Morning Ethics Warm-Up, 11/12/2017: Prisoners Behaving Badly, The Harvey Weinstein Ethics Train Wreck Picks Up The Brother Of “The Girl Next Door,” And The Attempted Coup Continues

Good Morning!

On the way to Boston soon for an in-and-out ethics seminar for young Massachusetts lawyers…

1 Why is the New York Times acting as if the 2016 campaign is still going on? Today’s Sunday Times includes a long scold from the Times editors urging the President to “please read the Constitution.” Then it reaches back all the way to 2015 for TrumpTweets that proposed or mused about Constitutionally impossible policy ideas. How does the Times know that the President’s Constitutional acumen hasn’t been enhanced since 2015? It doesn’t, of course. The criticism would be legitimate during a campaign, but a year after an election, it tells us only this: The New York Times is still in the mode it announced during the campaign. The existence of Donald Trump, in its view, justifies the suspension of journalism’s core principles. In the view of many of the Times’ voices on its op-ed page, his existence also justifies the suspension of the Constitution that the paper piously insists the President read. The Times editors have not told those who have claimed in its pages and from the floor of Congress that President Trump should be impeached based on no “high crimes and misdemaeanors” to read the Constitution. It didn’t tell Hillary Clinton to “read the constitution” when she advocated “the Australian approach” to gun control, or grandstanding Democrats in the House to ‘read the Constitution” when they behaved as if the right  of Due Process didn’t exist, so citizens arbitrarily placed on a no-fly list by the FBI could nonetheless be denied the right to own a gun. It didn’t tell “the resistance” to “read the Constitution” when it attempted to distort the operation of the Electoral College to undo the President’s election.

“He has showed disdain for the separation of powers by repeatedly attacking the federal judiciary and individual judges who have ruled against him.” the Times sniffs, but it did not tell Barack Obama to “read the Constitution” when he attacked the U.S. Supreme Court in a State of the Union address. Then the Times goes off into the hyper-partisan stratosphere, suggesting that its editors also need to “read the Constitution”:

He has abused the pardon power by granting his first, and so far only, pardon to a former sheriff who was found in contempt of a federal court for defying an order. And he has failed to take care that the laws are faithfully executed, whether by trying to sabotage the Affordable Care Act, leaving hundreds of critical executive branch positions vacant or threatening to prosecute his former political opponent.

The Constitution places no limits whatsoever on the pardon power; it is absolute, beyond appeal, and can’t be abused as a matter of Constitutional law. The Times’s definition of the duty to faithfully execute the laws is incomprehensible, since it did not object to Barack Obama circumventing crystal clear laws against illegal immigration by ordering them not to be enforced, or when the Obama administration refused to defend the Defense of Marriage Act while it was still a valid law signed by the previous Democratic President. The Constitution does not demand that the Federal government be a bloated, deficit-making bureaucracy; the President, not the Times, gets to decide what positions are “critical” in the Executive Branch. That’s in the Constitution. As for “threatening to prosecute his former political opponent.,” the President’s statements regarding Hillary Clinton can be and should be taken as questioning whether the Justice Department under Barack Obama was placing its thumb on the sales of justice for political purposes.

It is increasingly beyond argument that the mainstream news media, led by the Times, is trying to abuse its Constitutionally enshrined immunity from responsibility to engineer a virtual or actual coup. That is dangerous and unforgivable, as well as directly contrary to how the Founders wanted our democracy to operate.

2. I checked the news early this morning to learn the identity of the latest celebrity to have a finger pointed his way as a chorus shouts “HARASSER!” To my surprise and alarm, I discovered that the Harvey Weinstein Ethics Train Wreck had entered my world: jet-set hotelier André Balazs was accused by actor Jason Bateman’s wife of groping her crotch in 2014. André Balazs grew up across the street from my childhood home in Arlington, Massachusetts. His sister, Marianne, was a good friend and classmate all the way through high school. I knew André as Marianne’s annoying little brother.

It appears that the idea in Hollywood now is to accuse someone else before you or your significant other gets accused. This is because sexual harassment and misconduct has been an accepted part of power-player culture in Hollywood forever, even while the Left’s component of that culture proclaimed that the Right was wielding a “war on women.” The country should not forget how dishonest and hypocritical this was.

I never liked that kid….

