The Democrats Continue to Eat Their Own

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The situation regarding sexual assault and misconduct has once again demonstrated that there are tremendous differences between the two political parties that supposedly lead this country. When faced with allegations of dalliances and even criminal conduct, the Republican Party stall, deny and castigate those who have made the allegations against their “sainted” representatives. The Democratic Party, however, devolves into a pack of hyenas that eat their own rather than accept the standards as they SHOULD be set.

Don’t believe me? Let’s take a look, shall we?

We won’t go all the way back to the Bill Clinton debacle from the mid-1990s – his relationship with Monica Lewinsky was consensual and other allegations were either adjudicated to a settlement or thrown out of court altogether. But we will go back to this summer, when noted Hollywood producer and magnate Harvey Weinstein’s heinous accusations first started to emerge. Actresses – ranging from bit players to accomplished women such as Oscar winner Lupita Nyoug’o, Game of Thrones actress Lena Headey and Lauren Holly (of Picket Fences fame) – and other movie personnel began to recount their experiences with Weinstein, which ranged from attempted forced kissing to out-and-out rape. In another era, this probably would have been swept under the rug (as the old Hollywood machine used to do). Today, however, it is a different story.

Whether it was simply because of the voluminous amounts of credible information regarding Weinstein (or perhaps it was the acts of another legend in Hollywood, comedian Bill Cosby, and his decades of sexual assault), this time these women’s intimate details regarding a very painful situation sparked something. Instead of using his power and stature to deflect these allegations, Weinstein was immediately cast from the production company that he founded, ejected from the Director’s Guild of America, and was stripped of all voting rights with the Motion Picture Academy of Arts and Sciences (the people behind the Academy Awards), among other things. About the only thing he had left at the end was money (nobody’s gone after that…yet) because his reputation and his place in the hierarchy of Tinseltown were thoroughly destroyed.

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Since that time, the sexual assault and misconduct rage has swept through society. Actor Kevin Spacey, who used the allegations against him as a rather crude way to admit to the world that he was gay, lost his role on the HBO series House of Cards and was completely REMOVED from a film that was already in the can. Ben Affleck, magician David Blaine, comedian Louis C. K., Richard Dreyfus and Dustin Hoffman have faced allegations across the board. The news media saw Today host Matt Lauer and MSNBC host Mark Halpern lost their jobs (and, in Lauer’s case, a divorce is expected) and let’s not forget about former Fox News honcho Roger Ailes or Bill O’Reilly.

To think that politics would be excluded was foolhardy. In 2016, Orange Foolius was accused by 16 women of different sexually explicit (and unwanted) encounters after the cretin vividly described what he did to women in the Access Hollywood tape. Instead of vilifying this asshole, the GOP – after weakly attempting to step away from him – warmly embraced the scumbag and pushed him to the Presidency rather than toss him out on his ass. It has all set up for what occurred on Thursday and, perhaps, what will occur next week.

In Alabama next week, the election to see who will take over the seat vacated by the Keebler Elf…errr, I mean, Attorney General Jefferson Beauregard Sessions III…will take place. In a state where the electorate is 65/35 Republican to Democrat, this should have been a slam dunk for the GOP. Then they went and nominated a child molester in Roy Moore…

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There’s a reason that there isn’t an “alleged” in front of “child molester.” Moore has all but said he trolled for teenage girls as a District Attorney in his early 30s. He has admitted that he “courted” his wife when she was but a teenager. He was banned from an Alabama mall because of his creepy pursuit of teenage girls. And he has all but said, “Fuck you, try and stop me,” to the world when the information from EIGHT WOMEN about his sexual assault and misconduct emerged. After initially trying to step away, Republican scum has now embraced him…why? Because they need his vote in a Senate that they desperately need to keep control of.

(And this isn’t even getting into his prior conduct of disavowing FEDERAL LAW, his two removals from the Alabama Supreme Court, or his commentary on blacks and gays. Let’s just say it…hey Republicans, real winner you picked there.)

The Democrats in power in Washington have also had their travails in deciding what to do with their representatives and their peccadillos. Earlier this week, when accused of sexual assault by staff members and others, Michigan’s John Conyers, the longest serving member of the House of Representatives, chose to not run for his seat in 2018 and immediately resigned. Of more significance, however, was the decision by Minnesota Senator Al Franken on Thursday.

