Category Archives: Ethics Quotes

Unethical Quote Of The Month: William Spencer Reilly, Executive Director of the Sheen Center

This was Bishopr Sheen, after whom the Sheen Center is named. Having spent a lot of time watching and listening to Sheen, I am fairly certain that he would not concur with the Sheen Center's decision. Why? Because, among  other reasons, he was a lot smarter than that.

This was Bishop Sheen, after whom the Sheen Center is named. Having spent a lot of time watching and listening to Sheen, I am fairly certain that he would not concur with the Sheen Center’s decision. Why? Because, among other reasons, he was a lot smarter than that.

“When an artistic project maligns any faith group, that project clearly falls outside of our mission to highlight the good, the true, and the beautiful as they have been expressed throughout the ages.”

William Spencer Reilly, the executive director of Manhattan’s Sheen Center,  in an email announcing that it was cancelling an anti-censorship benefit event at its theater because the organizers refused to allow the Center to change a play’s title and redact the content of some speakers’ remarks.

Yes, a theater found an anti-censorship event unacceptable because it refused to submit to censorship.

Ethics Dunce is too kind for Mr. Reilly, though I suspect he is more likely a traitor to his art and profession because he wants to keep his job. He is, however, a strong candidate for Hypocrite of the Decade. He rents out the Center for a theatrical project to condemn censorship, and then attempts to censor the event.

Cowabunga.

There were two ethical courses open to him: either refuse to rent the space to the event, or rent the space, knowing its purpose, and leave the event alone. What he did instead was ludicrous, and indefensible.”The management of The Sheen Center actually suggested that we alter the title of Neil LaBute’s play, and alter the content of some of our panelist’s speeches,” said the artistic curator of “Playwrights for a Cause.” “Which we find completely out of line with the anti-censorship mission of the benefit.”

Ya think? Yes, I’d say that is res ipsa loquitur. Also indefensible was Reilly’s tortured interpretation of the Sheen Center Mission Statement, which is, admittedly, a pompous mess:

“The Sheen Center for Thought & Culture is a forum to highlight the true, the good, and the beautiful as they have been expressed throughout the ages. Cognizant of our creation in the image and likeness of God, the Sheen Center aspires to present the heights and depths of human expression in thought and culture, featuring humankind as fully alive. At the Sheen Center, we proclaim that life is worth living, especially when we seek to deepen, explore, challenge, and stimulate ourselves, Catholic* and non-Catholic alike, intellectually, artistically, and spiritually.”

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Unethical Clinton Quote Of The Week: Hillary Clinton

“I have said repeatedly: I want those emails out. Nobody has a bigger interest in getting them released than I do…[A]nything that [the State Department] might do to expedite that process, I heartily support.”

—Hillary Clinton, lying her head off and, as usual, assuming nobody will notice,but, to be fair, being funnier than usual.

I’m sorry…is there a typo in that headline? Is my description overly arch? There answers are “no” and “yes, but I can’t stand much more of this.”

I think we are at the point where Clinton’s campaign has become a national ethics, integrity and intelligence test for the media, pundits, your friends and family members, and especially for Clinton supporters. For the Clintons, it’s a matter of how gutsy they can get in saying ridiculous things they know are ridiculous and expecting everyone to shrug it off…except those bad conservatives, Republicans and Clinton haters, of course. You can recognize them by the fact that they don’t shrug those statements off with a smile and a “That’s our Bill!” or “Don’t talk to my brain about the election, I’m voting with my vagina!”

The tipping point for me came a long time ago, but for anyone late to the party and capable of fair thought, it should at least have occurred when Bill Clinton justified his continued acceptance of obscene speaking fees (from likely corporate supplicants for U.S. favors and bounty after his wife becomes President) by saying “I gotta pay the bills!” This is just rubbing the public’s face in Clinton’s shamelessness, greed and corruption, and expecting everyone to like it.

Do you like it? If so, I’m disgusted with you.

