The Associated Press’s Stunning Corruption [Link Fixed]

The corruption, bias, and ethical void within the mainstream media is now difficult to overstate. The latest revelation is so damning, 95% of the media isn’t reporting it, since it points to the ethics rot of one of its most esteemed members. This is the news media’s recent tactic to avoid being exposed as the lying, manipulating propaganda agents they and their partisan allies in Big Tech and social media are. Hide the facts

The Associated Press, the august and once respected newswire service, accepts donations to fund its climate coverage. In 2022, the AP received $8 million in donations to fund its climate doom reporting, with money coming from the William and Flora Hewlett Foundation, the Howard Hughes Medical Institute, Quadrivium, the Rockefeller Foundation, and the Walton Family Foundation, all climate change alarmists. The AP isn’t alone: what it calls philanthropy-funded news is a trend, with other news sources accepting charitable funds as well. The Salt Lake Tribune, The Seattle Times and the New York Times are also accepting grants from interest groups.

Yes, non-profits are interest groups.

The $8 million over three years allows the AP to hire 20 more “climate journalists.” AP News Vice President Brian Carovillano says without giggling that the money comes “without strings attached” and asserts that funders have “no influence on the stories conducted.” He’s lying. He’s unquestionably lying: if I give a publication 8 million dollars to hire ethics specialists to report on the importance of ethics, those hires are certain to influence the publication’s content. Is there any chance the “climate journalists” will write stories about how so much climate science is speculative, politically-slanted hooey? I think not.

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Riddle Me This: How Is The Republican National Committee Like Black Lives Matters?

Like all good riddles, this one has more than one answer, though none of them are funny. Ironic, perhaps. Infuriating, surely. Nauseating, absolutely.

The first answer is that both misappropriate money donated to them by passionate supporters who foolishly trusted their leadership and staffs to use the funds to accomplish the organizations’ promised mission. Another answer is that the unethical betrayers of trust in both organizations will fall back on Rationalization #13. The Saint’s Excuse: “It’s for a good cause” to try to justify and minimize their betrayal.

The GOP’s resounding flop in the recent mid-term election despite conditions that historically have guaranteed a large number of Senate and House victories to the advantage of the party not holding the White House has donors asking questions and pointing fingers. The conservative website RedState acquired a report dated October 7, 2022 that examined the RNC’s 2021-22 spending up to that time. What it shows is an unethical, incompetent, unprofessional untrustworthy non-profit organization that took millions in donations it solicited with promises of turning them into national policy and regime change and wasted millions on the whims and comfort of its managers instead.

The report calculated expenditures of more than $500,000 in private jet expenses, $64,000 at clothing retailers, and $321,000 in floral arrangements, among other details. Here is the full list—remember, this is only for the 2021-2022 cycle:

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What Is The Fair And Just Punishment for Charles Southall III?

After all, his crimes were non-violent. He’s African-American, and systemic racism has caused the “over-incarceration” of black men. He’s a man of God, and the Bible tells us to forgive. It says that there should be redemption even after heinous wrongdoing. Should Charles Southall III even spend time in prison at all?

For more than three decades, he has led the First Emanuel Baptist church in New Orleans and Baton Rouge. But the minister also embezzled donations from congregants that were supposed to fund charity projects and building improvements. He stole grant and loan funds from the Edgar P Harney Spirit of Excellence Academy that he had created, and deposited them in a bank account controlled by him and an accomplice. He converted rental and sale payments on properties owned by his church. All together, the minister took about $900,000, and used the money to pay off his personal expenses and purchases.

He pleaded guilty and has pledged to pay back what he can. The guess is that Southall will spend less than a decade in prison, probably much less. Are you satisfied with that result?

I’m not.

The verdict here on Ethics Alarms is that even a decade isn’t enough. This man has done far more harm than the typical thief, even more than the typical thief of nearly a million dollars. He took money that was supposed to help the needy. He misused funds families of ordinary means gave to the church in the spirit of charity and generosity. He abused their trust, and quite possibly damaged the faith of many of them. Southall betrayed his profession, and it is a profession that is supposed to bolster virtue and values in society, not make a mockery of them.

