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November 13, 2017

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ON the other hand if she flirts with three guys and a fourth flirts with her, she can of course let him know that she does not what to flirt with him, but she is not in a position to complain of harassment (unless he keeps it up persistently or , escalates)

Which, I believe, between the kiss and subsequent petty retaliations, is exactly what Tweeden has alleged. The chest touching being something of a final insult.

I htink we have a responsibity to think all this through, diffecult as that may be, especailly in a highly partisan politica envornoment

Which we don't seem to be doing here.

The thing is, I think there is a strong argument --
especially as long as it looks like this lapse in judgement isn't a pattern -- for not pillorying Franken too much, and for moving on. Tweeden herself seems to be on board with that.

But I think that case can definitely be made in a classier way, without either excusing what he did, or stooping to shitty victim questioning/blaming tactics*.

---

* And maybe it's not technically victim blaming. Not you know, technically technically. Maybe. But c'mon - that's pretty weaselly. They sure do look and smell pretty similar from over here where I'm standing.

Maybe, but if they are so puritanical in real life that a bawdy photo of someone pretending to grab their breasts is going to set them over the edge, then they should probably rethink their career.

Absolutely. What did she expect in her line of work anyway...You can't possibly be serious, right?

I really don't think this is the kind of change we want to be or whatever.

For the record, I watch a lot of anime, and by Western standards (and by Japanese standards too) a whole lot of it is questionable at best and outrageous at worst.

Example near topic: a common joke is main character slipping and falling into a breast grabbing position.

This is considered funny, but also considered wrong, is considered funny because it is wrong, and the audience is supposed to be somewhat ashamed of finding it funny. The trangression and complicity of the audience is a key part of the humour.

"Take my wife. Please."

I not only go so far as to posit that this trangression and complicity is at the center of humor, but I wonder if it is the core of all human interaction. All of it.

Sometimes I observe the most banal conversations for exchanges in which a value is put forth by A and and then countered or criticized by B.

"Vanilla ice cream is best"
"But I like chocolate."

I see transgressions here, the attempt to persuade or proselytize your values onto another. I see Nietzsche's Will to Power, a basic biological urge to control our environment and reproduce ourselves.

"Damn, I use to like chocolate but now I like vanilla."

Do we really have the right, is it really right to change people? Isn't this viewing them as objects to be manipulated, rather than subjects to accept as their autonomous selves?

And with that I will link to this terrific piece by Claire Dederer on Polanski, Woody Allen, and Manhattan ...there is a metric f-ton of honest brilliance here. Long, so a long quote that is only a small portion of the article

The audience wants something to watch or read or hear. That’s what makes it an audience. At the same time, at this particular historical moment, when we’re awash in bitter revelation, the audience is outraged freshly by new monsters, over and over and over. The audience thrills to the drama of denouncing the monster. The audience turns on its heel and refuses to see another Kevin Spacey film ever again.

It could be that what the audience feels in its heart is pure and righteous and true. But there might be something else going on here.

When you’re having a moral feeling, self-congratulation is never far behind. You are setting your emotion in a bed of ethical language, and you are admiring yourself doing it. We are governed by emotion, emotion around which we arrange language. The transmission of our virtue feels extremely important, and weirdly exciting.

Reminder: not “you,” not “we,” but “I.” Stop side-stepping ownership. I am the audience. And I can sense there’s something entirely unacceptable lurking inside me. Even in the midst of my righteous indignation when I bitch about Woody and Soon-Yi, I know that, on some level, I’m not an entirely upstanding citizen myself.
...
The psychic theater of the public condemnation of monsters can be seen as a kind of elaborate misdirection: nothing to see here. I’m no monster. Meanwhile, hey, you might want to take a closer look at that guy over there.

shite indeed....

Back in the day*, it was those young women of my cohort (you know, those bra burners) that kicked all this feminist shit up into a higher gear** because as radicals they understood all too well the misogyny of most male leaders in "the movement" (SDS/New Left) just wanting lots of easy sex and somebody to run the mimeograph machine.

*Yes, I know. A long time ago.

