Tag Archives: sexual harassment

Et tu, Al?

Updated below (on Friday, November 17, 2017)

In the current climate, it was only a matter of time before someone I really have liked and respected was going to be outed as having acted sexually inappropriately in the past. This time, there is photographic evidence:

Franken gropes the accuser while smiling

That’s Democratic U.S. Sen. Al Franken of Minnesota apparently pretending* to grope a sleeping woman (radio newscaster Leeann Tweeden) during a U.S.O. (United Service Organizations) tour in the Middle East in 2006.

From his expression, he fairly clearly thinks that it’s pretty fucking funny. Of course, it isn’t, which he has acknowledged, and he has apologized for his inappropriate, immature, abusive, disrespectful act, and Tweeden has stated that she accepts his apology and that she doesn’t believe that he should step down.

To me, that’s pretty much case closed.

More disturbing to me than the frat-boy-level photo above is Tweeden’s allegation that Franken, under the guise of rehearsing a skit that he wrote that (rather conveniently) required him to kiss her, kissed her forcefully against her wishes (and gave her tongue, she adds).

Such unwanted contact constitutes sexual battery, in my book, but Franken said that “While I don’t remember the rehearsal for the skit as Leeann does, I understand why we need to listen to and believe women’s experiences.”

He immediately added: “I am asking that an ethics investigation be undertaken, and I will gladly cooperate.”

So: This contact between Franken and Tweeden happened in 2006, before Franken became a U.S. senator in 2009. (And in Tweeden’s own words, “Franken had written some skits for the [U.S.O.] show and brought props and costumes to go along with them. Like many U.S.O. shows before and since, the skits were full of sexual innuendo geared toward a young, male audience.” That’s some context, and context matters.)

The New York Times reports that “Ms. Tweeden said that no one else witnessed the [alleged forced] kiss, and she did not tell the tour’s organizers [about it].” (Indeed, Tweeden’s own words to this effect are here.)

Franken couldn’t have been convicted of sexual battery at the time even if Tweeden had gone to the authorities, because they apparently have different versions of the same event that no one else witnessed. Legally, it seems to me, that’s pretty much that.

It seems to me that absent a felony conviction, which should disqualify anyone from becoming or remaining a U.S. senator, it’s up to the voters of Minnesota to decide Franken’s fate when he comes up for re-election in 2020, assuming that he decides to run again.

It’s probably safe to say that any hope that Franken might have had about running for president in 2020 is dashed — even though “President” Pussygrabber bragged about grabbing women by the pussy and still became “president” — but I refuse to write Franken’s political obituary today. I believe that he can come out better and stronger for this (and that yes, hell — who knows? — he still might become president one day).

No, I don’t condone sexual harassment of any kind, from non-body-contact sexual harassment, such as making unwanted sexual remarks to taking a photo of yourself pretending to grope someone sexually to exposing yourself to someone who doesn’t want to see your goods, to actual body-contact sexual harassment, such as actual groping or forceful, unwanted kissing.

But nor is it productive to take the stance that we should utterly fucking destroy anyone who has misstepped.

That self-righteous revenge-seeking goes beyond justice and becomes a crime in and of itself; that is, to assert that those who can be redeemed cannot be redeemed, but must be destroyed for the rest of their lives, is to commit yet another type of violence against the human spirit.

P.S. Two more things:

One, there seems to be a definite double standard where Democrats and Repugnicans are concerned. Again, “President” Pussygrabber in 2005 bragged, on tape, about grabbing women by the pussy and kissing them without their consent, and yet that was A-OK with enough voters to allow him to take the Oval Office.

Two (which is related to one), what U.S. Senate candidate Roy Moore of Alabama has been accused of, especially the under-aged shit, is much worse than what Franken has been accused of (and was photographed doing), but even for a backasswards, right-wing piece of dog shit like Moore, I would say that absent a felony conviction — that is, he had had his day in court and was found guilty by a jury — it still would be up to the voters of Alabama to decide whether or not to send him to the U.S. Senate. (And then the Senate could, I understand, refuse to seat him, although I’m not sure of all of the legalities on that.)

But let’s not compare Al Franken to Roy Moore (or to “President” Pussygrabber). Franken so far has had one accuser, who was an adult at the time. Moore thus far has had at least eight accusers, some of whom were under the age of 18 at the time of their reported events.

Update (Friday, November 17, 2017): Leeann Tweeden said this on “Good Morning America” today: “I didn’t do this [publicize Franken’s actions of 2006] to have him step down. I think Al Franken does a lot of good things in the Senate. You know, I think that’s for the people of Minnesota to decide. I’m not calling for him to step down. That was never my intention.”

She also apparently said of the bullshit comparison of “President” Pussygrabber’s actions to Franken’s, “His [Pussygrabber’s] issues — that’s a whole other thing.”

Yup. More than a dozen women thus far have accused Pussygrabber of having perpetrated sexual harassment to sexual battery.

Sadly, I’ve seen, among others, Slate.com’s otherwise thoughtful and intelligent Mark Joseph Stern and the progressive group Justice Democrats both call for Franken to step down immediately. (And in an e-mail that I received, the Justice Democrats also called for Franken to be replaced with U.S. Rep. Keith Ellison by Minnesota’s governor. I admire Ellison and I supported him for the chair of the Democratic National Committee, but he should run for the U.S. Senate if he wants to be a U.S. senator. Denying Franken due process and summarily replacing him with Ellison is not what I’d call justice or democracy, Justice Democrats!)

We all need to take a deep fucking breath and not be even more outraged than the actual victims are and therefore call for even harsher punishments than they are calling for. (And no, let’s not say that part of the victims’ victimization is that they’re just not outraged enough and that they are too forgiving, so we need to “correct” that. Jesus fucking fuck.)