The quote above by Hillary was just as outrageous; it just wasn’t quite as funny. (I’m saying that analytically: I am no longer capable of laughing at this kind of stuff from either Bill or Hillary, and I find my friends’ willingness to tolerate it tragic and diminishing.) To appreciate just how outrageous, you have to understand that it comes in the wake of the State Department announcing that it would take at least until January of 2016 to release the official emails that Hillary Clinton had to hand over because she used her own personal email server while Secretary of State in violation of government policies, including her own agency’s. (These weren’t all the e-mails, you’ll recall. She decided which she wanted the nation to see, and destroyed many thousands of them that she didn’t want to be seen, just in time to stop them from being subpoenaed.)

As State explained  in excruciating  detail, the process will take a long time because (other than the fact that the current leadership of the State Department doesn’t especially want those e-mails released either) “the Department received the 55,000 pages in paper form. The documents were provided in twelve bankers’ boxes (approximately 24” x 15” x 10 ¼” in size) with labels placed on the outside of the boxes that corresponded approximately to the time frame of the documents within a given box.”

Tech Dirt, which is not a political site and certainly not an ideological one, is falling all over itself guffawing about this and Clinton’s response to it:

“You know what would have expedited the release? First, using the State Department’s own email system while you were Secretary of State, so this wouldn’t have even been an issue. And, second, when all of this became an issue handing over the emails in electronic form, rather than in printed form in a bunch of boxes. [T] he way that Clinton has handled this whole thing is really ridiculous. Who the hell thinks it’s a good idea to print out 55,000 pages of records that were original electronic unless you’re trying to hide stuff and make life difficult for those going through it?…”

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Atrocious People, Part II: Harry Reid Thinks Pandering To Political Correctness Is More Important Than Upholding Honesty And Integrity

This is Harry Reid, but I just can't stand looking at the man any more, so I put a bag over his head....

This is Harry Reid, but I just can’t stand looking at the man any more, so I put a bag over his head….

[It’s Atrocious People Day at Ethics Alarms, and no Atrocious People Day would be complete without Harry Reid.]

“I find it stunning that the National Football League is more concerned about how much air is in a football than with a racist franchise name that denigrates Native Americans across the country,” Senator Harry Reid said on the floor of the Senate.

Well, of course he does! After all, Harry thinks that cheating is great, if it works! He justified falsely accusing Mitt Romney of not paying taxes, confident in the laziness and gullibility of the American voter. “Why, he’s the Senate Majority Leader, Mildred! He wouldn’t lie to us!” And, as Harry pointed out, it worked—Romney lost, so Harry did the right thing. No wonder Reid doesn’t see why the NFL would care about Tom Brady pressuring low-level employees so they would help him cheat by secretly make the footballs easier for him to throw in a play-off game—after all, it worked! He won! Brady lied about it? So what? Reid approves of that, too. The statement above is a typical Reid lie: the NFL showed that it was concerned about cheating, lying, sportsmanship and integrity, not “the air in a football.”

But for the lawful owner of a business to be able to keep its 80 year old name that an entire city has cheered, worn on jerseys and caps, and made part of its culture, even though professional political correctness profiteers claimed to be grievously offended by the name because they wanted to be? That, to Harry Reid, is outrageous.*

What isn’t outrageous to Harry—just fair-minded, ethical Americans who understand such concepts as why it is wrong for the government to chill individual rights and the dangers of abuse of power by elected official—-is a U.S. Senator using his high office to attack and harass private citizens who are doing noting illegal, and only doing wrong according to Harry Reid’s Bizarro World values. Continue reading

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Unethical Mothers Day Quote Of The Year: Joanne Samuel Goldblum

diapers

“On Mother’s Day, many moms do not get taken out to brunch or presented with potted plants. For them, Mother’s Day is just like any other day – a struggle to get by. There is one gift we can collectively give them, though: We can stop judging. We can throw away the good mother/bad mother distinction. We can recognize that most mothers genuinely want to do what is best for their children. It is simply much easier for some of us than for others.”

