#ethics

One man’s path to cut the rate of veteran suicides

This video is a wonderful testament to the selfless sacrifice and idea of one man, Jason Zaideman, in order to help US military veterans avoid an all too common fate of suicide due to PTSD (Post Trauma Stress Disorder) and TBI (Traumatic Brain Injury). Jason has set up a charitable centre called Operation Combat Bikesaver (OCB) in Indiana (which has one of the highest veteran suicide rates among 50 states). OCB proclaims,

We believe that breathing new life into tarnished motorcycles by honing in on learned skill sets will relinquish the deafening grasp PTSD / TBI / Depression has on Veterans and First Responders. By creating distinctive works of art, those candidates can give back to others suffering in a brotherhood of unity, targeting relief to the chaos of one’s own mind…They will be introduced to building, fabricating, welding and painting to resurrect something that was once damaged and forgotten into something new and truly unique while rebuilding themselves at the same time…We have lost way too many to PTSD / TBI and Depression. All of us here at Operation Combat Bikesaver have lost someone to the after effects of defending their country and community. We would love nothing more than to help our Heroes return to feeling normal again.

Before we get into the sad details of veteran suicides in the US, OCB has raised a paltry $20,000 through crowd funding.  To put that in context we have all seen the viral photo-shopped Time magazine picture of a little girl crying at a defiant Trump. It was used with great effect by the Refugee and Immigrant Center for Education and Legal Services (RAICES) to raise $20mn via crowdfunding! $20 million!!

Even after it was revealed that the child – stolen from her father – was never separated from the mother (who left her other 3 kids behind) and paid a smuggler to get to the border, RAICES still shamelessly uses the picture to boost its funding target to $25mn. Despite poor veterans committing suicide at a rate of 20/day some citizens seemingly attain higher virtue by pouring 1,000x more into an organisation with highly questionable ethics. So much for thanking those that served one’s country.

The Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) writes it “has worked tirelessly to develop suicide prevention resources for every Veteran who is experiencing a mental health crisis, whether or not that Veteran is enrolled in the VA Health Care System. In fact, of about 21.6 million Veterans across the country —including almost 2 million women — just over 8.5 million are enrolled for care from a VA provider.  VA is committed to identifying and reaching all Veterans who may be at risk for suicide and continues to enhance programs designed to reduce risk among those who receive services from the Veterans Health Administration (VHA). As highlighted in a recent VA-led Call to Action to Prevent Veteran Suicide, eliminating the burden of suicide among Veterans will require participation from a broad group of federal government and community partners.”

Key findings from this year’s report include:

▪ In 2014, an average of 20 Veterans died by suicide each day. Six of the 20 were recent users of VHA services in 2013 or 2014.
▪ In 2014, Veterans accounted for 18% of all deaths by suicide among U.S. adults and constituted 8.5% of the U.S. adult population (ages 18 and older).
▪ The burden of suicide resulting from firearm injuries remains high. In 2014, about 67% of all Veteran deaths by suicide were the result of firearm injuries.
▪ There is continued evidence of a high burden of suicide among middle-aged and older Veterans. In 2014, about 65% of all Veterans who died by suicide were ages 50 and older.
▪ After adjusting for differences in age and sex, risk for suicide was 22% higher among Veterans compared with U.S. civilian adults. (2014)
▪ After adjusting for differences in age, risk for suicide was 19% higher among male Veterans compared with U.S. civilian adult men. (2014)
▪ After adjusting for differences in age, risk for suicide was 2.5 times higher among female Veterans compared with U.S. civilian adult women. (2014)
▪ In 2014, rates of suicide were highest among younger Veterans (ages 18–29) and lowest among older Veterans (ages 60 and older).

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Since 2001, the proportion of VHA users with mental health conditions or substance use disorders (SUD) has increased from 27% in 2001 to 41% in 2014.

Risk for suicide following separation from active duty service remains a concern among Veterans of Operation Enduring Freedom, Operation Iraqi Freedom, and Operation New Dawn (OEF/OIF/OND). 18-24yo suicides in those three categories has surged from 27/100,000 in 2003 to 124 per 100,000 in 2014.

OCB is a truly worthy cause. Sadly in today’s world, too many seek to signal their virtue on social media rather than get their hands dirty and properly do something productive like Zaideman to fix causes. Truly inspirational. $20 million to support a cause based on a fake photo or $20 million to support people who have lost limbs, buddies and in many cases hope? After reading about the gore of war from my own grandfather’s letters from WW2 it is not hard to see what a gross misallocation of money and morals this is.

Compelling student language

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Let’s not kid ourselves. Students are paying customers.  They may be there to learn but where does Sydney University get off marking student papers down on using language such as ‘mankind’, ‘workmanship’ or similar words in assignment work? Surely essays or theses should be marked on the quality of the content and validity of argument  rather than provide radical leftist lecturers a petty power trip by compelling student speech.

