Ethics Observations On The Current State Of 2016 Presidential Campaign Before Hurling Myself Out The Window, PART 1 [ UPDATED ]


Yesterday marked the official beginning of the Bill Cosby Effect attaching itself to Donald Trump. Apparently (supposedly, allegedly…) spontaneously  spurred by Trump’s incredible-the-moment-he-said-it  statement to Anderson Cooper during Sunday’s debate that he never did any of the things he boasted about to Billy Bush, numerous women suddenly stepped out of obscurity to claim trump sexual assaulted them. We now have…

Jessica Leeds, 74, who claims the Trump groped her “like an octopus” when they were seated next to each other in first -class on a flight thirty years ago.

Rachel Crooks, who didn’t know Trump as  a 22-year-old receptionist at a real estate development company in Trump Tower in Manhattan when he  kissed her without warning, consent or invitation  in 2005.

People Magazine writer Natasha Stoynoff, who wrote a piece yesterday claiming that while on assignment  to interview Donald and Melania Trump, Donald forcibly pushed her against a wall and “stuck his tongue down her throat.”

Mindy McGillivray, 36, another reporter, who told the photographer accompanying her on assignment 13 years ago that “Donald Trump just grabbed my ass!”

Cassandra Searles, Miss Washington 2013, who wrote on Facebook yesterday that Trump “continually grabbed [her] ass and invited [her] to his hotel room.”

Five in one day! I’ll have to check to see if that beats Cosby’s single day record. I think it’s close. I am certain that more accusations will have surfaced before today is over, and maybe before I post this. How many more of these victims—real ones; there may be some false accusations mixed in there—are there? As with Cosby, the sky’s the limit. I’d bet hundreds as a conservative estimate. An entitled, arrogant sexual predator like Trump starts early, and doesn’t reform.

UPDATE  (10/14/16 ): Three more accusers came forward today.


1. The 2016 election has now degenerated into a gutter-fight with one side seeking to derail the opposition using his offensive remarks about women and his misconduct towards them, and the other side pointing to similar conduct by the husband of the candidate whose supporters are taking this route, arguing that she was complicit in his acts. This was completely predictable once the Republican Party allowed a proven low-life like Donald Trump to hi-jack their party, and the Democratic attempted to coronate Hillary Clinton as if she wasn’t not only an enabler but a beneficiary of  Bill Clinton’s avoidance of accountability for his miserable conduct towards women inside the White House and out of it. It was also completely avoidable if either party cared in any tiny way about the character of those they offer to the American voters as worthy of the Presidency. It is impossible to state how completely both parties have failed the nation and the American people, as well as the institution of the Presidency and American democracy itself.  Neither party has any standing or moral authority to criticize the other. They are both incompetent and unworthy of their position of power and influence within our political system. Both have thoroughly disgraced themselves beyond redemption.

2. That being said, however, the prize for stupidity and mind-blowing incompetence goes to the Republican Party, in a first round knock-out. How could they nominate Trump, with his reputation, personal life, comments about women  and public persona, and not find these women before nominating him? This all by itself is signature significance: a party this inept is too dumb to be trusted to run a corner lemonade stand, much less a nation.

3. Naturally, Trump is defiant, denies everything, and is in full mad-dog mode, threatening law suits, claiming persecution, lashing out. This was also completely predictable by anyone who followed the GOP campaign for the nomination. If this is how he reacts to a scandal of his own making, how would he react to crises during his Presidency? It shows, once again, that the desperate anti-Hillary rationalizers who argue that a Trump Presidency would be endurable  are fantasizing, lying…or idiots.

4. Other indictments against Trump’s past conduct and statements toward women also surfaced yesterday. He made creepy comments to young girls about dating them when they were older, for example. I wrote about similar comments from Trump months ago: yes, Trump is too much of a creep to be President. This conveys no new information, just more chum for the feeding frenzy. Even less remarkable  are the stories about Trump abusing his position to walk unannounced through beauty pageant dressing rooms where women were changing, and boasting about it. Trump apparently engaged in conduct for illicit reasons that directors and producers (like me) have engaged in for legitimate reasons. In show business, no professional is modest about such things, no professional exploits the situation for sexual titillation. I have seen other creeps, like Trump, who do, and who abuse their license. It is just another marker of his rotten character, but at the pathetic level of a peeping Tom.

