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Mon Jul 22, 2019, 10:54 PM

Lines from Alternet.org about the Franken Situation.

How an ordinarily terrific reporter got sucked in by the conspiracy theories about the Al Franken accusations
Amanda Marcotte / Salon July 22, 2019

The defenders of Sen. Al Franken are perhaps the single most embarrassing group of allegedly progressive people in the Democratic coalition.


So, I guess that I am an embarassment. And I'm not one to buy into conspiracy theories. I think Roger Stone and Leeann Tweeden decided to exaggerate a stupid situation with the hopes of thwarting the voice of an elected official who spoke clearly and forcefully against the tide of self-serving, borderline (and sometimes over the border) criminality that is the hallmark of this current administration.

The Democrats who piled on in the aftermath were also self-serving, if not criminal. Their interests were not first and foremost the pursuit of truth or the advancement of the protection of women. I think that they strategized rather than conspired.

And I think that some of the writers at Alternet and Vox are the embarassment because they can't budge an inch or even entertain the possibility that the treatment afforded to Franken was out of proportion to the charges made against him.

I really hope that someone decides to communicate this concern to the publications in question. I'm tired and I'm angry and I'm done apologizing for somehow not being liberal enough.

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Reply Lines from Alternet.org about the Franken Situation. (Original post)
Collimator Jul 2019 OP
The Velveteen Ocelot Jul 2019 #1
pazzyanne Jul 2019 #28
rzemanfl Jul 2019 #2
Dennis Donovan Jul 2019 #3
delisen Jul 2019 #4
Tarc Jul 2019 #5
The Velveteen Ocelot Jul 2019 #6
Tarc Jul 2019 #7
The Velveteen Ocelot Jul 2019 #8
Tarc Jul 2019 #10
Collimator Jul 2019 #15
Tarc Jul 2019 #16
Collimator Jul 2019 #21
pazzyanne Jul 2019 #29
orleans Jul 2019 #31
Blecht Jul 2019 #40
orleans Jul 2019 #30
Myrddin Jul 2019 #34
emmaverybo Jul 2019 #18
FDRman Jul 2019 #27
brooklynite Jul 2019 #9
Collimator Jul 2019 #11
Perseus Jul 2019 #12
Celerity Jul 2019 #13
brush Jul 2019 #20
Celerity Jul 2019 #24
brush Jul 2019 #25
Celerity Jul 2019 #32
brush Jul 2019 #37
Celerity Jul 2019 #38
Mr. Evil Jul 2019 #14
dalton99a Jul 2019 #36
Ford_Prefect Jul 2019 #17
PatrickforO Jul 2019 #19
Collimator Jul 2019 #23
PatrickforO Jul 2019 #26
lame54 Jul 2019 #22
pazzyanne Jul 2019 #33
Blue_Tires Jul 2019 #35
brush Jul 2019 #39

Response to Collimator (Original post)

Mon Jul 22, 2019, 11:00 PM

1. The Marcotte article was such a pile of crap.

I'm proud to be an embarrassment who stuck up for my senator who was unfairly pilloried and driven out of the Senate by people who cynically used the MeToo movement to benefit their political ambitions.

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Response to The Velveteen Ocelot (Reply #1)

Tue Jul 23, 2019, 01:51 AM

28. Right there with you!

I am still angry about what happened to Al!

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Response to Collimator (Original post)

Mon Jul 22, 2019, 11:04 PM

2. You're 100% correct, unlike some others here. n/t

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Response to Collimator (Original post)

Mon Jul 22, 2019, 11:06 PM

3. Alternet, once a reputable publication, is even MORE lousy with ads that rawstory...

...and with opinion writers (who came from RS) pulling opinions straight out of their arses.


Writing and activism in 2007
Time magazine has described Marcotte as "an outspoken voice of the left," writing, "there is a welcome wonkishness to Marcotte, who, unlike some star bloggers, is not afraid to parse policy with her readers." Time also described her blogging as "provocative and profanity-laced."

In early 2007 Marcotte made several controversial statements on her blog, including criticism of the men falsely accused in the Duke lacrosse case, using vulgar language to refer to the Catholic doctrine on the Virgin birth of Jesus, and describing the Catholic Church's opposition to birth control as motivated by a desire to force women to "bear more tithing Catholics."


Another bomb thrower still clamoring for relevancy after 12 yrs.

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Response to Collimator (Original post)

Mon Jul 22, 2019, 11:08 PM

4. The embarrassment is Amanda Marcotte-self appointed community

standards accuser and self-appointed free speech policer.

Her article is her personal opinion and she is entitled to it-but I do not see that it sheds any light on the issue or adds anything to the debate.

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Response to Collimator (Original post)

Mon Jul 22, 2019, 11:22 PM

5. I fully stand by the Amanda Marcotte piece, it is a necessary dose of reality

Which is unfortunately being treated with hostility here.

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Response to Tarc (Reply #5)

Mon Jul 22, 2019, 11:26 PM

6. It's an unnecessary dose of bullshit. I fully stand with Al Franken

and Jane Mayer. The article deserves every bit of the hostility it's getting.

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Response to The Velveteen Ocelot (Reply #6)

Mon Jul 22, 2019, 11:29 PM

7. I'm sorry that you discount the testimony of 7 women

But, you close ranks if you need to.

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Response to Tarc (Reply #7)

Mon Jul 22, 2019, 11:32 PM

8. Anonymous testimony in combination with ratfucking by a right-wing radio host

deserves little credibility. And that's all I have to say.

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Response to The Velveteen Ocelot (Reply #8)

Mon Jul 22, 2019, 11:38 PM

10. So now certain DU'ers are against newspapers protecting the identities of sexual abuse victims?

Certainly a curious turn, there.

