Pilant's Business Ethics

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Tag: Huffington Post

Rape is Wrong

English: Stylized handcuffs. Português: Algema...

English: Stylized handcuffs. Português: Algemas estilizadas (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

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Rape is Wrong

 

 

If you go down the page you will see a article from the Huffington Post in which an attorney suggests, I suppose the best way to put it, is that in the current case of the Missouri teen, that she was to blame. This makes me very angry. Bizarrely enough, I think you shouldn’t take advantage of 14 year old girls.

 

I think that it is obvious that rape is wrong but it apparently in many people’s minds carries a lot of caveats. Apparently that caveated definition always begins with the phrase: “What did she expect…”, which I have been hearing now for a good thirty years. This is often followed, in no particular order – when she dressed like that, – when she got into the car with him, – when she drank that much, – when she flirted like that, – when she went to his apartment at two in the morning, etc. You can probably think of a few I missed.

 

Raping women is wrong. Let me throw a little radical thought your way. Rape is a crime. It is not punishment for women’s misbehavior. It is a crime for which the perpetrator should go to prison. It is not a crime of passion, it is an assertion of power by a male without character or breeding.

 

And let me add these little thoughts –

 

A gentleman does not have sex with an unconscious woman.

 

A gentleman does not get a woman drunk to avoid getting her consent.

 

A gentleman realizes that no matter how a lady is dressed, how late it is, how drunk she is, that his duty is to protect and honor, all the time, every time.

 

James Pilant

 

Joseph DiBenedetto: ‘I’m Not Saying She Deserved To Be Raped, But…’

 

http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2013/10/17/joseph-dibenedetto-rape-missouri-teen_n_4118899.html

 

“What did she expect to happen at one in the morning after sneaking out?” attorney Joseph DiBenedetto said on Shephard Smith Reports. “I’m not saying — assuming that these facts are accurate and this did happen — I’m not saying she deserved to be raped, but knowing the facts as we do here including what the prosecutor has set forth, this case is going nowhere and it’s going nowhere quick.”

 

Shep Smith immediately jumped in and refuted his claims.

 

“What you’ve done, Joseph, is taken an alleged victim of rape and turned her into a liar and a crime committer,” he said. “That’s a far jump from a 1,000 miles away.”

 

via Joseph DiBenedetto: ‘I’m Not Saying She Deserved To Be Raped, But…’.

From around the web.

From the web site, Rape in the Military.

http://rapecultureinthemilitary.wordpress.com/2013/05/02/rape-in-the-military/

I call this an epidemic in our military because the numbers are staggering. It is estimated that 1 in 5 women in the military are sexually assaulted. (McDonough) A March 26 report by the Institute of Medicine said sexual assault and rape have “been occurring at high rates throughout U.S. armed forces, including the Iraq and Afghanistan theaters.” (Maze) The DOD (Department of Defense) estimated that last year around 19,000 service members are sexually assaulted each year. Thousands of our brave soldiers are being assaulted by their fellow brothers and sisters. The psychological damage of being betrayed by someone you are supposed to trust with your life has to be incredibly scarring.

 

The military even has a term for those who are suffering from the effects of sexual assault; it is called MST (Military Sexual Trauma). The military has reports done every year, and they have a division SAPRO (Sexual Assault Prevention and Response Office) that handles policies and training around sexual assault crimes. So why are the numbers so high? “Only a small fraction of the incidents, 3,192 in 2011, are reported, and a mere 10 percent of those cases proceed to trial — hardly enough to create meaningful deterrence to criminal behavior and establish accountability.”(NYT Editorial)

 

Chained CPI

Seal of the United States Social Security Admi...

Seal of the United States Social Security Administration. It appears on Social Security cards. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

006cFrom the Huffington Post, authored by Sabrina Siddiqui and Mike McAuliff.

The chained CPI works by assuming that when the price of a product, such as beef, gets too high, consumers don’t keep paying the higher prices. Instead, the model predicts they will switch to something cheaper, such as chicken, keeping their cost of living lower and leading to a lower rate of inflation, as measured by the chained CPI. The lower rate of inflation would mean a downward adjustment in cost of living, and thus stingier benefits.

The cuts would start small, but wind up costing beneficiaries thousands of dollars over time, which is why Democrats have traditionally fought the idea.

But Pelosi wrapped both her arms around it Wednesday, insisting she does not regard it as a “cut.”

“No, I don’t,” she told reporters. “I consider it a strengthening of Social Security, but that’s neither here nor there.”

Later in the article, there is this quote:

That logic, however, is only ever applied to entitlement programs that have their own revenue streams. Nobody would attempt to argue that the military was strengthened by cutting its budget, or that education was strengthened by slashing funding for it.

