David Frum spies the bright spot in our Autumn of Shame

It has become a sickening ritual. Almost every day we are treated to another round of revelations. I wince now every time I see a famous name show up in a social media feed. For a moment, I find myself hoping they’ve merely died, so I won’t have to wade through the alternative – a detailed description of what they did, who they did it to, and the lies they told to escape a reckoning.

Disgust often obscures the important reality that this is a revolutionary moment. Our eyes are drawn to the grotesquerie of the details. We often miss the courage of the people stepping forward to reclaim their own story. We miss the wonder of living in a time when these revelations can finally be paired with an appropriate public response.

Day to day we are faced with one miserable story after another, whether along this theme of sexual abuse or in our wider world of public affairs. Ahead of us looms a inevitable crisis, the outcome of which is entirely uncertain. There are, however, hopeful signs of meaningful change. In an interview this week David Frum highlighted that optimistic view. He recorded his ideas in a series of Tweets that I thought were worth sharing. We might come through this crisis a better country and better people.

Presented below, a fine Sunday Sermon from David Frum.

 

98 Comments

  1. As we find ourselves increasingly ensconced in the social earthquake unfolding across America, it’s worth taking a step back and think about how so many Democrats suddenly seem to be re-examining Bill Clinton’s presidency and coming to the conclusion that: “whoops, we kinda dropped the ball one that one. He definitely should’ve resigned.”

    Perhaps most notably is one Sen. Kirsten Gillibrand (D-NY) who, in one of the true bits of political irony, now occupies Hillary Clinton’s former Senate seat: https://www.politico.com/story/2017/11/17/kirsten-gillibrand-bill-clinton-democrats-247427

    Yet color me a bit of a skeptic that Democrats will seize this moment to its fullest. Some in the party seems more than a bit comfortable to let it all just be water under the bridge and think that it doesn’t matter in the context of today, not when we have Trump and Roy Moore to contend with.

    Recent Democratic convert Bob Scheider (an all-around fine individual whose blog (http://www.chicagonow.com/politics-now) I highly recommend) and I had a bit of a spat on Twitter earlier today. He more or less argued that it was playing right into Trump’s hands to re-litigate Bill Clinton; that it was indulging in “idle sexual gossip” and “peering into people’s bedrooms” (yes, those really were his words) to revisit a pivotal moment in Democratic Party history that, IMO, still lives with us to this day.

    My essential point was that I wasn’t trying to invade the sanctity of a couple’s marriage or anything like that, but simply that Democrats should finally take a stand and let voters know where they are. Bill Clinton wasn’t some middle-class schmuck living down the road, he was the President of the United States, and what he did mattered.. That, if nothing else, should be *abundantly* clear today.

    If Democrats believe they were wrong to have stood by him for political expediency and that they honestly thought he should’ve resigned, then they should say so. True, to say that *now*, of all times, will ring hollow to many, but if not now, when?

    Regrettably, all of that came across to Bob as little more than my, apparently, helping Trump and even being accused of being a troll (never had that one thrown at me, tbh).

    Regardless, I’d like to ask all of you whether you agree with me or not? Should Dems simply be content to let it all just be water under the bridge or should they, like Sen. Gillibrand, try and take a stand?

    1. I wonder if someone is keeping score….you know, one column for Repubs, the other for Dems .

      I never personally excused Bill Clinton for his sexual perfidies, even though most (not all) were consensual. I do think that makes a difference although let us just agree that patterns emerge which should matter. You could throw in JFK, and so many others from both Dem ranks and Republican. One of the ironic differences between the partisan assessment is that so often, Republicans look worse because they represent themselves as such god-fearing, righteous men…

      My fear with all of the women coming forward is that quantity alone may begin to tarnish the validity of their painful experience….sort of like getting used to Trump’s lies and crudity of all sorts…it just starts to blur. There is so much that needs to happen to support women fairly, certainly domestic and work abuse, but also equal rights for equal pay, paid maternity leave, egalitarian relationships rooted in shared respect and responsibility, shaming, sexualizing vs recognizing women are smart and capable…For me, respect for women is about so much more than sexual harassment and abuse, although I clearly feel this is wrong.

      As with so many human frailties, it’s complicated. Sorry, that’s the best I can do tonight (-;

      1. Understandable, though my intent is to keep this particular episode as simple and straightforward as I can, so as to avoid those complications. I simply say that in a time where we’re having this great national debate about sexual harassment and women in the workplace, if the Democratic Party is going to stand as a bulwark against Trump and everything *he* stands for and represents, why shouldn’t voters look at Democrats and their obvious political expediency in the ’90s and say: “Why the hell should we trust you?”

        I don’t say we should re-litigate Bill Clinton, but I *do* say Democrats should plant a firm flag in the ground and say that they aren’t going to tolerate those abuses, that they’ve reflected and that they’re going to do better going forward. I see no better way to get across their seriousness in that than to say that they were wrong to support President Clinton.

  2. A very smart contributor posted this and gave me permission to share it with you. Re: Al Franken’s behavior.

    “Gleaned from the CNN interview with Jack Taper last night.

    While these don’t in any way clear Al Franken, they do put the accusation in context.

    1. Most importantly, Leann appeared several times (in the past) on the Hannity show. Keep in mind that Hannity has been in a desperate search to find evidence in support of Roy Moore.

    2. Her role in the USO tour was as a Playboy model. I know that is somewhat irrelevant. On the other hand, it might suggest some level of hypocrisy over photos.

    3. In the Jack Taper interview she claimed disgust that her accusation is being viewed through partisan lenses and surprise by the level of media interest. As she is now a broadcaster and given the timing, she is either incredibly naive or not credible.

    4. Her timing is perfect for providing cover for Roy Moore. Hannity and Trump are talking extensively about Franken.

    5. The photo, while disgusting and in poor taste may have been a set-up gag shot and was taken (I think) by the USO photographer.

