Category Archives: Public Service

From The “You Keep Using That Word…I Do Not Think It Means What You Think It Means” Files: A Cheap Shot From The Heroes

Many conservatives are cheering this open letter from 14 Medal of Honor recipients to Sen. Richard Blumenthal (D-Conn.):

Dear Sen. Richard Blumenthal,

You recently called upon your Senate colleagues to subject Judge Neil Gorsuch’s record to “extreme vetting,” questioning both his qualification and biography. The Senate certainly has the right and obligation to closely review any nominee for the United States Supreme Court. Conversely, it is our right as Americans and veterans to scrutinize your hypocrisy in doing so.

We are veterans of the Vietnam War. We fought alongside our brothers in arms, many of whom died or were gravely injured there. We saw the treatment meted out on us and our fellow military personnel upon our return, yet we never questioned our commitment to our nation’s freedom. But perhaps more relevant to this discussion is that we know you were not there with us.

The fact you repeatedly and consistently claimed to have served in Vietnam is a gross case of stolen valor in our opinion. You obtained at least five military deferments between 1965 and 1970, at least two of which were seemingly political favors to you so that you could avoid joining us in a war zone. Here are just a few examples where it appears that you have chosen to buttress your political resume by shamefully inflating your record of military service:

In 2003, you apparently stated, “When we returned [from Vietnam], we saw nothing like this [a public outpouring of support for deployed military personnel].”

In 2008, the New York Times reported you said, “We have learned something important since the days I served in Vietnam …”

At a Vietnam War memorial in 2008, it is reported you stated, “I served during the Vietnam era … I remember the taunts, the insults, sometimes even the physical abuse.”

We recognize that military service of any kind is valuable to the protection of our nation’s freedom. There is no shame in engaging in “Toys for Tots” campaigns, recycling efforts, or assisting in the improvement or construction of various facilities, which appears to be a fair description of the bulk of your duties during the Vietnam War.

What is offensive to those who fought in a most brutal conflict, some of us who were captured and tortured by our enemy, is any comparison of those most brutal experiences to the ones of people like you who never even sniffed the air in Vietnam.

The letter’s description of the Senator’s lies before being elected a U.S. Senator is accurate. The fact that he did not withdraw from consideration when those lies were exposed, that the Democratic Party allowed him to stand for election anyway, and worst of all, that Connecticut voters debased their state and the U.S. Senate by electing him demonstrated the creeping progressive ethics rot among liberals that has only worsened since.

However, Blumenthal was not engaging in hypocrisy by calling for extreme the judge’s vetting. It would have been hypocrisy if he proclaimed that no public official who has inflated his biography or faked credentials is worthy of public office. That’s not what he said, however. Indeed, if there is anyone qualified to testify to the importance of vetting the qualifications of apparently qualified nominees, it’s Sen. Blumenthal.

No, the letter is an ad hominem attack, and the ethics breach has been committed by its signatories. If they have an objection to his call for “extreme vetting, ” they should rebut it on the merits. Instead, they attacked the individual rather than his argument. That is the essence of ad hominem. Their attack was “to the man” rather than to his position.

The two terms for unethical conduct most often used inaccurately to sustain accusations are, ironically, hypocrisy and ad hominem attacks. You don’t often see both misused in the same matter, though.

______________________

Pointer: Washington Examiner

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Filed under Character, Ethics Alarms Award Nominee, Government & Politics, Law & Law Enforcement, Public Service, Quotes, War and the Military

More On The Unethical Sally Yates: Her Conflict Of Interest Deception

...and you shouldn't have accepted the job, either.

…and you shouldn’t have accepted the job, either.

Here is another ethics aspect of the disgraceful Sally Yates episode that the complicit news media isn’t covering: it was unethical for her to accept the job of acting Attorney General in the first place.

She had an apparent conflict of interest when she was offered the job. This is indisputable; it’s just being ignored by fawning partisans. Here is the applicable ethics rule of Yates’ bar and jurisdiction:

Rule 1.7–Conflict of Interest: General Rule

(a) A lawyer shall not advance two or more adverse positions in the same matter.

