The Morning Jolt


Wow. NBC Fires Matt Lauer for ‘Inappropriate Sexual Behavior in the Workplace’

NBC News announced this morning that they fired Matt Lauer last night after “a detailed complaint about inappropriate sexual behavior in the workplace” with “reason to believe this may not have been an isolated incident.”

Whatever NBC discovered, it must have been dire, out of the blue, and sudden. Lauer just co-hosted NBC’s coverage of the Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade Thursday!

Picture traveling back in time a year, and telling people that by the end of November 2017, sexual harassment allegations had not really derailed the Trump presidency, but had effectively ended the careers of NBC’s Matt Lauer, PBS’s Charlie Rose, NBC’s Mark Halperin, Harvey Weinstein, Kevin Spacey, Vox editorial director Lockhart Steele, NPR news chief Michael Oreskes, former New Republic editor Leon Wieseltier, and former New Republic president and publisher Hamilton Fish.

Probably the single most empty argument we’ve seen in the aftermath is some variation of “men need to embrace feminism.”

As Vox of all places observes in the aftermath of the allegations against Senator Al Franken and Congressman John Conyers, some of the worst offenders were the loudest self-proclaimed feminists:

It would be an indication that [Franken], a self-declared progressive feminist — a “champion” of women, as he put it in his initial response to Tweeden’s allegations — did not see “caring about the comfort of women interacting with you in casual settings” as part of the job description.

It wouldn’t be uncommon. We know by now that people who profess to care about gender equality can be serial harassers too. We know that Harvey Weinstein raised money for Planned Parenthood. We know that Leon Wieseltier thought of himself as a champion of women writers and editors. We know that Louis C.K. tried to build a comedy legacy on being a male feminist.

We know, now, that none of the things those men did in public changed the fact that they scared the women around them into victimhood and then into silence.

As a wise man* once said, “it’s not who I am underneath, but what I do that defines me.” It doesn’t matter how noble your principles and stands and beliefs are if you treat people like dirt. This is the true measure of a person’s character; a person who disagrees completely on all ideology but who is respectful, kind, big-hearted and honorable does more good for the world than the ideological compatriot who is a walking misery factory driven by abusive egomaniacal narcissism.

Vox is getting pretty fascinating to read lately, just because their writers expect progressives to live up to their own professed values. We on the Right might disagree with them on a whole lot, but their rejection of casual hypocrisy is pretty pleasing to see:

This is the nature of civil society, though: No person can dictate whether others live up to his values, or even their own. No organization can either. The only actions they can control are their own.

If you believe that a more just world is one in which sexual harassers lose their jobs, the only way you can act to enforce that norm is to take care of the sexual harassers in your midst.

*That wise man, of course, was Batman.

Do Captured Terrorists Belong in U.S. Courtrooms?

There are four potential conclusions to draw from the news that a jury convicted Libyan terrorist Ahmed Abu Khattala on several conspiracy charges, but not murder, in a U.S. federal criminal court yesterday.

1. Maybe the prosecution really dropped the ball. (Not likely.)

2. Maybe proving guilt for a chaotic terrorist attack halfway around the world is more difficult than it looks. (More likely, more on this in a moment.)

3. Maybe this is why military tribunals and/or drone strikes are a better way to deal with terrorists.

4. Maybe he just got the descendants of the O.J. Simpson jury.

As the New York Times points out, this is not the first time an Islamist terrorist walked into a U.S. courtoom and a jury decided not to convict on a slew of the most serious charges.

Khattala was convicted on four counts — including providing material support for terrorism, conspiracy to do so, destroying property and placing lives in jeopardy at the mission, and carrying a semiautomatic firearm during a crime of violence — but acquitted on 14 others. He faces life in prison.

The mixed verdict showed the difficulty of prosecuting terrorism cases when the evidence is not clear-cut. The outcome was reminiscent of the 2010 federal trial of Ahmed Khalfan Ghailani, a Tanzanian man and former Guantánamo Bay detainee who was charged in federal court as a conspirator in the 1998 bombings of two American embassies in East Africa that killed hundreds. Mr. Ghailani was acquitted of most of the charges, including each murder count for those who died, but he was still sentenced to life in prison for a conviction on one count of conspiracy.

This aspect of the case appears to support the second conclusion above:

Prosecutors acknowledged that no evidence existed that Mr. Khattala had personally fired any shots or set any buildings ablaze, but argued that he had nevertheless helped orchestrate the attacks and aided them while they were underway. To make that case, they drew primarily on testimony from three Libyan witnesses and on a database said to be Mr. Khattala’s cellphone records.

Prosecutors presented witnesses who said that leading up to the attacks, Mr. Khattala had talked about the need to get rid of what he saw as an American spy base in Benghazi, and gathered weapons with his militia a few days beforehand.

There were roughly 150 attackers in Benghazi more than five years ago; so far the United States government has captured just two of them. The U.S. caught the second perpetrator just last month, nabbing Mustafa Al-Imam during a special operations forces raid in Libya.

What if Roy Moore Wins Alabama’s Special Senate Election?

If Doug Jones wins, a lot of Republicans will be able to argue the lessons are obvious: Don’t listen to Steve Bannon. Don’t nominate egomaniac candidates with skeletons in their closets who refuse to withdraw in the face of credible accusations and who only offer contradictory, semi-blanket denials.

If Roy Moore wins, Senate Republicans have to decide whether they want him to take the seat.

And it looks like a Moore win isn’t that unthinkable. JMC Enterprises just completed a new poll in Alabama and found three conclusions: “(1) Roy Moore has regained his lead in the polls; (2) Republicans have similarly regained the lead in the generic ballot test; and (3) allegations of sexual misconduct against Roy Moore have not materially impacted the race.”

ADDENDA: I’m scheduled to appear on CNN International’s State of America this afternoon.

Finally . . . we’re almost at the end of November. We’re never going to get any further information about the motive of the Las Vegas shooter, are we? We’re just supposed to let that go.

As my podcast co-host Mickey White periodically wonders, this guy was a professional gambler who hung out in casinos all the time, yet we’ve not seen any security footage of him?


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