What Southall did is worse, in my view, than armed robbery. It deserves the same kind of harsh sentence Bernie Madoff received for stealing the assets of foundations, investors and retirees. Madoff took billions, and was sentenced to 150 years, because that was the maximum the law allowed. Madoff, however, didn’t steal his money in the name of God, charity, and community service.

150 years locked up for Southall seems about right to me.

Comment Of The Day On The Unethical Political Squeeze On Non-Profits And Foundations [Open Forum]

Veteran commenter Humble Talent contributed a needed post on an important issue that Ethics Alarms has negligently ignored: the efforts by ideologically drive governments to control the charitable activities of non-profit organizations. The phenomenon extends well beyond the aspect HT discusses: I encountered it with my non-profit theater company. We stubbornly refused to allow grant money to determine our artistic choices, but most theaters were not so resolute. Companies that choose trendy progressive ideology-advancing plays and that cast according to thinly disguised minority group quotas get the money, and letting money drive are leads to bad art: it’s one of many reasons I decided to close the American Century Theater’s doors.

Humble’s Comment of the Day, from this Open Forum, is a cautionary tale. Here it is:

***

I’m on the board of a Community Foundation associated with The Community Foundations of Canada (CFC). The CFC recently had a change in leadership after a wave of retirements, and the new leadership is, not to put too fine a point on it, insufferably woke. Every meeting is predicated by a litany of talk about personal privilege and land declarations. Every new initiative includes language about anti-racism or the importance of DIE. It’s creating issues.

Community foundations operate endowment funds. We take in dollars from our donors, invest them wisely, steward the money, and disburse the proceeds net our expenses into our community. We are non-profits, so we’re tax exempt, and that’s wonderful, but it comes with some requirements: Regardless of how well the market does, we are required by law to disburse at least 3.5% of our funds back into the market on an annual basis. That’s referred to as the “Disbursement Quota” or DQ. We’ve always done better than that. Our positions are public, and we disburse on average 4.5% going back to the community (it varies a little) and budget a .75% management fee for overhead (mostly staff), which we’re never over. Depending on by how much we beat budget, we treat the difference as a kind of emergency fund for out-of-cycle disbursements (we recently hired a translator for the middle school from that pool). We fund investments to the local hospital, the schools, the golf course, the local theatre, the museum, kids sports, social groups, the Salvation Army… The list goes on. In an average year we’ll have maybe 50 requests and depending on the specific asks and our capacity, about 2/3 of them will get at least partially funded.

This, we are told, is not enough. We are hoarding treasure, we are told. We are underserving our communities, we are told. Regardless of how the donors directed their funds, we should ignore their wishes and find some brown people to give money to, we are told… Perhaps not so directly, but I shit you not, that’s the spirit of that has been said. Last year, the government of Canada bandied the idea about of raising the DQ from 3.5% to 5%, or even 10%. In response, the CFC, who is supposed to represent us, said: “Yes please Mr. Government, please pillage our funds. Please fund your short term political aspirations out of our funds and destroy what community-minded people have spent a lifetime building.”

I kid, of course, they didn’t say that. What they said was, and I quote:

“The disbursement quota was created to make sure charities were moving resources to address societal needs. Many conversations around the disbursement quota have been debating percentages. Should it be 3.5%? 5%? 10%?

These conversations tend to be reductive and risk being a distraction at a moment when the federal government can play a critical role in better enabling philanthropic organizations to meet the needs of their communities now and into the future.” Continue reading

Lazy Sunday Afternoon Ethics Picnic, 5/1/2022: A Very Merry Un-Birthday Edition

There’s vintage Disney—back before it decided it had a stake in having young children instructed in sexual matters by teachers, and when innocence was considered worth protecting. Yes, I recognize the irony in saying that about an “Alice in Wonderland” clip, given that Lewis Carroll was unhealthily obsessed with little girls, often asking their parents for permission to photograph them nude…and got it! (Alice was his favorite model.)

