Category Archives: Leadership

Is There An Ethical Interpretation of Hillary’s Response To The Illegal Immigration Activist In Iowa?

Psst! The "thumbs up" really means, "I like your shoes"...

Psst! The “thumbs up” really means, “I like your shoes”…

In case you missed it while waiting for the next NFL player to beat up someone, Hillary Clinton, who is in Iowa theoretically testing the waters for a Presidential bid, answered this way when pressed by an activist on the rope line to give her views on President Obama’s delay of his promised executive order granting some privileges to illegals…

“I think we have to elect more Democrats.”

What did she intend to convey by this, and can such an intent possibly be defended? Some possibilities:

A. Translation: “I am running for President, and to be successful, I can’t possibly tell you my real views on this topic, since whatever position I take will lose votes. So I’m going to answer with a non-sequitur, as if I didn’t hear the question.”

Is this ethical? No. It’s an important issue, and if she is running for President, she has an obligation to communicate her views. If she has a position but doesn’t have the integrity and courage to communicate it, that’s cowardly and a breach or responsibility.

B. Translation: “We risk losing at the polls in November if voters know what the President really intends to do, and those who stand to benefit from his unilateral act circumventing the democratic process will vote Democratic anyway, even if the delay infuriates them. So it’s the smart move.”

Is this ethical? Surely not. It’s an admission that the President is trying to gull low-information voters, and that she approves of the strategy. It’s an expression of support for allowing the deportation of human beings for speculative political gain. It’s an endorsement of “the ends justify the means.” Continue reading

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Filed under Character, Citizenship, Ethics Train Wrecks, Government & Politics, Law & Law Enforcement, Leadership, Marketing and Advertising, Rights

Would You Want To Join A Coalition With People Who Talk This Way?

Lost and Confused Signpost

I just returned home from a funeral last night, and am running off to give an ethics presentation, but saw this and cannot resist pointing it out.

From the Hill:

The United States is at war with the Islamic State of Iraq and Syria (ISIS or ISIL), the White House and Pentagon said Friday, a day after Secretary of State John Kerry repeatedly declined to use that phrase.

“In the same way that we are at war with Al Qaeda and its affiliates around the globe, we are at war with ISIL,” White House press secretary Josh Earnest told reporters at the White House.

Pentagon spokesman John Kirby echoed that sentiment, telling reporters that while the effort was “not the Iraq war,” they should “make no mistake, we know we are at war with ISIL.”

Earnest said that it was important to distinguish that this was “different than the strategies previously pursued in Iraq” and that by “we,” he meant a “broader international coalition” that was fighting the terrorist organization. Earnest also said that the strategy for handling ISIS was “consistent with the counterterrorism strategy we’ve pursued in cases all around the world.”

“This president, as is expected of American presidents, is stepping up to lead an international coalition to confront that threat and to deny ISIL a safe haven. And ultimately, this international coalition will be responsible for degrading and destroying ISIL,” he said.

In a series of interviews on Thursday, Secretary of State John Kerry repeatedly rejected characterizations of the U.S. efforts against ISIS as war.

Kerry said the administration’s plan to combat ISIS includes “many different things that one doesn’t think of normally in context of war” during an interview with CNN.

In a separate interview with CBS News, Kerry also rejected the word “war” to describe the U.S. effort and encouraged the public not to “get into war fever” over the conflict.

“We’re engaged in a major counterterrorism operation, and it’s going to be a long-term counterterrorism operation. I think war is the wrong terminology and analogy but the fact is that we are engaged in a very significant global effort to curb terrorist activity,” Kerry told the network.

“I don’t think people need to get into war fever on this. I think they have to view it as a heightened level of counter terrorist activity … but it’s not dissimilar similar to what we’ve been doing the last few years with al Qaeda in Afghanistan and Pakistan and in Yemen and elsewhere,” Kerry said.

I see! So we’re at war, though you shouldn’t call it a war, though it is like the war we officially said was not a war, and although it is in Iraq, it’s not an Iraq war, and it really isn’t going to be like what you typically expect in a war, so we shouldn’t go into war fever. It’s more like what we’ve been doing in some places where we haven’t been at war, like Pakistan.

How can anyone trust these people?

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Filed under Around the World, Government & Politics, Leadership, War and the Military

Unethical Quote of the Week: Presidential Spokesman Josh Earnest

Websters

“I didn’t bring my Webster’s dictionary with me up here.”

—-White House Spokesman Josh Earnest, in response to a reporter’s question regarding the President’s definition of “victory” in the conflict with ISIS.

