Al Franken

Discussion in 'Politics & Current Events' started by Drew, Nov 17, 2017.

  1. Drew

    Drew Forum MVP

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    I've always liked and respected Franken - his "Lies and the Lying Liars who Tell Them: A Fair And Balanced Look at the Right" was a pretty eye opening read for me when a high school buddy of mine gave me a copy, helped ignite my interest in politics, and in particular the chapter where he rips apart Ann Coulter's use of footnotes in the first chapter of one of her books, going back to the original source she's citing and demonstrating how without exception she's taking things totally out of context, was, I thought, a tour de force. Later as a young adult, I met a friend of one of my roommate's who was actually a research intern working with Franken on that book while he was in college, and said nothing but good things about the guy. And he's been a champion of women's rights and sexual assault prevention in the senate, providing no-cost access to rape kits for his constituents, and hiring feminists to prominent positions in his campaign and staff.

    And, I find myself wanting to excuse his behavior - while the picture is in awful taste, it looks like he's not actually touching his accuser, only pretending to, and I want to believe she's misremembering or mischaracterizing the rehearsal she describes.

    But, I can't really argue with this:

    https://fivethirtyeight.com/feature...draw-a-line-in-the-sand-on-sexual-misconduct/

    The right thing for him to do here is, absent any strong evidence to the contrary (say, video of the rehearsal disproving this woman's story, coupled with a confirmation from the photographer that he didn't touch her or that she was only pretending to sleep as a joke for a picture she knew was being takken, or something like that), is to step down, fight the allegations from outside the Senate, run for his seat when it's next open if his name is cleared if he so chooses, but ultimately to signal that this behavior shouldn't be tolerated from anyone, Republican or Democrat. As Democrats, this is a missed opportunity to differentiate the party.
     
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  2. marcwormjim

    marcwormjim SS.org Regular

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    And that’s...okay.
     
  3. Drew

    Drew Forum MVP

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    ok?
     
  4. thraxil

    thraxil cylon

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    Yep. Sexual assault isn't a Republican or Democrat thing. He should face the consequences like anyone else.

    * Bill Clinton
    * Clarence Thomas
    * Donald Trump
    * George H.W. Bush
    * Roy Moore
    * Al Franken

    (many more I'm sure; those are just the ones that come immediately to mind). All credibly accused or admitted to various degrees of sexual assault or harassment. All should face consequences. If you find that your views on which of those men should or shouldn't be held accountable matches up with your political affiliation, you need to take a good look at yourself.
     
  5. narad

    narad SS.org Regular

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    SNL reference.
     
  6. Drew

    Drew Forum MVP

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    Ahh. I actually don't really watch TV.

    thraxil - I think the very notable omission in that list is Donald Trump. :lol:
     
  7. thraxil

    thraxil cylon

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    No, he's in there. Trump tweeting condemnation of Franken last night (I think he still hasn't said anything about Moore) basically broke my hypocrisy meter.
     
  8. will_shred

    will_shred not that good.

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    Did Clinton ever actually sexually assault anyone?

    And hey, at least he took responsibility for it, unlike some others.
     
  9. Drew

    Drew Forum MVP

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    Why so he is! :lol:
    Clinton was alleged to have sexually assaulted someone, I believe, during the campaign. Lewinsky, however, the one the GOP tried to impeach him over, was 100% consensual.
     
  10. thraxil

    thraxil cylon

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    No, there are rape accusations against him as well:

    https://www.theatlantic.com/enterta...ckoning-with-bill-clintons-sex-crimes/545729/

    "Juanita Broaddrick reported that when she was a volunteer on one of his gubernatorial campaigns, she had arranged to meet him in a hotel coffee shop. At the last minute, he had changed the location to her room in the hotel, where she says he very violently raped her. She said that she fought against Clinton throughout a rape that left her bloodied. At a different Arkansas hotel, he caught sight of a minor state employee named Paula Jones, and, Jones said, he sent a couple of state troopers to invite her to his suite, where he exposed his penis to her and told her to kiss it. Kathleen Willey said that she met him in the Oval Office for personal and professional advice and that he groped her, rubbed his erect penis on her, and pushed her hand to his crotch."
     
  11. Scordare

    Scordare SS.org Regular

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    Just another f'n politician that thinks running the country is a frat party.. Then the taxpayers will get the privilege to pay her off.. Congressional Shush Fund
     
  12. Drew

    Drew Forum MVP

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    Nitpicking a little, but at the time of the incident, Franken was a comedian with a knack for pointed political satire. He didn't become a Senator until 2009.

    If you're going to write him off like that, I think it has to be a more general "just another fuckin' white man inn a position of power that thinks running the country is a frat party."
     
  13. narad

    narad SS.org Regular

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    Well I think it definitely dates me and @marcwormjim -- better to ask if you watched TV 25 years ago or something!
     