And yes, as both Stern and Justice Democrats and many others have argued, we who are left of center don’t want to be called hypocrites on the subject of sexual harassment and sexual assault and sexual battery.

But we also need to take each case on its own (each case can vary widely in severity) and not lump all of the cases together, or collapse the many different kinds of sexual violations into one big generic sexual violation because we don’t feel like dealing with shades of gray.

And if we claim that we care about justice, then we need to give the accused the chance to explain him- or herself — and/or to be investigated as fairly and impartially as possible — instead of immediately calling for his or her head on a silver fucking platter so that we can try to look cool by keeping ahead of the news cycle.

Nor should our No. 1 concern be what the fucking Repugnicans will think. They never fucking care what we think, which is why they “win” elections even when they lose them, such as “presidents” George W. Bush and Pussygrabber both did.

*To grope someone is to touch him or her with your hands, and while the incident in the photo widely has been described as a groping, to me it appears to be Franken pretending to be groping or pretending to be about to grope the sleeping woman. Not that even pretending to do so is OK, but it’s not as bad as actually groping. There are levels of bad, for fuck’s sake.

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Jonathan Chait got it mostly right on the toxic identity politics of today

Jonathan Chait's epic race fail: How a story about racism and Obama goes horribly wrong

Left-of-center writer Jonathan Chait has committed the sin of telling the truth about our self-appointed political-correctness police, those who use their membership within an historically victimized and oppressed group to victimize and oppress others (men, mostly, and mostly white men, but sometimes white women as well). It indeed in so many quarters is open season on all white males, who are deemed automatically to be oppressors and victimizers because of their immutable characteristics of being male and being white. (As a gay white male, my non-heterosexuality gives me only so much cover for being a member of a class of victims, as homophobes widely consider homosexuality to be mutable. [Of course, it doesn’t fucking matter whether it’s mutable or not; we all should have the freedom to express ourselves sexually as we please, as long as we do so consensually.])

New York magazine writer Jonathan Chait started a shitstorm when he wrote about toxic PC (political correctness) police. Had he been completely wrong, he probably would have been ignored, but since he spoke so much unflattering truth, I’m one of only a handful of Internet commentators who have yet to comment on his comments.

First off, it’s necessary to describe the environment in which all of us Americans operate: to such a large degree stupid white men (emphasis there on “stupid”) still rule, as evidenced by the popularity of “American Sniper.” Not only is the Clint Eastwood film still No. 1, despite Eastwood’s penchant for talking to a vacant chair (actually, for “American Sniper’s” target audience, I’m sure that was in Eastwood’s favor), but the book American Sniper is No. 1 on amazon.com, and in amazon.com’s top-100-selling book titles there are no fewer than four different versions of the same fucking book (as I type this sentence) — plus an apparent knock-off book about yet another American sniper called The Reaper.

So mindless, blind worship of stupid, murderous (or at least violent or at least aggressive) white men widely misconstrued as “heroes” continues. (This could be its own blog piece, and indeed, was going to be, but I’ll get it over with here: “American sniper” Chris Kyle, who died by the sword as he lived by the sword, was no “hero.” He was part of an illegal and immoral occupying force in Iraq. As part of that illegal and immoral occupying force, he slaughtered a bunch of people who were, at least in their own eyes, defending their nation from a foreign occupying force [duh]. As Iraq had posed zero threat to the United States, as Iraq had not killed any Americans and had had no capability of killing Americans en masse [yeah, those Iraqi “WMDs” claimed by the war criminals who comprised the illegitimate Bush regime have yet to be found], there is no valid argument that Kyle was “protecting our freedoms” or some other jingoistic, Nazi-like bullshit. Kyle very apparently just really, really liked to slaughter people, and if he were Muslim instead of “Christian” and weren’t taking the big dirt nap, he probably would be a member of ISIS right now, slaughtering people left and right with gleeful abandon.)

So that is the nasty backdrop (part of it, anyway) against which those of us who aren’t stupid white men (again, emphasis on “stupid,” not on “white” or on “men”) or one of their worshipers must live in the United States of America.

That is the kind of background and context that Jonathan Chait’s piece is largely if not wholly missing, and I fault him for that fairly glaring omission, as well as for apparently not having allowed his piece to gestate long enough before birthing it upon the nation. (I often if not usually let something gestate for at least a few days before I finally give birth to it, such as this piece.) Further, the gravity of the topic — political correctness (which falls under the umbrella of identity politics) — could merit its own book, so no magazine article or blog piece (not even this one) could do it more than partial justice.

But Chait describes fairly well the phenomenon in which so many members of historically oppressed groups identify so much with being oppressed (whether these members as individuals actually have been very oppressed as individuals themselves or not) that they are hyper-vigilant about any signs of oppression.

Seriously — it used to be that people were just oppressed. And oppression was a bad thing. You didn’t want to be oppressed.

Now, being a member of an historically oppressed group is très chic. And apparently maintaining your membership in your très-chic group of oppressed people means constantly finding fresh meat, fresh new examples of how you have been oppressed, so if there aren’t any actual examples of how you have been oppressed, you’ll wildly exaggerate or even fabricate such “examples.”

Since you haven’t been (very) oppressed yourself lately, you’ll gladly piggy-back on to others’ (real or exaggerated or fabricated) oppression. That’s always fun.

If you didn’t jump on the Michael Brown bandwagon, for instance, to many that means that you are a white supremacist who supports the gunning down of black men, especially young black men, by white fascist cops who enjoy killing black men.

