Morning Ethics Warm-Up, 12/8/17: Special “BOY, There’s A Lot Of Ignorance, Dishonesty And Idiocy Surrounding Sexual Harassment!” Edition [UPDATED]

GOOD Morning!

1 Ethics Dunces: Anyone who can’t understand why Rep. Trent Franks should resign. I have been reading some conservative commentators who say that the Republican Congressman wasn’t sexually harassing anyone, just guilty of inappropriate conversation….you know, like asking female staff members if he and his wife could rent their uteruses. That is per se sexual harassment. I am stunned: after all of the foofaraw and finger-pointing, witch-hunting and grandstanding, people still don’t know that words alone—“Hey, do you wanna fuck?” and “Oo Oo baby, you are one hot mama this morning! The way that skirt hugs those I’m having a hard time restraining myself!”…oh, and don’t forget, “I’ve been thinking about your uterus lately: can I use it for nine months?” can make someone feel uncomfortable in the workplace, and thus can constitute sexual harassment. Whether a single comment is enough to qualify as “pervasive” is always an issue, but Franks, who apparently had his ethics alarms installed by the Three Stooges, made the request to two staffers, so he effectively poisoned his work environment for every woman in it. Claiming, as one left-leaning site did, that Franks was using his high office to re-enact “The Handmaid’s Tale” goes a bit too far (it’s funny, though), but no one as clueless as Franks should be part of the government.

UPDATE: Franks was offering $5 million for use of the uterus. Whether he was proposing actual intercourse is unclear.

2. “Very interesting theory, but you overlook one very important point! Is stupid. Is most stupid theory I ever heard!” –Sidney Wang (Peter Sellers) in “Murder by Death.” by Neil Simon That theory, which I have now heard others raise, and that I sniffed out a few days ago, is  the Democrat/progressive fantasy that if they make every member of Congress who has been accused of sexual misconduct resign, they have a new and powerful means to try to force President Trump out of office.

They need a new and powerful theory, because the Emoluments Claus (Santa’s inscrutable younger brother) is a non-starter, the 25th Amendment doesn’t apply, the Russian investigation is not finding any high crimes and misdemeanors (just sleazy Trump team members), the “obstruction of justice” theory is risible, and a desperate and thin impeachment resolution put forth by the Congressional Black Caucus just lost 368-58. This one is that if they establish that allegations of past sexual misconduct without due process, admission of guilt or evidence mandates high elected officials resigning (as Bill Clinton did not, but he’s going to be retroactively forced to resign in an alternate universe, or something, thus cleansing Democrats, feminists and the complicit news media of their cynical hypocrisy and altering the present by changing the past, like in “The Terminator” or “Back to the Future”), President Trump will be forced to resign because of the Access Hollywood tape and  his alleged accusers.

Not that this is more ridiculous than many of the other ways the Democrats and “the resistance” have plotted to overturn the election results they promised to respect when they assumed they would win, but it’s still indefensible. Voters decided, wrongly or not, that they didn’t care about this, all of which they knew about before they elected Trump. None of the alleged misconduct occurred while the President was in office (unlike in the cases of Clinton, Franken, Conyers, Packwood and Franks) nor are they only recently disclosed allegations of pre-election misconduct that were not known to voters before the official in question was elected (as in the cases of Franken and Clinton). None of the elected officials who have resigned are analogous to the President.

Are journalists, pundits and the Democratic plotters really so dim that they can’t see this, or are they just trying to bluff through—again—an intellectually dishonest anti-Trump theory? I guess Hanlon’s Razor applies: stupidity over malice.

I know I have mentioned this already here and there, but please etch it on your brain so you can tell your Facebook friends who espouse the “If Franken must go, so must Trump” theory that they are embarrassing themselves, because they are.

