1.PLEASE stop making me defend Hillary Clinton. In a “controversy” reminiscent of the mainstream media’s hyped and manufactured criticisms of every word. sigh, look or twitch by President Trump, the conservative web is in an uproar over Hillary Clinton’s “snub” or Melania Trump yesterday. Hillary didn’t wave at Melania, you see. She just “nodded” her head. Good Lord, leave the poor woman alone. She’s obviously not well. We know she’s bitter, angry and depressed. Now she and Bill are facing sparse audiences on their ill-advised tour together. So she didn’t greet Donald Trump’s spouse with enthusiasm at a funeral—so what? If she had, everyone would be saying that she’s a hypocrite and a phony. She is, of course, but that’s not the issue.
2. Oh, fine, now I have to defend Natalie Portman… Inexplicably acclaimed actress Natalie Portman apologized to has-been singer/actress/ sex-symbol Jessica Simpson after Simpson said Portman was slut- shaming her. Portman said in an interview with USA Today that as a teenager she was”confused” by a sexy photo of Simpson “on the cover of a magazine saying ‘I’m a virgin’ while wearing a bikini.” Portman said, “Like, I don’t know what this is trying to tell me as a woman, as a girl.”
This triggered a long rebuke by Simpson on social media:
“I was disappointed this morning when I read that I ‘confused’ you by wearing a bikini in a published photo taken of me when I was still a virgin in 1999. As public figures, we both know our image is not totally in our control at all times, and that the industry we work in often tries to define us and box us in. However, I was taught to be myself and honor the different ways all women express themselves, which is why I believed then – and I believe now – that being sexy in a bikini and being proud of my body are not synonymous with having sex. I have always embraced being a role model to all women to let them know that they can look however they want, wear whatever they want and have sex or not have sex with whomever they want. The power lies within us as individuals. I have made it my practice to not shame other women for their choices. In this era of Time’s Up and all the great work you have done for women, I encourage you to do the same.”
Portman immediately backed down, saying her comments were not meant as a jab toward Simpson, saying, “I would never intend to shame anybody and that was absolutely not my intention. I was really talking about mixed media messages out there for young women and completely apologize for any hurt it may have caused because that was definitely not my intention. What I said was I was confused by mixed messages when I was a young girl growing up, and there are a lot of messages for how women should be, and women should be allowed to do whatever they want.”
The issue Portman raised was and is a legitimate ethics conflict, and should be discussed openly by women, men, and culture. Continue reading →
Let’s clear the runway; flights are being delayed…
1 Please, somebody do me a favor and read Fattymoon’s Medium piece on why he doesn’t comment here any more. Let me know what it says. I don’t know if it’s another “I hate Jack” web piece, but I have feelings too, and miles to go before I sleep. He should have posted it here, and assuming it is as quirky and thoughtful as many of Fatty’s posts were, I might have made it a Comment of the Day. Posting it elsewhere without a heads up is a Golden Rule breach.
2. Jamelle Bouie’s racialist demagoguery in Slate is an ongoing embarrassment to the once readable web-mag, and in a recent exchange on Twitter, he showed that he’s not too quick on the uptake either. Tweeting about the planned hit job on the President plotted by Rep. Wilson and an angry, grieving anti-Trump Gold Star wife. Bouie wrote,
“Trump and the White House have an unmistakable pattern of going after prominent black women.”
Quick! Hands: who believes that if the Democratic Representative who accused the President of being insulting on his condolence call had been a white male, Trump would have behaved any different? Anybody? This is Bouie personified: he will engage in race-baiting no matter how forced, unfair and absurd it is.
I’m not a Ben Shapiro fan, but the conservative pundit knows a hanging curveball in his wheelhouse when he sees one. He responded,
“Yes, McCain, Hillary, Barack Obama, Cruz, Jeb!, Rosie O’Donnell, Kim Jung Un are all black women”
And he didn’t even mention Bob Corker!
