Setting the Fairness Alarm For Congressman Weiner

Set alarm to "Unfair".

Rep. Anthony Weiner (D-NY) is embroiled in a strange and distasteful controversy arising from the receipt by a young woman of a tweet from Weiner’s Twitter account including a photograph of a man’s provocatively bulging underwear–with both the garment and the bulge-producing contents allegedly belonging to the Representative.  Such situations require the media, the public, political allies and foes alike to set their ethics alarms to “Fairness,” because being unfair is so easy and seductive.  If your ethics alarms are properly calibrated, here is what should feel fair and unfair to Congressman Weiner.

Unfair: Assuming he sent the photo. He is a Congressman, an elected representative of the nation’s legislature. Just because other Congressmen (now ex-Congressmen) have, within memory, sent shirtless photos of themselves over the internet to troll for sex and giddily described having “tickle fights” with staff members does not have any probative value regarding what Rep. is or is not capable of doing. He claims his account was hacked as a prank. He deserves the benefit of the doubt until there are legitimate reasons to question his credibility on this issue. Even then, I think we owe it to him and our faith in democracy to begin with the assumption that a member of the U.S. House of Representatives couldn’t possibly be so crude, irresponsible and stupid as to send a photo of his crotch to a young woman.

Fair: Wanting to know the truth. I am constantly stunned that every time something like this involves a Democrat, the Clinton Enablers Association reappears and argues that it shouldn’t be a news story, that what matters is how effective a leader is at crunching budget numbers and devising legislation and bashing Republicans, not who he sends photographs of his groin to. Unbelievable. This is the flattest of learning curves. IF Rep. Weiner engages in such cretinous and crude conduct, he is a fool and a disgrace to his high office. His judgment and trustworthiness are suspect, and he degrades the United States Government as well as breaches his duty, as a national leader, to uphold and symbolize the highest levels of conduct, professionalism and dignity. …and it matters not one smidgen whether the culprit is a donkey or an elephant. Is that really so hard to comprehend?

Some Democrats and progressives think they can have the best of all worlds by maintaining that sex- related conduct is only an issue when it involves  supposed hypocrisy. This means that only conservatives can be held accountable for such embarrassing episodes, while liberals are immune, maintaining as so many of them  do the Sixties mantra that sexual fulfillment is personal,  beyond criticism, and irrelevant to professional esteem, because as Woody Allen so often remarks to his de facto adopted daughter that he seduced and married while she was still a teenager in betrayal of her mother and his common law wife, “The heart wants what the heart wants.”  Ah, yes…Woody is true to his ideals, Bill Clinton is Democratic rock star and Eliot Spitzer has a TV show, but John Ensign and Larry Craig are scum.  Sure. Nice try, Move-On.

Unfair: Making any more wiener jokes. The Congressman’s name should not dictate the significance of the news story. It’s cheap, and the jokes stopped being funny outside of junior high school a week ago. All right….yesterday’s headline, “Congressman Calls For Weiner Probe” made me laugh out loud. But let’s cut it out.

Fair:  Wondering about Rep. Weiner’s statements and conduct in response to this episode. Why can’t he simply deny unequivocally that the photo is of him?  Apparently the reason is that he doesn’t want to be caught in a lie if it is his, uh, underpants and stuff.  Wait: why is a Congressman taking photographs of his own groin? Has anyone taken photographs of your crotch lately, and if so, why, in God’s name? If it’s his crotch on display, how did the hacker get it?What kind of Congressmen are we electing these days?

So now we know that Rep. Weiner acknowledges that there are photographs of his aroused underwear contents in the possession of someone. That’s relevant information, I think, in assessing his judgment and trustworthiness. Given a choice between equally qualified candidates, I’m voting for the one who doesn’t allow people to take pictures of his erections. Call me picky.

In a similar vein, why hasn’t Weiner made a formal complaint to the law enforcement officials? If someone was embarrassing me by using my social networks to send strangers my superb collection of bulging jockey shorts photos, I’d like to stop him…wouldn’t you? I’d file a complaint…unless I was afraid of what the investigation would uncover, so to speak. That’s just me. Still, it is fair to be puzzled by the Congressman’s handling of his dilemma so far.