Two weeks previous, former Hooters waitress/television “hostess” Leeann Tweeden announced she had been “sexually assaulted” by Franken, apparently while rehearsing a skit the two were to perform at a USO show overseas. As Tweeden alleges, Franken – like a nebbish joke writer – tried to see how far he could get around the bases with her. He allegedly “forced his tongue in her mouth” and groped her beyond the boundaries of the skit. (We’re not going to touch the photo of Franken allegedly groping Tweeden over her flak jacket because it isn’t clear if he is even touching her nor her pictures of smacking a guitarist on the ass during the same USO tour.)

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Franken, while partially admitting to the situation but also saying that “he remembered it differently,” volunteered to be a part of a Senate investigation into his conduct. Then another accusation emerged from a woman who said he touched her ass during a photo opportunity at the Minnesota State Fair; another woman said he “touched her back” inappropriately…the numbers began to grow, to the point they were rivaling Moore.

For some reason, the Democratic Party felt it was important to force out one of their strongest and most well-respected members on simply the grounds of an accusation. Rather than wait until a Senate committee had reached any decision on Franken’s conduct, a group of Democratic Senators – led significantly by Kristen Gillibrand of New York and Kamala Harris of California, among others – decided that he had to depart. Franken, after two weeks of browbeating on the subject, decided it was “appropriate” to do so.

So, Democrats, what has this “moral high ground” brought about? All the “moral high ground” gives you is a bit better sleep at night. The other side can still fuck over the country with their “low road” approach, seat a pedophile and allow a person who did the SAME GODDAMN THING that Franken was accused of stay in the WH. If you actually think that Moore won’t be seated and Orange Foolius will suddenly have an epiphany and resign because he mistreated women, then you’re living in Fantasyland.

And why will this happen? The GOP isn’t going to care one iota about what “the people” think regarding the issue. Should Moore win next week (and I think he will, despite what many are saying), he’ll be welcomed in by the scumbags of the GOP (because they need his vote) and by Orange Foolius at the top, who continues to sneer at his accusers. All the Democrats have done is shoot themselves in the foot by disposing of a flawed yet powerful voice in the Senate and all their indignation will be met with absolutely nothing from their opposition.

Let’s be honest here. It is high time that women have been heard from, especially on this issue. For far too long men in power have used that position to demean at the minimum and physically assault and mentally torture at the maximum females that are subordinate to them. But the rules must be the same and the punishments also must be equal. If you’re going to excoriate people like Conyers and Franken, then the GOP doesn’t get to play by different rules and have their pedophiles and serial abusers stay in their seats.

You can be guaranteed that this will come back to bite the Democratic Party. In ejecting both Conyers and Franken, they are trying to assume the “moral high ground” on the issue of sexual assault. But when the opposition has neither morals nor the care about being viewed in such a manner – which the Republican Party sacrificed when they put up a thrice-married, narcissistic, racist, xenophobic serial philanderer who lacks the basic couth to act like a human let alone as a world leader as the party’s standard bearer – you’re only hurting yourself and weakening your cause instead of improving it.

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Where Do We Draw the Line? All Things Are NOT the Same

The events of the last month or so – hell, if you want to be serious, it’s dating back to the 1990s – have opened the door of Pandora’s Box. Whether it is in the world of relations between men or women or even something as small as what constitutes a joke, it seems we want to eradicate the impropriety, even the ability to laugh at ourselves. If it delves into a needle of a person’s appearance, a stereotype, or a myriad of other situations, it seems as though it has become verboten. This has caused me to wonder a few things:  just where do we draw the line? And that led to my second thought:  all situations are not the same.

A couple of months ago, I saw one of my favorite films of all time. Mel Brooks’ Blazing Saddles was on AMC (and unedited at that!) and I laughed my ass off all the way through it. The performances were priceless in the film, from Cleavon Little’s streetwise (and black) Sheriff Bob to Gene Wilder’s drunken Waco Kid, there wasn’t a dull moment in the film about a black man assigned to be a sheriff for a racist town. There was also a litany of jokes about Mexicans, Indians, blacks, Jews, and a host of others that would be considered “inappropriate” today.