3.  MSNBC Chris Hayes deserves some watered down version of Ethics Hero recognition for breaking ranks with his colleagues on the progressive propaganda network and tweeting, “As gross and cynical and hypocritical as the right’s “what about Bill Clinton” stuff is, it’s also true that Democrats and the center left are overdue for a real reckoning with the allegations against him.”

Ya think? I’ll water down the award because there is nothing gross, cynical or hypocritical about pointing out that Clinton getting a pass while Democrats and journalists rail on about conservative pigs is gross, cynical and hypocritical. It’s only gross, cynical or hypocritical when Clinton’s example is used to try to excuse misconduct by Republicans.

To give Chris the benefit of the doubt, I wouldn’t be surprised if there was a requirement in his MSNBC contract that he can’t ever criticize a Democrat without simultaneously attacking Republicans.

4. The GOP’s nauseating choice of Roy Moore to run for the open Alabama U.S. Senate seat cannot be condemned, mocked and derided enough for me. However, I find it interesting that no stories about the current scandal remind readers or viewers that President Trump did not endorse Moore’s candidacy in the primary, and campaigned for his opponent, who was bad, but nowhere as horrible  as Moore. The new rules decree that this  President must never be given credit for being right or effective–after all, how can the mews media get the election overturned if they allow that-— so Moore is being called a “Trumpist.”

5. Here is a story that probably deserves a longer post, but I don’t want to think about it right now. It suggests that Louis C.K, is popular among prison inmates:

Six Chicago-area assistant public defenders have filed a federal civil rights lawsuit that claims they have been subjected to a hostile work environment as a result of inmates who masturbate in front of them at the jail and courtroom lockups in Cook County.

The would-be class action alleges violations of the equal protection clause and the Illinois Gender Violence Act. …

The “toxic work environment” forces female assistant public defenders and female law clerks “to regularly endure heinous sexual misconduct, robbing many of their love of the job, maybe permanently,” the suit says. Some employees have quit and some have taken less desirable assignments to avoid the harassment, the suit says.

I think that this lawsuit undermines efforts to take gender bias out of the legal profession. Ladies, representing prisoners and criminal defendants IS a hostile work environment. These aren’t nice, genteel people. You can’t meet with them and maintain attorney-client privilege with others watching or listening. Your lawsuit makes no sense.

I had an imprisoned  client who showed me a sculpture he had made out of his own fecal matter. “That’s…nice!” I said. Another client chased me around the steel table in our meeting room while I called for a guard. Yet another client described how he was nightly “chained to my bed by my dick—-see that red mark?” This all occurred within a few months of my representing prisoners in Washington D.C., and only part-time. I didn’t sue. I quit.

Nobody has a duty to make an inherently unpleasant job that requires working with sick, hostile, angry and usually guilty people easy. Your choice is to do something else, or accept the conditions that your job requires.

6. Finally, if you dare, check out this terrible story.

 

9 Comments

Filed under "bias makes you stupid", Arts & Entertainment, Business & Commercial, Ethics Train Wrecks, Government & Politics, Journalism & Media, Law & Law Enforcement, Rights

9 responses to “Morning Ethics Warm-Up, 11/12/2017: Prisoners Behaving Badly, The Harvey Weinstein Ethics Train Wreck Picks Up The Brother Of “The Girl Next Door,” And The Attempted Coup Continues

  1. Jeff

    “It appears that the idea in Hollywood now is to accuse someone else before you or your significant other gets accused.”

    I think we’re also starting to see the results of what happens when you build a culture of victimhood, setting up a system like the modern Left has constructed where those who have claims to more suffering are elevated the highest. Doctrines like intersectionality create an incentive for people to “pad their victimhood resume”. Thus, the Weinstein-sparked witch hunt is only beginning. Anyone who was the recipient of brief, awkward flirting in 1985 (or nothing at all, even, as long as they had some brief contact with the accused at some point) can come forward and claim the mantle of sexual assault survivor, and move up the victimhood hierarchy. The current environment virtually guarantees that such accusations will be taken as fact with little or no investigation. This is a recipe for trouble.

    I’m absolutely not saying that any of the accusations we’ve heard so far are necessarily false. I’m saying that many of them are completely unverifiable (with many more like that to come, I have no doubt), and most of the accusers are immersed in a culture that provides extra incentives to embellish or fabricate such an experience, if one’s own morals and ethics were damaged enough to do such a thing. That culture also happens to be one that has for decades apparently been a pretty gross cesspool, with plenty of people engaging in heinous behavior such that it’s going to be virtually impossible to separate the false claims from the true.