    Look, I’m not saying that this story was made up. Nor, that Franken didn’t behave like a jerk. I’m just saying that she may have exaggerated it and that might be for partisan reasons.”

    1. Bingo.

      Questions I have:

      1. Who took the photo? You have potentially answered that.
      2. How many other people have had a copy of that photo, and for how long?
      3. How long has she had possession of the photo?
      4. Who gave her the photo?
      5. Why did she decide to come forward now?

      And one of the guys that Chris has on his tweet feed is now linking an article that Roger Stone was tweeting about Franken BEFORE Tweeden went public.

      Once again, the Democrats plan on taking the high road, and will lose a powerful weapon against the fascists, while they sit back and high five each other. Democrats keep bringing a knife to a gun fight.

    2. Thanks for sharing that Mary. From the very beginning my cynicism-dar has been in alarm. Yesterday, when I saw the photo, I noticed it was obviously a gag shot. There was another man sitting in a seat adjacent to her.

      In reply to Dinsdale, though I agree that this is a gun fight, the Democrats do have to take the high road on this one. Calling for the investigation is appropriate. During the investigation the real facts regarding the context and Tweeden’s background can come out. Let the MSM place this in context as appropriate. Yes the right wing media will use that as evidence that evangelicals and conservatives are prosecuted.

      The downside of this is that R’s have timed this perfectly to divert attention from Roy Moore and the wealthy tax relief bill. This Franken incident will probably be sufficient to allow the people of Alabama to rationalize electing Moore. But that was likely to happen regardless, given the electorate there. Everyday, I become more convinced that the national Republican Party wants Moore to be elected as I have discussed in several comments.

      One more thing and this may be in poor taste, but I suspect that there may be other considerations involved in Tweeden coming forward at this time. Your suspicions are probably similar to mine.

  3. So, can someone tell me, in this age of 140 character attention spans, what is more important: The onslaught of sex assault and harassment revelations, or the fact that Congress just passed a tax bill that will devastate most of the country’s population and have long-term global economic impact.

    While the media broadcasts every titillating detail of every powerful man who has abused a woman in the past 40 years, the bill slides in with about half, maybe less, the coverage.

    I know sex sells, but there are priorities.

    I swear, if I did not know better, I would have thought that the republican establishment brain-trust came with up the entire idea to have all these women come out at this time as a diversionary tactic. Oh, and Tweeden appeared on of Hannity’s shows for a couple years in 2011 and 2012.

    1. I suspected that there might be a right wing connection with the Tweeden accusation against Franken. The timing is too coincidental with McConnell reacting as quickly as he did. It is typical of the way the R’s do business. Of course the right wing media will be all over this for weeks. Fortunately, the D’s are handling it correctly.

      1. My comments are going to veer awfully close to slut-shaming now, but I think they have validity. I am going to pull chunks of her biography from wikipedia (yeah, I know, ugh):

        “In 1992, while working as a hostess at a Hooters restaurant (she was in their 1994 calendar) in Colorado Springs, Colorado, she won first place in the Venus International Model Search. This break led to national exposure, including a regular role as a fitness model on the TV show Fitness Beach. Tweeden modeled for promotional work for Hooters, Venus International, Frederick’s of Hollywood.[3]

        Tweeden was a correspondent for Fox Sports Networks’ The Best Damn Sports Show Period from 2001 to 2007. In 2008, Tweeden became the third hostess of the NBC late night television series Poker After Dark.[4] She has also appeared on the political discussion series Hannity in 2011 and 2012.”

        So in all these organization where she worked, many of them that were based solely on promoting the physical attractiveness of women, Franken was the ONLY man to sexually harass her or make any kind of sexual assault?

        Or was he the highest value target?

      2. EJ

        With respect, Dinsdale, while your research of Ms Tweeden’s career is good, your research of Hooters’ policy might be lacking.

        Hooters is notorious for the high level of sexual harassment on staff, as well as the extent to which their management is willing to pressure the staff into “just ignoring it” rather than pressing charges. It has been suggested that Hooters’ employment and management processes are intentionally designed to create a harassment-friendly environment.

        A quick Google gives the following stories, all of which stress the fact that these are not isolated cases, but a constant culture of harassment out of which only a few people have succeeded in bringing lawsuits. You may as well press charges against each raindrop in a storm.

        http://uk.businessinsider.com/the-toll-of-being-a-hooters-waitress-2015-8

        http://abcnews.go.com/US/story?id=96429

        http://www.phillymag.com/news/2017/09/14/hooters-waitress-sexually-assaulted-northeast/?amp=1

    2. I am well aware of the situation with the tax bill. The GOP has made it crystal clear that the only thing they care about is the fat cat donors not closing their wallets. Most of them don’t have the spine to even face their constituents in person to explain themselves. There’s only one proper response to that, but we have about a year before we can do it.

  4. Good News, slightly different off topic, but ties into Mary’s comments regarding 2018 election organization.

    Burien is a small suburb of Seattle with 56,000 people and less than 42,000 registered voters. It is a lower middle class and working class community.

    Early this year the City Council adopted a Sanctuary City Ordinance. This set off a real confrontation. Outside anti-immigration money poured in with the effort to get the City Council to repeal the Ordinance. A brochure was circulated purporting to give the names and addresses of undocumented immigrants with criminal histories. This was all false.

    Finally a confrontation in this election was set up between a slate of 4 pro-immigration candidates and 4 anti-immigration candidates. Though a few ballots are still being counted, the current results are clear that the anti-immigration candidates are winning decisively. These include two hispanics, one of which was born in America to undocumented parents. This person was one of the principle organizers of the pro-immigration block and is a construction foreman. Some of the anti-immigration people are incumbents.

    As an aside, the principle organizer mentioned above was out doorbelling with his daughter and got a very rude response at one home. His daughter said “It’s OK, Dad. America is just having a midlife crisis.”