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Imagine my surprise when I heard Brooks discuss the issue in an interview soon after. In an interview with the BBC, Brooks commented that he could probably have done Young Frankenstein, but Blazing Saddles could never have been made. “Never ‘Blazing Saddles,’ because we have become stupidly politically correct, which is the death of comedy,” Brooks stated to the BBC. But Brooks’ groundbreaking and legendary comedy isn’t the only piece that might be “wrong” to watch today.

AMC was also the home of another cinematic classic I viewed recently. The original M*A*S*H, with Donald Sutherland as Hawkeye Pierce and Elliott Gould as Trapper John McIntyre, depicted the Korean War with all its warts. It is arguable that there were enough things to twist the panties of today’s sensitive souls, with just the name of one of the characters (‘Spearchucker’ Jones), the usage of drugs and treatment of women by…well, virtually everyone…to get outrage going.

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You think this was just something from the 70s? Another favorite film of mine is Doctor Detroit, a middling 80s comedy starring Dan Aykroyd as a nebbish college professor who, when plied with alcohol, drugs, and sex by a bevy of beauties (that included his future wife Donna Dixon), becomes a chiropractor/crime lord (and the women’s pimp) to not only save them but his college. In the 90s, it was Ace Ventura:  Pet Detective, the story of an inept detective chasing a transgendered (and very sexual, if you’re to believe one scene) former football player. The 21st century hasn’t changed this brand of comedy, or did you miss the Harold & Kumar series?

The movie industry in 2017 has been ravaged by the accusations of some of the most powerful men in Hollywood and the long-rumored “casting couch.” This trend caught one of the most powerful men in Tinseltown, Harvey Weinstein, who was alleged to have attempted to use his position as a “make or break” player in the movie business to have sexual relations (sometimes even forced) with women looking for their big break. Add in other alleged situations such as actor Kevin Spacey, director Brett Ratner and hip hop legend Russell Simmons, and now actor Jeffrey Tambor and it all is coming to a head.

This same year the same accusations have rocked the media and political professions, some proven, some “paid off.” Former Fox News president the late Roger Ailes, Bill O’Reilly, now Charlie Rose…all have been alleged to have committed some form of harassment of women. In politics it dates back even further to the peccadillos of John Kennedy and Bill Clinton. For it to come around to today’s incidences, with both Al Franken and Roy Moore being castigated for their actions, isn’t surprising. And remember, more than a dozen women – and a rape allegation of a 13-year old – are awaiting the person who sits in the most powerful seat in the land (remember right after “grabbed them by the pussy” on the Access Hollywood bus?) To this day, he has never answered for those transgressions.

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I am reminded of when I was back in my radio days. At that time, the biggest name in the game was (and arguably still is) Howard Stern. Stern’s programs routinely featured (and still does) in-depth discussion of sexual actions, women’s anatomy, the derision of the handicapped, and basically set the format for “morning show” radio (the “morning crew” days). As someone who worked in those days, the different “morning show” crews were constantly trying to gain the edge over each other with who could put up the sleaziest, sexiest, most outrageous morning show, making the most fun of the most people that are in existence. And you know what? The audiences LAUGHED ALL THE GODDAMN WAY with them. (And if you want a look at what it was like for a woman in the music business, check out Lita Ford’s autobiography Living Like a Runaway for all the gory details.)

I do realize that this is a new age, a new era, but it is beginning to get a bit out of hand. Can anyone reading this tell me what they did 20 years ago? How about 30? Do you remember every interaction you’ve ever had with the opposite sex (or, in some cases, with the same sex)? Were they all innocent engagements with absolutely nothing memorable about them? Then ask yourself this:  is there a possibility that someone else you were with that they remember the situation completely different than you do?

There needs to be some lines set out. In a court of law, there are differing degrees of murder – first degree, second degree, manslaughter, all the way down to legally allowing a person to kill another human being (self-defense, or “Stand Your Ground”). Sexual assault and harassment can go in the same ways as there are differing standards that could be set.

To compare the pedophilic acts of Moore to Franken’s nobody comedy writer dream of getting to lock lips with a Hooters waitress who made it (and acting like a 15-year old virgin in the process of rehearsing it) is completely asinine. The actions of both men are a FORM of sexual assault. But to hold Franken up as “the same” as Moore – who allegedly fiddled with some 14-year-old child and cruised malls to score teenage girls as a 30-plus year-old man (and a District Attorney at that) – is outright lunacy.

