Tag Archives: trust

This Time, The Kid “Living His (Parent’s) Dream” Is Dead. Still Inspired?

teen-pilot-crash

Pointing out the breach of ethics when parents endanger children by allowing, encouraging, pushing, or forcing them to risk their lives before they are old enough to comprehend what risking their life means has been a periodic theme on Ethics Alarms. There was 16-year old Abby Sunderland, who had to be rescued from an attempt to become the youngest person to sail around the world solo. Paul Romero sent his son Jordan, 13, out to be the youngest to climb Mount Everest. In April of this year, the Coast Guard had to rescue the sick one-year-old of Eric and Charlotte Kaufman, who brought the baby and their three-year old along as they tried to circumnavigate the globe in their yacht. (Never mind, they all had life jackets.). Less likely to be fatal but epic in its length was the ordeal “the Biking Vogels” put their twin sons through, as they were forced to live on bicycles for years while their parents lived out their low-tech “Easy Rider” fantasies, peddling across America.

As was bound to happen, another set of parents in this unethical club  have met with tragedy of their own engineering. Haris Suleman and his father, Babar Suleman, from Plainfield, Indiana, were attempting to fly around the world with the newly licensed  teen piloting their single-engine aircraft. The journey, to be completed in 30 days, would have set a record. Gotta set those records!  The Biking Vogels were determined to set a record too.

As the plane piloted by a 17-year-old novice pilot took off from an airport in Pago Pago in American Samoa, it suddenly lost power and crashed into the water. The boy is dead; the father’s body has yet to be found. Continue reading

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Filed under Around the World, Childhood and children, Family, Journalism & Media

Unethical Quote Of The Month: Rep. John Lewis

open-borders

“We are all connected. We can’t just build a wall or a fence and say no more. This is America. Our doors are open. #AskDems”

--Rep. John Lewis (D-GA), in a tweet that is part of a concerted Democratic effort to announce to the world that U.S. immigration laws will not be enforced.

“The doors are open.”

“The doors are open”???

How can any sensible, honest, objective American read this, from a leader of the Democratic Party, and not be appalled? This is an assertion of open borders, in defiance of U.S. sovereignty. This is an abdication of the rule of law. Go to twitter and search for #AskDems: Lewis’s tweet is the worst, but many of the Democratic leadership are making similar, and similarly irresponsible statements that undermine the effort to stop illegals, including the current torrent of illegal children, from streaming across the border. Continue reading

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Filed under Character, Childhood and children, Citizenship, Ethics Alarms Award Nominee, Ethics Quotes, Ethics Train Wrecks, Government & Politics, Incompetent Elected Officials, Leadership, U.S. Society

KABOOM!! Dana Milbank’s New Record For Flagrantly Dishonest Punditry

Exploding head

I am through with Dana Milbank, and also with anyone who quotes him, relies on him, believes him or—take note, Washington Post—employs him. There must be some level of insulting, dishonest, toadying, intentionally misleading punditry that qualifies as intolerable, and Milbank’s latest column for the Washington Post—syndicated elsewhere so the maximum number of weak minds can be polluted—defined it. I’m not going to reprint a word of it for fear that it will poison the blog, or cause your head to explode like mine just did—but I can describe its thesis. Get this: Milbank decries a “crisis of the week political culture” in Washington, and blames the news media, Republicans and Congress for the shifting attention. I am suppressing a scream as I write this.

There is a “crisis of the week” political culture because the incredibly inept and incompetent President of the United States has mismanaged every conceivable aspect of the government’s policies, domestic and foreign, while maintaining incompetents and political hacks in key positions and sending the message that there will be no accountability for abject failure, and because, despite pledging unprecedented transparency, the standard operating procedure for this group of ideologically doctrinaire and skill-challenged group has been to posture, obfuscate, stall, mislead and lie until various ugly chickens come home to roost, and then to rely on the news media to accept absurd excuses, explanation and blame-shifting theories, chaos has been percolating beneath the surface in dozens of vital areas—oh yes, more bad news is coming—and the full measure of various disasters are finally becoming known.