(b) Except as permitted by paragraph (c) below, a lawyer shall not represent a client with respect to a matter if:

(1) That matter involves a specific party or parties and a position to be taken by that client in that matter is adverse to a position taken or to be taken by another client in the same matter even though that client is unrepresented or represented by a different lawyer;

(2) Such representation will be or is likely to be adversely affected by representation of another client;

(3) Representation of another client will be or is likely to be adversely affected by such representation;

(4) The lawyer’s professional judgment on behalf of the client will be or reasonably may be adversely affected by the lawyer’s responsibilities to or interests in a third party or the lawyer’s own financial, business, property, or personal interests.

(c) A lawyer may represent a client with respect to a matter in the circumstances described in paragraph (b) above if

(1) Each potentially affected client provides informed consent to such representation after full disclosure of the existence and nature of the possible conflict and the possible adverse consequences of such representation; and

(2) The lawyer reasonably believes that the lawyer will be able to provide competent and diligent representation to each affected client.

(d) If a conflict not reasonably foreseeable at the outset of representation arises under paragraph (b)(1) after the representation commences, and is not waived under paragraph (c), a lawyer need not withdraw from any representation unless the conflict also arises under paragraphs (b)(2), (b)(3), or (b)(4). Continue reading

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

Ethics Dunce: Secret Service Agent Kerry O’Grady

Here is a Facebook post by O’Grady, the special agent in charge of the Secret Service’s Denver district, who oversees coordination with Washington-based advance teams for all Presidential trips to the area:

facebook-secret-service

 

This was in October, and was seen by her Facebook followers including current and former Secret Service agents. In addition to being a declaration of disloyalty, the social media post is  a Hatch Act violation, which among other things prohibits a federal employee from “posting a comment to a blog or a social media site that advocates for or against a partisan political party, candidate for partisan political office,or partisan political group,” and also from using  social media to “distribute, send or forward content that advocates for or against a partisan political party, candidate for partisan political office, or partisan political group.”

Never mind that, though. Continue reading

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Filed under Ethics Alarms Award Nominee, Ethics Dunces, Ethics Train Wrecks, Government & Politics, Law & Law Enforcement, Professions, Public Service

The Monica Crowley’s Plagiarism: Oh-Oh…This Does NOT Bode Well For Trump’s “We’re Going To Appoint The Best People” Boast

Really? This is "the best"?

Really? This is “the best”?

Many times, during the campaign, candidate Trump assured us that he “would appoint the best  people.” This was always a bit dubious, for a couple of reasons, but the main one was that the people we saw Trump appoint to represent him as his media surrogates were almost uniformly moronic to a degree never seen before on behalf of any public figure—and political surrogates are not generally shining lights. Trump  surrogates  Katrina Pierson, Corey Lewandowski, Scottie Nell Hughes, Jason Miller, Kayleigh McEnany, the horrible Michael Cohen, Boris Epshteyn and Jeffrey Lord all head-banging-on-a-wall embarrassing, making veteran Clinton shill Lanny Davis look like George Bernard Shaw by comparison, and Lanny’s a shameless hack. If these were “the best people” Trump could appoint to represent him publicly, what is his definition of “best”?

It is becoming clear that these fears were not exaggerated. I’m not speaking of the Cabinet positions, as all of those appointments are at least individuals of independent success and demonstrable accomplishments. The crucial appointments for Trump, however, are the staff around him. Both President Bush and President Obama saddled themselves with weak advisors of questionable wisdom at best, and Donald Trump really does need to have  “the best people” to lean on, even more so than his predecessors.

So far, it doesn’t look good. The latest thud came this weekend, as it was revealed that conservative author, radio talk show host and Fox News television personality Monica Crowley, who will be Trump’s senior director of strategic communications for the National Security Council, plagiarized large sections of her 2012 book, “What The (Bleep) Just Happened.” CNN found more than 50 long passages lifted without attribution from the National Review’s Rich Lowry and  Andrew C. McCarthy, Michelle Malkin, conservative economist Stephen Moore, Karl Rove, Ramesh Ponnuru of Bloomberg View, Wikipedia, Investopedia, various think tanks, and a podiatrist’s website, among other sources. There’s no dispute, or argument about this to be made: she was caught. She did it. She stole material that was not hers, and used it in her book.