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And just what should be the punishment for these actions? In the case of those in Hollywood, their careers have been destroyed, their reputations in tatters, while the women haven’t emerged any better for telling their stories. Franken may very well lose his seat in the U. S. Senate, while Moore should never be seated if elected next month. Is it worth destroying someone’s very existence for something that happened when they were at a completely different stage in their lives?

I don’t pretend to know the answers and, after reviewing everything, I myself am cloudier on the issue than when I started. But if we’re looking for saints in our politics, we’re going to have very empty chambers to decide the laws. If we’re looking for saints in business, comedy, entertainment, and the news, then there’s going to be a very bland life ahead for our progeny. Brooks said it best in that BBC interview when he said, “It’s okay not to hurt feelings of various tribes and groups. However, it’s not good for comedy. Comedy has to walk a thin line, take risks. Comedy is the lecherous little elf whispering into the king’s ear, always telling the truth about human behavior.”

We still have to find how far those risks can go, in comedy and other arenas in life, and, if they were violated long ago, what the appropriate punishments should be.

And The Chickens Come Home to Roost…

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Currently on the cable news channel CNN (and why it’s on there I have no clue, except for the factor that news channels are “entertainment” channels nowadays) is a six-part documentary series (ah, THAT’S how they play it off as “news”) delving into the history of the campaigns for the Presidency of the United States. Race for The White House, narrated and produced by House of Cards actor Kevin Spacey, looks back at six campaigns from the jaded history of the country and the lengths (some would say depths) that people would go to ensure that their candidate was ensconced in the White House. Last week’s episode dealt with the 1960 Presidential election between John F. Kennedy and Richard M. Nixon (I already knew the story and thusly bypassed it) and this week’s episode – unless its preempted for “Breaking News” (“Hey, someone found a piece of that Malaysian plane that’s been missing for two years!”) – will look at the 1860 fight between Abraham Lincoln and Stephen Douglas.

To say that the 2016 Presidential campaign has been unique and may someday be a part of the 75th anniversary of Race for the White House on the Interstellar News Network (INN) would be an understatement. For the most part, however, it isn’t two parties or candidates going after each other that have made this a campaign that has either been memorable or an embarrassment, depending on viewpoint. It is one person whose repeated usage of inflammatory rhetoric has, indeed, drawn an audience of knuckle-draggers out of the woodwork that have repeatedly attacked even the slightest hint of protest at his campaign rallies. Now, however, the chickens are coming home to roost.

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Of course, we are talking about Donald Drumpf, who has led the charge for the Republican Party after eight years of heated, borderline racist rhetoric of their own that castigated the twice elected President Barack Obama. It started for Drumpf with the 2012 election when he drove the “birther” movement (even after it had calmed down in most Republican circles) and Trump himself fanned the flames higher. “You won’t believe the information my investigators have found,” the Orangutan Mutant crowed in news conferences – that was before Obama stood up, showed a full birth certificate showing his place of birth to be Hawaii and basically told Drumpf to put up or shut up (note:  Drumpf shut up).

When Drumpf announced his run for President in 2016, he simply continued the divisive, racist, xenophobic and misogynist rhetoric that he has parroted since he entertained thoughts of running for the office in the late 1990s. No matter the nationality or region – Mexican, Syrian, South American, Asian – nor the ethnicity or religion, Drumpf has cursed them all, pumping his StormTrumpers with an Aryan vision of “making America great again.” Then, when things got violent, Drumpf simply ratcheted the verbosity and tension even more.

Since that day in June 2015, Drumpf has continually encouraged his rallygoers to verbally and physically attack those in the crowd that would even think to disagree with him. In February, Drumpf literally said if someone at one of his rallies saw someone even giving the slightest appearance of trying to disrupt his speech to “knock the crap out of them, would you? Seriously. OK, just knock the hell – I promise you, I will pay for the legal fees. I promise, I promise.”

So what do you think happened?

On March 8, a member of the Drumpf crowd DRESSED IN HIS KOREAN WAR VETERANS ASSOCIATION GARB pushed and threatened a black protestor in Louisville, KY, forcing the WOMAN from the rally for apparently protesting too much (there is no video of what she did). The man, Al Bamberger, has since repeatedly apologized to his Veterans’ Chapter and his family, but basically has handed out a big “fuck you” to the woman whom he assaulted. So has Drumpf, who encouraged the actions from the stage (as he has virtually every one of the altercations at his rallies).