5. One cannot avoid noting the speed with which the media reported the claims by all of the alleged victims, and contrasting it with the news media’s handling of the rape accusation by Juanita Broaderick while Bill Clinton was President and fighting accusations of sexual misconduct. Journalists kept her accusation out of the news even though many found it credible. There is no way for anyone to distinguish the two episodes, except to admit that the media wanted to protect Bill Clinton  then and wants to help Hillary Clinton now. There is no integrity in journalism, and the Fourth Estate has forfeited any right to be respected or trusted.

6. Trump is walking, talking rot on the national scene, but that does not excuse of justify the outrageous double standard and hypocrisy embraced by Democrats, reporters, editors and Clinton supporters. When the accused was Bill Clinton, the mantra was the ‘personal conduct” doesn’t matter (it does matter), and that “It’s the economy, stupid.” Well, it’s still the economy, and race relations, and law enforcement, and the national debt, and trade, and open borders, and Iran, and Syria, and Russia, and the environment, and Obamacare, and the aging Supreme Court, and the collapse of public trust in the government,  all the other crucial problems that the next President will have to face that the candidates aren’t talking about at all because they are too busy trying to show how unfit the other is to lead (and they are both right). The news media has shown us that character only matters to journalists when the issue can be used against Republicans. Thye can’t be allowed to have it both ways: either Hillary is stained and accountable for the conduct of her husband and benefactor, or Donald Trump’s misogyny is secondary to his policy positions (which also disqualify him for office.)

7. Meanwhile, the conservative news media is trying to marginalize Trump’s misogyny and sexual assault scandal by highlighting revelations from hacked e-mails, some legitimate, some dubious. Clinton’s campaign colluded with supposedly objective journalists; Donna Brazile used her position at CNN to pass along interview questions to the candidate; Clinton’s campaign collude with the party to undermine Bernie Sanders, etc. It’s impossible to tell what is significant and what isn’t, because the right-wing media is hyping, and the left-wing media is refusing to report. Just as we knew Donald Trump abused women, we already knew that the Clintons cheat however they can, and that the news media lets them get away with it.

8. More significant, perhaps, are the reports that the FBI is roiled by anger over the agency’s handling of Clinton’s e-mail offenses. The mainstream media doesn’t think this is news either, at least compared to who Donald Trump may have groped.

[I’m out of time, unfortunately; there’s legal ethics to be taught to a law firm. I’ll return to this when I return.]


Graphic: Will Moon Hartley Blog

27 thoughts on “Ethics Observations On The Current State Of 2016 Presidential Campaign Before Hurling Myself Out The Window, PART 1 [ UPDATED ]

  1. Brother Dave Gardner, back in the 60’s, said it best: “I’m neither a Republican nor a Democrat, lest I forget the country.”

  2. Trump is walking, talking rot on the national scene, but that does not excuse of justify the outrageous double standard and hypocrisy embraced by Democrats, reporters, editors and Clinton supporters. When the accused was Bill Clinton, the mantra was the ‘personal conduct” doesn’t matter (it does matter), and that “It’s the economy, stupid.” Well, it’s still the economy, and race relations, and law enforcement, and the national debt, and trade, and open borders, and Iran, and Syria, and Russia, and the environment, and Obamacare, and the aging Supreme Court, and the collapse of public trust in the government, all the other crucial problems that the next President will have to face that the candidates aren’t talking about at all because they are too busy trying to show how unfit the other is to lead (and they are both right). The news media has shown us that character only matters to journalists when the issue can be used against Republicans. Thye can’t be allowed to have it both ways: either Hillary is stained and accountable for the conduct of her husband and benefactor, or Donald Trump’s misogyny is secondary to his policy positions (which also disqualify him for office.)

    it worked too well.

    They convinced American voters, as a whole, that sexual harassment is not a disqualifier (and Clinton’s perjury was done in testimony in a sexual harassment lawsuit in order to defeat it) Voters gave a 60% approval rating to Clinton after he left office, knowing that he had perjured himself to avoid the consequences of a sexual harassment lawsuit, knowing that he had tacitly approved of James Carville insulting and mocking the accuser.