**Never take anything away from the early feminists fighting for the right to vote. They kicked ass. Sometimes literally.

I really don't think this is the kind of change we want to be or whatever.

The change I don't want to be is to turn into an enabler of lying, scheming Trump hit squads who save up the opportunity to use an instance of slightly over-the-line humor to distract people from the real abuse that women are reporting every day (including against other liberal icons, the veracity of which I don't dispute), and to take advantage of liberal over-scrupulousness in matters like this against an important advocate for women, and a key opponent of lying Jeff Sessions.

Spend some time, please, comparing various other allegations to this one. Tweeden was not beholden to Franken - she had an independent career, and had every opportunity to demand an apology (which I would have done, privately first). This was a political hit job, orchestrated by Roger Stone, etc. You should ask yourself exactly how naive you think we should be.

"Women are special," our pussy-grabbing Birther-in-Chief announced today.

Never mind the irony. Can the sarcasm. Let's just discuss amongst ourselves: how "special" is 51% of the population?

I'm serious. "Special" can mean a lot of things. The "Special" Olympics are called that for a reason. A cynic might say the reason is political correctness; a pedant might counter that the word simply connotes a specific subset of a wider construct, as in "Special" Theory of Relativity. Either way, "special" Olympians are defined by their difference from the larger population of Olympic athletes.

When an Archie Bunker type calls you "special", should you feel supported, or offended?

Those of me who look forward to real equality between men and women (not to mention between other slices of humanity) are implicitly looking forward to a day when calling women "special" will be considered ... icky.

That day is still far off, alas, but we can take note of the sorts of linguistic tricks that keep it far off.

--TP

bob mcmanus, I've peeked behind my pie filter, and have discovered some interesting insights here. Thanks.

Clarence Thomas needs to resign from the Supreme Court.

Time to have a Coke without the pubic hair between our teeth.

But only after rump is replaced by Hillary Clinton, recently broken out of jail by patriots, and moved into the Presidency she won, but later to be shot in the head by the republican base.

Some of them conservative women who don't know whether to mourn Charlie Manson's death ... He hated those loose Hollywood blondes ... Or vote for Roy Moore, who would have brought Sqeaky Fromme into the harem too.

Modernity, the scourge of ISIS and Rod Dreher, with opposite prescriptions.

A few years ago, conservatives were condemning Rousseau and declaring Voltaire the winner. Now, a few minutes later conservatives the world over have embraced Rousseau's savageness against modernity, from Syria to Alabama to the briefing room in the fucking White House.

Countme - a - Dem

Awww!

Another one of my "surely this is obvious" posts.

Franken is not entitled to stick his tongue uninvited in a woman's mouth. No matter how she may have behaved with other men.

Perhaps the complaint is a Republican plot against him. I don't know and I don't much care. I want there to be at least one side which knows right from wrong, and if there's only one I want it to be my side.

"I didn't do it" is a valid defence, if true. "She did the same with other men" is not, whether or not it's true.

bob mcmanus, that dederer article is great. I was looking for a font designer whose fonts are considered the apex of design, but he was a really nasty piece of work as a person, but couldn't find it. However, this article and the comments may be of interest.

http://typographica.org/on-typography/sexism-and-fonts/

lj, I think the font designer you're thinking of is Eric Gill.

Pro Bono: I want there to be at least one side which knows right from wrong, and if there's only one I want it to be my side.

Me too.

Now, how should our side deal with Franken in the following cases:

1) He says "I didn't", the accuser says "Yes, you did", and the Ethics Committee "investigation" can't find forensic evidence either way.

2) He says "I did do it, and shame on me for doing it."

What the Other Side will do is demand that Franken resign in either case, of course. The Other Side will probably include Senator Roy Moore, I betcha. But that's not relevant to your position or my question.

--TP

I'd like to see Franken survive and Moore elected and watch the former greet the latter into the Senate with a big wet French kiss, and we can judge who is joking around and who is not.

yep, that's the one. Thanks Janie

"I didn't do it" is a valid defense, if true. "She did the same with other men" is not, whether or not it's true.

yes it is unless she says she has changed her mind and let people know that her previous willingness is now gone.


