Category Archives: Ethics Dunces

Ethics Dunce: Pope Francis

The Pope and "the Angel of Peace"...

The Pope and “the Angel of Peace”…

Sigh.

I apologize in advance to all the Catholics and others who will be offended by this post. I wish I didn’t have to write it. But I just read one too many “nyah, nyah, nyah conservatives and Republicans, you’re so big on waving God at us and now the Pope says you’re full of crap” Facebook posts from someone who would no more set foot in a church than Damien in “The Omen.”  The Pope is as fair game for criticism when he abuses his influence and power as Kylie Jenner, who was the subject of the previous post, and for similar reasons. To those who say that it is disrespectful for me to compare the Pope’s ethics to those of an ignorant 18-year-old minor celebrity drunk on her own fame, my answer is that the Pope needs to stop acting like one.

I’m going to try to avoid the mocking tone I used with Kylie, I really am.

With great power, the saying goes, comes great responsibility. What I see in this Pope is a very, very nice and well-meaning man who suddenly was given the power to have his every opinion on any subject immediately plastered all over newspapers across the world and recited by news readers as significant, and literally can’t stop himself. He told an Argentinian journalist last week that he just wants to be remembered as “good guy.”  Mission accomplished: I believe he is a good guy. He’s also an irresponsible guy, who knows or should know that his pronouncements will be exploited for political advantage by people and parties that could not care less about his Church, God and religion generally, but who will use his words  to persuade voters who feel the need to know no more about a subject that what the “Vicar of Christ” tells them.

It may be “good to be Pope,” to paraphrase Mel Brooks, and it’s also not “easy being Pope,” to paraphrase Kermit the Frog. I don’t care: he accepted the job, and with it the duty to do it responsibly. Being a responsible Pope means not shooting off your mouth about every topic that occurs to you. In that same interview, Pope Francis opined that humans care too much about pets. I get it: poverty is, by his own assessment, the single most important aspect of the Church’s mission, so it’s natural for the Pope to believe that the money spent on movies, cable TV, make-up, CDs, and Jack Russell terriers should all be given to the Clinton Foundation or his Church instead. That’s a facile opinion from someone who has a staff catering to his every whim, and who sits on billions in the Vatican Bank. Does the Pope understand loneliness? Does he have any compassion for those suffering from it? Does he understand the needs of my sister, divorced and with both children gone, and her desire to have some unconditional love in the house when she returns to an otherwise empty home,  love that  takes the form of a happy, loyal, Havanese? “Care for pets is like programmed love,” the Pope told the interviewer. “I can program the loving response of a dog or a cat, and I don’t need the experience of a human, reciprocal love.”

My response: “Shut up. You don’t know what you’re talking about, and millions of people will assume you got this point of view straight from God.” Continue reading

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Filed under Animals, Around the World, Business & Commercial, Character, Ethics Alarms Award Nominee, Ethics Dunces, History, Leadership, Love, Popular Culture, Religion and Philosophy

Ethics Dunce (and Ethics Hero REVOKED): Sen. Ted Cruz

revoked

Uh-uh, Senator. You can’t have it both ways, not on Ethics Alarms. You can’t be gracious and forgiving and then turn around a couple days later and say what your red meat supporters want to hear. I call that an “Al Gore,” who gave a magnanimous and statesman-like speech conceding after the Supreme Court stopped the 2000 Florida recount, and then slammed the legitimacy of his defeat ever after.

Ethics Alarms gave the Republican rabblerouser an Ethics Hero designation for coming to pundit Mark Halperin’s defense when he was being pilloried all over the media for a demeaning interview of Cruz based on the assumption that he needed to prove that he was really Hispanic. After Halperin was battered into apologizing, Cruz said, in part,

“Mark Halperin is a serious and fair-minded journalist. Today he kindly issued an apology for some silly questions he asked me in an interview. The apology was unnecessary — no offense was taken, nor, I believe, intended — but is certainly appreciated.”

That was classy, and also apparently, a ploy and insincere.In comments about the episode to the conservative IJReview at an  American Conservative Union event, Senator Cruz essentially recycled the same Halperin critic complaints that his earlier comments were supposed to deflect, saying,

“Imagine if [Halperin] had asked Obama these same questions? He would have been run out of the industry.”

But no offense was taken, right, Ted?

