Tag Archives: diligence

Now THIS Is An Unethical IRS Employee…Howard Stern Too, But We Knew HE Was Unethical

[There is supposed to be a photo of Howard Stern here, but WordPress keeps refusing to embed it, thus showing the software’s admirable good taste.]

In May of 2015, Judith Barrigas of Sandwich, Massachusetts called the IRS service center  with a question about her tax refund. She reached IRS agent Jimmy Forsythe, who was goofing off on the job, on hold after a call to Howard Stern’s radio show on satellite radio. Forsythe, still on hold (or so he thought) took the taxpayer’s call, and when the Stern show took reconnected, Stern’s listeners somehow heard Forsythe’s conversation with Barrigas.  Stern and paid sycophant Robin Quivers then joked about the call, which concerned Barrigas’s payment plan: the IRS had applied Barrigas’s tax refund to pay her outstanding debts from 2011 and 2012, even though she complained she already had a repayment plan set up with the  IRS. Her call, which she assumed was private, should have assumed was private and was guranteed by federal law to BE private, was on the airwaves for nearly an hour.

“I’m learning so much,” said Stern at the time, before he finally cut off the surreptitious eavesdropping. “I feel like I’m in math class and I’m flunking because I don’t know one thing he’s saying. I think I’m going to bail on this guy. By the way, this is the most boring job ever. I’d rather live in my parent’s basement if I had to do that. I’d give out all the wrong information. All right, dude, later!”

Barrigas  has just sued  the IRS, the Howard Stern Production Company, and Stern individually for violations of the Federal Tort Claims Act,  unlawful disclosure of tax returns and personal information, and just the for the Stern side,  negligence, invasion of privacy, and the intentional infliction of emotional distress.

Ethics Observations: Continue reading

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Filed under Character, Citizenship, Ethics Alarms Award Nominee, Ethics Dunces, Etiquette and manners, Government & Politics, Journalism & Media, Law & Law Enforcement, Popular Culture, Workplace

The Easy Ethics Verdict On Trump’s Middle East Immigration Suspension

immigration-protests

There are three steps to evaluating the ethical nature of any law or government action. The first is what was done. The second is how it was done. The third, and usually most difficult to assess, is why it was done, and whether the measure’s objectives are ethical, including whether the measure can reasonable be expected to accomplish them. . What President Trump’s controversial Executive Order temporarily halting immigration from seven Muslim nations is was covered in the previous post on the subject. Thanks to the fact that our mainstream journalists are incapable of reporting some news events without allowing their biases to distort or confuse the facts, the what was misrepresented to the public, and that misrepresentation is reflected in most discussions of the relevant issues on the web.

How the measure was implemented is an ethics  issue, as this involves competence, responsibility, accountability, diligence and leadership.

The Executive Order was incompetent and irresponsible.

There, that was easy.

It’s nice to be able to post an analysis here that nobody will disagree with. Usually I don’t even bother posting such verdicts.

The sudden order (you can read it here) caused world-wide confusion. Passengers were barred from flights to the United States. Customs and border control officials received notice and instructions in the wee hours of the morning, and many began work without knowing what they were supposed to do.  The order  blindsided Trump’s cabinet—what there is of it so far—including Homeland Security chief John Kelly and, incredibly, “Mad Dog”  Mattis, the new Secretary of Defense, who was not consulted by the White House during the preparation of the order and was not given an opportunity to provide input while the order was being drafted. Mattis did not see a final version of the order until a few hours before President Trump arrived to sign it at the Pentagon. Now he really has reason to be be mad. Continue reading

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Filed under Around the World, Ethics Alarms Award Nominee, Ethics Dunces, Ethics Train Wrecks, Government & Politics, Journalism & Media, Law & Law Enforcement, Leadership

It’s Theater Ethics vs. High School Ethics, And Incredibly, Both Win

New Jersey’s Cherry Hill School District announced last week that the planned Spring student production of the 1998 Broadway musical “Ragtime” would continue to be rehearsed and would proceed, despite the complaints of some parents. However, student actors would not use “nigger” and other racially-charged terms in the original script. They would be changed or eliminated, the District said.

A spokeswoman for the district, said at the time that officials had already been discussing the possibility of censoring the Cherry Hill High School East production when the Cherry Hill African American Civic Association and the NAACP offered their remedies: censorship, political correctness, and bye-bye free expression and thought. Of course this was their reaction. It is simple-minded, but typical of left-wing political correctness tyranny. It doesn’t matter what ideas are being conveyed, certain words cannot be used to convey them. Whenever possible, the heavy boot of government should crush the non-conforming expression. Also “of course,” lily-livered school administrators initially offered no opposition. Duck the controversy, and the real issues be damned. After all, it’s just a high school musical.

Unfortunately, there was the little issue of licensing agreements. “Ragtime” is a work of art, not that the NAACP cares, and artists have a right to control how their work is performed, even in Cherry Hill. The contract under which the school was allowed to produce the show specifies that the script and songs must be performed as written, no exceptions.

The National Coalition Against Censorship, the Dramatists Guild of America, and Arts Integrity Initiative wrote a smart letter urging the school officials “to reconsider and reverse [the] decision to censor “Ragtime”:

“Ragtime’s” use of racial slurs is an historically accurate and necessary aspect of a play that explores race relations in the early 1900s. Ragtime helps minors understand the brutalities of racism and the anger that has historically accumulated, partly through the use of racially offensive language. In contrast, censorship of such language ignores historical reality and presents a falsified, whitewashed view of race relations. Censoring the play will only perpetuate ignorance of our past. While we empathize with concerns about the emotionally disturbing effects of hearing or uttering racial slurs, we believe such concerns are to be resolved through educational means, not by censoring a renowned text. In our experience, similar concerns… have best been confronted through dialogue rather than censorship.”

