(I thought it was time for “Singin’ in the Rain” again. Of course, it is always time for “Singin’ in the Rain”…)
1. And that’s when you know…When alleged sexual harassers are accused, the way you know whether they are guilty or not often depends on whether the floodgates open, and large numbers of other women step forward. This was Bill Cosby’s downfall. Now we learn that 27 more victims of Charlie Rose have raised their metaphorical hands. Sorry, Charlie!
The mystery to me is why current and former colleagues of outed abusers and harassers so often rush to defend them, even post #MeToo, and even women. I suppose is cognitive dissonance again: the defenders have high regard for the harasser, and simply can’t process the fact that they may have been engaged in awful conduct. Katie Couric’s defense of Matt Lauer, however, is especially damning.
Variety reported that Lauer’s office had a button that allowed him to remotely lock his office door when he had female prey within his grasp…
“His office was in a secluded space, and he had a button under his desk that allowed him to lock his door from the inside without getting up. This afforded him the assurance of privacy. It allowed him to welcome female employees and initiate inappropriate contact while knowing nobody could walk in on him, according to two women who were sexually harassed by Lauer.”
Yet on “The Wendy Williams Show” this week, Couric “explained”…
“I think the whole button thing, you know? I think — NBC — a lot of stuff gets misreported and blown out of proportion. A lot of NBC executives, they make it sound like some kind of den of inequity. I don’t know what was happening. A lot of NBC executives have those buttons that opened and closed doors… They did. I mean, it was really just a privacy thing. It wasn’t..Honestly I think it was an executive perk that some people opted to have and I don’t think it was a nefarious thing. I really don’t. And I think that is misconstrued….”
Wowsers. First, Couric is intentionally blurring the facts, using “open and close” as a euphemism for “unlock and lock.” I guarantee that no button would cause the office door to swing open or swing closed, as Couric suggested. I’ve searched for such a device: all I can find are remote office door locking mechanisms. Second, while it is true that other NBC execs once had that feature, it appears that Lauer was “was one of the few, if not the only, NBC News employee to have one,”a senior NBC News employee told the Washington Post.
Second, Couric is engaging in The Golden Rationalization: “Everybody does it.”
2. Extortion works! Arizona’s governor signed a 9% pay increase for the state’s teachers, because the teachers engaged in a wildcat strike, kids were missing school, and parents couldn’t go to work without their state funded child-sitters. I’m not going to analyze whether the teachers demands were right or wrong, because it doesn’t matter. The teachers’ tactic was unethical, just like the Boston police strike in 1919 was unethical, just like the air traffic controllers strike in 1981. In the former, Massachusetts governor Calvin Coolidge (what happened to that guy?) famously fired all the striking cops, saying in part that “The right of the police of Boston to affiliate has always been questioned, never granted, is now prohibited…There is no right to strike against the public safety by anybody, anywhere, any time.” President Reagan quoted Cal when he fired the air traffic controllers and eliminated its union.
Striking against children and their education is also a strike against the public safety. What now stops the teachers, in Arizona or anywhere else, from using similar extortion tactics for more raise, policies they favor, or any other objective? What was lacking here was political leadership possessing the integrity and courage to tell the teachers to do their jobs during negotiations, or be fired.
This precedent will rapidly demonstrate why public unions are a menace to democracy
3. Well, that didn’t take long! Rudy Giuliani was one a brilliant prosecutor, but he has long appeared to be past his competence pull date, and it didn’t take long for Rudy to get his client, and himself, into ethics zugswang. Yesterday, the new addition to the Trump legal team said that President Trump reimbursed his “personal attorney” (he’s a fixer) Michael Cohen, the $130,000 that Cohen paid to porn star Stormy Daniels in exchange for her silence a sexual encounter with the future POTUS in 2006.
“That money was not campaign money,” Giuliani said. It’s not campaign money. No campaign finance violation.”
But wait! Didn’t the President deny that he ever had carnal knowledge of the lovely Miss Daniels? Oops! Giuliani clarified by telling Fox News that the money Trump paid to Cohen was for unspecified “expenses,” and Cohen never told Trump that the money had gone to Daniels. On “Fox & Friends,” Andrew Napolitano—he is not a judge— said that Giuliani’s claim that Trump gave Cohen $130,000 and didn’t know where it was going is “unworthy of belief.” “How would Michael Cohen know that Stormy Daniels needed to be silenced?” he added.
- It has been speculated that Rudy chose to admit that Trump was lying about his Stormy nights in order to kill the more serious allegation that he used campaign funds for personal needs If so, he had better had his client’s permission, or he committed a serious ethics breach.
- I could believe that Cohen was sufficiently trusted as a “fixer” and that Trump had enough skeletons and dirty laundry to hide that Trump paid Cohen whatever a “fix” required without asking what the fix was, in order to protect himself. True, he would have to really trust Cohen, but the Kennedys apparently had one or more fixers who worked on a similar arrangements. I don’t know why Napolitano thinks this is so unlikely.
- Trump’s extra-marital affairs, abortions, and Wesson Oil coated romps with wood nymphs in his pre-White House days are irrelevant to anything. If there is anyone who voted for Trump who didn’t assume that he behaved exactly like all Alpha Male rich kid billionaires do, only more so, then they need to be put in a Home For The Bewildered.
4. This is depressing, if accurate. The Daily Caller reports that a poll taken on April 22, 2018 had Trump’s approval rating among black men at 11 percent. On April 29, 2018. after rapper/genius/lunatic/ Kardashian by marriage Kanye West started tweeting his support for the President, the black male approval rating at 22 percent. Approval among blacks overall also went up (as one would expect, if the male support jumped), from 8.9 percent to 16.5 percent.
If accurate, this is good news for Trump and Republicans, bad news for Democrats, and has horrible implications for democracy and African-Americans, the education system, and the public’s trust in our system. Is it possible that black political opinions are so shallow and tenuous that the mere influence of a rapper would have this much impact? Is it possible that anti-Trump sentiments are based on so little critical thought and information that they can be flipped by nothing?
Is the cognitive dissonance scale that powerful? Is Kanye West that high on it?