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Progressive Politics in Minnesota, the Nation, and the World

Very Sad Day

Category: Al Franken
Posted: 12/07/17 13:24

by Dave Mindeman

Al Franken has always been a hero of mine. No one reminded me more of Paul Wellstone than Franken. He has been a progressive, a fighter, and an advocate for so many of us. It is sad that he leaves the Senate. I understand the reasoning. It would be impossible to be effective with this cloud over his head. I am confident that the man accused of these inappropriate behaviors is not a complete picture of him by any means. If anyone chooses to gloat over this resignation, you have my disdain. This has been a rough time for him - his advocacy for women's issues should not be minimized because of his past misdeeds. Since he has been a Senator - his comportment has been exemplary.

Even now, he does what is best for Minnesota and for us by resigning his position. I won't litigate these accusations and innuendos. That is no longer relevant. My main hope is that this purge does not become a one sided issue. These stains are not limited to one Party. We have prime Republican examples, at this very moment, thumbing their noses at how women should be treated - and with the full support of their party as well.

I feel great disappointment that many women in the Democratic Party who called (justifiably) for Franken's resignation, did not support the ultimate female goal of making Hillary Clinton President. The opportunity passed because of unnecessary party bickering and false equivalence on standards.

This is a deeply sad day for Minnesota. I am sure the MN GOP will gloat and taunt this event. It is what they do. But looking only within our own party is not good enough. This is a national issue. The silence has been broken but effective advocacy must be taken to the ballot box as well. 2018 MUST be the year of the woman. This has been said before in elections past - but this time there are real stakes. Real consequences. The Democratic Party listens to women. It advocates for women. And it is the only path to real protection and change for women.

You may agree that Al Franken's resignation is the right thing. But fighting for what he advocated for is still our responsibility.
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Is This A Conspiracy Against Franken?

Category: Al Franken
Posted: 11/20/17 22:50, Edited: 11/21/17 02:08

by Dave Mindeman

There are a lot of inappropriate actions happening out there. Weinstein, Kevin Spacey, Jeremy Piven, Charlie Rose, Louis CK, Former President George H. W. Bush, Russell Simmons, Glenn Thrush, Brett Ratner, Mark Halperin, and the list goes on.

And then there is Roy Moore which takes this to a new level of real criminal behavior. And please, let us not let this go as some kind of false equivalency to everything else that is going on. Moore's conduct is absolutely disqualifying.

But I want to talk about Al Franken for a moment. Yes, I have talked about my disappointment regarding it. I find the Leeanne Tweeden story credible (at least so far). And his apology and heartfelt response did seem different than other responses. So I still think he should serve.

And yes, that is in spite of this second allegation that came out today - which I will reference a bit later.

I hesitate to delve deeper into this because I also find victim shaming to be abhorrent and we have far too much of it in this society - so much so, that victims tend to not come forward because of it.

So I was content to leave things stand as they are - until now.

Too many things have set off my suspicious nature regarding Franken's situation - there are too many questions that have come up.

Now Franken's situation is still his own fault. His sophomoric attitude about men and women was bound to catch up to him - but I have a hard time believing that he has some kind of sexually inappropriate pattern of behavior as people like Roy Moore, Charlie Rose, Kevin Spacey, Mark Halperin and Louis CK have clearly shown.

There are a number of things regarding Leeanne Tweeden's accusation tht really should be answered - and maybe they will come to light in an ethics investigation that Franken, himself, has called for.

1. Roger Stone seemed to know that there would be some kind of Franken problem coming. One of his Twitter accounts (his personal account has been terminated) predicted it before Tweeden came forward.

2. Leeanne Tweeden has worked for Fox affiliates and has been a repeat guest on Sean Hannity's show. Her Instagram page has a photo of her and Hannity where she states "he always lets me throw the football."

3. She is certainly no sexual prude - she has done photo spreads for Playboy, FHM Magazine, and Maxim.

4. I watched the "skit" from the USO show that she mentioned in her letter and you realize that the point of the skit is to set up a random soldier in the audience to get a real kiss from Leeanne on stage.

