The beginning of evil

In a perverse kind of way, President Clinton may be providing an important service to the nation by forcing us to reexamine many of the ethics and standards that we have generally applied in business and public life.

10/01/1998


In a perverse kind of way, President Clinton may be providing an important service to the nation by forcing us to reexamine many of the ethics and standards that we have generally applied in business and public life. Unless he is impeached, it does not appear that Clinton will have to pay the same kind of price the rest of us would have to pay for similar actions (i.e., lying under oath or having a sexual relationship with a staff member in the office). You or I would be summarily dismissed. Questions later.

It frustrates and infuriates me -- and, I hope, you -- that government imposes on us standards that it doesn't impose on itself. Consider, for example, the plight of a plant engineer and his plant manager in the following case.

A few months ago, the law firm of Seyfarth, Shaw, Fairweather & Geraldson posted this report (credited to Environmental, Safety & Health Report) on its internet site:

In United States v. Sinskey, the Eighth Circuit Court of Appeals upheld the criminal convictions of two of John Morrell & Co.'s employees, the plant manager and the plant engineer, for knowingly rendering an effluent monitoring method inaccurate. The convictions were based on violations of provisions of the Clean Water Act.

The Court held that "the government was not required to prove that [the defendant] knew that his acts violated either the CWA or the NPDES permit, but merely that he was aware of the conduct that resulted in the permit's violation." To "knowingly" violate the Clean Water Act, according to the Court, a person must only know of the relevant actions, not that the actions themselves are illegal.

So these poor guys get a conviction on their record for something they didn't even know was illegal, while the President thumbs his nose at the legal system because "it's personal."

As I see it, the Clinton case forces us to examine our own hypocrisy as a nation in the formulation of our laws and the application of our justice. It reminds us that our tradition of "blind justice" is a hoped-for ideal, but not a reality.

Some years ago, the noted writer E.B. White was commenting on an ethical issue. The act, he said, "may not in itself be evil. But it is the beginning of evil."

Clinton's actions are the beginning of evil. Let's hope it is not allowed to spread.





No comments
The Top Plant program honors outstanding manufacturing facilities in North America. View the 2015 Top Plant.
The Product of the Year program recognizes products newly released in the manufacturing industries.
The Engineering Leaders Under 40 program identifies and gives recognition to young engineers who...
World-class maintenance: The three keys to success - Deploy people, process and technology; 2016 Lubrication Guide; Why hydraulic systems get hot
Your leaks start here: Take a disciplined approach with your hydraulic system; U.S. presence at Hannover Messe a rousing success
Hannover Messe 2016: Taking hold of the future - Partner Country status spotlights U.S. manufacturing; Honoring manufacturing excellence: The 2015 Product of the Year Winners
The digital oilfield: Utilizing Big Data can yield big savings; Virtualization a real solution; Tracking SIS performance
Getting to the bottom of subsea repairs: Older pipelines need more attention, and operators need a repair strategy; OTC preview; Offshore production difficult - and crucial
Digital oilfields: Integrated HMI/SCADA systems enable smarter data acquisition; Real-world impact of simulation; Electric actuator technology prospers in production fields
Improving flowmeter calibration; Selecting flowmeters for natural gas; Case study: Streamlining assembly systems using PC-based control; CLPM: Improving process efficiency, throughput
Putting COPS into context; Designing medium-voltage electrical systems; Planning and designing resilient, efficient data centers; The nine steps of designing generator fuel systems
Warehouse winter comfort: The HTHV solution; Cooling with natural gas; Plastics industry booming

Annual Salary Survey

Before the calendar turned, 2016 already had the makings of a pivotal year for manufacturing, and for the world.

There were the big events for the year, including the United States as Partner Country at Hannover Messe in April and the 2016 International Manufacturing Technology Show in Chicago in September. There's also the matter of the U.S. presidential elections in November, which promise to shape policy in manufacturing for years to come.

But the year started with global economic turmoil, as a slowdown in Chinese manufacturing triggered a worldwide stock hiccup that sent values plummeting. The continued plunge in world oil prices has resulted in a slowdown in exploration and, by extension, the manufacture of exploration equipment.

Read more: 2015 Salary Survey

Maintenance and reliability tips and best practices from the maintenance and reliability coaches at Allied Reliability Group.
The One Voice for Manufacturing blog reports on federal public policy issues impacting the manufacturing sector. One Voice is a joint effort by the National Tooling and Machining...
The Society for Maintenance and Reliability Professionals an organization devoted...
Join this ongoing discussion of machine guarding topics, including solutions assessments, regulatory compliance, gap analysis...
IMS Research, recently acquired by IHS Inc., is a leading independent supplier of market research and consultancy to the global electronics industry.
Maintenance is not optional in manufacturing. It’s a profit center, driving productivity and uptime while reducing overall repair costs.
The Lachance on CMMS blog is about current maintenance topics. Blogger Paul Lachance is president and chief technology officer for Smartware Group.
This article collection contains several articles on the vital role that compressed air plays in manufacturing plants.
This article collection contains several articles on the Industrial Internet of Things (IIoT) and how it is transforming manufacturing.
This article collection contains several articles on strategic maintenance and understanding all the parts of your plant.
click me