Morning Ethics Warm-Up, 1/25/2018: Special “Was That Wrong? Should I Have Not Done That? I Gotta Plead Ignorance On This Thing Because If Anyone Had Said Anything To Me At All When I First Started Here That That Sort Of Thing Was Frowned Upon…” Edition*

Good morning, all.

Let’s get warmed up…

1  Social media censorship. Tom Champlin, who owns the libertarian news aggregator The Liberty Review and runs its associated Facebook page was banned from Facebook for 30 days under its “community standards” for posting this:

Facebook prohibits posts that promote harmful conduct, eating disorders and suicide, but no one but an idiot–is the Facebook community made up of idiots?—would misinterpret the meaning of that meme. It’s a political statement, and if it really violates Facebook’s “community standards,” then Facebook is demanding ideological conformity in its already largely mindless left-wing echo chamber. Either enough Facebook users who believe in free speech make a stink over this kind of attempted regulation of public opinion to force Facebook (and Twitter, and Google) to cut it out, or the open expression of ideas in social media will be doomed.

I suggest every Facebook user post this meme, not to chide Obamacare, but to show support for freedom of expression, and contempt for Facebook’s attempt to strangle it. Of course Facebook, as a private business, can ban what it wants. That doesn’t mean abusing its power and influence is any less dangerous or despicable.

I just posted this item, with the meme, to my Facebook page. I’ll be interest to see a) if I get banned, even with the above preface, and 2) how many of my knee-jerk progressive friends have the integrity to post the meme themselves.

2.  Predators who don’t get it, Part 1. Like many others, I wondered if the NPR banishment of Garrison Keillor and the deposit of his iconic “Prairie Home Companion” radio show  in the Void of Shame was just witch hunt mania. Keillor dismissed it as the result of a single ex-employee making a late fuss over an accidental laying on of hands. Finally, after being attacked by Keillor fans for Frankening him unjustly, Minnesota Public Television, which was the NPR station that investigated the plummy humorist, decided that it had to go public with the real story. Yesterday it posted a statement that said in part…

When Minnesota Public Radio abruptly severed ties with Garrison Keillor in November, the sole explanation offered by the company was “inappropriate behavior” with a female colleague.

For his part, the creator and longtime host of A Prairie Home Companion described his offense as nothing more than having placed his hand on a woman’s back to console her. An investigation by MPR News, however, has learned of a years-long pattern of behavior that left several women who worked for Keillor feeling mistreated, sexualized or belittled. None of those incidents figure in the “inappropriate behavior” cited by MPR when it severed business ties. Nor do they have anything to do with Keillor’s story about putting a hand on a woman’s back:

  • In 2009, a subordinate who was romantically involved with Keillor received a check for $16,000 from his production company and was asked to sign a confidentiality agreement which, among other things, barred her from ever divulging personal or confidential details about him or his companies. She declined to sign the agreement, and never cashed the check.

• In 2012, Keillor wrote and publicly posted in his bookstore an off-color limerick about a young woman who worked there and the effect she had on his state of arousal.

• A producer fired from The Writer’s Almanac in 1998 sued MPR, alleging age and sex discrimination, saying Keillor habitually bullied and humiliated her and ultimately replaced her with a younger woman.

• A 21-year-old college student received an email in 2001 in which Keillor, then her writing instructor at the University of Minnesota, revealed his “intense attraction” to her.

MPR News has interviewed more than 60 people who worked with or crossed professional paths with Keillor. Most spoke on the condition of anonymity because they still work in the industry or feared repercussions from Keillor or his attorneys…

Is it possible that Keillor really believes that he never did anything wrong? Yes, it’s very possible, and this Ethics Alarms post from yesterday in all likelihood applies to Keillor, another weird, homely guy that learned early in life that show business was a great way to attract women.

3. Predators who just don’t get it, Part 2. I will try to have a full post on yesterday’s circus at the sentencing hearing of serial sexual molester Dr. Lawrence Nassar, who was convicted of using his position as a doctor for the U.S. women’s gymnastics team to abuse over a hundred girls and young women, some as young as six, over more than a decade.  Before she pronounced her sentence—the judge was grandstanding for TV cameras, and it was unethical, but I’ll discuss that later–she read part of a letter Nassar had sent her to give his side of the story. It included the sentence, “Hell hath no fury like a woman scorned.”  KABOOM! And that’s just me: there must have been millions of heads exploding all over America.

Couldn’t his lawyer have explained why that was just about the stupidest, most self-destructive thing he could possibly write? If she didn’t tell him not to write that, she’s incompetent. He might as well have written, “I did it, I loved it, they wanted it, and I’m GLAD!!! GLAD I TELL YOU! BWAHAHAHAHAHAHA!!!  (Of course, it is hard to laugh maniacally in a letter.)