Never mind that it still remains quite unsettled as to whether or not Michael Brown actually went for the cop’s gun before the cop shot him dead. The cop claims that Brown did, and not only was the cop not indicted by a grand jury (which, indeed, might have been a bogus process), but the U.S. Department of Justice also declined to bring charges against the cop for civil-rights violations (granted, proving a civil-rights violation can be a high bar to clear, I know from personal experience).

It’s disturbing that so many people jumped to conclusions and have held fast to them. If your identity politics is that of the oppressed black American, then of course Michael Brown was innocent, a “gentle giant,” and was gunned down by whitey primarily if not solely for his race, and if your identity politics is that of the right-wing white person whose worldview at least verges on white supremacy if it isn’t already fully there, then of course Brown was a thug (and the phrase “black thug” would be redundant) and of course the white police officer only did what he had to do.

Either Brown went after the cop’s gun or he did not. (If I went after a cop’s gun, I’d expect to get shot.) The cop, under our existing (deeply flawed) legal structure, used deadly force against Brown legally or he did not. But whatever actually happened on that August day in Ferguson, Missouri, has little to nothing to do with identity politics, yet for many if not most Americans, their identity politics dictates the “facts.” That’s scary.

(The Eric Garner case, as I have written, at the bare minimum was a clear-cut case of manslaughter by the thuggish white cop, and, entirely unlike the Brown case, we have video of Garner incident, so “I can’t breathe” is an apt slogan of protest, whereas I never was on board with the “Hands up! Don’t shoot!” meme because there is no evidence that Brown ever put his hands up in surrender — there are only biased claims that he did.)

The case of Woody Allen, too, also wasn’t about the actual knowledge of actual facts but was about identity politics.

Women whom Rush Limbaugh might call “femi-Nazis” have asserted that of course Mia Farrow, being a woman, told the truth that Allen had molested their adopted daughter, even though the allegation came during a nasty custody battle — and that of course Allen, being a man, was guilty as charged. Never mind that none of us was there and has any actual knowledge of what did or what did not happen; we have only the claims and counter-claims of the members of a deeply broken family whose dirty laundry has been scattered all over the public square.

This is some highly toxic shit.

The case of Bill Cosby, though, and that of Arnold “Baby Daddy” Schwarzenegger when he was running for California governor in a bullshit recall election in 2003 that had amounted to a do-over election since the bumbling Repugnican candidate had lost the election in 2002: When several women have come forward publicly to state that a man has sexually harassed or sexually assaulted them, to call all of them liars (as so many did to the at-least six women who came forward about the past deeds of the future Gov. Groper) very most often is a misogynist, patriarchal thing to do.

I have little to no doubt in my mind that Bill Cosby (and Baby Daddy Schwarzenegger) serially sexually harassed and sexually assaulted women.

But actual victimization is diminished when victimization is falsely claimed or is claimed whether or not there is any evidence to support the claim of victimization — usually out of identity politics. Perversely, many if not even most members of an historically oppressed group very apparently want the latest example of possible victimization (such as the shooting death of Michael Brown) to be true victimization because, in their eyes, it strengthens their political power as claimants of oppression.

It’s perverse that oppression has morphed from something that no one wanted into something that so many cherish to the point that they’ll happily fabricate it if they deem that to do so will advance themselves somehow.

(In his piece, Chait correctly notes that “It [identity politics and its concomitant claims of perpetual and ubiquitous victimhood] also makes money. Every media company knows that stories about race and gender bias draw huge audiences, making identity politics a reliable profit center in a media industry beset by insecurity.” Indeed, both Slate.com and Salon.com, two of my favorite websites, have resident identity-politics writers, taking the feminist and the black angles, mostly, and I routinely read these writers’ pieces, and often if not usually I agree with them [Slate.com’s Jamelle Bouie rocks], but sometimes, yeah, it’s apparent that they’re really milking it. [Sorry, Salon.com’s Brittney Cooper, but in his article Chait calls you out on your frequent hysteria and hyperbole fairly fairly.])

This professional “victimhood,” is, I suspect, what has eaten at Chait, but that he perhaps did not articulate well enough in his now-infamous article.

And of his article, this paragraph, I think, is the money shot:

If a person who is accused of bias attempts to defend his intentions, he merely compounds his own guilt. (Here one might find oneself accused of man/white/straightsplaining.) It is likewise taboo to request that the accusation be rendered in a less hostile manner. This is called “tone policing.” If you are accused of bias, or “called out,” reflection and apology are the only acceptable response — to dispute a call-out only makes it worse. There is no allowance in p.c. culture for the possibility that the accusation may be erroneous. A white person or a man can achieve the status of “ally,” however, if he follows the rules of p.c. dialogue. A community, virtual or real, that adheres to the rules is deemed “safe.” The extensive terminology plays a crucial role, locking in shared ideological assumptions that make meaningful disagreement impossible.

The emphasis there is mine. In the most rabid “p.c. culture,” indeed, “There is no allowance … for the possibility that the accusation [of an act of oppression or victimization] may be erroneous.” Within this toxic, tightly closed-off atmosphere, facts and evidence have no place at all; the politics of group identity rules supreme. Woody Allen molested his adopted daughter. Period. If you disagree with this, then you hate women and/or you are a pedophile yourself. Michael Brown was a “gentle giant” (never mind the very inconvenient video footage of him roughing up a convenience store clerk while he stole cigarillos from him on the day of his death) who was gunned down in cold blood by a white supremacist police officer. Period. If you disagree with this, then you are a white supremacist.

And indeed, as Chait writes, “A white person or a man can achieve the status of ‘ally,’ however, if he follows the rules of p.c. dialogue.” Yup. That means going along with all manner of blatantly bullshit groupthink in order to get along, lest you be called a misogynist or racist/white supremacist or worse.

