Category Archives: Government & Politics

Ethics Dunces: National Park Visitors

bison-selfie

The major reasons for the increase in National Park visitors breaking rules by getting too close to the wildlife and disturbing the integrity of the parks in other ways appear to be…selfies, selfies, selfies, and too many morons.

I may be over-simplifying, but not much. From a CBS report:

Record visitor numbers at the nation’s first national park have transformed its annual summer rush into a sometimes dangerous frenzy, with selfie-taking tourists routinely breaking park rules and getting too close to Yellowstone’s storied elk herds, grizzly bears, wolves and bison.

Law enforcement records obtained by The Associated Press suggest such problems are on the rise at the park, offering a stark illustration of the pressures facing some of America’s most treasured lands as the National Park Service marks its 100th anniversary.From Tennessee’s Great Smoky Mountains to the Grand Canyon of Arizona, major parks are grappling with illegal camping, vandalism, theft of resources, wildlife harassment and other visitor misbehavior, according to the records obtained through a Freedom of Information Act request.

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Filed under Animals, Environment, Ethics Alarms Award Nominee, Ethics Dunces, Government & Politics, Science & Technology, The Internet

This Just In From PBS: Ethical Journalism Is STILL Dead, And Unethical Journalism Is Being Funded By Your Tax Dollars

To be fair, this photo should only show about 40% of Jill Stein's face...

(To be fair, this photo should only show about 40% of Jill Stein’s face…)

Last week, PBS featured an interview with Green Party presidential candidate Jill Stein. It began as a live interview on Facebook, but what was broadcast on the PBS’s NewsHour was significantly different from the actual interview. Here. courtesy of Newsbusters, are Stein’s missing comments, in bold:

JUDY WOODRUFF, PBS: You’ve made it clear you think both Hillary Clinton and Donald Trump would be terrible presidents for the country. So are you saying that literally that Hillary Clinton is every bit as bad for the country as Donald Trump?

GREEN PARTY PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE JILL STEIN: I wouldn’t say there are no differences, but the differences are not enough to save your job, because Hillary Clinton, you know, and now her transition director Ken Salazar, y’know, they’re big proponents of the Trans-Pacific Partnership, which is basically NAFTA on steroids. And, uh, most observers believe that it will send our jobs overseas, as well as undermine American sovereignty by bringing in these international tribunals that get to pass judgment on our laws, on our public health protections, on our worker protections.

So we, you know, we can’t count on saving our jobs, saving our lives — 1 in 3 Americans now cannot afford health care under Obamacare — or saving the planet, because Hillary has been a big proponent of fracking, as is Ken Salazar, her transition director.

So we feel that in this election, we’re not just deciding what kind of a world we’re going to have, but whether we’re going to have a world or not going forward, and knowing that the majority of Americans is unhappy with these two party choices, this is the time for us to open up.

Americans have not only a right to vote, but a right to know who we can vote for.

So we’re pushing for opening up the debates, and then let’s see how the chips fall.

WOODRUFF: Dr. Jill Stein, with the Green Party. We thank you.

STEIN: Thank you, Judy.

You can watch the unedited version of Stein’s answer on a PBS livestreamed Facebook clip, beginning after the 6:40 mark. On  the PBS website and on PBS’ YouTube clip, however, all you’ll find is the edited answer. Even if Woodruff says, “You can hear the entire interview at…,” it doesn’t undo the damage. When an interviewer says this, do you assume that the “entire interview” means “the internal sentences and paragraphs we cut out to completely misrepresent what the actual answers were”? I don’t. Why don’t I, by now? Boy, am I an idiot.

Idiot or not, I am still the victim of an ethics foul, and disgustingly so. If the NewsHour has to cut some of the interview for time, fine: cut a question and its answer, don’t distort the answers by cutting out the middle of them, and the parts which just happen to be critical of—SURPRISE!—Hillary Clinton. If PBS does this, it is also ethically obligated to tell viewers that it has cut her answers, and where they can find what she really said. It didn’t do this.

It is absolutely unethical to distort the answer to a question in an interview by redacting it like that, and the fact that the whole interview is available intact on another medium—one could only find Stein’s unedited answers on Facebook if one knew where to look even as one was being deceived on TV—is no defense, and no more of one more than if the unmanipulated interview could be found buried under a rock with a map to it available online.