    Ultimately, the voters back in the 1990’s lowered the standards that this election campaign is even possible.

  3. This is an election without honor, and we will soon be a nation without honor if we weren’t there already. However, it has given me inspiration to give an overarching title to a series of fantasy stories I am working on, mostly about knightly adventure. Because of what’s totally lacking here, that series will be called “Days of Honor. “

  4. A reality TV star has turned the U.S. presidential campaign into raunchy reality TV. I guess we shouldn’t be surprised.

    Personally, I hold that cipher Reince Priebus completely responsible for letting Donald Trump stick his nose under the tent. Priebus came out of nowhere in no time and single-handedly turned the Supreme Court over to the left for the next twenty or thirty years. Depressing.

    • Priebus and all the senior RNC staff need to be fired. This is the worst kind of malfeasance. I won’t blame them (as much) for not going back 30 years, but there’s no excuse for not going back at least 10 into a would-be candidate’s background to make sure there’s nothing that could ruin him and stain the party.

      That said, I think the RNC is possibly permanently handicapped going forward. The Democratic Party have become masters of personal destruction. Mitt Romney, although he was light in other areas, was someone with an almost completely blameless personal life (schoolyard shenanigans aside). Yet the Democratic Party turned his biggest asset, his resume, into a successful indictment of him as a heartless plutocrat. Did the RNC really think that someone who WAS in fact a heartless plutocrat and had a documented slimy personal life would do any better?

      As you pointed out, however, none of this excuses the disgrace that the Fourth Estate has fallen to by making themselves a party to this double standard.

    • OB
      I am not willing to lay the blame on Reince Priebus for Trump’s nomination.

      Trump emerged because only a few in power took steps to oppose the dictates of the current administration in both the House and the Senate. Republicans whined about Obama’s overreach but never had the guts to truly throw down the gauntlet. Instead they allowed themselves to be bullied by the likes of Reid, Pelosi, Schumer, and Van Hollen into accepting terms of surrender or face the charge of being responsible for shutting down the government. At some point in time, a sizeable group of the electorate will say enough is enough and find a person willing to challenge the bullies who want to impose their will on the people.

      At one point in time there were 17 people running which effectively allowed a minority of Republicans who were willing to overlook minor or major imperfections in a candidate that was willing and able to challenge the status quo. Jeb Bush was a non-candidate espousing the same old lines about compassionate conservatism, pulling votes and resources away from truly viable candidates. Everyone knew Bush was simply more big government and more regulations especially in education.

      Trump may be a narcissist. I can make the same claim Kasich who would not leave the race even when he had no chance at the nomination. For what purpose did he take this stand? How many states could others have won if Bush, Christie, Carson and Kasich left the race when they knew they were mathematically eliminated. I give Rubio credit for stepping down

      Cruz was vilified by almost the entire Senate but could have been a far better candidate than Trump. Does the Senate bear some responsibility in the creation of Trump’s nomination?

      Carly Fiorino would have been better in a female to female match-up.

      Why has no one questioned the sexism that emerges from the notion that voting for HRC will be historic. Are women that vote for her because of her gender sexist misandrists? Probably not, but they probably do feel the need to support a female candidate because of the “history of male patriarchy” they have been taught to believe. Is it any more ethical for a woman to vote for a female candidate simply to make history than for a male to vote for a man? Is making history the goal? We did that eight years ago and look what resulted; more terrorism, worsening race relations, sluggish growth that would be non-existent except for the doubling of the debt (Don’t tell me he caused the deficit to shrink by the largest percentage since 1970; he created the largest deficit with his stimulus package before he measures the reduction).

      It is my belief that many in the Democratic and Republican parties do not want the socioeconomic structure of the political class to be upended by individuals who do not share their ideas that the masses are merely tools and fools. Is their any wonder why the richest counties in the U.S. surround the District of Columbia and why they hate outsiders with the same passion as the Klan.