I don't think I'd agree with that. "She did the same with other men" is not a defense. "She did it routinely with most guys" might be. But not just the fact that she had done whatever it is before.

I've got several activities that I'll participate with in the right company. (Some of them I'll even perform in public. And I'm not an exhibitionist.) But that's not an invitation to the world. And it is irritating, at absolute minimum, when someone else assumes it is.**

** People who assume that, because I have been seen to hug (close) friends, I would love to hug them are a particular personal irritation.

"I didn't do it" is a valid defense, if true.

It is, but that's not what any of these guys are saying.
Pretty well all of them have adopted the fairly obnoxious trope of the half apology - "if anyone was offended by my behaviour..." etc, which both makes it sound a bit like an accident, and also tends to thrown the responsibility back on the offended party.

Lasseter's statement in which he talks of his 'missteps' is a classic of the genre:
It’s been brought to my attention that I have made some of you feel disrespected or uncomfortable. That was never my intent. Collectively, you mean the world to me, and I deeply apologize if I have let you down. I especially want to apologize to anyone who has ever been on the receiving end of an unwanted hug or any other gesture they felt crossed the line in any way, shape, or form. No matter how benign my intent, everyone has the right to set their own boundaries and have them respected....

And it goes on to adopt another trope - that the alleged offender need to “start taking better care of myself"... as he announces a six month sabbatical "to recharge and be inspired, and ultimately return with the insight and perspective I need to be the leader you deserve.”

Of course Lasseter's apparent behaviour does not begint to approach anything like what Weinstein is accused of, he adopts exactly the same apology/self-justification technique.

A real apology would be something along the lines of "I'm sorry, I was wrong".

TP: the issue of acknowledging what's right and what's wrong, which I wrote about, is different from the question of decided whether wrongdoing occurred, or how to deal with it.

As I wrote previously, we should not convict anyone on the basis of a single uncorroborated accusation of something which may have happened a decade or more ago. Votes can decide who to believe. Or if Franken admits conduct which is wrong but not criminal, it's up to him and the voters what to do about it.

"I didn't do it" is a valid defense, if true. "She did the same with other men" is not, whether or not it's true.

yes it is unless she says she has changed her mind and let people know that her previous willingness is now gone.

You can't mean that can you? We're entitled to be selective in our choice of sexual partners.

Yes, the Dederer article was chock full of insight.

In the case of Leeann , we aren;t talking about sexual partners. We are talking about a willingess to engage in sexually charged joking. And yes of course people have a right to choose, but they also have a responsibility to let people around them know that the choice is. And if the light is green for teasing with sexual connotations, then it is green for teasing with sexual connotations and teasing with sexual connotations is likely to happen.

It isn't fair to intitiate and enjoy (ie give permission) a certain kind of behavior and then get mad when it happens.


We are talking about a willingess to engage in sexually charged joking.

1. You are still flapping your arms really hard to elide the difference between events within the context of a performance and actions between people in real life. This is not a trivial distinction.

2. A tongue kiss, esp. between two people (effectively) alone together, is stretching the limits of "sexually charged joking".

3. Taking the allegations at face value, she did make her choice known - first in her reluctance to "rehearse" the kiss in the first place, tongue or no; then, after it occurred, in no uncertain terms. Everything that followed, at least, must be considered on notice.

4. It is very difficult to tease someone or give them the opportunity to express displeasure while they are asleep.

5. What the hell are you actually trying to do here? There are ways to defend Franken from the wolves without resorting to victim blaming or dismissing the allegations (and if there weren't, we shouldn't be). Is this the response we want to model as acceptable? "Victim blaming is ok if you do it in technically correct way -- stand back, I'm an expert!"

Is it only ok if an ally is accused, or would this be an ok tactic for, say, Trump to use too? "I didn't do anything wrong! Miss America just smiled a little wider when I squeezed her up on stage, so clearly she was into more sexually charged play back in her trailer!" Maybe your expertise can save him the trouble!