I apologize for the high dudgeon, but how dare PBS do this? How dare a publicly funded news source so blatantly play Pravda for the party in the White House? Continue reading

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Filed under Ethics Alarms Award Nominee, Facebook, Government & Politics, Journalism & Media, This Will Help Elect Donald Trump

This Just In: Journalism Ethics Is Still Dead…

An ad currently running on the New York Times website:

Drone footage that shows Greenland melting away. Long narratives about the plight of climate refugees, from Louisiana to Bolivia and beyond. A series on the California drought. Color-coded maps that show how hot it could be in 2060.

The New York Times is a leader in covering climate change. Now The Times is ramping up its coverage to make the most important story in the world even more relevant, urgent and accessible to a huge audience around the globe. We are looking for an editor to lead this dynamic new group. We want someone with an entrepreneurial streak who is obsessed with finding new ways to connect with readers and new ways to tell this vital story.

The coverage should encompass: the science of climate change; the politics of climate debates; the technological race to find solutions; the economic consequences of climate change; and profiles of fascinating characters enmeshed in the issues. The coverage should include journalism in a variety of formats: video, photography, newsletters, features, podcasts, conferences and more. The unit should make strategic decisions about which forms are top priorities and which are not.

The climate editor will collaborate with many others throughout the newsroom, but will operate apart from the current department structure, with no print obligations. (The Times is also searching for editors to lead similar teams exploring education and gender.)

This is, of course, smoking gun evidence of a political agenda, bias, and the intent of the Times to warp policy and public opinion according to what it has already determined is “the most important story in the world.”  Continue reading

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Filed under Environment, Ethics Alarms Award Nominee, Government & Politics, Journalism & Media, Professions, Science & Technology

Did You Know Hillary Confessed To Repeated, Intentional And Blatant Unethical Conduct As Secretary Of State? Because She Did…

Confess

Now, to be fair, you may not have realized that Clinton made this unusually candid—for her—admission, because the statement was made in a phone interview with CNN, with a typically ignorant and incompetent interviewer (“THIS is CNN!”) who either doesn’t know the first thing about government ethics, or doesn’t care if Clinton complied with them. Moreover, virtually no mainstream media sources pointed out the significance of what Clinton said, because…well, read the last part of the last sentence.

Talking about the various news reports and new email content that indicated a disturbingly close relationship between Clinton’s Foundation interests—that is, raising money that assists the Clintons’ personal fortunes in various ways—and her State Department duties, which were supposed to occur completely free of such conflicts of interest, Hillary said, straight out…

“I know there’s a lot of smoke and there’s no fire.”

Bingo! Gotcha! DINGDINGDINGDINGDING!

And there we have it, Ladies and Gentlemen, a confession of official wrongdoing! For as an officer of the Executive Branch and a government employee, Clinton was subject to  Executive Order 12731 of October 17, 1990, “PRINCIPLES OF ETHICAL CONDUCT  FOR GOVERNMENT OFFICERS AND EMPLOYEES,” as are all such officers and employees today. That order, which has the force of law, as well as the order it amended, states very clearly, in black and white, that.. Continue reading

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Filed under Character, Ethics Alarms Award Nominee, Ethics Train Wrecks, Government & Politics, Journalism & Media, Law & Law Enforcement

Observations On S.F. 49ers Quarterback Colin Kaepernick’s Anti-America Protest

Colin-Kaepernick-24

San Francisco 49ers quarterback Colin Kaepernick refused to stand for the playing of the national anthem before Friday night’s 49ers-Green Packers exhibition game as a protest against the United States. He has apparently been doing all NFL preseason, but it wasn’t noticed until the most recent game.

Questioned about his certain to be controversial gesture, the mixed race athlete—he had one white parent, and was raised by a white adoptive parent—explained thusly:

“I am not going to stand up to show pride in a flag for a country that oppresses black people and people of color.To me, this is bigger than football and it would be selfish on my part to look the other way. There are bodies in the street and people getting paid leave and getting away with murder.”

Observations:

1. Give him credit for one thing: he isn’t trying to take advantage of the King’s Pass. His star immunity is at low ebb, since Kaepernick’s status with his team is shaky and his job as a first string quarterback is in doubt, not because of his political views, but because he has been injured too much and not all that great when healthy. What he did was not in his own best interests. It took guts.

So does leaping naked into a zoo’s tiger exhibit.