The goal of “p.c. culture” as it stands today indeed so often seems to be to push all white men into a corner, indeed, to destroy all white men or, minimally, to make all white men feel perpetually guilty (and thus perpetually disempowered) because, of course, merely by their having been born white and male, they inherently are the evil victimizers and oppressors of others (of women and of black people, mostly, but of other groups, too, of course). It’s not their individual deeds that make white males automatically-guilty victimizers and oppressors, but their mere membership within the group of white males, you see.

This is the sorry state of affairs even though the origin of “p.c. culture” was the fact that white men were pushing too many others into a corner due to those others’ immutable differences from white men, and pushing others into a corner based upon their immutable differences from oneself is a bad thing to do.

To such a large degree, the victims (well, in so many cases, the “victims”) have become the victimizers, and today the victims don’t even have to be actual victims to call themselves victims, and their actual victimization of others isn’t victimization because they are victims, and a victim cannot also be a victimizer, you see.

Get it? These are the new rules.

These new rules have got to go.

Jonathan Chait got it (mostly) right, which is why we’ve seen the reaction to him that we’ve seen.

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Ding, dong, the wingnut’s gone (or, Newt’s great day)

Republican presidential candidate and businessman Herman Cain announces that he is "suspending" his presidential campaign in Atlanta

Reuters photo

Herman Cain today in his exit speech in Atlanta blamed everyone but himself for the implosion of his Repugnican Tea Party presidential bid. Indeed, though, Cain dreamed the impossible dream: to dream that one could become president of the United States of America with not just a few skeletons, but an entire mausoleum of skeletons, in his closet.

Jesus fuck, did Sarah Palin’s people write Herman Cain’s exit speech?

I watched most of Cain’s pathetic exit speech live, and mostly it consisted of Cain blaming the media (and the “political elites”) for his own downfall and claiming that protecting his family is so fucking important to him.

If Cain’s family were so vital to him, he would have kept his paws to himself all of these past many, many years, and Cain’s real problem with the media isn’t that the media have been so unfair to him, but that the media have dared not to perform as a public relations firm for him — the way the media are “supposed” to, according to the uber-egocentric Palinesque worldview.

Ironically, despite his arrogant claims that the evil media have taken away The People’s Clear Choice for President (Herman Cain, of course), that Cain refuses to take substantial personal responsibility for anything — but prefers to blame the media and others instead — demonstrates (aside from his serial sexual harassment of women, of course) that he is utterly unfit for high political office.

It was interesting to listen to Cain spin his collapse, however. Later today I might find the transcript of his exit speech and write more, but one of the top things that he said that sticks out in my mind is his ludicrous claim that he is bailing out while he still was within the top four choices for the 2012 presidency: Barack Obama, Mitt Romney, Newt Gingrich and Herman Cain.

While that technically might be true, it’s technically true only because President Hopey-Changey has no actually progressive primary opponent within his own party, unfortunately, and in recent nationwide polls of Repugnican Tea Party dipshits, Cain indeed has been at No. 3 behind Gingrich and Romney, but he has been averaging only around 15 percent.

Having the support of only around 15 percent of the members of your own party isn’t exactly a position of strength, even if it does technically put you in the “top four.”

Cain sure knows his audience of dumbfucks, though, the fucktards who actually buy utterly unqualified candidates’ claims of persecution by the media and who love to hear unqualified right-wing candidates whine about their supposed persecution at the hands of the “political elite.”

Would you want your surgeon not to have gone to medical school along with all of those other “medical elites”? Would you want your surgeon’s intellectual capacity to be no greater than your own? No? You want your surgeon to be an experienced expert? What are you, an elitist?

Why is it that in every other area of life, we expect people to know their shit, to be experts, to have earned their positions, but so many of us are perfectly OK with abject dumbfucks holding the highest political office in the land?

You sure want your surgeon to know what he or she is doing, but you’ll hand The Button to anyone?

In his speech today, Cain tried to spin his utter political inexperience as a strength. No, it has been one of his biggest weaknesses that he doesn’t know how the system works (such as that China has had nukes since the 1960s and that the U.S. Supreme Court indeed has the final word on every matter of U.S. Constitutional law) yet still feels qualified to hold the most powerful political post in the nation (indeed, probably in the world, for now, anyway).

Hopefully, the trend of blaming the media (and others) for one’s own utter unsuitability for office has crashed and burned along with the derailed “Cain train.” It was risibly pathetic when Palin tried it, but now it’s just pathetically pathetic. And hopefully the trend of rabid, suicidal anti-intellectualism that we have seen within the Repugnican Tea Party — starting perhaps most notably with Gee Dumbya Bush — is on its way out, although I’m not holding my breath on that.

Despite the fact that he already is a political corpse, Herman Cain defiantly announced today that  he “will not be silenced” — you know, the way he apparently had thought that the multiple victims of his sexual harassment were silenced by fear — and that he is “not going away.”

That might technically be true, too.

No one will forcefully silence Cain or make him go away.

Rather, he’ll just fade back into the relative obscurity from which he came. He might still be talking, but very few people still will be listening.

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Time to take out Mitt

Republican presidential candidate former Massachusetts Gov. Mitt Romney speaks during a Republican Presidential Debate at Oakland University in Auburn Hills, Wednesday, Nov. 9, 2011.  (AP Photo/Paul Sancya)

Associated Press photo

This man must never get his mitts on the White House.

Admission: I don’t watch the Repugnican Tea Party presidential debates. I tried to watch one of the early ones. Once. I could stomach only about 15 minutes of the bullshit (I can stand to hear the word “tax” only so many times). Plus, I’m not a Repugnican Tea Party dipshit. Better to be dead than to be a “tea party” dipshit.

