Tag Archives: Ethics

The Redistribution of Wireless Wealth: What is the Right Thing to Do?

My son received an ipod touch for Christmas from his mother.  With it he is able to connect to the internet where he can check his email and surf the web almost like he does when he sits before his computer.  My son’s and my PC are wired into our router in our basement.  My daughter has a wireless connection to the router for her computer in her upstairs bedroom.  Given that we had a degree of space to cover with the wireless option, I got a router that blasts quite a bit  more signal than I really need to cover my house.

I thought my wireless connection was password protected, but when my son set up his ipod touch in my house, we found that it is not, and thus anyone who has a wireless card could pick up my signal – throughout my block, I would guess.  This discovery led to my current ethical dilemma:  should I password protect my wireless connection?  Am I diminished in any way when someone, I don’t know, uses my wireless connection?  Does it cost me more if someone else uses the connection?  Since I think the answer to both questions is “No”.  I plan to leave it unprotected.  Am I missing anything in my thinking here, is what I am wondering?

If someone was using my internet access to commit cyber-crimes that would make me reconsider my decision, but I don’t know of that happening, and doubt I could ever know if that happened or not.  Should this possibility be enough to make me reconsider?  Thanks for any help you may be able to provide.

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Filed under Ethics, The Internet

Torture and Dick Cheney’s Moral Calculations…

I just purchased Michael J. Sandel’s Justice: What’s the Right Thing to Do?  On an NPR program today, Sandel had some interesting comments on  Dick Cheney’s moral calculations on torture and the limits of the same.  Before discussing those comments, let me first set the stage for them.

Sandel is a philosphy professor at Harvard University.  He specializes in Moral Philosphy AKA Ethics.  Dick Cheney is a policitian.

In Dick Cheney’s moral calculation if torture “saves lives” torture is not just permissible, it is a moral imperitive.  Like really good teachers, Sandel asks questions that helps one understand the limitations of one’s argument.  His question was, “if torture is good and the only way to get our Arab captive to tell us where the bombs are, it is necessary to torture his 12 year daughter – be aware, she has no idea where the bombs are located, but torturing her will have an impact on our captive – in this case, is torture permissible?”  Sandel believes that even Cheney might blanch at that thought (I’m not so sure, however).

This link is to a lecture series done by Sandel: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=kBdfcR-8hEY .  An interesting detail:  supposedly some of the writers for The Simpsons took Sandel’s class – Sandel is the model for the character Mr. Burns.  I am assuming that Mr. Burns is Sandel’s evil twin – they do look, at least a little, alike.

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Filed under torture

ETHICS . . . POLITICANS WORST NIGHTMARE.

ethics-9651There are currently two separate ethics investigations going on in Washington: investigations to see if Rep. Laura Richardson and Rep. Maxine Waters, both Democrats from California, violated rules of conduct. Rep. Laura Richardson’s case involves whether she received preferential treatment in the foreclosure and eventual re-acquisition of her home in Sacramento, California.

Waters is being investigated for allegedly seeking preferential treatment for a bank linked to her husband, the committee said. According to the panel’s announcement, the investigation will look into whether Waters or her husband benefited from any of her communications or actions involving One United Bank, in which her husband held stock and previously was a director.

At a time when politicians are under intense scrutiny by every pundit with a camera or a computer, one would think those same politicians would learn crime doesn’t pay. South Carolina has had its share of idiots as well, both Republicans, so it’s not limited to any one party. So what is it about politics that tends to bring out the worst in some people? Or do the statistics reflect the general population?  I can imagine the answer to that question runs the gamete of everything from stupidity to outright greed, to it isn’t any different than pick a city near you. But I think there’s a basic question that does need to be answered:  Is politics, hence party affiliation, really involved, or does the perp lose that when he or she walks the on the unethical side? My answer to that is: a crook is a crook, and what party they belong to makes no difference. I’ve seen it used too often when either a Democrat or  Republican is charged with a crime, then suddenly it’s their parties fault. One can list the unethical from both parties, and the list would be ten pages long, at least. So using party affiliation as a blaming factor for criminal behavior is pointless. Any other views?

jammer5

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Filed under Crimes, Elections, Ethics

Admitting Mistakes…

W000795[1]Why do people find it so difficult to admit mistakes?  The story of Joe Wilson provides a sharp focus for this very serious question.  Wilson did admit that he should not have interrupted Obama during his address to Congress last week, but insists his assertion that the president mis-stated facts about the medical treatment of illegal immigrants is true.  A non-admission admission, anyone?