      • Au contraire, Chris, I LIVE in one of the very richest counties in the US, right here in NJ. It is true that Boehner, Ryan, and later McConnell didn’t impose a hard wall in front of Obama the way some on the hard right would have liked them to. Republican Congresses have tried that before, and it’s been tried on the state level too (we had a shutdown in NJ in 2006). Government shutdowns achieve little and always end up hurting the legislature more than the executive when they get the blame for cutting off funding that leads to airshows being cancelled, parks and monuments being closed (and events using those venues being cancelled), documents not being issued, government workers going unpaid, and a million other big and small inconveniences to Joe Average whose life is already rife with problems. The leaders were looking toward the long view, when they might be able to look to friendlier leadership in the White House and get their turn. In the meantime they did force more than a few compromises that Nancy Pelosi and Harry Reid would have let sail right through.

        Yes, 17 candidates were far too many, and resulted in too much fratricidal infighting. Yes, all of them had flaws, but none of the other 15 men in the field were misogynistic, opportunistic, self-pleasing pigs who thought anything and everything was theirs for the taking if they just reached out and grabbed it. In fact they had already dredged up previous relationship issues with Scott Walker in the 2012 recall, and it didn’t stick. Unfortunately he knew early on this was not his year and ducked out to fight another day. I think you are unfair in your bashing of Jeb Bush, who was pushed out by insults and unfair attacks on the fact that his wife was from Mexico. I can’t speak to why Kasich overstayed his possibilities, other than to possibly tee up for a future run or squeeze out possible concessions by being the party guess who just wouldn’t leave.

        Voting for a particular demographic just to make history is demonstrably stupid after Obama turned out to be Pumpsie Green instead of Jackie Robinson. However, as we can see by the almost universal revulsion engendered by the recent revelations of Trump’s porcine behavior and the constant reminders of Hillary’s gender, most folks all too easily allow their votes to be swayed by their emotions, rather than their brains. It’s all too easy to jump on that emotional train and not care what the destination is.

        At this point I am done, and unless Trump finally gets the message and steps aside as unviable, I am leaving the top spot blank. I am going to seriously reevaluate continuing as a member of a party that can’t discipline itself enough to keep a trainwreck like this from happening. Conservative values are just as important to the future of this country as liberal ones, but they are not going to get a fair hearing if those charged with preserving and communicating them not only can’t even make an appearance of living them, but actively repudiate them by anointing a standard bearer who repudiates them.

        BTW, a lot of what I just said applies to the other side as well. Those who claim to cleave to the liberal values of equality, broad freedom, respect for women and minorities, and everyone doing their fair share to move this country forward also have a problem with hypocrisy if they choose a rarefied standard bearer who holds herself above the rest of the people, stands foursquare behind limiting the freedom of those who don’t agree with her, elevates every non-white male to most favored status while reducing white male to presumed villain, and doles out favored and disfavored status like the House of Bourbon. But hey, estrogen uber alles, right?

        • Steve, I assume you are in Hunterdon which is # 4 in the nation. However, that which drives the economies of Loudoun, VA; Fairfax, VA; Howard, MD; Arlington, VA, ; Stafford, VA; Prince William, VA which comprise the others in the top 6 and Montgomery, MD coming in at #11, is Federal spending. There is no question that large government and big budgets are welcomed here. The economies of Hunterdon and the other counties that make up the NY Metro region are driven in large measure by the media and financial services industries of NYC and Philadelphia.

          First let me say that my initial thesis was that Reince Priebus should not be held entirely responsible for the ultimate nomination of Donald Trump as the GOP candidate for President. I am not defending Trump. Reince Priebus only could cast one vote. If Priebus had taken steps to preclude a fair election to all candidates in the hunt he would have been no better than Debbie Wasserman Schultz of the DNC as she ran interference for HRC.

          I will address a few points that you brought up in your critique.
          Government shutdowns are a function of continual CR’s that have been used in lieu of real budgets for as long as I can remember. The reason that the Legislature gets blamed is that they are responsible for passing the authorization and appropriation bills that make up the budget. If they would do their job and deliver a sound budget to the desk of the POTUS and he vetoes it then all one side has to do is mount an attempt to override the veto. If one side fails to help override the veto then the shutdown is on that party.

          You may have been assuming I am a Trump supporter. That is not the case. I was a non-evangelical Cruz supporter because I want to see our Constitutional republic remain strong.

