Posts Tagged ‘trust’

When Ambition Trumps Trust

Friday, May 24th, 2024

By Bob Gaydos

Nikki Haley … changing her vote

Nikki Haley … changing her vote

    A while back I wrote a column that focused on three basic rules to live by:

— If it’s not true, don’t say it.

— If it’s not yours, don’t take it.

— If it’s not right, don’t do it.

    The impetus for the column was the obvious fact that The Leader of the Republican Party and many of his followers had never heard of such rules and, in any event, felt no obligation to live by them.

      That situation hasn’t changed. But I have come up with yet another one of what I feel should be a basic rule of life: Be true to your word. The impetus, again, is questionable behavior by Republicans, one a politician, one a judge.

        I realize that trusting the words of a politician is a fool’s choice, but Nikki Haley has managed to lower the bar even further for acceptable if smarmy hypocrisy with her pronouncement that she will vote for Donald Trump for president.

      Haley waged an aggressive primary campaign against Trump for their party’s presidential nomination and, while not succeeding, had respectable results. She found there are indeed some Republicans who are not happy with Trump.

     Among the arguments she made for voting for her and not Trump: “Of course, many of the same politicians who now publicly embrace Trump privately dread him. They know what a disaster he’s been and will continue to be for our party. They’re just too afraid to say it out loud.”

    She accused Trump of being “confused,” “unhinged,” “not qualified” and “too old” to be president.

      So OK, even with her past history of flip-flops (serving as Trump’s UN ambassador and then resigning after two years; saying she would not run against him for president and then running against him for president), those are pretty strong and accurate comments she made about Trump. So why does she now say she is voting for him?

        Ambition. Political ambition, pure and simple. She can vote for whomever she wants in private, but in public she still wants some of Trump’s followers in the party to remember her four years from now when she’ll want to run for president again. 

      She’s willing to sacrifice any personal integrity she might have to preserve that hope for the future, even though she knows full well that a Trump second term in office could change the country’s political landscape drastically.

     (Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis, who also challenged Trump unsuccessfully in the primaries, is hedging a similar bet. He tried to out- Trump Trump in the primaries, but learned that no one could do that. Now, DeSantis is raising money for Trump and waiting for 2028.)

      The other culprit in this tale of untrustworthiness is Supreme Court Justice Samuel Alito, he of the, not one, but two flags flying in support of Trump’s “stop the steal” campaign to undo the results of the 2020 election.

        One of the few things Americans learn in school about government and the law is that judges, especially when they are called “justices,” are supposed to be unbiased arbiters in matters that come before them in court. No sign of even a possible conflict of interest is allowed, so there is no doubt about the hearing or the ruling.

      Alito, although he probably swore to such things when he became a judge, apparently never grasped that not taking sides concept.

Samuel Alito

Samuel Alito

    After it was revealed that an American flag flew in distress position at his home, in support of the “stop the steal” campaign, Alito blamed his wife for the incident. Now, photos of a different flag signifying the same support and flying at his vacation home, have been uncovered. No word on whom he’s blaming this time.

    Of course, Alito has only himself to blame. With cases involving Trump and the 2020 election coming before the court, he has refused to recuse himself from them. This is a blatant violation of what most judges believe is their ethical duty, whether written into any code of ethics or not. 

   This Supreme Court, with its casual code of conduct to “guide” members, apparently feels they are special enough to recognize what behavior is ethical and proper for them. Clearly, some of them are not.

     People need to have confidence in the impartiality of their judges. If you are a judge and are involved in a case, or could appear to be involved (say, because your wife likes one side), you have a moral obligation to remove yourself from the case no matter what any code says. You also should have the common sense not to publicly display any statement that shows support for one side. This is basic stuff.

      Like Haley, Alito, who has also taken unreported gifts, appears to be driven by an ambitious desire to change the political landscape of the country. He’ll apparently swear to anything as long as he’s got his robe and lifetime appointment to protect him.

       Another basic life lesson: Trust must be earned and protected by regular investments. Haley and Alito are bankrupt in this regard.


Cryptocurrency’s Cryptic Rise and Fall

Tuesday, December 6th, 2022

By Bob Gaydos

The original cryptocurrency.

The original cryptocurrency.

   I admit it. I’m a crypto cynic. I didn’t get it from the start. Still don’t.

       Who created it? Why? What was the point? What was the need? I could already spend money in a flash on my phone. My bank and various other accounts were always urging me to access my money electronically. Cash was still cash, whether I folded it or used PayPal.

        Then there was the obvious question: How do I get some Bitcoin (the original cryptocurrency) and how do I know what it’s worth? There was all this “mining” of currency, basically some computer geeks spending thousands of hours on computers typing in digital codes to create algorithms that other geeks accepted as currency to conduct a transaction. To play a video game maybe or buy some cool electronic stuff.

      If you didn’t have the patience or skill to create your own currency and protect the codes, you could, eventually, “buy” some crypto. From a “bank” or “exchange” with, you know, hard cash. Money.

        Crypto turned into a major commodity, something to invest in, rather than an alternative monetary system.

         Why? Greed apparently. Having “invented” some kind of cool, alternative “money,” the geniuses behind crypto apparently figured that convincing people with a lot of real money that owning a lot of too-complicated and shakily supported “crypto” money was too good an investment to pass up.

      In other words, it was something to have, not to spend. The IRS, of course, had figured that out quickly, taxing crypto as a commodity, not income.

      Anyway, a lot of not-so-rich people have also been victimized by the current crypto meltdown and it all turns around trust, an important thing when you’re talking about money. Can you trust the bank that your money is there and available when you want it? Pretty much, yes. No real problems of late. The government keeps a watch.

       But who was watching crypto? And, more to the point, if it was supposed to be a one-to-one point of sale exchange program, as created, how did all the other people get involved?

      Again, greed.

      Cryptocurrency grew as an investment with no one really watching over it and, dare I say, with most people never really understanding it. It was “money” that was, in a practical sense, not really good for anything but having. Gold at least has some intrinsic recognized value.

      Perhaps not surprisingly, like a magic trick, as mysteriously as it was created, crypto started disappearing, along with the real cash money people had invested in it. But it wasn’t through some modern computer wizardry. Rather, apparently through some good, old-fashioned larceny.

        The folks who created one of the unregulated exchanges to buy and sell crypto apparently just stole their customers’ real cash (reportedly billions) to invest in some other stuff. Apparently they couldn’t use crypto to do it. You know, to get around the banks and all those annoying regulations. They’ve filed for bankruptcy. So the real money is gone, the astronomical price of cryptocurrency has fallen and no one apparently knows whom to trust in a field that relies entirely on trust.

       What’s the message here? I don’t know. Maybe to make sure there’s a need for something before inventing it. Maybe to make sure what you invent isn’t too complicated for most people to use. Maybe to make sure you can trust someone to whom you are giving lots of your money to invest and you understand what you’re investing in. Maybe, that greed finds its way into pretty much any enterprise that involves money, real or imaginary. Or just maybe that was the idea all along.

     Whatever, I still don’t get it.

 Bob Gaydos is writer-in-residence at