Two, however...Lindsay Menz and Stephanie Kemplin...chose to reveal themselves publicly.

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Response to Tarc (Reply #10)

Tue Jul 23, 2019, 12:33 AM

15. No, I, myself, am not against the policy of protecting the identities of sexual abuse victims.

My concern is that nothing in the descriptions of the experiences these women offered falls into the category of actual sexual abuse. I have stated repeatedly that I feel Franken's actions--assuming everything that he did was exactly as described--fall into the realm of social impropriety. His behavior does not fit a realistic definition of abuse, sexual or otherwise. Furthermore, lumping the man into collections of men who engaged in actual assault is unfair to him and demeaning to those who have suffered genuine trauma.

Speaking of trauma, if the two--or really, three--women who did come forward actually suffered something of that nature, I would support them. Nothing that I have read thus far has indicated real emotional damage as a result of having experienced what I still insist were social interactions with Franken that may have impinged on their sense of personal space.

Those sorts of things happen. I was once hugged by a female supervisor and I'm not really a hugger. I have also experienced other workplace and social interactions that made me uncomfortable. However, I know the difference between those experiences and being sexually molested by an older relative.

The other point that is worth mentioning is--to the best of my knowledge--neither Ms. Menz nor Ms. Kemplin have been properly deposed for their statements.

My purpose is not to force some distraught or suffering person to sit in a courtroom and describe in graphic detail some ugly sexual assault. My purpose is to stress the difference between what Franken is accused of and the reality of some ugly sexual assault.

While I am at it, I would like to emphasize the bedrock principle of our justice system is that a person is presumed innocent until proven guilty. I would also like to point out the value of finding out the truth in any situation by examining all the facts that can be gathered, before assigning any consequences that can have far-reaching effects.

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Response to Collimator (Reply #15)

Tue Jul 23, 2019, 12:46 AM

16. "actual sexual abuse"

Men are the arbiters of what is and is not "actual sexual abuse" for a woman?

How fascinating some dark corners o f the DU are tonight, and what bubbles to the surface when someone they like is accused of something.

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Response to Tarc (Reply #16)

Tue Jul 23, 2019, 01:20 AM

21. Okay, now you're just trolling me.

Nothing that I wrote could remotely be interpreted as saying that "men get to be the arbiters of what is and what is not sexual abuse for a woman."

Furthermore, when it comes to the serious subject of sexual abuse, I feel that everyone deserves to be spared such painful experiences. I mentioned having been sexually molested by an elder relative in my earlier post. (I am a woman.) One of my brothers was also molested by this same person, and I take his pain seriously.

Your statement about "dark corners" is more trolling and my support of a fuller examination of the Franklen situation is not predicated upon the fact that I like him.

I enjoyed watching Charlie Rose on PBS. When the story broke, I heard that he had appeared naked before female co-workers. It didn't occur to me to support him. My first thought was There's no equivocation there. The guy was either naked or he wasn't. He was and that was wrong.

I kind of liked Matt Lauer, as well. When someone asked me "Did you hear about Matt Lauer?" My first thought was What?! Matt Lauer?! One of the first facts about the case that I heard is that Lauer had a button in his office to lock the door. Again, either the button existed or it didn't. And my opinion regarding that situation is that even if the guy were locking someone in his office to force them to look at his vacation slides, that's essentially kidnapping. I never wasted a second defending him.

The situation involving Franklen does not involve a clear, legal definition of criminal behavior. I don't care if men may have been originally involved in drafting some of the definitions we use in the legal code. I certainly hope and welcome more women to become involved in the conversations that move towards changes in policy and the drafting of new laws and legal statutes.

No matter how much someone may disagree with me in the Franken case, I will not complacently permit that person to question my committment to the self-determination of women. I will not cheerfully allow someone to imply that my motives come from some "dark" place in my psyche. (The darkest places in my psyche usually harbor thoughts of self-harm.)

Most importantly, I am not such a fan-girl of anything or anybody, that I can't stand back and cast a clinical eye at the matter in the hopes of learning something important.

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Response to Collimator (Reply #21)

Tue Jul 23, 2019, 01:55 AM

29. Hear, hear!

And welcome to DU, Collimator!

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Response to Collimator (Reply #21)

Tue Jul 23, 2019, 01:57 AM

31. well said n/t

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Response to Collimator (Reply #21)

Tue Jul 23, 2019, 12:32 PM

40. Great response to the trolling you received

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Response to Tarc (Reply #16)

Tue Jul 23, 2019, 01:56 AM

30. so why didn't you like al franken?

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Response to Collimator (Reply #15)

Tue Jul 23, 2019, 09:09 AM

34. Well put! n/t

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Response to The Velveteen Ocelot (Reply #8)

Tue Jul 23, 2019, 12:58 AM

18. You said it well. NT

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Response to Tarc (Reply #7)

Tue Jul 23, 2019, 01:40 AM

27. Claims were made.


Making claims is not the same as giving testimony.

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Response to Collimator (Original post)

Mon Jul 22, 2019, 11:34 PM

9. Democratic Senators were "criminal"?

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Response to brooklynite (Reply #9)

Tue Jul 23, 2019, 12:03 AM

11. Thank you for your question.

I realize now that I did not write that sentence correctly. I did not mean to suggest that the actions of the Democractic Senators in the Franken case were criminal in any way. What I wanted to express is that their actions were self-serving, but not criminal.

This is opposed to the actions of the current administration and their enablers which are not only blatantly self-serving, but clearly criminal in many instances.

