Why I Think Al Franken is Being Set Up

Why I Think Al Franken is Being Set Up

I never write about specific incidents in politics, because it’s such a snakepit of a topic, but today I need to make an exception. I believe that something evil is afoot.

Senator Al Franken (D) New Jersey has recently been accused of groping cast member Leeann Tweeden during a USO tour in 2006. There are so many things wrong with this accusation, and a lot of reasons why I think this whole thing stinks to high heaven.

  1. She was rehearsing for a USO skit, for a script she read in advance (a script Al Franken could not have written so as to take advantage of Tweeden, because he wrote it in 2003), so she knew what was going to happen before it happened. She was on that USO tour because at the time she was a famous soft-core porn pinup girl. It was literally her job to titillate the enlisted men. This does not diminish the potential validity of her claim of abuse, but it does demonstrate that she should have been aware that her personal space was likely to be violated during the trip, and repeatedly, while the show was on tour, as part of or related to the entertainment being presented.
  2. The photo shows Franken pretending to touch her, but if you look at the shadows under the fingers, he never actually touches her, and the photo was quite obviously staged. This is theatrical limerence, not sexual aggression. Feel free to disagree with me, but this is what I think. You’ll also note that she’s wearing a flack jacket. He’s pretending to grope her through a flack jacket. Let that sink in a moment.

    This photograph was taken on a USO airplane. Tweeden was asleep. You can clearly see the shadows of Franken’s fingers on Tweeden’s flak jacket, so it’s very clear that he was not actually touching her flak jacket.

  3. Franken was under military guard the entire time he was there. Even in the men’s room. They followed him into the men’s room. It was that guard’s duty to stop any untoward or forbidden behavior Franken might attempt should he do so, and he wasn’t left alone for a moment. Literally. Tweeden’s claim that Franken lip-locked her once he got her alone couldn’t have happened the way she claimed. They were never alone, ever.
  4. The accuser is a Fox News employee and Trump spokesmodel, so she’s part of an organization that has a great interest in taking potshots at Democrats, especially Senators who might have something to say about who gets approved on judicial nominations. Fox News is a strong ally of the GOP and parrots the GOP spin machine virtually unedited most of the time.
  5. Somehow Roger Stone knew what was going to happen 24 hours before the news was released, and tweeted about it. If this was a legitimate accusation and not a political plot against Franken, how did he know, and why is he involved?
  6. Franken’s female staff is united in their support of Franken, and they say that over years he has never treated any of them with anything but the utmost respect. The female cast members of Saturday Night Live came forward and said the exact same thing. Instead of over a dozen women accusers, Franken has over a dozen women defenders. Where’s the pattern of bad behavior? It’s missing here, and somebody with a problem like this is going to have it through his entire career. Everybody else with a problem like this has, why not Franken? This information does not fit the pattern.
  7. Franken has called upon Congress to launch an investigation into his own behavior. This is not typically something something you do when you are guilty. Tweeden hastily responded to this by saying,”Oh, no, that won’t be necessary.” She’s already come out with this accusation, and we’ve all seen the staged photograph, so that’s established. What would an investigation uncover? If Franken is volunteering, you can bet the answer is “little to nothing”, or why do it? If Tweeden wasn’t serious about the accusation, why make one? If she was, why back away from Franken being investigated? What’s she hiding?  She’s an entertainer, and used to being paid to say and do all sorts of things that might not be in her nature. Where’s the real Leeann Tweeden in all this? How much is fiction? How much is real?
  8. She’s already been offered a book deal by Sinclair Publishing. This is a branch of Sinclair Communications, well known for pushing right wing agenda as though it were news on TV and radio stations across the country. THAT was fast. How did they know to set this deal up this fast? Interesting. Usually you wait to see if a person’s story isn’t going to fall apart under scrutiny first. Like, a day or two at least.
  9. She allegedly showed the picture to her husband shortly after it happened in 2006, and neither she nor her husband felt it important enough to do anything about. It wasn’t until Franken became a political powerhouse that it was suddenly relevant – not because of what Franken did, but because of what Franken became long after the fact.
  10. Lastly (and this one is big), it appears that the photograph in question carries metadata, which shows the actual time, date, and equipment used to take the photograph. It says that the photo was taken on December 21, 2006 and not on December 24 as Tweeden claims. Her allegation is false in some major aspects. It gets worse. The metadata also shows the picture was altered the SAME DAY Coleman conceded to Franken, meaning someone was planning on using this against him from the second he became senator. This data is called EXIF data, and it shows not only when the photo was shot, but the last time it was altered. In this case it shows that the photo was altered on July 1, 2009, so it’s been through Photoshop. This doesn’t mean it’s been doctored, necessarily, but it does mean that somebody cropped it and made a copy of it for later use, on a very significant date.

This absolutely reeks of a setup – and the GOP is trying anything to fix their Roy Moore problem. It looks like he may not win his Senate seat, and they need him to vote the way he’s told in the Senate. They’re possibly looking at taking Franken out as a way to counterbalance losing a seat to Doug Jones, Roy Moore’s democratic competitor.

And then there’s this. This video shows Tweeden grabbing the ass of a lead guitarist on stage, and doing a sort of lap dance thing against his leg. Does this mean her own accusations are invalid, or make them somehow less true just because of this? Does this make her a “loose woman”?

Of course not.

She is a performer, an actor. She was being paid to do this, just as Franken was.

However, it also shows that she knew full well that she was part of a theatrical production, and knew in advance what was in the show and what was going on. She shouldn’t have been taken by surprise by any of this; the point here is that she knew in advance that things like this were likely to happen, because she was doing them herself.