Then the students, who had been rehearsing the show since before Christmas (no, real high school performers can’t prepare an elaborate show of professional quality in a few days, as “Glee” would have us believe), created a petition on Change.Org: Continue reading

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Filed under Arts & Entertainment, Childhood and children, Education, Ethics Alarms Award Nominee, Government & Politics, History, Leadership, Popular Culture, Race, Rights, U.S. Society

Look! A Good Ethics Result From The 2016 Campaign!

ant-and-grasshopper

Donald Trump is  making it clear that he isn’t going to study, prepare, prep or train seriously for Sunday’s presidential debate. Well, why not?  After all, without substantive or appropriately focused preparation for the first debate, he was…oh, right, he was lousy. Donald doesn’t think so, however, and that’s what matters. He is now mocking Hillary Clinton for doing what anyone would do who understands the crucial mission at hand, and the importance of hard work. She is preparing, just as she would if she wasn’t going to be debating an ignorant buffoon.

One thing the Clintons cannot be criticized for is their determination and diligence. They both always work hard, and are thoroughly prepared for whatever they do. Trump, in contrast, has prospered his whole life by bluffing, bullying, posturing and faking. He had his career and a fortune handed to him by his father, and really is the embodiment of Ann Richards’  famous jibe at George H.W. Bush that he was someone who woke up on third base and thought he had hit a triple. Continue reading

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Filed under Character, Childhood and children, Government & Politics

Dear CNN: Why Did You Try To Explode My Head This Morning?

kaboom

At the climax of a debate regarding the merits or lack of same of Trump University, CNN “legal expert” Paul Callan said this—about three seconds after I sat down to watch, in my pajamas, before a single sip of coffee:

“I find myself thinking about Thomas Jefferson, author of the Constitution…

Did the legal expert correct himself the second he heard this infamous factoid of the uneducated escape his mouth? No.

What about Chris Cuomo, the cocky CNN moderator of this “debate”? Did he correct Callan? Did he even realize what he said was a historical howler? You couldn’t prove it by his next statement to the Trump spokesperson via video feed: “Well, Callan has pulled out Thomas Jefferson on you for his grand finale! What’s your response?”

His response should have been,

“Yes, Chris, Callan just “pulled out” some fictional figure named Jefferson who wrote the Constitution in Paul’s false-fact-crowded brain. Now if he had attended Trump University, he would know that Thomas Jefferson wasn’t even a participant in the Constitutional Convention. He was in Paris at the time. Jefferson wrote the Declaration of Independence, Mr. Callan. A real “legal expert” would know that, and so would a competent journalist, Chris. And you guys call Donald Trump ill-informed!”

It wasn’t his response, though. Of the three, being a Trump mouthpiece, he is the one least likely to know what Jefferson did or didn’t do. His actual response was: “When Callan pulls out the Constitutional Convention, I know he’s really in trouble.”

You know, that  famous convention they had in Boston in 1860, where Thomas Jefferson’s Constitution was signed by John Hancock, Lincoln and Teddy Roosevelt. That one.

We’re all in trouble.

These are the people Americans will depend upon to “explain” the issues and candidates this election cycle.

KABOOM!

More on this topic later, after I find the super glue and that missing piece of my skull….

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Filed under Ethics Alarms Award Nominee, Government & Politics, History, Journalism & Media

Ethics Hero: World War II Vet Burke Waldron

It is a day late, but I finally have my Memorial Day post.

Thank-you, Burke Waldron, for your service, for making me feel young, and for having the integrity not to embarrass yourself, your contemporaries, and everyone else by making pathetic attempt at throwing a baseball.

I’m not sure which elements of Ethics Hero 92-year-old WW II veteran Burke Waldron displayed yesterday, as he threw out the ceremonial first pitch at the Seattle Mariners game on Memorial Day. Call him a holistic hero. He’s a hero, like all of the fallen soldiers—including my dad—of past wars, because he risked the horrors of combat to defend our nation and the values it stands for…well, at least until Donald Trump is President.

He’s a hero because he represented his generation yesterday with style, verve and energy, running to the pitcher’s mound—in his uniform!as thousands cheered. Most of all, to me, he’s a hero because he took his assignment seriously, and didn’t emulate the pathetic rockers, politicians and even retired athletes who defile their first pitch honors by throwing the ball like a 7-year-old T-ball player, because they couldn’t be bothered to practice. Petty Officer, 2nd Class Waldron threw a strike to his catcher…

…just like another war hero, Ted Williams, did in his last appearance on a baseball field, at the 1999 All-Star Game in Boston. Continue reading

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Now THIS Is Incompetence: Healy Baumgardner, Trump “Senior Press Representative” On CNN

HealyAmong the various forms of unethical conduct, incompetence is often the one most difficult to assess objectively and fairly. In order to set a baseline standard for what constitutes indisputable incompetence in the performance of professional duties, I offer this, the recent appearance of “senior press representative” Healy Baumgardner on CNN with Carol Costello.

I know it’s hard to watch. Just brace yourself, and hold on. It will be over before you know it.

Healy, I think you will agree, makes Marco Rubio’s disastrous stuck-needle performance (Millennials: Once upon a time, recordings were played on these things called “record” by means of a “needle” on the arm of a “record player,” and a scratch would make the needle…oh, forget it.) during a debate cross-examination by Chris Christie look like deft repartee by comparison.

Fair conclusions to be drawn from this horror show include… Continue reading

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