Posts Tagged ‘financial reform’

The ethics of Sarah Palin…or of being on the same planet as Sarah Palin or of choosing her as a running mate

August 27, 2010

It’s often hard to distinguish between Fox News commentator Sarah Palin and comedian Tina Fey. I try to distinguish because Fey is supposed to be funny and Palin is not. Palin is now seriously arguing that real Americans won’t have any truck with Democrats, or collaborate in any way in governing.

She ripped Massachusetts Senator Scott Brown when asked on Fox Business network whether Brown should be on notice for siding with Democrats on the financial reform bill. She explained that real Americans wouldn’t stand for that, but Massachusetts was, perhaps, different.

“Perhaps they’re not going to look for such a hard-core constitutional conservative there, and they’re going to put up with Scott Brown and some of the antics there. But up here in Alaska, and so many places in the U.S. where we have a pioneering, independent spirit, and we have an expectation that our representatives in D.C. will respect the will of the people and the intelligence of the people. Well, up here, we wouldn’t stand for that.”

It’s difficult to decide whether Palin is unethical or just moronic. I don’t think she’s moronic—she couldn’t have gotten elected governor or made some sensible comments if she were a moron. Rather she’s a mixture of uninformed and hostile to the very idea of government actually governing. So I suppose that leaves unethical. The one thing I’m certain of is that John McCain was profoundly unethical when he picked such an unqualified running mate.

Goldman Sachs fails the ethics challenge

April 28, 2010

The Senate held a ten-hour hearing yesterday on Goldman Sachs’s role in the financial crisis. The question for the committee was whether new laws were needed to reform the financial system; the question for me was whether Goldman Sachs—America’s most prestigious investment bank—was serious about ethics.

The hearing was long, the members were irritable, the subject was complicated, and the Goldman Sachs executives were evasive when asked such tough questions as whether they had any obligation to act in the best interest of their clients. But two exchanges tell us unequivocally about ethics at Goldman Sachs. First, Chairman Carl Levin (D-MI) and Goldman Sachs Chief Financial Officer David Viniar.

LEVIN: And when you heard that your employees, in these e-mails, when looking at these deals said, God, what a shitty deal, God what a piece of crap — when you hear your own employees or read about those in the e-mails, do you feel anything?

VINIAR: I think that’s very unfortunate to have on e-mail. [Laughter and groaning from the audience]

LEVIN: On an e-mail?

VINIAR: Please don’t take that the wrong way. I think it’s very unfortunate for anyone to have said that in any form.

LEVIN: How about to believe that and sell them? (more…)