Archive for Ethics

Conan v. Thumper, a Resist Lesson

Nearly a decade tutorial should be enough. D.C. Republicans channeled Conan the Barbarian, while in their turn, Dems played the well-socialized Thumper.

Here’s the obvious call — Congressional GOP’ers have far overplayed their hand. The Dems have played like UUs, respecting others. Democrats need to be ready to follow the Republican lead, tromping as well as smiling and caressing.

We heard the calumnies of Barack Obama as he campaigned for the POTUS spot and then held it. The incredible hypocrisy of yelling, “Unfair!,” while claiming Dems are trying to delegitimatize Trump’s Presidency goes beyond risible.

Too nasty v. too nice

Let us frame GOP obstructionism and deceit in cinematic terms. Recall Conan’s answer to his general to what is best in life, “Crush your enemies. See them driven before you. Hear the lamentations of their women.” This is precisely what the Republican Congress has been doing, continuing into the new administration. It’s scorched earth, regardless of how much it hurts the nation and its citizens.

In contrast, Dems have continued to play by the rules. They seem to be a bunch of UUs, They live out the Seven Principles and continue to hope and even expect Republicans will do likewise. After all, this is how Boomers were raised. In light of lessons from the WWII generation, religion, movies, TV and books, we learned about good and bad behavior, playing fair and civility. Dems are much more like Thumper from Bambi, whose catch-phrase was “If you can’t say something nice, don’t say nothing at all.”

It’s one-sided respect and fairness.

The GOP is likely to keep control of Congress through 2018. There’s a shot at 2020 or 2022 to flip Congress. The Dems are working hard at the state level, and the current administration’s certain failures to meet promises and goals will catch up. When those who stupidly believe that the media is dishonest and corrupt, not the GOP in D.C. have to accept reality once again, the current destructive bums will go.

That will not be another time for Dems to forgive and forget. Republicans have shown themselves too long in too many ways to be without fairness, graciousness or honor.

While I can’t believe Dems will ever behave as disgracefully as Republicans have, Resist cannot end with a Congress rife with Thumpers.

Dems don’t even need to threaten them with saying, “You’re only getting what you gave us.” There will surely be lamentations of their lawmakers. Yet, that will just be background music. Meanwhile resurgent Dems need to take charge thoroughly. Let the bad guys beg for compromise, which they never gave nor accepted. Then the Dems can consider it.

No more Thumpers.

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:Hillary’s Email (Eek! Mail) Podcast

No free ride for Hillary Clinton. Yes, the FBI cleared her of criminal wrongdoing in its probe of her use of private email servers. Yet, it deemed that doing so was “extremely careless” and in particular did not follow federal protocols for archiving government records.

Those who hated and slandered her before are not about to start publicly apologizing to her or those in their social-media feeds. Plus, the fast majority of us who have been saying for a year or more that this would be the result also haven’t changed our opinion.

My questions were more along the lines of what does this mean to the third to half of the electorate who hadn’t totally made up their minds? I talk through why I think it will be a wash for her. The moderates and independents are likely to be more open to her. She’ll be a bump from the pending Democratic convention. The Hillary and sick-of-Democrats-in-the-White-House types won’t change their minds at all. I bet she’ll get a very modest bump in the polls when this settles.

 

icon for podpress  Hillary's Eek-mail [22:42m]: Play Now | Play in Popup | Download

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Responsibility?

A current mean is asking whether something is “still a thing.” Let’s consider personal responsibility in that big pile.

Perhaps the most obvious cases are the far too many caught on video and by witnesses where cops kill unarmed, non-threatening civilians and face zero punishment or even charges. “I felt threatened” seems too often to immediately convince prosecutors and internal-affairs sorts that all is right.

It isn’t. We see in other professions as well (think doctors and financial execs) that self-policing and such oversight are risible. Cultural change is necessary.

The ideas and ideals boomers saw and heard everywhere included being held accountable for bad actions. Books, movies and of course parents and clerics taught that if you did something bad, there were consequences.

The norm now is what tricks can you pull to avoid punishment or even accusation. Bad drivers skate with “unfortunate accident” for their most egregious, fatal sins.