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Response to Collimator (Original post)

Tue Jul 23, 2019, 12:07 AM

12. Count me in as an embarrasment too


And I am still very upset about the whole show...Shame on Kirsten Gillibrand and many other democrats who fell, some willing, into that trap.

One expects the elected officials to take their time in analyzing situations such as the Al Franken one, and now they feel bad because they rushed to judgement? Really???

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Response to Collimator (Original post)

Tue Jul 23, 2019, 12:15 AM

13. this is far from the only piece slating Mayer's piece

WaPo OpEd : Al Franken is responsible for Al Franken


It turns out the whole thing is the woman’s fault.

That’s the upshot of a carefully reported New Yorker piece titled “The Case of Al Franken,” in which friends and fans of the erstwhile senator from Minnesota bemoan his downfall. The magazine’s Jane Mayer writes that many of Franken’s former colleagues regret their own part in ousting him after eight allegations of sexual assault and harassment, but many seem to regret the role someone else played even more.

Kirsten Gillibrand (N.Y.) was the first of three dozen Democrats in the Senate to call on Franken to resign, which apparently also makes her the worst of them. The facts, Mayer’s story seems to suggest, didn’t warrant Franken’s removal — but Gillibrand’s “vigilante” move made it inevitable. Never mind that fellow New Yorker Charles E. Schumer’s role as minority leader gave him the actual power he eventually exercised to nudge Franken out the door.

Gillibrand “has a lot to answer for,” her critics intone. She’s “opportunistic.” She “cut short” the sterling career of a party star. Efforts are mounting to hamstring her campaign for president, which admittedly didn’t really seem to have the longest legs in the first place. Gillibrand has a perfectly logical explanation for her actions amid this perfectly illogical onslaught: “He wasn’t entitled to me carrying his water, and defending him with my silence.” But plenty of people seem to think that’s exactly what Franken was entitled to.

Mayer’s story reads as if it’s laying out an abundance of exculpatory evidence that Franken was never allowed to present because he was pressured out of office before he could get a hearing. It also reads as though it’s exposing a coordinated campaign by the vast right-wing conspiracy to bring down one of the opposing party’s beloved. But neither of these is true.


Al Franken did the right thing by resigning

If he could remember that, everyone would be better off.


Personal conduct aside, I feel confident that, more so than most senators, Al Franken is someone who got into electoral politics for the right reasons. Before he ever became a candidate, he was generous with both time and money in supporting progressive causes. His breakthrough political book, Lies and the Lying Liars Who Tell Them, was a breath of fresh air at a bleak time for political media. And it’s not just funny — it’s a smart, well-informed book that he wrote alongside a diligent team of researchers.

In the 2008 cycle, he was very much the candidate the state and local Democratic Party wanted to challenge Norm Coleman, and his narrow victory was crucial to every significant legislative achievement of the Obama years. In the Senate, he was funny but humble. The hallmark of his time as a politician was that — self-conscious about the idea that he was really just a celebrity comedian — he genuinely put in the work to be well-informed about policy and an active participant in committee work. His decision to resign under a cloud of scandal in December 2017 was entirely in keeping with his approach to politics over the past 15 years, displaying seriousness about the moral weight of political work and a willingness to put cause above ego.

The aftermath, unfortunately, has been different. Starting with his resignation speech, Franken began to cast himself as the real victim in the story, and it soon became apparent that several Senate Democrats regretted having pressured him to quit. Many of his fans on the internet feel he got a raw deal, especially under circumstances when conservative men accused of much worse occupy positions of power. And now, nearly two years later, Jane Mayer has published a long New Yorker story re-sparking the debate by arguing that Franken was wronged.

Al Franken resigned for the good of the country

The substance of Franken’s post-resignation retroactive defense is — despite the extraordinary length of Mayer’s exposition — incredibly simple to sum up: What he did just wasn’t that bad.


An Indefensible Al Franken Defense

An article intended to make the belated case for the former senator instead exposes him as whiny and self-pitying.


Four weeks ago, I woke up to discover that a well-regarded New York government official, Bob Freeman, had been fired for being inappropriately physical with a young female reporter.

I’d had my own experience with Freeman in 2013, and that morning I passed a message to the woman whose account led to his ouster, and finally reported a teacher who had abused his power over me many years ago.

After Freeman, I knew: There’s never just one. I knew it because suddenly everyone was saying his actions were “an open secret.” Apparently it wasn’t that open, because I hadn’t been in on it. If I had, I wouldn’t have thought I was the only one.

snip (members only paywall)

What Jane Mayer Gets Wrong About Al Franken

And what she fails to understand about the #MeToo movement.


New Yorker journalist Jane Mayer has been promoting her new piece about Al Franken as an exculpatory tale. “Almost NOTHING His Main Accuser Said checks out,” Mayer tweeted Monday morning, describing her 12,000-plus-word investigation into the allegations of harassment and misbehavior that eight women levied against the then-senator in 2017. In another tweet, Mayer said that Franken was “railroaded.” In response to the executive editor of Lawfare, who accused Mayer of “rewriting history,” she tweeted, “Sometimes the first draft of history is wrong- especially when no one fact checks it.”

Mayer’s fact-checking does poke plenty of holes in the story told by conservative radio host Leeann Tweeden, whose breasts Franken can be seen pretending to grope (or possibly actually groping) in the photo that kicked off a rash of accusations against him. The image, which was taken while Tweeden was sleeping, comes from a 2006 USO tour. Tweeden claimed that it was snapped on Dec. 24, as a final insult from Franken after a stretch of teasing; that Franken had said he’d written a kiss into a skit they performed together specifically so he’d get to kiss Tweeden; that she’d expressed her discomfort to Franken and others; that Franken had “badgered” her into rehearsing the kiss and stuck his tongue in her mouth; and that she never let Franken get close to her face after that first rehearsal. Mayer found that the photo was taken on Dec. 21; that Franken had written the skit years earlier and performed it with other women; and that Tweeden had continued performing the skit with Franken for the rest of the tour. She was unable to find anyone to corroborate Tweeden’s contemporaneous discomfort, and a retired military pilot told Mayer it would be unlikely that Franken and Tweeden would have been left alone to rehearse a skit.

