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ProfessorPlum's Journal
ProfessorPlum's Journal
December 11, 2017

the only way this Franken thing makes sense

Is if he knows he is guilty, and knows of more serious things he is guilty of.

Either Roger Stone already has that information and is blackmailing Franken (and all of the Dems) with it, or Franken knows something that Stone doesn't that would come out under investigation.

The possibility that Stone knows something bad about Franken and hasn't blasted it far and wide yet defies our experience with Stone.

So let's assume the second thing is true - that Franken has some thing in the past that Stone doesn't know about but which Franken assumes would come out- he did something during SNL days or something, and had to pay a woman some money to settle a suit. Whatever he did would have to be worth losing his job for.

So, Franken goes to the Democrats in the Senate and says, "look, this is going to look bad. To make it seem like Democrats give two shits about women and sexual harassment, why don't the rest of you kick me out? It will make you seem righteous on this issue, and it will spare me having this bad thing come out in the open, and also make me a bit of a martyr because it will seem like I lost my job (and disenfranchised millions of Minnesotans) over a couple of anonymous accusations and some GOP lies."

That's the only scenario which even starts to make sense, and even that doesn't make sense. Unless it is really a horrible thing that is being covered up. And even then, Franken should have due process and see where it all leads.

Just does not compute. Don't go, Al.

December 8, 2017

Here's another thing that bothers me about Franken's assassination: the pattern

it's important to be careful with allegations of sexual assault and impropriety - people's lives and reputations can be ruined by them. Both accused and accusers.

When faced with an accusation against a public figure, we have to weigh it against what we consider their character, and what we might expect them to do based on what we know of them. Each additional accusation weighs towards someone's character, that they could behave this way, that there is a pattern here, that the stories are credible, similar, backed up by the evidence of past conversations or written matter. Often the other women in a serial offender's life will confirm that things get creepy with them.

We see this happen with people like Bill Cosby. the accusations are credible, numerous, similar, and involve two people alone, with one of them using his privileged status to prey on the other.

And this is where the "pattern" that Franken's accusers describe run against the rocks of the obvious bullshit they are pedaling. Nearly every accusation is about something that happened in broad daylight, in front of multiple witnesses, and often while being photographed. The one that wasn't was someone thought Al was going to kiss her, but then he didn't.

Are there people who can claim that Franken cornered them somewhere alone and threatened their careers or offered them rewards for sexual favors? Did he flash them? And what do his colleagues say? Instead of stories coming out about how creepy Franken is, we get letters from hundreds of his associates vouching for him.

It just doesn't add up. The pattern is all wrong. There may not even be a pattern there, if most of the accusers are KGB agents or whatever (which hasn't been ruled out).

December 8, 2017

Here's another thing that bothers me about Franken's assassination: his apology

when Tweeden came forward with her accusation, Franken did what everyone who is serious about living with their fellow humans should do: he took her account at face value, assumed it was true from her perspective, and treated her emotions and claim of being hurt as legitimate. He validated her feelings, let her know that he heard what she was saying, and legitimized her as a person by explaining why someone might feel violated or hurt in the circumstances she described.

“What my intention was doesn’t matter. What matters is that I am chained to that photo. She didn’t have any ability to consent. She had every right to feel violated by that photo. I have apologized to her, and I was very grateful that she accepted my apology.”

See that? He didn't try to claim she wasn't hurt because he didn't intend to hurt her. He didn't try to say her feelings weren't valid because she didn't express hurt at the time. He didn't say she was full of shit or just as bad as him or anything else.

He treated her expression of being hurt as legitimate, from a person whose opinion of him mattered, and gave a text book excellent apology.

Now, if Tweeden weren't such an obvious GOP ratfucker, this would be exactly how any person should deal with accusations and harms like this. Don't deny it, argue, or de-legitimize the other person. Take them at their word, see things from their perspective, and realize that your perspective might be different from theirs.

His apology was a beautiful example of how to apologize and treat someone you've hurt with respect for their perspective and feelings.

