Morning Ethics Warm-Up, 5/3/2018: Katie’s Rationalization, Teachers’ Extortion, Rudy’s Zugswang, And Kanye’s Influence

Goooood morning!

(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.

Comments:

  • 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?

100 Comments

Filed under Arts & Entertainment, Character, Childhood and children, Education, Ethics Alarms Award Nominee, Gender and Sex, Government & Politics, Law & Law Enforcement, Professions, Romance and Relationships, U.S. Society

100 responses to “Morning Ethics Warm-Up, 5/3/2018: Katie’s Rationalization, Teachers’ Extortion, Rudy’s Zugswang, And Kanye’s Influence

  1. Steve-O-in-NJ

    As a member of a public sector union, I have mixed feelings. Attorneys shouldn’t have to unionize, but they did in both my office and the prosecutor’s office, because the governments wanted to strip us of our healthcare plans. Not move us into cheaper plans, not reduce our benefits, strip us of health insurance altogether. Right now we’re engaged in negotiations for a new contract. The time any contract was supposed to run (four years at a time) taps out at the end of this year. For the last three years the offer was 0% for 2015, 0% for 2016, and .5% for 2017. Sorry, but one half of one percent total raise for three years is an insult. It’s not even a rounding error, and as the cost of living goes up, we lose money on the deal. Sometimes extreme tactics are the only way to move an employer off the dime. Without that weapon of last resort, an employer can just keep stringing the employees along, we’ll get to it, we’ll get to it, when he has no intention of ever getting to it.

  2. 77Zoomie

    Does the immediate jump in the President’s approval following West’s comments mean people were convinced by West, or rather that it’s safe to come out and express such approval to a pollster?

    • Ah dang. I should’ve read the comments before comment myself. You already raised this question…

    • Michael R.

      That is what I was wondering. I really doubt (hopefully) that Kanye West has this kind of influence. However, the fact that West did state his approval of Trump, then was savaged by the liberal media, and yet refused to recant, may have had the opposite affect that the media wanted. People might have seen the way West was being treated for having the audacity to not think the way he was told to think. When people actually realize they are being dictated to like that, some of them rebel.

      • That’s why in my gut, I’m leaning towards this not being Kanye influence as much as Kanye shattering the cone of silence.

        • Glenn Logan

          Given the partisan voting percentages in the last election, I am skeptical of the idea that Kanye has made it safe for closet black Trump supporters. I find it unlikely he could’ve won that much support during his two years.

          Not impossible, but not likely. More likely it’s a combination of the two things – some are just as shallow as Jack suggests, and some feel safe to affirm Trump support to pollsters. It’s anybody’s guess what the percentage of those two likelihoods are.

          • Does it have to be closet black Trump supporters specifically? Or closet black disenchanted with the DNC in general?

            This may be a margins-thing, where quietly disgusted by peer-pressured into silence members of that community feel content to *demonstrate* openly a break with the Left, and in our bi-polar system, do so by marginally increasing support for Trump?

            I mean, your observation is a valid angle.

            I’ll think about this.

    • Inquiring Mind

      It could very well be a combination, but I think it leans to the latter. It’s safe. You’re not the only one. He’s a big name, and that does make it easier for others to come out of the closet.

      If you looked, you’d see that many African-Americans who express conservative values become the targets for hate. Just look at what Clarence Thomas has dealt with.

    • philk57

      That was my immediate thought.

  3. Chris

    3. So in the past 48 hours, we’ve found out that Trump and his doctor lied about his personal health and that Trump and his lawyer lied about an affair and a payoff. At this point I don’t think the position that it was unethical for a comedian to call his spokespeople liars is at all tenable.

    A rational consequence for these people would be to have others publicly call them liars to their faces on national TV every day for the rest of their lives.

    • Steve-O-in-NJ

      Would a rational consequence of acting like an obnoxious jerk be to be called one every day for the rest of your life? This just sounds like one more step down the path deeper into being a nation of assholes.

    • I obviously can’t explain the “time and place” principle or the “respect for the office” principle, or the “captive audience principle” to you in your current manic state. Your Trump Derangement blocks basic logic and decency.

      • Chris

        The time and place was a roast. That is a fair venue to call the president’s spokespeople liars, and would have been under Obama, too.