  14. Drew

    Drew Forum MVP

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    :lol: Nah, I';m 36, I'm not THAT old, though maybe in comparison to the average age here. I usually get together with friends for dinner to watch Game of Thrones, and I'll catch major sports games at a bar or with friends, but I don't own a TV and don't really watch anything on my own.
     
  15. Randy

    Randy Ooh, Degrasse Tyson-son Super Moderator

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    It was a mistake for the Democrats to overplay their hand against "grab em by the pussy" and Moore by acting like they're the absolute authority on morality.

    Id have objectively considered the Franken thing a big nothing were it not for the hypocrisy that it invokes based on their virtue signaling over the last year. Hilarious that the party of Anthony Weiner, John Edwards and Bill Clinton decided to bill themselves as the party of sexual purity.
     
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  16. narad

    narad SS.org Regular

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    I don't find it to have ever been about sexual purity as it has been about consent.

    Isn't it supposed to be conservatives that look down at any sexual activity apart from missionary position in an established and religiously sanctioned union, to justify the disgust against Clinton and Weiner, etc. But I think many liberals and myself personally don't care in any way about oval office blowjobs and sexting from hilarious pseudonyms -- I just care that the other party was on board with it. This doesn't hold in many of these others: Moore, Trump, and now Franken, because the lack of consent has moved these behaviors into the realm of sexual assault.
     
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  17. Drew

    Drew Forum MVP

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    Clinton is something of an enigma, because while he was impeached for a consensual affair, some of the earlier allegations were of assault. I think the Democratic party needs to come to terms with Clinton's history, and to their credit they seem to be trying (see Gillimbrand's comments today).

    Weiner, though, got kicked to the curb asap once allegations broke, and unless Edwards did something I'm forgetting of, he was kind of a scumbag, but he wasn't a sexual predator.

    Meanwhile, this cycle alone, we have Trump and Moore, both accused of sexual assault with a fair amount of substantiating evidence (the former bragging about it on tape, the latter was confirmed to have been barred from a mall), and the latter accused of assaulting girls under the age of consent. Both deny it, both attacked their accusers, and the first is now the President and the second may soon be a Senator. Franken, to his credit, quickly admitted wrongdoing - I'd rather see him step down, but he's at least owning up to what he did, rather than doubling down.

    I don't think the Democrats are the party of sexual purity, and neither party has a lock on dirtbags or bastards... But, so far, we've done a better job owning up to our mistakes, and disowning party members who have committed sex crimes. Bill Clinton complicates this, but Weiner and Edwards don't, I think.
     
  18. thraxil

    thraxil cylon

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    An important distinction is that none of those men are currently in office or running for office. Plus, Weiner is actually in jail.
     
  19. Randy

    Randy Ooh, Degrasse Tyson-son Super Moderator

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    That's a matter of opinion.

    I was listening to the Franken radio show regularly at the time the picture was taken, and I got the distinct impression the kind of activity in the picture was within the dynamic the two had going between them. The part I find inappropriate is, speaking as a guy, I can relate to being in a situation that's high in testosterone (like a bunch of guys on a military base) with women around and leaning on sex as humor. And I'm entirely sure she knew that was the dynamic going in, and "hover hand boob grab" is probably within the realm of behavior that she knew was going on.

    I don't say any of that as an excuse for Franken, I say it because it draws a common thread. Like Weinstein, Clinton, Weiner and Edwards, this illustrates men using both their office and stature as leverage into getting women into compromising positions that aren't explicit enough to be rape, but puts them in a position to do things they otherwise wouldn't do.

    And it's sleazy and culturally, its something that I personally believe is the most important thing to come to the forefront in the #MeToo campaign. Rape and sexual assault are the obvious transgressions but those cross the threshold for being criminal, which makes it easy to draw a moral line there. Taking advantage of women in a harassing way has been chuckled off for a long time, but I think now we're having a real discussion about it not being okay.

    That said, there's still good reason why there's a legal line between rape/assault and harassment; severity matters. Being annoyingly jockish and overly sexual in a creepy way with a woman around is shameful but it's a different kettle of fish than literal rape or statutory rape or literally grabbing a woman's genitals (keep in mind, Franken "hovered").

    But to my original point, the Democrats have been being overly broadbrush in their handling of the recent history's cases because they could low-key equate sketchy behavior by Republicans with outright rape or similar.
     
  20. bostjan

    bostjan MicroMetal Contributor

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    This is 100% political.

    Come on, the timing of this, and the fact that two actors were acting and kissed pursuant to that... the boob grab photo is obviously inappropriate, but to place that on the same level as forcible sexual assault (Moore) on a child is just a classic Fox News tactic.

    For the love of God, trying to distract from a serial child rapist by bringing up this sort of behaviour is worse, morally, than the latter behaviour.

    Frankin was in the wrong here, and he needs to do the right thing, but the much bigger story here is how the media outlets are handling this.
     

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