Social Security was created in the 1930s to combat elderly poverty. It worked: Giving money to older Americans made them less poor. Shrinking benefits would correspondingly lower their standards of living.

“Strengthen the Program?” Since Social Security has the resources to be fully paid up until 2038 if the American economy grows at about a 2% rate I don’t understand why there is a crisis. Why are we penalizing the elderly by reducing already budgeted and paid for benefits? Is it ethical?

No, it’s not. Those people on benefits and people who have paid into the system deserve what they have paid for. This is a form of theft. If the program were in fiscal trouble, this would be a different matter but it is not.

What’s going on here? The federal government pays out more money than it takes in on taxes on every program but social security. So by what logic, is social security a legitimate target for budget cuts?

James Pilant

Here are other comment from the web –

From the Huffington Post:

Democratic Rep. Keith Ellison (Minn.) said Tuesday that one part of a potential deal to avoid the so-called “fiscal cliff” is actually “a stealth way to give people less” and that he and other members of the House Progressive Caucus won’t vote for any plan that includes it.

“It’s a bad idea and it’s a stealth way to give people less,” Ellison told HuffPost Live host Alyona Minkovski. “And, so we’re saying we’re not gonna do it. It is a benefit cut — and here’s the real problem with it being a benefit cut: It would be absolutely horrible if it were a benefit cut but the cut was designed to extend the life of Social Security and to make the program more solvent. But that’s not why they’re doing it. They’re doing it so that they can preserve somebody else to have a tax cut and to not raise taxes on the top 2 percent.”

From the web site, aluation – (This is a strong comment, and I would like you to go to the site and read it in full.)

Commenter extraordinaire anne at Economist’s View posted a very helpful brief from Alan Barber and Nicole Woo of the CEPR on the disaster that a switch to the chained CPI poses for those dependent on Social Security, and less obviously, on the middle class in general.

Here’s a nice one from the web site, Poverty and Policy by Kathryn Baer.

The chained CPI attempts to reflect consumers’ behavior in response to prices as well as prices themselves — specifically the fact that people change their buying habits when prices rise. When beef prices increase, they buy less steak and more chicken, etc.

A switch to this CPI would thus slow benefits growth. But would it accurately reflect retirees’ living costs? Apparently not.

The Bureau of Labor Statistics has been maintaining an experimental CPI for elderly Americans for about 30 years now. It’s found that the index rises somewhat faster than the CPI-W, mainly because seniors spend a greater share of their budgets on health care, housing and, to a lesser extent, heating oil.

The average gap between the indexes isn’t great for any one year, but it mounts up over time. Switch to an index that rises more slowly than the CPI-W and the gap between living costs and benefits increases.

This is from Universal Values Advisors Market Insights: (This is a more in-depth analysis.)

The reality is that, like much of what comes out of Washington, the “Chained-CPI” concept is neither new nor more accurate. This chain-weighted concept is just another step in a series of steps that began in 1980 aimed at changing the CPI concept from one that measures the cost of maintaining “a constant standard of living” to measuring, really, not much at all, as I will explain later. The real purpose of altering the methodology is twofold: 1. To reduce the reported increase in inflation for political reasons; and 2. To lower future federal budget costs of Social Security, Medicare and government pensions by lowering the COLA adjustments without having to haveCongress vote for those or the administration sign it into law. Just note, however, what class bears the biggest burden of this – seniors and retirees.

 

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Stoicism, A Philosophy for Tough Times?

Stoicism, A Philosophy for Tough Times?

Rob Goodman and Jimmy Soni writing in the Huffington Post describe why Stoicism is still relevant today. I selected a passage from their first reason that the philosophy was designed for tough times. I’ve read Marcus Aurelius and Epictetus, so I’m familiar with Stoicism but I don’t believe endurance is enough but otherwise I admire stoicism and find its practitioners admirable.

James Pilant

Roman Emperor and Stoicism

Five Reasons Why Stoicism Matters Today

Stoicism was born in a world falling apart. Invented in Athens just a few decades after Alexander the Great’s conquests and premature death upended the Greek world, Stoicism took off because it offered security and peace in a time of warfare and crisis. The Stoic creed didn’t promise material security or a peace in the afterlife; but it did promise an unshakable happiness in this life. 

Stoicism tells us that no happiness can be secure if it’s rooted in changeable, destructible things. Our bank accounts can grow or shrink, our careers can prosper or falter, even our loved ones can be taken from us. There is only one place the world can’t touch: our inner selves, our choice at every moment to be brave, to be reasonable, to be good.