    I’m not sure which is the worst part of such a scenario – the damage to innocent people’s careers and personal lives, or the stories of actual victims of harassment and assault being drowned out in the noise. It’s all just a swirling stew of horrible, and I suspect it’s going to get a whole lot uglier before it gets any better.

    • I suspect that it is going to get incredibly ugly, and worse than most of us could even imagine.

    • And the weird thing is, as much as I detest the “victims MUST be believed, always” mantra, my knee-jerk reaction to most of these, “yeah…I believe that happened”. Especially, the ones where the accused is relatively obscure. I had never heard who André Balazs was before today, and would guess that most haven’t, so how much currency can one get from accusing someone whom the majority of people don’t know. Or, the accusation against George Takei…he’s more well known, but still so…obscure. I mean, are you even getting 15 full minutes out of those accusations (if they weren’t true)?

      Jacks point re: the maddening “War of Women” is a good one, one that I hadn’t thought of. That’s one of the things that the Left is really good at, is coming up with short, easily digestible expressions and sound bites that are easy to latch onto and repeat, especially for the ignorant, who are just waiting to be told which direction to lean. It takes a long time to express (accurately) why a $15 minimum wage is destructive, but it’s MUCH quicker to say “$15 is more than $9” and “Conservatives hate poor people”. Thus, dishonest phrases like the right’s “War on Women” flourish easily, bc it’s short, simple, and easy to process, regardless of how inaccurate it is.

      If there’s one thing to be thankful of, with all the Hollywood accusations, its the realization that disgusting behavior towards women come from people with warped moral compasses, not just people on the right or on the left. Hopefully, this will retire that despicable “Right’s War on Women” for good.

      I doubt it will, though.

  2. It didn’t tell “the resistance” to “read the Constitution” when it attempted to distort the operation of the Electoral College to undo the President’s election.

    I remembner reading an article from Alex Mohajer claiming that Russian interference could give courts authority to install Hillary Clinton as President.

    “He has showed disdain for the separation of powers by repeatedly attacking the federal judiciary and individual judges who have ruled against him.” the Times sniffs, but it did not tell Barack Obama to “read the Constitution” when he attacked the U.S. Supreme Court in a State of the Union address.

    The 2011 Dear Colleague Letter was also a violation of the separation of powers.

    Six Chicago-area assistant public defenders have filed a federal civil rights lawsuit that claims they have been subjected to a hostile work environment as a result of inmates who masturbate in front of them at the jail and courtroom lockups in Cook County.

    Under federal sexual harassment law, does not the harrassing acts have to come from someone with supervisory authority?

  3. John Billingsley

    #2. I’m with Chris. Never heard of André Balazs before but not being totally culturally illiterate, I do recall hearing about the Roscoe “Fatty” Arbuckle scandal.

    #5. Psychiatric nurses and technicians regularly have to endure “heinous sexual misconduct.” It is very common for patients, male and female, to take off their clothes, grope, make inappropriate sexual comments, and engage in various types of sexual misbehavior. The nurses and techs I work with are mature enough and well trained enough to deal with it appropriately and carry on doing their jobs in a professional manner. They all understand that their job entails dealing with mentally ill people and do not expect someone in the hospital hierarchy to make mental patients stop engaging in behavior that is typical of mental illness. I find it astonishing to learn that some people going into criminal defense work are unaware that criminals are prone to engage in criminal and antisocial behaviors. Who’da thunk it?

    One of the tenets of mental health care is that an individual should be held accountable for their behavior to the degree consistent with their condition. Patients who are known to be capable of controlling their behavior may have charges filed against them when warranted, usually the felony charge of battery on a health care provider. In an earlier article from the ABA Journal titled ”Public defenders are fed up with masturbating inmates, chief PD says”, there was a statement that the sheriff backed a bill to toughen penalties for indecent exposure in prisons and jails but Campanelli, the Cook County Public Defender, opposed it saying she couldn’t ”support a bill that increased misdemeanors to felonies.” What? These inmates are engaging in “heinous sexual misconduct” but we don’t want to punish them for it we just want somebody to make them stop spanking the monkey.

    #6. Heartbreaking but at least the following story on cops taking shelter dogs on ride-alongs to help them get adopted is a much happier one.

  4. There were people who eccused Roy Moore for having sexual relations with underage girls.

    This article from five years ago explains why.

    https://ethicsalarms.com/2012/03/31/sexual-predator-teachers-1-not-funny-2-epidemic-3-now-what/

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