WITAF?

what happens when you try to get sexual with a 14-year old outside of AL ?

https://www.reviewjournal.com/crime/sex-crimes/las-vegas-school-coach-tried-to-kiss-14-year-old-girl-police-say/

you get arrested.

too bad, for him, that he's not a Republican Thought Leader.

"too bad, for him, that he's not a Republican Thought Leader."

Or that it's not 40 years ago.

there is no statute of limitations for abusing 14 yr olds in AL.

there is no statute of limitations for abusing 14 yr olds in AL.

Well, not anymore, IIRC at the time it was 3 years, and also IIRC that's what matters from a legal/criminal standpoint.

From a moral/do what's right standpoint, fnck that guy and his GOP supporters/voters.

I'd say him and his supporters/voters -- regardless of party or lack of same. We already knew the guy was scum, and this has only reinforced that. Anyone who votes for him has to abandon permanently any claim to care about the values/morals of candidates.

What jack lecou said.

(Though autocorrect wants to call him loco...)

One thing I'd add, to those who ask 'why didn't she say something at the time', it ought to be remembered that even in the most egregious cases, up until now it can have taken decades, and multiple victims coming forward, for complainants not to be ignored...
http://www.slate.com/blogs/the_slatest/2017/11/22/larry_nassar_has_confessed_to_sexually_assaulting_children_michigan_state.html

I think there is at least something to be said for the pendulum to have swung a little in the opposite direction.

The "it's-OK-when-our-guy-does-it" fallacy rears it's ugly head again - not really the way to go when discussing ethics ...

Well, not anymore, IIRC at the time it was 3 years,

do you have a cite? everything i've read said there wasn't any.

At the risk of re-igniting the All Clinton All The Time flame wars, I thought this was pretty accurate regarding the Clinton/Lewinsky affair.

I was unaware that she was not on White House staff for most of their relationship. Which, to me, makes a difference.

It can be difficult to find a bright line between innocuous and unwelcome, and between unwelcome and threatening, and between threatening and actually dangerous. I would say in most cases it's better to err on the side of prudence.

But sometimes people have affairs, and in and of itself that's really nobody's business but their own.

On the other hand, imagining the vivesected death's heads of Earth's creatures gazing down from his office walls at ruthless pigfucker Joe Barton's pasty white over-ripe naked carcass as he selfie's his shriveled privates to his probably Christian female conquests does provide one a partisan frisson up the spine.

sometimes people have affairs, and in and of itself that's really nobody's business but their own.

Well, theirs and those (if any) with whom one or the other (or both) of them are supposed to be in an exclusive relationship with. (And, unfortunately, the children of all involved.)

for cleek:

The state’s statute of limitations for bringing felony charges involving sexual abuse of a minor in 1979 would have run out three years later. Corfman never filed a police report or a civil suit, the Post said.

From this article. Could be "fake news," I suppose, but no retraction was made.

Well, theirs and those (if any) with whom one or the other (or both) of them are supposed to be in an exclusive relationship with. (And, unfortunately, the children of all involved.)

Yes.

I'm not, and won't, excuse hurtful behavior, I'm just making a comment about the scope of the audience who have an interest in it.

From this article.

hmm. ok. guess i'll stop saying that.

Certainty it is the legitimate business of far fewer people than seem obsessively interested. I just don't want to lose track of the fact that the principals are not the only ones potentially impacted. I've heard that kind of stupidity too often to doubt it gets repeated a lot as defense.

Interestingly, from a criminal lawyer in Alabama, in a blog post dated June 15, 2014:

In recent years, other states have dropped their statute-of limitations, including Illinois and Florida. Under Alabama law, there is a three year statute of limitations for felony sex abuse and for misdemeanor sexual abuse; however, there is no statute of limitations on rape cases in Alabama.

That seems to contradict what I, like cleek, feel like I've read a bunch of times in the past couple of weeks (i.e. that there is currently no statute of limitations). But then, I skim a lot, and I'm not a lawyer, so I'll leave it at that.

In the vein of not wanting do al Clinton all the time, I saw this the other day and let it go but..

What if Ken Starr was right? By that right wing warrior Douthat

https://nyti.ms/2hKdjHR

I'll trade you Bill Clinton's scalp for Clarence Thomas' .

