Al Franken

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

  1. thraxil

    thraxil cylon

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    Yep. Now if only the Republicans (you know, the "family values" folks) would adopt a similar zero tolerance policy toward sexual harassment, assault, pedophilia, etc. Not holding my breath.
     
  2. Randy

    Randy Ooh, Degrasse Tyson-son Super Moderator

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    ...yay...?
     
  3. bostjan

    bostjan MicroMetal Contributor

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    Ok.

    So Franken, who's creepy for being too touchy-feely goes out and Roy Moore, who's creepy for pedophilia goes in. [/mixedfeelings]
     
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  4. wankerness

    wankerness SS.org Regular

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    This is horrible. It's an idiotic political move so they look good in some hypothetical future where people look back and say "oh, the democrats had such integrity that they kicked out one of their best senators for kissing some people, while the republicans elected a child molester." Unfortunately, most democrats think this was a horrible idea, and it won't change one republican mind. In fact, I wouldn't be surprised if a focus on THE PATRIARCHY causes votes for democrats to decrease, since a majority of people that don't live in huge cities think it's obnoxious identity politic BS. This also allows the right to weaponize sexual allegations. If the democrats will kick someone out for ALLEGATIONS, before any due process of law, just imagine when Bannon calls for any accusers possible. IIRC, a couple of THESE people were tied to Breitbart (could be fake news).

    Regardless, best case scenario is that these morons can watch from the moral high ground as social security and medicare and the environment get burned to the ground, and the president starts wars via Twitter. Good job! It doesn't help anyone and in fact does damage to our cause. I understand the "moral victory," but that is absolutely the last thing we need right now.
     
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  5. Drew

    Drew Forum MVP

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    So, we've talked about this a bit elsewhere (or maybe here) but I'm pretty conflicted on this.

    On one hand, Franken is a guy who historically I've always had a lot of respect for, and in addition to being funny as hell I think he's been a surprisingly effective advocate in the Senate. He always struck me as one of the good guys.

    On the other, clearly knowing what we know now that isn't the case, and he's done some really shady things. Not quite to the degree of Moore, sure, but the allegations here, even if you ignore the ones he denies and only focus on the ones he admits to but interprets differently, are thhings that complicate that respect.

    Idunno. It's hard to lose respect for someone you've admired for decades. He was right to step down, he was wrong to wait as long as he did to do so, but it's still tough to see someone you used to respect have their name tarnished, however much it turns out they deserve it.
     
  6. Drew

    Drew Forum MVP

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    Eh, another Democrat will be named in Franken's place, and while 2018 won't be a lock for the Democrats, in a Democratic wave it's a seat they're highly likely to hold onto. Franken is a dangerous distraction at a time when Moore is running for a Senate seat in a dead heat, and Trump is president. And I LIKE Franken.

    Put another way - if you want to look at political calculus rather than reasonably objective right or wrong (and, remember, Franken admits to some of the accusations, so they're not simple allegations), then if this helps the Dems shore up their cred on women's rights issues, the party is FAR better off without Franken and with Jones than they are with Franken and Moore.
     
  7. wankerness

    wankerness SS.org Regular

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    The big problem with him stepping down, apart from infuriating practically every democrat, (seriously! for a great example just look at the top user comments and votes on the NYT article about this - NO ONE supports this until you get about 20 comments/several hundred fewer upvotes, with most of the top ones saying "f these corrupt grandstanders I'm going independent and working for Bernie Sanders etcetcetc), is what kind of precedent does this set? It's NOT going to change any republican behavior, that's for damn sure, and it just gets that minority of screechy millennials, super dogmatic types who can't see the forest for the trees, and other people who don't give 1 shit about due process in the position of having to do this any time the republicans dig up dirt against their competition. This is the worst.
     
  8. Randy

    Randy Ooh, Degrasse Tyson-son Super Moderator

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    A Democrat will fill Frankens vacancy but it's far from a slam dunk that they'll win when the seat comes up in a couple years (Franken won by the skin of his teeth) and it's even less of a certainty that Jones will win in AL as some kind of payback from the universe for Franken falling on his sword. If you want to argue the decision on purely moral footing than have at it but trying to chalk this up as something strategically sound is horseshit.
     
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  9. bostjan

    bostjan MicroMetal Contributor

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    What if this is all part of a bigger plan by democrats to sway public opinion, and Franken is in on it, at some level? Probably not the case, but I can't rule out the idea that maybe Franken got caught in the middle of some sort of political strategy game between the GOP and DNC. I know it sounds paranoid, but:

    1. The first accuser to come forward, not that it matters, is a Sean Hannity supporter, and the timing of the accusation seemed to be perfectly timed. Nothing wrong with either of those, just seemed like there might have been a political aspect to it, even if it was an afterthought.
    2. On the flip side of this, the timing of Franken's (and Conyers's, too, to some extent) announcement to resign is also timed perfectly to drive political pressure toward Trump as he rallies in the FL panhandle (quite near Alabama).
    3. If you know me, you know that I am very much in favour of having investigations before drawing any conclusions that have irreversible effects. Franken seemed to keep an "air" of integrity through this. First rightwing folks were casting accusations against him, then some leftwing folks did. All, most likely by coincidence, were politically opinionated people. Which leads to three leading possibilities: 1. Franken is a sexual predator who gets aggressively grabby and slobbery around women. 2. Franken is one of those touchy people who mouth kisses people and hugs a lot, and things got misinterpreted and embellished over the years. Or, and this one might seem out on a limb, and it kind of is, but maybe not as much as it sounds at first: 3. The democrats saw Franken in trouble, and decided to sacrifice him in order to sway public opinion on the entire issue.

