Tuesday, November 28, 2017

Last Call For Franken My Dear, I Don't Give A Damn, Con't

Sen. Al Franken's hometown newspaper isn't buying his apologia for his sexual harassment behavior, and neither am I to be honest.

U.S. Sen. Al Franken broke his self-imposed silence over the weekend, submitting to a series of media interviews on the sexual misconduct allegations against him, professing his shame and embarrassment. That was a necessary move — Minnesotans and the country at large deserved to hear from him. But his apology falls lamentably short in several respects. 
The Minnesota Democrat said in one interview it was important "that we listen to women," but then refuted the story of Leeann Tweeden, the USO entertainer who accused him of shoving his tongue down her throat during a rehearsed "kiss." He recalls "a normal rehearsal," but didn't elaborate. On the subsequent allegations of women who say he groped them during photos — specifically, that he grabbed their buttocks — Franken apologized, but for what, exactly? 
He said he does not recall groping and said he "would never intentionally" squeeze or grope a woman but often hugs people. Is he suggesting these women could not distinguish between a friendly embrace and groping? Or that at his age he somehow groped unintentionally? Can one credibly apologize for acts without acknowledging they occurred? 
With a Senate ethics investigation looming, Franken remains on politically shaky ground. It's debatable whether he is, as he said, "holding myself accountable." Without saying he didn't do it, he nevertheless has countered every allegation except the one that carries indisputable proof — the infamous photo of him appearing to grab at Tweeden while she slept. 
Under such circumstances, Franken's apology is less a statement of accountability and more akin to "I'm sorry for what you think I did." Franken may just be trying to ride out the storm, as is the case too often these days. After all, President Donald Trump survived multiple sexual misconduct allegations to become president, and it's possible that Roy Moore will become Alabama's next senator despite credible allegations that he molested a 14-year-old and repeatedly approached underage teens. Moore's conduct is in a different league from what Franken is accused of, but none of it is acceptable.

And that's really the issue, isn't it?  How much sexual harassment is "acceptable" in our political leaders, particularly the ones in the party we support?  Republicans obviously don't give a damn, about that, Trump and Moore prove that beyond any objective doubt.

And yes, I know that it's easy to say "This is another GOP ratfvcking operation, just done by people smarter than O'Keefe and his Project Veritas clowns."  Sure, this has Roger Stone's primordial ooze all over it. But as the Star-Tribune notes, Franken's not denying the allegations from Tweeden, and he's not denying that more women may come forward still. No matter how cynical you are about Tweeden's timing, a picture speaks a thousand words, and she didn't deserve to be groped, even in jest.  At some point however, we have to be better than the damn GOP when it comes to having morality.

We're not Republicans.  We do give a damn. And you'll excuse me for thinking that Al Franken needs to go.

Not before Trump does and Moore too for that matter.  But he still needs to go.

All The News That's Fit To Fake

Remember the next time you hear conservatives scream that the news media has nobody to blame but themselves as to why people don't trust them that there's a concerted effort by the right to try to cripple and/or destroy journalism in the US in order to make it easier to continue to lie to America without anyone around to challenge them.

Fortunately for the news media, the concerted effort to destroy them is headed by idiots like James O'Keefe III and his merry band of blockheads at Project Veritas, as once again an obvious "sting operation" to discredit a major news outlet, in this case the Washington Post and its coverage of Roy Moore's sexual assault, gloriously backfired as the reporters at the newspaper actually did their job and followed up on O'Keefe's attempt to plant a fake accuser against Moore.

A woman who falsely claimed to The Washington Post that Roy Moore, the Republican U.S. Senate candidate in Alabama, impregnated her as a teenager appears to work with an organization that uses deceptive tactics to secretly record conversations in an effort to embarrass its targets. 
In a series of interviews over two weeks, the woman shared a dramatic story about an alleged sexual relationship with Moore in 1992 that led to an abortion when she was 15. During the interviews, she repeatedly pressed Post reporters to give their opinions on the effects that her claims could have on Moore’s candidacy if she went public.

The Post did not publish an article based on her unsubstantiated account. When Post reporters confronted her with inconsistencies in her story and an Internet posting that raised doubts about her motivations, she insisted that she was not working with any organization that targets journalists. 
But on Monday morning, Post reporters saw her walking into the New York offices of Project Veritas, an organization that targets the mainstream news media and left-leaning groups. The organization sets up undercover “stings” that involve using false cover stories and covert video recordings meant to expose what the group says is media bias. 
James O’Keefe, the Project Veritas founder who was convicted of a misdemeanor in 2010 for using a fake identity to enter a federal building during a previous sting, declined to answer questions about the woman outside the organization’s offices on Monday morning shortly after the woman walked inside. 
“I am not doing an interview right now, so I’m not going to say a word,” O’Keefe said.

