This strange and infuriating news story about the autistic child who is about to lose his “therapy chickens” is yet another example of how even the best ethics practices not only have exceptions, but obvious ones. Obvious, that is, except for the muddled thinkers on the DeBary (Florida) City Council, who have decided to harm a young and vulnerable child while turning his family’s life inside out because the needs of one citizen shouldn’t be enough to justify an otherwise unwise public policy. That governing principle is undeniably true…except in this case. And since it is so screamingly obvious that the otherwise sound principle is cruel to apply in this case, it is the perfect, obvious, compassionate instance when making an exception to a rule that works 99.9999% of the time is not only reasonable, but the right thing to do. The city council in question doesn’t comprehend this. Dead-eyed petty bureaucrats seldom do. Continue reading
Category Archives: Government & Politics
When civil rights advocates point to the disparity of sentencing for non-violent African-American drug offenders and white, shameless, greedy crooks like Kathleen McGrade and her husband, Brian Collinsworth, my best course is to feign a seizure or something. I have no good explanation for them, except that judges like federal judge Liam O’Grady are a large part of the problem.
McGrade was a management analyst for the State Department who used her position and influence to fraudulently direct $53,000,000 in 43 government contacts for construction projects and security work at U.S. sites overseas to the Sterling Royale Group, whose Vice President and CEO were Collinsworth and her daughter Jennifer Herring. She did this by hiding her relationship to the company and its officers. The taxpayer-funded family bounty, meanwhile, allowed McGrade to buy a $73,000 Lexus, a half-million-dollar yacht and nearly $223,000 in jewelry. Continue reading
The truth made a surprising appearance where one should least expect it, MSNBC, yesterday. As the rest of the news media was awash in the sanctification of the late South African leader Nelson Mandela, former TIME reporter Richard Stengel, who worked closely with Mandela his autobiography, told shocked MSNBC hosts yesterday that the image of Mandela being broadcast was, in fact, a false one.
“He was a pragmatic politician,” Stengal told “Morning Joe” that Mandela “wasn’t a visionary necessarily, he wasn’t a philosopher, he wasn’t a saint. But he never deviated from [his goal of overturning apartheid]. But anything that would get him there, he embraced, including violence. He created the violent wing of the ANC. And people don’t realize that and don’t remember that. We’ve kind of made him into a Santa Claus. He wasn’t. He was a revolutionary.”
The same day that Mandela’s death was reserved for testimonials and glowing remembrances, the website Buzzfeed had the impertinence to re-publish some of Mandela’s less Santa-like quotes, including praise for communism, communists, and dictators, and condemnations of the U.S. and Israel: Continue reading
Bill Clinton now seems to suggest that he was joking in the infamous interview back in 1993 when he claimed that he “didn’t inhale.” Yeah, that’s some comic delivery you had there, Bill. The moment seemed to encapsulate Clinton’s remarkably generous definition of truthfulness, and for the rest of his political career to date, it has proven to be an accurate predictor.
What has always seemed notable about Clinton is that he will lie when he doesn’t have to, about matters large and small. It is the trivial, pointless lies, in fact, that really inform us about a public figure’s truthfulness. A normally ethical individual, in a crisis and a moment of panic, might speak a falsehood, as all of us might and probably have. People with integrity, however, don’t resort to lies as a first option.