Not cool, not kind, and definitely not consistent. The fact that he is absolutely correct about the double standard is beside the point. Cruz couldn’t help himself. He knew the right way to act (that is, his ethics alarms work and he can follow the Golden Rule), but he didn’t have the self-restraint or integrity to resist taking a shot at Halperin anyway. Now we know what he really thinks, and now we know that what he said initially was just a smart politician taking a high road that he didn’t want to be on.

Got it.

Fool me once, Ted…

Ethics Hero REVOKED

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Filed under Character, Ethics Alarms Award Nominee, Ethics Dunces

Now We Know: Patriots Quarterback Tom Brady Is A Fick*

Yechhh.

Watch, if you can, this smirking, wink-wink-nudge-nudge exhibition by Tom Brady yesterday in front of his drooling, cheering, bleating, sheep-brained and ethically corrupt fans, as he mocks, in every expression, tone of voice and gesture, the idea that he should be even slightly ashamed of  the NFL’s finding that he cheated to ease his team’s path to the Super Bowl, and that finding’s implication that Brady lied about it, blatantly and repeatedly:

If, after this intentional poke in the eye to anyone who believes sports contests should be played with fairness, honor and integrity,  the NFL doesn’t give Brady a major suspension, and nothing less than half a season will qualify as major, fine the Patriots, fine Coach Belichick, and take some action to permanently label the team’s division and league championship as rotten, then we should declare pro-football a dangerous cultural menace, promoting cheating, lying and rule-breaking rather than sportsmanship to our youth. Continue reading

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Filed under Character, Ethics Alarms Award Nominee, Ethics Dunces, Journalism & Media, Sports

CNN’s Chris Cuomo Gets An Ethics Dunce Hat Trick: Law, Journalism And Civics

dunce capBad day at CNN. First John Berman turns the morning news into frat boy jokes about “big stones” —a testicles reference! HAR!–and then CNN’s AM Big Kahuna Chris Cuomo humiliates himself and everyone associated with him by tweeting,

“Hate speech is excluded from protection. Don’t just say you love the Constitution…read it.”

Wow. Not only is Cuomo spectacularly wrong, but he was smug and arrogant about it. Much as censorious fake liberals who want to impose speech and thought codes on us all would like it to be the case, “hate speech” has no special status in the Constitution at all, other than its status as “speech.” Reason, in a rebuke to Cuomo that drips with appropriate but still somehow inadequate contempt, points out:

Okay, let’s take Cuomo’s challenge. Let’s read the speech part of the Constitution. (I hope this doesn’t take too long; I hate reading.) Oh, good, the speech stuff is right there at the beginning of the “things you can do” section:

Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof; or abridging the freedom of speech, or of the press; or the right of the people peaceably to assemble, and to petition the Government for a redress of grievances. My copy of the Constitution seems to be missing this fabled “except hate speech, none of that” clause.

Well, then, it must be an exception found by the Supreme Court, right? Uh, no…Reason continues its schooling: Continue reading

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Filed under Citizenship, Ethics Alarms Award Nominee, Ethics Dunces, Government & Politics, Journalism & Media, Rights

Ethics Dunce: Grandstanding Topeka Waitress Chloe Hough

tip the schoolsToday was apparently “Popular Unethical Conduct Day.” This isn’t as bad as a mother having a police officer terrorize her little boy, because governor abuse isn’t as bad as child abuse. It’s still wrong, and in several ways.

Waitress Chloe Hough was in her final shift in her last day as a waitress at a Kansas barbecue restaurant, and found herself serving conservative Kansas governor Sam Brownback. The controversial  Republican  recently pushed to replace Kansas’s education funding system with a  “block grant” program that cuts millions of dollars from  public school budgets.

Hough decided to use the opportunity to make a snarky, meaningless protest comment on his check, and grandstanded by posting a photo of it on Facebook.

“I just knew I had to say something or I would regret it,” she told a TV station.  Of course, she really would have regretted it if she hadn’t already quit her job. She was rude to a customer (wrong), compromised the service of her employer (wrong); embarrassed her employer (wrong);used her job illicitly to make a personal political statement (wrong), and posted the restaurant’s document without permission on Facebook. If the restaurant shares tips among servers, she also gave away money belonging to her colleagues without their permission. Wrong, wrong, wrong.  She did all of this knowing that she wouldn’t suffer any consequences, since she had already quit. It was hit and run unethical conduct, and a cowardly betrayal of trust. The legitimacy of her political critique is irrelevant.