    Burien is a small City and just for its Council, but it shows what local organization by motivated voters can accomplish. I wanted to share this to partially counter all the negativity we are seeing, particularly with the Roy Moore situation.

      1. EJ

        That’s fantastic news. Thank you.

        Have the publishers of the false pamphlet been charged? That sounds like a fairly open-and-shut libel case, with additional recklessness charges available depending upon the jurisdiction.

      2. I know of no efforts at litigation. In the US, litigating an issue such as this is quite difficult. Locating the specific perpetrators is difficult. The financing is from out-of-state shadow organizations funded by even more shadowy organizations. The book Dark Money makes clear how this operates. Then there is the Right of Free Speech, which the perpetrators can hide under. The people victimized do not have the resources to litigate, they will simply go into hiding as much as possible.

      3. Mary, EJ was aware that I was reporting that the Pro-immigration slate is winning. He had asked if there was anyway of going after the perpetrators of the false pamphlet giving addresses of supposed undocumented immigrants that committed crimes. I replied that I know of no litigation. He was commenting on my reply. I do wish that organizations who perpetuate these things could be held accountable easily. But that is difficult as I replied. If people were held accountable, our elections might have many fewer lies, untruths and dirty tricks.

      1. EJ,
        I am very pleased that there are some in Europe who recognize the benefits of immigration. When Merkel opened the doors of Germany to the Syrian immigrants, I thought to myself that she was making a very wise decision for the longer term of 15-20 years, but a significant error in the short term. Many of the Syrian immigrants seem to be reasonably well educated and definitely have initiative, in that they had the fortitude to emigrate. So they should be able to assimilate reasonably well. Here in the US, news media we hear a great deal about the problematical ones and the terrorists, but very little about the successes. But that is always the case.

        The same is true of the US. Most of the immigrants, even the uneducated ones from Mexico and Central America are assimilating reasonably well. In the case of the one that I mentioned from Burien, even though he was born of undocumented parents, he has worked hard, and progressed in the construction trades to the point he is a foreman and superintendent. While he does not make big dollars, he is certainly has a middle class income.

        As you stated it is sad that so many people are afraid.

  5. Just a reminder that the tax legislation as proposed increases the national deficit.

    Deficit-increasing legislation, unless off set by legislative spending cuts or revenue increases, can automatically cut existing programs, like, say, oh…Medicare.

    “…this bill, along with a similar measure that the House passed on Thursday with lightning speed, would, because of a 2010 budget law, trigger automatic cuts to Medicare and other important programs that low-income and middle-class Americans depend on.”

    https://www.nytimes.com/2017/11/16/opinion/republican-tax-bills-trump.html

    Why do elected Republican officials hate American citizens?

    I don’t have the vocabulary to express the disdain and anger I feel for those guys.

  6. Re new charges about Senator Al Franken forceably kissing a co-worker – McConnell says he wants to run this through the ethics committee, and that is fine, but he better run ALL of those in Congress who have been accused through the same process – from both parties! Note: McConnell has the legal capability right now to hold hearings on charges against Roy Moore, yet, have we heard anything about an ethics committee investigation on Moore? No. I have disdain for any man (or woman) who forces themselves on others, but I absolutely insist that the process be fair and consistent, not partisan.

    I will probably have to run a full scan on my computer after posting this, but, here goes (courtesy of one of my “conservative” friends on this topic).

    http://www.breitbart.com/big-government/2017/11/14/msnbc-sexual-harassment-speier-u-s-house-paid-15-million-secret-victims/?

    1. 538 has the most complete “what if” on the Moore controversy I’ve seen. He runs through all the scenarios….Take your pick. Oh, and Rush wants us all to know: “Moore was a Democrat at the time he allegedly engaged in sexual misconduct with teenage girls.”
      “Did you know that before 1992, when a lot of this was going on, that Judge Moore was a Democrat?” Limbaugh said on his radio show. “Nobody said a word.”

      From the sublime to the ridiculous! Politics in America. Meanwhile, the US House just passed a tax cut bill that will add $1.5T to the deficit, that was written in secret, had no hearings, and was rushed through without public comment….But, that’s just a distraction, right?

      https://fivethirtyeight.com/features/would-republicans-be-better-off-if-the-democrat-won-in-alabama/?ex_cid=politicsnewsletter

    2. More financial detail is coming out from Congress on money paid out to settle claims of sexual abuse and harassment of those who work in government service. Like so many issues today, when will the people draw a line and say “enough”! Whether it is gun violence, putrid behavior, destruction of our nation’s democratic institutions, abuse of legislative process, treatment of people of color – and abuse of those who work for a living for those who take advantage of their position or power.

      Note there is no breakdown by type of offense. That this cost center even exists is an indictment of the behavior of those in power. That it is so constant is yet another red flag. And, it crosses the aisle though there are some notable years of very large payments. What prompted those large claims?

      http://www.washingtonexaminer.com/treasury-paid-nearly-1-million-for-harassment-other-claim-settlements-in-congress-in-2017-alone/article/2641021?

  7. Let me just get it out there that I *hate* that I had to wake up this morning, turn on my news feed and see the news about Al Franken; not because he’s a Democrat, per se, but because every time I’ve seen him, I’ve been inclined to like the guy. With a great sense of humor and a likeable personality, he’s one of the few members of Congress I could honestly say I wouldn’t mind being around.

    Needless to say, it’s looking like 2018 is shaping to be one *helluva* year, but not for the reasons anyone expected.

    Regardless, it’s incumbent upon Democrats and their supporters (or potential supporters, most of all) to see that a just and honest process is taken, and if that calls for Sen. Franken’s resignation from office, then so be it. We cannot go into ’18 as a party that would condemn Roy Moore, rightly so, and yet turn a willful blind eye to one of our own when the time came.

    For those with Democratic representatives in the House or Senate (as I do), I hope you’ll call them and urge them to support the ongoing ethics investigation and, as the situation demands, to demand them to urge Sen Franken’s removal from office.