As the player to be named later, I'll select moderate Merrick Garland to replace Thomas on the Court.

A different take on the Clinton-Lewinsky affair.

Not long. Worth a read.

novakant: The "it's-OK-when-our-guy-does-it" fallacy rears it's ugly head again

It's not clear who you're talking about (or to), novakant, but it's even less clear what the "it" is that's "OK" when "our" guy does it.

How wide a range of actions do you classify as "it"?

How narrow a range of reactions to "it" would be acceptable to you?

I mean, we could impose the death penalty (political or actual) for everything from fanny-patting to forcible rape, whether habitual or one-time, regardless of which "side" the perp is on or whether he fesses up.

That would be the most unambiguously moral and irreproachably non-partisan thing to do, right?

Alternatively, we could be rank hypocrites and note that some offenses are more egregious than others; we could be shameless partisans and decide that disgust with and mortal hatred of need not always go hand in hand.

I'm happy to be a hypocritical partisan, myself.

--TP

Frankentoast

I don't get it, but then I am a million miles away from that kind of social.

What if Ken Starr was right?

to be honest, I don't look to politicians for examples of moral virtue. I want them to do their jobs. being a moral exemplar is just not part of their brief, as far as I'm concerned.

don't abuse your office, don't put yourself in a position where your ability to do your job is compromised, those are my expectations.

i've often thought that the tragedy of bill clinton was what he could have achieved, had he not had the bimbo eruption baggage.

but then i see the way that obama - squeaky clean family man obama - was treated, and i recognize that it wouldn't have made a difference.

cleek's law. it's like freaking gravity.

Of course it would have made a difference! Clinton didn't have that permanent suntan. And anyone who doesn't realize that that was at the root of how he was treated is delusional.

Not that it wasn't possible to disagree with him. But the way he was approached from day one? Suntan.

...how he, Obama was treated...

Watch out wj, that wji guy is nym-jacking you.

Re: Clinton and Lewinsky, the ultimate judgment on whether the 'relationship' was abusive or not is what Lewinsky has to say about it: twenty years later, and with zero prospect of retaliation from Clinton.

As skeevy as Moore and (IMO, to a much lesser extent) Clinton's dalliances might be, they are still INFINITELY preferable to the torture perversion demonstrated by Cheney et al.

Downright normal and healthy, by comparison, I'd say.

wji = wj + fat finger (the tablet seems to do that a lot.)

Plus too lazy to go up to the laptop and do an edit right now....

still INFINITELY preferable to the torture perversion

If anyone argues, just ask them which they would prefer to have their daughter (or themselves) on the receiving end of. Suddenly, the significance of the distinction becomes stunningly obvious.

Frankentoast

Goddammit.

The problem is that gropers are like bed bugs.

Back when the conspiracy of silence was operating etter, we would only ever see one bite at a time. And with just one bite, you can always convince yourself that it's really just a mosquito. Or a spider. Or maybe a weird little hive. Anything but the other thing.

But now the blinders are off. And unfortunately, seeing all the bites at once laid in neat little rows is far more diagnostic...

This is a relevant conversation well worth reading - whether or not one agrees with everything in it...
https://www.thecut.com/2017/11/rebecca-traister-ross-douthat-post-weinstein-lessons.html
But I have to say, this part of the news cycle — where everyone is obsessing over whether Al Franken should resign and whether Bill Clinton should have or not — is wearing on me. I’m sure a cynic could read this as being defensive about fellow liberals. But I promise you it’s not that. I am all for reevaluating Bill and for hearing more about Franken, but I worry that the drive to render sentence is pulling focus from what should be being revealed here, which is the pervasiveness of the behavior, the way that the whole culture tells us that jokes about grabbing women’s breasts are funny, the way that a comedian who builds his career in part on telling those jokes can become a trusted public and political figure to begin with.