2. His action wasn’t a protest. It was grandstanding. It generated publicity for a message that was incoherent. All his gesture said was “Colin Kaepernick is upset and has an irrationally inflated concept of how much anyone cares, or should care.”

3. Kaepernick could have salvaged his act by being ready with a well-reasoned, well-stated, articulate and persuasive explanation. Based on what he said, which was ignorant, counter-factual and foolish, we must assume that he actually gave thought to his response, and that this pathetic statement was the best he could come up with. That shows him to be incompetent, ill-informed, and not very bright. Continue reading

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Filed under Character, Ethics Alarms Award Nominee, Ethics Dunces, Government & Politics, History, Race, Sports

A Horror Story From The Law vs. Ethics Files: The Mario Hernandez Saga [UPDATED and BACKDATED!]

Mr. Hernandez? Mr. Unger would like a word with you...

Mr. Hernandez? Mr. Unger would like a word with you…

This is complicated.

Occasionally a trusted source sends me to a link or a news item that turns out to be old, sometimes many years old. I assume it is current (I need to learn to check the dates), write the post, and then find out that what I wrote about took place in 1978. I usually trash the post. There have been a few like this. Now this story came to me from a trusted source, and linked to a current story, or so I thought. The post, on a site called “America Now,” is dated August 25, 2016. But WordPress pointed out, right at the bottom, that I had in fact written about Mario Hernandez’s citizenship problems two years ago. What? For a second I thought there were TWO Marios (Mario brothers?), who had the same problem, but no, they are the same guy.

The story  I was given today, based on this New York Times story from May of 2014, led to the post below. There is an ending to the story, which was explicated by me in the post of two years ago. However my two posts were on two different ethics issues, and today’s though inspired by a stale story, is still ethically useful. Pretend Mario plight isn’t two years old: that doesn’t alter the principles involved, or my analysis. I’ll tell you what happened at the end of the post..

***

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Filed under Citizenship, Government & Politics, Law & Law Enforcement, War and the Military

Ann Coulter’s “In Trump We Trust: E Pluribus Awesome!” : Unethical Book Title Of The Millennium?

Ann Coulter: Take seriously at your own risk. Just like Donald Trump...

Ann Coulter: Take seriously at your own risk. Just like Donald Trump…

I have long been waffling over whether to bother mentioning Ann Coulter’s cheerleading for Donald Trump, which began almost a year ago. Coulter is freakishly unethical and proud of it, a rare professional fick, whose shtick (I guess one shouldn’t use fick and shtick in the same sentence: sorry) is to pander to The Angry Right in such obnoxious and inflammatory terms that the Angry Left goes bananas with hate, thus selling books and providing her with media appearances to promote them. I have  assigned her to the dark corner reserved for performance artists who posture and lie for a living, for that’s Ann. I have no idea what she really believes, just as I have no idea what James Carville, Milo Yiannopoulos or Rush Limbaugh really believe—and anyone who really thinks that they know what Donald Trump really believes is beyond redemption, since it is quite evident that he doesn’t know himself.

Thus when I heard that Ann’s latest book, doubtlessly written in about five hours of dictation and containing some measure of her trademark snark, which she is very skilled at, was called “In Trump We Trust: E Pluribus Awesome!,” I was sorely tempted to express my disgust, especially since Coulter, an educated woman and a lawyer, actually stooped to using that mark of an illiterate, “awesome,’ like the book was authored by a modern day Gidget. But why play into Ann’s hands? This is why she writes this crap: to cause buzz on the net and cable so she can sell the books to right wing idiots who will be soothed by her calculated pose.

The title is an absurd, almost Orwellian (“War is Peace”) lie. Trump, as much as anyone alive,  cannot be trusted regarding anything, especially to hold great power. The reasons for this are evident and undeniable, and have been so long before running for President, wrecking the Republican Party, threatening the United States’ public’s faith in democracy and handing the White House to the most corrupt candidate a Presidential race has ever featured was a twinkle in the Donald’s eye.

However, listening to Trump blather about immigration last week, and seeming to renege on his signature promise to depart each and every illegal immigrant, almost compelled one to direct massive schadenfreude Ann Coulter’s way. Continue reading

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Filed under Arts & Entertainment, Business & Commercial, Character, Ethics Alarms Award Nominee, Ethics Dunces, Ethics Train Wrecks, Government & Politics