Unethical Quote Of The Week: Barack Obama [UPDATE: He’s Quoting Himself!]

Queen of Clubs

“Hillary Clinton is consistently treated differently than just about any other candidate I see out there. There’s a reason we haven’t had a woman president.”

—-President Obama, playing the gender card, since the race card isn’t applicable, in a campaign speech in Columbus, Ohio.

How disgraceful is this? I know it’s a campaign speech and some hyperbole is expected, but there are limits. The statement is dishonest, insulting, divisive and stupid.

Hillary Clinton is treated differently “than just about any other candidate”? Does he mean Trump? That’s the only other candidate running for President, and sure, he’s treated differently: he’s routinely demonized in the news media, from which he received almost nothing but sneering, negative coverage, and called the equivalent of Hitler by members of Obama’s party. Nobody ever blames the bad press he gets on sexism. I guess she is treated differently.

Of course, Hillary is also the only allegedly feminist Presidential candidate who rose to power on the coattails of her more successful and powerful husband, whose rise she assisted by threatening the victims of his sexual advances into fearful silence, whose claim to being a Wall Street reformer is undercut by the huge speaking fees-as-access gifts she received from big financial firms, and who violated both ethical principles and her oath before Congress by shaking down foreign powers for gifts to her family foundation, aka slush fund, while Secretary of State.

She’s one of two candidates repeatedly caught in substantive and trivial lies, but the only one who secretly violated both her own Department’s policies and basic principles of competence by using an unauthorized e-mail system, exposing classified information to acquisition by hostile powers, destroyed potential evidence she knew would be subpoenaed, and lied to the press and the public about it for over a year. As a result of this and more, only 43% of women find Clinton trustworthy.

SEXISTS!

Oh, wait…

Those 43%, by the way, can only find Clinton trustworthy because they are gender-biased or pathetically gullible, because she is so clearly untrustworthy. Sexism is the only reason she has as much support as she does! Continue reading

Latest Ethics Notes On The Hillary Clinton E-Mail Scandal Ethics Train Wreck, Part 2

Continuing from Part 1…

I swear, I didn't pick this photo to make James Carville look crazy or nasty. This is really what he looked like today...

I swear, I didn’t pick this photo to make James Carville look crazy or nasty. This is really what he looked like today…

5. The uproar over Clinton’s private server use and possible security breaches being investigated further with FBI inquiries into the newly uncovered Huma Abedin e-mails seems oddly out of proportion to its substance, at this point. The violent reaction of Democrats and Clinton’s campaign is more suspicious than the information itself. The immediate default to accusations of political and professional misconduct is itself unfair and unethical, and reminds those who are open to being reminded of the Clinton habit of bullying and threatening adversaries, including honorable ones. Just as Trump cannot seem to help himself from lashing out disproportionately at every affront real or imagined, the current over-reaction is itself disturbing. There are too many bullies and thugs in the Clinton camp.

6. Next to Harry Reid, the most publicized accuser of Comey has been Richard Painter, a law professor at the University of Minnesota and the chief ethics lawyer in the George W. Bush White House from 2005 to 2007. He has filed a Hatch Act complaint against Comey with the federal Office of Special Counsel and Office of Government Ethics. As with Reid’s accusation, his is unjustified. Unlike Reid, Painter is intelligent, informed and honorable, and I can only speculate why he has jumped the rails like this. Painter argued in a New York Times op-ed on Sunday that Comey’s intent can be inferred from the absence of a good reason for sending the letter.

Huh? He had a good reason, and as a lawyer and ethics expert, it should be obvious. He didn’t want to be accused of lying to Congress, or to believe that he was lying to Congress. That’s an excellent reason. There are others. “Absent extraordinary circumstances that might justify it, a public communication about a pending F.B.I. investigation involving a candidate that is made on the eve of an election is . . . very likely to be a violation of the Hatch Act and a misuse of an official position,” Painter claims. Okay, but there were extraordinary circumstances. Public distrust of law enforcement institutions is at a dangerous, all-time high. Every decision is attacked as corrupt or politically motivated by one party or the other. The particularly volatile  situation of a Presidential candidate being investigated by the FBI was greatly exacerbated by the Attorney General allowing herself to be pulled into an inappropriate and improper meeting with the husband of the candidate under investigation shortly before a decision whether to prosecute was due–I’d call that an “extraordinary circumstance.” Comey has been trying to restore the integrity of the Justice Department, which Holder and Lynch, along with President Obama, has allowed to be seriously soiled. He may or may not have made the right choice, but for Painter to file a complaint alleging intentional political bias based on his actions alone is irresponsible. Writes Jonathan Turley, also a law professor of note, and one who does a better job avoid partisan bias than Painter does:

“Comey was between the horns of a dilemma. He could be accused of acts of commission in making the disclosure or omission in withholding the disclosure in an election year. Quite frankly, I found Painter’s justification for his filing remarkably speculative. He admits that he has no evidence to suggest that Comey wants to influence the election or favors either candidate. Intent is key under the Hatch investigations.  You can disagree with the timing of Comey’s disclosure, but that is not a matter for the Hatch Act or even an ethical charge in my view.”