          I very much disagree that Jeb was viable as a candidate. The Bush name was an anchor around his neck. The nationality of his wife was wholly irrelevant to everyone I knew including my Trump supporting wife. Jeb Bush was perceived Casper Milquetoast when the electorate was looking for a MMX champion. None of the others except for perhaps Rubio and Cruz would mix it up with Trump. Trump won because the Republican establishment did not understand what a large swath – about 38% – of Republican voters wanted. They wanted a fighter not an appeaser.

          One of the better contenders, Rubio was sacrificed by the establishment when assigned him to the gang of eight on immigration years before. They knew Schumer would compromise him so that the young upstart would not threaten the old order in the near future. The Republican establishment viciously attacked Cruz calling him the most hated member of the Senate; effectively giving Trump the words that he would use against him. Talk about insults! Nonetheless, Cruz wore those as a badge of honor. The Republican establishment created the demagoguery of Trump. Where were all the others when it was just basically Cruz v Trump for the nomination. Did they push hard for Cruz – NO they stood idly by and watched the Trump Train roll on. Worse, they were spending resources trying to figure out how to create a contested convention so that an establishment candidate could get the nod. I hold the establishment responsible for giving us Trump. They lost sight of what was important – winning in November.

          IT has become clear to me that there are no Republicans, Democrats, or Independents. There are only parochial interests who will sacrifice anyone and anything – including our Constitution – to achieve power over everyone else.

          • C.M. Steve, I can’t discuss this on the detailed level both of you are able to work on, but I will only say this: The hard right GOP notion that the party needs to be purged of everyone other than true believers is suicidal. The country is split fifty-fifty. You can’t expect only those Republicans who want to prevail one hundred percent of the tie on every single issue to do so. Adults need to be able to compromise. On a more mundane level, many people are pissed off. With good reason. Fair enough. But what’s the point of destroying the only viable opposition to the left and nominating a professional jerk and giving the Supreme Court to the left for the next thirty years?

            Somebody should have kept a reality TV guy cum flim-flam man out of the race. The head of the party should have said to Trump: “You’re not a Republican. Sorry, buddy. Run as a Democrat.” But as near as I can tell, Priebus is nothing more than a cipher.

            But thanks, Steve. Great response.

  5. Oh it’s gonna be a fun debate! I still won’t vote for Hillary under any condition as the smell of sulfur follows her. I think Trump’s goose is cooked now and perhaps somebody in the Republican Party (as Barry Goldwater did to Nixon) tell him that he has to withdraw in favor of Pence.

    • Oh, please, they have to have someone better than Pence that is willing to step up (again, perhaps). (Wait, maybe I want a Pence candidate… Yeah, that’s the ticket…)

      • I certainly do. He’s well qualified, conservative, and has not groped anybody’s wife or interns to my knowledge. He might be kind of dull as a president but I really can’t see him trying to remake the Constitution.

    • He really can’t do that. One, because his name is on the ballots and it’s too late to change since early voting has started.

      Two because it’s Trump, suppose he announces he’ll step aside, you have to believe him for it to work. He’s still the one getting the electoral votes on the promise that he won’t take office. Would you believe him? Does anyone think he wouldn’t show up on January 20’th and take the oath? Do you hope for faithless electors? Which ones are party loyalists and which are Trump? What about faithless elector laws. If a state with a Trump win sends a slate of Pence electors will the senate accept them? Would all this end up in front of a 4-4 Supreme Court?

  6. Please don’t hurl yourself out of a window. After the final and total collapse of the American culture which will occur sometime after the inauguration of HRC in 2017, there will be a great demand for experienced ethicists to help rebuild civilization.

  7. Here’s my hot take on this whole affair: For the record, I’ll stipulate that Trump is detestable in every way and concede that at least some of the allegations are likely true. But I’m still voting for him (despite it being a futile gesture here in Massachusetts). He may well be the worse person – that’s an open question – but this episode highlights why we should be very afraid of a Hillary Clinton presidency.

    All week, thanks to the Wikileaks dumps, many of our suspicions that the American media is joined at the hip with the Democrat party have been confirmed. No major revelation per se but now there is proof. Moreover, I suspect even the most jaundiced observer was surprised by the extent of the outright collusion happening right before our eyes, yet hidden. It’s the Wizard of Oz writ large and the brazenness of it all is really quite shocking. Am I shocked to hear that Trump acted like a cad (or worse) toward women? Not at all; he’s an asshole.

