Principled Profit: The Good Business Blog

Musings on the world-wide movement for ethical business, frugal marketing, and how honesty, integrity, and quality combine with deep relationship building to create business success. By the originator of the Ethical Business Pledge campaign and award-winning author of Principled Profit: Marketing That Puts People First and five other books

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Friday, September 29, 2006

RFK Jr: Diebold's Paid Hacker Turns Whistleblower, Blackwell Bought 10K Diebold Stock

I've been following the issue of election fraud ever since the highly questionable 2000 results in Florida--but I learned a few new things from Robert F. Kennedy, Jr.'s latest article in this week's Rolling Stone:

* The highly partisan Ohio Secretary of State, Kenneth Blackwell, who wore the two incompatible hats of chairing the Bush 2004 campaign and overseeing the election in his state, bought $10,000 worth of Diebold stock shortly before trying to circumvent the competitive bidding process in favor of a Diebold-only "solution." Oh, the stink of corruption in the land!

* RFK found a Diebold whistleblower willing to go public: Chris Hood, who was part of an effort to patch 5000 voting machines in and around Atlanta (the most Demcoratic-leaning part of Georgia), personally patched 56 and directly observed the patching of 1200 others--under the direct supervision of the president of Diebold's elections division, Bob Urosevich, who flew in from Texas for the occasion. this was the election in which both the Governor and Senate races came out the opposite of everything that was expected, with Republicans winning despite huge leads by Democrats in polls the week before.

Georgia law mandates that any change made in voting machines be certified by the state. But thanks to [Georgia Secretary of State] Cox's agreement with Diebold, the company was essentially allowed to certify itself. "It was an unauthorized patch, and they were trying to keep it secret from the state," Hood told me. "We were told not to talk to county personnel about it. I received instructions directly from Urosevich. It was very unusual that a president of the company would give an order like that and be involved at that level."

My fellow Americans--we have the rights in a democracy to know that every eligible voter who tried to vote was able to do so...that every vote is recorded and counted...and that the count reflects the accurate reality of how those votes were actually cast. It is time to insist on these rights. Right now, we don't even know if we've had a coup, in election after election using these troubling machines and similar others from their competitors. We do know that there have been all sorts of irregularities, breakdowns, false totals, and more.

Senators Barbara Boxer and Chris Dodd have introduced emergency legislation to provide for--and fund--paper ballots in case of machine breakdown, in time for this year's election. Urge your Senators and Representatives to support this crucial measure.

Sunday, September 24, 2006

Disturbing Uses of Persuasion

As a marketer and copywriter, I'm very interested in the science of persuasion. I read writers like Dave Lakhani, Mark Joyner, Janet Switzer, Ben Mack, Robert Cialdini, Kevin Hogan, Bryan and Jeffrey Eisenberg, and Sean D'Souza, among many others. (Why is this list so male dominated? I don't know).

But as someone who stresses ethical marketing, I have lines I do not cross.

Dave Lakhani sent a link to an extremely disturbing video by Derren Brown, who's apparently quite well known as a persuasion guy in the UK (I wasn't familiar with him before). Under the guise of running a corporate motivational seminar, he cues four of his trainees into a subliminal process in which they're supposed to figure out all by themselves to stage an armed robbery against an armored van. He uses all manner of subliminal and blatant cues to produce this reaction--but to me, this is over the line. it shows what these techniques can do if they "fall into the wrong hands."

It has been rumored that a lot of the tactics used by the Bush administration to hypnotize the US into going to war against Iraq, into letting our liberties slip by at home, etc. are directly correlated with their study of Neurolinguistic Programming (NLP). In this video, we can not only see the techniques in use, but hear Derren explain exactly what he's doing and why. I won't spoil the surprise by telling the results.

The video is fascinating watching (and the time goes by very quickly). The lesson to me is: know when you're being manipulated, even controlled, and take steps to protect yourself.

HP Spying Scandal: The News Keeps Getting Worse

I found a really good blog entry by Chris Raymond about the HP scandal (sent by my good friend and comrade-in-ethics Nancy Smith, author of Workplace Spirituality--one day I'll have to meet her!)

As an ethics writer (Principled Profit: Marketing That Puts People First) and blogger ( ), I am completely appalled at HP's actions--and the more I learn, the worse it gets. This is the first I've heard that the ethics officer actually was aware of these egregious violations and chose to protect the company instead of doing the right thing.