5. As for groping, it seems Leeanne is not above doing it herself....


6. And finally, this was the final straw. Within days of making her public statement, Sinclair Broadcasting's publishing division (which deals mostly with Fox and Breitbart personalities) signed Leeanne Tweeden to a book deal. Now you have to wonder - was this deal contingent on the publicity she would receive from her accusation?

I know that I will probably get push back about this. It may seem that I am blaming the victim. I am not. Her grievance is legitimate and Franken has and should address that. But the timing and circumstances of all of this do not seem to be mere coincidence. And that cannot be ignored.

I ignored much of the above as pertinent but not relevant - until Sinclair Broadcasting entered the picture. They are plotters of agendas - and distractions from Moore and Trump are needed now.

As for the MN State Fair accusation - I assume she is telling the truth as she experienced it. Her husband and herself voted for Trump and sought out CNN reporters on their own to tell them about this. A 3 to 4 second squeeze of a woman's behind is not OK - but I fear this kind of thing can be misconstrued as well. It seems foolish that Franken would do something inappropriate at the State Fair with crowds of people around. No one but the woman noticed it - the husband taking the picture didn't, but she did tell her husband immediately after, which makes it more credible. Franken doesn't remember it specifically, but he apologized anyway which is the right thing to do, because the way she perceived it is what matters.

Once more, I hope that she tells her story to the ethics committee and let them hold him accountable.

You can ignore all of this if you wish. I make no definitive claim to clear knowledge of what is right or wrong about any of this. But then, the surrounding background is also important and needed for context.
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Selective Outrage

Category: Al Franken
Posted: 06/01/17 14:52

by Dave Mindeman

Alright. Kathy Griffin did an obscenely stupid thing. It was ugly and I have not seen anyone, liberal or conservative, that condoned it. No one. She apologized and did so very publicly.

But conservatives and Republicans have a very selective way of approaching these things. They express some justified outrage - and then they start to fundraise and attack.

Al Franken had a scheduled fundraiser with Kathy Griffin. He didn't cancel it. So the right makes the assumption that Franken is OK with what she did. He is not. He said so - clearly. But when the right sees an opening, they can't help themselves.

And they are very selective about what outrages them. Ted Nugent talked of killing Obama. Donald Trump mocked a handicap person. Nobody on the right is talking about the noose appearance at the African-American museum and other places. It was the left that gave voice to the outrage of the scaffolding art exhibit at the Walker. These things seem to be acceptable to our right leaning cohorts, because of who did the offending. That kind of reasoning is not OK.

The right jumps on an idea to encompass all liberals and Democrats under any banner they find offensive - even if it comes from one person. At the same time, they defend the free speech of people who say and do outrageous things that offend liberal groups or even entire ethnicities.

Trump embraces white supremacists. Many Republicans say OK. Trump leaves out the word Jewish while discussing the holocaust. A large number of Republicans yawn. He says disgusting things about women. Too many Republicans snicker. Tweets a Taco Bowl lunch as some kind of outreach to Latinos. Too many Republicans shrug.

And I do not mean to lump all Republicans either (although the right never misses an opportunity to lump all liberals into one class). But too many Republicans act in a tribal manner. They defend their own to the utter extreme of civility.

What Kathy Griffin did with that Trump photo and video was reprehensible. But the left issued their outrage at it immediately. The right used it to rake in a few bucks.

Kathy Griffin pushes the envelope. Way more than I have ever been comfortable with, but entertainers tend to do that. Trump has pushed the boundaries himself....and frankly, he gets away with it when he shouldn't.

And if any association with someone who has done something offensive is somehow supposed to envelope anyone associated with them, then why doesn't Trump, or anyone in his sphere, pay a price for associating with Richard Spencer....or his sexist actions on that bus....or mocking a disabled person....or offering to pay legal fees for anyone who roughs up a protester...or any of his Russian affiliations? Why is all of that OK, while everyone on the left is lumped into the actions of Kathy Griffin?

It boggles the mind.
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