        • It’s not a roast! It has never been a roast, and has never been advertised as a roast. Never. NEVER. That’s the problem. In a roast, the target is specifically designated, and the event is advertised as a roast of that individual. Just because one asshole comic decides to treat it as a roast doesn’t make it a roast. I have been in the past a well-appreciated toastmaster at wedding receptions. I am known for making jokes at the expense of the groom and others present. However, the comments are not embarrassing or insulting. It’s a wedding reception. By your logic, if i mocked the groom’s sex organs, fidelity while engaged and drug habits,humiliating him and making everyone uncomfortable, I would have made the event a roast, and thus could say, “But it’s a roast!”

          Here is Wiki’s description of the Dinner. Nothing in the description suggests “roast,” and indeed quite the opposite. I get it, though: for every other President it has been a friendly, mutually respectful collegial, good humored gathering…but for this President, it’s suddenly a roast. Got it. Typical.

          The WHCA’s annual dinner, begun in 1921,[10] has become a Washington, D.C. tradition and is traditionally attended by the president and vice president.[4] Fifteen presidents have attended at least one WHCA dinner, beginning with Calvin Coolidge in 1924.[4] The dinner is traditionally held on the evening of the last Saturday in April at the Washington Hilton.

          Until 1962, the dinner was open only to men, even though WHCA’s membership included women. At the urging of Helen Thomas, President John F. Kennedy refused to attend the dinner unless the ban on women was dropped.[11]

          Prior to World War II, the annual dinner featured singing between courses, a homemade movie, and an hour-long, post-dinner show with big-name performers.[4] Since 1983, however, the featured speaker has usually been a comedian, with the dinner taking on the form of a ‘roast’ of the president and his administration.

          The dinner also funds scholarships for gifted students in college journalism programs.[12]

          Many annual dinners have been cancelled or downsized due to deaths or political crises. The dinner was cancelled in 1930 due to the death of former president William Howard Taft; in 1942, following the United States’ entry into World War II; and in 1951, over what President Harry S. Truman called the “uncertainty of the world situation”.[13] In 1981, Ronald Reagan did not attend because he was recuperating after the attempted assassination on his life the previous month, but he did phone in and told a joke about the shooting.[14]

          President Donald Trump did not attend the dinners in 2017 and 2018.[15]
          Dinner criticisms

          The WHCD has been increasingly criticized as an example of the coziness between the White House press corps and the administration.[16] The dinner typically includes a skit, either live or videotaped, by the sitting president in which he mocks himself, for the amusement of the press corps.[16] The press corps, in turn, hobnobs with administration officials, even those who are unpopular and are not regularly cooperative with the press.[16] Increasing scrutiny by bloggers has contributed to added public focus on this friendliness.[16]

          After the 2007 dinner, New York Times columnist Frank Rich implied that the Times would no longer participate in the dinners.[17] Rich wrote that the dinner had become “a crystallization of the press’s failures in the post-9/11 era” because it “illustrates how easily a propaganda-driven White House can enlist the Washington news media in its shows”.[17]

          Other criticism has focused on the amount of money actually raised for scholarships, which has decreased over the past few years.[12]

          In recent years, the dinners have drawn increasing public attention, and the guest list grows “more Hollywood”.[6] The attention given to the guest list and entertainers often overshadows the intended purpose of the dinner, which is to “acknowledge award-winners, present scholarships, and give the press and the president an evening of friendly appreciation”.[6] This has led to an atmosphere of coming to the event only to “see and be seen”.[6] This usually takes place at pre-dinner receptions and post-dinner parties hosted by various media organizations, which are often a bigger draw and can be more exclusive than the dinners themselves.[18][19][20]

          • Chris

            I was able to find references to speeches at the WHC as “roasts” as far back as 2005. You’re 100% correct that the tone of this was much more aggressive and much less warm than at previous dinners; my only response is that this tone is justified by the extraordinary conduct of the president and the people around him. You would call that the “These are extraordinary times” rationalization, but in my opinion, that’s not always a rationalization, and in this case has applicability to the situation we find ourselves in. But I know we will not agree on that.

          • Zanshin

            Jack wrote, Nothing in the description suggests “roast,” and indeed quite the opposite.

            But it does!
            The third paragraph ends with,

            Since 1983, however, the featured speaker has usually been a comedian, with the dinner taking on the form of a ‘roast’ of the president and his administration.

            • I missed that! Nonetheless, if the organizers don’t call it a roast, and the standards for the jokes are not no-holds barred insults like celebrity roasts —that is, if they do not acknowledge that it is, in fact, the President of the United States, then there is no consent. These comments were NOT like the jokes since 1983.

