Good Morning, Black Saturday!
1 Self promotion Dept. I’m going to be back on NPR (WBUR, D.C.) in what I think is a live panel discussion (“Barbershop” is the show—I wonder what a ‘barbershop” is? ) hosted at 5: 30 pm, EST by the estimable Michel Martin. The topic is The Harvey Weinstein Ethics Train Wreck, though that’s not what they’ll be calling it.
2. “For every time, Spin Spin Spin, there is a season..” I may mention this New Republic article, or at least be ready to torch a fellow panelist who cites it favorably. The tortured reasoning of writer David Dayen led him to assert that the “sexual harassment crisis” resulted from ” a broken justice system.” Let me summarize it for you: men harass women in the workplace because it’s too hard to convict people and put them in jail. When did liberals start being the ones who want to dispense with civil rights protections and due process assurances in court?
“But we should identify the real culprit for this state of affairs: the long, slow abandonment of the rule of law in America. The reason adjudicating sexual misconduct claims has been left to the media and the crowd is that people have no expectation that the legal system will adjudicate those claims fairly. How can anyone blame them? They have witnessed endless instances of powerful people, mostly wealthy men, getting away with criminality and deception, in every context imaginable. When you don’t have a working justice system, you get a kind of vigilantism as a result. The problem isn’t the vigilantism—it’s the broken framework that leads desperate people to take matters into their own hands. That powerful people face little sanction for misbehavior is an old story, as true in gender as it is in class. But brazen impunity for the powerful is a hallmark of our era. The worst financial crisis in America in nearly a century led to practically no convictions for those whose actions facilitated the meltdown. The Catholic Church shuttled around sex-abusing priests for decades with little reckoning. Cops shoot black people and go back on the job….”
None of this has much to do with sexual harassment, which isn’t a crime, and the three examples cherry-picked by Dayen don’t support his stated argument. The Wall Street wheeler-dealers operated primarily within loopholes and gray areas in the laws and regulations. There were few convictions because it was hard to prove that laws were broken. When the molesting priests were identified, still living, and in the U.S., many were sent to prison. (That the Catholic Church behaved abysmally doesn’t show that the U.S. justice system is broken, obviously). And “Cops shoot black people and go back on the job” is deceitful, simple-minded agitprop. Colin Kaepernick, is that you?
The article is a desperate and clumsy attempt at ethics jujitsu, with the recent exposure of progressive hypocrites as sexual predators being flipped to pivot to the talking point that “everything is rigged against the poor, blacks and women.” What Dayen ends up arguing is that we need to make it easier to prove criminal guilt when we just know the defendants are bad dudes (white, male and rich) —shouldn’t that be enough?— and all the “beyond a reasonable doubt” stuff should be junked…except when black “non-violent drug offenders” are involved.
3. It’s still illegal. Fark.com called this story “a woman being arrested for mothering while black.” Nice. David Dayen, is that you?
Norfolk, Va. mother Sarah Sims–her race is 100% irrelevant—has been charged with a felony for hiding a digital recorder in her daughter’s backpack to obtain evidence that the girl was being bullied. Sims says she was frustrated at the lack of a response from the school regarding her complaints, so she acted on her own to prove what the 4th-grade student was experiencing in the classroom. School authorities discovered the recorder, the 9-year-old was switched to a different classroom, and one month later her mother was charged with felony use of a device to intercept oral communications and contributing to the delinquency of a minor. The felony charge could carry five years in prison.
“I tried to be fair, but it’s not fair,” protested Mrs. Sims. “There is nothing fair about this.”
I’ll wait to see what happens. She won’t be serving any five years, and if the DA is smart, he will seek a suspended sentence and a modest fine. It is fair, indeed necessary, to arrest citizens who violate the law, and bugging a classroom, which is what Sims did, while using a child as an accomplice, is illegal and ought to be.
I do wonder if the wiretapping and surreptitious recording laws need to be updated in an era where almost everything is recorded on somebody’s cell phone.
4. Tweet Wars, Here is one of the President’s more interesting Twitter battles, with many implications He tweeted yesterday,
“Time Magazine called to say that I was PROBABLY going to be named “Man (Person) of the Year,” like last year. But I would have to agree to an interview and a major photo shoot. I said probably is no good and took a pass. Thanks anyway!”
TIME fired back,
“The President is incorrect about how we choose Person of the Year. TIME does not comment on our choice until publication, which is December 6.”
- TIME’s tweet is bizarre. The President didn’t say anything about how TIME chooses its “Person of the Year.” They have to do some pre-publication work before announcing the choice and contact the honoree in advance. I read TIME for decades, until it was transmuted into crap. The famous annual issue often had quotes that were clearly obtained for the issue and before publication. Nor was what Trump reported a TIME “comment” on its choice.
TIME implies the President is dissembling, but never denied what he wrote. “There was never such a phone call” is the required rebuttal. Where is it?
- AOL used this headline: “TIME Magazine refutes Trump’s claim that he turned down 2017 Person of the Year award.”
Fake news! TIME didn’t refute anything. At most it disputed Trump’s account, and didn’t really even do that.
- The President’s tweet has, I think, a larger purpose, which is to continue to demonstrate that he and his administration believe that the news media is thoroughly untrustworthy, and no longer deserves the deference and cooperation that has been routinely given in the past. He’s right, and AOL showed why he’s right.
5. “Elephant? What elephant?” A Jumbo from the the Baltimore Police Chief! Baltimore homicide Detective Sean Suiter was scheduled to testify before a federal grand jury in the case against a squad of indicted police officers, but was shot and killed the day before he was to take the stand. He was a key witness in the prosecution of eight members of the department’s elite gun task force, who are accused of shaking down citizens and conspiring with drug dealers. Suiter’s is the first killing of an on-duty officer by a suspect in 10 years.
Baltimore Police Commissioner Kevin Davis said in a statement that authorities have no reason to believe Suiter’s killing was connected to his pending testimony.
No reason? No reason? I agree it is circumstantial evidence, but when a potentially devastating witness, a cop, is gunned down the day before he is supposed to testify, that is certainly a reason to be a little suspicious, don’t you think, Commissioner?
Your making this statement is also a reason to believe Suiter’s killing was connected to his pending testimony.
6. Sad…Yesterday’s Warm-up was inexplicably dated JULY 24, 2017. Nobody noticed until this morning.