Actually, that’s dishonest: it’s been a terrible day, morn to now.. A catalogue retailer took an email address my wife sent them a year ago and bombarded her account with hundreds of promotional messages yesterday, crashing her email. Then her efforts to fix the problem resulted in a Proethics system email crash that I have been trying to address for the past five hours. I finally decided to get something productive done, so I’m getting up this post while talking to my tech people. UPDATE: They just gave up.
1 Trump Tweets. Ugh. The President criticizing his own Cabinet member, in this case Jeff Sessions, in public via tweet, is horrific leadership and management practice. If I were Sessions, I would resign, It is disrespectful, disloyal, undermines morale on the President’s team, and is just plain stupid. I don’t understand how Trump had any success at all treating employees and subordinates like this. While we’re on this perpetual subject. the fact that the President would say out loud that he would have rushed the Parkland shooter without a weapon is just more evidence of a) a flat learning curve b) the lack of the usual filters from brain to mouth and c) the unethical tendency of third parties to critique the actions of others in rescue situations. No question: the resource officer who was required by policy, assignment and duty to try to intervene in the shooting deserves all the criticism he has been getting, and is accountable. But the President of the United States announcing that he is Batman is something else entirely.
My objections to the non-stop personal ridicule of our elected leader stands, but he also has a duty, as the steward of the Office, not to make himself look ridiculous.
2. An unethical boycott tactic, but I repeat myself. The anti-gun zealots have decided to attack a free and constitutionally protected Bill of Rights advocacy group as part of the news media-assisted effort to demonize the NRA as being somehow responsible for a school shooting that none of the proposed “common sense gun reforms” would have prevented. Now the Second Amendment-gutting crowd is using the boycott, a particularly odious weapon favored by progressives, which depends on the venality and spinelessness of corporate executives to constrict free speech. Delta Airlines announced it was ending a promotional discount with the National Rifle Association after threats and a social media campaign, then tried the weaselly explanation that its decision to stop offering discounted fares to the N.R.A. “reflects the airline’s neutral status in the current national debate over gun control amid recent school shootings.”
This doesn’t work, and is disingenuous. Of course all such discounts have nothing to do with ideology or politics and everything to do with promotion and profits. Delta is calculating that signalling its alliance with the Americans operating on emotion after the slaughter in Parkland will brink them more business, or lose them less, than being seen as friend to those who support the integrity of the Second Amendment. Having made a choice in the latter direction, it cannot remove that support and claim that the airline is being neutral. Ethics Alarms discussed this dilemma in a very different controversy here.
Removing existing support cannot be represented as neutral, even if it is intended that way. In this case, Delta wants to simultaneously garner benefits from implying that the NRA is a villain, and to avoid the consequences by claiming that they have no dog in the hunt. Baloney. Delta and every other corporation that capitulates to the anti-gun boycott threat is announcing that it will punish groups based on their political positions and viewpoint, if the opposite position threatens hard enough. Fed-Ex, subject to a similar boycott because NRA members get a discount (along with many other organizations), tried to play both ends against the middle a bit different, saying,
“We are very clear that, when we set pricing strategy or look to adjust pricing, it is not based on political positions or points of view But we do have a very clear corporate position in terms of gun safety and school safety.”
If it wanted to be neutral, Delta should have announced that it would give equivalent discounts to member of gun reforms organizations. Caving in to unethical boycotts encourages more boycotts. I’m happy to see that Delta may suffer for its weenie-ness. Georgia Republicans are threatening to end a lucrative tax break for Delta in the state, prompting this mind-blowing hypocrisy from Sam Massell, the city’s former Democratic mayor, who said, “I don’t believe in blackmail, and I’m sorry to use such a dirty word, but that’s almost what it tastes like.”
Threatening to boycott a corporation if it doesn’t end a commercial relationship with the NRA isn’t blackmail, but threatening consequences when it does is blackmail. That’s some discriminating taste you have there, Sam.
I’m no member of the NRA, but I detest boycotts, the activists who wield them, and the companies that don’t have the integrity to resist them. I had a choice between flying on Delta or American for my law firm ethics seminar nest week. Guess which airline I’m using?
3. The Rotunda honor. While CNN, MSNBC and HLN are still making the shooting of two weeks ago its top story—this entered the realm of propaganda long ago—Fox New has been concentrating on Billy Graham, who will lie in state in the Capitol Rotunda. Does he deserve the honor? The real question is why so many other national figures have not been similarly honored. No private citizen was ever so displayed until 1998, after U.S. Capitol police officers Jacob J. Chestnut, Jr. and detective John M. Gibson died in the line of duty protecting the U.S. Capitol from an armed assailant. They became the first private citizens to lie in honor in the Rotunda. Next was Rosa Parks, in 2004, and now Graham.
The whole list is here. and it’s far too select. I would have expected the honor to be used for Martin Luther King, Eleanor Roosevelt, Jackie Robinson, Thomas Edison, Audie Murphy, Babe Ruth, Shirley Temple Black, John Wayne, Walt Disney, Charles Lindburgh, Thurgood Marshall, Clarence Darrow,Alan Shepard, Neil Armstrong, Mahalia Jackson and Mark Twain, just for starters.
4. He’s probably running for President in 2020, too…Steven J. Weiss was appointed by New York Governor Andrew Cuomo to the New York State Housing Finance Agency in 2011 and the state board of the Roswell Park Cancer Institute in 2016. Weiss then donated $53,000 to the governor’s campaign after being named to the housing agency. Kenneth A. Manning, was appointed by Cuomo to a state judicial screening committee in 2011. Records show that Mr. Manning has donated $50,500 since that appointment.
Of course these political donations look and smell like quid pro quo corruption, and to say they have the appearance of impropriety is an understatement. Overall, the Cuomo has collected about $890,000 from two dozen of his appointees, some within days of being appointed. He has also accepted $1.3 million from the spouses, children and businesses of appointees. This is all very odd, because in 2007, then Governor Eliot L. Spitzer issued an executive order barring most appointees from donating to or soliciting donations for the governor who made the appointment. This order has never been undone. Cuomo just ignores it.
None of this has been deemed newsworthy on any news networks, but I did get to hear a survivor of the Parkland shooting this morning tell America with absolute certitude that such tragedies were “easily preventable.”