That’s the very strange and great Jerry Colonna voicing the March Hare, and Ed Wynn, of course, as the Mad Hatter.

Today is my “un-birthday.” My 94-year-old aunt, the last surviving member of her generation in my extended family called me up this morning to wish me a happy birthday. Since my real birthday is December 1, I was faced with an instant ethical conflict: was the right course to tell the truth, risking embarrassing her, or to play Birthday Boy, lying but being kind in the process? I opted for honesty, both using the Golden Rule—I wouldn’t want to be patronized—and deciding that my aunt, still sharp and always with a sense of humor, could, like Tom Cruise, handle the truth. She could; she laughed, wondered how she has the wrong date on her calendar, and we talked for an hour. SHE mentioned “un-birthdays,” causing me to recall the song.

1. Ethics lesson: Integrity should trump Loyalty. Elon Musk, responding to to the absurd ad hominem attacks from progressives calling him a fascist, a white supremacist and, worst of all, a conservative, provided this handy dandy sketch via, of course, Twitter, explaining that his beliefs have remained relatively stable, while his critics’ perspective has shifted:

2. And we trust these people with educating or rising generations…The University of Southern California former dean of the University of Southern California asked the law firm Jones Day to investigate allegations that its education school directed administrators to omit information from its U.S. News & World Report rankings submission to boost the school’s placement.  at least as far back as 2013, According to the just-release investigation results,   former dean Karen Symms Gallagher made sure that the Rossier School of Education only included information on its Ph.D. program, which has a lower acceptance rate than its Ed.D. programs,  despite explicit instructions in the questionnaire to include both Ph.D. and Ed.D. programs. Gallagher stepped down in 2020 after 20 years as dean. She’s now a professor at Rossier.

The probe turned up what Jones Day referred to as “irregularities” in how the education school calculated and reported research expenditures, and it identified other possible misreporting of faculty metrics, online program enrollment, graduates’ job-placement rates and more.  USC had pulled the  school from consideration in the U.S. News & World Report graduate-school rankings prior to the report.

Will she be sacked as a professor? What’s your guess? Continue reading

Evening Clean-Up On The Ethics Aisle, 4/7/2022: “Yecchh!”

April 7 is a really bad ethics date. In 1994, the worst episode of genocide since World War II was triggered in Rawanda, resulting in the massacre of between 500,000 to 1 million civilian Tutsis and moderate Hutus. Rwandan forces even managed to avoid significant international intervention after the murder of ten Belgian peacekeeping officers: the Tutsis, a minority population that made up about 10% of Rwanda’s population, were never deemed important enough to be rescued by the international community. (Yes, the United Nations has been fearful, negligent, and in this case, racist, for a long time now.) The U.N. did eventually admit that a mere 5,000 soldier peace keeping force could have stopped the slaughter at the start.

That was big of the U.N.

Let’s send them more money.

The genocide’s seeds were planted the early 1990s when President Juvenal Habyarimana, a Hutu, began using anti-Tutsi rhetoric to consolidate his power . What followed were several massacres, killing hundreds of Tutsis. The government and army assembled the “Interahamwe” (meaning “those who attack together”) and armed Hutus with guns and machetes for the explicit purpose of wiping the Tutsis out. On April 6, 1994, President Habyarimana was killed when his plane was shot down. In response, Hutu extremists in the military began murdering Tutsis within hours. Belgian peacekeepers were killed the next day, and the U.N’s reaction was…

It bravely pulled its forces from Rwanda. Thousands of innocent people were hacked to death with machetes by their neighbors, but the international community, and notably the United States, took no action to stop the genocide. An estimated 75 % of the Tutsis living in Rwanda had been murdered. Bill Clinton later called America’s failure to intervene “the biggest regret” of his administration.

At least it beat out Monica.