So now, I just read about the bullshit that comes out of the debates and watch the clips of the lowlights.

Unsurprisingly, Rick Perry still performs like Porky Pig. He’s dead. He just doesn’t know it yet, apparently. He couldn’t remember the three pro-people federal government departments that as president he would eliminate. Wow. If eliminating these three departments truly were so fucking essential, couldn’t he remember all three of them?

But in recent polls of Repugnican Tea Party dipshits’ presidential favorite, Perry has been coming in behind even Newt Gingrich and Ron Paul, even before his Looney Tunes performance of last night. Perry is dead and Herman Cain is terminally ill.

Perry is dead and Herman Cain is terminally ill.

It’s not surprising that the wingnutty members of the debate audience in Michigan last night apparently love the sexual harassment of women or deny that it’s even possible for a “successful” businessman to sexually harass a woman. (Or, of course, the woman had it coming, because she is a slut, and/or she is just a gold digger. That, in a nutshell, is the wingnut narrative on sexual harassment.) In any event, these are patriarchs and pro-patriarchs who hate women.

As is Herman Cain, who during the debate jaw-droppingly referred to U.S. Rep. Nancy Pelosi as “Princess Nancy.” Because any woman who rises to the level of political power that Nancy Pelosi did — the nation’s first female speaker of the U.S. House of Representatives — must be denigrated. (Speaking of royalty, George W. Bush wasn’t even elected, but was coronated by the U.S. Supreme Court. Surely he was King George.)

The money shot of last night’s debate, in my book, was not Rick Perry’s Porky Pig impression, of which we’d already seen many. The money shot of the debate actually was Herman Cain’s assertion, “The American people deserve better than someone being tried in the court of public opinion based on unfounded accusations.”

If you’re someone who’s asleep and doesn’t really pay attention to the meaning of words, this type of bold-faced propaganda might actually work on you.

The fact of the matter is that every candidate for political office is “tried in the court of public opinion.” Candidates are elected to office based upon the voters’ opinions of the candidates. There is no way around this. Voters’ opinions might be wrong. A good candidate could be mistaken for a poor candidate and vice-versa. Easily.

But by framing it as though it were a criminal trial — and not a campaign for U.S. president — Cain was, as usual, playing the victim, and the misogynist members of the debate audience were aiding and abetting him.

Cain’s no fucking victim. If one or two women had accused him of sexual harassment, maybe. But four? Why would two female employees have been given settlements by the National Restaurant Association if they were 100 percent wrong? And the two women thus far who have gone public to report their sexual harassment at the hands of Cain could be sued for defamation if they were lying. So, if they are lying, as Cain alleges, then what he needs to do is to sue them for defamation. Of course that’s something that he will not do, because he doesn’t want the truth to come out in a court of law. He’s just going to continue to call the women liars and hope that that is enough. (For his misogynist supporters, it is; for those of us who will decide who will win the 2012 presidential election, it is not. Not by a long shot.)

So again, Rick Perry we could write off before last night’s debate, and Cain is dead too, whether he and his misogynist, wingnutty supporters wish to face that fact. Cain perhaps could win office in a red state where women are despised (including by patriarchy-loving, misogynist women, of which there unfortunately are many), but there’s no way in hell that he’ll ever make it to the White House.

Perry’s implosion has boosted Gingrich and Paul in the polls, but they both remain fringe candidates who have no shot at the 2012 Repugnican Tea Party presidential nomination.

Unless he dies or goes comatose, the 2012 Repugnican Tea Party presidential nomination will go to Mitt Romney.

So, as much fun as it has been to jump up and down on the political corpses of Cain and Perry, they are, after all, just corpses. Zombie Romney is still standing, and so now it’s time to focus on taking out him.

I, for one, would never vote for a Mormon. Especially not after the Mormon cult’s support of 2008’s Proposition Hate here in California. The documentary “8: The Mormon Proposition” gives a nice look behind the curtains in Salt Lake City. I don’t want the cabal of stupid old white men who control the Mormon cult influencing the nation through their plant in the White House.

It was an exaggeration to believe that the pope would call the shots were Catholic John F. Kennedy to be elected to the White House. The Catholic cult, after all, is worldwide and is based in Italy. The Mormon cult, however, is much smaller than is the Catholic cult and was made and is headquartered in the U.S.A. It’s much more likely that the Salt Lake City-based Mormon cult would attempt to influence U.S. policy with one of their own in the White House than it ever was that the pope would make JFK his puppet.

If you don’t have a problem with a Mormon president, that’s because (1) you are a Mormon yourself or (2) you know very little about the Mormon cult. Prop Hate entirely aside, I lived among Mormons in Arizona. I know way too much about them. I’d just as soon have the patriarchal, misogynist, homophobic, theocratic Taliban in control of the White House than the patriarchal, misognyist, homophobic, theocratic Mormon cult. (Sure, the Taliban might kill you with bombs, but the Mormons kill you with their faux kindness.)

Don’t get me wrong; because I detest the Repugnican Tea Partiers does not mean that I am big on President Hopey-Changey. I haven’t given him a fucking red cent toward his re-election and I intend not to. The only way that I would cast another vote for him in November 2012 would be if it looked like his Repugnican Tea Party opponent (Romney, very most likley) might actually win California’s electoral votes in our winner-takes-all system, but in a state as blue as California, that’s highly unlikely.

Even worse than another four years of hopelessness and statis under President Hopey-Changey, admittedly, would be another Repugnican in the White House. While I can’t sing President Hopey-Changey’s praises — which is entirely his fault, not mine — I can continue to point out, and I will, how disastrous another Repugnican in the White House would be.