5 thoughts on “Setting the Fairness Alarm For Congressman Weiner

  1. Some hits, some misses. Here are some things you either misrepresented or ignored:

    * No photo was sent by twitter. We’re talking about whether a tweet was sent that linked to a photo.
    * The supposed receiver has disclaimed that she was sent the tweet linking to the photo.
    * The only person who claims to have captured this tweet, had previously tweeted there was going to be a scandal around Representative Weiner. When he “broke” this story, the previous tweets had been deleted.
    * The picture used to justify that the photo is attached to Representative Weiner’s yFrog account is clearly photoshopped. (Not saying the picture is fake, but the picture being on his account is a lie.)
    * The one pimping the story is Andrew Breitbart, who has been complicit in fabricating/misrepresenting how many stories over the last couple years? (Pun intended.)

    Given the above, I see no reason to be looking into this story, well, except to show even more unethical slander.

    Some Democrats and progressives think they can have the best of all worlds by maintaining that sex- related conduct is only an issue when it involves supposed hypocrisy.

    Or maybe they actually believe that sexual desires and actions have no bearing on governing ability. Kind of like sports team rooting preferences.

    This means that only conservatives can be held accountable for such embarrassing episodes, while liberals are immune

    If I’m pro-hiring-illegal-immigrants, being caught with an illegal immigrant is still illegal, but not a political scandal. If I’m anti-hiring-illegal-immigrants, and I’m caught with one, it IS a big political story. See the parallel?

    You can believe that sexual actions are important to governance — I still haven’t figured out how you justify that, but you can still do it –, but you can’t claim that liberals are setting up a double standard. If that’s the case, then Conservatives are setting up a double standard where they can have guns, but liberals can’t.

    , maintaining as so many of them do the Sixties mantra that sexual fulfillment is personal, beyond criticism, and irrelevant to professional esteem,

    I don’t think most go that far, but private sexual conduct? Sure. I still haven’t seen you actually support the opposite position.

    because as Woody Allen so often remarks to his de facto adopted daughter that he seduced and married while she was still a teenager in betrayal of her mother and his common law wife, “The heart wants what the heart wants.”

    Woody Allen is a horrible person. There’s a big difference between an adult having an affair (being gay, texting his junk) and an adult seducing a child he has responsibility over. Who defends Woody Allen, anyway? Some of his movies are pretty damn good, but he, himself, is shit on a stick.

    Bill Clinton is Democratic rock star and Eliot Spitzer has a TV show, but John Ensign and Larry Craig are scum. Sure. Nice try, Move-On.

    Bill Clinton’s main issue was mucking around with adult subordinates. Not quite the same league as teenage staffers. Still, he’s a rockstar for his policies. Ensign can’t be a rockstar for his, because he was violating a large part of his supposed views.

    Why can’t he simply deny unequivocally that the photo is of him? Apparently the reason is that he doesn’t want to be caught in a lie if it is his, uh, underpants and stuff. Wait: why is a Congressman taking photographs of his own groin? Has anyone taken photographs of your crotch lately, and if so, why, in God’s name?

    Lately, no. Why would someone? Well, please tell me you know that straight females and gay males (and everything inbetween) like looking at the male body.

    If it’s his crotch on display, how did the hacker get it?What kind of Congressmen are we electing these days?

    Um, by hacking? Also possible: (1) the congressmen is not as good with privacy settings as he should be, (2) privacy settings were changed by the host, (3) common technological screw up.

    So now we know that Rep. Weiner acknowledges that there are photographs of his aroused underwear contents in the possession of someone. That’s relevant information, I think, in assessing his judgment and trustworthiness. Given a choice between equally qualified candidates, I’m voting for the one who doesn’t allow people to take pictures of his erections. Call me picky.

    What you mean is, you’re voting for the candidate whose privacy has not been violated yet. Either that, or you’re immediately disregarding any sexually liberal person who has ever attempted to please their partner in the digital camera age.

    Still, it is fair to be puzzled by the Congressman’s handling of his dilemma so far

    I’ll agree to that one.

    • Just have time to respond to this before running to a seminar:

      * No photo was sent by twitter. We’re talking about whether a tweet was sent that linked to a photo.
      A distinction without a difference, as far as I’m concerned.

      * The supposed receiver has disclaimed that she was sent the tweet linking to the photo.
      Not as of her and her mother’s comments today, as I understand them.