1. They are still trying to excuse Will Smith and blame Chris Rock! Surprised? There were two additions to the canon today. The New York Times featured an absurd piece called “The Slap, Hair and Black Women.” A sample: Continue reading

Morning Ethics Warm-Up, 12/8/21: Welcome To Christmas Tree Hell

[Nat King Cole’s rendition of this song always makes me smile: his German is so dreadful. But what a voice! It’s like hot cocoa with a marshmallow melting in it.]

Well, the 8-foot Concolor fir tree goes up today, meaning about four hours of prickles and dead light strands lie ahead. Can’t wait!

I have a Christmas ethics dilemma on which advice would be appreciated. As I think I mentioned, Spuds, who is a canine battering ram, was romping at night in the field behind our house with a group of dog pals when one of the owners, a next door neighbor of thirty years, zigged when she should have zagged and Spuds ran right into her. Her leg was broken in two places, and now her 71-year-old husband is facing caring for her for at least several months, also taking care of their two large Belgian Shepherds, as well as a disabled family member who lives a few houses down the street. Lots of the dog-owners have dropped off holiday food for the couple, and we want to send a nice Harry and David package. How do we frame the gift in a way that sends the implied message we want to convey (“We’re thinking of you, and hope you can enjoy the Christmas in spite of everything”) and not “Please don’t sue us!” ? (I am not at all concerned on that score, for reasons social and legal.) Should Spuds sign the card, along with us?

I’ll be damned before I ask “The Ethicist,” or worse still, “Social Qs”…

1. Look! A competent list for a change! The Independent issued a list of “The Magnificent 20: the Top 2O Westerns of All Time.” I’ve lectured and written about this most ethics-minded and American of film genres, and I was pleasantly surprised that almost all of the Westerns I regard as essential made the list. Graeme Ross, the author, knows his stuff. That doesn’t mean I agree with all of it. I am not a Sergio Leone fan, and consider all of the spaghetti westerns as anti-Westerns at heart, so those are two slots I’d fill differently. As usual “The Searchers” is too high (it’s #1), and “Unforgiven” made the list, a film that I thought was over-rated from the second it came out (Sorry Clint.)

Still, only one of the Westerns included is affirmatively dreadful (Brando’s misbegotten “One-Eyed Jacks”) and an unforgivable choice. On my list (which is longer), “Lonesome Dove” is #1 (“Shane” is #2) but it’s not technically a movie, I guess. I also would include “Silverado” in the top 20. “The Man Who Shot Liberty Valence” is an essential inclusion on such a list; I don’t know how it was missed. Still, a responsible, respectful and fair effort—and John Wayne has more movies on the list than anyone else, even without “The Man Who Shot Liberty Valance.” Good.

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Saturday Ethics Romps, 10/2/21: Slap-downs, Stolen Art, Strokes, Silliness, Stupid Pet Owner Tricks, And More! [Corrected]

What do you think, hoax or not? Conservative blogs are all treating the video above as classic woke-boob self-own, but I am dubious. How did the video get posted, unless the fanatic vegetarian has a self-deprecating sense of humor, and what are the odds of that? If the video is real, it once again raises the ethics issue of dietary fanatics imposing their obsessions on helpless pets, or worse, infants.

1. The stroke of ethics! On this day in 1919, President Woodrow Wilson suffered a debilitating stroke, launching an epic government ethics breach by his wife Edith and his doctor. They kept the public and government officials in the dark about the President’s true condition: Edith signed official documents, and the doctor was brought into some deliberations. Wilson slowly recovered to some extent, though how capable he was of discharging the duties of his office for the rest of his term, until March of 1921, is a matter of considerable debate and speculation. Despite this debacle, with the nation being led by an invalid figurehead with his inexperienced wife making key decisions, it took the assassination of Jack Kennedy, not long after the previous President, Eisenhower, suffered serious cardiac events during his Presidency decades later to trigger the passage of the 25th Amendment, which lays out the procedure for relieving a disabled POTUS. [Notice of Correction: the original version of this post had the dates wrong. Thanks to valkygrrl for the note!] The 25th, in turn, then spurred an ethics foul of its own, as “the resistance,” Democrats and their allies in the media tried to warp the clear intent of the amendment to justify removing Donald Trump from office, on the grounds that he was “unfit.”