    1. Yes, the news regarding Al Franken was disturbing. But he did follow it up with a full and complete apology and asked for an investigation. He is being forthright and admitted a mistake. That I can accept. It is far better than Roy Moore’s actions or the typical action of many politicians who are caught in similar situations.

    2. As long as the process is “fair” and includes all MoC who have committed these actions, I’m all for it. My cynicism antenna is on high alert here, however. See link I posted earlier to Breitbart (ugh) and any number of other stories about congressional immunity for sexual harassment.

      1. Regarding McConnell getting involved, you are correct all MoC who have been accused should be going through a similar process. From the news reports I’ve read Franken himself called for an investigation. Other Democratic senators have also called for the investigation. However, no calls have been made on the R side for investigation of their own senators.

        However, this is typical of McConnell. Franken is an opportunity for him the turn-the-tables and he will seize it. As I’ve said before McConnell is totally a political animal. He does not care about doing the right thing for the nation. He only cares about maintaining the R majority and keeping the wealthy funders of the R Party happy. That of course also enriches himself by ensuring that the inside tips, campaign contributions, private funding, etc. keep flowing.

      2. McConnell’s a ‘political animal’ with severe limitations when the circumstances are right. As Majority Leader, his primary focus right now, above all else, is to see that Roy Moore is not allowed into the Senate. At. All. Costs.

        AT. ALL. COSTS.

        This isn’t like a bomb thrower like Cruz coming in. Have Moore serve as a member of the Republican conference is to align the party, rightly or wrongly, with endorsing pedophilia and child abuse. There is no f’ing coming back from that.

        McConnell’s best political move is to work to see that Jones is elected to serve out the rest of Sessions’ term and then win back the seat in ’20. At the moment, Republicans can’t pass a damn mailbox and they’re increasingly looking to be on the receiving end of a Democratic tsunami in ’18. As a conservative Democrat in an otherwise overwhelming Republican state, Republicans *should* be able to work with him if they’re willing to give a little. If their priority wasn’t trying to appease their donors with a tax bill that everyone else and their grandmother hates, they might’ve already figured that out.

        Meh, whatever. Let Republicans hang themselves politically for all I care. >>

      3. Ryan, you are correct for the long term and for the health of the R Party. But I respectfully disagree regarding Moore in the Senate. I believe that McConnell is more focused on maintaining the two seat Senate majority. That is necessary in the short term to get the tax cut for the wealthy through. He’d be happy to have Moore step aside, if there was assurance that Strange or another acceptable Republican would win. But the risks of Jones winning are too great. Also there does not seem to be anyone available for a write-in campaign, since Strange has said he is not interested. He wants to preserve his political future. That is the reason I’ve reluctantly come to the conclusion that I did as discussed in my comment of yesterday, below. Right now McConnell is only thinking of the
        short term. Besides McConnell might not be around to collect in 2021, if he loses the Majority Leadership he could retire comfortably. He is 75 and has to face reelection in 2020.
        That being said, sometime McConnell is going to miscalculate. That time might be now.

      4. >] Ryan, you are correct for the long term and for the health of the R Party. But I respectfully disagree regarding Moore in the Senate. I believe that McConnell is more focused on maintaining the two seat Senate majority. That is necessary in the short term to get the tax cut for the wealthy through.

        That would only hold true if it served some larger purpose, like avoiding an absolute wipeout in ’18. This “tax bill” doesn’t do that; it does exactly the opposite! It’s as if Democrats had written up a bill to play perfectly into their message and asked Republicans to please pass it. It screws over students, attacks healthcare, sunsets any actual middle-class tax relief in ten years to pay for a permanent tax cut. Hell, it even gives a tax break for private jets! (gee, who could *possibly* benefit from that, I wonder?)

        The only remotely logical explanation is that Republicans have essentially ceded that they’re going to get their asses handed to them in ’18 and that they *have* to pass this to appease their donors so as to avoid an absolute cataclysm, and yet the very vehicle for that is practically designed to piss people off even more.

        MindBlown.gif

      5. There’s one thing you are forgetting, Ryan. This tax cut plan doesn’t go into effect until 2019 – thus if the Repubs can spin their way past their base who either believe everything they are told or fail to do any independent research, they could pull past mid-terms with little damage. Unfortunately for the rest of us, great damage is being done daily to our democratic institutions and personal liberties. The only solution to that is to vote enough Republicans out of office so that we can get back to gridlock (haha) and then into a better bi-partisan checks and balance position.

        I am encouraged by the large number of Democratic candidates (especially the women) who are seeking office. Many for the first time – many who are young. In Texas, there are Democratic candidates popping up for many positions. We may lose the majority but we will win some. There is a group in TX that helps train and support female Democratic candidates (Annie’s List) and another that is working in several states, (EMERGE), which hails from CA. I know the young women who are organizing EMERGE and they are top notch, smart, young and very, very focused on flipping seats to female Democratic candidates.

        So, all is not doom and gloom – mostly just crappy politics. Let’s keep striving because, what else is there? Capitulation? Never!

      6. That is my point, the R’s do not care about governance or helping the American people. They are totally dependent on the contributions from the wealthy, keeping their base brainwashed, gerrymandering and voter suppression to maintain their power. They need to keep the contributions from the wealthy flowing to pay for the propaganda, so the brainwashing will not lose its effect. If the Tax Cut bill is not passed, then that will piss-off the big contributors big time. Their entire ponzi-scheme will then fall apart. That is the reason they are entirely focused on the next few weeks and 2-3 months. 2018 is the indefinite future.

  8. Reminder to everyone here:

    today is the day that the House votes on their tax bill. If you make less than $75,000, have student loans or are retired, own a house, live in a high tax state, or ever get sick, this bill is designed to have you personally pay more taxes to pay for the House GOP’s rich friends’ tax relief.