From there, through Mayer’s own analysis and plenty of comments from Franken supporters, the piece argues that feminists, the media, and Franken’s fellow Democrats were too hasty in demanding his resignation. In addition to recounting Tweeden’s misstatements and pro-Trump views, Mayer explains that Tweeden’s claims were printed by her radio station, the conservative 790 KABC, without being fact-checked. That story was then spread by conservative media figures hungry to attack a senator who’d begun to distinguish himself among anti-Trump Democrats. (Mayer notes that Sean Hannity, among others, quoted approvingly from my colleague Mark Joseph Stern’s piece calling for Franken’s resignation.) And what of the other seven accusations from women, including Democrats, who said Franken groped them, kissed them without their consent, or attempted to do one of those things? Mayer quotes from numerous Franken defenders who say that he couldn’t possibly have meant any harm. Mayer also writes that “Franken could be physically obtuse,” prone to swinging his arms too freely and chewing with his mouth open.

I have argued that Franken was right to resign, that his resignation not only saved the Democratic Party’s reputation but set an important standard (or perhaps, disseminated a cautionary tale) for male politicians who could stand to think a little harder about how they should be treating women. Coming from that perspective, reading Mayer’s piece was a surreal experience. Almost none of the facts Mayer presents to exonerate Franken serve that purpose. Rather, they add up to a misreading of the #MeToo movement and a miscasting of what the allegations against Franken were actually about.


Al Franken needs to stop comparing his resignation to death

He and his defenders are missing the point on #MeToo.


More than a year after he resigned from the Senate amid sexual misconduct allegations, Al Franken describes what happened to him as a kind of violence. The junior senator from Minnesota, Franken announced his resignation in 2017 after eight women accused him of kissing or touching them in ways that made them uncomfortable. The first woman to come forward publicly, Leeann Tweeden, provided a 2006 photograph of Franken pretending to grab her breasts while she was sleeping.

Today, Franken is aware that it might be bad optics to paint himself as the wronged party. “I don’t think people who have been sexually assaulted, and those kinds of things, want to hear from people who have been #MeToo’d that they’re victims,” he told New Yorker reporter Jane Mayer. But it’s clear from Franken’s comments in Mayer’s story, published online on Monday, that he does see himself as a victim. When he saw the photograph after Tweeden went public with her account, Franken says his first thought was, “Oh my God, my life! My life!” He describes another woman’s allegation as the one “that killed me.”

Though Franken challenges some aspects of Tweeden’s story, he doesn’t dispute that he posed for an inappropriate photograph. But he’s been treated unfairly, he and his supporters argue, by a #MeToo movement that doesn’t differentiate between more and less severe offenses.

Ever since the #MeToo movement entered its most public phase in 2017, critics have argued that it inappropriately lumps together different forms of sexual misconduct, demanding the same punishments for all. It’s a concern some supporters of the movement have voiced too. Lawyer Debra Katz, who has represented Christine Blasey Ford, put it this way to Mayer: “All offensive behavior should be addressed, but not all offensive behavior warrants the most severe sanction.”

Franken, however, has not actually faced “the most severe sanction.” He is not in prison; he has not been charged with any crime. He has lost his job in the Senate — a serious blow, clearly, to a man who by all accounts cared deeply about his work, but a common enough occurrence when you hold a high office that’s also subject to the vicissitudes of politics.


'He’s No Weinstein': The New Yorker’s Distorted Defense of Al Franken


Al Franken, according to a new piece in the New Yorker by Jane Mayer, regrets resigning from his Senate seat at the end of 2017, after many of his fellow Democratic senators called for him to step down in the wake of numerous allegations of unwanted and inappropriate kissing and touching. The stories had come like a wave, after Leeann Tweeden, a conservative radio host and television anchor who had performed with Franken on a USO tour published an account in which she alleged that Franken had forcibly kissed her and “aggressively stuck his tongue in my mouth,” and that he had taken a photo of her while she was sleeping in which he appeared to be grabbing her breasts. Soon after, more women came forward to describe instances in which Franken had tried to kiss them or had groped them during photo ops.

There was hardly a consensus on how to evaluate Franken’s alleged misconduct at the time that Franken chose to resign. But now, less than two years later, a narrative has coalesced among those who continue to remain uncomfortable with his departure from the Senate—of a good man whose actions were taken out of context by a hysterical mob, a narrative that has gained in strength to counter the sunlight of the reckoning promised by Me Too. Complicating the story is the suggestion that Tweeden was, as Mayer heavily implies in her piece, part of a rightwing hatchet job meant to bring him down. There is a conversation to be had about whether Franken’s behavior warranted his exit from the Senate, and about rightwing-led campaigns that rely on lies to discredit elected officials and other public figures, but that’s not quite what Mayer is doing here—it is instead a largely, remarkably sympathetic portrait, meant to rehabilitate. Franken, in her (and many others’) reckoning, was the subject of a character assassination. And it’s time, it seems, to fully bring him back to life.