That is why yesterday’s puzzling story about President Obama’s uncle is insignificant in itself, but very significant as the nation and the public reaches a verdict–and such verdicts are almost impossible to overturn—regarding the trustworthiness of this leader and his government. The Washington Post relates: Continue reading
“Nelson Mandela Becomes First Politician To Be Missed”
…says the headline currently being sported at the Onion, the web’s preeminent satirical website:
JOHANNESBURG—Following the death of former South African president and civil rights leader Nelson Mandela today at the age of 95, sources confirmed that the revered humanitarian has become the first politician in recorded history to actually be missed. “Today we lost not only an international hero and a symbol of the resilient human spirit, but also the very first political figure ever who people actively wish was still alive and affecting world affairs,” said political historian Wallace M. Delaney of Columbia University…
The Onion’s rueful satire may well escape millions of Americans as old as 40, because it probably seems tragically accurate. Continue reading
D.C. Ethics: Q: What’s Worse Than Delta Airlines Dumping Passengers For The Convenience of The University Of Florida Basketball Team? A: American University Ruining A Ballet School’s “Nutcracker” For The Convenience Of Chris Matthews
Full disclosure: In the past I have been an American University (in Washington, D.C.) employee, teaching legal ethics for a couple of semesters at its Washington College of Law. If I was still an adjunct professor there, I would resign and lead a protest against the despicable, callous, unethical actions of A.U administrators, and, as I will explain later, I know just how to do it. Later. First, the tale of AU’s disgrace:
President Obama, understandably desperate to address his falling poll numbers in the wake of the dawning realization that 1) his administration is a mess, 2) he doesn’t really do anything, 4) the health care law he has been selling is dysfunctional, dictatorial and expensive and 5) he lies, is hustling to shore up his base, conveniently identified as anyone who can watch his 24-hour cable shill, MSNBC, for five minutes without laughing or getting nauseous. Thus his staff whistled up loyal sycophant Chris Matthews, he of the “thrill up my leg” Obama fixation, for an exclusive interview this week. This is a blatant political appearance, make no mistake about it. MSNBC is not a legitimate news organization, is intentionally and by design biased in favor of all things related to President Obama, and in Matthews, the President could not possibly have a less objective or more fawning foil. Continue reading
“A fellow very friendly to the administration, a longtime supporter, cornered me at a holiday party recently to ask, with true perplexity: “How could any president put his entire reputation on the line with a program and not be on the phone every day pushing people and making sure it will work? Do you know of any president who wouldn’t do that?” I couldn’t think of one, and it’s the same question I’d been asking myself. The questioner had been the manager of a great institution, a high stakes 24/7 operation with a lot of moving parts. He knew Murphy’s law—if it can go wrong, it will. Managers—presidents—have to obsess, have to put the fear of God, as Mr. Obama says, into those below them in the line of authority. They don’t have to get down in the weeds every day but they have to know there are weeds, and that things get caught in them. It’s a leader’s job… to be skeptical that grand schemes will work as intended. You have to guide and goad and be careful. And this president wasn’t.”
—-Former Reagan muse and current pundit Peggy Noonan in a Wall Street Journal op-ed titled “Low-Information Leadership.”
This is, of course, rank incompetence, but worse than that, it is arrogant, willful, shocking and frightening incompetence. It gives me no pleasure to say that I saw the signs of this years ago, for years ago there was reason to be hopeful. Presidents learn, most of them, anyway. This one, without any experience to speak of in governing, management, leadership or even organizational process, not only hasn’t learned, but has never shown the slightest recognition that he has anything to learn. Continue reading
“Unethical Website of the Month” doesn’t really do justice to CoveringHealthCareCA.com, and that’s even with the acknowledgement that this is the same Ethics Alarms category where the racist site Chimpmania is filed. CoveringHealthCareCA.com is an intentional effort to sabotage the Affordable Care Act in California, the one place where the “signature achievement” of the Obama administration didn’t completely collapse out of the starting gate. For Republican lawmakers to be doing this is beneath contempt, indefensible in every way, and the ethical equivalent of treason. The people who publish Chimpmania are hateful, vicious bigots, but they are marginal citizens and human beings. All societies have scum, and in the 21st Century, some of that scum will have racist websites. That is inevitable. It should not be inevitable for public servants to try to undermine their own government’s laws, health care system, and citizens for political gain.
CoveringHealthCare.com is a false flag website, launched by Republicans in the California Assembly to deceive Californians into believing it is an official Obamacare website, when it is, in truth, an anti-Obamacare website. Its address is similar—CoveringHealthCareCA.com vs. CoveredCa.com, the real site—and its design evokes the actual Obamacare sites. Its apparent purpose is to help citizens navigate the new health insurance system, except that once you begin clicking and reading, it slowly dawns–how slowly will vary— that this is something else, a collection of attacks and talking points against the Affordable Care Act. Continue reading