There is a crisis of the week mentality because a new catastrophe caused by the epic incompetence of this Administration is being uncovered every week, and sometimes every day.

And Dana Milbank blames the political culture, as if it is making this stuff up.

And he expects readers to agree with him.

And a lot of them will.

Kaboom.

Continue reading

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Filed under Ethics Alarms Award Nominee, Ethics Train Wrecks, Gender and Sex, Government & Politics, Health and Medicine, Incompetent Elected Officials, Journalism & Media, Kaboom!, Law & Law Enforcement, Leadership, U.S. Society

Comment of the Day: “Nobody Should Be Cheering The Poll Showing President Obama As Regarded As ‘The Worst President Since World War II'”

ObamaVeteran Ethics Alarms commenter Glenn Logan scores his fourth Comment of the Day, but his first in two years. (He’s been busy.) Here are Glenn’s observations on the recent post regarding a poll showing widespread public disappointment in President Obama’s performance, and the conservative gloating about it in some quarters. The post was Nobody Should Be Cheering The Poll Showing President Obama As Regarded As “The Worst President Since World War II”

Two things strike me about this:

1. The problem is, we put too much on Obama’s shoulders. We (collectively) asked him to change the culture of Washington in return for our vote. Failing to do that was inevitable, and our seeing is as his personal failure is more a reflection of our own incompetence as voters (we are the only ones who can change Washington) and the imputation of superhuman status to an iconic (i.e. “post-racial” president) than Obama’s.

2. There is a heck of a gap between failure and excellence. The problem is, Obama’s hubris, which is at the root of all his problems, has produced in his presidency exactly what it usually produces in other walks of life: Misjudgment, tone-deaf partisanship, arrogant dissimulation, and a complete failure to lead. This is objectively where he went wrong, rather than merely running afoul of unfairly elevated expectations and partisan infighting.

We asked Obama to do what we are charged with doing. That was our failure. President Obama failed to execute his office with even minimal competence, and then blamed everyone but himself. Not only that, the American people invested so much in the idea of “change” that his allies felt could not afford even a semblance of disagreement.

So collectively, they did what people almost always do in that situation — circled the wagons and acted like the failure was success in hopes of convincing as many people as possible. They are still certain (because they think they can’t afford not to be) that Obama’s presidency is fully dressed, despite the evidence of their own eyes.

It’s always bad for us when our leaders fail, and schadenfreude is an inevitable, if unfortunate reaction. The irony of celebrating failure and the concomitant lessening of our country is tragic comedy worthy of Shakespeare.

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Filed under Citizenship, Government & Politics, Leadership, U.S. Society

Nobody Should Be Cheering The Poll Showing President Obama As Regarded As “The Worst President Since World War II”

News Item:

“In a new Quinnipiac University Poll, 33% named Barack Obama the worst president since World War II. Only 8% named Obama as the best president.”

Comments:

1. The conservative blogosphere, and I assume conservative radio and Fox News, are crowing about this. That’s revolting. No citizen or patriot should rejoice at a failed Presidency, which this one surely is.

2.The United States desperately needed–and needs—a uniting, skilled, strong and non-ideological leader with the ability to solve problems while maintaining a positive image of his (or her) iconic office and the United States itself.  That a President who promised so much and created such hope has proven to be none of these is no less than a tragedy, and quite possibly a catastrophe.

3. Polls aren’t always meaningless. This one is important, I think, because it shows that the American people are paying attention, and that the incredible covering, bolstering, spinning and enabling efforts by the mainstream media to prop up President Obama and blame others for his inadequacies have failed. This is good news.