              Here is a typical joke by celebrity roast comic Lisa Lamparelli (the target was William Shatner):

              “In this business, Bill is known as a triple threat: at any time he could have a heart attack, stroke, or shit his pants.”

              Is the president consenting to be treated like that if he goes to the dinner? Because that’s what roasts are.

            • I would say there is “form of a ‘roast'” and then an actual roast. To me this was too over the top and crude for the situation.

              Leaving out that even in a roast, it’s generally known that it’s all in joking and good fun to someone you like. This just seemed to be mean to insult someone you don’t like.

        • Ok Chris, now tell us why the annual celebration dinner for the White House Press Corps is the right time and place for roasting the administration.

    • Chris Marschner

      Chris, There will not be enough time to call everyone engaged in politics a liar on TV every day for the rest of their lives. Even the newscasters are lying when they claim to be objective journalists.

      I dont care whether they want to call it an ” evolved position”, or that they mispoke or any other weasely statements such as “golly, my recollection is. . . ” the outcome is the same; to create a false impression. Facts are facts and not subject to spin.

      Jack was absolutely correct when he stated anyone that claims they did not know about Trumps past escapades is lying to themselves or terminally bewildered.

      No one found the payment to Paula Jones an in kind campaign donation.

  4. “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?”

    Influence? or Break Down a Wall of Silence?

    I’m certain there’s an increasing disgust towards DNC policies regarding the African American community, as decades of false promises have amounted to no improvement in the lot of their community — and in many cases have seen their communities slide further into despair.

    But the whip crackers on the vote plantation have done a great job keeping individual dissenters in the black community silent.

    A culturally prominent black artist who doesn’t fit the mold that the whip crackers can label as an “uncle Tom” or an “Oreo” voices opinions in opposition to the DNC?

    It doesn’t matter that he’s a political amateur…maybe the wall of silence was cracked a little bit and topics that were once considered taboo in the black community may now be discussed openly…?

    • The Kayne takeaway I mostly warn conservatives about is:

      Remember, you hate when celebrities pop off…don’t just suddenly embrace him because he’s popped off positively in your direction.

      • On my Scale, being praised by Kanye is the equivalent of being praised by the brain damaged or a felon.

        • Kanye is a master, no that is to mild: a “MASTER” at self promotion. He knows how to get free press, for the purposes of making a dollar (sounds like Trump, now that I write it). Controversy makes profits, in show biz.

          This is a quick way to make profits, and maybe vent a little irritation at progressive hypocrisy. West does not support Trump.

    • Chris

      I generally don’t like the term “Uncle Tom” (though it’s no worse than “vote plantation,”) but I think Kanye saying “slavery was a choice” is about as close to justifying the term as there can be.

      And it’s a pretty small step from praising Candace Owens and Trump to saying “slavery was a choice,” so consider this my surprised face.

      • Didn’t read this.

        As long as you’re in a mood to walk back from hot headed red lines about leaving the blog, then you can also walk back from your comment about me being mealy-mouthed.

        Until then, don’t expect interaction from me.

        • Chris

          Steve-O’s comment may be disgusting,

          That’s the definition of mealy-mouthed–“afraid to speak frankly or straightforwardly.” I will not retract that comment, because it was true. But if you really find being called mealy-mouthed more outrageous than being told one is happy that someone you love has a medical problem, then by all means, don’t engage with me anymore. I think we’ll both be happier for it.

          • Didn’t read this.

            As long as you’re in a mood to walk back from hot headed red lines about leaving the blog, then you can also walk back from your comment about me being mealy-mouthed.

            Until then, don’t expect interaction from me

            • Luke G

              What you’re doing is interacting, just in a way designed to… I don’t know? Make Chris feel bad? He’s stated why he doesn’t. Make the other commenters impressed at your self-restraint for not engaging? You’re engaging passive-aggressively.

                • I can lend you my boiler plate for Chris if you like:

                  “Chris has proven himself a smug hypocritical party hack, not interested in actual discussion, debate, or fair treatment. He is unethical, as as such I will not dignify his responses any further. Do not feed the trolls.”

                  • Thanks, but I’ll stick with mine. I don’t care that he’s a partisan hack who predictably reprints all the DNC talking points. He’s free to believe and advocate for whatever he wants. I will not however engage with him as long he impugns my integrity simply because my comments focus on topics that don’t address specifics in a way he desperately wants and then has the gall to claim those comments are specifically egregious because they don’t fit the connotations HE wants them to fit.