At what point does the Vice Chancellor tell the faculty staff to grow up and more importantly reprimand them for unprofessional and unethical behaviour? Instead of striving for global excellence to attract reputation, these teachers think that making gender neutral language is a higher goal. What next? Will students who express different views in a political science class than their lecturer be punished?

So much for universities being centres for open thought. Forget that. Hoist the red flag over the People’s University and await the next war on free speech. They recently had a win at the ANU preventing a school of Western Civilization. Forget whether there is ample demand from customers to choose of their own free will.

While some may view this as petty, the slippery slope follows. It was only last month when a Professor Peter Ridd was sacked from James Cook University because he exposed the unethical way his colleagues were manipulating data and conditions of the Great Barrier Reef to achieve the outcome they wanted. Apart from having no pride in preserving scientific integrity, the Vice Commissar figured cauterizing reality is another step toward higher learning.

Perhaps there should be centers for ethical excellence but it is unlikely many of the existing faculty would qualify to run them.  Another win for the Ministry of Truth.

The Jester’s Court hands down a verdict on the cheats

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It is a good job that Cricket Australia (CA) doesn’t conduct murder forensics. It would be fascinating to know how the investigations over ball tampering were conducted. The case would appear open and shut. Only three people knew according to CA. Job done. Inside 3 days. All facts have been collected and harsher punishments will be dealt later on. Does this seem like a thorough investigation for the biggest scandal in Australian cricket? Not for a minute.

Was each team member, coaching staff and support crew separately asked and interrogated several times, not only  in front of a panel, but each individual investigator in order to make sure the stories corroborated with post the briefings over several days and weeks? Were follow up meetings conducted in consecutive days to make sure the stories didn’t change? Was evidence of team WhatsApp chats voluntarily offered to exonerate players? By the sounds of it, this looks like a severe containment exercise within a private club. Seemingly no independent investigation and an expedited trial to limit damage.

The tweet from Cricket Australia telling us that the CEO reports Steve Smith is distraught speaks volumes. Apart from being the least valuable information possible, it almost wants fans to feel sympathy for his remorse. It is a joke. A man earning millions a year bet his career on allowing his team to cheat. Whether Warner pressured him and he was too weak to stop him is no excuse. Anyone with half a brain would know better. Still it shows the true light of the investigation – Steve is upset…don’t go too hard on him because he is a nice guy, no really….

The recent reports that staff within the CA can’t stand ring leader David Warner for his “bullsh1t” paint a picture of ridiculously poor ethics throughout the organisation’s senior  management. If Warner has gone rogue, then it is worth investigating every claim he makes no matter how far fetched to get to the truth. Sadly it seems that the investigation wanted to sandpaper a scripted outcome to ensure the reverse swing on the trial whizzes straight by the fans so things can get back to normal ASAP. The jig is up. Cricket Australia will likely find sponsorship from the local butchers going forward because it will be hard for mainstream corporates to back such a sham. The future of cricket is far bleaker than we think.

Insider trading as a politician is ok?

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Watching a session of Canadian Parliament yesterday, the opposition Conservative party asked for a simple ‘yes’ or ‘no’ answer to a question to Trudeau’s Finance Minister Bill Morneau on whether he sold $10m in shares in Morneau-Shepell a week before a new capital gains tax on securities was introduced in parliament. The accusation was that Morneau made $500,000 by insider trading in full knowledge of the tax change that was to be introduced. Morneau spent the entire 20 minutes talking of how his party is defending the middle class with tax cuts. If he was not the person that sold, how easy to openly admit so. So far he’s said nothing.

Insider trading is a punishable offense in the private sector. Yet are politicIans free to make half a million by trading ahead of the event? How can Morneau not resign? Even worse was  Speaker of the House Greg Regan was asking why the question from Paul Pollievre was relevant in question time? Are you kidding me?

Clearly ethics training for Trudeau’s cabinet seems far more pertinent than reintegration of returning ISIS tourists. Then again we shouldn’t forget that Trudeau was actually involved in the appointment of the Ethics Commissioner (without consulting the opposition) indeed at a time when his own ethics had been openly called into question.

Why haven’t climate scientists been jailed for fraud?

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Evil banksters have been burnt at the stake over the last 30 years. Some would argue that not enough of these swindlers saw the inside of a jail cell. Maybe. Still many have faced multi million dollar fines, two decade prison terms and barred from ever operating again in the financial industry. Yet time and again climate scientists who receive millions in funding to scare us with fraudulent reports never face any repercussions. In fact many end up suing for libel believing their reputations have been tarnished by exposutenof the truth.