4. The bad news, in addition to what I already mentioned above is… Continue reading

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Filed under Character, Citizenship, Government & Politics, History, Incompetent Elected Officials, Journalism & Media, Literature, U.S. Society

“Print The Legend” Ethics Again: The Cuban Missile Crisis “Blink”

blink map

It is certainly in part a case of tweeking a rival, but the Washington Post and its “Factchecker,” Glenn Kessler, properly exposed a New York Times columnists’ perpetuation of a popular historical misconception, and worse, that paper’s adamant refusal to correct it.

The columnist was Thomas Friedman, one of the Times’ stable of liberal pundits, and the quote was this, in the opening sentence of of one of the many Obama foreign policy reclamation columns that have appeared lately from the President’s journalistic Maginot Line:

“There was a moment at the height of the Cuban missile crisis in October 1962 when Soviet ships approached to within just a few miles of a U.S. naval blockade and then, at the last minute, turned back — prompting then-Secretary of State Dean Rusk to utter one of the most famous lines from the Cold War: ‘We’re eyeball to eyeball, and I think the other fellow just blinked.’”

Kessler gives Friedman a full “four Pinocchios,” for the simple reason that this is untrue, a myth, a proven historical inaccuracy that has been enshrined in film, print, and Kennedy hagiography. He writes… Continue reading

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Filed under History, Journalism & Media, Research and Scholarship

Unethical Website Of The Month, Sort of: Newsball

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I had never heard of Newsball until I read a sneering account of Cole Baritomo’s “news blog” in the Daily Beast, titled “He Bullies Kids and Calls It News,” by DB reporter Brandy Zadrozny. She caught me at a bad time, because I was still gagging from reading an outrageous, incompetent, slanted and useless Daily Beast account of the Supreme Court’s unanimous ruling striking down a Massachusetts law establishing anti-protest “buffer zones” around abortion clinics as a First Amendment violation. Nobody reading this mess could possibly figure out what the ruling was about, what it was, and the distinctions it drew. There were no quotes from the opinion, no discussion of the important disagreements among the justices, not even a clear description of what a buffer zone is, or what the law that was struck down said. The reporter, however, quoted Plannned Parenthood three times—yes, they are certainly the most unbiased analysts of this issue. Then the screed masquerading as news reporting ended with this: Continue reading

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Filed under Journalism & Media, Professions, Rights, Unethical Websites

Ethics Hero Emeritus: Senator Howard Baker (1925-2014)

Howard_Baker

Howard H. Baker Jr., a three-term Tennessee Senator whose trademarks were integrity, honesty, and a refusal to allow partisanship get in the way of what he believed was the right thing to do, died today.  The Republican leader of the Senate, Mitch McConnell of Kentucky,  called him “one of the Senate’s most towering figures.” How ironic, or perhaps just insincere. If McConnell understood and admired the qualities that made Baker “towering” he couldn’t possibly be the divisive, petty, ultra-partisan hack that he is. Then again, comparing Baker’s career and character to the scrimy, petty, self-centered and ethics-challenged dwarves that make up all of McConnell’s colleagues  in both Houses and on both sides of the aisle reveals such an obvious disparity that even the sorry likes of McConnell couldn’t deny it.

Howard Baker stands especially tall in my memory as I watch the disgraceful conduct of House Democrats, doing all they could to derail the I.R.S scandal hearings and to prevent the uncovering of facts surrounding the executive branch’s abuse of power, because they have chosen political loyalty and expediency over transparency, fairness, duty to country, and trust. Contrast this horror show with the principled stance of Baker during Watergate, seeking uncomfortable truths rather than throwing obstacles in the way of efforts to uncover them, treating abuse of power and attempted cover-ups from his own party’s President as he would the same from a Democrat, asking the famous question, “What did the President know, and when did he know it?” Continue reading

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Filed under Character, Ethics Heroes, Government & Politics, History, Leadership, U.S. Society

Is It Possible That The Democratic Party Is As Corrupt As Its Conduct In The I.R.S. Investigation Suggests?

