Unethical Quote Of The Week: Boston Mayor Martin J. Walsh

sanctuary-cities

“To anyone who feels threatened today, or vulnerable, you are safe in Boston. We will do everything lawful in our powerful to protect you. If necessary, we will use City Hall itself to shelter and protect anyone who’s targeted unjustly.”

—–Boston’s mayor, Martin J. Walsh, announcing defiance to the President Trump’s Executive Order cutting off federal funding to municipalities that did not cooperate with federal immigration officials.

Is Mayor Walsh under the impression that America’s laws protecting its borders and extending its sovereignty over the crucial area of immigration control are the equivalent of the Fugitive Slave Act? It would seem so.

The grandstanding statement by Walsh is the most extreme yet from the 100% wrong and unethical mayors of so-called sanctuary cities, which include major metropolises like Boston, Los Angeles, New York, Los Angeles, Chicago, and smaller cities, many of them college towns, like New Haven; Syracuse; and Austin. There are over 300 in all.

The legal issue is interesting and not at all settled. A 2012 Supreme Court decision held that Congress is not permitted to set conditions on spending to coerce states or localities to participate in federal programs against their will, but other decisions are no so clear. Moreover, when a city actively interferes with the enforcement of the law—not merely not participating in the program, but actively interfering with it the in way the Walsh describes—the federal government should have some effective way of responding. I see another SCOTUS case coming, don’t you? What if Boston decided that it would provide sanctuary for drug dealers, kidnappers, spies and terrorists? Could it do that, too?

Some of the other mayors have been only slightly more moderate. San Francisco’s mayor, Ed Lee, issued a joint statement with the mayor of Oakland, Libby Schaaf, and Mayor Sam Liccardo of San Jose:

“We will not give in to threats, or political grandstanding. Together, the Bay Area will stay true to our values of inclusiveness, compassion and equality, and united against any and all efforts to divide our residents, our cities, and our country.”

Look! Political grandstanding about political grandstanding! Imagine: the President of the United States wants to enforce immigration laws! How dare he? In Chicago, Mayor Rahm Emanuel proclaimed, while ducking bullets presumably,

 “I want to be clear: We’re going to stay a sanctuary city. There is no stranger among us. Whether you’re from Poland or Pakistan, whether you’re from Ireland or India or Israel and whether you’re from Mexico or Moldova, where my grandfather came from, you are welcome in Chicago as you pursue the American dream.”

Having illegal aliens who have committed crimes flee to Chicago might work out, since the murder rate there should thin their ranks considerably. Continue reading

KABOOM! Most Unethical Defense For Child Rape Ever…

headexplode

If your head doesn’t blow over this one, it’s missing something.

Richard Keenan, 65, the former mayor of Hubbard, Ohio from 2010-2011 and a self-proclaimed devout Christian, confessed in a group therapy session to having sex with a little girl over three years beginning when she was four. He’s now facing life imprisonment for rape, if his statements are admissible.

Prof Jonathan Turley discusses the legal issues involved with using admissions made in a clinical setting, and you can read about them here. I am posting to commemorate the ex-mayor’s other defense position, which is why my head is on the ceiling and walls of my office. Are you ready?

Keenan says that the sex was consensual, because the four/five/ six /seven-year old was a“willing participant, ” and..

…she initiated it.

I think that’s all I want to write about this now, or ever.

I’ve also got to go get an armful of paper towels.

Oh—how’s your head?

The Naked Mayor Principle?

Chip Johnson

Chip  Johnson, the  married mayor of Hernando, Mississippi, sent a photograph of himself naked in the shower to his mistress, who then widely circulated it on the internet after the mayor discarded her like an old sock, or something.  (This is the essentially same plot the the British series “Happy Valley” employed last season, except that ex-lover so exposed was a police detective, not a mayor.)

Chip defended himself by explaining that he had sent the  shower selfie last year to an adult woman who was fully consenting in the relationship; in other words, this wasn’t a Weiner situation. Now he’s playing the victim, whining that it was “hurtful” to have his trust violated while he was violating his wife’s trust as well as the trust of his constituency, which trusted him not to make an ass of himself and embarrass them by emailing his naughty bits to his mistress.  Johnson told the local paper that he was seeking legal advice. Here’s some ethics advice:

Resign. Mayors should, at very least, be reasonably trusted not to have their Johnsons get displayed far and wide. There is no good reason for any mayor’s Johnson to be so displayed. If a mayor’s Johnson, like Mayor Johnson’s Johnson, is so displayed, it is proof positive that said mayor is an irresponsible fool with terrible judgment. Nobody who is an irresponsible fool with terrible judgment should be a mayor. Sure, the ex-mistress’s conduct was cruel and vindictive, but she’s not the mayor.

It’s really quite simple.

He’s toast, and deserves to be.

Let’s call it “The Naked Mayor Principle.”

[ You can review the related Naked Teacher Principle here...]

