Category Archives: Ethics

Can We Save the GOP?

I, along with millions of other  Republicans, had decided to reluctantly support Donald Trump for President, not because he was an ideal candidate, but because I believed he was an improvement over Hillary Clinton…and her husband. My opinion of the Clinton family has not changed. Hillary should be indicted for violating federal laws as Secretary of State and Bill for being paid (via the Clinton Foundation) millions from numerous foreign countries to obtain favors from the U.S. Department of State while Hillary was heading that agency.

What has changed is my revised opinion of Donald Trump. His comments about a Federal judge and about the Orlando tragedy indicate that Trump is not qualified to be President.

There is a possible solution. In July, at the GOP Convention, the Trump supporters could and should get together and propose a substitute candidate. It could be John Kasich, Paul Ryan, or possibly Ted Cruz. Kasich would probably have the best chance of winning, with Ryan a close second. For Vice President, a strong female Governor would make sense politically and would save our country from another four to eight years of rotten leadership.

Letter to Donald Trump

On March 8, 2016, I sent a letter to Donald Trump.

Dear Mr. Trump

I have been a Republican for well over fifty years. In most Presidential elections I have consistently voted for the Republican candidate. However, in 1960, I voted for John F. Kennedy over Richard Nixon. Why? Because when Nixon ran for his senate seat, his campaign was ethically awful. It turned out that my judgment of Nixon was correct.

This election year, it is likely you will be nominated to be the Republican candidate at the convention this summer.

Based on your performance up to now, I would vote for the Democratic candidate. Again, why? Because your demeanor is awful and your positions on the facts are often incorrect and subject to change on a daily basis.

I have, however, another dilemma. I cannot vote for a socialist whose positions are as bad as Obama’s for the last seven years in office, or for our former Secretary of State, who should be serving a prison term for violating significant federal laws, and whose husband has an ethical history that is worse than Richard Nixon’s.

So here is my advice: First of all, cleanse your mouth and act like a responsible candidate for the American Presidency. Second, hire some outstanding professionals who are conservative thinkers on economics, foreign policy and governance.

You still have time to change your approach for those of us who will reluctantly vote for you, even though at present, you are a default candidate, as opposed to a respected leader of whom we can truly be proud. Ronald Reagan should be your example.

Finally, during your campaign, I suggest you eliminate Chris Christie standing at your side. He is not a solid example of ethical behavior and should not be part of your public team.

Sincerely,

David R. Frazer, Attorney and author of Ethical Meltdown, the Need to Recover Our Vanishing Values.

Why Charter Schools?

In my book, “Ethical Meltdown,” I made a serious effort to stay away from my political views in making the case that our moral values in America have suffered substantially in the past 25 years. I believe that our best hope for reversing our moral decline is to start teaching ethics in kindergarten and continue all the way through college.

I also believe that the easiest starting point would be to introduce ethical values in charter schools since the classes are smaller, the teachers have more leeway without interference from unions, and finally because charter schools are rapidly growing in number and quality.

So why am I again raising this issue? It is because of Hillary Clinton and her recent change of heart regarding charter schools. Her press secretary explained to Politico Magazine that Mrs. Clinton “looks at the evidence.” Clinton admitted that for many years, she has supported the idea of charter schools, “but not as a substitute for the public schools.” She obviously did not know that charter schools are public schools. In addition, charter schools often have the hardest-to-teach children in their classes. The KIPP (Knowledge is Power Program), which started in Texas in 1995, now has over 183 charter schools in 20 states plus Washington D.C. Over 95% of KIPP students are African American or Latino and are accepted into the program regardless of their prior academic records.

Hillary Clinton’s change of heart apparently resulted from the endorsement of her presidential campaign by the American Federation of Teachers and the National Educatiom Association, both of which dislike the competition of charter schools.

Politics aside, charter schools are still the best hope for bringing back, early in our education system, the ethical values that made America the envy of the world.

What is Wrong With This Scenario?

In the March 18th issue of the Wall Street Journal, an article appeared entitled “Law Schools Face Scrutiny on Job Claims.” The essence of the article was that numerous law schools were misrepresenting the percentage of legal jobs available to their graduate students. The higher the percentage of jobs available, the more likely that college applicants will choose a law school with an attractive percentage of law firms or government jobs available.

The reason for the “scrutiny” is because the designated law schools were fudging the figures by providing non-legal jobs paid for by the law school to graduates to increase the percentage without revealing that these temporary jobs were with non-profit companies and others that often expired within a year of graduation. After spending three years and loads of money to become a lawyer, the students deserve honesty from their law schools.

What is wrong with this scenario? As I point out in “Ethical Meltdown,” this type of arrangement violates a rule of ethics known as “Conflict of Interest.” A conflict of interest occurs when there is a situation in which an individual or corporation (or law school) is in a position to exploit a professional or official capacity in some way for personal benefit.

When law schools violate this ethical rule, this should be a wake-up call for the Dean, the professors who teach ethics, and for the Board of Regents, many of whom are probably law graduates from the schools in question.

The Pot Calls the Kettle Black

     On February 10, 2014, a UN Committee on Human Rights issued a devastating report criticizing the Catholic Church for its attitude toward homosexuality, contraception and abortion, and said it should change its own cannon law to ensure children’s rights and their access to healthcare.

     This report puts renewed pressure on Pope Francis to move decisively to create a Vatican commission to study sex abuse and recommend the best practices to fight it.

     The UN committee also reported the Vatican’s longstanding argument that it doesn’t control bishops or their abusive priests. The report further accused the Holy See of systematically placing preservation of the reputation of the church and the alleged offenders over the protection of the child victims.