      * The only person who claims to have captured this tweet, had previously tweeted there was going to be a scandal around Representative Weiner. When he “broke” this story, the previous tweets had been deleted.
      So?

      * The picture used to justify that the photo is attached to Representative Weiner’s yFrog account is clearly photoshopped. (Not saying the picture is fake, but the picture being on his account is a lie.)
      Not relevant at this point.

      * The one pimping the story is Andrew Breitbart, who has been complicit in fabricating/misrepresenting how many stories over the last couple years? (Pun intended.)

      No argument about Breitbart, but that’s just blaming the messenger at this point. There was a photo, it was inappropriate conduct for a Congressman if he did it, and he’s been handling the issue in a suspicious fashion. Larry Flynt, Breitbart—even stopped clocks are right eventually.

      Given the above, I see no reason to be looking into this story, well, except to show even more unethical slander.
      Boy, I can’t see your logic at all. The fewer fools and jerks in Congress the better.

      Some Democrats and progressives think they can have the best of all worlds by maintaining that sex- related conduct is only an issue when it involves supposed hypocrisy.

      Or maybe they actually believe that sexual desires and actions have no bearing on governing ability. Kind of like sports team rooting preferences.
      Sexual ACTIONS have no bearing? Judgment? Honesty? Loyalty? Self control? A completely untenable argument.

      This means that only conservatives can be held accountable for such embarrassing episodes, while liberals are immune

      If I’m pro-hiring-illegal-immigrants, being caught with an illegal immigrant is still illegal, but not a political scandal. If I’m anti-hiring-illegal-immigrants, and I’m caught with one, it IS a big political story. See the parallel?
      Sure. Pro-hiring illegal immigrants is equally wrong and unethical regardless of what one’s official position is! Same here.

      You can believe that sexual actions are important to governance — I still haven’t figured out how you justify that, but you can still do it –, but you can’t claim that liberals are setting up a double standard. If that’s the case, then Conservatives are setting up a double standard where they can have guns, but liberals can’t.
      You lost me.

      , maintaining as so many of them do the Sixties mantra that sexual fulfillment is personal, beyond criticism, and irrelevant to professional esteem,

      I don’t think most go that far, but private sexual conduct? Sure. I still haven’t seen you actually support the opposite position.
      An elected leader is a role model and exemplar, and if the conduct becomes public, it isn’t private.

      because as Woody Allen so often remarks to his de facto adopted daughter that he seduced and married while she was still a teenager in betrayal of her mother and his common law wife, “The heart wants what the heart wants.”

      Woody Allen is a horrible person. There’s a big difference between an adult having an affair (being gay, texting his junk) and an adult seducing a child he has responsibility over. Who defends Woody Allen, anyway? Some of his movies are pretty damn good, but he, himself, is shit on a stick.
      You are correct, sir! The point is that he defends all sexual misconduct by his “philosophy.”
      Bill Clinton is Democratic rock star and Eliot Spitzer has a TV show, but John Ensign and Larry Craig are scum. Sure. Nice try, Move-On.

      Bill Clinton’s main issue was mucking around with adult subordinates. Not quite the same league as teenage staffers. Still, he’s a rockstar for his policies. Ensign can’t be a rockstar for his, because he was violating a large part of his supposed views.
      Clinton signed a sexual harassment law, took the applause of the women’s rights advocates, and then violated them. He doesn’t even avoid the hypocrisy trap.

      Why can’t he simply deny unequivocally that the photo is of him? Apparently the reason is that he doesn’t want to be caught in a lie if it is his, uh, underpants and stuff. Wait: why is a Congressman taking photographs of his own groin? Has anyone taken photographs of your crotch lately, and if so, why, in God’s name?

      Lately, no. Why would someone? Well, please tell me you know that straight females and gay males (and everything in between) like looking at the male body.
      My question stands.

      If it’s his crotch on display, how did the hacker get it?What kind of Congressmen are we electing these days?

      Um, by hacking? Also possible: (1) the congressmen is not as good with privacy settings as he should be, (2) privacy settings were changed by the host, (3) common technological screw up.
      The point is, why would one save such a picture? I can’t even stand looking at my FACE.

      So now we know that Rep. Weiner acknowledges that there are photographs of his aroused underwear contents in the possession of someone. That’s relevant information, I think, in assessing his judgment and trustworthiness. Given a choice between equally qualified candidates, I’m voting for the one who doesn’t allow people to take pictures of his erections. Call me picky.