Another Drumpf rally on March 10 got even worse. As Cumberland County Sherriff’s Department officers escorted two men from the Crown Coliseum in Fayetteville, racial epitaphs reportedly were hurled by the crowd towards both black men. Then another man, John McGraw, stepped up and sucker-punched one of the men as he walked by. Instead of apprehending McGraw for the assault, Cumberland County officers tackled the punched man and quickly got him and his partner out of the Coliseum. It wasn’t until the next day – and after the tabloid show Inside Edition interviewed McGraw with him saying “Yes, he deserved it. The next time we see him, we might have to kill him…he might be with a terrorist organization” – that the Cumberland authorities got around to arresting McGraw for assault (an investigation is ongoing by the Sheriff’s Department as to why they didn’t act at that time).

Then there’s Drumpf’s treatment of the press. Breitbart.com reporter Michelle Fields – and Breitbart is a conservative-leaning website that has been VERY closely associated with promoting the Drumpf campaign – was allegedly accosted by Drumpf campaign manager Corey Lewandowski while the campaign was in Florida on Friday. Fields filed charges of assault against Lewandowski and displayed bruising on her arm where she said she was “forcefully grabbed” by Lewandowski, who doesn’t say he didn’t do it but calls Fields “delusional” and the campaign says is “entirely false.” There is video, however, of Lewandowski being within close proximity to Fields while Drumpf is departing a press engagement and, at a point, her body jerking back violently, giving credence to her side of the story. The investigation is ongoing.

And this all has gone on while the Orangutan Mutant continues to up the ante, increase the bile in every speech and ratchet up the rhetoric to histrionic proportions. But what happens when the odds are evened up and it isn’t a screaming horde of a few hundred people against one or two? Drumpf and his supporters scream like little weaklings with their panties in a bunch and say that their rights are being violated!

On Friday, Drumpf scheduled two rallies, one in St. Louis and the other in Chicago, and everything short of street warfare broke out. Outside of the St. Louis rally, protestors from both sides clashed and, in what has become a usual occurrence inside a Drumpf rally, the speeches were interrupted on more than a dozen occasions. That just served as the appetizer for Chicago, where the crowd was evenly split and, this time, Drumpf’s campaign decided not to hold the rally out of “security concerns.”

Now these protesters were apparently organized by the Black Lives Matters and MoveOn.org groups, but that isn’t a point worth arguing. When it came time for Drumpf to actually have to face off against those whom his supporters have targeted for attacks time and time again, they decided to back off. Drumpf himself then whined about his “First Amendment” rights and how he had a right to hold his rallies.

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Let’s get something straight here. Yes, everyone has a First Amendment right to say whatever the hell they want to say (and that the First Amendment is there to prevent the GOVERNMENT from infringing on that right). In utilizing that First Amendment right, you also have to accept the ramifications of what comes from that exercise. If your rhetoric is constantly demeaning of – well, virtually everyone – then you have to expect that you are going to get some backlash at some point from the targets of your vitriol.

Those protesters have the same right to be heard. Now there may be a question as to the usage of violence (and that is one that can be asked on both sides), but there should be no question that protesters can call out the Orangutan Mutant and his slobbering horde for their idiocy. That First Amendment thing? It works both ways.

What doesn’t work is to try and act like you haven’t done anything to aggravate the situation. For most of Friday evening and into Saturday (a Cincinnati Drumpf rally was also canceled due to “security concerns” while another in Dayton saw the Secret Service perform their duties admirably when a potential threat rushed the stage, surrounding Drumpf in a protective cocoon), Drumpf tried to say that he hasn’t said anything onstage to encourage his supporters to take the actions that have occurred, that there is nothing he regrets having said, that he is completely innocent regarding the “issues.”

To that, everyone – whether you agree with the Orangutan Mutant or don’t – has to raise up and loudly say “BULLSHIT!” Drumpf is the one that has turned the 2016 Presidential campaign into the shitshow that it has become, that has tossed it into the racial commode and continues to stir the malodorous pot. There’s an ever-so-slim chance that someone might get to Drumpf and see if he can walk it back a bit…if not, then I fear it’s going to get worse, perhaps to the point of dead bodies worse, rather than improve.