Dale Carnegie knew the value of promptly admitting mistakes.  The fellowship of Alcoholics Anonymous from their beginnings knew about the power of “promptly admitting one’s mistakes”.  Has admitting wrong-doing become a lost social skill?

Does anyone not recognize that failing to admit mistakes is the pathway to looking foolish and dishonorable? 

This website summarizes the method of admitting mistakes – it should not be needed, but maybe it is…

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Filed under Ethics, Life Lessons

Hardware, peanuts and friends

I’ve got a sad task in this column today. I scrapped what I was writing yesterday when we received word this morning that a much-loved WaKeeney icon has left us. Mike Dreiling, our own “Mr. WaKeeney” passed away Monday night. It was a day we always knew would come, but somehow, I just wasn’t prepared, and I kept hearing the Beatles sing “I heard the news today, oh, boy”. And when I heard the news, a whole bunch of thoughts and memories came flooding back, along with a few tears.

When I was little, on our weekly visits into town, there was no place I was more excited about visiting than the hardware store. One reason was because I never failed to convince my Dad that I NEEDED some peanuts from the red and chrome 5-cent machine located on the counter. They were always the good kind of Spanish peanuts, slightly oily and very salty, with the red skins that slipped off and fell to the bottom of those little, tiny, brown paper sacks Mike would always give me. I’m not sure if it was the nuts or the cute little sacks that made me insist on peanuts at every visit.

When I was really small and scrawny (yes, there was such a time) Mike would have to help me up to reach the machine, where I carefully deposited my nickel and turned the handle. I had to hold that mini-sack exactly under the spout so as not to lose any of the precious peanuts it dispensed, and sometimes, I just wasn’t tall enough, but I could always count on Mike to help me out. Then, and only then, could I walk around the store, peanuts in hand, and look at all the stuff on the shelves.

I was never impatient to leave when we visited Mike’s store. Oh, I liked Mr. Jeffries when he was the proprietor, but it was really Mike I wanted to see. He always talked to me like I was an adult, never, ever like I was a pesky kid, which was most likely the case.

I liked to look at the pocket knives on display, always wishing and hoping that one of them would go home with me, but that never happened. Knives were not for girls, my Dad would scoff, but Mike never treated me like just a girl. He would patiently answer all of my questions about the various tools and gadgets to be found on the shelves. I especially loved the ropes of all sizes and materials that magically sprouted from a hole in the floor. Some of those ropes became leads for my 4-H steers, and some became leads for my horse, and some were just used by Dad for unknown but always interesting farm things. I knew that we could always count on Mike to give us just what we needed. He always knew things that fascinated me and he showed me how to tie knots and which rope was used for every task. Continue reading

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Filed under Community Organizing, Ethics, Kansas History, Life Lessons

Speaking of Ethics: Palin’s woes…

Despite Palin’s claims of frivolous ethics complaints, this Politico note suggests this one may be more of a problem.

The above source indicates:

“An independent investigator has found evidence that Gov. Sarah Palin may have violated ethics laws by accepting private donations to pay her legal debts.”

Say it isn’t so…

iggy donnelly

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Filed under Elections, Ethics, Radical Rightwing groups, Religion, Republicans, Sarah Palin

The Moral Philosophy of Conservatives and Progressives

When I was in grade school, my maternal grandmother gave me a set of hard cover American Heritage books.  My favorite one was the historical treatment of the 1920′s.  In that book there were citations of  some jokes from the Harvard Lampoon of the 20′s (maybe the precursor to the National Lampoon?).  The joke follows:

A linebacker, who was having a hard time passing his philosophy class, made a deal with his professor that if he could answer only one question in class, he could receive a passing grade and play in the Championship game on the following Saturday.

The exchange went:

Professor:  “Name one German philospher.”

Linebacker: “Can’t sir.”

Professor: “Congratulations, Kowalski, you have passed.”

Emanuel Kant is our pictured guest above.  And, also a German Philospher.

Moral Philosophy was the precursor to the study of ethics.  Kant has very interested in deontological ethical frameworks.  Simply put, deontology posits that there is a morally correct resolution of all ethical problems and those should be sought, regardless of the outcome.  An example:  “People get hurt, so be it.  Executing God’s will is more important. “

Contrast the deontological framework with the Utilitarian perspective;  the major tenet of this latter approach was that the action that produces the greatest amount of good, for the greatest number of people, is the ethical solution that should be sought.