The world might take everything from us; Stoicism tells us that we all have a fortress on the inside. The Stoic philosopher Epictetus, who was born a slave and crippled at a young age, wrote: “Where is the good? In the will…If anyone is unhappy, let him remember that he is unhappy by reason of himself alone.”

While it’s natural to cry out at pain, the Stoic works to stay indifferent to everything that happens on the outside, to stay equally happy in times of triumph and disaster. It’s a demanding way of life, but the reward it offers is freedom from passion — freedom from the emotions that so often seem to control us, when we should control them. A real Stoic isn’t unfeeling. But he or she does have a mastery of emotions, because Stoicism recognizes that fear or greed or grief only enter our minds when we willingly let them in.

A teaching like that seems designed for a world on edge, whether it’s the chaotic world of ancient Greece, or a modern financial crisis. But then, Epictetus would say that — as long as we try to place our happiness in perishable things — our worlds are always on edge.

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Liar and Slanderer, Joe Kernen

CNBC Host Joe Kernen: Paul Krugman Is A Communist

“They quoted Paul Krugman and this other idiot, Dean Baker, who’s some guy, I don’t even know who he is, he always writes for The Huffington Post. Basically co-communists in a lot of different economic circles,” Kernen said on Monday. “You know, fact-checkers need fact-checking now. They’re so full of crap. These fact-checkers lie more than the people that they’re fact-checking.”

CNBC Host Joe Kernen: Paul Krugman Is A Communist

Kernan takes CNBC to a new low with his Joe McCarthy antics. I read both Krugman and Baker every day. Their fact checking is solid and even more solid is their status as American Capitalists and patriots. This vicious windbag needs firing. Where would a network find a person like Joe Kernen and believe these kinds of thoughts provide “significant” commentary? They more resemble the rantings of beer soaked bar patron muttering at the television.

It’s the same old thing. When the facts are with you, you cite the facts, when the facts are against you, you pound the table.

This is table pounding, and pathetic table pounding at that.

James Pilant

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Why Don’t We Just Govern the U.S. with the Default Settings from SimCity?

Because it’s just a video game with the scantiest connections to reality?

First, some background –

Herman Cain 999 Plan: Did It Come From SimCity?

Herman Cain Stole 9-9-9 Plan From SimCity?

Herman Cain’s 9-9-9 Plan Straight Out of SimCity?

That’s right. There is considerable speculation that the current Republican front runner got his inspiration for his tax policy from a eleven year old video game. I’m a little disturbed by this. I was under the impression that economic policy was important. However, all that it seems to take to become a front runner for the nomination is a catchy phrase like 9-9-9 borrowed from a “non-economist.”

However, it does offer some interesting possibilities. You could set up an economic policy where everyone got 200 dollars for passing “GO.” Although where you would put “GO” might be controversial.

Alternately, you could grow up insulated from the real world in a vault hundreds of feet beneath the earth and have to enter the outside world at the age of 18 in a bright blue jump suit with a medium size pistol and a wrist computer (Fallout 3).

Oh, well – you get the picture. Maybe the fantasy world of video gaming should have some distance from being used in the real world as economic policy? However, if you would like to build your own version of the U.S. economy, and set up your own fancy numbers – here is a link for SimCity –

Here’s where you can download Sim City 2000!!

Maybe you could go with 7/11/11?

James Pilant

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Why Young Adults Are Walking Away From Church by Christian Piatt

In a column in Huffington Post, Christian Piatt discusses the why behind the exodus of the young from church.

Here’s my favorite paragraph –

Alisa Harris’ memoir, “Raised Right: How I Untangled My Faith from Politics,” reflects on the apparent cultural, spiritual and economic desert time in which we find ourselves. We have witnessed the carnage of a financial system that was intended to perpetually buoy a nation, but whose “invisible hand” has instead crushed the dreams of millions. We’ve watched as the two-headed political serpent attacks itself until it is impotent. We’ve seen religious figures scandalize their institutions empty, as a generation walks away in search of something more relevant to their daily struggle.

Church attendance has fallen dramatically over the last twenty years. In 2005, Protestants represented half those practicing a religion in the United States for the first time.

What’s going on?

I see two trends. The mainline Protestant churches continue to bleed membership. The evangelical movement has hit a wall in recruitment and can neither maintain its growth and or maintain its current numbers. The second trend is new. I suspect that it has a great deal to do with the impact of the political action on a church organization. It is probably a delight to go out and organize precincts handing out conservative literature instead of sitting through a boring sermon, after all, politics is a lot easier than Christianity. But for many the Christian call remains a powerful inducement and a church that acts as a political action committee has little time for gospel issues.

I do not see these trends reversing although I suspect the mainline bleed has to end at some point.

