November 20, 2017

For the past few weeks, the worlds of Hollywood and Washington have been rocked by scandals involving allegations of powerful men taking advantage of and exploiting vulnerable women as well as allegations of gay celebrities assaulting young boys and younger men. From Hollywood’s Harvey Weinstein, Louis CK, Kevin Spacey, and George Takei, to political figures like Al Franken, Judge Roy Moore, former President Bill Clinton and political writer Mark Halperin, allegations of inappropriate conduct have been flying. Some openly confessed guilt, such as Louis CK and Mark Halperin. Others outright deny the charges, and others just say they were misunderstood and meant no harm, but are sorry if their actions caused hurt.

If you don’t believe a person who comes forward to call out a celebrity for behavior that ranges from disgusting to criminal, you run the risk of causing others to not report sexual attacks. But if we penalize people based on allegations without corroborating witnesses, confessions, or sworn testimony, we violate constitutional rights of due process, having the right to face our accuser, and the presumption of innocence until proven guilty beyond a reasonable doubt.

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Politics in particular is a nasty business. When people tell me they are thinking about running for office, I tell them, “If you can’t stand the sight of your own blood, don’t do it.” Politics is a full contact sport. It’s not for the faint of heart. Elections can be upended and lives permanently ruined by allegations whether they are from 40 years or 40 minutes ago. Just before my first reelection as Governor in 1998, an employee I had fired made allegations that I had misused funds at the Arkansas Governor’s Mansion. Another person I had not reappointed to a job suddenly thought just a couple of weeks before the election that she remembered that I had pressured the parole board 2 years earlier to grant parole to a particular inmate. Which would have been really amazing since in Arkansas, Governors don’t have anything to do with parole and every single person on that board at the time had been appointed by Bill Clinton or Jim Guy Tucker—both Democrats-and I’m pretty sure none of the folks on that board were trying to do me any favors. Funny that her memory came back to her just before the election. But ultimately something really great happened. I got sued. Three political activists read a story in a local liberal tabloid whose editor still writes outright lies about me, and based on reading that pathetic little paper, they sued me. Thank God they did! By suing me, it meant everyone had to testify under oath with the penalty of perjury hanging overhead if any of us lied. Once under oath, my accuser clammed up, and then tried to invoke the 5th amendment to keep from incriminating herself. Her attorney took her out of the room and the result was the case being dismissed, an apology letter to me being issued, and the plaintiffs admitting in the dismissal order from the court that there was absolutely no evidence whatsoever that I had misused a dime. So as much as I hate lawsuits and get really worn out from attorneys and legal procedures, there is a reason we have the judicial branch of government. I intuitively want to believe a person who has been abused, hurt, wounded, attacked, or assaulted. But I also want to make sure that we ARE sure before we act on accusations that haven’t been thoroughly vetted and verified. Benjamin Franklin said “That it is better 100 guilty Persons should escape than that one innocent Person should suffer.”

I don’t want the guilty to get away with anything, but none of us should want merely an accusation to result in the destruction of an innocent person’s life. It’s the messy part of our democracy. But if YOU are the one being accused, you deep down are glad we have it.


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Comments 1-4 of 4

  • Marilyn Kirkwold

    12/29/2017 08:48 PM

    I am sure this is what happened to Judge Moore, and it still makes me mad that democrats get away with this stuff. Absolutely no proof, just accusations! I also remember the Duke LaCrosse team. It's so unfair. One day Jesus will set everything right, and I anxiously await that day. Love to read your comments every day!

  • carlos ramos

    12/29/2017 03:44 PM

    The socio-cultural problems surfacing in the USA today have their origins from rubble from the 1960s covering up or trying to cover up our nation's solid foundation principles. These "let it be"," turn on tune in..." free love" peace marches that end up in hurling of rocks and bottles. This is the generation now grown that acts at influencing media, culture, merchandizing, advertising, fashion and politics in America. There happen to be 850-860 million innocent people serving time due to this infected society and laws that create an emotional backlash so great, that fair, just, honest and proper trials are simply a thing of the past. Court justices and lawyer practices rely more upon bargaining, trumping up charges, making deals rather than reading laws out loud in court to shake everybody awake. Sure the guilty must be accountable for crime but the innocent serving time due to DAs playing both roles of prosecutor and judge?? Not so in America! Except Mr Huckabee, these days this happens every day!! I wish people would stop pretending the justice system concerns itself with justice - it does not. Rather it concerns itself with SYSTEM and the money that for-profit parole, for-profit probation and for-profit prison systems provide. This de-evolved system is yet another swamp that needs emptying!

  • Fred DeVries

    11/27/2017 02:53 AM

    Mike, my comment is about your Thanksgiving weekend show. Great show, with an extremely poor audio mix. Your Country/Western singer was covered by the Keyboard, and I could not hear/understand your introduction of the young man with the awesome memory! Please, give a listen and try to improve. As I said, great show!

  • Brigitte Howells

    11/20/2017 05:50 PM

    While I certainly don't want to excuse the "dirty old men" in Hollywood and Washington, I have also seen how females will taunt and flaunt their "booties" provocatively; but as soon as a guy shows his appreciation and gets frisky, the women cry "harassment". I worked in industry for 30 years, mostly with men, and personally observed the "games' being played, and as supervisor took the females' complaints.
    I believe that men have to think twice before fulfilling their fantasies whenever the mood strikes them - females can be witches.