Category Archives: Finance

From The Ethics Alarms “These Really Are Terrible Human Beings” Files: Unethical Quote Of The Month: Bill Maher

“One way you get rid of Trump is a crashing economy, so please bring on the recession. Sorry if that hurts people, but it’s either root for a recession or lose your democracy.”

—-HBO’s Bill Maher, on his show “Real Time”…as his audience applauded, as usual.

Did any conservative, Republican or pundit root for the nation’s failure under Obama? The closest would be Rush Limbaugh’s infamous declaration that he wanted the new President to fail, which was more unpatriotic than I could tolerate, but even Rush didn’t go so far as to wish for the nation itself to be thrown into crisis. Maher is a repulsive individual, but he is not alone. We already discussed here how many members of the media appear to be rooting for the North Korean talks to fail. Other progressives openly wish for the President’s death: I could name some right here who have told me that in person. Lawyers. Professionals. Wishing for the death of not just another human being, but the President of the United States.

The attendant hysteria, fear-mongering, monomania and values distortion that have spawned the “resistance” have also apparently created a human mutation with lethal potential. Never before have there been mainstream American citizens who not only wished ill on the nation and neighbors, but who got cheered for it. The mutants are a threat to society and to sanity. Do not pretend they aren’t.

They may not be traitors, but they think like traitors. Continue reading

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Filed under "bias makes you stupid", Character, Comment of the Day, Ethics Alarms Award Nominee, Ethics Quotes, Ethics Train Wrecks, Finance, Government & Politics, Humor and Satire, Journalism & Media, Leadership

Wait: Does President Obama Consider THIS A Scandal? Because, You Know, It Is…

Every time either ex-President Obama or one of his slavish acolytes—you know, journalists?—make the statement that his tenure was “scandal free,” honest Americans who have been paying attention grind their teeth down a few more millimeters.

Of course, Obama had plenty of scandals, serious ones—at least they would have been serious in any other administration. The fact that the news media chose to minimize them or ignore them doesn’t make them less scandalous…in fact, that’s a scandal itself.  To name one example that especially rankles me, the IRS, an Executive Branch Agency, eventually admitted that it used its power to meddle in the 2012 Presidential election, against Obama’s opponent. However, the formula of lying, covering up, stalling, and having allies in the press call everything negative under Obama a “nothingburger” carried the day. This was SOP for eight years.

When Obama personally lied—20 times? 30?— about how his signature health care plan would work (All together now: “If you like your plan…”), somehow this Nixon-Clinton level of intentional dishonesty was shrugged off as “the ends justify the means.” The fact is that it was a real, calculated, intentional lie used to trick the American people, not just a case of a President being wrong. Bush didn’t know that Iraq didn’t have WMD’s. Obama had to know what his own health care bill would do.

Blecchh!. I can taste the tooth powder!

This week, another genuine Obama scandal was uncovered that would have had Democrats seeking impeachment votes if it had occurred under Reagan or Bush. The Obama administration secretly gave Iran access to the U.S. financial system, defying the sanctions still in place after the 2015 nuclear deal, despite repeatedly telling Congress and the public that it would not and did not do anything of the sort.

What would you call that?

After striking its bone-headed, constitutionally-dubious nuclear deal with Iran, the Obama administration wanted to give Iran the promised access to its freshly unfrozen overseas reserves, including $5.7 billion stuck sitting in an Omani bank.  Iran wanted to convert the money into U.S. dollars and then euros, but that would require our giving the rogue nation access to the U.S. financial system. Obama officials had  promised Congress that Iran would never gain such access. As was the usual solution for Obama when law, the Constitution or established procedure stopped something he had decided in his Wisdom was Good and Just, Obama had his Treasury Department issue a license in February 2016 that would have allowed Iran to convert $5.7 billion it held at a bank in Oman into euros by exchanging them for U.S. dollars. The scheme failed, for the Omani bank blocked the transaction, but this is just moral luck, and does not make the secret end-around the sanctions less wrong.

The license issued to Iran’s Bank Muscat made lies of public statements from the Obama White House, the Treasury and the State Department denying that the administration was contemplating allowing Iran access to the U.S. financial system. After the nuclear deal was announced  in July 2015, Obama Treasury Secretary Jack Lew testified under oath—lying to Congress is still a scandal, unless Obama officials do it, and they did it a lot—that even with the sanctions relief, Iran “will continue to be denied access to the world’s largest financial and commercial market.” A month after that, another Treasury official, Adam Szubin, testified that  “Iran will be denied access to the world’s most important market and unable to deal in the world’s most important currency.”

“The Obama administration misled the American people and Congress because they were desperate to get a deal with Iran,” said Senator Rob Portman (R-Ohio).   Verdict: Fair and accurate. And what is the rebuttal by the Obama-ites?

Ooooh, lame. Lamer than usual, in fact. Continue reading

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Filed under Ethics Alarms Award Nominee, Ethics Train Wrecks, Finance, Government & Politics, Law & Law Enforcement

Ethics Dunces: Stockton, California, The Mayor Of Stockton, Everyone Who Voted For The Mayor Of Stockton…

“We’re here for our stipend, Mayor! Double it, and we’ll cut back on rapes, too!”