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Two of four of Herman Cain’s accusers now have gone public

They’re all liars, right?

Right…

Reports The New York Times this afternoon:

Karen Kraushaar, one of the two women who settled sexual harassment claims against Herman Cain with the National Restaurant Association, spoke publicly for the first time [today] about her allegations against him.

Moments later, a defiant Mr. Cain, who is seeking the Republican presidential nomination, once again declared her allegations to have been found “baseless” and repeated his claim that his only offense against her was to have made a gesture about her height.

Mr. Cain’s denials came in a nationally televised news conference in Scottsdale, Ariz., in which he railed against a “Democratic machine” even as Ms. Kraushaar joined Sharon Bialek, a Chicago woman, in publicly accusing Mr. Cain of inappropriate behavior.

Days after declaring that he was moving on from the brewing controversy, Mr. Cain waded back in with an emphatic plea for decency from his longtime lawyer, followed by a rambling defense of his own personal integrity and a condemnation of the media.

Anticipating calls for him to end his campaign, Mr. Cain declared: “That ain’t gonna happen, because I’m doing this for the American people and for the children and the grandchildren. And I will not be deterred by false, anonymous, incorrect accusations.”

Mr. Cain called the news conference to respond to Ms. Bialek’s allegations, made in a dramatic news conference in New York City [yesterday]. But it started just minutes after Ms. Kraushaar, one of his original accusers, finally began to speak publicly about her experiences with him.

Ms. Kraushaar, a spokeswoman at the Treasury Department, said in an interview that she was upset that her name had leaked into some press reports. But she said she had decided to speak out now that her identity was publicly known.

“When you are being sexually harassed in the workplace, you are extremely vulnerable,” she said. “You do whatever you can to quickly get yourself into a job someplace safe, and that is what I thought I had achieved when I left.”

Ms. Kraushaar had previously allowed her lawyer to challenge Mr. Cain’s denial that he had done anything wrong while at the helm of the restaurant association in the late 1990s. But after Ms. Bialek went public [yesterday] and several news organizations published Ms. Kraushaar’s name [today], she said she had decided to talk publicly — at least in a limited way.

She said she did not know whether or how she might tell more of her story, but had been warming “to the idea of a joint press conference where all of the women would be together with our attorneys and all of this evidence would be considered together.”

She said of Mr. Cain: “These allegations can be considered together as a body of evidence.”

Mr. Cain has denied all allegations of sexual harassment. The restaurant association confirmed that the group came to an agreement with a woman who had made sexual harassment allegations made against Mr. Cain and it was clear it was referring to Ms. Kraushaar.

“I reject all of those charges,” Mr. Cain said [this] afternoon about Ms. Bialek. “How can I defend charges when I don’t remember this person by name?” He added a few minutes later, “I don’t even know who this lady is.”

So many victims that he couldn’t possibly remember them all? Is that it?

And is Karen Kraushaar, as an employee of the Treasury Department, rich and prominent and untroubled enough that her allegations against Cain won’t be dismissed out of hand, like the Cain campaign has tried to do to Sharon Bialek?

Herman Cain is a stinking piece of shit. He is harming not only himself, but his entire party, by refusing to quit the presidential race. He is a motherfucking disgrace.

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The Anita Hilling of Sharon Bialek (or, there goes the women’s vote)

Sharon Bialek, a Chicago-area woman,waits to address a news conference at the Friars Club, Monday, Nov. 7, 2011, in New York.  Bialek accused Republican presidential contender Herman Cain of making an

Associated Press photo

The Herman Cain campaign today incredibly stupidly released a statement reading, “In stark contrast to Mr. Cain’s four decades spent climbing the corporate ladder rising to the level of CEO at multiple successful business enterprises, Ms. Bialek [pictured above] has taken a far different path,” which includes a “long and troubled history, from the courts to personal finances.” So the Cain campaign’s “argument” is that if you are rich and powerful and you are accused of sexual harassment by someone who has had personal and financial difficulties, then she must be lying because she’s not rich and powerful and you are. And the smearing of the (alleged) sexual harassment victim’s personal life, including her financial difficulty (which millions and millions of Americans have had), which has nothing to do with her allegations of sexual harassment — yeah, that makes you look good. 

We can see now why the first three reported apparent victims of sexual harassment at the hands of Repugnican Tea Party presidential candidate Herman Cain have not gone public with their stories. Look what the wingnuts are doing to the fourth apparent victim, Sharon Bialek, who went public yesterday.

The comments left on this Yahoo! News story are typical of the “arguments” that we are seeing coming from the wingnuts.

Among the nicer allegations in the comments are that Bialek has come forward only in order to make money from it. I’m not sure how, exactly, she would do that, and, until and unless there is any actual evidence to suggest otherwise, I take her at face value that she came forward in order to help stop the sexual harassment of women. Indeed, when we keep things such as child molestation or sexual harassment hush-hush, we only perpetuate them.

Then there are the (inevitable, I suppose) comparisons of Herman Cain to Bill Clinton, which is weird, because Herman Cain isn’t Bill Clinton and because these situations are different. No known serial sexual harasser ever became president in modern times, to my knowledge. (Known serial sexual harasser Arnold “Baby Daddy” Schwarzenegger was able to become governor of California, but the presidency is much bigger.) Bill Clinton did his thing with Monica Lewinsky in the Oral — er, Oval — Office later in his first term and early in his second term, according to Lewinsky, and while Clinton no doubt abused his power over an intern, it apparently was consensual. And the Repugnican-controlled U.S. Senate found that there was no cause to remove Clinton from office.

