Ethics? We Don’t Need No Stinking Ethics!

Ethics?  Now there is a shot from the past……this country use to be proud of its ethics and its moral compass….but those days are long gone….yes this country use to have a moral compass….granted sat times it was a misplaced compass….but we tried to do what was right and honorable.

The term is derived from the Greek word ethos which can mean custom, habit, character or disposition.

Ethics covers the following dilemmas:

  • how to live a good life
  • our rights and responsibilities
  • the language of right and wrong
  • moral decisions – what is good and bad?

Our concepts of ethics have been derived from religions, philosophies and cultures. They infuse debates on topics like abortion, human rights and professional conduct.

Now that there is at least a modicum of understanding on the subject of ethics…..I shall move on…..

It is time to drain the swamp in Washington, D.C.,” Donald Trump said last October, before presenting his “five-point plan” for improving ethical standards in government. “This is why I’m proposing a package of ethics reforms to make our government honest once again.” On January 28th, shortly after his Inauguration, Trump signed an executive order intended to show just how serious he was about ending the cozy Washington dealings of lobbyists and government officials. Among other things, the order imposed limitations on Administration officials, preventing them from working, for two years, on issues in government that they had previously advocated for as lobbyists, and mandating a five-year hiatus from lobbying after leaving government.

Trump said that his ethics rules were even more stringent than President Obama’s. Whether or not they actually are (and that’s debatable), members of the Trump Administration seem more than willing to disregard the ethics rules that they themselves created—and their behavior around the issue seems to suggest an alarmingly casual commitment to the rule of law.

Source: What Do White House Ethics Rules Mean If They Can Be Circumvented? – The New Yorker

The previous rule was that lobbyists couldn’t be made part of agencies that they had previously made cash money lobbying at. The new Trump rule is that lobbyists can now do exactly that, they just have to recuse themselves from any specific issue they had previously been paid to advocate for.

Except that at least ten of those lobbyists have already gotten waivers from even that requirement. Oh, and it appears that if members of the administration break the ethics rules Trump will simply give them a retroactive waiver afterward.

To some ethics means NOTHING and most of those are now sitting in the presidential circle.

Personally, I have NEVER thought the people in our government are particularly ethical….but at least they tried to be as though they did….now even that pretense is gone.

Closing Thought–03Jan17

Ethics Be Damned!

I have often stated that I think those elected officials in DC are worthless d/bags and they have proven it again.

The new Congress, the 115th, I believe will have a free ride on ethics….hiring weasels to guard the hen house….

Did the swamp just vote against drains? House Republicans bucked party leaders Monday night with a vote that the New York Times reports will hobble and “effectively kill” their independent ethics watchdog. Under a change that comes as part of a rules package for the 115th Congress, which will be sworn in Tuesday, the non-partisan Office of Congressional Ethics will be put under the control of the House Ethics Office, which is run by House lawmakers, giving them the final say in investigating allegations of their own misconduct, PBS reports. The watchdog, which will be renamed the Office of Congressional Complaint Review under the proposal, will no longer be able to receive anonymous tips or make its investigations public. The OCE was created in 2008 after a series of scandals, including the one that sent corrupt GOP lobbyist Jack Abramoff to prison.

House Speaker Paul Ryan was among those warning against the proposal, which was adopted by a vote of 119 to 74. Politico reports that lawmakers from both parties had complained that the OCE had been too aggressive in its investigations, and the effort to defang it was led by Republicans who had been investigated by the body. The proposal, which Congress will vote on Tuesday afternoon, was criticized by other watchdog groups, as well as Democrats. “The Republicans claim they want to ‘drain the swamp,’ but the night before the new Congress gets sworn in, the House GOP has eliminated the only independent ethics oversight of their actions,” House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi said in a statement. “Evidently, ethics are the first casualty of the new Republican Congress.”

Transparency be damned!

Now the Congress will police itself…..do you trust these toads to police themselves?

I don’t!

Update:  As I was writing this post I got word that there seems to be a change in plans…..

House Republicans at an emergency conference meeting on Tuesday withdrew a proposal to gut an ethics watchdog.

The new Congress hadn’t even formally gaveled in on before GOP leaders held an emergency conference meeting to discuss the blowback against the party’s vote Monday evening to gut the chamber’s independent ethics watchdog.

Tuesday’s meeting came after President-elect Donald TrumpDonald TrumpHouse GOP scraps plan to gut ethics watchdog after emergency meeting It’s no longer business as usual for the stock market this year Dem senator praises Trump for knocking House ethics move MOREissued a series of tweets questioning the timing of the changes, which would have put the independent Office of Congressional Ethics under oversight of the House Ethics Committee.

Source: House GOP scraps plan to gut ethics watchdog after emergency meeting | TheHill

Maybe someone is listening?

If so then it will be short lived.

But Is It Ethical?

From time to time I enjoy trying to get a conversation started on some subject or another…….not always successful but at least I try……I do this because I would like to hear what others think about some of the deeper issues of our time……….

Would you like a subject that will make you talk to yourself and possibly making you argue with yourself?  If so then you are looking for the subject of…..ETHICS!

First let us look at the definition of the term……..what is ethics?  The Internet encyclopedia of Philosophy has a good one……..

The field of ethics (or moral philosophy) involves systematizing, defending, and recommending concepts of right and wrong behavior. Philosophers today usually divide ethical theories into three general subject areas: metaethics, normative ethics, and applied ethics. Metaethics investigates where our ethical principles come from, and what they mean. Are they merely social inventions? Do they involve more than expressions of our individual emotions? Metaethical answers to these questions focus on the issues of universal truths, the will of God, the role of reason in ethical judgments, and the meaning of ethical terms themselves. Normative ethics takes on a more practical task, which is to arrive at moral standards that regulate right and wrong conduct. This may involve articulating the good habits that we should acquire, the duties that we should follow, or the consequences of our behavior on others. Finally, applied ethics involves examining specific controversial issues, such as abortion, infanticide, animal rights, environmental concerns, homosexuality, capital punishment, or nuclear war.

Morality?  Now there is a subject that is just as irritating as ethics….but that will be for another day and another post……….where do our ethics come from these days?

From the Bible…..or maybe our education…..or from our personal philosophy…….and then there could be from the family unit…….where oh where?

Many of us want to believe that we are a Judeo-Christian country with a like minded philosophy….but yet some of the commandments that we are suppose to live by are broken daily….daily killings….wanton lying……to mention a couple….so if we cannot live by a couple of fairly simple ‘rules’….then can we say we are an ethical people?

Can society teach ethics?  Not to my mind.  We can pass laws that force us to act in a specific way but does that make us ethical?

Can education make us more ethical?  Now this is a good subject.  My answer is not in today’s world……we are NOT taught anymore…..we are given to memorization and that does not lead to retention.  Also philosophy is not taught much anymore unless one wants to be a philosopher or than that it is a elective and only taken to fill a gap not to learn about ourselves……

Ethics is open to opinion……and I bet there will be someone that will jump all over this subject……..