Exposed, owned, embarrassed and squashed, a wiser, smarter progressive would know enough to shut up and allow his idiocy to be gently wiped from cultural memory by the sands of time…like in about ten minutes. But no, Bouie shoots back,
“Nice. A retweet from Honest Conservative Ben “The genocide of Native people’s was Actually Good” Shapiro”
YES! A perfect example of a real, genuine, ad hominem attack, the kind that says, “I have no rebuttal for your devastating argument, so I’m just going to say that you’re personally horrible, so your arguments don’t count.” I’ve gotten so sick of explaining to commenters that their accusations of ad hominem are mistaken and ignorant that I put a warning in the Comments guidelines. “Your argument is idiotic, so I think you are an idiot” is not ad hominem (not nice, but not ad hominem). “You’re an idiot, so your argument must be idiotic” is ad hominem. Now I have a perfect example–from an editor at Slate! (If you think ad hominem is logical, then you are unqualified to be an editor, even if you aren’t a race-baiting anti-white bigot.)
Not surprisingly, Shapiro knocked this one out of the park too, tweeting,
“Thanks for the ad hominem non sequitur, guy who says every Trump voter is an evil racist”
3. If there was any doubt that John McCain’s recent escalation of his anti-Trump, burr-under-the-saddle, “I’m going to make you rue the day your denigrated my prisoner-of-war heroism” campaign is personal and motivated by revenge, his gratuitous swipe at the President’s deferment from the draft almost 50 years ago should eliminate it. That is personal, it is a cheap shot, it is intentionally disrespectful, and it is deliberately throwing raw meat to the President’s enemies.
It is also a Golden Rule breach: how would McCain react if Trump referenced the Keating Five scandal just to impugn McCain?
A lame duck who may well be dying, McCain has apparently decided that he can misbehave, settle scores, and undermine his party’s President with impunity. Somebody should tell him that he is dismantling his own reputation and legacy in the process, revealing himself as petty, vindictive, and willing to place his own vendetta over national interests and his duty as a U.S. Senator.
4. While we are mentioning embarrassment, it appears that the news media is not yet embarrassed by treating as substantive news the self-evident set-up and subsequent escalation of a non-incident into another manufactured anti-Trump race scandal . It should be. Imagine: yesterday all of the Sunday talking head shows gave far more time to this transparent hit-job than to the revived Russian influence allegations involving the Clintons. ABC and NBC have yet to mention that story at all; CBS, five days after it broke, gave a few seconds to it on “Face the Nation.” The excuses for this from journalists sound an awful lot like “Hey! We buried this story once; she shouldn’t have to report on it now.” FACT: As of this moment, there is more public evidence suggesting that Hillary Clinton was colluding to help the Russians than there is to suggest that President Trump did anything improper in that regard.
Back to the Rep. Frederica Wilson smear-job: The Congressional Black Caucus called for Chief of Staff John Kelly to apologize for his remarks defending the President. “We, the women of the Congressional Black Caucus, proudly stand with Congresswoman Wilson and demand that General Kelly apologize to her without delay and take responsibility for his reckless and false statements,” the female lawmakers said in a statement.
The wife of the late La David Johnson, meanwhile, has been making the rounds of talk shows. To recap: a woman who was determined to hurt Trump made sure that a Congressional Black Caucus member who had boycotted the President’s Inauguration was listening in on his condolence call, then collaborated on accusations of disrespect. When Trump denied their characterization–at best an example of likely confirmation bias if there ever was one —he was accused of racism, since both women are black. Then other members of the Caucus expanded the attack to Trump’s Chief of Staff, implying that he is racist as well.
This might have been a bit more convincing if the entire Caucus hadn’t declared their revulsion at Trump before he took office. Who believes that any criticism from this quarter is anything but cynical, political, and unfair? Meanwhile, as this was going on, esteemed CBC member Maxine Waters declared that she was going to “take out” the President, presumably not meaning that they were going on a date.
I note that even many of my Democratic, anti-Trump Facebook friends are rolling their metaphorical eyes at this one. Some of them—many, in fact— are still capable of feeling sympathy when a President is being mistreated.
5. I’ve been getting better at suppressing my head explosions, and just in time: Harvey Weinsteinhas supposedly completed rehab for his sex addiction already. What was that, less than a week? What an insult to everyone’s intelligence for Weinstein to say he was getting “help” for his “problem.” It couldn’t have been too much of a problem if it could be fixed in few days. The other side of the ethics coin is this: going into rehab has been the routine PR response whenever a Hollywood figure misbehaves. We should thank Harvey for making it clear for all time that this is often, perhaps usually, a cynical sham. Continue reading →
The Office of Bangladesh Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina has confirmed that Hillary Clinton, while Secretary of State, made a personal call in March 2011 to pressure—my sourcesays says “demand”—that Bangladesh’s prime minister restore Dr. Muhammed Yunus, a 2006 Nobel Peace prize winner, to his previous position as chairman of the country’s most prominent microcredit bank, Grameen Bank. The bank’s nonprofit, Grameen America, which Yunus chairs, had donated between $100,000 and $250,000 to the Clinton Global Initiative. (Gee, I wonder why.)