The Democrats have a duly elected Representative from Florida, a member of the Congressional Black Caucus, in fact, by the name of Alcee Hastings.  He’s been representing  Florida’s 20th congressional district, serving in Congress since 1993,—that’s 24 years. He was elected after he was impeached as a Federal judge by the Democrat majority U.S. House of Representatives by a vote of 413–3, and then convicted by the Senate, becoming only the sixth Federal judge to be so removed from office. Knowing all of this, the 2oth elected him to Congress. He is the Democratic Roy Moore, except that Moore just defied the law, while Hastings broke it to line his own pockets, as a federal judge. (Hasting was acquitted in his trial, because co-conspirator, William Borders, refused to testify, going to jail instead. Then President Clinton pardoned Borders. Isn’t this a nice story?

If you don’t think a judge taking bribes is more serious by far than imposing a sloppy kiss on an unconsenting colleague as Franken was accused of, you have some strange values or you are Kirsten Gillibrand.  Why, then, is nobody calling for Hastings’ resignation? It is because his misconduct was known by voters when he ran the first time, and every time since, exactly as the allegations against Trump were known a year ago. Now, if Democrats can get Hastings to resign, then their Plan F (or is it G?) to undo the election will be slightly less idiotic.

Good luck with that.

3. Or is alleged groping worse than alleged bribery? Wait, what? Democrats are completely incoherent ethically. Senator Bob Menendez was not just accused of bribery, he was put on trial for it. He wasn’t acquitted: there was a mistrial. The Senator denies the allegations. Are any Democrats (or Republicans) demanding that he resign? No. He is being permitted due process. Senator Franken has been accused, as a Senator, of copping feels with three women during photo ops. Again, this is not within a Hubbell Telescope viewing of bribery as a disqualification for high elected office, except when one’s party has been so thoroughly exposed as cynical frauds regarding women’s rights that someone has to be thrown into the volcano. I have yet to hear anyone make a case why Menendez–1) allegations of criminal conduct in office 2) with evidence 3) that he denies–isn’t under fire by his party, and Franken—1) allegations of non-criminal conduct, and civil violations while not in office, without evidence 2) without due process 3) that he denies-–was pushed out.

I suspect because there isn’t a case to be made.

4. This will not end well—for women. Increasingly, I am reading conservatives who say, “Well, this is easy. Just avoid hiring women, or having anything to do with them in the workplace.” The feminist mob is asking for this reaction. They can’t have it both ways. “We demand to be treated like equals in the workplace, but we will always have the special power to destroy our male bosses and colleagues by unsubstantiated accusations of harassment or other sexual misconduct, because we are always telling the truth, have no ulterior motives, and must be believed.”

I saw this years ago, when after I gave a sexual harassment seminar to a very cynical and barely attentive New York law firm, the EEOC expert there told me that he never brought female associates with him to assist with cases requiring travel, because he didn’t want to be subject to sexual harassment claims.

I said, “Wait—so to avoid unjust accusations of sexual harassment, you, the firms’ equal opportunity law specialist, intentionally engage in sexual discrimination??

His answer: “What choice do I have?”

Be afraid, women.

Be very afraid.


42 thoughts on “Morning Ethics Warm-Up, 12/8/17: Special “BOY, There’s A Lot Of Ignorance, Dishonesty And Idiocy Surrounding Sexual Harassment!” Edition [UPDATED]

  1. Regarding #4: Mike Pence doesn’t seem so dumb now, does he? He didn’t discriminate against women, he just insisted on having his wife along any time he needed to meet with a woman. He was mocked for that view, yet he’s more equitable to women with that stance vs. denying them the opportunity out of fear of even an appearance of misconduct.

    I hesitate to mention it with the climate going now, but… a few years ago I had an epiphany about being fortunate regarding the gender disparity in tech. When you spend several weeks with work colleagues traveling, it is most definitely a bonding experience. I remain good friends with some of those people, even though I haven’t worked with them in nearly two decades. That amount of time together in a mixed gender setting could easily delve into areas over the line. Whether it’s involving a coworker or not, work travel is a freaking hotbed of adulterous behavior. Hauling a spouse along certainly would temper things and keep it totally platonic.