In a follow-up interview, O’Keefe declined to answer repeated questions about whether the woman was employed at Project Veritas. He also did not respond when asked if he was working with Moore, former White House adviser and Moore supporter Stephen K. Bannon, or Republican strategists. 
The group’s efforts illustrate the lengths to which activists have gone to try to discredit media outlets for reporting on allegations from multiple women that Moore pursued them when they were teenagers and he was in his early 30s. Moore has denied that he did anything improper.

A spokesman for Moore’s campaign did not respond to a message seeking comment.

Now, this absolutely was a stupid, long-shot stunt on O'Keefe's part.  He's tried such sophomoric nonsense before. But remember, even if there was a 99% chance he was going to be caught here, if he hadn't, if the Post had run the false accusations, it would have destroyed the Post's credibility for years, and most likely served as a major deterrent for people to come forward on sexual harassment for a significant period of time.

That is the the gamble O'Keefe was willing to take, and it's worth it to him.  As with ACORN, the voter registration outfit that he helped to destroy with a ludicrous "sting" video (which still serves as a right-wing coded dog whistle) and with Shirley Sherrod, who was fired wrongfully from her government job in 2010 after a false story in Breitbart accused her of being racist, remember that all he has to do is catch a news outlet napping once.

The news media on the other hand has to be vigilant 100% of the time against O'Keefe's cartoon villainy, and must defeat him every time.  Eventually O'Keefe will get his Trump era brass ring, and he knows it.

It's just a matter of time and of the odds.

Tales Of A Lesser Moore, Con't

Alabama's special Senate election is two weeks away as Roy Moore and Doug Jones battle it out, and Steve M. has noted a new write-in challenger has appeared.

A retired Marine colonel who once served as a top aide to White House Chief of Staff John F. Kelly plans to launch a long-shot write-in campaign Monday afternoon to become Alabama’s next senator, with just 15 days left in the campaign.

Lee Busby, 60, of Tuscaloosa, Ala., said he thinks that the allegations of sexual impropriety against Republican nominee Roy Moore have created an opportunity for a centrist candidate to win more than a third of the state’s votes in the Dec. 12 special election....

Busby, who was lacking any formal campaign structure or even a working website as of Monday morning, said he is counting on social media to spread the word about his campaign. He said he plans to run as an independent on his record as an investment banker, military leader and defense contractor and entrepreneur. He spent the weekend working on a logo and said he is just starting to explore the legal requirements for raising money for a campaign.

Steve argues that Col. Busby is the GOP's last-ditch effort to help Moore.

It's likely that a certain number of voters who normally vote Republican have qualms about Moore, because they think his God-bothering goes too far or because they're disturbed by the sex allegations against him. Some might be thinking of voting for Democrat Doug Jones -- but if they find out about Busby's campaign, they can vote for him without voting for either Moore or (horrors!) a Democrat. So I think the candidate Busby could hurt is Jones.

Or, more likely, Moore's going to win by a comfortable margin. Polls are close, but I suspect that many GOP voters will come home at the last minute, or have already settled on Moore but aren't saying so out loud. If they need an excuse for their moral relativism, they can just say that John Conyers and Al Franken are still in office, so why not a perv who's their perv? However, I hope I'm wrong.

He's probably not wrong at all.  A Moore victory by 8-10 points is still the most likely scenario. Alabama had no problem voting for Trump, he won by 28 points. Why would they be bothered voting for Moore? And yes, if Moore wins by that much, it will mean that the very credible accusations made against him will mean precisely nothing to Alabama voters as the polls showed Moore with a close to a double digit lead in October, before the story of his long history of sexual assault broke.

So yes, I fully expect Moore to win and win easily.  Republican voters in Alabama are simply telling themselves that the allegations against Moore are fake news.  They will vote for Moore anyway, because Republican voters who still vote Republican these days are just as awful as the Republicans they vote for.

Maybe this will finally get that fact through people's heads, and Democrats will finally stop chasing them.  I hope I'm wrong, but after Matt Bevin's massive win in 2015, I take all state polling with a large deposit of salt.

We'll see.


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