—-, a social worker and the executive director of the National Diaper Bank Network, in Washington Post column titled “Stop judging poor moms. Bad policies hurt their kids — not bad parenting”—also a strong candidate for “Sweeping Generalization of the Decade.”

There’s an old Chinese proverb that goes, “When the only tool you have is a diaper, every problem looks like a baby’s butt.”

Or something like that. runs a laudable and necessary social service that provides diapers for families that can’t afford them. That’s a wonderful service and a wonderful charity, and she and her colleagues are doing a service for humanity. Unfortunately, her unique perspective on the problem of negligent and irresponsible parenting has produced her column in the Post, which uses a stream of rationalizations, logical fallacies and rhetorical deceits to reach an absurd and societally dangerous conclusion.

The fact that public policy may not do enough to help stressed mothers or minimize the damage caused by the irresponsible, negligent, dangerous or self-destructive—or just plain stupid—decisions by women that made them mothers in the first place, cannot mean that society should stop “judging mothers.” intentionally uses “judging” as a pejorative term (evoking the Biblical rationalizations), and with that tactic sides with the ethical relativists. Without critical judgment, there can be no standards. Without public conclusions regarding ethical behavior and unethical behavior, what conduct we encourage and what conduct we condemn, there can be no culture, no shared values, and no internal or external controls to limit destructive behavior. Everyone has a societal obligation to judge their own conduct, and that of everyone else. Judging conduct does inherently reflect on the purveyors of that conduct, but pointing out destructive conduct by mothers does not and must not preclude compassion, fairness, respect and charity.

Goldblum’s initial attack on anyone who dares to suggest that women should not have children they can’t afford to care for and that will permanently cripple their chances at success, proceeds by paring such critics with those who oppose the work of her organization.

“One man called me screaming that impoverished moms should “just use newspaper!” to diaper their infants. In letters and phone calls, others have accused us of encouraging mothers to keep “breeding.” (Barnyard animals breed, mind you. Women have babies.) Our critics believe the women who come to us are bad mothers who should not have had children in the first place. (We rarely get criticism of fathers, as if women become pregnant all by themselves)”

Breathtaking. She begins with the fallacy I call “The Bad Lawyer,”concluding from the fact that a proposition has some foolish advocates that the proposition itself is incorrect. Yes, anyone who advocates endangering a baby’s health by using newspaper as diapers is too mean and dumb to be in civilized society, but using that position to characterize critics or irresponsible mothers is dishonest debating. The suggestion that women decide to have babies they can’t afford because they are confident that they can get free diapers is similarly idiotic,but the position that it’s irresponsible to have children when you should know you can’t care for them is not only not idiotic, it’s blazingly obvious. Continue reading

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Filed under Character, Childhood and children, Ethics Quotes, Family, Gender and Sex, Government & Politics, Public Service, U.S. Society

Comment of the Day: “Unethical Quote Of The Week: Bill Clinton”

cartoon

Rich (in CT) delivered a masterpiece yesterday, and a remarkably bold one: I have never seen anyone, pundit, logician, jurist or linguist, attempt to plum the machinations of Bill Clinton’s deceitful arts when he is in top form. Yet astoundingly Rich dissected yesterday’s classic Unethical Quote of the Week from Bubba professing, well, something regarding the Clintons’ various maneuvers  through the devise of the Clinton Foundation, and all I can do is radiate awe.

For the record, that quote was, “There is no doubt in my mind that we have never done anything knowingly inappropriate in terms of taking money to influence any kind of American government policy. That just hasn’t happened.” 

Here is Rich (in CT)’s Comment of the Day, my early favorite for COTD of the Year (but I am biased: the Clintons’ flagrant and joyous celebration of their ethics vacuum fascinates me almost as much as the fact that so many otherwise intelligent people don’t recognize it, though it is as obvious, and almost as long-standing, as the Grand Canyon), on the post, Unethical Quote of the Week : Bill Clinton:

Let’s try a flow chart!