And everyone (even people here) read it as if it was an admission of guilt on his part. What he was doing was setting an example for everyone to follow, in how to treat accusations like these with respect, kindness, and legitimacy. Especially if they are surprising to you.

Anybody who has been in marriage counseling will recognize exactly what he was doing, and what he was demonstrating. A class act.

December 8, 2017

Here's another thing that bothers me about Franken's assassination: the photo

Everyone (especially the right wing) pretends it is evidence of him groping Tweeden. Even though it clearly doesn't show that.

Ok, people say. Well, Al posed for the photograph and was acting like a jerk and it wasn't funny.

Here's the thing - Al wasn't being a jerk in the photograph. He was pretending to act like an asshole to get laughs. Like "aren't people who would be creepy like this ridiculous"?

I know this is too many layers deep for people in the MSM.

It's not a picture of him groping someone

It's not even a picture of him sincerely pretending to grope someone

It is him pretending to be an asshole who would grope someone ... for a laugh.

Kind of like Stephen Colbert pretending to be a right wing asshole. For laughs.

Kind of like Kelsey Grammar pretending to be a pretentious asshole. For laughs.

Whatever. The guy's being crucified on the altar of GOP hypocrisy.

December 7, 2017

Max Cleland was unpatriotic. John Kerry was a coward. Al Franken, a champion for women's rights,

is a heel. Al Gore, who helped to create the internet, claimed he invented the internet. Hillary Clinton, an excellent sec of state, conspired to kill Americans overseas while sec of state.

This is GOP ratfucking 101. You go right at your opponents strengths, with attacks so over the top and preposterous, that people are at first stunned by your audacity and then conned by the (inevitably weak) response of the Democrats.

(hint: it almost always works)

December 7, 2017

You maniacs! You blew it up! Ah, damn you! God damn you all to hell

Putin, Russia, the KGB, Trump, Stone, Bannon, Kushner, etc. are laughing themselves silly at how stupid this move was on the part of Franken and all of the Democrats.

One is reminded of this scene

December 7, 2017

How far we have come in our executions of progressive MN senators

Wellstone was taken down by a small plane, but now we can just have anonymous people tell unsubstantiated stories and the Democratic caucus does them in.

that's real progress, that is.

December 7, 2017

before Franken resigns (fucking madness by the way)

all the other representatives and senators for whom we the taxpayers are already footing the bill to pay off their sexual harassment accusers will also step down. right?

Right, Blake Farenthold? and there are $17 million paid out of that fund over the last 10 years for all kinds of discrimination - all people benefiting from all of that hush money are now going out the door, before Franken, right?


November 10, 2017

Say what you will about this bizarre, frightening period of American history,

but the schadenfreude has been top rate.

November 6, 2017

Intensity. A Post by Atrios

What issues could/should we get more intense about?


People talk about the NRA money but the issue is more that gun nuts are single issue voters who will storm the ballot boxes if they think you're going to take away their binkies. So the question is, why don't pro-gun control people have the same kind of intensity?

I do think Democrats underestimate the intensity of their voters on certain issues and rarely exploit it. But you can't exploit it by being half-assed. "Safe, legal, and rare" does not bring out intense pro-choice/pro-reproductive health/pro-planned parenthood voters. "Maybe, kinda, sorta, maybe, having some common sense solutions like requiring additional background checks..." doesn't inspire anti-gun nuts like me who would, if your benevolent dictator, take away all the guns. Let's increase the minimum wage by ONE DOLLAR PER HOUR does not inspire voters concerned with poverty (or those who live with it). I'm exaggerating a bit here, but you get the point.

To inspire hardcore single issue voters you have to take an absolutist stance on things. I'm not saying this is good politics. My plan to legalize abortion until age 4 probably wouldn't be (this is a joke, conservatives). Still, there is literally no politician who goes on teevee and says, "the courts won't allow it right now, but if it were up to me I'd put the well-regulated back in the 2nd amendment and make it extremely difficult for people to own most kinds of guns, and we should work long term to appoint judges who have a more reasonable view of what our constitution plainly says." Is this good politics? Probably some places it is. Many places not. But lack of voter intensity on issues can be explained by lack of intensity on issues from politicians.

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