Headline, LA Times:Stockton’s young mayor has bold turnaround plan: Basic income and stipends for potential shooters.”

If that makes sense to you, please move to California, and stay away from me.

Stockton’s young mayor’s plan is just as backwards, ethically corrosive and dumb as it sounds. The headline is correct. Michael Tubbs, wants to give at least $500 a month to a select group of residents in a pilot program to test the impact of “guaranteed basic income,”  a socialistic fantasy that has failed everywhere it has been tried. We know the impact of guaranteeing people money they don’t have to work for.

But wait, there’s more! Led by their young, brash, clueless mayor, Stockton is about to award stipends of up to $1,000 a month to residents deemed most likely to shoot somebody—I’m not joking!— in a program called Advance Peace,or, in its long version, Let’s Allow Thugs And Violent Creeps To Extort The Government Into Paying Them To Not Hurt Anybody, While Penalizing The Citizens Who Don’t Pose A Threat.

I agree: Advance Peace is catchier. Continue reading

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Filed under "bias makes you stupid", Ethics Alarms Award Nominee, Ethics Dunces, Finance, Government & Politics, Incompetent Elected Officials, Leadership

Comment Of The Day: “Unethical Quote Of The Month: New Mexico Congressional Candidate Pat Davis (Guess What Party!)”

This is one of the times I am grateful for a backlog of worthy Comments of the Day. I have several posts pending requiring a lot of thought, research and writing, and I’m exhausted as well as swamped. It’s nice to have some excellent ethics commentary from the regulars here to keep new content flowing. I am very grateful to all of the authors.

This time it’s Still Spartan, a mother, a lawyer, a self-described liberal (though on today’s spectrum I’d call her a left of center moderate) with an interesting back-story. In fairness, I should note that she protested later that if she knew this would be a COTD she would have been more circumspect regarding her choice of words. With the exception of “sucks,” which I believe now is an acceptable rhetorical device for emphasis (though my father would still object if I used it), I made some minor edits to address those concerns. I hope she approves.

As is often the case here, this Comment of the Day came out of a thread inspired by the post but pretty much irrelevant to it. Although the post concerned the gratuitous vulgarity of an anti-NRA House candidate, much of the discussion was about illegal immigration, or as it’s known around the Marshall house, The Amazing Controversy For Which  There Is No Logical Or Defensible Justification For The Pro- Position, But That Roils Politics Anyway (TACFWTINLODJFTPPBTRPA, for short). Another prolific commenter, Slickwilly, had written in part this response to a comment defending illegal immigrants and discarding claims that they are a burden on citizens,

I have been poor… I worked my way up just a bit, but still sit in the lower middle class, if not the upper poor….I STILL pay taxes, and the illegals suck that money down. While the legal poor may sometimes use those tactics, it is NOT the norm, as THEY HAVE ROOTS HERE. You know, like family, friends, jobs, or at a minimum welfare payments. All of those make it harder to just up and leave, especially in this day and age of computer tracking. Illegal Aliens have none of those ties. I have lived with them my entire life, and know more on a bad day than you ever will. Most are good people, if you ignore that they are criminals. They run up bills and change addresses, change names, change jobs, as a matter of course. They do not pay any type of insurance. They cause car wrecks and abandon the scene, running to Mexico until the heat is off. They clog emergency rooms with minor, minor ailments, BECAUSE IT IS FREE. They steal identities causing citizens hundreds of miles away tax problems, when they bother to pay taxes at all (and those that hire them should be in jail).

Here is Still Spartan’s response to that comment, and her Comment of the Day on the post, “Unethical Quote Of The Month: New Mexico Congressional Candidate Pat Davis (Guess What Party!)”:

Actually, I think Slick’s comment is indicative of many people’s thinking right now (and I am not writing this with any snark at all). We have a large population of white, rural, poor people in this country. And it sucks. I was one of those people. Good jobs have become scarce, especially with blue collar jobs virtually disappearing overseas. And the jobs that are left don’t pay the bills. These people also don’t have the money to move elsewhere — or tend to not have the education needed to get a good paying job in the information age anyway.

Now, we have poor black populations and poor Latino populations as well of course, but what makes the white rural poor unique is that they tend to be isolated in the country and do not have the freedom of movement that predominantly urban poor have. The white rural poor do still have some advantages: 1) they are white (so they don’t face discrimination); 2) food scarcity isn’t as big of a problem. Many supplement with gardens, hunting, and even farms if they have the space; 3) because people are spread out, crime isn’t as big of a problem. But these people still want jobs. And they see, for the most part, that they are struggling even more than their parents did. It is scary. Liberals are not doing enough to appeal to them. Continue reading

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Filed under Comment of the Day, Ethics Alarms Award Nominee, Finance, Government & Politics, Law & Law Enforcement, This Helps Explain Why Trump Is President, U.S. Society, Workplace

Unethical Website Of The Month: The Student Loan Report

Drew Cloud is known as a journalist who specializes in student-loan debt issues.  He has been quoted extensively  in  The Washington Post, The Boston Globe, and CNBC, as well as by blogs and websites that cover student debt developments.  Cloud founded The Student Loan Report, an “independent, authoritative news outlet” covering all things student loans, “after he had difficulty finding the most recent student loan news and information all in one place.”

