“At some point Donald Trump needs to take responsibility for the irresponsible behavior of his campaign,”
—Mayor Sam Liccardo, of San Jose, California, in response to rioting and violent attacks on Trump rally attendees after a Trump speech.
I am searching for some tangential benefits—silver linings in clouds of gray, so to speak—from the ugly choice of Presidential candidates being foisted on us. One benefit is that the situation is relentlessly exposing the flawed and in many cases deplorable character of various public figures, journalists, and others, including friends who we once thought had admirable integrity, values and principles. Most likely to expose the rot beneath are the hyper-partisans.
The anti-Trump riots in San Jose were shocking and inexcusable, except by the most unethical use of rationalizations and bias. Nonetheless, Liccardo’s immediate public response to them was to blame Donald Trump for, I guess, making Liccardo’s citizens viciously attack Trump supporters. Continue reading
“If this trial prevents one little girl or one mother or father from reporting suspected abuse then this is profoundly sad for our society.”
—-Lee J. Danforth, attorney,making a lightly veiled argument that his clients should suffer no penalties for ruining a teacher’s career and reputation with a false accusation of “inappropriate touching,” because such penalties would discourage future legitimate accusations.
“Oh, you all were lying when you got John Proctor hung as a witch? Well, that’s okay—we wouldn’t want to punish you, because it might discourage a real victim, in case there really IS a witch one of these days…
Mr. Danforth was defending a San Jose, California family in a defamation suit by a former Catholic school physical education teacher, John Fischler, who claimed that they methodically destroyed his reputation with a campaign of rumors and lies, led by his main accuser, an 11-year-old girl right out of “The Children’s Hour” or “The Crucible.” Danforth is a lawyer (Danforth was also the name of the judge in the Salem witch trials, speaking of “The Crucible” and false accusations) , and it is sometimes necessary, and thus ethical, for lawyers to make otherwise unethical arguments in the zealous representation of their despicable clients. Remember, legal ethics does not allow Danforth to temper his advocacy out of concern for future, genuine victims, unlike his clients. They are not his concern, and even bad people have a right to vigorous legal representation. Nonetheless, his statement embodies an unethical rationalization for letting diabolical and vicious false accusers escape the just consequences for their actions. Continue reading
Just add his daughter's head, and you have Rep. Gerber's fantasy date.
The Sixth District Court of Appeal in San Jose just ruled that Joseph Gerber, a California man who used his computer to create sexually explicit photos by pasting images of his 13-year-old daughter’s head onto the fully mature, naked bodies of porn performers in lewd poses, was wrongly convicted of possessing child pornography. After all, the pictures didn’t show minors engaging in sex acts, just fully legal adults with his daughter’s head, which apparently really turned Dad on.
The decision is unquestionably correct from a legal standpoint: no children were harmed to create the photos, and they did not depict child porn of any kind, except in Mr. Gerber’s fatherly mind.
Thus the Ethics Alarms question for Alec Baldwin and the reported 56% of New Yorkers who say that sexting, lying Representative Anthony Weiner should not resign his position because of his personal habit of sending smiling photos of his penis and other body parts to porn actresses, scheduling skype phone sex while his pregnant wife is away, and other similar activities, lying it all the while until lies became impossible: Continue reading