There are precious few, "business ethics" among corporate lobbyists and marketers.
Big oil and climate change denial, are a great example.
Happy Tuesday everyone
Today’s piece will be blunt and to the point. If we all, regardless of political beliefs don’t work together to restore integrity to our nation, all that our founders dreamed for us will fail. In fact, if you read history, our founders articulated this threat, quite boldly. One of my top tier heroes, President Washington was declarative on this subject.
At my daily reading of the news this morning, a theme developed among many of the higher profile articles. That theme is the immoral and threatening manner in which Corporations and whole industries wield influence against US and global citizens. Influence, when weaponized solely for profits and selfish power is an acute “insider threat” capable of undermining entire governments. Some call it corruption, some profiteering, some malign influence and some like me call it things that cannot be reprinted here in public.
Lobbyists are influencers. Full stop! Marketers like Public Affairs, media insiders, media in general and yes, malign influencers both foreign and domestic are taking a toll on the lives of all citizens. They serve masters with enormous checkbooks that buy them and their skills. Considering the number of ads that infect every corner of our lives these days, often by illegal and immoral methods, I’d say that “business ethics” is a dead field in the industry. There is plenty of blame to go around. That these influencers work for powerful corporations and politicians/ political parties makes the threats, far more severe.
The bottom line is that we are under attack from a variety of related industries like oil, pharma, transportation, insurance, etc. that refuse to self-regulate. To make matters worse, they hire the most unscrupulous marketers to increase markets/ profits. These lobbyists and their rampaging hordes of influencers are leeches on our democracy. They control legislation that gives those with the biggest checkbooks, all of the laws that help them continue to rape and pillage the pockets of working Americans, along with our national coffers. They blind voters with social wars as a diversion. They put into political office, those who will further their pickpocketing while calling their thievery something euphemistic, like “patriotism.”
Well, if we all don’t speak up and stake our claim to what our nation stands for, the influencers will hollow out our national security. I know these things because I am a long-time professional in the influence community that serves our national security. In short, I know influence campaigns when I see them, read them, hear them, etc.
Like almost everyone I know, we’re fed up with endless, unsolicited daily sales calls for any number of products. Every corner of my laptop hides an ad just waiting to spring out, unsolicited. Flyers stuck in my front door and more ads than news on our local news channel. It’s endless. You and I both have some control over these personal ads but when it comes to emptying our national coffers by lobbyists, we are powerless alone. This is not a political cause, it’s unity to mitigate the acute threat to our national security. Right vs. Left is just a sideshow. We are divided by professionals and for precisely the same reason that Russia and the Soviets before them, kept us artificially at each other’s political throats, to take advantage of us.
I will conclude today’s mini rant by using the oil industry as an example, as it pertains to climate change denial.
In 1977, Exxon Mobil knew, with startling accuracy that they and other oil majors, both foreign and domestic, were a primary driver of climate change. Along with BP/ British Petroleum and the rest of the global fossil fuel community, Exxon Mobil initiated and still funds climate change denial, mis and disinformation campaigns to seed political doubt in order to undermine effective regulations. Yes, an entire industry is funding the campaigns that allow them to continue endangering our future and more importantly to me, the future of our grandchildren.
Climate change is emptying our coffers because major disastrous weather is now more regular and more severe. Organizations of the highest credibility, such as NOAA have long warned us with knowledge and research. The most credible source in all things related to Congress, is the Congressional Research Service, famously non-partisan and accurate in reporting. Their work over decades have given us a clear picture of the threats and impacts to not only our security, but to potentially catastrophic impacts on sectors of our economy. The harder moral influencers work to help resolve our climate related threats, big oil responds with bigger checks and to the most unscrupulous of influencers.
Our opioid crisis with Purdue Pharmaceuticals as the poster child is the same in big Pharma. Wells Fargo is the same in banking. Senator Rick Scott’s Columbia HCA, the poster child in healthcare fraud. The list goes on and on while infecting every major industry in the nation. Don’t even get me started on banking and Wall Street!
So, with only two quarterly exceptions since 2018, big oil has posted huge profits and often record profits. Before the last election, they sided with Putin, OPEC+ and the MAGA wing of the Republican party to push high prices at the pump in order to keep the party most lenient in regulatory controls, in power. Yep, Big Oil and their Wall Street investors wielded the cost of gas as a weapon to acquire more record quarterly profits at the expense of working Americans. This is a trend in most major industries as well. Remember all of that GOP hype, pre-midterms about inflation? The truth is, that inflation was only part of the story. Profiteering by major retailers was part of the problem too, not just very real inflation caused by a global pandemic.
Even the Department of Defense has included climate change as a threat since President H.W. Bush’s NSS in 1991.
“Global environmental concerns include such diverse but interrelated issues as stratospheric ozone depletion, climate change, food security, water supply, deforestation, biodiversity and treatment of wastes. A common ingredient in each is that they respect no international boundaries. The stress from these environmental challenges is already contributing to political conflict. Recognizing a shared responsibility for global stewardship is a necessary step for global progress. Our partners will find the United States a ready and active participant in this effort.”
This language has been part of every subsequent administration’s NSS with the exception of the Trump administration, which completely ignored the issue. Here’s an excerpt from our current NSS:
As we can all see from credible sources, not big oil’s hired guns, the threats are real and apparent in nearly every corner of our earth. The question is what will we do about it, if anything? I will state though, that so long as the wealthiest industries continue to gaslight us with lies, mis and disinformation on a massive scale, Congress and the lobbyists that influence them will continue to undermine our security and our lives. Only when the majority of Americans stop putting party over country will we again have a truly representative government. Right now… those with the biggest checkbooks and the smallest morals, are in charge.
My final statement on the topic of big oil’s assault on our nation and lives is this:
The guilty parties in big oil, are the leadership, boardrooms, bankers and Wall Street. We need fossil fuels for another few decades. We also need to accelerate the transition away from fossil fuels. I have family spread across a variety of sectors of fossil fuel production. My family, like most of the industry is full of hard-working professionals with unique and highly developed specialty skills. They keep our nation and in fact, the world humming along. They are not the problem and are actually, part of our solutions.
It is simply the decades-long, lack of ethics in leadership and finance that are exacerbating our climate related threats. Unlike the Grinch of holiday fame, their hearts will not grow and nor will their morals. It’s up to the people, via those we elect to provide ethical oversight that combats the steady stream of BS that flows from their unethical influencers. We went through a very similar phase in America leading up to the famous, “trust-busting era.” Greed is the exact opposite of moral. We cannot trust big oil or any other industry, destroying our American values for ill-gotten, increased profits. That would violate all we know about human nature. It’s up to Congress to do their job. If they don’t, let’s all work together to manage our climate related threats.
Best for your Tuesday,