Mayer spoke with seven of Franken’s former colleagues who now regret calling for his resignation, several of whom highlighted what they believe to be a lack of due process, a tedious argument that has become standard operating practice in the backlash to Me Too. Patrick Leahy described the decision as “one of the biggest mistakes I’ve made” in his time in the Senate. Angus King, an independent from Maine who regularly votes with Democrats, now says, a tad hyperbolically, that it was “the political equivalent of capital punishment.” Heidi Heitkamp told Mayer, “If there’s one decision I’ve made that I would take back, it’s the decision to call for his resignation.” Tammy Duckworth now believes that an ethics investigation “should have been allowed to move forward.” “I really believe in due process,” Tom Udall said. Bill Nelson echoed Duckworth and Udall, and believes he “should have stood up for due process to render what it’s supposed to—the truth.”


But Tweeden is not the only women who came forward. And what is most striking is the space that Mayer gives in her very long story to people who defend both Franken’s character and his intentions, as if both are somehow equally as relevant as the impact of his actions—an additional vetting wrapped up in “due process.” Franken is “five hundred per cent devoted” to his wife, according to his fundraiser A.J. Goodman. Traylor Portman, an actor who performed with Franken on a different USO tour, told Mayer that “Franken is a good man. I remember him talking so sweetly and lovingly about his wife.” SNL writer James Downey notes that Franken “can say mean things, or use other people as props,” but then adds, “I’ve known him for forty-seven years and he’s the very last person who would be a sexual harasser.” To Downey, Franken, in the 2006 photo, was “adopting the persona of a douche bag,” versus being an actual douche bag.


Jane Mayer Thinks We Don't Feel Bad Enough For Al Franken


Jane Mayer, in this week's New Yorker, presents us with "The Case for Al Franken." Jesus, not this again. We can't write about Kirsten Gillibrand taking a bullet to save a busload of orphaned refugee nuns without the comments sections derailing into complaints about how the New York senator "Et tu, Brute-d" the former Minnesota senator to an early political grave. We wanted to just ignore the piece, but we saw this sexist tripe.

That tweet aged w- ... oh wait, Tribe has already deleted it.

Al Franken is still rich, white, alive, and generally beloved. Don't try to sell him to us as Willy Loman. Also, men really need to stop using terms like "opportunistic" or "slippery" to describe women -- even if those women have dared to criticize their favorites. Gillibrand doesn't have to answer for shit. She's not responsible for Franken's choices. After an exhaustive investigation, we've determined who is responsible, and it's Al Franken. Last month, Mayer found the "disgraced senator" wandering around his Minneapolis home in "jeans and stocking feet."

It was a sunny day, but the shades were mostly drawn. Takeout containers of hummus and carrot sticks were set out on the kitchen table. His wife, Franni Bryson, was stuck in their apartment in Washington, D.C., with a cold, and he had evidently done the best he could to be hospitable. But the place felt like the kind of man cave where someone hides out from the world, which is more or less what Franken has been doing since he resigned, in December, 2017, amid accusations of sexual impropriety.

Who cares where Franken's wife is? She's not responsible for the half-assed spread. He could've at least thrown in some pita, maybe even cheese and crackers. Already, Mayer is making excuses for Franken's actions while insisting we feel sorry for him. Minneapolis isn't some common Elba where Gillibrand banished him.

Now Franken was just one more face in a gallery of previously powerful men who had been brought down by the #MeToo movement, and whom no one wanted to hear from again. America had ghosted him.

It's so strange to see #MeToo described as this force of nature that's destroying powerful men. This type of phrasing humanizes the accused men while depersonalizing the accusers. Mayer does go into great detail about Leeann Tweeden, who accused Franken of sexual misconduct during a 2006 USO tour, but she gives Tweeden the full Mollie Hemingway treatment: She's a conservative! She's willingly appeared on Sean Hannity's show!


Nate Silver

· 15h
That very long Al Franken story brings up extremely few exculpatory facts about Al Franken's alleged behavior.

Nate Silver

If you want to make *this* argument—that there are degrees of misconduct & this didn't rise to the level of warranting resignation—I don't know if I agree but that's honest at least.

Instead, though, Ds defending Franken make these totally incoherent claims about "due process".

Nate Silver

Those "due process" arguments look WORSE in light of this story. Despite it presenting the evidence in a fairly sympathetic light for Franken, it doesn't really offer any reason to disbelieve his several accusers, and his own defenses are pretty half-hearted.

2:57 PM - Jul 22, 2019

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Response to Celerity (Reply #13)

Tue Jul 23, 2019, 01:19 AM

20. Posting Nate Silver tweets proves only that he was as wrong as...

Gillibrand about Franken.

Tweeden along with Stone and Hannity swiftboated Franken with a gag photo and several lies. Two actresses who did the skit before—the skit she said Franken wrote to be able to kiss her—said that they both did the same skit and the kiss was included, a kiss that was hammed up for laughs.

Tweeden lied, Stone even tweeted about what was coming the night before.

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Response to brush (Reply #20)

Tue Jul 23, 2019, 01:29 AM

24. it wasn't Tweeden that did him in, it was the other seven women (including some Democrats)

If they had not come forward, Franken would still be a Senator.

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Response to Celerity (Reply #24)

Tue Jul 23, 2019, 01:34 AM

25. Tweeden worked with Hannity and Stone, furnished the gag photo and...

told the initial lies. She along with her accomplices got the ball rolling and are heavily complicit in the Franken hit job.

The other senators are too who jumped on the bandwagon driven by Gillibrand.

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Response to brush (Reply #25)

Tue Jul 23, 2019, 02:01 AM

32. Tweeden did not make the others come forward, and Gillibrand was but one of many Democratic female

Senators who met for weeks before. She wasn't not even the first to go on television and call for Franken to resign, that was Kamala Harris.

Gillibrand's tweet was the first, by just a few minutes.

