Tag Archives: United Nations

Morning Ethics Warm-Up: 7/7/17

1. I am afraid that today’s posts may be heavily tilted to the ongoing mainstream media implosion, depending on what other issues surface and what the Ethics Alarms ethics scouts sleuth out. Afraid, because I know that many readers here, like the news media itself (not surprisingly, but tellingly, the legacy news media isn’t reporting this story, but it is being thoroughly reported in the “new”–as in online–news media) want to pretend that it isn’t a story at all. The repeated deflection—they are deflecting, whether the mainstream media defenders can admit it to themselves or not, because the news media is destroying itself with unrestrained anti-Trump bias, and its defenders like anti-Trump bias, as they are suffering from it themselves—is “Isn’t an untrustworthy President worse than an untrustworthy news media?” The answer is absolutely not. A President’s job isn’t to be trustworthy, though being trustworthy is crucial to doing the job and maintaining the vitality of his Office. A President’s job is lead the government and use his power to keep the nation safe, free and prosperous while upholding the Constitution. A trustworthy President is more likely to accomplish those goals, and I insist that a trustworthy (that is, ethical) individual should always be preferred over an untrustworthy one who claims to have more popular policies in mind. Nevertheless, untrustworthy Presidents can have successful administrations, and have before in our history. Moreover, a President who is untrustworthy can be replaced in four years.

We don’t elect journalists. What is happening to our pampered, privileged, arrogant  journalistic establishment cannot be remedied at the ballot box, and indeed impedes effective elections. A news media that increasingly sees its function as manipulating public opinion to serve its own ideological and partisan ends threatens democracy itself. That makes the rogue news media of today a far greater threat than one incompetent President, and the more urgent ethics concern.

How will this professional ethics abdication be addressed and repaired? It must be, and the starting point has to be the journalism field’s  own recognition that there is a crisis.

2. There was a flicker of hope on the self-recognition front yesterday, when former CNN chairman and CEO Walter Isaacson, being interviewed on Bloomberg’s “What’d You Miss, lamented the current state of the media, saying that news coverage and bias was the at least partially at fault for the “enormous political divide” in the U.S.  Now leading the Aspen Institute’s education and policy studies, Isaacson said that the polarization and partisan hostility “have been exacerbated by all forms of media. People are getting more and more partisan.” He also pointedly refused to accept the standard “It’s all Fox News’ fault” rationalization, saying, “I put everybody [in the media] in the category, including all of us, that we can step back from knee-jerk partisan elections…that would be good.”

Isaacson’s statements are too mild and meek, and not exactly a ringing rebuke, but it’s a step in the right direction. I’ll take what I can get. Continue reading

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Romanian Flag Ethics, or “Who Cares About Chad?”

 

The national flag of Romania (above left)  is designed with vertical stripes colored blue, yellow and red. It has a width-length ratio of 2:3. So does the national flag of Chad (right). In fact, they are identical. (One or the other supposedly has as slightly darker blue, indigo vs. cobalt, but I can’t see it.

Romania established the colors and the design by law in 1989, when its Communist government fell.  It essentially ripped off Chad’s flag, and Chad immediately protested. True, these had been the Rumania/Romania colors forever, but not in this exact form. Do you think Romania bothered to check whether than design was, like, taken? Nah. “There were more important things to care about,” rationalized the nation’s president at the time,  Ion Illiescu. More important to Chad, though? This is the essence of ethics: thinking about the other parties affected by your conduct.It is not the Romanian way, at least when it comes to flags.

What does Romania care about Chad? It’s one of the bleakest, poorest third world nations in the world. Who cares if Chad objects? Who listens to Chad? “It’s too far away,” reasons a Romanian quoted by the Wall Street Journal. Now there’s the keen logic, sense of fairness, and respect for the rest of the world we like to see from our fellow citizens of the planet.

There is no authorized body that referees flag theft. Of course, there shouldn’t have to be, as this is an act without plausible defenses. If a nation takes another country’s flag, it is either being spectacularly arrogant, disrespectful and dishonest,  or incredibly negligent. There is no third explanation. Continue reading

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The UN Officially Admits It Has No Integrity

"It is true: I am a weenie, and the U.N. can be rolled..."

“It is true: I am a weenie, and the U.N. can be rolled…”

The United Nations’ 2015 “Children and Armed Conflict” report originally listed the Saudi-led coalition in Yemen under “parties that kill or maim children” and “parties that engage in attacks on schools and/or hospitals.” Based on the work of U.N. researchers in Yemen, the report attributed 60 percent of the 785 children killed and 1,168 injured to the bombing coalition.

But  Saudi Arabia  threatened to stop its funding of other U.N. projects, so, Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon admitted,  the U.N. was revising the report to “review jointly the cases and numbers cited in the text,” in order to “reflect the highest standards of accuracy possible” ….and to “temporarily” remove the Saudi-led coalition countries from the report’s annex in the interest of protecting these programs.

Ban said he made a the difficult decision based on the need “to consider the very real prospect that millions of other children would suffer grievously if, as was suggested to me, countries would de-fund many U.N. programs.”

“It is unacceptable for member states to exert undue pressure,” Ban said, absurdly. If it is unacceptable, why does the U.N. accept it?

The UN published a factual report, and has now announced that the report will be inaccurate because it yielded to extortion in involving the lives of children.

Corruption. What justification is there to trust an organization that allows a member to do this?

The news media should stop quoting United Nations reports on health, climate change, hunger, or anything else. It has admitted that it can be bullied, pressured and bought. It has no credibility, and should not be treated as if it does.