The statement itself is only slightly less outrageous than the fact that it has been largely ignored by the mainstream media. I’m using Politico for the link, a slightly left-leaning political news website. The primary links on the web go to Fox (of course), RealClearPolitics, The Weekly Standard, PJ Media, the Washington Times, and The Blaze. No ABC, CBS, NBC, MSNBC, or Daily Beast. There is no excuse for this. It is blatantly irresponsible, and terrible, biased, negligent journalism. Not only does the public have a right to know what the objectives are in Iraq, the public has a right to know how arrogant and incompetent its leadership is. I think Earnest’s performance provides a definitive answer: Very.
Continue reading

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Filed under Around the World, Ethics Quotes, Government & Politics, Incompetent Elected Officials, Journalism & Media, Leadership, War and the Military

When U.S. Officials Channel Orwell, U.S. Citizens Have An Ethical Obligation To Object Loudly

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I recognize that President Obama and his entire administration feel they are hostage to an infantile, irresponsible, pacifist  “base” that cringes at the concept of the kind of combat that might occasionally be necessary to preserve our liberty and keep the evil in the world at bay. (I also recognize that the Paul faction in the Republican Party is similarly addled.) That our leaders cater to such confusion is regrettable, indeed, frightening, since it means that they value the welfare of the nation and the world less than the objective of keeping their most naive and ignorant supporters happy. (The alternative, that they feel the same way as this historically unschooled mass is too horrible to contemplate, and I just refuse to believe it.) But when kowtowing to the delusion causes our leaders to embrace Orwellian language designed to declare the opposite of truth in pursuit of political advantage, even those cheered by the fantasy have an obligation, as citizens and as responsible human beings with brains, to protest.

Secretary of State John Kerry just denied that dropping bombs on a state constitutes warfare. WAR IS PEACE, you see. Continue reading

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Filed under Around the World, Citizenship, Government & Politics, Journalism & Media, Leadership, War and the Military

Unethical Quote Of The Week: NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell

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“We certainly didn’t know what was on the tape.”

Beleaguered NFL Commish Roger Goodell, telling CBS that although the league had suspended and fined Ray Rice for knocking out his now-wife in a hotel elevator, as he had admitted in court, it had no idea that a videotape of Rice knocking out Janay Palmer (now Rice) in the elevator would show him actually knocking her out in the elevator.

On the old Ethics Scoreboard, Goodell would be a slam dunk David Manning Liar of the Month, telling a lie that he can’t possibly think anyone with two IQ points to rub together could accept at face value. How else are we to take this idiotic, deceitful statement, other than as an idiotic, deceitful statement? If the NFL didn’t know that’s what the video would show, why did Goodell suspend Rice in the first place? If it accepted the fact that Rice cold-cocked a woman, what else could the tape have possibly shown?

I know I’ve already posted on this, but I feel like I’m losing my mind. The NFL reacts as if the video was a surprise. The media acts as if the video really added new information (“The NFL must have seen it!” Who cares? The NFL had to know what was on it, whether it saw the tape or not! What else could it possibly have shown? The tape, if anything, was arguably exculpatory, as it showed Palmer rushing him in an attempted assault.) And the argument suddenly becomes “Did the NFL know what was on the tape?” That’s ridiculous! Can’t everyone see how ridiculous that is? Can’t everyone see that the NFL isn’t reacting to new information, but only trying to repair its own image?

 

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Filed under Business & Commercial, Ethics Quotes, Ethics Train Wrecks, Gender and Sex, Journalism & Media, Leadership

Ethics Dunce: CNN Morning Anchor Carol Costello

Sorry Carol; you should have had this years ago.

Sorry Carol; you should have had this years ago.

I just checked. I was certain that I had named Carol Costello an Ethics Dunce a half-dozen times at least, and discovered, to my shock and shame, that she has never been designated one here. Unethical Quotes of the Month, the chief offender in various disgraceful and biased performances by CNN or the news media as a whole, but somehow the most throbbingly ethics-challenged broadcast journalist not employed by MSNBC or Fox has never been honored as an Ethics Alarms Ethics Dunce!

Well, that streak ends now, and I can make it short and sweet.

This morning, Costello once again confidently proclaimed her lack of familiarity with the concept of ethics by summing up the conviction of former Virginian Governor Bob McDonnell and his wife for bribery and corruption this way:

“Now the Virginia legislature needs to pass tough new ethics laws so this never happens again.

I’m just going to go into my shed with a hammer, and club myself into oblivion, because obviously my life is pointless and an utter failure. Continue reading

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Filed under Character, Ethics Dunces, Government & Politics, Journalism & Media, Law & Law Enforcement, Leadership

The Double Standard Files

double-standardsA misguided commenter (or perhaps he was just trying to annoy me) challenged my assertions regarding Michael Sam by claiming that I was advocating a double standard in his case, while I have condemned the prevalence of double standards elsewhere on Ethics Alarms (like here.)  I pointed out, none too gently, I must admit, that this was an unjust complaint. The requirement that trailblazers in sports, politics or any other field have to either establish high levels of performance, character and trustworthiness or fail—and not only fail, but set their causes back significantly—is not a double standard, but a separate one that applies in unique circumstances. I find it difficult to believe that most people fail to understand this.

Just to be clear, however, I began this morning searching the news for true double standards, for which the accompanying word should always be “hypocrisy.” I did not have to look very far:

 Double Standard #1 

“Take back America”: Racist for Republicans, Fine for Democrats Continue reading

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Filed under Gender and Sex, Government & Politics, Leadership, Race, Workplace