      What you mean is, you’re voting for the candidate whose privacy has not been violated yet. Either that, or you’re immediately disregarding any sexually liberal person who has ever attempted to please their partner in the digital camera age.
      True, I can’t vote on what I don’t know. A stupid, careless and irresponsible crude act creates a prima facie case that the individual is stupid, careless, irresponsible and crude…or Eliot Spitzer.

      • * The supposed receiver has disclaimed that she was sent the tweet linking to the photo.
        Not as of her and her mother’s comments today, as I understand them.

        Officially, no. secondhand, yes. (I know, dailykos isn’t exactly an evenhanded site, and gawker commenting is worse, but for what it’s worth: http://www.dailykos.com/story/2011/05/29/980400/-Breitbarts-#TwitterHoaxHow-It-Went-Down-%28updated-wsmoking-gun%29)

        * The only person who claims to have captured this tweet, had previously tweeted there was going to be a scandal around Representative Weiner. When he “broke” this story, the previous tweets had been deleted.
        So?

        I’m linking this with:

        * The one pimping the story is Andrew Breitbart, who has been complicit in fabricating/misrepresenting how many stories over the last couple years? (Pun intended.)

        No argument about Breitbart, but that’s just blaming the messenger at this point. There was a photo, it was inappropriate conduct for a Congressman if he did it, and he’s been handling the issue in a suspicious fashion. Larry Flynt, Breitbart—even stopped clocks are right eventually.

        Those two statements were going to credibility. When the boy who has cried wolf, fox, dingo, and jackelope now claims there’s a werewolf, I don’t investigate. I ignore. When the original source had previously said this had already happened, but then deletes reference to such when he supposedly witnesses it happening again, his credibility is shot. Also, I continue to maintain that the photo, itself, is not a scandal.

        * The picture used to justify that the photo is attached to Representative Weiner’s yFrog account is clearly photoshopped. (Not saying the picture is fake, but the picture being on his account is a lie.)
        Not relevant at this point.

        That the evidence is faked and the source has a history of being deceptive is not at all relevant. Nosiree.

        Given the above, I see no reason to be looking into this story, well, except to show even more unethical slander.
        Boy, I can’t see your logic at all. The fewer fools and jerks in Congress the better.

        The logic is simple. The story comes from an admitted scam artist. It’s filled with holes. The evidence is no better than a “Swamp gas or UFO” picture. Sure you can look into it, but you’re chasing ephemora. There’s nothing there.

        Or maybe they actually believe that sexual desires and actions have no bearing on governing ability. Kind of like sports team rooting preferences.
        Sexual ACTIONS have no bearing? Judgment? Honesty? Loyalty? Self control? A completely untenable argument.

        My actions in bed have no bearing on my actions at work. They don’t, in any way, show anything about my ability to design systems and interact with my coworkers and clients. More interestingly, the fact that my ex-wife cheated on me doesn’t at all relate to her ability to determine the trustworthiness of others (she handles background investigations). She’s willing to cheat on her husband, so she must have impulse control, and can’t be trusted with people’s personal information. She could use it for nefarious purposes, after all. Her boss also can’t trust any of her reports are accurate and honest. Even worse, she might sell company secrets to a competitor. She clearly has no loyalty or impulse control and damn the consequences.

        Pop psychologist Jack, you may be ready for Maury Povich, but you’re not ready to diagnose someone. Despite having a considerable amount of hate for my ex, I don’t see my her personal actions affecting her ability to perform her job. What’s next? Using divorce to justify that someone has poor impulse control and will likely flipflop on their major decisions? How about smoking to show that that a politician doesn’t care about their constituents with all the second hand smoke they give off?

        If I’m pro-hiring-illegal-immigrants, being caught with an illegal immigrant is still illegal, but not a political scandal. If I’m anti-hiring-illegal-immigrants, and I’m caught with one, it IS a big political story. See the parallel?
        Sure. Pro-hiring illegal immigrants is equally wrong and unethical regardless of what one’s official position is! Same here.

        Let me try again with myself as an example. If tweets come to light where I make fun of priests, praise R rated movies, and show I gave money to the ACLU, that’s not a scandal. If, instead, SMP’s tweets show the exact same information, we have a problem.