    Take five minutes to call your House Representative before 3pm EST today: that’s in three hours. So do it now.

    https://resistr.io/ for quick access to phone numbers.

  9. I can’t believe I am defending Moore, the pig, or for that matter, many of the others, but here I am doing just that. Many of you have posted about changing norms in society, and I think we have to be well aware of that.

    One example jumps out at me on how societal norms have changed. Bogey and Bacall is considered by many as one of the great love stories. But that fact remains that when the two married, he was 44 and she 19. That was in 1945.

    Men pursuing women far younger has been considered “normal” for who knows how long. Another great movie of the 50’s, one of my favorites, have a much older Tom Ewell chasing an innocent 20ish Marilyn Monroe. Now, I know at the time he was late 40’s and Marilyn was actually 28, but no one considered her that age when you watched her in that movie. BTW, Ewell commits a sexual assault on her in that movie, and she brushes it off by saying “it happens to me all the time.”

    I believe that we have to look at Moore’s actions and view them through the lens that Frum’s tweets can provide. Given that Alabama is not much more progressive than say Afghanistan, India, or Pakistan when it comes to women’s rights, I say we can pity him, state that his views clearly disqualify from holding office in modern society, but we cannot vilify him for the culture he grew up in.

    And no, I am not talking about the assault on the 14 year old, though I am quite sure that 40 years ago in Alabamastan a 30 something man pursuing a 14 year old was not entirely uncommon.

    1. Moore has a reputation. Not only for his questionable actions as a judge (for which he was removed from the bench by his judicial peers not once but twice), but also he was known for loitering around malls and other areas where young girls were. In fact, it has been reported that he was explicitly told he could not hang out in certain areas due to complaints. Finally, the age difference is bothersome only because it puts a young, inexperienced girl in a situation with an older man that she may not be prepared to handle. But what really bothers me are the charges that he raped, fondled, made inappropriate gestures/ contact with these five women who were all young. Age difference aside, that’s the real problem for me. Here’s background you may not have read.

      https://www.newyorker.com/news/news-desk/locals-were-troubled-by-roy-moores-interactions-with-teen-girls-at-the-gadsden-mall

      1. Mary. I did know about the mall ban allegations. I tend to believe them, given everything else that has come to light. Like I said, the man is a pig, and very likely a predator. But that is part of the culture he grew up in.

        One cannot blame someone for where they were born, or what their parents, peers and schools imparted as a value system. However, one can point out how horrible that person’s value system is and give them an opportunity to experiences that will change that value system.

        Now, when that person refuses to improve (pretty every trump acolyte or moore supporter), then we can write them off, but we must always recognize where they started.

        Now, bringing it around to the puppet tyrant and his inner circle, they are utterly irredeemable, given their opportunities and experience with the rest of society outside of their origins, and the choices they continue to make.

      2. Would that people of color were accorded that same amount of tolerance for environment, Dins. I need to think more about that…I admit that I have much more understanding for a poor person who grew up in a difficult neighborhood than I do someone like Moore who obviously had access to law school and was lucky enough to be born white in AL. He would have been a distinct failure as a black man in AL.

    2. To throw in my two cents on this…

      Purely with respect to age difference, I find myself fairly open minded. I don’t think it’s *totally* out of the loop for someone who’s 18 or 19 to fall in love with someone who’s in their 30s. Would it be unusual? Yeah, and there would be obvious caveats and concerns that I’d want addressed, but I wouldn’t dismiss it out of hand.

      That said, that is *obviously* not what is going on with Roy Moore, not even remotely f’ing close.

      >] “I believe that we have to look at Moore’s actions and view them through the lens that Frum’s tweets can provide. Given that Alabama is not much more progressive than say Afghanistan, India, or Pakistan when it comes to women’s rights, I say we can pity him, state that his views clearly disqualify from holding office in modern society, but we cannot vilify him for the culture he grew up in.

      To say that we can’t vilify Roy Moore for lusting after little girls because of the culture he grew up in is like saying we can’t vilify a Klansman for lynching a black man in the South because of the culture he grew up in. The slippery slope here is obvious, and I don’t acknowledge nor credit it at all; in fact, I give it a wholehearted FUCK ‘DAT.

      Wrong is wrong, no matter the time nor the era, and the unspeakable harm dealt to these women, through no fault of their own, is all the reason in the world to vilify Roy Moore and to hold his hypocritical self-righteous ass to account. We do this because both the man and the culture itself are wrong, and to excuse one at the expense of the other is to grant it a measure of vindication, and that we must never do.

      1. I can speak from first hand experience on relationships with age difference. I met my husband when I was nineteen and he was thirty-one. We married fifteen months later. Our marriage lasted until his death, fifty-three years later. Therefore, I am certainly understanding that age differences are not barriers to healthy long relationships. But the difference between nineteen (and a rather mature young woman if I may state) and fourteen-sixteen years of age is immense in terms of real life experience. The manner of Moore’s meeting these young women is also highly suspect.

        I agree with Ryan on this. Wrong is wrong regardless where you are born. I give Moore no passes for his behavior because he has offered us a mirror to his soul in numerous ways, and it is not pure.

      2. Aaron: “Wrong is wrong, no matter the time nor the era”
        Mary: “Wrong is wrong regardless where you are born”

        It may be wrong. It may be evil. But if it is the culture you are born into, and you are insulated from any outside influences, you simply don’t know better.
        I am NOT saying moore falls under that umbrella. He has seen enough of the civilized world to know what is right and wrong.

        I just hope there is not some technically advanced vegetarian race out there, watching us, that finds eating other animals reprehensible, thinks “Wrong is wrong, no matter the time nor the era”, and decides to remove us from the equation.

      3. Oh, and another wonderful memory I can share is that upon our first introduction, my husband to be asked me how old I was….When I told him I was 19, he grimaced and said, “I don’t date teenagers”…then quickly asked: “When is your birthday?” Fortunately for me, it was in two weeks. The rest is history. He always was a stand-up kind of guy.

