Five Business Ethics Predictions for 2017

Five Business Ethics Predictions for 2017

What is going to happen in 2017? I have some hopefully educated guesses which I will share. So, here is my five guesses for what will happen in the new year.

  1. Many more heads are going to roll at Fox News

!!!50053mThus far, the Murdochs have tried a middling approach to the aftermath of Roger Ailes, replacing some of the more objectionable of Ailes allies while retaining many others.

It isn’t going to work. The leadership that allowed the business ethics disaster at the network is still dominated by many of the same people. Geraldo Rivera implied in his latest Facebook post that the network still had work to do while Greta Van Susteren was emphatic that there was a failure in leadership.

It is quite likely that that the coming shakeup will not take place until after the election  but it has to happen sooner or later.

And don’t get confused, the sexual harassment charges may have started this thing but what’s driving it now is the use of corporate funds for settlements and black ops not to mention an apparently highly aggressive surveillance of employees across the corporation that is driving the need for action.

2. Corey Lewandowski and CNN will part ways

!!!i_00i_055_tnThis business ethics disaster is one for the textbooks. It will be studied in later textbooks as a cautionary tale of what can go wrong with both the hiring and employment process.

A quick recap for those who don’t follow the news cycle – Lewandowski was signed as a commentator by CNN in spite of the fact that he had just been bounced as Trump’s campaign manger and has a still active non-disclosure and basically a no criticism clause in his contract with Trump. Since his hiring, he has been an enthusiastic cheerleader for the candidate almost to the point of comedy.

Will they can him after the election or before? After. The network is far too devoted to making Donald Trump and his supporter happy in the pursuit of its demi-god, ratings, than to take any risks.

3. Criminal charges will be filed against some of Volkswagen American executives

Twenty Minutes of Action

Since the feds managed to roll one of Volkswagen’s employees, we can expect some of his fellows to grab a deal while they can while the others form a defensive circle of deniability. But these are big, big fish. This is a multi-year, multi-billion dollar fraud against all Americans but not just that, they tricked several federal agencies and made the them look like incompetent fools. Steal from people, kill people, okay – just another day at the office. But make the feds look silly and blood must flow.

Of course, Barack Obama, the consummate corporatist may yet overrule his angry prosecutorial warriors but his term is about up and he has many fights on his hands. We’ll see.

4. Wells Fargo will fire or allow some top executives to resign

g099Oh come on, did you really think any intelligent person buys the idea that thousands of low level employees concocted an enormous conspiracy to create false accounts for thousands of unsuspecting customer for more than five years? All by their little selves? Not a chance.

Someone upstairs at Wells Fargo decided to impose clearly impossible goals on the employees and still yet, even in the world of the American corporation, the word, accountability still gets said. It is said timidly, perhaps only whispered but it is still a presence.

The monumental stupidity of the harshly imposed goal system is going to claim some actual villains – probably before the end of the year. Watch for the executives resigning to “spend more time with their families.”

5. The Dakota Access Pipeline will be permanently cancelled

i_296Three federal agencies turned a big thumbs down on the damn thing before it even started. Only the Army Corps of Engineers got the thing going and how do they look now?

Their esteemed corporate pipeline company proceeded to turn a probably manageable public relations situation into repeated disasters. Of course, I suspect that in North Dakota stepping on the Native Americans and extolling the virtues of pipelines is normal for both government and industry, so unleashing the dogs on protesters and charging a presidential candidate with defacing a dozer blade with spray paint made good local sense. But to the rest of us, well – Hicksville on the plains.

The Army Corp of Engineers now knows that the company they went to bat for, can’t manage its way out of a wet paper bag. I have to admit the vision of bulldozers sent out like commandos on a strike mission to destroy Native American burial sites before the state and feds knew what was going on – looks just like a plot from a Billy Jack movie.

Here’s Billy Jack dispensing justice:


Where’s Tom Laughlin when you need him?

So, that’s my five.

Please Like, Subscribe and Share AND if possible – tell me what I missed. Do you know of some looming business ethics tragedy? I want to know.

James Pilant

Too Many People Are Going to Have Insurance?

Fox News Channel
Fox News Channel (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Too Many People Are Going to Have Insurance?

Are we scraping the bottom of the barrel of Anti Obamacare arguments? Is that all that’s left? Too many people are going to have insurance (and doctors may be paid less?)?

“There’s too much health insurance.” He says. Where? When?

I myself have been denied benefits in circumstances I would have not thought possible. And my friends have as good or better stories than mine.

It must be nice to live in his world and get up in the morning and be outraged by people getting “too much health insurance.”