                    I’m not going to engage with that level of asininity.

                    I’ll deal with insults to intelligence and reasoning ability, I’ll even deal with accusations of dishonesty if they are actually backed up with hard quotes and reasonable interpretations, I’ll deal with mud slinging.

                    I will not engage angry little people who besmirch my integrity with nothing but an emotion laden accusation.

                    Like I said, he’s free to retract and apologize since his entire mood that day was about boldly making principle-based declarations and then backing out of them before nightfall.

  5. Luke G

    With regards to striking, I’ve always figured that getting fired is part of the risk. If you’re valuable enough, the object lesson in what it’s like to not have you working will make management negotiate more favorably. If you can be fired and replaced readily, then you weren’t as valuable as you thought. High risk high reward.

  6. Speaking of #MeToo – it’s just reported that Cosby and Polansky have been expelled from The Academy of Motion Picture Arts & Sciences.

    • This is bigger news than you might think… Polansky was defended enthusiastically by his peers up until and including this year, actually censuring him like this is probably the first real rebuke he’s felt from Hollywood.

    • Pennagain

      Tim, Woody has never been a member. I don’t think Spacey has either. They’ve both won Oscars, but that’s not the same thing.

    • Pennagain

      Tim,
      Woody has never been a member of the Academy (the ones who vote on the Oscars, coming from all ends of the industry). I don’t think Spacey has either. They’ve both won Oscars, but that’s not the same thing. It’s an exclusive club that requires an invitation card extended by current members.

      This says that the current members have, in some cases, exhibited very good taste.

  7. Rob Palmer

    If Oprah ever endorses Trump we’ll start seeing articles from Salon and Vice about how women’s suffrage was a mistake.

    • luckyesteeyoreman

      That’s a funny quip. But, Oprah endorsing Trump ain’t gonna happen. I have predicted that Oprah will be the Democrat POTUS nominee in 2020.

  8. Rich in CT

    Follow up to Number 3 (Giuliani)

    Giuliani does say that he had the President’s consent to disclose:

    However, Giuliani told The Post that he and Trump discussed the fact that he planned to disclose that Trump reimbursed Cohen.

    “Oh, yeah, yeah,” he said. “Sure, sure. He was well aware that at some point when I saw the opportunity, I was going to get this over with.”

    Several are arguing that the disclosures weaken Trump’s position, though it should have been obvious to anyone parsing Cohen’s words that Trump was reimbursing him.

    Another little gem:

    Larry Noble, general counsel for the nonpartisan Campaign Legal Center, said Giuliani’s statements do not end the questions about possible campaign finance violations – and in fact could point to further concerns.

    “What is surprising is that Trump recently said he knew nothing about the payment. Now, Giuliani is trying to get the stories in sync, but this still leaves several potential violations,” Noble said. “The timing of the payment is still strong evidence of it being campaign-related. And the fact that Trump paid Cohen back strengthens that argument.

    We apparently live in a bizarro-world, where evidence that a transaction was not an illegal third-party donation, but a reimbursed personal legal expense, is a stronger argument that the transaction was “campaign-related”.

    http://www.courant.com/nation-world/ct-giuliani-trump-repaid-cohen-porn-star-20180502-story.html

    • Chris

      Individuals still have to report contributions to their own campaigns, despite the fact that there are no limits on how much they can contribute. And Guliani did suggest this morning that knowledge of the Daniels’ affair would have affected the campaign.

      • Rich in CT

        But it is really a “campaign contribution” to settle a private legal matter?

        Does any issue that might reflect badly on a candidate become a “campaign” issue that legally must be disclosed?

        • Chris

          Not automatically. The underlying intent matters. If even part of the intent was to influence the campaign, it’s a campaign contribution, even if part of the intent was also to hide this from Melania. Given Trump’s long, public history of affairs, it strikes me as unconvincing that the goal was to hide this from Melania; my guess is that they have an understanding (and the Clintons probably did too).

          Guliani has hurt Trump’s case in two ways: first, he suggested that part of the intent was to influence the campaign. Second, he has proven that Trump has already lied about what he knew and when he knew it regarding the Daniels payment, which damages his credibility.