      4. Sorry Aaron, screwed up there on the reference.

        And yeah, I recognize my “ambiguity” on my outrage over the continued existence of the bannons et al when compared to my defense of someone’s culture as partially understanding the thought processes of all these men.

  10. EJ

    Seen on tumblr:

    2016: All your favourite show business celebrities are dying.

    2017: All your favourite show business celebrities have secretly been rapists this whole time.

    2018: I dunno, like The Wonder Dog was the Zodiac Killer or something.

    1. Good to see you’re still following, Fifty! I guess I measure progress a little differently than Sam Harris….Seems to me that people like Moore and, sadly, the people of AL who continue to re-elect people of questionable character to public office, are not holding the bar very high…I guess one could say that they are more at fault than the accused…but Moore is pretty low life.

  11. Chris – Call me totally cynical, but how will Republicans finesse the removal/resignation of Moore so as not to lose a Senate seat? Can the governor appoint a temporary replacement? Is it likely that a write in of Sessions could occur? Would they gamble that it is so impossible for a Dem to win in AL that they would risk Moore’s removal? Jones is an incredibly long shot but it seems that losing one senate seat would be equally risky.

    1. I will be interested to see what Chris’ thoughts are. Personnally, I think they are working this with a multi-pronged strategy.
      1. Initially the attempt was made to get the Governor to reschedule the election. There was major outcry, so for the moment that has been set aside.
      2. Currently there is a lot of pressure building to get Moore to step aside and then have a write-in. Possibly Strange or even Sessions would be selected. Sessions would have to resign as AG for that to happen. Right now Moore is not cooperating, but maybe they can throw enough inducements his way to get him to cooperate. But Bannon also is not cooperating and between Moore and him, the establishment Republican Party has a problem. Trump has not played his hand yet; he may have the “Trump” card.
      3. If that fails and Moore is elected, then they can refuse to seat him. But that will be really messy, would delay action on the Tax Bill and essentially kill any remaining hope of moving ahead on the agenda. I believe refusal to seat would take a 2/3 vote, but I’m not sure.
      4. They are scared stiff of allowing Moore to be seated, because that would be hung around the necks of every Republican senator. It would be like the Ancient Mariner with the Albatross. That would make loss of the Senate in 2018 almost a probability, rather than a possibility.
      5. McConnell is also terrified of allowing Jones to win. He’d only have a 1 seat majority. The Senate barely functions now, with a two seat majority. With a one seat majority, it would essentially cease to function.
      6. Regardless, McConnell is truly between a rock and and a hard place, with the pressure building.

      1. There is one other item, I failed to mention. McConnell could easily lose his Leadership over this fiasco. Currently, his approval rating with all Republicans is +30%; -41% for a net approval rating 0f -12%. This is the 2nd worst rating for any Congressional leader since 1981, and the worst for Republicans. See this FiveThirtyEight article:
        https://fivethirtyeight.com/features/why-mcconnell-has-so-little-leverage-over-moore-in-alabama/.

        If there is anything the terrifies McConnell than anything else, it is loss of his Leadership position. For him, everything depends on that. I’not sure why, but that seems to be far more important than anything else.

      2. There is one more scenario – the AL Repub Party Leadership could make Moore withdraw with a plurality of votes from this council. There are seemingly lots of options but I don’t see Moore/Bannon pulling out of the race…they’ll go for the odds that he will take AL…but, I don’t know enough about how the Repub Party operates to know what is the surest choice given the circumstances and the candidate.

      3. This morning I just read in the Seattle Times (sourced from an article authored by Liam Stack of the NY Times) that the Alabama GOP has bylaws that would preclude Strange from seeking statewide office as a Republican for 6 years if he mounts a write-in campaign and loses following a primary loss. This would no doubt add another complication.

      4. 2) Moore has strong incentives to stay in the race. As long as he’s in it, he can still be the standardbearer for the nutcase Christian “conservatives”. Remember he and his wife make a living grifting off his foundation. Dropping out is an implicit admission of guilt, and if he does that he’s a pariah nobody will support or pay to come see. Even if Fox and the Republican party turn on him (and they seem to be) I think he’ll stay.

        3-5 Yeah, McConnell has problems with either as Senator. I think Moore probably won’t be seated if he wins, which could solve McConnell’s problem, but at this point it’s actually looking like he will lose. McConnell is racing to get the tax cut through, which might put the Republicans in a situation loosely analogous to the Democrats with the ACA, with the House looking at a bill it doesn’t want to pass but the Senate unable to change it or pass a House version because of a surprise thought-impossible loss. It’s a deeper hole for them because they are already on the reconciliation fallback, plus the tax cut will have much more serious flaws from the rush and the impossible goals.

      5. My thoughts continue to develop, partly based on Fair’s comments, especially 2, and Nate Silver’s comments in FiveThirtyEight: https://fivethirtyeight.com/features/would-republicans-be-better-off-if-the-democrat-won-in-alabama/.

        Given that the RNC appears to be discretely aiding Moore (thanks to Maddow), I am now beginning to think that their immediate strategy is to get Moore elected, while trying to diffuse the political fallout as much as possible. They realize there will be a effort to expel him after being seated, but with the 2/3 requirement and the fear that many senators have of the right wing, McConnell thinks he can beat that. That will at least maintain his 2 seat majority.

        McConnell has never done the right thing from the standpoint of governing the nation since he became Minority / Majority Leader. That has been especially true since Trump became a major factor. All actions have been calculated political actions to maintain his majority and keep the money flowing.

        Then when it comes to 2018, McConnell’s thought is that he will deal with that at the time. Given that most of the seats are in Trump territory and that there will be a lot of outside money, he can probably beat the Democratic push and maintain control of the Senate. Also the moral outrage at having seated a someone who is a probable abuser of underaged girls will have faded by that time. Afterall as some have pointed out historically older men chasing and marrying underage women is hardly new. Our morals and expectations as a society have evolved. Don’t forget Trump was elected despite the Access Hollywood Tapes. Afterall, “boys will be boys”.