James Pilant

Fox News’ Dr. Siegel: Too Many People Have Health Insurance Under Obamacare

On The Hannity show last night, yet another in a zillion Fox News segments designed to trash the Affordable Care Act “Obamacare”, Fox News contributor Dr. Marc Siegel revealed that his number one concern was not how well the ACA covers his patients or even how affordable it is but that too many people will wind up with health insurance. And that inconveniences him and the “haves” he treats.Siegel said:Before they started this, we were all in trouble with insurance to begin with. There’s too much health insurance. It covers too much. Too many people have it and they can’t in my office to see me. I’m full. …I can’t see all these people.There’s a shortage of doctors. So what do they do? They’re going to pay us less.So the answer is less health care? So Dr. Siegel won’t be inconvenienced and/or get paid less? Doesn’t this violate the Hippocratic Oath?

via Fox News’ Dr. Siegel: Too Many People Have Health Insurance Under Obamacare VIDEO –.

From around the web.

From the web site, Health Care for All California.

The Fox News article then goes on to claim that jobs are being hurt by the ACA. By the “employer mandate” specifically. A mandate that will not even go into effect until 2015 and may be significantly changed before then. The Obama administration and others know it is a flawed portion of the law. This is widely agreed upon. Which is why it has been delayed. To claim that anyone lost a job or job hours due to a mandate that doesn’t yet exist is ludicrous. In fact, the Investor’s Business Daily “study” that claims that over 300 employers cut employees or employee hours due to the mandate is either based on hearsay OR has links that actually admit that no work hours have been cut BECAUSE the mandate has been delayed (for example, the so-called evidence provided for Biola University cutting employee hours. Which it has not. Because the mandate has been delayed).

And Fox News AGAIN inadvertently reiterates the argument that insurance should not be tied to employment.

We will be sure to reference this article frequently to show why we need Single-Payer in California and beyond.

Poor People Having Air Conditioning Offends Fox News

Fox News Channel
Fox News Channel (Photo credit: Wikipedia)


Poor People Having Air Conditioning Offends Fox News


I’m originally from Oklahoma and we often have weeks of above 100 degree temperature. In fact, one year Oklahoma City had fifty one days in a row of above 100 degree temperature.


So, I find air conditioning to be a necessity for many people not to mention those like me with serious allergies. And, of course, air conditioners are now mass produced to the extent that new ones are less than one hundred dollars and used ones much less. So, even poor people can often acquire one. It does not make me angry that poor people have them.


Should poor people have to actively suffer so that Fox News commentators can feel better about themselves? I hope not.


Being poor is hideous. Every expense is a problem that may not be solvable. Every day is another day of not having things other people take for granted; having things like food. Apparently the reality of food insecurity in this country is not taken seriously by Fox News.


  • In 2010, 17.2 million households, 14.5 percent of
    households (approximately one in seven), were food
    insecure, the highest number ever recorded in the United
    States 1
    (Coleman-Jensen 2011, p. v.) 
  • In 2010, about one-third of food-insecure households
    (6.7 million households, or 5.4 percent of all U.S.
    households) had very low food security (compared with 4.7
    million households (4.1 percent) in 2007.
    In households with very low food security, the food
    intake of some household
    members was reduced, and their normal eating patterns
    were disrupted
    because of the household’s food insecurity
    (Coleman-Jensen 2011, p. v.,

    Nord  2009
    , p. iii.) .


I’ll let them have air conditioning. It doesn’t diminish me.


James Pilant


Hasselbeck Says People On Welfare Shouldn’t Have Air Conditioners


When the right-wing talks about welfare and ‘entitlements,’ their not-so Christian attitude becomes abundantly clear. They have all sorts of stories about how welfare recipients experience all of the finer things in life and clearly they are abusing the system. Welfare recipients are not supposed to have nice clothes; they should wear rags instead so that Republicans are satisfied that they are indeed poor. Recipients are not allowed to have a decent looking car, who cares if it was bought before they fell on hard times. People on welfare should never, ever buy junk food. Oh that cake was for your kid’s birthday? Too bad, celebrate with mud pies. A welfare recipient has a phone? Well they shouldn’t! Poor people shouldn’t have phones! Well now Elisabeth Hasselbeck and her fellow co-workers over at Fox News have new items to add to the list of things poor people should not own or use: televisions and air conditioning.


Hasselbeck Says Welfare Recipients Don’t Deserve Air Conditioning


Yes, you read that right. Hasselbeck thinks that if a person is on government assistance they are not entitled to a television in their home — or an air conditioner.


via Hasselbeck Says People On Welfare Shouldn’t Have Air Conditioners.


From around the web.


From the web site, Poverty and Policy.