        You can believe that sexual actions are important to governance — I still haven’t figured out how you justify that, but you can still do it –, but you can’t claim that liberals are setting up a double standard. If that’s the case, then Conservatives are setting up a double standard where they can have guns, but liberals can’t.
        You lost me.

        That was a bit muddled. Lets reword it. Liberals are not creating a double standard. They’re sticking to their line in the sand, you just don’t agree with the line. A pro-gun congressman can own a gun and still call out an anti-gun congressman for owning a gun. That’s not a double standard. That’s being consistent. Note that this would work the same for gun agnostic people as it does for pro-gun people.

        I don’t think most go that far, but private sexual conduct? Sure. I still haven’t seen you actually support the opposite position.
        An elected leader is a role model and exemplar, and if the conduct becomes public, it isn’t private.

        You’re making a judgement call that pictures of your junk are bad and should not be repeated. We can argue about that, but you’re assuming it as fact. I don’t see an issue with it.

        You’re second clause is just ridiculous. If my social security number gets posted on line (like my college accidentally did), has it now become public information? No. It’s still personal information. Now, if Rep Weiner was giving talks about how his sex life is great, then it would be public conduct.

        You are correct, sir! The point is that he defends all sexual misconduct by his “philosophy.”
        I took offense to your use of Woody Allen as a boogeyman for liberal thought. His defense is atrocious. The behavior you’re trying to call out is not the same. It’s a strawman argument.

        Bill Clinton’s main issue was mucking around with adult subordinates. Not quite the same league as teenage staffers. Still, he’s a rockstar for his policies. Ensign can’t be a rockstar for his, because he was violating a large part of his supposed views.
        Clinton signed a sexual harassment law, took the applause of the women’s rights advocates, and then violated them. He doesn’t even avoid the hypocrisy trap.

        I think it was actually the other way around. The violations came first. In any case, I’ll take that point. I guess I down play it because I was against that legislation, while generally supporting his other policies. (I’m against sexual harrassment, but that law went way to far and is way to easy to abuse.)

        Why can’t he simply deny unequivocally that the photo is of him? Apparently the reason is that he doesn’t want to be caught in a lie if it is his, uh, underpants and stuff. Wait: why is a Congressman taking photographs of his own groin? Has anyone taken photographs of your crotch lately, and if so, why, in God’s name?

        Lately, no. Why would someone? Well, please tell me you know that straight females and gay males (and everything in between) like looking at the male body.
        My question stands.

        Because it’s titillating to a large portion of the population. Significant other wants X. X doesn’t hurt me, her/him, or anyone else at all. Therefore, we do X.

        Now, why shouldn’t we do X? You’ve degenerated to an argument of “I don’t like X, so nobody can like X.”

        The point is, why would one save such a picture? I can’t even stand looking at my FACE.

        So, since you have self esteem issues, everyone else must? 😉 I think the picture is saved to be looked at. Maybe for use by the congress-wife while the congressman is serving his country? Looking at a picture of your husband instead of strangers while taking care of business? How degenerate.

        What you mean is, you’re voting for the candidate whose privacy has not been violated yet. Either that, or you’re immediately disregarding any sexually liberal person who has ever attempted to please their partner in the digital camera age.
        True, I can’t vote on what I don’t know. A stupid, careless and irresponsible crude act creates a prima facie case that the individual is stupid, careless, irresponsible and crude…or Eliot Spitzer.

        I argue with stupid and irresponsible, along with any negative implications of crude. I might give you careless, but you can’t generalize from this one action that the rep is a careless person, or that it would affect his work in any way. Bad lawyer! (Well, standard lawyer, but it’s still bad logic.) I have left my wallet at home any number of times, but I’ve never lost confidential work documents.

  2. Say it ain’t so, Joe…um, I mean Anthony. I hope there’s an innocent explanation for his evasiveness, but I can’t think of one just now.

    Tgt makes a good point: you need to be more careful in your groupings. Ensign’s sin is public corruption, involving public money; Spitzer’s sin is of a different level.

    Not all Dems belong to the Clinton Enablers Assn: I don’t, and many of his appointees in the Clinton White House never did either.

  3. “Unfair: Making any more wiener jokes.”

    That’s exactly why I personally believe Congressman Weiner. It’s just too convenient to be a coincidence that the Congressman named Weiner supposedly sent a photo of his… wiener.

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