          • Out of your depth here, Chris. I understand these are talking points, but the legal authorities are not even vaguely consistent on this. There has never been a successful election law prosecution on facts remotely like these, and we still don’t know the facts. If someone would have done exactly the same thing whether there was an election or not, the argument that the act was done as part of an election campaign is a huge stretch. I don’t buy it, a strong defense can easily be mounted against that theory, and I doubt a jury would buy it. It’s in the same bootstrapping category as the Logan Act arguments to call Trump Jr.’s meeting with the Russian lawyer illegal. Yeah, we get it: anything Trump or his family or staff does is impeachable, even of nobody would have ever said the same thing about identical conduct in the past. Good luck with that.

            • Never mind the precedent this would set.

              I wonder if the rabid get-Trump crowd is really thinking very far into the future on some of these tactics.

              (Standing outside the rubble of our former house) “We only wanted to kill the roach in the kitchen…what was wrong with using a wrecking ball?”

            • Chris

              I never said “impeachable.” And while I am out of my depth, plenty of the people I’m getting my info from aren’t. Ken White suggested that Guliani’s description of the payoff sounds like money laundering. I don’t think he’ll be impeached over this and I have no idea if a legal case against Trump would be successful. My point is that Trump and his people are a gang of shady nincompoops who don’t know when to stop incriminating themselves.

              • “Ken White suggested that Guliani’s description of the payoff sounds like money laundering.”

                Guiliani’s hearsay description of a transaction he wasn’t a party to sounds like money laundering. There you go. That’s pretty much the level of all of this.

                • Chris

                  I mean…yes. That’s the level of all of this because everyone who was party to the transaction has contradicted themselves several times over and continues to be shady about it. Guliani spoke in a way that was confusing and somewhat self-contradictory, but he did reveal for a fact that Trump and his people initially lied about the payoff and tried to cover it up. Guliani may not have all the facts right, but the way he described the incident sounded to Ken like a description of money laundering. Why is it wrong for him to say that? Are you under the impression that Ken is calling for immediate prosecution based on what this sounds like to him? Because that’s not his style, nor is it mine.

  9. I can agree that unions have abused their power. But not always. They sometimes are a last resort when industries have serious problems giving employess a fair shake. The government has stopped enforcing a lot of safety and compensation issues in the last decades, even the little they once did. It would be lovely if unions were unneeded, but what is the alternative to unions when the problems are systemic and a worker has no leverage alone?

    • Public unions are not needed, and have also become a scam: the unions contribute money to one party, and that one party supports greater benefits.

      • Is that much different then any contributions to one party? If corporations contribute money and get better benefits, is that a scam? What about individuals who donate and get a law or benefit passed from that?

        • The cases are fundamentally different, Steve. An individual or Corporation takes its money and donates it. A Union, on the other hand, takes money from their members regardless of their political affiliations and donates it to one party. In many cases, these member dues are coerced from workers.

          Big difference

      • Steve-O-in-NJ

        The problem is how do you then prevent public employment from becoming strictly a patronage or spoils system? Public employees below the department head level shouldn’t have to fear being demoted, disciplined, or fired for no reason other than there was an election and the new guy wants to bring in his people. I had low-level employees terrified of me during a workplace investigation that they were not the target of, asking me “are you Cory Booker’s man come to get rid of all Sharpe’s people?”

        • ”The problem is how do you then prevent public employment from becoming strictly a patronage or spoils system?”

          One of the few “Progressive” improvements was ”Civil Service Reform,” championed by one Robert M. La Follette from America’s Dairyland, which all but ended election-based turnover.

          “Public employees below the department head level shouldn’t have to fear being demoted, disciplined, or fired for no reason other than there was an election and the new guy wants to bring in his people.”

          Leaving political appointees aside, I don’t know how it is in NJ, but with unless a rank-n-file public/civil service employee gets caught with a dead girl or a live boy in WI, you ain’t getting fired, no matter how UNcivil you are.

          Public employees “are guarded by generous civil-service protections—the most significant of which predate public-sector unionism, having been put in place, ironically, to combat the inclination of urban political machines to use the public sector as a powerbase.”

          https://www.nationalreview.com/corner/collective-bargaining-public-sector-yuval-levin/

    • adimagejim

      The right to collectively bargain, assuming it does not imperil public safety or rights, is a lynch pin of the free market.

      Now if the intent is to rob students of a right (or at least a widely held expectation) to public education rather than negotiate in good faith, that is a challenging problem.

      A parallel to consider: Do unionized utility workers have the right to strike and deprive customers of power, water or natural gas?