None of the other 7 women accusers are tied to Tweeden and Rethugs rat-fucking.



Tina Dupay, was far from specious, for instance.


Hardly a Stone plant or a RW hack.

Tina Dupuy is the former communications director for Congressman Alan Grayson, and has been a nationally syndicated op-ed columnist, freelance investigative journalist and comedian.

She freelances for Los Angeles Times, The Atlantic, Fast Company, LA Weekly, Newsday, Mother Jones, and Skeptic. Her weekly op-ed column is nationally syndicated through Daryl Cagle's website Cagle Cartoons. Dupuy's writing has also been published in books including a collection of short stories called What Was I Thinking? (St. Martin's Press, 2009) and the English textbook Exploring Language 13th Edition (Longman, 2011).

All Democratic Senators except 5 called in public or private for him to resign. Gillibrand is only a Jr. Senator from NY. She doesn't have the superpowers being attributed to her. As shown. Schumer was well involved and gave the ultimatum.

Only Joe Manchin said he should not resign. 3 of the other 4 were on the Senate Ethics committee and could not comment, and the 4th, Bob Menendez of New Jersey, was under federal criminal indictment for corruption at the time and chose to say nothing.

Female Democratic senators coordinated a wave of calls for resignation


Nearly three weeks after sexual harassment allegations first emerged against Sen. Al Franken, a wave of Democratic senators — in coordination and following a flurry of text messages and phone calls — called for his resignation in rapid succession Wednesday morning.

Starting around 11:30 a.m. ET, the senators posted statements in a coordinated effort, one after the other, on social media, saying the Minnesota Democrat should step down. Some comments were elaborate, lengthy and loaded with a moral message. Others, like that of Sen. Claire McCaskill of Missouri, were straight to the point. "Al Franken should resign," she simply tweeted.

Within the next 90 minutes, 16 Democrats -- 10 of them women -- and one Republican senator -- Susan Collins of Maine -- had publicly urged their colleague to vacate his seat.

The flood of calls came just one day after Rep. John Conyers, a Michigan Democrat who has also been accused of sexual misconduct, announced he was resigning following calls from leaders in his own party to quit.


Women Democratic senators had been talking behind the scenes for at least the past week about how to deal with Franken, multiple aides told CNN. But those talks reached a tipping point Wednesday morning, they said, when Politico published a report at 9 a.m. ET of another woman alleging that Franken touched her inappropriately in 2006, before he was elected to office.

The story prompted a flurry of calls and texts between Senate offices within minutes, and it was decided sometime between then and about 10:30 a.m. ET that the women senators would go public in a show of unity with their desire for Franken to step aside.
"Their patience had worn incredibly thin," said an aide to one of the women senators.

Democrats stampede to drive Sen. Franken from office amid sexual misconduct allegations


Democratic women on Wednesday led the charge of more than two dozen senators who called on their embattled colleague, Sen. Al Franken of Minnesota, to resign after multiple women accused him of harassment or sexual misconduct.

Sens. Kirsten Gillibrand of New York, Claire McCaskill of Missouri, Maggie Hassan of New Hampshire, Mazie Hirono of Hawaii, Kamala Harris of California, Patty Murray of Washington and Tammy Baldwin of Wisconsin kicked off the stampede on Wednesday, all putting out statements within minutes of one another saying it was time for Franken to go.

By the evening, at least 35 Democrats — including Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer of New York — were calling on him to quit, and Franken's office said the senator was planning an announcement from the Senate floor Thursday morning at 11:45. Some fellow Democrats said they believe he will announce he is resigning.


Avalanche of Democratic senators say Franken should resign


That changed when a new charge became public on Wednesday from a woman who said the senator has sought to forcibly kiss her in a 2006 incident.

Six female Democratic senators quickly followed Gillibrand in saying that Franken should step down: Sens. Kamala Harris (Calif.), Claire McCaskill (Mo.), Patty Murray (Wash.), Mazie Hirono (Hawaii), Tammy Baldwin (Wis.) and Maggie Hassan (N.H.).

"I believe the best thing for Senator Franken to do is step down," Harris said.

By early afternoon, Sen. Dick Durbin (Ill.), the No. 2 Democrat, and Democratic Sens. Debbie Stabenow (Mich.), Heidi Heitkamp (N.D.), Bob Casey Jr. (Pa.), Sherrod Brown (Ohio), Joe Donnelly (Ind.), Michael Bennet (Colo.), Ed Markey (Mass.), Maria Cantwell (Wash.), Patrick Leahy (Vt.), Dianne Feinstein (Calif.), Martin Heinrich (N.M.), Tammy Duckworth (Ill.), Jeff Merkley (Ore.), Tom Carper (Del.), Ron Wyden (Ore.), Tom Udall (N.M.), Chris Murphy (Conn.), Gary Peters (Mich.) and Sheldon Whitehouse (R.I.) had also called on Franken to resign.

Sens. Bernie Sanders (Vt.) and Angus King (Maine), both Independents who caucus with the Democrats, also called on Franken to step down.


Warren joins chorus calling for Franken’s resignation


Massachusetts Senator Elizabeth Warren joined the chorus of Democratic senators calling for Minnesota Democrat Al Franken to resign in the wake of new sexual harassment allegations, including fellow Senator Ed Markey.

Female Democratic senators lead the charge for Franken’s ouster Wednesday, but Warren was the last among them to speak out publicly against him, waiting until mid-afternoon to do so.

“I think he should resign,” Elizabeth Warren said in a statement put out by her staff. She did not elaborate.

Earlier in the afternoon, a Warren aide told the Globe that the senator had talked to Franken privately and told him he should step down.