>> “There is no doubt in my mind that”:
>>>> “we have never done”:
>>>>>> “anything knowingly inappropriate”:
>>>>>>>> “in terms of taking money”:
>>>>>>>>>> “to influence”:
>>>>>>>>>>>> “any kind of American government policy”.
>>>>>>>>>>>>>> “That just hasn’t happened”.

Parsing the logic: Continue reading

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Unethical Quote Of The Week: Bill Clinton

"A pool table, don't you understand?"

“A pool table, don’t you understand?”

“There is no doubt in my mind that we have never done anything knowingly inappropriate in terms of taking money to influence any kind of American government policy. That just hasn’t happened.”

–Former President Bill Clinton in an interview  on NBC’s “Today” show, discussing the foreign money that poured into the Clinton Foundation from parties seeking State Department support for their financial, business or political interests while Hilary was Secretary of State, much of it undisclosed and all of it in violation of Mrs. Clinton’s representations to Congress and her signed agreement with the Obama Administration.

You know, it will almost be worth enduring the horrible Hillary Clinton presidential campaign awaiting us to be able to enjoy Bill showing that he’s still got it. This statement is a classic Clintonism, one of his best since he argued that he and Monica were never “alone” together. It is a genuine masterpiece of deceit and obfuscation. At first hearing, it sounds like an assertion of no wrongdoing, but only if you are not paying close attention, or if you are blinded by confirmation bias—if, for example, you are a Hillary supporter determined to “vote with your vagina,” as one of them nauseatingly put it over the weekend, and can not accept or process the truth about her, which is that she’s incompetent, dishonest and corrupt—will Bill’s careful convoluted denial sound sincere and convincing.

But why would anyone ever not listen to what Bill Clinton says carefully? Continue reading

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Unethical Quote Of The Week: Washington Post Columnist Eugene Robinson

“The first two steps toward uplifting young black men are simple: Stop killing them and stop locking them in prison for nonviolent offenses. Subsequent steps are harder, but no real progress can be made until the basic right to life and liberty is secured. If anything positive is to come of Freddie Gray’s death and the Baltimore rioting that ensued, let it be a new and clear-eyed focus on these fundamental issues of daily life for millions of Americans.”

Washington Post Columnist Eugene Robinson, in an op-ed called “It’s time to seriously rethink ‘zero tolerance’ policing.”

"Honoring Excellence in Journalism, and the occasional incompetent hack..."

“Honoring Excellence in Journalism, and the occasional incompetent hack…”

Seldom have I read a column by a prominent pundit that so disqualified itself from serious consideration by the utter foolishness of its first sentence. Robinson has a right to say any silly thing he chooses, but as a columnist for a major newspaper, he has an obligation to use his extra-loud trumpet responsibly, because ideas have power, and really, really stupid ideas do terrible damage when supposedly smart and influential “experts” begin promoting them.

Robinson has a Pulitzer Prize, not that I have ever seen evidence of why. A paragraph like this one, however, ought to be grounds for revocation. It is Pulitzer Prize-winner malpractice. I know that Robinson is an African-American and a Democratic Party cheer-leader, right or wrong, and feels like he has to jump on board whatever pandering policy bandwagons the Democratic standard bearers start driving whether they make any sense or not.  But there have to be limits. All right, let’s debate non-confinement punishments for drug offenses, since apparently a disproportional number of  African-Americans find simply obeying  laws unfairly challenging. It is certainly not healthy for any society to have an already under-performing demographic group suffering from a critical mass of life, career and family disruption.

To say, however, as Robinson does, that the “easy” part of the solution is to “stop locking them in prison for nonviolent offenses” is irresponsible beyond belief or excuse. Non-violent drug offenses? I’ll tolerate the debate. All non-violent offenses? Burglary,  grand theft, forgery, drunk driving, fraud, identify theft…no prison time? What, then? Or do we just legalize those things? Continue reading

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