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Sunday, November 19, 2017

The current furor, in which numerous women have come forward alleging that Roy Moore approached, dated, or in some cases sexually assaulted them when they were teenagers and he was in his 30s, has played out like a concentrated version of [his long] combative history, in which he rose to national prominence as an unyielding spokesman for conservative and religious values. Mr. Moore first made a name for himself as a prosecutor and an anti-establishment political outsider here in Gadsden in the years after 1977 post West Point, Vietnam and law school in Tuscaloosa. He already had the contentiousness, if not the overt religiosity. During those years, he was developing another reputation, passed along in whispers. Now they have grown to a roar, threatening to derail what might have been a cakewalk political contest in deeply conservative Alabama. "It was a known fact: Roy Moore liked young girls," said Faye Gary, a retired Gadsden police officer. read more


Donald Trump has an inflated view of his assets. The president's family business is worth about one-tenth of the value he has claimed, according to an analysis of the latest figures he has filed with the federal government. Some of the discrepancy is due to a downturn in business, but the rest is credited to an overheated imagination, according to Crain's New York Business reporter Aaron Elstein, who examined the numbers. Elstein told NPR he feels a bit like he was played. In 2016 the Trump Organization reported nearly $9.5 billion in revenues. But recent public filings by the president indicate that the company actually earned only as much as $700 million that year, Crain's said. Crain's determined that Trump has been reporting inflated revenue since at least 2010. After examining the latest figures Trump has filed, Crain's this month bounced the Trump Organization from the No. 3 spot on its list of largest privately held New York City companies down to No. 40. read more


Saturday, November 18, 2017

Michael Gerson, Washington Post: There is the narrative of [the Trump] campaign in which high-level operatives believed that Russian espionage could help secure the American presidency, and acted on that belief. There is the narrative of deception to conceal the nature and extent of Russian ties. And there is the narrative of a president attempting to prevent or shut down the investigation of those ties and soliciting others for help in that task. In all of this, there is a spectacular accumulation of lies. Lies on disclosure forms. Lies at confirmation hearings. Lies on Twitter. Lies in the White House briefing room. Lies to the FBI. Self-protective lies by the attorney general. Blocking and tackling lies by Vice President Pence. This is, with a few exceptions, a group of people for whom truth, political honor, ethics and integrity mean nothing. What are the implications? President Trump and others in his administration are about to be hit by a legal tidal wave. read more


Russian Ambassador Sergey Kislyak said on Wednesday that it would take him more than 20 minutes to name all of the Trump officials he's met with or spoken to on the phone. "First, I'm never going to do that," he said. "And second, the list is so long that I'm not going to be able to go through it in 20 minutes." George Mason University professor Eric Shiraev, who has written about Russia, international relations and political psychology, said Kislyak deliberately "made a mistake" by suggesting that American officials got in trouble for meeting with Russians, not for failing to disclose those meetings. "It became almost comical," Shiraev said, noting that the audience was laughing throughout the taping. "He gave the impression that only because he met the American officials they got in trouble." Kislyak told the interviewers that the idea that Russia "picked America's president" was "nonsense" and "very sad."


Friday, November 17, 2017

President Donald Trump responded to sexual misconduct allegations against Sen. Al Franken (D-Minn.) on Thursday, referring to a photo that surfaced from 2006 ... But as of Thursday, he has yet to comment on the mounting misconduct accusations against Alabama Senate GOP nominee Roy Moore, a week after the Washington Post reported the first allegations involving Moore, then in his 30s, targeting girls as young as 14. Republicans, especially right-wing media outlets, seized on the deluge of allegations last month against Hollywood mogul Harvey Weinstein, a prominent Democratic campaign donor. They have continually brought up sexual misconduct involving former President Bill Clinton, often when discussing former Democratic presidential nominee Hillary Clinton. But Republicans have been less willing to denounce such behavior when it involves people on their end of the political spectrum, including Fox News host Bill O'Reilly, former Fox News Chairman Roger Ailes, Moore and even Trump himself. read more


Comments

And let me say a couple of more things as it regards LeeAnn Tweeden. I know that I'm not the only one here who saw the various "defenses" wandering around the internet which implied that Ms. Tweeden has frequented Fox News shows and may been a pawn in the game of deflection from Moore's problems. Or that the photographer of the damning photo has alleged that she was feigning sleep and was in on the joke, and I'm sure there might be more where those came from. But none of these counter accusations has entered this thread in defense of Franken that I have noticed, and my bringing them up now is not to defend him, but to say I find their assertions without any merit whatsoever based upon Sen. Franken's own contrition and apology.

He quickly figured out that it simply doesn't matter what he believed about the incidents in question, it only matters from the perspective of the one who was hurt by his actions. If only the other men who've had victims of their predation step forward and recount their stories would have the same inkling of human empathy and compassion, then maybe we could actually move forward as a society and stop taking our respective corners on these issues until we first figure out which political team the perpetrators belong to and dutifully take our respective sides.

Wrong is wrong and victims should not be victimized yet again without direct compelling evidence that they aren't being truthful far beyond just the word of the accused when so many are telling stories that show a repeated pattern of predatory behavior and selfish disregard of the people involved. The stronger the accused attack their accusers, the more likely the accused used the same irrational thought process in doing what they were accused of doing in the first place.

Did any of you self-righteous "off with his head(ers)" take the time to read what the actual victim had to say about Franken's contrition and apology?

Later in the day, Jake Tapper talked to Leeann Tweeden for over a half hour. You can watch the whole thing, but I want to emphasize the fact that she accepted his apology. Then take a look at what she said when asked whether she wanted Franken to resign and if she wanted him to be punished (from 16:25 to 18:15)

First of all, she said that her intention was not for Franken to resign. When asked whether or not he should be punished, she said this:

"I just wanted him to apologize for that and say he was sorry ... I think that is where change is going to be driven from, not from the victims coming out and talking about it. I think it's going to come from the people who may be do the abusing and don't even realize they're doing the abusing because it's so a part of the culture ... When you think you can do it with impunity and get away with it, that's what's wrong with the culture. So if we can have the people doing the abusing change, that's when the change is going to occur."

No one on the planet wants to be defined by our worst moments, and there is no one who hasn't done or said something that would be extremely embarrassing were it to be made public. We shouldn't just be judging the acts themselves without giving proportional consideration to the perpetrator's response to the acts.

Therein lies all the difference in the world between Clinton, Trump, Moore, and Franken. Only one of them has admitted what they did was wrong and apologized to their victim(s). And that is the one so many want to skewer simply for the political affiliation behind his name and to take pressure off the other two from our other political party who continue to call their victims liars and other vile derisive names.

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