Tag Archives: trust

Why Don’t People Understand What’s Unethical About Nepotism?

Bing and family

I suppose it is part of the larger problem that people don’t understand what’s wrong with conflicts of interest, and thus fall into them too easily. At its core, nepotism always, always, creates a conflict of interest for the supervisor, boss or manager, or leaves a strong suspicion of one, which is just as bad, the epitome of “the appearance of impropriety.” Nepotism simultaneously destroys the organization’s members’ trust in leadership—Was he or she objective? Was love and loyalty to a child rather than merit and the best interests of the organization behind the decision? Were there objectively better candidates? Will this bias harm me? —and the hired, no matter how good or qualified the son or daughter may be. If the organization declines and heads have to roll, the suspicion will always be that favoritism protects the offspring. If the organization is successful, there will still be a widespread belief that Sonny Boy or Darling Daughter is whispering in the parents’ ear, a mole, on the side of the parent rather than subordinates. Nepotism almost always destroys any organization’s morale, trust, and cohesion.

Why is this so difficult? It is spectacularly obvious, and the only defenses that are ever offered are… Continue reading


Filed under Business & Commercial, Childhood and children, Family, Journalism & Media, Leadership, Sports

Your “Hillary Clinton Is Too Unethical To Be President” Update


Because of foreign policy catastrophes, Republican idiocy, natural disasters and more, many of Hillary Clinton’s short attention span supporters have returned to the fold. even though, polls say, 65% of Americans don’t trust her. The astounding stat is that 35% do trust her, which raises the question of what politician could do or say to make such walking, talking Nigerian Prince targets not trust them. They know Hillary lies; they know she is dishonest; they know she is greedy for wealth and power, as well as constantly conflicted and a hypocrite,but never mind, it’s ideas that matter with Hillary. She can, her cheering section insists, be the best choice for President even if you can’t trust her.

OK, if honesty, candor, and independence don’t matter, how about the integrity of those all-important “ideas”? One of those ideas was the Trans Pacific Partnership. The Washington Free Beacon gathered 24 Times Hillary Clinton Championed the Trans-Pacific Partnership While Secretary of State. This week, however, Clinton announced that she now opposes the  Trans-Pacific Trade agreement that she had previously taken bows for negotiating in  2012, and virtually nobody thinks she is doing this for any reason other than the fact that Bernie Sanders, like Jack Frost, is nipping at her nose, and she wants to keep her leftest supporters from flocking to him. Tell me, you “Ideas mean more than character” rationalizers, what good are those great ideas when a cynical, values-free manipulator will abandon them like kittens or change them like socks to win votes? This is Clinton’s integrity deficit, and hardly on display for the first time. Her “ideas” aren’t devised because they are “good” or even really her ideas; they exist because they help her gain power at the moment. You don’t like an idea? Well, be patient. Continue reading


Filed under Business & Commercial, Character, Ethics Dunces, Government & Politics, Leadership, U.S. Society

The Conflicted, Misleading, Incompetent Better Business Bureau

Grade inflation at the BBB!!!

Grade inflation at the BBB!!!

I don’t know who or what persuaded CNN to set its sights on the Better Business Bureau, but we should be glad it did. Its first revelation, which I knew about, was how the non-profit BBB is funded by the same businesses it purports to rank. Depending on the size of a business, the BBB demands membership fees ranging from hundreds of dollars to more than $10,000 a year. Members can also pay for plaques announcing their accreditation, BBB seals of approval for their company’s websites, and ads. This is not just a conflict of interest, but a classic one, as well as a system that creates an appearance of impropriety.

Joseph Ridout, a spokesperson for watchdog group Consumer Action, agreed that  this structure, where the BBB is “funded by the dues-paying businesses and not the consumers,” presents a “serious conflict of interest.” The BBB, however,told CNN that its membership dues have nothing to do with the ratings companies receive. Of course! And members of Congress don’t tend to vote the way their biggest donors want. Stop being so cynical! Continue reading


Filed under Business & Commercial, Government & Politics, Journalism & Media, Law & Law Enforcement

Ethics Quiz: Al Roker’s Unethical Selfie And Malfunctioning Ethics Alarm


The question here is a simple one.

On the scene of the devastating flooding in South Carolina, Today Show weather man Al Roker tweeted a selfie of him and  NBC colleagues beaming happily in front of a collapsed highway and a trapped car, with the caption “My crew and I getting ready to report on East Coast flooding from S. Carolina on @NBCNightlyNews with Kate Snow.”

Yes, after many complained on social media about the discordant juxtaposition of cheerful self-promotion and tragedy, Roker apologized, but not before.  The basic question is “What the hell is the matter with these people?“, or as today’s Ethics Alarms Ethics Quiz asks,

Is Roker’s insensitivity signature significance of a malfunctioning ethics alarm, or just an excusable one-time mistake?