  2. Regarding your point #4, similarly, some years ago a company I was working for had a program where we volunteered as tutors at a local elementary school. I had been doing this for a few months and frequently found myself alone with a child in an unused classrooms. I eventually informed the school that my job demands were such that I could no longer participate, the real reason being that I didn’t want to take the risk of any accusation or even hint of anything inappropriate.

    Pretty sad, but there you have it.

  3. 1. Of the 535 Members of Congress, there probably aren’t more than 30 who should be retained in the next election. They just aren’t very good, particularly if they have to get “training” on Sexual Harassment.
    4. I had an opportunity in the 1980’s to investigate & fire 2 individuals who were using their positions to make sexual propositions to younger, new employees. Later while working on Corp Staff a young woman who was on a layoff list attempted to save herself by making up lies about me, which were easily proven false.
    After this incident I made sure that I didn’t travel with women, or be put into a position where I was alone with a woman, even in a businesss meeting. In retrospect, with today’s mood, I would have hired and mentored significantly fewer women in my 50years in business, simply because the risk was not worth the price. The business consequences for women will be substantial because, right or wrong, they will not be trusted.

  4. The Moore case is dead. One of the accusers just admitted she forged part of the inscription in her yearbook that was supposed to be so damning. No one will believe any of those accusations now.

    I DO think the Democrats are hoping to purge their own ranks of sexual harassers so they can take another shot at Trump without looking like hypocrites, and Al Franken was one of the casualties of that purge. He wasn’t the first, and he won’t be the last. A lot of people’s careers are going to be toast before this process plays itself out. Some will no doubt deserve it, but if you believe that some aren’t going to be victims of unscrupulous accusers looking to settle old scores or get ahead at someone else’s expense, you’re kidding yourself.

    #4 is going to dovetail quite nicely with all of this. I don’t see why anyone in his right mind would put himself in a situation where he couldn’t trust a coworker, employee, or boss because of her gender. No one is completely effective if he has to strictly police everything he says and does. No one is at all effective if every day he has to work under the shadow of the possibility that a mistake, a misunderstanding, or a momentary lapse in judgment that otherwise wouldn’t be consequential could be life-altering consequential. Only a fool trusts someone completely who has the power to destroy him by lying or shading the truth, particularly about things that happened years ago. A joke a woman wasn’t even supposed to hear, a night you worked late without even knowing a female co-worker also chose to, a party you didn’t even attend for more than 20 minutes, all of these could be career doom. It’s easier to just screen female hires out, strictly on the basis of their resume, of course, and keep strict distance from them in the workplace. Communicate only by email or phone unless you MUST meet in person, and if you do make sure there’s a third person in the room at all times, keep teams that work together single gender, and make it super clear that there is to be no unnecessary contact between the genders in the office: chatter not work related will result in a write-up or termination for repeat offenders.

    Harsh, perhaps, but necessary.

    • Absolutely. I’m assuming the problem was the tenant’s proposed method of taking occupancy of the premises and installing the TIs. I doubt he was proposing using a turkey baster.

          • ”I just doubt very seriously the inquiry was made in such a clinical manner.”

            You mean like some EA commenter highfreakin’lariously observed a former POTUS’ rather unique choice of a repository (I believe was the reference was “humidor”) for his stogie?

        • When I first read the story about Franks, I thought there had to be more that we weren’t being told. Apparently, more facts are coming out now, filling in some of the blanks for me, and Franks has resigned effectively immediately.
          I could conceive of a situation where a boss might ask an employee to be a surrogate but there would have to be a bunch of caveats for that to be ethical, including a fairly long-term relationship with the subordinate, family-to-family friendliness (not just boss to subordinate) to the point where personal discussions weren’t uncommon, an indication of some kind from the subordinate that surrogacy might be considered, perhaps in the context of a personal discussion about how the twins of the Boss came into being. A subordinate might say something along the lines of, “Wow, that sounds like something I could do.” And, the boss: “Well, no pressure at all, but do you think that is something you could do for Josephine and me? Because we hope to have more children.” And, there would have to be a clear understanding that any pursuit of such an arrangement would end the employment of the subordinate.
          With the new information, my hypothetical does not appear to be the case at all. Instead, it appears Franks pressured at least one of the subordinates and may have offered her a large sum of money to be a surrogate. Definitely out of bounds.