This week, the Chronicle of Higher Education revealed that there is no such person, and that the website was stealth marketing tool by a loan financing company, LendEDU.

“After The Chronicle spent more than a week trying to verify Cloud’s existence, the company that owns The Student Loan Report confirmed that Cloud was fake. “Drew Cloud is a pseudonym that a diverse group of authors at Student Loan Report, LLC use to share experiences and information related to the challenges college students face with funding their education,” wrote Nate Matherson, CEO of

After The Chronicle spent more than a week trying to verify Cloud’s existence, the company that owns The Student Loan Report confirmed that Cloud was fake. “Drew Cloud is a pseudonym that a diverse group of authors at Student Loan Report, LLC use to share experiences and information related to the challenges college students face with funding their education,” wrote Nate Matherson, CEO of LendEDU.

Before that admission, however, Cloud had corresponded at length with many journalists, pitching them stories and offering email interviews, many of which were published. When The Chronicle attempted to contact him through the address last week, Cloud said he was traveling and had limited access to his account. He didn’t respond to additional inquiries.

And on Monday, as The Chronicle continued to seek comment, Cloud suddenly evaporated. His once-prominent placement on The Student Loan Report had been removed. His bylines were replaced with “SLR Editor.” Matherson confirmed on Tuesday that Cloud was an invention.

Pressed on whether he regretted deceiving news organizations with a fake source, Matherson said Cloud “was created as a way to connect with our readers (ex. people struggling to repay student debt) and give us the technical ability to post content to the WordPress website.”

Two questions:

>Why would anyone trust a finance company that thinks this kind of dishonesty is acceptable conduct?

>And what does this tell us about the diligence, professionalism and trustworthiness of journalists, who would present as an expert an imaginary person who shills for a loan firm?

(That’s a rhetorical question.)

___________________________

Graphic: My informator

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Filed under Business & Commercial, Character, Ethics Alarms Award Nominee, Finance, Journalism & Media, Marketing and Advertising, The Internet, Unethical Websites

Comment of the Day: “Ethics Quiz: The Tip-Sharing Plan”

We have a rare Ethics Alarms Quote of the Day hand-off. Responding to the ethics quiz about the ethics of tip-sharing,  veteran commenter JutGory wrote,

“My understanding is that, in some places, servers collect the tips and “tip-out” to the others (kitchen staff, etc.) at certain rates. If that is the culture (I have never been a server; not my skill set), why is a server trusted more than the employer to be fairer than the employer in tipping out?”

I have written about tipping ethics issues for years, and never encountered the concept of “tipping out,” perhaps because the minimum wage jobs I had in my youth never involved tips of any kind. Still Spartan picked up JutGory’s baton and dashed for the finish line. Here is her Comment of the Day on the post, Ethics Quiz: The Tip-Sharing Plan: 

I used to work at a fancy restaurant and that was the system. The percentage of tip out was based on total food sales, so you couldn’t cheat. And, if I received really generous tips, I was incentivized to tip more because I wanted the hostess to seat good customers at my table, my drinks up first, my tables bussed quickly, etc. I would never work at a place that pooled tips because I was quite frankly better than most servers. I was quick, friendly, and rarely made a mistake. I could up-sell my customers on liquor and food which meant more money for me at the end of the night. And you people think I am anti-capitalist! Chefs aren’t tipped and they make a lot more than $3/hr., and although it is a hard job, at least their revenue is consistent. Many managers are well-paid too and often double as hosts or bartenders. I would be pissed if they had the ability to collect my tips.

The real solution to this problem is to pay servers a living wage and just have it incorporated into the price of food.

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Filed under Business & Commercial, Comment of the Day, Ethics Alarms Award Nominee, Finance, Government & Politics, Workplace

Ethics Quiz: The Tip-Sharing Plan

Last year the Trump administration announced a proposal to amend a 2011 regulation prohibiting employers from collecting server tips and distributing them to anyone other than servers. If the new proposal is adopted, employers could theoretically use workers’ tips for  any purpose, as long as the workers who received the tips were directly paid at least the federal minimum wage of $7.25 an hour. The restaurant industry opposed the Obama regulation, and argues that more freedom would allow employers to share the tips of waiters and waitresses with other workers like busboys, greeters, cooks and dishwashers.

Labor advocacy groups and former Obama administration officials counter that the regulation would legalize employers stealing income from workers, since they could theoretically pocket the tips.

Your Ethics Alarms Economics/Labor/Human Nature Quiz of the Day…..

Is the proposed regulation fair, responsible and ethical, or not?

Continue reading

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Filed under Business & Commercial, Etiquette and manners, Finance, Government & Politics, Law & Law Enforcement, Research and Scholarship