    The DNC have a near monopoly on the media (excepting Fox, Drudge, etc.) and Hillary repeatedly assures us that she will appoint Supreme Court Justices who will repeal that unfortunate Citizens United decision. Yes, that decision. You know, that one where the Court upheld a private group’s 1st Amendment right to air a film critical of HILLARY CLINTON. Again, the brazenness is staggering, even for her. Dissent will not be tolerated and she’ll have the media, the courts, probably even Congress the way things are going, at her beck and call. Who dares get in the way of “Historic Hillary”?

    And the latest Trump revelations tell us exactly what will happen to anyone who does. Wikileaks making her look bad? Release the opposition research, NOW!. Uh-oh, more bad Wikileaks falling into in the hands of the plebes. Change the news cycle!!! Look at this shiny thing! You’re getting sleepy. Isn’t my opponent awful? How can he treat women like that?

    The problem, of course, is that Trump is in fact awful. I harbor no illusions about his “ideology” if he can even be said to have one. He’s no conservative and barely a Republican. But he won’t be able to do a damn thing and, for that reason, he doesn’t frighten me. Distasteful in every way? Absolutely. Dangerous? That’s an open question but I prefer to take my chances with him.

    • I think he is detestable in many ways but there is something about his presence, and why he does what he does, that seems to have an admirable quality. But what I can’t decide, and don’t know how it could be known in advance, is whether, if elected, he will presage a ‘good’ or more a ‘bad’ and with possible chaos as a result. One would wish for chaos against the status quo if one felt there was no other option for a situation to improve.

      But one large issue here: everyone has an idea about what is wrong and what ‘improvement’ means and we are divided into opposing camps and factions. There are at least 5 different major sets of interests who seek to see their will and their vision imposed. If it is indeed what it appears to be, the fissure and the cracks in the Structure will continue. Since there is a 70% chance that Trump won’t be elected, no matter what happens everyone will be left afterward with their ideas and their political objectives and I have a feeling that HRC’s presidency, should she win, will not ‘unite’ anyone. The disparate camps will continue and the divisions only increase.

      I cannot bear to watch as every tool and every tactic possible is being used to stop Trump. They make it sound like Trump is inflicting himself on politics. But Trump is responding to something genuine in people. And those people are in this sense speaking through him. What is it? Or, how many different things is it?

      I don’t have enough experience or understanding to say just why Trump is SO threatening to the system. Yet the System is threatened. I wish I understood better. Reading many comments here, I receive lots of different opinions but most seem only to touch on the superficial.

        • No, I don’t think that influences me. And I try to stay on top of ‘psychological prompts’. I think Trump does communicate to something in people that is sub-rational though. Or basic to themselves. You know and I know that many of the people who respond to him, and this is true for me and those who think like me, hold to unpopular ideas that *you* do not allow into your thoughts and certainly not into your discourse. *You* know and if you don’t you should know that people are groping around and trying to define what exactly is it that afflicts the country. I assume you know, and that you also know why, the NY Intellectual Establishment is totally freaked out right now. What you think is happening, is happening. And it needs to happen. So, and in my view, people like you would do better to wake up and move in the direction of understanding things better and not just repeating the same old nonsense and doing all you can to shut down discourse.

          Please understand that I am not exactly talking to you, Other Bill, but to a very wide group of persons who seem to me duped and confused.

          I believe, at least today, that I admire him for having the strength and the audacity to speak as he is speaking. But will it in fact turn out (as the NYTs says) that all he is doing is ‘doing as much damage as he can’ (since he won’t be elected according the the Times), or will this lead to new possibilities in American and world politics? I hope the latter. I am sort of looking forward to it.

  8. I would not be as harsh on the Republicans since some – both elected and former office holders – have disavowed any desire to support Trump. Political survival for some, but maybe not? That – at least to me – gives a nod of courage to some within the party that is absent from the Democrats. With just the email revelations coming forward should be enough to deep six support. However – as with Bill Clinton – they will not since politics is like sports in that it is all about winning.

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