Category Archives: Ethics

Hobby Lobby retirement plan invests heavily in contraception manufacturers

Hobby Lobby retirement plan invests heavily in contraception manufacturers

Redden examined documents filed with the Department of Labor three months after the company’s owners filed the lawsuit challenging the contraception provision of the Affordable Care Act and found that the Hobby Lobby 401(k) ‘held more than $73 million in mutual funds with investments in companies that produce emergency contraceptive pills, intrauterine devices, and drugs commonly used in abortions.'”

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GM saved $1 per faulty car

GM saved $1 per faulty car

According to an internal document given to U.S. congressional investigators, in 2005 General Motors did not change the ignition switch in cars that have been linked to at least 13 deaths, because it would have added roughly a dollar to the cost of each car.”

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The Supreme Court’s Ideology: More Money, Less Voting

The Supreme Court’s Ideology: More Money, Less Voting

“Now we have McCutcheon v. FEC, where the Court, in yet another controversial 5-4 opinionwritten by Roberts, struck down the limits on how much an individual can contribute to candidates, parties and political action committees. So instead of an individual donor being allowed to give $117,000 to campaigns, parties and PACs in an election cycle (the aggregate limit in 2012), they can now give up to $3.5 million, Andy Kroll of Mother Jones reports. 

The Court’s conservative majority believes that the First Amendment gives wealthy donors and powerful corporations the carte blanche right to buy an election but that the Fifteenth Amendment does not give Americans the right to vote free of racial discrimination.”

 

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UN Drone Investigator: U.S. Must Explain Civilian Deaths

UN Drone Investigator: U.S. Must Explain Civilian Deaths

“Asserting that obligation is core to the report. ‘In essence, the report states that it is governments who now bear the legal burden of explaining the strikes,” Knuckey writes. The report also recommends that the UN “set-up a panel of experts to discuss and report on the legal issues raised by the use of drones for targeted killings.'”

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Obama will never end the War on Terror

Obama will never end the War on Terror

“What began as one horrific attack 13 years ago and a simple, 60-word Authorization for the Use of Military Force three days later has morphed all but unnoticed into a war with no name or parameters—against an enemy that the government will no longer even officially identify, on battlefields that didn’t exist when the measure hurriedly passed Congress.

And as the Yemen strike suggests, the war hardly appears to be winding down. Nor do U.S. forces seem to be getting much better at avoiding “collateral damage.” The grave but very real danger is that this strangest of wars will never end, certainly not before the expiration of Obama’s second term. And his successors may be left with nearly the entire unresolved mess: an open-ended war authorization and inchoate rules for drone and special operations, the promised-but-never-carried-through closing of Guantánamo Bay, and a National Security Agency that’s still not sure whom or what it can spy on.”

 
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The destructive foreign policy myth that America just won’t quit

The destructive foreign policy myth that America just won’t quit

“Silence about U.S.-Israel relations is, to a large degree, hardwired into Beltway culture. As George Perkovich, director of the nuclear policy program at the Carnegie Endowment for International Peace told the Washington Post, ‘It’s like all things having to do with Israel and the United States. If you want to get ahead, you don’t talk about it; you don’t criticize Israel, you protect Israel.’

This is regrettable, as Washington’s politically invisible military aid to Israel is not just an impediment to lasting peace, but also a strategic and security liability. As General David Petraeus, then head of U.S. Central Command, testified to the Senate Armed Services Committee in 2010, the failure to reach a lasting resolution to the conflict between the Israelis and Palestinians makes Washington’s other foreign policy objectives in the region more difficult to achieve. It also, he pointed out, foments anti-American hatred and fuels al-Qaeda and other violent groups.”

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Review: Killing by Remote Control: The Ethics of an Unmanned Military edited by Bradley Jay Strawser

Drone Wars UK

Killing by Remote Control: Ethics of an Unmanned Military is a new collection of academic essays edited by Bradley Jay Strawser, a philosophy professor at the US Navy Postgraduate School in California.  Strawser, as readers of this blog may remember, was interviewed by The Guardian last year and quoted as saying in relation to unmanned drones: “It’s all upside. There’s no downside. Both ethically and normatively, there’s a tremendous value.”  Famously, Strawser argues that the US has a moral duty to use drones.

Most, but not all, of the authors writing in this collection are coming from a military perspective, either as former serving officers or currently employed within military teaching institutions. As Strawser notes in his introduction “none of the contributors hold that there is an absolute moral prohibition against UAV use… however many have principled issues with their use [and] some argue that there is something about this form of…

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Killer robot flight: Video of UK’s autonomous drone released

Killer robot flight: Video of UK’s autonomous drone released

“’It would take the robot to be programmed, but once it was set free, it would proceed to make the targeting and kill decisions unless our campaign to stop the killer robots is able to make certain that human beings have to be involved meaningfully in the kill decision,’ she added, calling for a definition of who would bear responsibility in the event of any robotic machines running amok by accident, or by an attack from hackers.”

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The NSA is Even Spying on Computers That Aren’t Online

Swampland

A computer doesn’t need to be online for the National Security Agency to take a peek.

The spy agency has managed to sneak surveillance software onto almost 100,000 computers worldwide, and is even able to use computers that aren’t connected to the Internet for spying and cyberattacks, the New York Times reports. The NSA relies on secret channels of radio waves that are transmitted from tiny circuits and USB cards implanted by NSA-friendly spies or manufacturers to snoop on offline computers.

The NSA targets include units of the Chinese army, Russian military networks, systems used by the Mexican police and drug cartels, European Union trade institutions, as well as U.S. partners like Saudi Arabia, India and Pakistan, the Times reports, in the latest details to emerge from former NSA contractor Edward Snowden’s leaks.

The spying agency said it does not use implantation software or its radio frequency technology inside…

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Call Welfare “Transitional Living Fund,” Says Congresswoman Sheila Jackson Lee

CBS DC

WASHINGTON (CBS DC) – Congresswoman Sheila Jackson Lee (D-Texas) says it’s time to stop blaming economically struggling Americans for their plight.

“Maybe the word welfare should be changed to something of a transitional living fund,” she said in a speech on the House floor. “For that is what it is, for people to be able to live.”

Lee noted that 50 years since the start of Lyndon Johnson’s “War on Poverty” there have been great strides towards raising the standard of living for all Americans.

She noted that infant mortality rates, child hunger and the number of Americans living in poverty have all declined.

Though those problems still exist, she said.

Speaking as Democrats work to push through legislation to help Americans who have been unemployed for over a year, the congresswoman said perhaps it was time to refer to those benefits as “a transitional outreach to individuals who are chronically unemployed.”

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