Seems that the Heritage Foundation has dusted off some old rhetoric and shaped some new data to fit it. Thus it proclaims, much as it did
in 2007, that “many of the 30 million Americans defined as ‘poor’ and
in need of government assistance” are actually doing very nicely, thank


First, a word of clarification. The reference to 30 million is just sloppy blogging. The Foundation’s actual report says “over 30 million.” Technically accurate, but minimizing. The latest Census Bureau income and poverty report tell us that there were nearly 43.6 million people in poverty in 2009.


As I (and many others) have written before, this figure is based on a rather primitive and woefully outdated measure, i.e., the inflation-adjusted cost of what used to be the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s cheapest meal plan.


The Census Bureau is developing an alternative measure based on recommendations from the National Academy of Sciences.


But the Heritage Foundation doesn’t care for that — indeed, has
delivered its latest blast in part to argue (again) that the new measure
is a sneaky scheme by the Obama administration to advance a “spread the
wealth” agenda.


Its main goal, however, is to give aid and comfort to Republicans in Congress who want to slash spending on public benefits.



Heritage Foundation’s Report Lacks Real Information (via Colloquial Usage)

I was appalled when I read the Heritage report. Apparently if your children have video games and you can afford a fridge, you really can’t be in that much economic distress? How weird are these guys? I appreciate this take down of their case that appliance ownership negates economic insecurity.

James Pilant

Heritage Foundation's Report Lacks Real Information What is Poverty? a new report by The Heritage Foundation, has been getting a lot of press this week, first from Fox News and then from The Colbert Report. In fact, a link to the report was the first item that came up this morning when I searched for the term “poor in America” on Google. According to the abstract, the report's aim is to address the following problem: Exaggeration and misinformation about poverty obscure the nature, extent, and cau … Read More

via Colloquial Usage

Rupert Murdoch Pounding Table at Interrogation

Jimmy Kimmel having a little fun at Murdoch’s expense. –

and then he has a little more fun –

Considering the enormity of the crimes being discussed, this is very mild stuff. But I promise you, the news of the last few weeks has left me wanting something different for at least a little while. I am tired of a President, I consider barely competent, and as ideologically free of any principle as any other politician one can name. I am tired of watching a rush toward default as if it were a good political maneuver and not a step into totally unknown consequences ranging from mild economic dislocation to global collapse. This is what our politics have come to. God help us all.

James Pilant

The Tables Are Turned on Murdoch (via The New York Times)

Joe Nocera writing in the New York Times creates an often satirical piece that segues from schadenfreude to celebrating justice. I relished every word and hope you enjoy the piece as much as I did.

These are my two favorite paragraphs, click on them to read the whole editorial.

James Pilant

Throughout his career, Murdoch has never just been satisfied with besting the competition, as most decent businessmen are. He’s not truly happy unless he has his foot on a competitor’s neck and is pressing it downward. Felix Salmon, a blogger for Reuters, unearthed testimony about an executive who ran one of Murdoch’s more obscure divisions. “I will destroy you,” the man told a competitor, according to the testimony. “I work for a man who wants it all and doesn’t understand anybody telling him he can’t have it all.”

One feature of Murdoch’s career is that he’s never played by the rules that apply to other businessmen. That’s one reason I think he seems so shellshocked in those paparazzi photographs: unable in this dire circumstance to make his own rules, he simply doesn’t know how to react or what to do. On Tuesday, when he is excoriated in Parliament, it will be the first time he has ever truly been held to account. It undoubtedly won’t be fun for him. But there are many people who are going to take great glee in his misery — not unlike the way his newspapers have always taken such glee in the misery of others.


Murdoch’s had his way with U.S. politicians also (via CBS News)

John Nichols writing for CBS Opinion argues that Murdoch is just as powerful here as in Great Britain –

Now, with Murdoch’s News Corp. empire in crisis—collapsing bit by bit under the weight of a steady stream of allegations about illegal phone hacking and influence peddling in Britain—there is an odd disconnect occurring in much of the major media of the United States. While there is some acknowledgement that Murdoch has interests in the United States (including not just his Fox News channel but the Wall Street Journal and the New York Post), the suggestion is that Murdoch was more manipulative, more influential, more controlling in Britain than here.

But that’s a fantasy. Just as Murdoch has had far too much control over politics and politicians in Britain during periods of conservative dominance—be it under an actual Tory such as former Prime Ministers Margaret Thatcher and John Major and current Prime Minister David Cameron or under a faux Tory such as former Prime Minister Tony Blair—he has had far too much control in the States. And that control, while ideological to some extent, is focused mainly on improving the bottom line for his media properties by securing for them unfair legal and regulatory advantages.