Even Senator Klobuchar told him to resign in private and called his resignation the right decision

'The right decision,' Amy Klobuchar, others say of Franken's resignation



“Today Senator Franken acknowledged that he could no longer serve in the Senate and resigned. As he and I discussed yesterday, this is the right decision. Senator Franken has worked for years on behalf of the people of Minnesota and he has been a leader on issues that are fundamental to Americans’ lives, including education, privacy, healthcare and mental health. He has been a friend to me and to many in our state.

“As the women who have come forward to tell their stories across America have made clear, sexual harassment is never acceptable. In every workplace in America, including the U.S. Senate, we must confront the challenges of harassment and misconduct. Nothing is easy or pleasant about this, but we all must recognize that our workplace cultures — and the way we treat each other as human beings — must change.

“For Franni, the Franken family, Senator Franken’s friends and supporters in our state, it’s a very tough day. I want you to know I remain as committed as ever to working together and standing up for people, for common decency, and for our democracy during an incredibly difficult and divisive time in our country. And as we go forward together, we must never forget the words of Senator Paul Wellstone, whom Senator Franken quoted in part today, ‘Politics is not about power. Politics is not about money. Politics is not about winning for the sake of winning. Politics is about the improvement of people’s lives.”



"I had condemned his conduct early on when the first allegation was made," she told CNN's Dana Bash on "Inside Politics." "I felt I was in a different role as his colleague, that I'm someone that has worked with him for a long time, there's a lot of trust there, and I felt it was best to handle it in that way."

In a coordinated effort, female Democratic senators called for Franken's resignation in rapid fire Wednesday. Klobuchar did not join in that effort and said in a statement at the time that she spoke with him privately. By Wednesday evening, more than two dozen senators -- including Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer -- had called for Franken's resignation.

"I talked to him about the fact that you had reached the situation with the mounting allegations and the fact that there was an ethics investigation going on," Klobuchar told CNN Friday.


When asked about the ramifications of Franken's decision to resign, which Bash said was "under duress" -- and Klobuchar agreed -- the senator said it's "not about just toppling men." "This is about guaranteeing we will have better workplaces where people treat each other fairly," she responded. "And there is a lot of good men in the workplace. You know some of them. I think the key here will be due process."




A contrast is just what Democrats likely want to focus on, according to The Washington Post. Forcing out Franken, along with Rep. John Conyers, shows the party is “willing to sacrifice their own in the interest of staking out the higher ground,” per The Post.

Minnesota Sen. Amy Klobuchar called Franken Wednesday and privately urged him to step down, the Minneapolis Star Tribune reported. While she plans to uphold Franken’s legacy and the work he’s done for the state, she thought his speech was “short.”

“I know that he didn’t really apologize to the people and that would have been nice,” Klobuchar said, per the Minneapolis Star Tribune.




As for the farewell speech itself, Klobuchar said: “I thought the speech was short. ... I know that he didn’t really apologize to the people and that would have been nice.

“I think the bigger deal for me was that he was able to talk ... with a lot of love for our state, what he liked about his job and what he wanted to be his legacy.”

That legacy, she said, would include Franken’s work on issues like health care and privacy.

But the legacy will also be shadowed by more than half a dozen sexual harassment allegations against Franken. On Wednesday, Klobuchar said, as a seventh accuser came forward and other Senate Democrats began calling for his resignation, she called Franken to privately urge him to do the “right thing” and step down.


At the end of the day, the ONLY Democratic Senator to publicly say Franken should not resign was Joe Manchin.

As I said above, every other one, except for Bob Menendez of New Jersey (at the time facing a federal corruption trial) and the 3 members of the Senate Ethics Committee (Chris Coons of Delaware, Brian Schatz of Hawaii, and Jeanne Shaheen of New Hampshire, who could not make any statements), publicly or private told him to resign. I am pretty sure those 4, if their situations were different, would have joined the calls for Franken to go.

It is patent revisionism to lay the blame almost solely on Gillibrand. Take her out of the picture and the exact same thing would have happened, as evidenced by the articles above.

She is not my first (or 2nd, 3rd, 4th, 5th, etc) choice for our nominee for POTUS 2020, but she also was the ONLY Democratic Senator to vote against EVERY single Trump nomination for high positions and she was a tireless worker for 2018 cycle to help get out the vote across the country. She is a solid as hell liberal who is on the good side of most, if not all, issues that I care about, and she backs it up with actual votes.

She has the lowest Trump score in the entire US Senate.

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Response to Celerity (Reply #32)

Tue Jul 23, 2019, 10:37 AM

37. Despite this excessively long post you're misinformed.

Again, Tweeden, Stone and Hannity started the repug hit job.

Gillibrand took the bait long before any other Dem. I heard her on SiriusXM 127 Progressive radio when it first broke and she called for Franken's head then. She also went back in history and threw Bill Clinton under the same bus in the same interview by saying he should've been booted from office for the consensual Lewinsky affair—the same Bill Clinton who along with Hillary backed and endorsed her in running for Hillary's Senate seat. Her ambition knows no bounds and has no loyalty. And that same ambition, coupled with gullibility in falling for the repug scam, has proven to be a failing.

So don't try to re-write history. Gillibrand led the charge against Franken and most actually informed people know that—including all the Dem bundlers and big donors who have turned their backs on her presidential run, which is why she's hardly cracking 1% in the polls and individual donors and won't make the third Dem debate.

Expect her to suspend her campaign soon after the second debate.