      Both owners (schools, utilities) are government created or granted monopolies. Does this granting of monopoly eliminate the opportunity for essential service workers to strike?

      Interesting.

      • Yup. It sure does. The public has a means to punish officials who don’t make the right budget trade-offs.

      • I don’t know if the right to collectively bargain is a lynch pin of the free market, but when government negotiators buy labor using money they take from taxpayers, that’s not the free market. Monopolies are another matter, since monopoly power is usually considered a market failure. Not coincidentally, unions have been most effective in highly regulated industries where consumers have relatively little market power, allowing companies to pass along increased labor costs.

    • My wife’s union just elected to refer to persons only as “them” or “they” because saying he or she was gender discrimination. Any union that tells workers they must use a plural to identify a singular is a complete waste. But after all they “bargained” for a 6000% increase to our insurance. So yay!

      • They need to be plural to afford that increase.

      • valkygrrl

        A singular “they” is far more elegant than having to use the clumsy “he or she” for an unknown person.

      • Pennagain

        Wow. I didn’t realize the Pronoun Police had invaded that far. I get regular missives from the left which now add instead of a p.s. or an asterisk their “preferred pronouns,” such as

        John Smith
        pronouns: he, him, his

        presumably, it could say John’s pronouns are: she, her and hers.

        It came from the smallest minority: the transgender community (to salve their hurt feelings in case of your error).

        My first response — and last, if I am to die on any sword — was to respond to anyone who did this to me in what was first thought to be a joke until they continued the correspondence and realized that was what they were going to get every time:

        exclusive pronouns (for your use only): IT, THAT, and THAT’S IT

  10. luckyesteeyoreman

    3. My impression of Rudy Giuliani is that he is a planted agent of the Deep State. TRUMP just got himself screwed. Just watch.

    • Chris

      Given that Trump makes self-incriminating statements fairly often, have you considered that Trump is also a deep state operative working against himself? This goes all the way to the top!

      • valkygrrl

        The DEEP STATE along with war hero John McCain, war hero Robert Mueller, The FBI, The AUSAs of SDNY, The FISA Court judges appointed by John Roberts, US magistrate judges, the Roswell Aliens,and that homeless woman who always screams at me are engaged in a conspiracy against Donald Trump.

        It’s the only thing that makes sense, anything else would mean that Trump’s lying and we know that’d never happen.

      • luckyesteeyoreman

        “Trump makes self-incriminating statements fairly often…”

        Really? Why hasn’t he been indicted yet? Someone who knows should speak up – if they’re on solid ground, they have nothing to hide and no reason to hesitate or delay.

        • luckyesteeyoreman

          Awww, the hell with it! That was supposed to thread to the Troll-in-Chief.

        • Chris

          The answer to your questions is “Deep State.” The answer to every question is “Deep State.” You should know that. Unless…oh no. They got you too. Please signal if you are currently being held hostage in the basement of Comet Pizza.

        • Ah, I see my mistake now: using capital letters for “troll-in-chief.”

  11. I’m wondering if there is some worry on Trumps side that there may be evidence grabbed from the Cohen raid that shows he knew about the incident and/or payments. Best then to make a proactive shot at explaining it and covering any legal issues that might come from it before it comes out to the public.

  12. Pennagain

    Arizona’s governor should have fired the teachers. And hired all the new ones at 10% higher pay.

    • Bingo. And he would have become an instant political rock star.

    • Chris

      Arizona’s governor should have fired the teachers. And hired all the new ones at 10% higher pay.

      So…instead of giving the striking teachers a 9% pay increase, they should have fired them all and hired new teachers at 10% higher pay then the old teachers?

      That seems like a big waste of resources just to own the libs.

      • Sacrifices must be made… Omelets require broken eggs… you get the picture /snark

        As a non teacher member of a teacher family, I understand that this would not work from a logistical point of view. But is was fun to play with.

        Teachers in general are underpaid. In Texas, that practice is systemic and criminal. Texas allows the teachers to unionize, but prohibits a strike by public employees (which public school teachers are)

  13. Isaac

    The Kanye kerfluffle has brought into the public eye the many, rarely-discussed, (and frankly unassailable) arguments against loyalty to the Democratic Party by African-Americans. So maybe that’s the reason for the shift. Just trying to be optimistic.

  14. Still Spartan

    I am not going to debate on this topic because it would be pointless. I believe that unions (public and private) are necessary to a well functioning democracy and you think that they destroy democracy.

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