Which is not to say that Franken shouldn’t be trusted, and I happen to think he’s a great senator. But you know, Gilda Radner might have also been a great senator, but can we imagine the scenario in which she’d have been granted comparable public authority?…

Happy Turkey Day! In celebration, the OECD has once again confirmed the US is a low tax country (31st out of 35 OECD countries in taxes as a % of GDP, which includes state and local taxes).

There is plenty of $$ to spend on infrastructure, healthcare, etc., we just refuse to do so. Plus out military budget is disgusting.

That is all.

This is a relevant conversation well worth reading...

i continue to wonder about the relevance of Bill Clinton.

he's not in office or running for office. and he was already impeached - twenty years ago.

Today's Prime Directive: Gobble, gobble, gobble!

Have a good one.

It's a day to, for the sheer novelty if nothing else, focus on what's right in our world. Give thanks for that, and let the rest wait until tomorrow.

Late night thoughts, buried way down here to be maybe retrieved if and when appropriate

This LGM Post wherein Lemieux proves Zizek wrong about oligarchic Democrats by reference to statements. Pelosi says she is opposed to these tax cuts, and that's that. Not that Zizek, whom I don't read is right, but...

This is how the tag-team, goodcop-badcop works:Democrats make left-populist statements, so the conservative things that happen are not their fault.

Example: Obama preserving 80-90% of the Bush taxcuts in 2012. Specifically, the exemption for inheritance taxes went from 500k in 2001 to 5 million in 2012. Obama may have raised the rate, but kept the exemption. Course, not his fault, right? Had to do health care in 2009, and raising taxes would have gotten in the way.

Same thing, subtle and in different forms, happened to the treatment of capital in the Clinton administration.

And the same thing will happen with these current tax cuts in the Gillibrand/Harris/whomever administration in 2021.

Democrat-Republican tag-team. Two steps backward, one step forward. And never Democrat's fault.

Ctrl-F "congress" : "Phrase not found"

Oh, I mention Pelosi and Democrats plural often enough. I am not in the LGM #nothingeverneverObamaClintonfault crowd, but I recognize constraints

Obama preserving 80-90% of the Bush taxcuts in 2012.

Obama had to work Congress very hard to get this passed, and still only managed 85 Republicans and 165 class traitors. The millionaires club in the Senate was easy.

But generally I don't waste my time apportioning responsibility in fair measure.

Watch not what they say, or even what they do because a) they are smarter than you, and b) they know to make legislation and policy like ACA and tax reform incomprehensible to amateurs...

...watch what happens.

Obama preserving 80-90% of the Bush taxcuts in 2012.

that didn't happen in a vacuum.

...the exemption for inheritance taxes went from 500k in 2001 to 5 million in 2012.

Tangentially, this is what allows people to now say, "But it's no big deal to get rid of it! It's not that much revenue, anyway!" (Also, it's the estate tax, right?)

What we should be doing is lowering the exemption back to something sane.

Obama may have raised the rate, but kept the exemption. Course, not his fault, right? Had to do health care in 2009, and raising taxes would have gotten in the way.

So are you saying that you think it would have been possible to do both? I get that you think it should have been possible, but do you really think it was? And if so, based on what?

speaking of taxes and how Dems and Republicans are identical...

http://money.cnn.com/2017/11/29/news/economy/tax-reform-puerto-rico/

The House GOP bill has a provision that Puerto Rican leaders say amounts to a tax on goods manufactured on the island and exported to the mainland United States.

The bill would apply a 20% excise tax to payments made by companies on the mainland to their subsidiary businesses in Puerto Rico.

Well since their constituents don't think Puerto Rico is really part of the United States, that makes a sort of sense. Starting from false assumptions will do that to you.

That many more Puerto Ricans will be *incentivized* to move to the mainland. Since Florida is a close-by and already-popular destination for people leaving the island, as well as being a large swing-state, this piece of policy should appropriately bite them square in the ass if enacted.

I saw someone with a "Republicans for Voldemort" bumper sticker last weekend. That's what it's like. I can't wrap my head around it.

Puerto Ricans are already handicapped by the Jones Act.

Not just Puerto Ricans. Hawaiians, Alaskans, and, to some degree all the rest of us as well. Someday Congress will figure out that it's not 1920 any more.

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