Enough with this.

icon for podpress  Responsibility? [20:31m]: Play Now | Play in Popup | Download

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Alex Buck Podcast

Not your usual politician, as Alex Buck describes himself, joined us today to pitch his positions and his aims if he becomes Susan Fargo’s replacement in the MA Senate for 3rd Middlesex. He says he tells voters in his front door speech that’s one of his pluses.

He warned us that his campaign site is almost fleshed out, but won’t get his platform and issues for a few more days. Meanwhile, click below to hear his views and goals on a very wide range, from education to taxes to growing our economy to mass transit to the role of government.

Buck layered a masters in public administration from Harvard’s Kennedy School on his mechanical engineering bachelors. He talks about his vision for an economy that educates for and enables the likes of life sciences, biotech and clean energy. He is firmly against giving tax breaks to individual companies (comparing that the mere fertilizer when an industry’s entire environment should foster all companies who enter it or expand in it).

He sees education from all-day kindergarten through public support to keep state colleges affordable to workplace education as pivotal to building and expanding these essential industries. Listen in as he addresses why he thinks we are one of the few places in the country that can pull this off.

This was the fourth in the 3rd Middlesex Senate series. Mara Dolan was the first, Mike Barrett the second, and Joe Kearns Goodwin the third.

icon for podpress  Alex Buck [31:48m]: Play Now | Play in Popup | Download

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Grossman Casinos Podcast

Steve Grossman talked casinos, commissioners, goals, and site awards with us for the law in place to allow three casinos and a single slots parlor in MA. The public wants action — revenue, short and long-term jobs, and other proof that large-scale commercial gambling (euphemistically gaming) beyond the lottery is the right thing to do.

Treasurer and Receiver General Steve Grossman joined Left Ahead today for an abbreviated (20-minute) show focused precisely on the what-now factor. Click the player below to hear what he says about:

  • Selection of the five commissioners to set up and oversee the works
  • What we expect to gain from the operations
  • How fast we ramp up
  • What his concerns are about the commissioner he picks, the two others he co-chooses, and the whole process

Even though he’s the commonwealth’s pivotal money man and financial policy visionary, Grossman is quick to point out that he’s largely a spectator once the commission’s in place and the sites are awarded. He guides at this stage and then has to be hands off. Ideally, he’ll be figuratively counting money from the operational proceeds.

It was just he and I today on this short show. I was plain about my trepidation.

Grossman inspires the obvious observation that he was an Eagle Scout and like most of them largely remains the honest and stalwart fellow. In that vein, he stressed how demanding he will be in his choice of commissioner. The Governor has already chosen the chair, the Attorney General gets a pick, and the three of them agree among themselves on the other two to make five. The process at least on paper/online looks like the qualifications in the description and application will avoid conflicts of interest, guarantee objectivity as much as humanly possible, and bring the proper mix of relevant knowledge and skills. Check the commonwealth site here for the specs and application.

I was also very concerned about the vague and seemingly naive objectives in the law itself. Scroll to lines 138 through 149 for key goals. Pretty much, the lawmakers and governor want new jobs as well as protection and expansion of local business and tourism.

These generalizations are a far cry from what is in the literature about successful implementations of gambling facilities. Most of those are overseas and typically took years of planning and bids that required the investing company to spend tens of millions meeting the governments specifications in elaborate proposals. The clearest case I heard was from casinos expert Prof. William Eadington at a recent Rappaport forum.

While Grossman did not promise that level of smart planning, he did agree with the concepts. Listen in as he describes that meter running. He figures we have one chance to do this right. He wants the commonwealth, in the form of him, the AG, Governor and commission, to apply principles like those he used in his successful business. He does not want anyone rushing and expects high quality instead of speed of implementation.

Likewise, he spoke of trying to capture the revenue that goes to out-of-state casinos and would not promise an effort to attract out-of-state and out-of-U.S. tourists. However, he likes the ideas behind the successful implementations in foreign casinos. Those typically built such attractive tourist resorts that they are true destinations, ones where the wealthy happily bring their families for a week or more, shopping, dining,clubbing, sightseeing, and sure, gambling too. He said that is possible here as well.

He promised updates as the process continues. We intend to take him up on that.

Cross-post:
This also appears at BlueMassGroup.