In a sense the taxpayer money used to bailout the financial system is not much different from the billions being plowed recklessly into energy policy based on wonky research. Even government sponsored climate organizations (NOAA, NASA, BoM, UNIPCC) have fallen for the sins of huge grants and recycling updated bogus studies by fiddling previous data to keep their Ponzi scheme going. Junket travel has been a big feature in the recent exposures of NASA and BOM. Can’t be seen missing the conference in the Maldives!

So again, why haven’t any scientists “busted” for manipulating data been charged for fraud? If it is ok to send bankers to jail for white collar crimes, why not scientists? Because they can wrap their malfeasance inside models that are sold as well intentioned studies to saving the planet! Who can prove their did predictions might not come to pass?

WorldCom CEO Bernie Ebbers was sentenced to 25 years based on nine counts of conspiracy, securities fraud and false regulatory filings to the tune of $11bn. Enron’s former CEO Jeffrey Skilling was convicted on 35 counts of fraud, insider trading and other crimes related to Enron and sentenced to 24 years prison and fined $45 million. Madoff got 150 years, Stanford got 110 years jail time.

Will whistleblower scalps found guilty of fraud be charged, fined and jailed? It is highly unlikely. They’ll claim anomalies in data and forecasting is indeed difficult.

In any event if there was a Climate Science watchdog that monitored fraud (not to mention massive conflicts of interest which are mentioned in previous pieces) like the SEC how much fraud would scientists try to get away with? Why not have a body which mandates funding sources to check for potential conflicts of interest? That way dishonest scientists would be restricted in their movements and those with legitimate findings wouldn’t see their work drowned out by the rogue elements,

Interestingly most of the court related activities in the scientific fields have been exposed scientists looking to sue for libel after emails proving the fraud were leaked.

Yet scientists don’t have to worry. The media has little interest in chasing something that might ruin their narrative. Even worse they’ll cite scientists (Australia’s former climate commissioner Tim Flannery comes to mind) who have made countless dud predictions (in many cases the complete opposite has occurred ) and act as though it’s gospel.

Once again climate science is a religion. No wonder it’s got so much protection. Hence the vows of silence in the halls of the scientific church. They’re untouchable. However that by deduction makes me a heretic.

Those ethics classes don’t seem to be sinking in at the DoJ

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Earlier this year attorneys at Obama’s DoJ were ordered to take 5-years worth of ethics classes after being found to have intentionally and deliberately misled Federal and 26 state supreme courts over illegal immigration. 5 years worth of mandatory ethics courses at an accredited body. No study by remote access. No signing at the front door and leaving early.

However it seems ethics isn’t sinking in. The day after HRC testified in front of the House Select Committee on Benghazi last October, John Podesta (of Wikileaks fame) met for dinner with a tight group of well-connected friends, including Peter Kadzik, who is currently a top official at the DoJ and lobbyist Vincent Roberti.  A Wikileaks dump on Oct. 23, 2015 revealed an email sent out by Roberti, who is close to Podesta and his superlobbyist brother, Tony Podesta. In it, Roberti refers to a dinner set for 7:30 that evening, just one day after Clinton gave 11 hours of testimony to the Benghazi Committee.

Podesta and Kadzik also met several months later for dinner at Podesta’s home. Another email sent on May 5, 2015, Kadzik’s son asked Podesta for a job on the Clinton campaign.

Now it appears that Kadzik is leading the investigation over Huma Abedin’s newly discovered emails.

The hacked emails reveal that Podesta and Kadzik were in frequent contact showing a pretty “cozy”relationship. In one email from January, Kadzik and Podesta discussed plans to celebrate Podesta’s birthday.

Kadzik started at the DoJ in 2013 and drove the effort to nominate Loretta Lynch who managed to be discovered on an airport tarmac by Bill Clinton the day before Comey released the FBI findings.

Reports also show Kadzik also represented Podesta during the Monica Lewinsky investigation. Also in the waning days of the Bill Clinton administration, Kadzik lobbied Podesta on behalf of Marc Rich, the fugitive who Bill Clinton controversially pardoned on his last day in office. That history is cited by Podesta in another email hacked from his Gmail account. In a Sept. 2008 email, which the Washington Free Beacon flagged last week, Podesta emailed an Obama campaign official to recommend Kadzik for a supportive role in the campaign. Podesta, who would later head up the Obama White House transition effort, wrote that Kadzik was a “fantastic lawyer” who “kept me out of jail.”

So one must ask themselves will an objective set of eyes be cast over these latest emails by the DoJ? Will they bury Wiener to show they did something? Clear Abedin of any wrong doing? Or will a lack of ethics prevail in the last days of the Obama Administration. That is probably fait accompli. It’s a disgrace. I eagerly await who he pardons as he leaves office. Hillary Clinton?