The Seventh Annual Ethics Alarms Awards: The Best of Ethics 2015, Part I

Sweet Briar montage

Welcome to the Seventh Annual Ethics Alarms Awards, our blog’s retrospective of the best and worst in ethics over the past year, 2015.

It was a rotten year in ethics again, it’s fair to say, and Ethics Alarms, which by its nature and mission must concentrate on episodes that have lessons to convey and cautionary tales to consider probably made it seem even more rotten that it was. Even with that admission, I didn’t come close to covering the field. My scouts, who I will honor anon, sent me many more wonderfully disturbing news stories than I could post on, and there were many more beyond them. I did not write about the drug company CEO, for example, who suddenly raised the price of an anti-AIDS drug to obscene levels, in part, it seems, to keep an investment fraud scheme afloat. (He’ll get his prize anyway.)

What was really best about 2o15 on Ethics Alarms was the commentary. I always envisioned the site as a cyber-symposium where interested, articulate and analytical readers could discuss current events and issues in an ethics context. Every year since the blog was launched has brought us closer to that goal. Commenters come and go, unfortunately (I take it personally when they go, which is silly), but the quality of commentary continues to be outstanding. It is also gratifying to check posts from 2010 and see such stalwarts who check in still, like Tim Levier, Neil Dorr, Julian Hung, Michael R, and King Kool.  There are a few blogs that have as consistently substantive, passionate and informative commenters as Ethics Alarms, but not many. Very frequently the comments materially enhance and expand on the original post. That was my hope and objective. Thank you.

The Best of Ethics 2015 is going to be a bit more self-congratulatory this year, beginning with the very first category. Among other virtues, this approach has the advantage of closing the gap in volume between the Best and the Worst, which last year was depressing. I’m also going to post the awards in more installments, to help me get them out faster. With that said….

Here are the 2015 Ethics Alarms Awards

For the Best in Ethics:

Most Encouraging Sign That Enough People Pay Attention For Ethics Alarms To Occasionally Have Some Impact…

The Sweet Briar College Rescue. In March, I read the shocking story of how Sweet Briar College, a remarkable and storied all-women’s college in Virginia, had been closed by a craven and duplicitous board that never informed alums or students that such action was imminent. I responded with a tough post titled “The Sweet Briar Betrayal,” and some passionate alumnae determined to fight for the school’s survival used it to inform others about the issues involved and to build support. Through the ensuing months before the school’s ultimate reversal of the closing and the triumph of its supporters, I was honored to exchange many e-mails with Sweet Briar grads, and gratified by their insistence that Ethics Alarms played a significant role in turning the tide. You can follow the saga in my posts, here.

Ethics Heroes Of The Year

Dog Train

Eugene and Corky Bostick, Dog Train Proprietors. OK, maybe this is just my favorite Ethics Hero story of the year, about two retired seniors who decided to adopt old  dogs abandoned on their property to die, and came up with the wacky idea of giving them regular rides on a ‘dog train” of their own design.

Ethical Mayor Of The Year

Thomas F. Williams. When the Ferguson-driven attacks on police as racist killers was at its peak (though it’s not far from that peak now) the mayor of Norwood, Ohio, Thomas F. Williams, did exactly the opposite of New York Mayor Bill de Blasio in response to activist attacks on the integrity of his police department. He released a letter supporting his police department without qualification. At the time, I criticized him for his simultaneously attacking activists as “race-baiters.” In the perspective of the year past, I hereby withdraw that criticism.

Most Ethical Celebrity

Actor Tom Selleck. In a terrible year for this category, Selleck wins for bravely pushing his TV show “Blue Bloods” into politically incorrect territory, examining issues like racial profiling and police shootings with surprising even-handedness. The show also has maintained its openly Catholic, pro-religion perspective. Yes, this is a redundant award, as “Blue Bloods” is also a winner, but the alternative in this horrific year when an unethical celebrity is threatening to be a major party’s nominee for the presidency is not to give the award at all.

Most Ethical Talk Show Host

Stephen Colbert, who, while maintaining most of his progressive bias from his previous Comedy Central show as the successor to David Letterman, set a high standard of fairness and civility, notably when he admonished his knee-jerk liberal audience for booing  Senator Ted Cruz

Sportsman of the Year

CC Sabathia

New York Yankee pitcher C.C. Sabathia, who courageously checked himself into rehab for alcohol abuse just as baseball’s play-offs were beginning, saying in part,

“Being an adult means being accountable. Being a baseball player means that others look up to you. I want my kids — and others who may have become fans of mine over the years — to know that I am not too big of a man to ask for help. I want to hold my head up high, have a full heart and be the type of person again that I can be proud of. And that’s exactly what I am going to do.”

Runner-up: MLB Commissioner Rob Manfred, who dismissed the ethically-addled arguments of Pete Rose fans to reject his appeal to be have his lifetime ban for gambling lifted.  For those who wonder why football never seems to figure in this category: You’ve got to be kidding.