“Or even an ethical charge.” Bingo. And those are harsh words from the usually excessively mild Turley.

I’m not sure what’s going on with Painter, whose opinions I have followed for years. I have followed him, and even argued with him occasionally, on the excellent legal ethics blog, the Legal Ethics Forum, where he is a contributor. If he is a Republican, he’s either a disillusioned one or a strange sub-species. Most of his posts tilt leftward, and they are almost all political in nature, in sharp contrast to everyone else. He obviously has no respect for the Republicans in Congress, and is as vehemently anti-Trump as I am. Unlike me, apparently, he seems to have allowed his rational contempt for Trump lead him to a damaging bias in favor of Hillary Clinton. Ethics complaints should not be used as a political weapon. Continue reading

Unethical Quote Of The Week: President Obama…Again

Too strong to be President?

Too strong to be President?

A sure sign of an ethics train wreck candidacy (we have two of them, you know) is that even campaigning for the candidates prompts unethical behavior. This malady has bitten the President hard, for on Sunday, at a Hillary Clinton fundraiser, he made his second unethical campaign pitch in a week (here was his first), arguing that Hillary Clinton  was the victim of sexism. Here was the section to revile:

“There’s a reason why we haven’t had a woman president.We as a society still grapple with what it means to see powerful women and it still troubles us in a lot of ways, unfairly…This should not be a close election but it will be, and the reason it will be is not because of Hillary’s flaws.”

First, let us all take a moment and have a good laugh over the President’s glaringly dishonest claim that if the election is close, it won’t be because of Hillary’s “flaws.” Does anyone, including Obama, believe that? If Hillary Clinton wasn’t a chilly campaigner, an abrasive speaker, a venal master of crony politics, a compulsive liar, didn’t risk national security to avoid public scrutiny and lie about it, hadn’t been a mediocre Secretary of State involved in a failed foreign policy, didn’t aid, abet, deny and excuse her sexual predator husband, and wasn’t going to turn 69 before the election and do so in dubious health—these are all flaws, by the way—is there any question that she would be heading for a landslide victory, instead of facing very possible defeat? PBS pundit Mark Shields told a Georgetown University audience last week that Massachusetts Senator Elizabeth Warren, who is less qualified for the Presidency than Clinton by far, who supports many of Bernie Sanders’ nuttier positions and who has some political baggage of her own, would have beaten Trump in a landslide, and he’s right.

Yet, oddly, Warren seems to be a woman too…. Continue reading

Why It’s Unethical For Journalists To “Fact Check” Donald Trump—Especially CNN Journalists

Donald Trump

In Donald Trump’s meaningless statement yesterday, which was covered by the news media as if it was the revelation of the millennium, he  officially conceded that Barack Obama is a natural born U.S. citizen. He also used the silly media attention to drag out his announcement into a long campaign infomercial for which he didn’t have to pay a cent. Nice, and it serves the broadcast media right for giving any significance to a five-year-long trolling exercise.

Trump used the phony controversy over President Obama’s birth certificate to get publicity five years ago, because he is shameless. That’s all. Did he really think Obama was born in Kenya? Oh, who knows? He is an idiot, after all. Then again, he is a skilled professional troll. Whether he believed it or not, Trump used the issue to get attention then, and now has used his 180 degree reversal to get attention now. Obviously nothing has changed that would justify this flip-flop if he believed what he insisted was true for five years. A more transparently cynical and insincere retraction I cannot conceive. Who cares what Trump says he believes at any point, about anything?

But I digress. What really seemed to enrage the journalists who have embraced Rationalizations #28. The Revolutionary’s Excuse: “These are not ordinary times,” and #31. The Troublesome Luxury: “Ethics is a luxury we can’t afford right now” to anoint themselves as full-time volunteer members of the Hillary for President campaign, was that Trump said this:

“Hillary Clinton and her campaign of 2008 started the birther controversy. I finished it.”

Quoth the thoroughly partisan news media,

“ARRGH!!!!:

Continue reading