There is a recent video of Hasina explaining this episode to her Parliament.
To be clear, it was illegal for Hillary Clinton to use her position and influence with the U.S. government to assist any donor to her spouse’s charitable foundation, and if you really think it was just her spouse’s, I have a perpetual motion machine for sale that you might like. She also knew it was illegal. Federal ethics laws require government officials to recuse themselves from matters that have an impact on their family’s business.
Federal laws prohibit bribes, too.
Yunus had been disqualified from serving in the position, but had illegally served anyway, and collected a salary, for a decade past the statutory limit. After complaints were filed, he was terminated by order of the high Bangladesh court. So not only was Clinton delivering a political favor bought and paid for by a Clinton Foundation “donation,” she was asking the Prime Minister to break her own nation’s laws.
This is real, stinky, high-level, low-class corruption. There is no other way to describe it. Clinton was using her position with the U.S. government for personal profit, and abusing the public trust by doing the bidding of foreign nationals in exchange for cash. Moreover, you know and I know that this could not have been some weird one-off aberration due to Hillary’s interest in Bangladesh. If she did this once there, she did it in other instances. I cannot emphasize enough how serious conduct it is. It is as unethical, venal and dirty as public service gets.
This was your candidate, Democrats. This was your champion, feminists. This was your standard-bearer, liberals. This is the woman whose defeat has sent you into the maw of madness, progressives. Now what?
Hillary Clinton was unfit to serve by virtue of her conduct and her character; I said so for many months, and this is smoking gun evidence. I will be watching to see who among her supporters and cheering section has the integrity to admit it.
I admit: the story shocks even me.
Let’s see if the revelation by the Prime Minister makes the headlines in the news shows, the Times and the Post. Let’s see how the Clinton machine tries to spin it.
Next month, Variety magazine will host its annual “Women in Power” luncheon, and will give “Lifetime Impact Awards” to several women in the fields of entertainment and public service.Among the honorees will be Chelsea Clinton. Here are the Top Ten Reasons the ridiculous award starts ethics alarms sounding:
1. The award is incompetent and misleading. Chelsea has done nothing on her own to justify any award. She has been hired for a series of jobs based solely on the prominence of her famous parents, and is on the board of her family foundation, which has funded various humanitarian programs. These are passive achievements that any child of the Clintons would accumulate.
2. The award to Clinton immediately renders worthless Variety’s past and future “Lifetime Impact Awards” to deserving and worthy recipients. It destroys any claim the award has to integrity and sincerity.
3. The award is a lie. Chelsea Clinton is in her thirties, and hasn’t accumulated a lifetime, much less a lifetime of laudable achievements. It is grossly premature, contradicting its own title.
4. The award is cruel. It compels focus on the pathetic, privileged, exploited and exploitative existence of Chelsea Clinton thus far by proclaiming it to be something it obviously is not.Continue reading →
As I write this, President Obama is using his press conference to spin the Russia-Wikileaks hacked e-mails story. In addition to snidely implying that Americans are idiots for allowing such relative trivia to sway their votes when so much of substance was at stake (note that there is no evidence that any votes were thus swayed), the President referred to the content of the DNC e-mails as “gossip.” Gossip is generally defined as “casual or unconstrained conversation or reports about other people, typically involving details which are not confirmed as true.” Calling the contents of Podesta’s e-mails and others “gossip” is deliberate disinformation by Obama—a lie. The most important revelations were definitely not “gossip.” Like these:
A 12-page memo written by Doug Band, longtime aide to Bill Clinton, describes using his consulting firm to raise money for the Clinton Global Initiative as well as direct personal income for the former president. It describes how Band rallied clients of his firm, Teneo, to contribute directly to Mr Clinton for “in-kind services for the President and his family – for personal travel, hospitality, vacation and the like” referring to that fund as “Bill Clinton Inc”.