        Do not get me wrong, I despise Moore, Brannon, Trump and that entire gang. That includes everything they stand for, but I am just trying to be realistic in my political expectations. The SWAMP IS NOT BEING DRAINED.

  12. The New Yorker with an in-depth exposition of the Sacklers: the family responsible for some of the biggest art museum and gallery establishments across the country, for which they care to place their family name prominently; and also the family responsible for OxyContin and its marketing and misinformation campaigning, traceable to hundreds of thousands of American deaths, for which they take care their family name is obfuscated and disengaged entirely.

    https://www.newyorker.com/magazine/2017/10/30/the-family-that-built-an-empire-of-pain

    A useful thing to read, as I’m one of those ‘art is the necessary critic and self-reflection of society’ types, and here’s an example of how art can be placed in a vacuum away from the subject of its criticism.

    I’ve stood in many of the rooms full of art and history the Sacklers have enabled. And I’ve known a few people who have overdosed from opiates, one of whom died. And never considered the possibility that both experiences are curated from the same source.

  13. I think Frum has a point in that many people are starting to demand better. Also while I am still dismayed over how many people decided that Trump’s disgusting Access Hollywood tape didn’t cross any red lines for them, I like to think of that as one of the little pebbles that got this avalance started. We are lancing a putrid, festering boil on our society right now. The horrid and even downright blasphemous excuses some have offered in defense of Roy Moore indicate just how severe this infection is. The treatment isn’t going to be pleasant. But I’ll look at my own little bright spot- that the hypocrites are outing themselves spares me the time and effort in figuring out who they are. I’d love to see some angry women run against some of the jerk state reps, although Alabama is not Virginia.

  14. There is no question that social mores are changing, overall, generally for the better. But there are obviously holdouts, enclaves that will desperately cling to their old ways, no matter what the moral cost.

    These enclaves are the breeding ground for the potential terrorism to come. Because there is no doubt that if the bannon’s, mercer’s, murdoch’s and koch’s fail with their slow-moving coup, there will be blood in the streets perpetrated by the young white men from Alabamastan and the other fundamentalist regions in the U.S.

    I am not as well read as I should be, but I have never seen someone do a full-blown comparison of orthodox Judaism, fundamentalist Islam, and fundamentalist Christianity. As far as I can tell, the basic tenants that they have in common are far more numerous than the things that are different.

    All three groups most certainly hate women, as a starting point.

    1. EJ

      I’ve seen two full blown comparisons of fundamentalist forms of Abrahamic religions, one by pretty overt Nazis and one by New Atheists. Each had a fairly overt narrative that they were trying to push, and that overshadowed the religious scholarship to the point where I found little value in either.

      Thinking about it a little, I’m not even sure that one can make statements about “fundamentalist Christianity” or “fundamentalist Islam” as though the religion does not change in different times and places. The concerns of a modern American Protestant Christian fundamentalist are different from those of a modern African or Russian Christian fundamentalist, and different again from a medieval European Catholic. Tomorrow’s form of fundamentalism will no doubt be different again. The same is probably true of Islam and Judaism.

      Misogyny is probably going to be found in most of them, though, you’re right.

  15. Connect the dots. Today’s Houston Chronicle reports that in Texas: “Domestic violence cases have risen sharply across the state, with more than 210,000 wives, girlfriends, husbands and others suffering death or injury at the hands of a family member in the past two years. More than 550 wives or girlfriends were killed by a domestic partner between 2012 and 2016, according to state figures.”

    You think maybe there’s a link between male authoritarianism, harassment and domestic violence?

    http://www.houstonchronicle.com/news/houston-texas/houston/article/Church-shooting-again-puts-spotlight-on-domestic-12348859.php

  16. I respect and read David Frum. I have a theory. I first got it watching my oldest daughter select and train dogs. And deciding if and when to breed them. She wanted intelligence, strength, protective of her and her family but also gentle to her and family. She wanted her animals to crave and love affection. To love being touched and petted. She got that by deciding who passed on their genes and who did not. This is how the dog was domesticated. Well guess what guys. The same process is going on with humans. The same qualities selected in dogs are what a woman would want in her mate . Women are in the process of domesticating the human species. By and large , over the long haul, if we (men) do not play ball we do not pass on our genes. Imperfect progress? Yes but if you look at history bit by bit humans are being domesticated.

    1. With all respect, there seems to be a certain presumption of ‘nature over nurture’ in what you say. We know that a parent’s abilities (intelligence, physical prowess, etc.) won’t necessarily be passed onto their children, so this idea of humans’ “domestication” rings more than a bit hollow. If anything, it sounds like a sociological twist on the conventional idea of evolution.

    1. Thanks – My concern, as is yours, is the unabated drift towards a major navigable waterway that empties into the Pacific and what that poison will do along the way to land and water tables not to mention marine life. To ignore something like this is simply unfathomable to me…The potential for great harm is staggering, yet, nothing. Is there any local effort from the two states through which the Columbia treks to petition the federal government for action before it is too late?

      1. As I mentioned initially, the State of Washington goes to court on a regular basis whenever required to hold the Federal Government’s feet to the fire. I’m obviously not familiar with all the details, but there are contractual agreements and court orders in place. Oregon is also involved in this.

        Washington has had a succession of very good AG’s. Christine Gregoire was one who was heavily involved in the Tobacco Settlement. She became a two-term governor. Ferguson is our current AG and he has been heavily involved in the litigation against Trump. I’ve mentioned him previously. He is likely to become our next governor in 2021. As I’ve mentioned previously, the D AG’s are closely cooperating. That is particularly true on the West Coast. The cooperation will increase now that the WA Senate is in D hands.

