect is to undermine the argument before it has even been heard, by its association with a less than impressive advocate.

2. Butch’s Stratagem (The Straw Man)

Continue reading

Want A Perfect Example Of “Deceit”? Here You Go:

"Believe me, once you get the hang of deceit, you'll wonder how you ever got through a day without it!"

“Believe me, once you get the hang of deceit, you’ll wonder how you ever got through a day without it!”

A substantial number of people don’t understand what “deceit” is, or think that what constitutes deceit isn’t a lie. Deceit, which I used to joke was the official language of Washington, D.C. until it was changed officially to Blatant Mendacity, is when a statement is literally true, but stated in such a way or in a context intended to make the reader or listener believe something that is not true at all. The fact that the statement may have been factual in a pure sense does not diminish its unethical character as a lie. Its intent is to deceive. It is a lie, just a particularly insidious one, aimed at the trusting, unwary, undiscerning and gullible.

I am always looking for a good example of this peculiar form of deception, and they don’t come much better than this.

Drexel University professor Robert Brulle performed a study he eventually called “Institutionalizing delay: foundation funding and the creation of U.S. climate change counter-movement organizations,”  and it was subsequently published  in Climatic Change. Brulle identified 91 organizations that oppose anti-climate change policies, and added up the annual operating budgets of these groups, many of which are active in many issues and that devote a small percentage of their funding to climate change matters at all. He then characterized the resulting total of about $900 million per year from 2003 to 2010 as representing the resources dedicated to blocking the regulation of greenhouse gas production. Brulle’s  study also treats foundation grants to these organizations if every dollar given is earmarked for climate policy opposition. Taking the hand-off from the study’s framing, The Guardian headlined its findings, “Conservative groups spend up to $1bn a year to fight action on climate change.” Notice the “up to,” which would apply if every cent given to organizations like the American Enterprise Institute, The Reason Foundation, The Cato Institute, The Heritage Foundation, the Hoover Institute, the Hudson Institute and many others were only expended or intended to be spent on anti-climate change position papers and advocacy. This isn’t just a gross exaggeration: it’s a lie, intended to be misleading. Continue reading

Making Sure Obamacare Wrecks The Holidays, Too

What if you choked on that turkey and went into a coma...did you consider that?  How would you pay for the the hospitalization? That's why you need insurance...

“What if you choked on that turkey and went into a coma…did you consider that? How would you pay for the hospitalization? That’s why you need insurance…”

Ah, the holidays, Thanksgiving and Christmas! Time to gather together in safe, friendly, warm and loving homes, united with loved ones, family and friends, to eat good food together, laugh and sing together, exchange gifts, good wishes and hope, perchance to worship and pray, but most important of all, to hector the stuffing out of everyone on behalf of the Democrats and Obamacare, because there really is no private, family time, time to give thanks and reflect of better things for our fellow human beings—just one great opportunity to carry the message of Big Brother to the eager, desperate and gullible, because, after all, the holidays are really about Barack Obama and his struggling health care law. Right?

Yecchhh.

Also..how dare they? Programming an army of Obamaphiles to turn the holidays into an extended infomercial for Obamacare crosses multiple lines, several of which place the stepper into disturbingly familiar totalitarian, collectivist territory, where every citizen is deemed a deputized agent of The One True Authority Over Us All. On BarackObama.com, the faithful Obamabots are given all they need to ruin the holidays, including a helpful “packing list” (to make sure your family has everything they need to enroll in Obamacare),  various ways to plot to ambush your loved ones to turn the conversation away from peace, good will and sugar plums to saving the President’s bacon, and talking points, so you can be just as charming and honest as Jay Carney, David Plouffe and Debbie Wasserman Schultz. Continue reading