This is signature significance. Authors who plagiarize are not “the best people;” they are not even good people. They are lazy, dishonest people who fake it, and who thrive by exploiting others who are smarter, harder working and more talented to succeed. Anyone who ever listened to Crowley on the radio for more than five minutes—that was about my limit–will not be surprised by this. She is facile and smug, but without substance, all ideology and mockery, but no real insight. Naturally, the only way she could write a book longer than 35 pages was to steal.

Thus when one learns that an employee cheated like this, there is only one responsible response, and that is to fire her. If you don’t fire her, that is an admission that either you don’t understand the term “best people,” or that you don’t really care about having the best people, and just want reliable toadies and slugs.

When CNN contacted the Trump transition team and laid out its evidence (some of which you can peruse here), it received this disheartening response: Continue reading

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Filed under Business & Commercial, Character, Ethics Alarms Award Nominee, Ethics Dunces, Government & Politics, Public Service, Workplace

When Ethics Alarms Don’t Ring Dept: Planet Fitness

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There’s nothing substantively wrong with the fitness chain Planet Fitness’s new philanthropic program to combat bullying. However, one has to question the ethics alarms and basic English comprehension of a company that sees nothing wrong with naming a campaign “The Judgement Free Generation.” I just saw a TV ad that was a teaser for the program. The announcer ended by saying “Now Planet Fitness is creating a Judgement Free Generation.”

Judgement is not a bad thing. Judgement is a good thing. So is making judgements. Society without constant judgements of all kinds cannot possibly have or maintain standards. Without standards, there can be no ethical guidelines and boundaries.Nobody with any concept of what ethics are and why they are essential to civilization would every want to eliminate judgement. Judgement and bullying are not synonymous, not even close.

What some copywriter at Planet Fitness has done is to launch a national campaign that frames “judgement” as something to be avoided. Nobody in the hierarchy there perceived anything wrong with that. This isn’t being “judgement free,” this is just bad judgement, as in incompetent.. To the extent that it advances the culture’s increasing tendency to discourage negative judgements against any conduct, even objectively destructive conduct, leading to purely subjective ethics (that is, no ethics at all), the campaign’s message is irresponsible.

Besides, based on what I’ve seen of late on college campuses, Bernie rallies and anti-Trump freakouts, we may already have a judgement-free generation.

At least one.

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Filed under Business & Commercial, Ethics Alarms Award Nominee, language, Marketing and Advertising, Public Service, Religion and Philosophy, U.S. Society

Ethics Hero (And Author Of Perhaps The Best Facebook Post Ever): Palm Beach Florida African-American Police Officer Jay Stalien

Jay Stalien

When I read published quotes from police officer Jay Stalien’s Facebook page post, now deservedly in the process of going viral, my immediate reaction was that it was a hoax, a measured and well-researched explanation of the racial unrest surrounding police shootings and the Black Lives Matter movement written by a professional pundit  and placed in the metaphorical mouth of a black police officer to give it added power and credibility. It was, in short, too good to be true.

It is true, however, as well as good. To be presented at this time is an act of courage and civic responsibility by Stalien, and his effort redeems the existence of Facebook and social media, not to mention the internet, as few posts have. In the past, someone like Stalien would have to submit a column to a newspaper editor, and agree to cuts and edits that reduced its effectiveness, if his important observations were to have any impact beyond his living room or workplace. Now he can publish himself. The First Amendment has seldom been better served.

The post is very long, but you should read it all, here.  I will only point out some highlights.

He begins, in part…

The following may be a shock to some coming from an African American, but the mere fact that it may be shocking to some is prima facie evidence of the sad state of affairs that we are in as Humans.

I used to be so torn inside growing up. Here I am, a young African-American born and raised in Brooklyn, NY wanting to be a cop. I watched and lived through the crime that took place in the hood. My own black people killing others over nothing….I used to be woken up in the middle of the night by the sound of gun fire, only to look outside and see that it was 2 African Americans shooting at each other.

It never sat right with me. I wanted to help my community and stop watching the blood of African Americans spilled on the street at the hands of a fellow black man. I became a cop because black lives in my community, along with ALL lives, mattered to me, and wanted to help stop the bloodshed.

