Putting a coat of varnish on an old beat-up piece is one way of making it look shinier and maybe younger than its years and wear. Like “fake news,” the ever-so-popular-with-the-conservative-base meme, varnish gives an illusion of things being other than they are. Let me explain what I mean about “fake news”– for the most part this is a term used to denigrate the factual. Varnish, in its way, denigrates a reality as well; it alters –or attempts to alter–the age and condition of the furniture to which it is applied. In this way, varnish is truly a fakery, while “fake news” is a slur against truth.
Steve Bannon left the White House and his official role in the administration to become an off-campus Field Marshall. He baits the bear, goading a man who needs no invitation to act the fool and to violate the Constitution he swore to uphold into ever more outrageous claims of tyranny. Bannon, like many other advisors in this administration, encourages the illegal and the heinous.
John Kelly, for instance, has redefined “patriotism” to mean “treason for a cause you believe.” He defends Robert E. Lee in these terms and calls the Civil War, in effect, a misunderstanding.
As for Bannon– to all my friends who saw his departure from inside the WH as diminishing his influence– I wish it were so.
The tom-foolery Bannon espouses is dangerous. It flaunts the values the Founding Fathers of the United States enshrined in the Bill of Rights. Unlike Jefferson, Hamilton, Eisenhower, the Roosevelts, John McCain, and Obama (to name a few patriots in our history), he is an unprincipled man. He loves disruption. Like the devil, he looks to sow trouble and division. Like his former boss, he spreads harmful fictions and calls the truth false.
November 15th addendum, out of the blue, or perhaps it’s the red, I should be saying.
Tax cuts, Spkr McCarthy of the House, was saying are about creating jobs and “making America competitive again.” What a cute rephrasing of the MAGA motto! The idea that giving tax cuts to the rich will somehow help the poor is an alt-reality view of the GOP.
Money in the pockets of the well-heeled has never trickled down to the worker. Once it’s theirs, they tend to keep hold of it.
Are tax havens, like Delaware or Singapore, benefitted by the policies that allow corporations to park their businesses without having to fork over revenue to the state? They do so by imposing registration fees in their districts, for example. They do impose unfairly on other countries which would benefit from levying taxes on the corporate entity.
Turning the USA into one big tax break for American corporations and businessmen exposes us to so many other financial problems. Who pays to maintain the infrastructure? How do we keep a police force or a national guard if money is not coming in to the treasury?
There is a sense of the dire which envelops many liberals these days. I am grateful to the New Yorker for its quotes on democracy. Archibald Macleish’s perspective as quoted in the June 5-12 issue by Jill Lepore brightened my day: “Democracy is never a thing done. Democracy is always something that a nation must be doing.”
We go to the gym to stay healthy.
For most of us, fitness is a path to keeping well for the long haul.
So I worry about the possibility of getting sick at the health club.
It’s not just the sneezy neighbor on the next mat.
It’s also all the dirt and grime on the weights you pick up, and the dust on mats and steps.
Ethics in business is not only about behaving well or even doing good. It is also about, as the Hippocratic oath would have it, doing no harm.
The quest for an ethical business model continues at Baruch on October 31st with Mary C. Gentile talking about Giving Voice To Values: The “How” of Business Ethics.
The HSBC-sponsored Student Series on Ethics and Accountability has been focusing on issues of corporate standards and morality for some years now. Dr. Gentile focuses on values-driven leadership and helping managers find their way to an ethical understanding of the issues that face their businesses.
Is there a scenario in which values and ethics can become stakeholders in industry and commerce?
Among the issues that troubled Duff McDonald’s and others was the elevation of the investor as the sole stakeholder a company would recognize. The ethical questions that arise from this practice of bowing only to shareholder value may be subtle, but they result in companies paying employees less in order to keep the stock price high, or in wholesale firings for the same end. The other stakeholders in the proposition– suppliers, partnering entities, the community– are ignored. This was one of points in his October 12th presentation at Baruch’s Zicklin Center for Corporate Integrity. (See a New Yorker commentary on McDonald’s book for further enlightenment.)
Which of these rhymes is more elegant? (Caveat to readers, this may be a trick question.)
“No swingin’, no jerkin’
Let your muscles do the werkin'”
or, the more grammatically correct
Don’t swing, don’t jerk
Let your muscles do the work
Sometimes poetry is in the flow of the words and not just in their punctiliousness.
(Thank you, Troy for the lesson.)
Words, my darling, do have meaning
You mustn’t demean them
They are never meaningless
Nor do they mean less than what they
Say; they have strength to express feelings
Surely, that is not without meaning
I love you is an idea, an observation, a
Thought I often have; I share it because I
Mean it; I share it because it has meaning
For me, and for you, too. I share it to express
My meaning; I share it because it is what is
In my heart; I love you is never without
Meaning, a sentiment demanding to be
Expressed and shared. It is never meaningless.
Staying alert is not always possible. It is an optimum state but not an entirely default position. Often we are in a trance–numbed by events, by ignorance, by choice.