The memo confirmed that several companies directly paid the former president for his speeches or advice, while making contributions to the Clinton Global Initiative. One client, Coca Cola, received a face-to-face meeting with the former president at his home in 2009, after contributing millions to the non-profit foundation.
Verdict: Not gossip, but smoking-gun evidence of Clinton influence peddling.
On the fateful day that news of a private email server broke, John Podesta emailed Neera Tanden, who worked for the Clinton campaign in 2008 and has remained a close adviser, to complain, saying, “We’ve taken on a lot of water that won’t be easy to pump out of the boat”, he wrote in September 2015 as Clinton staff feared that Vice President Joe Biden would join the Democratic primary race. “Most of that has to do with terrible decisions made pre-campaign, but a lot has to do with her instincts. Almost no one knows better [than] me that her instincts can be terrible.” In the email exchange, Mr Podesta also complained that Clinton’s personal lawyer David Kendall, and former State Department staffers Cheryl Mills and Philippe Reines “sure weren’t forthcoming here on the facts here”. Mrs Tanden responds “Why didn’t’ they get this stuff out like 18 months ago? So crazy.”
Tanden later answered her own question saying, “I guess I know the answer. They wanted to get away with it.”
Verdict:Not gossip. These were assessments of those who know Clinton best, and their questioning her judgment was significant, as is the last comment, which completely undermines the year-long Clinton camp denial that there was anything amiss with Hillary’s handling of e-mail at State. It would be admissible in court to show state of mind and that the Clinton camp had lied. Continue reading →
The many outbursts of liberal anger, resentment, accusations and denial over the election have been revealing, and not in a good way. Few have been as directly and stubbornly misguided and biased, however, as the current New York Magazine article by Jonathan Chait, with the clickbait title, “The 2016 Election Is a Disaster Without a Moral.”
It is, in essence, yet another example of Democrats attempting to argue away any accountability for their own misfortune, making Chait’s piece itself a denial of several moral lessons, such as “I am the architect of my own destiny,” “Take responsibility for your failures,” and “Don’t blame others for your own mistakes.” The post-election progressive freak-out, of which Chait is a part, also has a very important moral lesson in store, the one embodied in the Serenity Prayer authored by theologian and philosopher Reinhold Niebuhr (1892–1971):
God, grant me the serenity to accept the things I cannot change, the courage to change the things I can, and wisdom to know the difference.
Clearly, this moral lesson is completely elusive, with pointless recounts underway supported by the Clinton campaign; round the clock complaining about the Electoral College, part of the 225 year-old rules of the game the Democrats accepted when they ran a candidate in the election; unethical and futile attempts intimidate electors or convince them to violate their vows; embarrassingly infantile laments and near-breakdowns of whining students on college campuses,; and “Not My President!” protests and riots.
The lessons are there to learn, Jonathan, you just don’t want to learn them. He actually writes—and if this isn’t denial, I don’t know what is, “It is hard to think of an election defeat more singularly absent of important lessons.” What??? To the contrary, it is hard to think of an election that taught more important lessons than this one. Continue reading →
The first Ethics Alarms post about Hillary Clinton ironically enough, in 2009, awarded her an Ethics Hero. (She has two.) “I know, I know. Truth and the Clintons have never been friends,” it began. And, looking back, it was a pretty generous award: all she did was describe how an ethical decision is made, and claimed that was how she decided to accept Obama’s invitation to be Secretary of State. It didn’t prove she actually made the decision the way she said she did, and now, with the benefit of seven years’ hindsight, I think it’s likely that she was lying about it, as usual. Still, it proves that Hillary may know how to act ethically. This distinguishes her from Donald Trump.
Before heading to the voting booth, I decided to review all of the Ethics Alarms posts about Clinton. It is, I think it’s fair to say, horrifying. You can find them all here.
There are unethical quotes of the week and month, Ethics Dunce designations, Jumbos, where Clinton denied what was in clear view to all, and KABOOMS, where the sheer audacity of her dishonesty (or that of her corrupted allies and supporters) made my skull explode skyward. If you have a recalcitrant Hillary enabler and rationalizer in your life, you should dare him or her to read this mass indictment—not that it will change a mind already warped, of course, but because the means of denying and spinning what they read will be instructive, confirming the symptoms of incurable Clinton Corruption.In July of 2015, I responded to complaints—including one from an ethics professor— that I was not objective regarding Mrs. Clinton, that I was picking on her. The response was a manifesto, stating my standards and objectives: Continue reading →
I just watched George Stephanopoulos grill Bernie Sanders on his Sunday morning show on ABC.