     While most of these charges appear to be accurate, it is more than strange that the UN is an organization that is at the forefront of criticizing the Vatican on the subject of child abuse. The UN, itself, is a gross violator of child abuse in its failure to put a stop to its continuing problem of peacekeeping sex abuse, including the rape of minors in so many countries around the world.

     The body that produced this report is the UN Committee on the Rights of the Child, which consists of eighteen panelists advertised as “independent experts.” These committee members are nominated by the governments of their home countries and selected by an assembly, which includes many despot members that engage in the world’s most terrifying abuses of children. This is equivalent to the pot calling the kettle black! Let’s be clear. Both need to clean up their respective houses. The abuse of children by both institutions continues to be disgusting.

 

Conflicts of Interest of Major Proportions

In my book “Ethical Meltdown,” I wrote about conflicts of interests as a major ethical rule that is so frequently violated that observers must wonder if the violators have ever heard of the rule.

A conflict that is now gaining some publicity involves the Obama Administration and the 11,000 employees on Capital Hill who have been exempted out of a pay provision of the Affordable Care Act that the rest of the country has to pay.

This exemption for members of the House and Senate and their substantial staffs was granted without legal authority, but was happily received by members of both parties. Only one Senator, David Vitter of Louisiana, is attempting to convince other legislators to reverse with legislative action, this crass giveaway to legislators who are already overpaid for what little they are presently producing for the betterment of our country.

This scenario is a clear conflict of interest by Senators and House members who promoted this exemption and equally so for all of the congressmen and women who accepted this windfall, with only one Senator raising an objection.

This conflict of interest by the President and his advisers is granting a financial exemption to a small group of recipients who are in a position to benefit the President’s political agenda.

At the highest level, money and politics again take precedence over principle.

 

The IRS – A Serious Disgrace

The media has covered this scandal in some detail, but the whole story is still to be revealed. However, the more we learned about this matter, the worse the scandal becomes.

As was the case in prior administrations, the wrongdoing at the IRS always starts at the top. Franklin Roosevelt, John Kennedy, Richard Nixon, and Bill Clinton all used the IRS for targeting of their political enemies.

In President Obama’s case, the targeting of conservative organizations started in August, 2008 and then picked up steam in 2012 in preparation for his campaign for a second term.

At this point the question we should be concerned about is what action will the President take to clean up a major agency of his administration?

For some guidance, let us go back to the tail end of Harry Truman’s presidency. At that time, it was revealed that certain sections of the Department of Justice were corrupt. Bribes were taken by lawyers and several officials were convicted of white collar crimes. Subsequently, Dwight Eisenhower was elected President and Herbert Brownell, Jr., a respected New York Attorney was named U.S. Attorney General. Brownell proceeded to clean out the bad apples, including political appointees in the Justice Department and substituted an honors program to hire young lawyers with strong credentials to take their place.

As soon as the congressional investigations are completed and the facts are clear, the people responsible for the political targeting should be fired and replaced by highly trained CPA’s who are able to serve with honor and a strong sense of right and wrong.

Unprepared to Teach?

Randi Weingarten, the President of the American Federation of Teachers wrote an Op ed. piece in the Wall Street Journal, December 10, 2012, entitled “How About a Bar Exam for Teachers?”. Her proposal was to require teachers to pass a certification exam before allowing them into the classroom, for which, in most cases, they are ill prepared for success. The next day in the Journal there were several letters to the editor ranging from mild approval to strong opposition.

I have never been a fan of Ms. Weingarten’s “take no prisoners” approach to union leadership, but I do believe she has made an important suggestion. Teachers who are fresh out of college are not prepared to handle students effectively without improved training. If they had to pass a Teaching Bar Exam, this would force colleges to modify their curriculum to accomplish a higher level of preparation.

Another goal that could be achieved would be to include as a significant section of the exam, the demonstration of the ability to teach ethics. The missing element in our school systems is the teaching of ethics to our future political leaders, as well as our potential leaders in every other aspect of our American society.

Misconduct in the Military

In my book, “Ethical Meltdown,” I did not cover the military in order to limit the book to two hundred pages. However, in light of the news that hit the media after my publication date, it is clear that the lack of ethics in the military is part of our national moral disintegration.
General Petraeus, the Commander in Afghanistan, and until recently, Director of the CIA, made news all over the world because of his affair with Paula Broadwell and his emails to her. We then learned that Marine General John Allen, presently the top commander in Afghanistan, had emailed between 20-30,000 pages to his girlfriend, Tampa Socialite Jill Kelley.  Both men are married and not to these women!
Next we find out that the US Air Force is taking broad measures to prevent sexual misconduct against female recruits during basic training. The Air Force said it had identified twenty-three instructors that had unprofessional relationships with, or committed sexual assaults against forty-eight trainees. Five of the instructors have been court-martialed and convicted, and one staff sergeant was sentenced to twenty years in prison. Apparently, this conduct has been going on for some time, according to Defense Secretary Leon Panetta.
Obviously there is an epidemic of unethical behavior that is reaching staggering proportions in our military, which only reflects the country as a whole.
This unethical conduct is only a small part of the military story. A growing number of career soldiers have confessed to siphoning millions of dollars from defense contractors in Iraq and Kuwait. Stay tuned for my next blog.

Birth of a Book

Thursday, October 11, 2012 was a special day. At 1:30 p.m. a Conway Truck pulled up in front of our home in Scottsdale and delivered several cartons of my book “Ethical Meltdown.” Interestingly, the driver’s name was Frazier.

After two years of thinking, outlining and writing this book, I now know how women feel at the birth of their first child. It was truly an exhilarating experience. But now comes the second challenge of marketing the product that looks so appealing with its well-designed cover, and content that will inform and educate my readers.

Most important, I hope you will agree with my solutions to recovering the vanishing values that we once had, thus diminishing the negative influences that have infected our society over the past decades.