Tag Archives: corruption
Have A Happy Thanksgiving Everyone, And Don’t Forget To Review The Ethics Alarms Complete “It’s A Wonderful Life” Ethics Guide Before The Annual TV Screening!
About a week ago, The World Anti-Doping Agency (WADA) issued an unexpectedly tough report calling for Russia to be banned from international athletics at all levels for flagrant doping violations and a “deeply rooted culture of cheating at all levels” within Russian athletics. WADA also urged the International Association of Athletics Federations to ban five Russian athletes and five coaches for life. Why the Draconian measures?
The verdict was doubtless bolstered by considering the repeated examples of Russian cheating going back to the bad old Soviet Union days, when the gargantuan Press sisters were winning gold medals over female athletes half their size and East German female swimmers had shoulders as wide as Volkswagon buses, often because they had been dosed with testosterone without their knowledge. More recently, WADA found that Russia “intentionally and maliciously” destroyed 1,400 urine and blood samples of its athletes and, WADA says, the Russian government was directly involved.
WADA President Dick Pound’s report conceded that “corruption and bribery practices at the highest levels of international athletics” were rampant, but that Russia was in a league of its own. “For the 2016 Olympics our recommendation is that the Russian Federation is suspended. One of our hopes is that they will volunteer that so they can undertake the remedial work needed.”
Then he told another funny joke about a horse, a rabbi and an octopus walking into a bar. Continue reading
This will be the second Presidential election for Ethics Alarms. As I learned in the first one (2012), keeping politics out of the posts and discussion are futile. Nonetheless, I will work to stay away from policy debates unless there is clear ethical content, as with illegal immigration, abortion, income distribution or gun control. Leadership is the second topic that Ethics Alarms encompasses, in part because character and the ethical handling of power are so important to ethical leadership. Competence is also an important component. An indirect message of the recent post about Joe Biden was that the United States, though it always needs competent leadership in the White House, needs it even more than usual, and potential candidates for the job do not appear to have it.
Veteran Ethics Alarms commenter Michael R has delivered a useful and troubling addendum to what I wrote. Here is his Comment of the Day on the post Joe Biden, The Republicans, And The Lawn Chair Test: Continue reading
I’ve been reflecting, since yesterday, on the bizarrely angry and intellectually dishonest protests registered here and on his own blog by trial lawyer Eric Turkewitz regarding the aunt who sued her 12-year-old nephew. His arguments, if you can call them that, consisted of constantly shifting the issue from ethics (what the aunt should have done) to law (what the aunt had a legal right to do), denying the core problem (Why would anyone assume that a child is harmed by dragging him into court, subjecting him to examination in front of strangers, and focusing on him as a wrongdoer and responsible for his aunt’s alleges misery, all mandated by the aunt who supposedly loves him?), and appealing to a dizzying list of rationalization and fallacies. He then made his exit by accusing me, a lawyer, of “knowing nothing about the law” (I made no assertions about the law at all—this is not a legal issue) making everyone stupid, and being a narcissist, a full-bore ad hominem attack ending in an ominous “May God have mercy on your soul!” Why would he act like that?
The reason, I realize, is that my posts challenge the basic belief system of the plaintiff’s bar, which I know very, very well having worked in an executive position and run such diverse programs as the research data base, conventions, sections, litigation groups and more over seven years with the Association of Trial Lawyers of America. Now ATLA is called “The American Association for Justice,” a name chosen purposefully to disguise the fact that it is a plaintiff’s lawyer’s lobby by keeping “trial lawyers” out of the name because it had a negative response in marketing studies. (I kid you not.)
Trial lawyers have done a lot of good and important things and continue to, but the profession is corrupting. There is a lot of money to be made, and ATLA–excuse me, AAJ, is devoted to eliminating any limits on their members’ ability to sue anyone for any amount, no matter what harm it does to the economy, the nation, the cost of health care, the bonds of trust in society, personal liberty, or public respect for the civil justice system. Individually, members of AAJ are among the top donors to the Democratic Party, in part to make sure that they can block all Republican efforts to limit jury awards, spurious lawsuits, and damages that have to be paid by negligent corporations when they destroy lives through shoddy products, conspiracies, and other conduct. The other reason is that Democrats support the redistribution of wealth, and trial lawyers profit by it.
In the matter of keeping corporations accountable, the AAJ is, as they will constantly remind us, on the side of the angels. But like other interest groups (the NRA, the ACLU, NOW, and may more) that stake out extreme, self-serving and unethical positions in defense of legitimate rights, trial lawyers often feel that they must take the position that every injury and misfortune deserves compensation by someone else. Eventually, they believe it. Justice is taken out of the equation for all but the plaintiffs bar’s clients. Justice means that someone else is always at fault. Continue reading
Last week, we learned that Secret Service Assistant Director Edward Lowery suggested that unflattering information the agency had in its files about a Republican Congressman who had been critical of the service—and who hasn’t been?— should be leaked to public as the agency’s revenge. And it was.