2. When does pundit hysteria cross the line into irresponsible and incompetent journalism? Whatever the line is, Rolling Stone writer Jeff Goodell charged over it with this unhinged screed. When I read something like this, I always wonder how many readers are persuaded by it, and how many are astute enough to conclude, “This guy doesn’t know what he’s talking about!” Here is how the article begins: “West Virginia Sen. Joe Manchin just cooked the planet. I don’t mean that in a metaphorical sense. I mean that literally. Unless Manchin changes his negotiating position dramatically in the near future, he will be remembered as the man who, when the moment of decision came, chose to condemn virtually every living creature on Earth to a hellish future of suffering, hardship, and death.” Even by the low, low standards of climate change apocolyptia, this is inexcusable. No U.S. bill can have substantial impact on the world’s climate by itself, and all but a few of the most extreme and politicized climatologists don’t claim that even the worst case scenarios would “condemn virtually every living creature on Earth to a hellish future of suffering, hardship, and death.” How can anyone trust a writer who spews out stuff like this? How can readers of Rolling Stone take a publication seriously that green-lights it? Is Twitter pulling down the tweets that link to the article? No, of course not. It’s not “misinformation,” because it’s a good lie, aimed at the Greater Good, I guess.

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Monday Mid-Day Ethics Considerations: Megan Rapinoe, Harvard, Pelosi And Double Standards

Thinker

1. I have some ethics observations on this thing that was sent out to white parents in the Highland Park area of Texas by a Black Lives Matter-affiliated group:

Sacrifice memo

Here they are:

  • As long as white individuals hesitate to push back on BLM’s outrageous assertions and demands, the group will continue to grow more audacious and arrogant
  • The logic of this demand can only make sense to someone who has no concept of right, wrong, and fairness. “We want you to handicap your own children in order to clear the way for our children, who can’t compete and who shouldn’t have to work especially hard to overcome obstacles that you and your children are not responsible for placing in their path.”
  • The screed is an excellent example of how the concept of equal opportunity has been warped into “equity,” meaning not just equality of results, which life never guarantees, but punitive measures to ensure advantages of  favored groups over those that are disfavored, aka whites and males.
  • The extension of the argument in the letter would require athletes fortunate to have advantages of strength, speed, and skill to pledge not to compete against those not so “privileged” as to be born with these advantages, and job applicants of superior talent, intelligence and character to refuse to place themselves in a position where they would be chosen for a job over less fortunate job-seekers.

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In Americans For Prosperity Foundation v. Bonta, Supreme Court Conservatives Again Defend The First Amendment As Its Left Approves Of Chilling Speech And Association

08-18-17 Free Speech

How did we get to the point where “liberals” want to chip away at the freedoms of speech and association while conservatives defend it? It’s weird: I’m old enough to remember when those mean old conservatives were always trying to silence dissent, not to mention vulgarity and violent TV shows and movies.

But in the final day of the Supreme Court’s term, the 6-3 conservative majority ruled that California—from which all terrible ideas now seem to flow— may not require charities soliciting contributions in the state to report the identities of their major donors. The law was opposed by very unconservative voices like those of ACLU to the NAACP Legal Defense and Educational Fund, and one would think that the alleged liberals on the court would immediately recognize how the law could and would chill free speech. Or don’t they pay attention to the incidents where CEOs have been run out of their jobs for contributing money to anti-gay marriage organizations, to name just one example? It would seem not. This is also weird, for the cancel culture has made simply stating an opinion that contradicts the Woke Borg perilous to one’s career, personal relationships and safety. Is it overly conspiracy-minded to suggest that progressives want it that way, particularly with their success at making wiggly-spined Americans who would make Patrick Henry retch grovel for forgiveness.

Chief Justice Roberts neatly summarized the importance of free association, writing,

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