        • “[A] topic involving such intimate body parts, whatever the method, is off-limits in a workplace between superior and subordinate.”

          Bingo. (I prefer to say “Yahtzee.”) This is a bad week for Congress members with “Frank” in their names. (Makes me wonder what ol’ Barney is doing these days – as if I wouldn’t know.) That House member Franks, for all his conservative “cred,” makes me suspicious that he is a fake conservative, after seeing that surrogacy story. I mean, no conservative I know would strike up a talk like that with female subordinates in the workplace.* So if he is a conservative, good riddance to him, and may he never have a subordinate in his workplace for the rest of his life. Conservatism, the Republican party, and Congress deserve, and can do without, fools of that caliber.

          *Hell, no LIBERAL I know would strike up a talk like that with female subordinates – ANYWHERE – not even at a church picnic.

      • It’s such a ridiculously naiive method of hitting on a subordinate: “My wife and I can’t have kids. My sperm works fine. She and I want a kid, but we can’t conceive one together…so, I’m looking for a woman who would conceive one with me…” Step 1: become a boss. Step 2: hire a pretty woman. Step 3: Make the woman feel guilty for not personally doing what she can, to help the boss with his personal problem. SHEESH! I have a grandson in kindergarten who is slicker than that with the ladies. (I worry about him – don’t want him to get some girl in trouble some day.)

  5. the Russian investigation is not finding any high crimes and misdemeanors (just sleazy Trump team members), the “obstruction of justice” theory is risible

    I agree entirely, but most Americans don’t seem to. The polls consistently show that a majority of voters think there was probably or certainly collusion with the Russians before the election. While conservative websites are crowing that the Mueller investigation has been completely discredited, having surfaced no evidence whatsoever and having been shown to be riddled with bias and conflicts of interest, almost all of the Democrats that I know think that collusion and obstruction of justice have already been conclusively proven. My friends forward articles almost every day from the liberal press, like the one on the Atlantic’s site earlier this week, that talk about the “ever-growing mountain of evidence” against Trump, several friends have forwarded a clip of Morning Joe from a couple of days ago where Joe and Mika say that Trump’s cronies can feel the trap closing on them now and are likely to spend the rest of their lives in prison. They all believe these things. The supposed evidence that they cite is so thin and preposterous that I can’t believe any rational person would credit it, but they do.

    How can this end otherwise than very, very badly?

    • My forty plus year old son absolutely screams at me that Trump is, I don’t know, guilty as hell of … SOMETHING. I’ve told him it’s better we not talk about it. He seems to have concluded his old man and Donald Trump are one and the same. I’m a scoundrel because I’m not positive Trump did … SOMETHING. He’s so rabid it’s a little disconcerting. Very disconcerting, actually.

      • ”guilty as hell of … SOMETHING.”

        Barack Obama: [The danger is] “grow(ing) complacent. We have to tend to this garden of democracy or else things could fall apart quickly. That’s what happened in Germany in the 1930s which, despite the democracy of the Weimar Republic and centuries of high-level cultural and scientific achievements, Adolph Hitler rose to dominate. Sixty million people died. . . .So, you’ve got to pay attention. And vote.”

        His failure of leadership destabilized the ME, created millions of refugees, prosecuted more whistle-blowers under the Espionage Act than all other POTUS” combined, & set race relations back decades. Heck, if I were him I’d be pointing fingers too, wouldn’t you?

        It gets worse.

        Obama: “what I understood was the principle that the free press was vital.”

        Free Press? Say what?? What a bunch of steaming horse puckey!

        But don’t take my word for it, for that let’s toss it over to the late Helen Thomas (no Righty, she)

        “ ‘Nixon didn’t try to do that. They couldn’t control (the media). They didn’t try.’