“Shes way to ugly to be harrased [sic]. Im calling this #$%$,” comments an individual with the username of “HotTeaPartier” whose avatar shows a white female holding a gun. Yes, the Sarah-Palin types are A-OK with sexual harassment. And with calling other women “ugly,” because all women should be physically attractive to and for men. Women exist for men’s sexual gratification. You betcha.

“Another Jennifer Flowers story. She would not be the first person to exchange sexual favors for a job,” chimes in a “TinaO,” another apparent Sarah-Palin type. So there is the comparison to Bill Clinton again, and there is a wholly unsubstantiated allegation that Bialek did “exchange sexual favors for a job” when, to our knowledge, Bialek refused Cain’s alleged quid-pro-quo sexual advances and never got any job in exchange for sexual favors.

With self- and other-loathing women tearing each other apart like this, who needs male chauvinist pigs?

“Why don’t these people start yelling when this stuff was supposed to of [sic] happened instead of years later?” asks “Legal My Foot.”

Um, because now Herman Cain isn’t just a comparatively small-time sexual harasser, but is running to be president of the United States of America?

Gee, do you think that that might be why, genius?

“Why is it that we can now just destroy a man’s reputation without doing anything but holding a press conference,” asks the question-mark-challenged “AllisonS,” adding, “I don’t understand how the media can allow people (be they men or women, but sadly it’s women) who can just make a claim and nothing is done to validate before a man’s career and whole being is destroyed. Why is this not handled at the time by the judicial system. I just don’t understand the motivation of these people.”

Well, um, Bialek is the fourth woman we know about who has alleged that Cain sexually harassed her in the 1990s when he was the head of the National Restaurant Association, not the first. The fourth. Please try to keep up, Allison.

How can a woman not empathize with how another woman who has been sexually harassed might feel about going public about it? Of course the harasser is going to deny it, and especially if the harasser is popular and/or prominent, the harasser’s supporters, facing cognitive dissonance about their beloved, are going to attack the accuser.

How many women want to go through that? Is this really that hard to understand? And as far as the judicial system is concerned, not only is it still disproportionately dominated by men (mostly white men), but since sexual harassment usually is not witnessed by a third party and all that the accused harasser would have to do in a court of law is lie, why would a woman even try to litigate a she-said-he-said case?

“BigDaddy” offers us his sage take: “Lets see she [Bialek] hasnt worked in 13 years [um, she’s a stay-at-home mom — it’s OK to actually raise your children], hires the best man hating lesbo attorney/political hack she could find [all strong, confident, successful women are “man-hating lesbos,” you see — except for Repugnican Tea Party women like Sarah Palin and Ann Coulter] and shows no real emotion about the alledged [sic] event….. [Of course, had Bialek cried or otherwise shown great emotion during the press conference, she would have been accused of acting.] After only waiting 15 years to bring it public……..That about right??????? Gloria get a life…..Im still voting for Herman Cain and you inspired me to give a donation to his election.”

Sure, there are plenty of sexual harassment deniers and even sexual harassment lovers and misogynists (male and female) who still support Herman Cain and who are giving him (even more) money in light of the news that four women have accused him of sexual harassment.

That’s fine.

Sexual harassment is no big deal to the Repugnican Tea Party traitors, but sexual harassment won’t play well in the November 2012 general election, if Cain makes it that far, which now is highly unlikely. (As “RON,” one of the minority of sane commenters puts it, “Cains political career is over. He just doesn’t know it yet,” and “One woman, maybe she’s not being fully truthful. two or three, they probably are. Four, We now have a serial sexual predator.” Yup.)

“If you don’t want the sex, dont get in the car!!!!” advises “Jim R,” more typical of the average commentator. “Fatty leatherfaced lady trying for money! Not by the hairs on your gobblin chinny chin,” chimes in some anonymous genius. (So Bialek is “ugly” and “fat,” which must mean that Herman Cain did not sexually harass her in 1997. Or something like that.)

“Wizardofhogs” observes: “This story can NEVER be proved… and yet the media runs with it because H.Cain is a republican. They wouldn’t write it if the dude was a demon-crat… fhucking media is ruining our country….”

Yes, as I indicated, sexual harassers usually do their deeds when there are no witnesses. So their victims should keep their mouths shut if there were no witnesses? Really? As far as the allegation that Cain is being picked on because he’s a Repugnican Tea Partier, I remember that the Monica Lewinsky sex scandal dominated the media for months and months, stoked by the Repugnicans who wanted to remove Bill Clinton from office over a consensual blow job. I mean, puhfuckinglease. And the corporately owned and controlled mass media love sex scandals, regardless of the party affiliation of those involved.

And there is that cognitive dissonance again: you like and support some person and then some unflattering truth or allegation about that person comes out, and so in order to try to preserve your attachment to that person, you blame the accuser(s) and/or the media.

It’s as pathetic as it is time-worn and predictable to blame the media.

We have this little thing called the First Amendment in this nation. That means that sometimes your sensibilities are going to be offended, and that people have the constitutional right to say and to report things you’d rather they not. Boo hoo hoo. Get over yourfuckingself.

“why aren’t sharpton and jackson defending cain against these unsubstaniated charges?” asks “Wildcrzy.” Um, maybe it’s because just because someone else is of your same gender and race, it doesn’t mean that he or she is your kindred? And because Sharpton and/or Jackson might believe that Cain is guilty as charged, and thus not worth defending?

Duh.

There also are, of course, many comments attacking attorney Gloria Allred (besides such allegations as that she’s a man-hating lesbian). You could call that an Allred herring — diverting the attention from Herman Cain to Gloria Allred. I’m not asserting that Allred is an angel. I don’t know her. But regardless of anything about Gloria Allred, Herman Cain either did or did not do what Sharon Bialek claims he did to her in 1997.