As time went by in my law enforcement career, I quickly began to realize something. I remember the countless times I stood 2 inches from a young black man, around my age, laying on his back, gasping for air as blood filled his lungs. I remember them bleeding profusely with the unforgettable smell of deoxygenated dark red blood in the air, as it leaked from the bullet holes in his body on to the hot sidewalk on a summer day. I remember the countless family members who attacked me, spit on me, cursed me out, as I put up crime scene tape to cordon off the crime scene, yelling and screaming out of pain and anger at the sight of their loved ones taking their last breath. I never took it personally, I knew they were hurting. I remember the countless times I had to order new uniforms, because the ones I had on, were bloody from the blood of another black victim…of black on black crime. I remember the countless times I got back in my patrol car, distraught after having watched another black male die in front me, having to start my preliminary report something like this:

Suspect- Black/ Male, Victim-Black /Male.

Then Officer Stalien, in the same powerful style, proceeds to answer typical complaints from the black community by presenting  “FACTS” that too many African-Americans, elected officials, journalists and partisans refuse to believe, accept, or comprehend: Continue reading

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Filed under Character, Ethics Alarms Award Nominee, Ethics Heroes, Facebook, Law & Law Enforcement, Public Service, Race, U.S. Society

“Albuquerque Fire Chief Evaluating Training After Dispatcher Hung Up on Caller”? Why Yes, I Think That Would Be Prudent!

"No...now, see, Mr, Sanchez, this is NOT how we would like you to react with a 911 caller. Let's try it again..."

“No…now, see, Mr, Sanchez, this is NOT how we would like you to react with a 911 caller. Let’s try it again…”

If I’ve said it once, I’ve said it a hundred times: watch out for touchy 911 dispatchers.

Seventeen-year-old Esperanza Quintero called 911 after her friend Jaydon Chavez-Silver was shot last month. She tried to stop Chavez-Silver’s bleeding and gave him CPR.

“I am keeping him alive!” Quintero is heard saying on the 911 call, which was answered by dispatcher Matthew Sanchez, a ten-year veteran of the Albuquerque Fire Department.

Sanchez asked, “Is he not breathing?”

The teen responded, “Barely!”

On the recording, she can be heard frantically encouraging Chavez-Silver to keep breathing.

“One more breath! One more breath!” Quintero told here wounded friend. “There you go Jaydon. One more breath! There you go Jaydon. Good job! Just stay with me, OK? OK?”

Sanchez then asked again, “Is he breathing?”

Quintero responded, “He is barely breathing, how many times do I have to fucking tell you?”

Apparently this outburst deeply, deeply offended Sanchez, who felt that the use of the vulgarity justified him leaving the panicked teen to deal with her dying friend by herself. “OK, you know what ma’am? You can deal with it yourself. I am not going to deal with this, OK?” the dispatcher said, and he disconnected Quintero as she pleaded for help.

So there.

As you know, I’m a big fan of civility, and we really should discipline ourselves and our children to avoid profanity and  vulgarity in dealings with others, in the workplace or anywhere else. Mutual respect is a cornerstone of ethical conduct generally, and civility is how we recognize the inherent respect we owe every fellow citizen. Having one’s friend dying in front of you is a stressful situation, however, and I think the collective effects for fear, panic, desperation and stress creates sufficient adverse influences on a teen that a lapse of decorum should be excused or at least tolerated, don’t you? Particularly when the listener  is allegedly an adult and trained rescue personnel?

Jaydon died. A rescue squad was dispatched before the hang-up, which only means that what Sanchez did could have been worse.

Albuquerque Fire Chief David Downey  called the actions of dispatcher Matthew Sanchez on June 26 “unforgivable” and said Sanchez, who had the sense to resign, at least, should not have hung up on the caller. Downey  says he is examining the training procedures.

Good analysis. We can all stop worrying now, at least those of us in Albuquerque.

And we should be grateful, should we not, for Mr. Sanchez providing a superb lesson to all of our young people about the important of avoiding potty mouth?

 

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Filed under Ethics Alarms Award Nominee, Etiquette and manners, Professions, Public Service, Workplace