Corleone testifiesThis began as an Ethics Dunce post, but designating Congressional Democrats as ethics dunces for their current, apparently agreed upon and coordinated response to the disgraceful I.R.S. scandal—and it is a scandal—appears far more sinister than that. This appears to be a cover-up, and a particularly blatant, clumsy and desperate one, as well as a sickening display of a major political party abandoning its principals and constituency—meaning the American people and not donors, sycophants or “the base”—to impede an effort to get to the truth.

Here’s Post columnist Michael Gerson’s fair summary of the I.R.S. affair to date:

“To review: After President Obama blamed “two Dilberts in Cincinnati,” an inspector general’s report found that high-level IRS officials in Washington were involved in directing additional scrutiny toward tea party groups seeking tax exemptions. [I.R.S. official Lois]Lerner admitted as much, before taking the Fifth Amendment to avoid testifying before the House oversight committee. The House of Representatives held her in contempt. And now the evidence of possible communications between Lerner and other agencies (including the White House) has gone missing under suspicious circumstances. It could be a regrettable series of rogue operations, IRS management failures and technical glitches. Or they could be taking us for fools. If there was any political motivation for this abuse of power, it is a form of corruption — the kind of thing Americans like to criticize in countries they regard as less developed. And the circumstantial evidence is strong. This wave of heightened IRS scrutiny came after Democratic senators, warning of possible abuses spawned by the Supreme Court’s Citizens United decision, demanded additional IRS scrutiny of nonprofit political groups. Because evidence of political influence is both plausible and circumstantial, a special counsel is needed to sort out the truth.”

The summary, in an accurate article titled “An arrogant and lawless I.R.S..” doesn’t include the fact that nobody has been disciplined or held accountable in any way for what occurred, including any of the imaginary scapegoats in the Cincinnati office. It doesn’t note that I.R.S. Commissioner Koskinen delayed informing Congress of the lost e-mails for months, after assuring members, under oath, that they would be provided. Yesterday, Koskinen stooped to Bill Clinton levels of deceitful parsing, arguing that when he swore to Congress that he would deliver all e-mails, he meant only all the e-mails that existed, since he couldn’t deliver those that no longer existed. Why didn’t he mention that those key Lerner e-mails had vanished? He wasn’t asked! Meanwhile, a government archivist testified yesterday that not informing Congress that the e-mails had been lost indeed violated a federal statute. Also yesterday, the I.R.S. admitted that it illegally played politics in 2012, leaking confidential tax information from an anti-gay marriage group to the pro-marriage Human Rights Campaign. Continue reading

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Filed under Character, Ethics Train Wrecks, Government & Politics, Law & Law Enforcement, Leadership, The Internet

Ethics Quiz, “Naked Teacher Principle” Division: The Alleged Naked Naval War College Professor

schnitzengrubenA helpful reader submits this Ethics Quiz question based on the following news item:

The AP reported that U.S. Naval War College professor John Schindler was placed on leave after a photo of a penis with the professor ‘s name over it was posted on Twitter.  It was unclear who sent it and who posted it.

After a blogger sent a complaint to the War College’s administration, the college’s president, Rear Adm. Walter E. “Ted” Carter Jr., ordered an investigation. A college spokeswoman said that investigators would look into whether the photo was not really of Schindler.

Now THAT should be an interesting investigation.

Schindler, a professor of national security affairs and a former National Security Agency intelligence analyst, has deleted his Twitter account. He has said his criticism of NSA leaker Edward Snowden and others has caused him to be the object of harassment on various social media.

Your Ethics Alarms Ethics Quiz of the Day  has two parts:

1. Is it fair for the War College to place Schindler on leave before it has even been established that he sent the photo or that the body part in question belonged to him?

and

2. If he didn’t send the photo himself but it is established that the body part in question does belong to him, should the Naked Teacher Principle* apply?

Continue reading

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Filed under Character, Education, Ethics Train Wrecks, Gender and Sex, Government & Politics, Leadership, Professions, The Internet, War and the Military, Workplace