Guess which of the above approaches matches best with the two major U.S. political Parties. 

Most ethical codes try to resolve and use both of these approaches.  Sometimes including both can work and sometimes not.

The value of both approaches is what makes it important to me that the Republican party does not cease to exist.

Your thoughts?  I am taking a home study ethics course; so I apologize for this digression.

iggy donnelly

 

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Filed under Elections, Ethics, Republicans, Secularism

The American Psychological Association and Bush Era “Torture”

This is an open letter to the membership of the American Psychological Association from the Board of Directors.  It is quite interesting.

June 22, 2009

An Open Letter from the Board of Directors

Dear Colleague,

As a psychologist and member of the American Psychological Association (APA), you no doubt share our serious concerns about reports regarding the involvement of psychologists in torture and abusive interrogations as part of the Bush administration’s “war on terror.” We recognize that the issue of psychologist involvement in national security-related investigations has been an extremely difficult and divisive one for our association. We also understand that some of our members continue to be disappointed and others angered by the association’s actions in this regard. Although APA has had a longstanding policy against psychologist involvement in torture, many members wanted the association to take a strong stand against any involvement of psychologists in national security interrogations during the Bush administration.

Information has emerged in the public record confirming that, as committed as some psychologists were to ensuring that interrogations were conducted in a safe and ethical manner, other psychologists were not. Although there are countless psychologists in the military and intelligence community who acted ethically and responsibly during the post-9/11 era, it is now clear that some psychologists did not abide by their ethical obligations to never engage in torture or other forms of cruel, inhuman, or degrading treatment. The involvement of psychologists, no matter how small the number, in the torture of detainees is reprehensible and casts a shadow over our entire profession. APA expresses its profound regret that any psychologist has been involved in the abuse of detainees.

This has been a painful time for the association and one that offers an opportunity to reflect and learn from our experiences over the last five years. APA will continue to speak forcefully in further communicating our policies against torture and other cruel, inhuman, or degrading treatment or punishment to our members, the Obama administration, Congress, and the general public. In so doing, we will continue to highlight our 2008 petition resolution policy, Psychologists and Unlawful Detention Settings with a Focus on National Security. APA will ensure that association communications convey clearly that the petition resolution is official association policy and must be central to psychologists’ assessment of the appropriateness of their roles in specific work settings related to national security. Our association’s governing body, the Council of Representatives, will soon be receiving guidance from various governance groups regarding further steps to implement this resolution. The history of APA positions and actions related to detainee welfare and professional ethics can be found at http://www.apa.org/releases/timeline.html.

On a closely related matter, the Ethics Committee and APA governance as a whole are focused intently on Ethics Code Standards 1.02 and 1.03, which address conflicts between ethics and law and between ethics and organizational demands, respectively. In light of Bush administration interrogation policies and uncertainty among our membership, the Ethics Committee has issued the attached statement, “No defense to torture under the APA Ethics Code.” Invoking language from the U.N. Convention Against Torture, this statement clarifies that the Ethics Committee “will not accept any defense to torture in its adjudication of ethics complaints.” APA will continue to monitor material in official reports related to psychologist mistreatment of national security detainees, will investigate reports of unethical conduct by APA members, and will adjudicate cases in keeping with our Code of Ethics. The association’s focus on these ethical standards is consistent with its position that no psychologist involved in detainee abuse should escape accountability.

In conclusion, as part of APA’s elected leadership, we have an obligation to protect and further psychology’s longstanding commitment to the highest standards of professional ethics—including, and especially, the protection of human welfare.

Respectfully,

American Psychological Association 2009 Board of Directors

James H. Bray, PhD
Carol D. Goodheart, EdD
Alan E. Kazdin, Ph.D
Barry S. Anton, PhD
Paul L. Craig, PhD
Norman B. Anderson, PhD
Rosie Phillips Bingham, PhD
Jean A. Carter, PhD
Armand R. Cerbone, PhD
Suzanne Bennett Johnson, PhD
Melba J.T. Vasquez, PhD
Michael Wertheimer, PhD
Konjit V. Page, MS

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Filed under Cheney, Enhanced Interrogations, Psychology Ramblings..., Republicans, torture, Wingnuts!