This whole thing is evil twice – once simply because it appears that the charges are largely concocted to try to take out a political adversary of the GOP, and once because it poisons the well for the #metoo movement of women (and a few men) coming forward to talk about the sexual aggression to which they were subjected.

My conclusion? It’s all fabricated. The most evil thing Franken might be guilty of is a joke in poor taste.


There Is No War on Christianity

There Is No War on Christianity

Muslims do not hate America. That is fiction. There are millions of Americans who are Muslim. There are an extremely radical sect who claim to be Muslim who do, but actual Muslims reject them as strongly as we do. There is nothing Muslim about what ISIS is doing.

To buy into the fear that Fox News sells every day is to make yourself a shill. It certainly doesn’t help that statements made on Fox News are right only 18% of the time (there have been studies, yes, and it’s 18%).

Liberals are not trying to “subjugate Christians”. That’s fiction. There is no anti-Christian agenda. There is, however, a push-back on people who would force their fears and unbending viewpoints on others, and that’s what the radicalized Christians are doing.

Nobody’s going to put Christians in special reeducation camps, or punish them as a group because of their religion. That’s a paranoiac fantasy, set forth to give the alt-right a reason to be aggressive towards everyone else. What most liberals want – and indeed what nearly all Americans want, regardless of which token animal represents their chosen political party – is for everybody to get along, and to live their lives without other people – the power mad, or religious zealots of any stripe – telling them how to do that.

This is why religion has no place in government, or in fact in any discussion of how the government should be run. Each person should be free to choose their own path, so naturally when things happen that limit freedoms based on the religious right’s views on race, religion, or sexual identity, there’s going to be a push back, and a big one. Our country was literally founded to protect those sorts of freedoms.

Regardless of what Fox News tells you, there is no “war on Christmas”, no “war on Christians”, no “war on Republicans”. Nobody is being sent to interment camps, rapists are not pouring through our borders. These are statements designed to make you afraid, so that you can be controlled through that fear.

All that is happening is that most Americans now reject that fear. Clutching that fear to your chest does you far more harm than good.

I am frankly astonished at the number of people who simply parrot whatever the right-wing owned media tells them to say. They hear it all the time, so they believe it’s true without actually checking anything. It’s all about kneejerk reactions, territorialism, xenophobia. They’re all wrapped up in their own personal feelings, putting themselves above the needs of the society at all costs. They all seem to have forgotten the core of nearly every religion, which essentially translates to nothing more complex than “be excellent to one another, for we are one.”


More Guns Do Not Make You Safer

More Guns Do Not Make You Safer

We have a problem in this country. Let’s call it what it is: a gun epidemic. The NRA, with the right wing nut bar Tea Party that has taken over the GOP, have managed to convince a surprisingly large number of people that their Second Amendment rights trump everything else in the constitution. An acquaintance of mine posted a meme on Facebook to the effect that the San Bernardino shooting happened despite strict gun laws, and that the gun laws did nothing. The truth of the matter is that the two people who committed this heinous act obtained the guns through completely legal channels. The fact that they were able to do this demonstrates that the gun laws are probably not addressing the problem well enough. Well known is the gun show loophole, where if you go to a gun show to buy your weapons you don’t have to pass a background check.

One of the more ludicrous ideas being floated is that if everybody had guns, there would be fewer shootings. The solution to too many guns in the environment is to add even more guns. No, really. People actually believe this. Here is the argument I presented to one such person on Facebook who posted one of these silly memes that suggested that the gun laws did nothing, and were therefore useless – and then backed it up with this preposterous claim that adding more weapons to a social environment makes it safer:

Think. Every person around you, everywhere you go, no matter how stupid, no matter how untrained, no matter how down on their luck they are, no matter how angry at the world they might be, no matter how delusional they might be because some false holy man has convinced them that green is blue and up is down and wrong is right, EVERY person around you now has a loaded gun on their person, ready to use it. Potentially on YOU. And you want to give loaded guns to every one of them.

Now. How safe are you? Is that the world you really want to live in?

Nobody thinks when they get up in the morning, “I’m a bad person, so I’m going to go do bad things.” Everybody knows, deep in their hearts, that they are one of the good guys. The good guy with a gun theory does not work, because they’re all good guys. They do bad things anyway, and people die anyway.

Give everybody a gun. Turn that dial up to eleven and intensify that situation and watch this bring out the worst tendencies in every person around you.

Societies work because there are rules in place that keep innocent people, good people, from being put in positions where they must be judge, jury and executioner all in one and nobody – nobody – has the right to that much power, or deserves the burden of that much responsibility. At that level, life becomes cheap, and anyone could, for any reason, in any value system they choose to arbitrarily apply, without consulting a single other human being, decide you really need killing.

And then kill you.

And then the “good guys with guns,” who can’t be distinguished from the bad guys with the guns for the most part, these good guys gun him down, assuming you haven’t been caught out someplace where nobody is close enough to you to see what’s going on. But you’re still dead anyway.

Because you put your life in the hands of people who have their own problems, who might not have that knife’s edge alertness every waking moment toward danger that might be near them, and might not have the near-psychic prescience to tell that somebody may be about to shoot you, even by accident, from up to 100 yards away – you’ve trusted that this random person, who almost certainly has no battlefield or law enforcement experience, will be able to take out their gun and shoot somebody before that person, who has possibly already taken aim with a telescopic sight, shoots you.

Now how safe do you feel?

Don’t just be a ditto head. Think it through. The solution to gun violence may be difficult to achieve, but it is certainly and very obviously not more guns.