      2. Speaking of the rest of America, I hesitate to place any kind of faith in these latest Alabama polls (’cause, y’know… it’s still f’ing Alabama), but if by some unbelievable turnaround, Jones actually did eke out a win, that would be a political earthquake. Democrats’ otherwise thin-as-a-thimble chance of retaking the Senate in ’18 wouldn’t be such a pipe dream anymore. Assuming their red-state senators could hold on (a very tall order, tbs, but not unthinkable in a blue tsunami), they’d only need two seats to flip the chamber (looking at you, Arizona & Nevada).

      3. You can bet Republicans are keenly aware of what a loss in AL would mean to mid-terms. Doug Jones is such a fine person that I am not going to write his chances off….in fact, I sent his campaign a donation to help him combat the enormous influx of PAC cash coming into the state. Should Moore win, which is more probable than a Jones upset, he will further roil the GOP ability to work cohesively. As Bannon’s candidate, Moore is not going to help McConnell, furthering Bannon’s announced commitment to knock McConnell from Senate leadership.

        I suspect there will be other races like this and I also believe that Bannon will utilize every retirement and weak GOP seat to advance his agenda.

      4. We are in unchartered territory. Moore is just “off” enough to hang on, especially given the home support he’s receiving. Lordy – his constituents deserve him but America doesn’t!

        It’s kind of karma that in the midst of trying to pass a stealth tax cut plan, the GOP is having to deal with this….Of course, knowing their twisted mindset, they may relish the diversion…Things are so upside down who knows anymore?

      5. >] “To misquote Chris, if the Republicans lose Alabama then that’s an extinction-level event, surely?

        Put it this way: Republicans are so desperate to keep Moore out of the Senate that they’re de-facto endorsing a Democrat by encouraging Luther Strange to opt for a write-in campaign (as close to a surefire strategy as you’re going to get to blow it for the GOP in Alabama). Trump’s shadow is looming large enough over Republicans, and having to spend all over ’18 having to answer for Moore on top of that is a political nightmare the likes of which I can’t think of any contemporary comparison for in modern history.

        This is why they’re going to the unprecedented lengths of actually lobbying Gov. Ivey to try and delay the election so they can figure something out. True enough, that has serious consequences on its own, but they’re in a catch-22 otherwise, so desperate times call for desperate measures.

        I don’t know if I’d call this an extinction-level event, but with the GOP facing a suburban revolt (likely all across the country), if they can’t find a way out of this, the consequences are far-reaching and immense.

      6. Rachel Maddow’s show tonight discounted any genuine effort by the RNC to disengage from the Moore campaign…They have 11 RNC operatives on the ground in AL as we speak. I guess this could be a slick move by the RNC to “appear” as though they are appalled at the actions by Moore, while in actuality, they are still helping him. Jones will need a miracle to win…50 AL pastors have come out in support of Moore…that state is one sick place to live…kind of makes Texas look progressive in comparison, and coming from this blue girl, that’s saying a lot!

      7. Looks like McConnell’s seriously considering going for the nuclear option should Moore win; kicking a newly minuted Senator out of the Senate.

        https://www.nytimes.com/2017/11/13/us/politics/roy-moore-alabama-senate.html?smprod=nytcore-iphone&smid=nytcore-iphone-share

        Purely from a political standpoint, you want to ignite a Republican Civil War? Do this. You’ll be like Santa to Steve Bannon, and he’ll be sporting a grin a mile wide, and you can take that to the bank.

        McConnell’s insane if he does this. The move here is to quietly support Jones, endure a Democrat in the seat for 3 years and then win it back by more than 20 pts in ’20, not ignite a frothing rage in your base that could have Bannon dealing you three or four Moores in Republican primaries.

  17. I liked the tweet thread but I disagree with this one: “The revelations are occurring -and have power- not because of a decline in behavior but a rise in ethical standards.”

    Quite simply, I think the rise is not in higher ethical standards but in the strength of the women’s movement. I have been commenting on that for a while now and it is being affirmed in election results (turnout) and by what I am seeing on the ground. Women are marrying later, are more comfortable having protected sex outside a marriage, and are tolerant of others of different sexual orientations and preferences. They are joined by the huge, maturing “Millennial” generation which has a laissez-faire attitude toward individual choice. Women have drawn a line in the sand and change is happening. And, it is time.

    I have seen woman power at work, building and expressing itself. Look at who is powering these grassroots organizations across America…look at the women who have stepped up to run for office. Maybe it’s where I am but I suspect it is more broad-based than my own small sphere of influence.

    I don’t believe it has anything to do with a rise in ethical standards; rather, it has everything to do with women saying “enough”! Demanding that they not be hit upon, taken for granted, and perceived as sex objects. Male behavior may improving but only because it is being demanded by women and because they are being called out for their crass, inappropriate and sometimes dangerous demands. I acknowledge that this is not how all men treat women, just far too many in positions of authority. The rest of you guys – thank you for your respectful treatment of women. Your moms, wives, daughters, sisters, and colleagues thank you as well. The others – may your names be splashed all over the news and may you be held accountable – finally! It ain’t ethics; it’s consequences.

    1. Not just women – there is an overall tendency for the weak to get stronger

      BUT there is also a different tendency – the other way – for some of the powerful to get more powerful and MORE able to ignore the consequences

      We are outing and clobbering show business types – but CEO’s and business leaders not to mention politicians are still getting away with it

      1. Yes. That’s what gave rise to the petition from over twelve hundred former Congressional pages and I think is starting to be an issue in business. It may have started in the corporate sector with the equal pay for equal work, plus job opportunities for qualified women in sectors that are dominated by male hires, but my hope is that more women will be emboldened and will not only stand up for themselves if accosted, but will draw that line early in their employment.

        Undoubtedly, there are women who use sex as a means for advancement and they sully the majority who qualify on their own merits. But, bottom line, no woman should feel they have to put up with this behavior and men who foist themselves upon women need to be held accountable – legally and financially.

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