That the Repugnican Tea Party traitors don’t want to address that issue speaks volumes about them, and the way that Sharon Bialek has been treated demonstrates that as a nation, we haven’t grown up much, if any, since Anita Hill was burned at the stake in 1991 for having had the courage to have gone public about her sexual harassment by now-U.S. Supreme Court “Justice” Clarence Thomas.

The Repugnican Tea Party’s strategy of attacking women who have alleged sexual harassment is interesting. As the stupid white male demographic — the Repugnican Tea Party’s base (aside from millionaires and billionaires, whose numbers are few) — continues to shrink, you’d think that the party wouldn’t want to offend half of the American population* and those of us males who support them.

*Actually, the 2010 U.S. Census put females at 50.8 percent of the nation’s population.

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Repugnican slayer Allred is all right

Sharon Bialek, left, a Chicago-area woman, prepares to addresses a news conference at the Friars Club, with her attorney Gloria Allred, in New York,  Monday, Nov. 7, 2011. Bialek accused Republican presidential contender Herman Cain of making an unwanted sexual advance against her more than a decade ago, saying she wanted to provide "a face and a voice" to support other accusers who have so far remained anonymous. (AP Photo/Richard Drew)

Associated Press photo

Los Angeles attorney Gloria Allred, right, appears with Sharon Bialek at a press conference today in New York City. Bialek, a former employee of the National Restaurant Association, claims that in 1997 then-association head Herman Cain, who now wants to be president of the United States of America, blatantly, physically sexually harassed her and linked her acquiescence to his sexual advances to her employment.

For a Repugnican campaign, a press conference by California attorney Gloria Allred is worse than a visit by the Four Horsemen of the Apocalypse.

I like Gloria Allred.

Sure, she might be a sleazy lawyer, but the woman gets results.

In September 2010, shortly before California’s 2010 gubernatorial election, Allred held a press conference with a tearful Nicky Diaz Santillan, the former undocumented housekeeper and nanny of billionaire Repugnican gubernatorial candidate Nutmeg Whitman. Megalomaniac Whitman dumped Santillan after nine years of service because Whitman thought that having an undocumented housekeeper would harm her gubernatorial campaign, Allred alleged.

Despite that fact that Megalomaniac spent more than $140 million of her own funds in the gubernatorial race, breaking all previous records for self-funded political campaigns in U.S. history, Nutmeg lost the November 2010 gubernatorial election to her Democratic challenger Jerry Brown by 13 percentage points.

Sure, Nutmeg had other things against her: being a Repugnican in a blue state; spending millions and millions to the point that it was apparent to California’s voters that she was trying to buy the governorship (which was offensive to those of us California voters who have been victims of the post-BushCheneyCorp economy); using her deep, deep pockets to overexpose herself to the voters, who grew tired of All Meg All the Time; and, let’s face it, she’s not only physically unattractive (which shouldn’t matter in a political race, but so often does), but she comes across as wooden and cold.

But Allred was one of the nails in Nutmeg’s political coffin. Allred helped to complete the picture of Nutmeg as another Cruella de Vil, and not only the state’s Latino voters had a problem with Nutmeg’s reported cruel, politically motivated dumping of her long-time housekeeper and nanny, but the state’s anti-brown-skinned-people wingnuts (yes, we have plenty of those here in California) had a problem with the fact that Nutmeg had employed an “illegal” in the first place.

Now, Gloria Allred has polished off Repugnican Tea Party presidential candidate Herman Cain.

To date we have not one, not two, not three, but four women who have reported that they were sexually harassed by Herman Cain.

At a press conference with Allred in New York City today, Sharon Bialek, a registered Repugnican of the Chicago area, reported that in 1997 she was sexually harassed by Cain, who, she claims, put his hand under her skirt and went for her genitalia. She reported that when she protested, Cain retorted, “You want a job, right?”

We now have a face to put to the allegations of Cain’s serial sexual harassment. It’s not just an abstraction anymore.

Cain cannot politically survive this.

If Bialek were lying, Cain could sue her for defamation. But she probably isn’t, so I don’t expect him to.

Now, as was the case with Nutmeg’s numerous other negatives, Gropegate isn’t Herman Cain’s only problem. His lack of political experience — he’s never held a single elected political office — and his buffoonery (including his abject ignorance of foreign affairs and his penchant for spontaneously breaking out in song), while not a problem for the Repugnican Tea Party fucktards, would have killed him in the general election anyway, had he ever made it that far.

But it’s nice to see the Repugnican Tea Party’s favorite go down in flames early anyway. Rick Perry comes across not only as another George W. Bush, but as a publicly drunken George W. Bush. The “tea party” dipshits are stuck with Mitt Romney, from what I can tell, and I know, I know, that Mike Huckabee flagellates himself frequently for having jumped out of the race so early.

Cain’s destruction — his very apparent self-destruction, let me add — is a victory not only for us wingnut slayers, but for feminists. Sexual. Harassment. Is. Not. OK. And it’s not OK to shame and blame the victims of sexual harassment.

And this phenomenon in which the accused wrongdoers want us to focus on who leaked the wrongdoing instead of focusing upon the wrongdoing itself (which we have seen in the WikiLeaks case as well) — yeah, that fucking shit has to fucking stop, too.

If wrongdoing has taken place, it doesn’t fucking matter who leaked it.

Those who bring wrongdoing to light deserve medals, not scorn or retaliation or punishment. Let’s reserve that for the wrongdoers. 

In the meantime, it’s time for Herman “Black Walnut” Cain to sing his swan song.

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