James Pilant

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Catherine Crier Attacks Conservative Dogma About Adam Smith

Adam Smith; engraving

Image via Wikipedia

In an article in Huffington Post, Catherine Crier finds the Tea Party and Conservative view of Adam Smith and his doctrines to be ridiculous. In her interpretation (and mine), Adam Smith was at one with the principles of the mixed economy, that is, some regulation and some economic freedom. Here’s two key paragraphs –

Just as Jeffersonian democracy operates best on a small scale, Adam Smith believed his self-correcting free markets were ideal for small businesses in a domestic economy. Integrated in their communities, these businesses would be influenced directly by the needs and demands of consumers, and any dangerous or abusive conduct would rarely affect the broader economy. But Smith treated large, powerful companies very differently. He said big business was led by “an order of men…that generally have an interest to deceive and even to oppress the public”, and he referred to powerful corporations (then known as joint stock companies) as “unaccountable sovereigns” that were as dangerous to free markets as tyrannical governments. Unrestrained, they had the power to shape society and governments for their own purposes, and consumers would pay for “all the extraordinary profits” while suffering from “all the extraordinary waste”, the inherent fraud and abuse, that accompanies such immense economic power.

Smith stated emphatically that a strong government, acting through democratic and legal institutions, was the only entity capable of challenging such corporate power. Smith supported necessary government regulations, labor and human rights, public education, and progressive taxation to ease the economic and social inequities he knew would occur in a capitalist system. Without these “liberal” measures, social and political unrest would threaten a nation’s stability and his free market economy could not survive.

I have often been surprised what conservative say writers mean and what I read when I study the same text. She appears to have had the same experience. Few individuals read the Great Works of the Western World with any focus. The material is difficult and often lengthy as well but the Great Books are worth the effort.

I have long been a fan of Robert Maynard Hutchins and his belief in the importance of books and skilled reading. I have read almost a third of the books he lists at the end of his book, “How to Read a Book.” Let’s have more reading and understanding and less dogma.

James Pilant

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North Carolina Sold to Wealthy Conservative Activist? Could your state be next?

“State for Sale” reads the lead story on the Huffington Post this morning. It’s a very sad story –  how one man freed by the Citizen’s United Supreme Court to spend as much as he wants can essentially buy a state legislature.

That state legislature has now redistricted to favor conservative candidates and passed voter id laws to restrict the poor, college students and minorities from voting.

Is your state next? Of course, it is. All you need is one of the country’s wealthy “elite” and a little political ambition. Most state campaigns are only a few thousand dollars. Spend two or three times that much and the legislature will fall into your lap like a ripe apple.

What will the new legislature do? Cut university funding and repeal taxes? You bet!

This is the brave new world of Citizens United. Aren’t you glad you’ve lived to see the day when corporate personhood become the law of the land? It arms every wealthy conservative activist with the tool for victory – the power to use as much money as he wants.

James Pilant

A conservative multimillionaire has taken control in North Carolina, one of 2012’s top battleground

Even some North Carolinians associated with Jesse Helms think that Pope has gone too far. Jim Goodmon, the president and C.E.O. of Capitol Broadcasting Company, which owns the CBS and Fox television affiliates in Raleigh, says, “I was a Republican, but I’m embarrassed to be one in North Carolina because of Art Pope.” Goodmon’s grandfather A. J. Fletcher was among Helms’s biggest backers, having launched him as a radio and television commentator. Goodmon describes Pope’s forces as “anti-community,” adding, “The way they’ve come to power is to say that government is bad. Their only answer is to cut taxes.” Goodmon believes that Pope’s agenda is not even good for business, because the education cuts he’s helped bring about will undermine the workforce. “If you want to create good jobs, you need good schools,” he says. “We’re close to the bottom out of the fifty states in education spending, and if they could take it down further they would.” He says of Pope, “It’s never about making things better. It’s all about tearing the other side down.”

The article is written by Jane Mayer.

Read more http://www.newyorker.com/reporting/2011/10/10/111010fa_fact_mayer#ixzz1ZjeqYjyI

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Should’ve Taken Business Ethics AWARD Friday 6/4/2010

Some businesses are refusing to consider hiring the unemployed. Under the title, Disturbing Job Ads, Laura Bassett writing in the Huffington Post reports on several businesses that specifically tell the unemployed that they are not interested in seeing their resumes.

I am doing an experiment here with might become a regular feature, an award for poorly thought out ethical decisions. My provisional title is “Shoud’ve Taken Business Ethics AWARD.” If you have a better one, (which probably isn’t that hard considering I have doubts about it) please send me your idea.

Business Stupidity –

Capitalism Gone Weird

This is competition in an inappropriate place!

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