I used to have a lot of respect for HP, influenced in no small measure by an amazing book called The Soul in the Computer by Barbara Waugh--but that ws then, this is now. I own an HP computer and an HP printer--but it will be a very long time before I buy another one.

Friday, September 22, 2006

Count the Votes! Pass this Measure NOW!

Quixotic it may be--but a few concerned people are launching a last-minute effort to pass emergency legislation mandating the presence and use of emergency paper ballots in the event that voters would otherwise be turned away because of voting machine failures.

The bill is far from perfect. It doesn't specify much about how to do this.. It has a sunset clause and is designed only for the coming November 7 election (why not make it permanent?) and of course it would be a royal pain for every city and town clerk in the country, and every administrator of polling places.

Still, it's the right thing to do. The right of people to show up and cast a vote is fundamental and crucial if we are to call ourselves a democracy.

Follow the link above to read the Act and contact your Representative by clicking here. Yes, it's way too little and probably too late. But it's an important first step. Remember what Margaret Mad said about a small committed group being the only thing that ever changes the world.

Sunday, September 17, 2006

3 Ethics Stories Flagged by Romensko

The always-fascinating Romensko newsletter on journalism has a run of ethics stories in its September 8 issue, with links to the major media where the stories appear. I confess--I can't begin to keep up with this very informative newsletter. I read it once in a while, and often quite a bit after publication.

In this one issue, it reports:
10 Miami-area journalists take government money to promote an anti-Castro message
HP has been spying on the phone records of major journos
An article about the Wall Street Journal's policy of accepting ads on the front page--and how a recent front page bore both a story on the HP scandal and an ad from HP!

These are just three of a number of links to related stories in this roundup

Monday, September 11, 2006

Remembering THREE September 11ths

A lot of things have happened on a September 11th. I'll talk about three of them. Two were Days of Infamy, one a Day of Honor.

September 11, 1906, one hundred years ago today. Gandhi launched his first massive civil disobedience campaign, against the Apartheid government of South Africa. Civil disobedience can be traced as far back as the Bible, but sustained and organized campaigns were new with Gandhi, as far as I know.

September 11, 1973. In a US-backed coup, the dictator Pinochet overthrew (and killed) the democratically elected President, Salvador Allende, leading to over a decade of repression, disappearances, and totalitarianism. Henry Kissinger is not a popular guy in that country.

And then, of course, September 11, 2001. It may be many years before we know the full extent of what happened on that day, who was behind it, and who allowed it to be carried out. It is almost certain that elements of the US government were at least aware, if not complicit--and the trail of bad policy stemming from that day to this is one of our modern shames.

We can only be a democracy if we promote democracy. Here and abroad.

Thursday, September 07, 2006

Disturbing News about 9/11

I think of myself as fairly aware of the various conspiracy reports around 9/11, and the clear case that we're not being told the whole story by our government or by the mainstream media. There are so, so many irregularities, anomalies, eyewitnesses... I'm familiar with the idea that the towers were dynamited, and that Building 7 in particular would not have collapsed as it did from the aftershock of two nearby buildings being slammed by jet aircraft. I've also seen skepticism about what really hit the Pentagon.

But until just the other day, I'd never heard the theory that Flight 93 was not crashed by a re-hijacking of the cabin by courageous passengers, but by a US military missile. However, I happened to be in my car with the radio on, and I caught a rebroadcast of an archived interview with David Ray Griffin, on of the most respected 9/11 scholars around. He was saying, and this is new to me, that there's strong evidence that the Pennsylvania crash was the doing of the US military.

this has huge implications about the coverup, the real reasons for 9/11, and much more.

Unfortunately it didn't have a transcript, but I tracked down an audio of the interview.

Bush Again Admits Lawlessness

Why do we let these people continue to stay in office? When King George III abused his power, the colonists threw him out. Yet George II is not even a king; he just acts like one.

Today's news reports that

United States President George W Bush finally is acknowledging that the CIA runs secret prisons overseas,

where the locals know better than to ask questions. This is outside the scope of the Constitution *and* international law. Even the Nazis got in trouble for this (ever hear of the Nuremberg trials?). These prisons, until now largely ignored by the mainstream media, are widely reported to be torture centers. Bush so far continues to deny that the US ever uses torture, but that denial strains credulity.

Again, the United States was founded in opposition to a despotic government that had overstepped its bounds. Surely, the current regime in the US has overstepped its bounds. Again.