I hope the restaurant withholds her final paycheck, and to any other employers out there, remember that name: Chloe Hough. She’s untrustworthy and disloyal, and if you hire her, you deserve what you get.

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Filed under Business & Commercial, Character, Ethics Alarms Award Nominee, Ethics Dunces, Etiquette and manners, Government & Politics, Workplace

The Worst Timing Of Unethical Conduct Ever? African-American Mom Asks White Police Officer To Abuse Her Son

Fake Arrest

The African-American community needs to get its objectives and messages straight…quickly. That is, it needs to do this if it really knows what its objectives and intended messages are. This story should make everyone, including them wonder.

In  Columbus, Georgia, Chiquita Hill’s  10-year-old son, Sean,  was disrespectful to his teacher and repeatedly defiant in class. Sean’s mother was beside herself, and as I just heard her explain on HLN, was worried about what the child might be like when he reached puberty. Thus she devised the brilliant idea (yes, many people—cretins, but still—are saying that on social media) of “scaring her son straight” by calling 911 and having a police officer pretend to arrest him and take him to jail. Let me repeat that: there are people on social media saying this was a good idea.Many of these people have children themselves. Think about it.

Hill said her son didn’t believe she had called the cops on him—for the crime of talking back to his teacher— until Columbus police officers showed up at the door and put him in handcuffs, put him in the patrol car and pretended to take him to jail.  “It happened so quick he didn’t know what to do,” she told the media. “I don’t know what they said to him but he came running down the hill, gave me a big hug said, ‘I’m sorry, I’m sorry!”

Then Chiquita posted the pictures of her son in handcuffs on Facebook, where it has gone viral and will last forever.

There is nothing ethical, civilized, justifiable, reasonable, rational or right about either the conduct of the mother, or the conduct of the police officers. In the context of speeches and protesters in Baltimore and elsewhere  proclaiming angrily that the police forces of  the United States are racist and determined to exterminate black males, the episode is also hypocritical on the part of both the police and the mother, while intentionally seeding the racial distrust both police and African Americans are supposed to be working together to defuse, not working together to create.

I assume that readers here have functioning ethics alarms so let’s do this as a game, shall we? Before you read further—no cheating now, this is an ethics blog–vote on how many ways this episode involved wrongful conduct. Then see how close you came by finishing the post.

Did you vote?

OK, here’s the tally: Continue reading

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Filed under Childhood and children, Ethics Alarms Award Nominee, Ethics Dunces, Journalism & Media, Kaboom!, Law & Law Enforcement

A Particularly Dangerous Ethics Dunce Display: State’s Attorney Marilyn Mosby’s Unethical Statement Regarding Charges In The Death Of Freddie Gray

State’s Attorney Marilyn Mosby announced today that the six Baltimore police officers involved in the arrest and subsequent death of Freddie Gray  have been charged with criminal charges  second-degree murder, manslaughter, second-degree assault, vehicular manslaughter , and misconduct in office. I have no comment on that: I haven’t seen the evidence. I will assume the charges are justified base on what evidence there is.

Nonetheless, Mosby’s announcement and related statements from  the steps of Baltimore’s War Memorial Building were unethical, and indeed  constituted a professional ethics breach:

  • Mosby said she told Gray’s family that “no one is above the law and I would pursue justice upon their behalf.” Unethical. Her client isn’t the family. Her client is the state. If the evidence appears too weak to get a conviction based on any new revelations, her duty to her client, which only requires justice, not justice for any party, would be to drop the case. Telling the family that she is working “on their behalf” is either a lie, or, if true, unethical. She is not their lawyer or the victim’s lawyer.
  • “I heard your call for ‘no justice, no peace,'” she said. “Your peace is sincerely needed as I work to deliver justice on behalf of this young man.”

Ugh. Again the “on behalf of” misstatement. Worse, though, is “I heard your call for ‘no justice, no peace.” What are we to take from this statement, other than the disgraceful admission that the indictment is in response to mob violence and threats of more? She may not say that. By saying it, she has undermined the rule of law. Prosecutors must not”hear” demands that a citizen be prosecuted, or not prosecuted. They are ethically obligated to ignore them, and do what the evidence dictates.

The demonstrators obviously got her meaning. Desmond Taylor, 29, shouted to the crowd,  “This day means that your actions bring consequences in Baltimore City.”

Imagine what else riots and arson might bring! Continue reading

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Filed under Ethics Dunces, Ethics Train Wrecks, Government & Politics, Law & Law Enforcement, Professions