Continue reading


Filed under Arts & Entertainment, Character, Ethics Alarms Award Nominee, Journalism & Media, Marketing and Advertising, The Internet, Unethical Tweet

Ethics Dunce: The State of Illinois


State lotteries are unethical, of course, being regressive crypto-taxes on the poor, dumb and gullible installed by gutless legislators to avoid more responsible revenue sources that might cost them votes. Illinois isn’t alone among the states engaging in these shameless scams; indeed it is in the vast, vast majority. This particular slippery slope also slipped exactly as the worst doomsayers predicted, with lotteries leading inexorably to widespread casino gambling and an explosion of gambling addiction and its attendant ruination. But never mind.

Illinois is not an ethics dunce for having a state lottery, although it is. Illinois is an ethics dunce for being the only state that has a state lottery and doesn’t pay up when one of those poor, dumb, gullible citizens gets lucky and wins a bundle. The state is in the throes of a huge fiscal deficit, and because the legislature and governor have failed to agree on a 2015-16 budget for the fiscal year that started July 1, the Illinois comptroller’s office doesn’t have  authority to write checks over $25,000. Lottery winners who have won that much or more when the ping-pong balls popped their way have been waiting for their giant checks. Meanwhile, the state continues to pay the salaries of those working inside the Illinois Lottery and the private company that manages it, and the lottery continues to advertise the games and sell tickets. Continue reading


Filed under Arts & Entertainment, Business & Commercial, Ethics Alarms Award Nominee, Ethics Dunces, Government & Politics, Law & Law Enforcement

Incompetent Elected Official Of The Week: Rep. Bob Brady (D-Pa.)


From the Washington Times:

“As Congress members rushed to touch Pope Francis after Thursday’s historic address on the House floor, Rep. Bob Brady reportedly made a beeline for the podium to swipe the Holy Father’s discarded water glass.

The Pennsylvania congressman immediately took a sip out of the glass and brought it back to his office, ABC News reported

“The congressman is a Catholic and has immense respect for the Holy Father,” Rep. Brady’s Chief of Staff Stan White told ABC.

His office confirmed that Mr. Brady drank from the water and shared it with members of his staff and his wife, Debra Brady…The congressman kept the remainder of the water and plans to sprinkle it on his grandchildren, Mr. White said.”

Actually, I don’t know what to call this conduct.  Creepy? Superstitious? Embarrassing? Unsanitary? Silly? Bizarre? Funny? Deranged?

Incompetent will just have to suffice.

Does every glass the Pope drinks from become like the Holy Grail? I’d be careful, if I were were the Congressman…

Brady’s antics make the entire government look foolish. There’s religious belief, and there is irrational conduct. One doesn’t have to lead to the other, but such a display should cause serious voters to pause and wonder whether a man who acts like this belongs in a high office, or even a not so high office.

What an idiot.

UPDATE: After I posted this about an hour ago and had to run an errand, I began wondering whether Brady’s reverence for the Pope, which seems to extend to a belief that his lips are magic, also extends to accepting Catholic doctrine and what the Pope advocates, at least when these don’t conform to the Democratic Party’s platform. Here are Brady’s votes on abortion. A summary: Brady has voted for the most extreme pro-abortion positions. Reconcile that, if you will, with his water glass stunt.

I cannot comprehend Catholics who embrace this kind of hypocrisy and cognitive dissonance, nor can I respect any voter who would observe Brady and say, “Now there’s a man of integrity, wisdom and judgment!”


Filed under Ethics Alarms Award Nominee, Etiquette and manners, Government & Politics, Incompetent Elected Officials, Leadership, Religion and Philosophy

“Kill The Messenger” And The CIA Crack Story Ethics Train Wreck

I finally saw the 2014 docudrama “Kill the Messenger,” which completed—I hope—the passenger list for a 30-year-old Ethics Train Wreck.

The film purports to be the true story of Gary Webb, the San Jose Mercury News reporter who wrote the sensational “Dark Alliance” series of investigative reports in 1996. The series attributed the inner city crack cocaine explosion in part to Nicaraguan anti-government Contra rebels in  the 1980s funding their efforts by drug smuggling and sales, all with the knowledge and assistance of the  CIA. The agency, the series claimed, was acting to support the Contras despite Congress rejecting the Reagan administration’s request for aid. Like most Hollywood accounts of anything, the film distorts and misrepresents facts to make a better story. Unfortunately, Webb’s story is made more dramatic by making him out to be a tragic hero and victim of a sinister alliance between the mainstream media and the U.S. Government. That’s not exactly true, fair or accurate, and in this matter, affirmatively harmful.

The fastest way to survey this particular Ethics Train Wreck is to list the distinguished passengers, more or less in order of boarding: Continue reading


Filed under Arts & Entertainment, Ethics Train Wrecks, Government & Politics, History, Journalism & Media, Law & Law Enforcement