“Some information that he might find embarrassing needs to get out,” Lowry wrote in an e-mail to a fellow director on March 31, commenting on an internal file that was being widely circulated inside the service. “Just to be fair.” Soon an internet source reported that Rep. Jason Chaffetz (R-Utah), chairman of the House Oversight and Government Reform Committee, had applied to be a Secret Service agent in 2003 and was rejected. That information was part of a Chaffetz personnel file stored in a restricted Secret Service database and required by law to remain private.
During an inspector general’s investigation, Lowery denied that he directed anyone to leak the private information about Chaffetz to the press and said his e-mail was simply venting. How Clintonian. No, he didn’t direct anyone to do it: he just said that it should be done, as in “Will no one rid me of this troublesome priest?”
So far, this self-evident dodge has been enough to keep Lowery in his job, because as those who are honest and fair know, there is no accountability in the Obama Administration, and if a Republican Congressman is embarrassed, everyone knows the President is smiling about it. Lowry was promoted to the post of Assistant Director for Training a month ago to help reform the agency after outrageous security lapses that Chaffetz had helped expose and criticize.
That’s some reformer! Continue reading
The Ridiculous, Sad, But Somehow Not Very Surprising Tale Of The Plagiarizing College Vice-President In Charge Of Plagiarism
Shirley Malone-Fenner, Wheelock College’s vice-president in charge of academic affairs for the Boston based college, resigned today. The reason: though her responsibilities included oversight of the investigation and discipline of students accused of academic plagiarism, Malone-Fenner’s welcome-back letter to the faculty last month…was plagiarized.
The inspiring four-page letter from Malone-Fenner contained at least six passages from the letter Harvard’s president Drew Faust wrote to her returning faculty in 2007. Experienced plagiarists, however—and who has more experience with plagiarism than a college’s academic affairs authority?— knows that it is better to mix sources, so the letter also contained verbatim and barely altered phrases, sentences, and passages from a 2004 welcome letter from the president of Rutgers University, as well as sections of a 2010 letter from the president of the University of the Pacific in California.
A suspicious Wheelock professor ran Malone-Fenner’s letter through software the school uses to detect student plagiarism, discovering the damning parallels. The faculty subsequently called for her metaphorical head.
That head didn’t help matters by dreaming up pathetic explanations like this one, which she gave to the Boston Globe:
“In preparing my message, I reviewed many letters from other institutions and used words from others’ welcoming messages without attribution. What I intended to share is quite simple — I am excited about working with each member of the faculty to make this a most successful year.”
Translation: “Crap, you got me.”
What does what she was “trying to do” and how “excited” she was about it have to do with the fact that she obviously and unethically tried to pass off the words of others as her own? I bet many of the students she has nailed for plagiarism have come up with better excuses than that. Continue reading
I really, really wanted to be through with Hillary Clinton today…this week…as long as possible. You’ve got to believe me!
Then comes this breathless announcement from ABC News: Hillary finally apologized!
Of course, when you have said repeatedly that there was nothing to apologize for, and you aren’t going to apologize, see no reason to apologize, because you did nothing wrong, and it was allowed, and lots of others had done similarly without anyone making a fuss, and the whole thing is nonsense, and made up by Fox News and Republicans, and then you apologize because you can’t stop the criticism and your advisors are saying “FOR THE LOVE OF GOD, HILLARY, THE MEDIA IS BEGGING YOU TO APOLOGIZE AND MAYBE IF YOU GIVE THEM WHAT THEY WANT WE CAN BURY THIS!!!!,” what kind of apology is it?
An insincere apology. A desperate apology. A cynical, dishonest, Machiavellian apology, containing no contrition, humility, acknowledgement of wrongdoing, remorse or acceptance of consequences. In other words, not an apology at all. Just another tactic,
Is anyone really fooled by this? If you are, what’s the matter with you?
Even by fake apology standards, this was awful. Clinton said (my comments in Hillary Soul Black):
“I do think I could have and should have done a better job answering questions earlier.
You mean better as in not using one rationalization after another, lying , falsely claiming that the e-mails of the Secretary of State contained no classified information before you adopted the Clintonian “no e-mails marked as classified?” Or better as in doing a better job lying?
“I really didn’t perhaps appreciate the need to do that.
Because Clintons never appreciate the need to tell the truth unless they are about to be exposed. Because Hillary is only running for President—why would she appreciate the need to be transparent and honest to the public? Why, though, was the alternative to doing a better job answering questions sending out one smirking, talking-point programmed surrogate after another to say that the issue was a sham? Why didn’t she appreciate the need not to do that?
“What I had done was allowed, it was above board.
In other words, she still refuses to admit she did anything wrong! What’s she apologizing for? And no, it was not above board, because it was a secret private server specifically designed to keep Clinton’s communications hidden when she wanted them to be. “Above board” means “ Continue reading