    Some people might knee-jerk and say that even entertaining the possibility of 2 or 3 is demeaning to women, or disrespectful toward his accusers, but let me set this straight right away - calling someone a liar is disrespectful, but so is calling someone a liar. If person A says X and person B says NOT X, we must entertain more than the possibility of X. Assuming person A, who we don't know as well as person B, is telling the truth, is frankly stupid. Assuming person A is lying is also stupid, so what do you do, you investigate, and you open up possibilities, not to take away person A's power, but to make sure that you don't make an idiotic mistake in judgement. There's no reason person A nor person B should retain all of the power and authority over the story - the facts need to be evaluated. That's just the way the world has to work or else there will never be justice.

    This is the douchiness of post-modern thinking. If someone claims something, and there is no reason to disbelieve them, then we should not contradict them. If someone claims something, and someone else contradicts them, then we should weigh the evidence and decide for ourselves. Honestly, sometimes, there is not enough evidence, and, when that is the case, we must choose not to decide anything, as tough as that is. That's where things get really tricky.

    In Franken's case, there was photographic evidence and there were also multiple testimonies of similar behaviour, so, generally speaking, it's a closed case, right. Well, sort of - the photographic evidence available doesn't establish very much, IMO. And the fact that there are multiple accusers supports both options 1 and 3 I listed above.

    There's a big problem with trying to draw a conclusion with sexual assault. That's that these things generally happen in private. So, unless it's a certain kind of rape, there will not likely be any evidence aside from the two testimonies of the people involved, which leads to a legal conundrum of he-said-she-said. But, let's set that notion completely aside in Franken's case, because of one very very big detail - these allegations against Franken were all incidents that happened in front of plenty of other people. That's right, I said it's a very big detail, because there is potential for witnesses to exist who were not directly involved, but it's also complex, because, just because something happened with a thousand people around who could have seen it doesn't mean that someone necessarily saw it.

    I don't want to go as far as defending Franken, but this is a serious question that the media hasn't picked at - two or more of the women have said now that the groping that was done was very direct and deliberate, such that Franken didn't do it on accident. Both of those cases were photographed, which means someone else was there paying direct attention to both of the parties involved. Why haven't we heard from these third parties? Don't get me wrong, they have defended neither side, so it means nothing aside from the fact that asking them is the obvious next step, but after a couple of weeks, it seems weird (for both sides) that this hasn't been addressed publicly. That minor detail is on of the reasons option 3 seems more appealing than it ought to be.
     
  10. Randy

    Randy Ooh, Degrasse Tyson-son Super Moderator

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    I don't find that to be particularly conspiratorial or controversial at all. Democrats are building a case against Roy Moore in the short term, but they're also cashing in a lot of chips that the accusations against Trump will mature into or maybe beyond the 2018 midterms. For that to work, the 'unclean' need to be purged from their ranks. It's *a* strategy or at least it can be assembled into something resembling a strategy, I just don't personally find it to be a good one.
     
  11. Drew

    Drew Forum MVP

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    Well, I think arguing for or against this in strategic terms is tough - too many unknowns, for one (what happens in Minnesota in 2018? Does Moore win? Does this refocus allegations on Trump?) and you can probably make a reasonable case in either direction.

    So, I think all that leaves us is the fact that it DOES give the Democrats a much clearer claim to the moral high ground. Franken and Conyers were accused of sexual harrassment in varying degrees, and while they could have acted faster both men resigned. Meanwhile, Trump admitted to sexual assault in the campaign, and is no longer facing pressure from his own party about it, Moore is accused of sexual assualt on a child and isn't dropping out of the race, and while Franks resigned, Farenthold is facing multiple allegations and his party has been silent on the matter, too.

    You can debate whether moral high ground matters, fairly I think when we have an Alabama race where evangelicals are going through mental contortions to argue that a pedophile could have not only been justified ("after Vietnam, young girls were the only pure ones left") and that even a flawed man can still do the work of God. But, the Democrats are coming out of this looking like the only major party that takes sexual assault seriously, and with Gillibrand publicly declaring that Clinton should have resigned too (and, with the fact that this all happened 25 years ago, now), "But, Bill Clinton..." is becoming a less effective rejoiner, too.

    Worst case, I don't think they're actively hurting themselves in the short term, or probably medium term. Best case, moral high ground does, in fact, matter.
     

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