Ethics Movie of the Year

SpotlightTIFF2015

“Spotlight”

Runner-up: “Concussion”

Most Ethical Corporation

Tesla Motors, the anti-GM, which recalled all of its models with a particular seatbelt because one belt had failed and they couldn’t determine why. Continue reading

The Anti-De Blasio

No de Blasio he!

No de Blasio he!

The mayor of Norwood, Ohio, Thomas F. Williams, did exactly the opposite of besieged New York Mayor Bill de Blasio in response to activist attacks on the integrity of his police department. He sent this letter to his police:

Letter racebaitingIts substance reads…

“I feel compelled to express my thoughts in writing as police officers across the country are under attack by race baiting black leaders and cowardly elected officials. Now is the time to be extra cautious while performing your duties. Back each other and take nothing for granted. Let it be known that, God forbid, something controversial would happen, I WILL NOT ABANDON YOU. As I have always said, your number one goal is to go home to your family after your shift…”

 

Now, instead of being under fire from his own police like his Big Apple counterpart, Williams’ declaration of support for his own police is being called “appalling” and racist. Bishop Bobby Hilton, president of the Greater Cincinnati Chapter National Action Network, released a statement saying,

“It is appalling that Mayor Thomas Williams would stoop so low as to call black leaders “Race Baiters”.  It is unfortunate he has a problem with blacks and citizens of every group demanding full and fair investigations of the killings of unarmed black men.

“I strongly suggest that blacks stay out of Norwood.  Do not shop there. When a Mayor feels the only way he can encourage and show support for his police department is by making disparaging remarks about black leaders, it is time to stay away for your own safety.”

Jasmine Coaston-Foree, an organizer with Black Lives Matter Cincinnati, demanded, “We want a public apology. We want him to retract the inflammatory statement. The letter was irresponsible for someone in his position given the events that have happened recently.”

For his part, the Mayor, a Democrat, is not backing down. “It’s one of those things where everybody knows, or most people know or can see what’s going on, but they won’t say it,” Williams said. “And there are individuals across the country who earn a living or raise funds by getting involved in something before any of the facts are known. (People) who come in, raise doubt, raise issues, when they don’t know the facts and then they leave. That’s a fact.”

What’s going on here? Continue reading

Unethical Excuses From All Over: Time Magazine, Richard Cohen, and Toronto

escuses

Caught red-handed in unethical conduct, the right, honest, courageous and yes, practical thing to do is to admit wrongdoing, eschew excuses, acknowledge fault, express contrition, and resolve not to behave in a similar manner again. Unfortunately, this is difficult for many people, especially, it seems, those in the public eye. Another reason it is difficult is that people who engage in grossly unethical conduct tend to gravitate to unethical responses when they are called to account for it.

We are currently awash in examples of this phenomenon:

I. Time explains that its fat slur cover on Chris Christie wasn’t what it seemed.

Ethics Alarms was one of the first to call foul on Time’s unprofessional “Elephant in the room” cover on New Jersey Governor Chris Christie, and the condemnation of it was almost universal. There was no defense for this, a purely juvenile and biased insult masked as journalism. An ethical organization would have immediately responded:

‘Time used poor judgment in its language on the recent Chris Christie cover, which was gratuitously insulting to the Governor and millions of Americans. It was wrong to mock the governor because of his weight, as it is wrong to denigrate anyone based on their physical appearance. This was a failure of our editing process, by our staff, and of the entire organization, which failed to meet the high standards of professionalism, fairness, civility and integrity that Time has traditionally strived to meet, and has met in the past. We apologize to Governor Christie and our readers. Everyone should expect better of Time magazine, and we betrayed that trust. We vow to work diligently to regain it.’

But noooooooo!

What Time really did was… Continue reading

Toronto’s Pathetic Mayor: What’s The Question?

If Chris Farley had been elected mayor....

If Chris Farley had been elected mayor….

I’ve received a wave of emails from helpful readers, with links to news reports about Canada’s shame,  drunk, crack-smoking, lying Toronto mayor, Rob Ford. “Write about this!” they suggest.

Write what?

The mayor of a major Canadian city is a law-breaker, a substance abuser, an addict, and ill. When your defense to a video showing you smoking crack is “I was so drunk, I don’t remember it,” that should say it all. He initially lied about the allegations of his crack use. He calls up radio stations in a drunken state. He is caught on tape drunkenly screaming that he want to murder someone. His various public stances to keep his job have ranged from shameless appeals to pity— “I hope none of you ever find yourself” in such a state, a reverse Golden Rule tactic that amounts to arguing “Do unto others as you would want others to do unto you if you were the irresponsible, addict mayor who will do and say anything to stay in office”—to that old stand-by, Bill Clinton’s “I’m just going to concentrate on doing my job and accomplishing what the voters elected me to do,” as if they elected Ford to embarrass the city. Continue reading