It was a fair, professional interview. It doesn’t matter. George Stephanopoulos has a bright, shining, unshakable conflict of interest of long-standing, and both he and his employer, ABC, pretend it doesn’t exist. He is a former Clinton staffer. He has a previous relationship with Hillary Clinton. He withheld the fact that he had contributed $75,000 to the Clinton Promotion Slush Fund And Under The Table Influence Peddling Machine, also known as the Clinton Foundation. In 2006 he was a featured attendee and panel moderator at the annual meeting of the Clinton Global Initiative (CGI). He was also a 2008 panelist at the CGI annual meeting. In 2009, he served as a panel moderator at CGI’s annual meeting. In 2010 and 2011, he was an official member of the Clinton Global initiative.In 2013 and 2014, he served with Chelsea Clinton as CGI contest judges for awards.
This long, obviously close and supportive relationship with the Clintons would dictate Stephanopoulos’s removal from any reporting of the Democratic Presidential competition between his former patron and current favored candidate and Bernie Sanders, if ABC was the least bit interested in promoting fairness, professionalism and objectivity in its journalism. Obviously, it isn’t. It isn’t even interested in avoiding a giant, blinking, neon appearance of impropriety that suggests that the fix is in.
At the very least, Stephanopoulos should have been required to give viewers a full account of his ties to the Clintons, so viewers can decide for themselves how objective he is. At very least, if he was an ethical journalist, George should have done this on his own. Continue reading →
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.
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 →
6. Sooner or later, a Democrat is going to have to answer a question about the “safe places,” microaggressions,” college campus meltdown that is, I think, just gathering momentum, and choose between alienating the young black base that elected Barack Obama, or horrifying people who believe in free speech and thought, presumably a few iconoclast Democrats and a lot of independents. Significantly, CBS didn’t ask Sen. Sanders that question.
Well, it’s significant if you believe that CBS is protecting the Democrats. As we saw in Bernie’s coddling of Black Lives Matter, and know from the fact that he’s a Marxist at heart, he doesn’t really expect to be nominated and has no spine (see Part I), Sanders was a good bet to fully endorse the anti-free speech position taken by the students at Yale, Amherst and Mizzou. That would have put the whole Party, which right now is Hillary, on the spot. Surely CBS would never do that. The alternative is to believe that last night’s journalists were inept.
DICKERSON: Secretary Clinton, you told some Black Lives Matter activists recently that there’s a difference between rhetoric in activism and what you were trying to do, was — get laws passed that would help what they were pushing for. But recently, at the University of Missouri, that activism was very, very effective. So would you suggest that kind of activism take place at other universities across the country?
CLINTON: Well, John, I come from the ’60s, a long time ago. There was a lot of activism on campus — Civil Rights activism, antiwar activism, women’s rights activism — and I do appreciate the way young people are standing up and speaking out. Obviously, I believe that on a college campus, there should be enough respect so people hear each other. But what happened at the university there, what’s happening at other universities, I think reflects the deep sense of, you know, concern, even despair that so many young people, particularly of color, have…You know, I recently met with a group of mothers who lost their children to either killings by police or random killings in their neighborhoods, and hearing their stories was so incredibly, profoundly heartbreaking. Each one of them, you know, described their child, had a picture. You know, the mother of the young man with his friends in the car who was playing loud music and, you know, some older white man pulled out a gun and shot him because they wouldn’t turn the radio down.Or a young woman who had been performing at President Obama’s second inauguration coming home, absolutely stellar young woman, hanging out with her friends in a park getting shot by a gang member.And, of course, I met the mothers of Eric Garner and Tamir Rice, and Michael Brown and Trayvon Martin and so many of them who have lost their children.So, your original question is the right question. And it’s not just a question for parents and grandparents to answer. It’s really a question for all of us to answer, every single one of our children deserves the chance to live up to his or her god-given potential. And that’s what we need to be doing to the best of our ability in our country.