4. Wait! I thought “private personal conduct” was nobody’s business...From Professor Turley we learn that the ancient liberal advocacy organization Common Cause has filed a complaint on  with the Federal Election Commission and the Justice Department alleging that Donald Trump violated federal law by paying $130,000 to a porn star known as Stormy Daniels  as part of a deal to keep her quiet during the 2016 campaign. Turley explains why the claim is frivolous and politically driven.  It’s also more of the hypocrisy we have seen from all reaches of the Left as they have sought to harass the President. Trump’s adulterous affairs, real or alleged, are exactly the kind of conduct that defenders of Bil Clinton claimed were irrelevant to trustworthiness in leadership and that they  ridiculed “Puritans” on the Right for attacking. Now, when those affairs interfere with an elected President’s duties, occur in the Oval Office or when he uses his immense power to  get sexual favors, that isn’t “private personal conduct.” Consorting with a porn star, however, is, when the male involved is still just a private citizen. I don’t doubt Stormy’s story, at least the basics, now on display in InTouch, which is one step down from US Magazine and one step up from the The National Enquirer,  and yes, if that came out during the campaign, it would be valid information for a voter to take into account.Common Cause, however, destroys its credibility and reputation for integrity, as well as abuses the law, by pursuing such an obviously weak and intellectually dishonest theory.

5. We have to find a better way to prove bribery and corruption of elected officials.   The Justice Department is trying Democratic Senator Bob Menendez on bribery charges again after his first trial ended in a jury deadlock. This means he will be standing trial while running for re-election. Yet Democrats assume that he’ll glide to re-election anyway, one of many reasons all the happy talk about the Democrats taking back the House and Senate in a wave seems like self-delusion.

Yesterday, a federal judge Wednesday granted a request to acquit Menendez and a longtime friend of seven of the bribery charges among the 18 corruption complaints against them. The Senator and his co-defendant, Salomon Melgen, a Florida eye doctor, have argued that the case is an attempt to criminalize a friendship and that  Melgen’s campaign contributions to the Senator were not bribes. He gave his “friend” money for his campaign, the Senator gave his “friend” official help, but it wasn’t a quid pro quo. Who believes that? Meanwhile, in New York,  Harendra Singh. a large campaign donor to Mayor Bill de Blasio,  secretly pleaded guilty in federal court to bribery, admitting that he intended his contributions to the mayor to try to win favorable lease terms for a restaurant he owned on city property. The federal criminal information in the case makes it clear that he did get some of what he wanted,  and that an unnamed senior aide to  de Blasio arranged a meeting to pressure a city agency to offer more favorable terms to Mr. Singh.

Nevertheless, bribery charges against the mayor won’t be brought because there was insufficient proof of a quid pro quo.





12 thoughts on “Morning Ethics Warm-Up, 1/25/2018: Special “Was That Wrong? Should I Have Not Done That? I Gotta Plead Ignorance On This Thing Because If Anyone Had Said Anything To Me At All When I First Started Here That That Sort Of Thing Was Frowned Upon…” Edition*

  1. Regarding #3, he didn’t even get the quotation right; most people don’t. The full quotation is:
    “Heav’n has no Rage, like Love to Hatred turn’d,
    Nor Hell a Fury, like a Woman scorn’d.”

  2. On point one – I will repost on FB

    On point two- agreed

    On point three. I watched Judge Aquilina’s remarks and thought they were way over the top even if they were well deserved.

    What bothered me was the sentence. Forgive me as I am not a lawyer but my understanding is that he pled guilty to seven counts but the sentence was predicated on an additional 154 counts that he did not plead guilty to. I understand that prior bad acts can be considered in sentencing but don’t such acts have to be proven first. I am not doubting they occurred in Nasser’s case, but it seems to set a dangerous precedent in which we can parade numerous people claiming to be victims with no adjudication regarding veracity to impose sentences well beyond the guidelines.

    • Followup: The judge knew he is 54, had recieved a 60 year federal sentence which 85% must be served before eligible for parole. That will make him 106 before he starts his state incarceration because this one is to be consecutive to the federal sentence She didn’t sign his death warrant the Feds did. This was a sentence that will never be carried out.

    • It’s plausible to me that they decided that the tide pod challenge was a violation and engaged in an mass suspension of any account which had a known image associated with it. Whatever image recognition software they could use for such a thing would probably be smart enough to ignore text but not to interpret it for irony.

      I mean, they have an established pattern of political bias, but it might not be relevant in this particular case.

  3. Before she pronounced her sentence—the judge was grandstanding for TV cameras, and it was unethical, but I’ll discuss that later

    I look forward to it. I was just put on a list titled “Rape Apologist” by a leftier-than-though idiot on Twitter because I took issue with the judge’s implication that the convicted rapist should be gang raped in prison. Apparently thinking that prison gang rape is wrong, even for rapists, makes me a “rape apologist?” Totally incoherent.

  4. I had a feeling there was more to the Garrison Keillor story since a knee-jerk response from MPR was unlikely. He has creeped me out for the last several years just listening to him on PHC; I was glad when he retired. His response to the election seemed to be an excuse to display considerable wit and writing ability but with very little substance.

    I was waiting for you to slam the judge in the Nassar trial. Totally over the top, although as someone said he deserved every bit of it. I couldn’t help but enjoy her letter tossing.

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