~Mike

icon for podpress  Steve Grossman [20:32m]: Play Now | Play in Popup | Download

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Treasurer Talks Casinos

grossman.pngSteve Grossman with join us for a session on casinos, following the recent enabling legislation. We’ll try to maximize with focus — like what is the real aim of expanded gambling, whether fully fleshed out proposals or just down and dirty bidding will determine locations and features, and can we ensure as some cities and countries have that the overseeing commission will be ethical?

If you can join us live, click here, Monday, 12/19 at 3:30 PM Eastern. Afterward, the show will be at that URL, here at Left Ahead and on iTunes.

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Eldridge for Disclosure Podcast

Sen. EldridgeOne of our MA legislators who decidedly has our backs is Sen. James (Jamie) Eldridge. He is now fighting at state and national levels to overcome the awful effects of the Citizens United SCOTUS decision.

He joined us to explain why it’s not OK for corporations to be treated like flesh-and-blood human citizens with Constitutional rights. It’s not OK for unlimited money to be used for political advertising with no public disclosure of who’s funding it.

Rather than whine, he is working at both levels to overturn the effects of the ruling. In the commonwealth, he created and is working to pass two bills, detailed here. Among other things, these require that MA chartered corporations reveal such political expenditures in their quarterly reports and that they give two-third shareholder approval for such expenditures above $5,000.

On the national level, he is asking for Congress to pass and send to the states a Constitutional amendment “to correct the Supreme Court’s decision in Citizens United v. FEC. This resolution would clarify that Freedom of Speech is a right of citizens, not corporations. That bill is currently before the Judiciary committee.” He has begun working with MA’s Congressional delegation to advance this.

Listen in as describes what he’s done so far, where the bills, what the prospects are for both the bills and the amendment, and even what the conflicts are for legislators who would limit contributions that might come their way.

icon for podpress  Sen. Eldridge [32:17m]: Play Now | Play in Popup | Download

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Rupert Mordor Murdoch in the Dock

notmordor.pngThe hugely powerful generally skate and the aged Rupert Murdoch apparently expects to do so. That’s not likely.

Join us Tuesday, 7/26 at 2:30 PM Eastern as we look beyond recent events. Sure, his corporation lost a lot of paper value. Sure, he felt he had to back out of a big media deal. Sure, he tried to distance himself by firing a bunch of key managers and executives. That won’t be enough.

His U.S.-based empire brings him under some far heavier laws than British public and parliamentary opinions. We have racketeering and bribery laws that go far deeper than disgust at hacking cellphone of the dead to get good tabloid stories. Moreover, what this mess means for tabloid and other journalism is another matter entirely.

If you can catch us live then, listen in here. Otherwise, come back for an on-demand play.

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DiMasi Verdict Podcast

We ask. We answer.

Ryan and Mike mused, mulled and extrapolated starting with the recent conviction of former MA House Speaker Sal DiMasi. We covered:

  • Is this proof of substance to the announced and legislated ethics reform?
  • Will the African-American voters see some justice in a white pol following black ones to prison for corruption?
  • Why does it take the FBI and federal courts to take down state-level corrupt officials, instead of our AG’s office doing it?
  • Will this help deter such corruption?
  • What would inspire such high-profile officials to risk so much?
icon for podpress  DiMasi Verdict [30:43m]: Play Now | Play in Popup | Download

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Sticky WikiLeaks

weekey.jpgTomorrow, Tuesday, 12/7/10, we’ll kick around WikiLeaks at 2:30 p.m. EST. We have the benefit of much written and said. The issues of freedom of information, pluses and minuses of diplomatic secrecy, and indeed, what the U.S. government classifies as hidden are well exposed.)

Julian Assange and his group of furtive revealers (attention Dave Barry – good rock band name earn the mixed blessing and curse, the hero/traitor epithets. Hundreds of thousands of classified diplomatic-related messages and related files now public give us a reality check. Have we gone crazy over what we try to hid or is it all necessary for national and world security?

We’ll give our take. Note that one of us is tainted by journalism school. If you aren’t talked out about WikiLeaks, call in when the show is live at (718) 664-6966. Keep it sweet, Beet.

Listen in live or check back for the show on demand.

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