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Response to brush (Reply #37)

Tue Jul 23, 2019, 11:47 AM

38. I am not re-writing anything nt

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Response to Collimator (Original post)

Tue Jul 23, 2019, 12:17 AM

14. I'll join the embarrassment crowd.

Leeann Tweeden and Sean Hannity being big buddies just happens to be a coincidence in all of this. And that Roger Stone made his Twitter announcement regarding Al Franken's fate the night before. Yeah, just another coincidence. Notice how everything about Franken and everyone of the accusers went away after he resigned?

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Response to Mr. Evil (Reply #14)

Tue Jul 23, 2019, 10:17 AM

36. It was a hit job

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Response to Collimator (Original post)

Tue Jul 23, 2019, 12:57 AM

17. I was sickened by how easily the #MeToo movement was turned into a vigilante mob

They were led to it by a well-orchestrated rat fucking. That does not excuse them from at least confirming facts rather than denying due process to a well regarded Democrat, nor treating him with the same fury as one would expect to be applied to Epstein or Trump.

The response to Franken was far out of proportion to the actual evidence. They martyred him in reaction to far more egregious harm done by those whom they could not reach. While we cannot determine today just how much the Russians or the GOP amplified the howling on the internet it is clear that they did.

I will never trust either Schumer or Gillibrand to judge such an issue. They served their own agendas and they did so rather than bother to illuminate the truth. Al was done for by forces that wanted him gone and they succeeded. Roger Stone must have smiled when he heard the news.

I will not forget nor will I forgive. We have needed Senator Franken much since then and we still do.

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Response to Collimator (Original post)

Tue Jul 23, 2019, 01:10 AM

19. That article was a load of shit.

Franken was railroaded.

He did not get due process.

If he had gotten due process, the Dem party would NOT have been damaged.

Franken is one of our best people and he got sacrificed at the altar of Roger Stone's 'Dickey Nixon' back tattoo.

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Response to PatrickforO (Reply #19)

Tue Jul 23, 2019, 01:27 AM

23. The concept of "due process" does not only serve the accused.

Those bringing forth accusations also deserve due process. If someone has been wronged, they have a right to be heard. They have a right to justice.

Due process is a committment to truth. Truth does not exist to make us comfortable or serve our personal interests.

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Response to Collimator (Reply #23)

Tue Jul 23, 2019, 01:37 AM

26. Exactly, and it did not happen for either Franken or his accusers.

Because Franken acquiesced to pressures to resign before the ethics committee had the chance to do its job.

I'm not saying Franken was not guilty of something, but in this case the punishment certainly did NOT fit the crime, because we are all being punished by the loss of his powerful voice of reform.

This, while simultaneously we have learned the p**sy grabber in chief was probably part of a rape cult and participated in human trafficking, a known pedophile is running for office in AL, and we have people like Kavanaugh confirmed to the Supreme Court for LIFE and sex predators all over Trump's administration.

This country is on the verge of going nazi, and will if Trump cheats his way to a win in 2020. There will likely be another Holocaust if that happens.

In the meantime, wasn't it so very wise of us to fall prey to a right wing hit job, courtesy of Roger Stone, and shoot ourselves in the foot just when strong voices are needed?

If Franken had gotten due process and it came out that he had inappropriately touched women, then maybe he could have abjectly apologized and we'd still have him, or he could have resigned then - either way I'd shut up because he got due process. I'm not saying he is or isn't guilty. I'm not trying to be an apologist for sexual harassment or 'mansplain' anything. All I'm objecting to is the absence of due process in this case - for both the accused and the victims.

Due process is the cornerstone of American justice, not mobs of people screaming for blood.

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Response to Collimator (Original post)

Tue Jul 23, 2019, 01:21 AM

22. Tbey were all credible...

So credible we dont feel we need to add proof

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Response to lame54 (Reply #22)

Tue Jul 23, 2019, 02:02 AM

33. Did you forget the sarcasm thingy?

Here, fixed it for you:

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Response to Collimator (Original post)

Tue Jul 23, 2019, 10:09 AM

35. Both Mayer and Marcotte have missed the ultimate point...

And yes, Franken's resignation was his own fault and not Schumer's or Gillibrand's...

But not only was resigning a truly stupid fucking thing to do when he could have held fast and rode it out for a couple of weeks, he denied the Democratic party any chance to exploit this politically... After the noise of moral indignation dies down a little, certain political realities come to light -- In the first week of February this year literally the entire nation, presidential candidates, cable news, this message board and even yours truly were calling for the resignation of the Governor AND/OR the Lieutenant Governor of Virginia for manufactured scandals that nobody even remembers now -- Of course it was only a couple of days before people realized that the stories from Fairfax's accusers didn't stand up to 30 seconds of scrutiny, and all those blowhards in the General Assembly to realize that if Northam had to resign because of an offensive yearbook photo, their asses would be following him right out the door...

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Response to Blue_Tires (Reply #35)

Tue Jul 23, 2019, 12:25 PM

39. You're so right about the Virginia/Fairfax gin up. However with Franken the pressure applied by...

Gillibrand and the other senators jumping on her bandwagon, and Schumer, the Dem Senate leader going directly to Franken and telling him to resign or get expelled was exponentially more intense than what happened in Virginia.

When all but seemingly a few of your Dem colleagues are calling for your head, and a new anonymous accuser is being put forward everyday, it's hard to think straight and resist when no one is on your side.

Remember it all happened in just 3 short weeks. It was a total, ginned up whirlwind that sucked up 24/7, non-stop media attention with Gillibrand yelling the loudest from her soapbox.

It was over before Franken knew what hit him. And there wasn't a peep of another accuser or a peep out of any of the seven so-called accusers once he was out.

On hindsight of course he should resisted but how many could actually withstand that amount of pressure?

And btw, have you heard anything about the Virginia dust up which you point out correctly has also abruptly faded away?

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