Nichols is absolutely right. The abuses reported overseas are just a different aspect of the Murdoch empire. The power manipulation done here by Murdoch’s various holdings are far more tragic than anything happening in Britain. However, do not for a moment, let you think I believe that Murdoch’s media empire has not been doing the same things here in this country that got them in trouble in England. I am waiting for the results of the FBI investigation.

Nichols also takes care to point out how Rupert Murdoch toys with American politicians like miniatures in a child’s toy collection –

As in England, Murdoch and his managers have for many years had their way with the American regulators and political players who should have been holding the mogul and the multinational to account. Sometimes Murdoch has succeeded through aggressive personal lobbying, sometimes with generous campaign contributions (with Democrats and Republicans among the favored recipients), sometimes by hiring the likes of Newt Gingrich (who as the Speaker of the House consulted with Murdoch in the 1990s) and Rick Santorum (who as a senator from Pennsylvania was a frequent defender of big media companies), sometimes by making stars of previously marginal figures such as Michele Bachmann.

Former White House political czar Karl Rove, who prodded Fox News to declare George Bush the winner of the disputed 2000 presidential election and who remains a key player in Republican politics to this day, still works for Murdoch, as does former Arkansas Governor Mike Huckabee, a prospective GOP vice presidential candidate.

I wish the public owned a politician or two. It would be a nice change.

James Pilant

Lauren Bloom’s Ethical Take on Rupert Murdoch!

Lauren Bloom has a business ethics blog and regularly comments on ethical issues often concentrating on such issues as keeping your business out of court. As of today, Lauren Bloom has written four different posting on the scandals afflicting Murdoch’s media empire.

The first one was on July 8th and was entitled –  We all bear some blame for The News of the World.

This is the concluding paragraph –

Until now, there’s been an unspoken assumption that rich and famous people, be they rock stars or Royals, deserve to have their dirty laundry aired in public if some clever reporter can sleuth it out. (I disagree, but that’s another post.) TNoW is suddenly being castigated for crossing the line by spying on ordinary people’s grief and worry, but who are we kidding here? TNoW only went after the stories its customers wanted to read. Was TNoW a vile scandal sheet whose management deserves to be raked over the coals for unethical journalism? You bet. But until consumers have the good taste and decency to turn away from that kind of garbage, it’s only a matter of time before another tabloid steps up to take TNOW’s place.

The second posting was on July 14th and was entitled –   Thank you, Rupert Murdoch!

Once again, I quote the concluding paragraph –

For someone who thinks ethics in business are important, Murdoch’s tumble is pure gold. I don’t have to argue in the abstract that ethical lapses can cause a business to lose buckets of money and important opportunities. I can just point to Murdoch – his story tells it all.

The third posting was on July 15 and has the title –  Don’t look the other way  

This paragraph probably conveys the essence of that essay.

It can be tempting for executives to look the other way when employees play fast and loose, especially if those employees create a competitive advantage for the company. Ultimately, however, those same executives will be held responsible when their employees’ misconduct becomes public. Rebekah Brooks just took a hard fall from grace, and Rupert Murdoch himself may not be far behind. News Corporation shareholders are already threatening a lawsuit. This scandal will cost the Murdoch empire millions in legal fees, to say nothing of the harm to its reputation and the value of its stock.

The fourth and most current is today’s posting – Rupert, you just don’t get it! 

This is her concluding remarks – pretty tough.

Murdoch wasn’t responsible for overseeing each of the many employees who work for News Corporation’s dozens of media outlets. But he was responsible for establishing and ethical corporate culture, ensuring that employees received reasonable oversight, and interceding when allegations of serious staff misconduct surfaced five years ago. Rumor has it that News Corporation’s stockholders are furious about management decisions that undermined the credibilityof the corporation and, with it, its stock price. They’re likely to demand Murdoch’s head on a platter, and I’ll bet they’ll eventually get it. Pride goeth, Mr. Murdoch … and it seems that you’re in for one heck of a fall.

I recommend you read all four postings, put Ms. Bloom’s web site on your favorites and consider subscribing.

James Pilant


What’s the difference between the News of the World and mechanically-recovered chicken? (via QA)

This is marvelous. Here we have some subversive, original thinking about our current state of morality. Do the ends justify the means? Murdoch’s empire is a vicious example of raw power in action. It deserves some tough satire.

James Pilant

Or, Does the end justify the means? I'm always on the look out for a good analogy. This one popped into my head. Once upon a time, the people who run meat processing plants became frustrated that little bits of otherwise delicious (and saleable) meat clung doggedly to a carcass after it had been stripped to make chicken nuggets, beefburgers or satay sticks. So, they invented ever more elaborate means by which to remove the meats from the bones. ' … Read More

via QA