_______________________

Sources: NPR, The Intercept

 

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Michael Brown’s Parents Go Rogue

Why wait for U.S. Justice to work, when we can be dictated to by representatives of Chile, Senegal, Georgia, and Mauritius?

Why wait for U.S. justice to work, when we can be dictated to by representatives of Chile, Senegal, Georgia, and Mauritius?

Wherever the line lies where grief and anger no longer excuse irresponsible, irrational and destructive conduct, the parents of slain police shooting victim Michale Brown have charged over it.

On Veterans Day, Lesley McSpadden and Michael Brown Sr. addressed the United Nations Committee Against Torture  in Geneva, Switzerland. The Committee supposedly works to address brutality by governments around the world, but based on this stunt, and stunt it is, the panel is just one more U.N. sham entity with an anti-American agenda. Whatever is going through the minds of Brown’s parents, their willingness to be part of this transparent attack on the U.S. is in the spirit of treason.

“We need answers and we need action. And we have to bring it to the U.N. so they can expose it to the rest of the world, what’s going on in small town Ferguson,” McSpadden told CNN. It should be obvious that neither parent has any direct knowledge of what happened to their son, and would not be allowed to testify in any court proceeding held to determine the truth. That the United Nations would behave otherwise is proof positive of bad will and nasty intent, and for McSpadden and Michael Brown Sr. to participate in this despicable effort makes them accessories to a plot devised by their own nation’s enemies. Continue reading

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Filed under Around the World, Character, Ethics Alarms Award Nominee, Ethics Train Wrecks, Family, Government & Politics, Law & Law Enforcement, Race

Three Republican Candidates: Gaffes, Disqualifications, Or Something Else?

shooting-yourself-in-the-footI felt badly about piling up three posts recently on unethical female Democrats running for office, and was inspired by the Washington Post’s Greg Sargent to do some analysis of Republican candidates who, at least according to Sargent, deserve equivalent criticism to what has been leveled at Alison Lundergan Grimes for refusing to say whether she voted for President Obama. [She did it again last night in her debate with Sen. McConnell.]

Sometimes finding Republican candidates who deserve an Ethics Alarms slap is hard, unless they say something bat wacky like, say, Richard Mourdock. If a Democrat is flagged by The Daily Beast or the Post, I can be pretty sure there was something said or done that was objectively troubling, because the mainstream media will bury anything from a Democrat that is vaguely defensible. A Republican, however, might be accused of certified insanity for a statement that offends progressive cant. Fox and many of the right wing websites, meanwhile, will ignore any Republican whose pronouncements don’t rise to “I am the Lizard Queen!” level of derangement, and will find fault with Democratic candidates on dubious grounds. Here are the GOP candidates for today’s ethics audit: Joni Ernst (U.S. Senate in Iowa); Tom Cotton (U.S. Senate in Arkansas); and Greg Abbott  (Texas Governor race): Continue reading

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Reflections On President’s Day, 2012: A United States Diminished in Power, Influence and Ideals

Rep. Ron Paul is fond of saying that the United States shouldn’t be the world’s policeman, and thanks to irresponsible stewardship of America’s resources and horrific maintenance of its ideals, his wish has already come true. One result is a world that has no functioning opposition to evil, a world at the mercy of chaos with no champion or guiding inspiration in sight. The other result is a United States that no longer stands for its own founding principles.

For proof, we have only to look as far as Syria, where a brutal dictator is killing his own people at an accelerating rate. Although his people have tired of his tyranny, Hafez al-Assad, like Gaddafi before him, seems determined to kill as many of his own countrymen as he has to in order to stay in power. Our President, Barack Obama, has delivered stern admonitions and disapprovals, which is this President’s style and approximately as effective as tossing water balloons. The Secretary of State, Mrs. Clinton, expresses frustration, for all the good that does. The killing, of course, goes on.

If you think I’m going to advocate U.S. action in Syria, you are wrong. Quite simply, we can’t afford it—not with a Congress and an Administration that appear unwilling and unable to confront rising budget deficits and crushing debt with sensible tax reform and unavoidable entitlement reductions. Yesterday Congress and the President passed yet another government hand-out of money it doesn’t have and refuses to raise elsewhere, among other things continuing to turn unemployment insurance, once a short-term cushion for job-seekers, into long-term government compensation for the unemployed. Part of the reckless debt escalation was caused by the last President unconscionably engaging in overseas combat in multiple theaters without having the courage or sense  to insist that the public pay for it, and the current administration is incapable of grasping that real money, not just borrowed funds, needs to pay for anything. The needle is well into the red zone on debt; we don’t have the resources for any discretionary military action.

Ron Paul thinks that’s a good thing, as do his libertarian supporters. President Obama, it seems, thinks similarly. They are tragically wrong. Though it is a popular position likely to be supported by the fantasists who think war can just be wished away, the narrowly selfish who think the U.S. should be an island fortress, and those to whom any expenditure that isn’t used to expand  cradle-to-grave government care is a betrayal of human rights, the abandonment of America’s long-standing world leadership in fighting totalitarianism, oppression, murder and genocide is a catastrophe for both the world and us. Continue reading

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United Nations Ethics

 

After the U.N., Plan B

Ah, the United Nations—can’t live with it, can’t live without it!

 

But I think it may be time for the U.S., having tried to live with a corrupt, hypocritical, impotent monument to how disastrous a one-world government would be—while supplying the lion’s share of its funding— to try living without it.

The U.N. Human Rights Council has issued a 23-page report praising the Gaddafi regime’s human-rights record. Continue reading

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