        “ ‘What the hell do they think we are, puppets? They’re supposed to stay out of our business. They are our public servants. We pay them.’

        ”Thomas said she was especially concerned about the arrangement between the Obama Administration and a writer from the liberal Huffington Post Web site. The writer was invited by the White House to President Obama’s press conference last week on the understanding that he would ask Obama a question about Iran from among questions that had been sent to him by people in Iran.

        “ ‘When you call the reporter the night before you know damn well what they are going to ask to control you,’

        “ ‘I’m not saying there has never been managed news before, but this is carried to fare-thee-well–for the town halls, for the press conferences,” she said. “It’s blatant. They don’t give a damn if you know it or not. They ought to be hanging their heads in shame.” (bolds mine)

    • Of course the public thinks that, because the news media spins the story and writes as if eventual proof is inevitable. No President has ever had to function under such conditions, and it’s un-American and a disgrace.

      • My mother had always been apolitical, but she spent most of the last month of her life in a hospital room with the television tuned 24/7 to CNN, ranting about Donald Trump, his collusion with Russia, his racism, his fascism.

        • The “Trump administration is the threat to democracy” seems to me to be an official DNC talking point. It’s everywhere. What it means is “Any policy decision that is not in line with Obama’s policy on the same thing is ‘a threat to democracy.'” Give me a break. To quote Obama, “You lost.”

        • I’ve been a follower of political news since I was a kid and the first gulf war had the bad taste to start on the night I was showing my project in my very first science fair. We had to cut things off early so everyone could listen to George H Bush’s speech about why we were dropping bombs in Iraq.

          My mother has always been a liberal but not a follow of political news till Donald Trump came on the scene and started saying asinine things. Now she spends most evenings watching MSNBC.

          • DISCLOSURE: I don’t watch FOX or MSNBC.

            Bill Clinton: “I was just watching MSNBC, and they had a woman that used to work for me and a couple of other people on there, and they were talking about the Republican primary. And I was laughing. I said, ‘Boy, it really has become our version of Fox.’ ” (bolds mine)

            Per Pew Research, FOX has 3 times the news content and ~ half the opinion of MSNBC.

            News content: FOX 45 % MSNBC 15 %
            Opinion: FOX 45 % MSNBC 85 %

            Yet in Lefty circles, FOX is the DEVIL incarnate.

            Reckon that’s because they don’t feature enough of the right (read: ideologically certified) opinion?


    • You just made me shudder. Remember the massive cognitive dissonance triggered by Trump beating Hillary? The riots, the weeping and gnashing of teeth, the literal nervous breakdowns, the vagina hats?

      They haven’t learned. They’re doubling down. If Trump doesn’t go to jail, or at least get impeached, I’m going to have to put all of my liberal friends on suicide watch. I’m not even sure I’m joking.

  6. The standard progressive response to #4 seems to be “If you don’t want to be accused of harassment, just don’t harass women!”

    It’s a classic motte-and-bailey argument, when harassment means as much or as little as it needs to. When pressed, the defense is that they only mean cases that rise to specific and actionable harassment, and cite clear-cut cases. With that established, “Victim shaming!” and “Believe the woman!” are then used to deflect scrutiny and “harassment” and “MeToo” can spread comfortably back into meaning everything from demanding sex in exchange for a promotion, to an awkward flirtation or a poorly-received pat on the shoulder.

  7. Couldn’t the person in question just say “no thanks I don’t want to be your surrogate” and just report it to the staff? You did after all successfully argue that this should be done in private, rather than throught he media.

  8. With regards to #4, please note that this is the grown-up version of the campus rape crisis kerfluffle. Look for trigger warnings and safe spaces next.

    The left seems determined to usher in some kind of neo-Victorian social system where it’s improper to interact with a lady if one has not been formally introduced or if a chaperone isn’t present, and where our delicate sensibilities must be protected from harsh language and improper subjects.

    Many of us who grew up on second-wave feminism are confused as to how this got to be the end game, but I can’t see it going any other way.

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