The torrent of sexual harassment claims continues … as Republicans loot working families. (More)

“The notion that there was anything inappropriate in this photo shoot is truly absurd”

First, let’s dispense with the New York Post’s breathless claim that Franken fondled Arianna Huffington during a photo shoot. You have to get way down into the story to find this:

Huffington, however, denies anything was amiss – saying the touchy-feely photos were a nod to a TV sketch they did together in 1996.

“The notion that there was anything inappropriate in this photo shoot is truly absurd,” she said in a statement to the Post.

“Al and I did a comedic sketch for Bill Maher’s Politically Incorrect called Strange Bedfellows, in which the whole point, as the name makes clear, was that we were doing political commentary from bed. This shoot was looking back at the sketch, and we were obviously hamming it up for comedic effect.

“I’ve been great friends with Al and his wife Franni for over 20 years and there has never been anything remotely inappropriate in our interactions.”

So it doesn’t matter whether “a source from the shoot” thinks Franken stepped over a line. Sexual harassment is about the participants – those touching and being touched – and Huffington says they were goofing around. If their mutual playfulness offended someone else on the set … frankly, the precious offended observers should close their damn eyes.

That said …

“Embedding the now-prevailing narrative of third-wave feminism”

… I have zero patience for crap like this from the National Review’s Douglas Murray:

Because Franken is a high-handed moralizer of the Left, some Republicans and conservatives are happy to run with this, condemning Franken for it and another incident in which he attempted to kiss his co-star. There are even calls for an Ethics Committee investigation into the Minnesota senator.
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But conservatives should be careful about joining this. Every time the definition of rape, abuse, or molestation is brought down another notch and this new low-water mark is agreed on across the political spectrum, the prospect for a different type of harm increases. If we agree for short-term political pleasure that Franken is guilty of serious sexual molestation for an unfunny photograph taken years ago and for a sloppy and unwanted pass at a woman, then two things are certain to happen.

The first is that the difference between bad manners and rape will become blurred yet further.[…]

Second, this opportunistic process risks embedding the now-prevailing narrative of third-wave feminism, which is that men are all rapists or proto-rapists and that women in our society tread a constant and violent minefield their entire lives when dealing with the male sex. This narrative – which for many young men and women is making relationships too complex to be worth having – needs to be pushed back against, not enforced.

Laws that prohibit touching without a person’s consent have been in place for decades. There is zero evidence that such laws interfere with forming relationships. Except for men who don’t think they should have to bother with consent — or who believe women consent to being touched when they go to a bar or a party, or get on a subway or bus, or go to work, or basically anytime they leave the house. And such men are exactly who Murray seems determined to protect.

Men like this….

“I always felt that I was pursuing shared feelings”

CBS and PBS have suspended Charlie Rose:

Charlie Rose is the latest public figure to be felled by sexual misconduct allegations, with PBS halting distribution of his nightly interview show and CBS News suspending him Monday following a Washington Post report with the accusations of eight women.

The women, who all worked for Rose or tried to work for him, accused the veteran newsman of groping them, walking naked in front of them and telling one that he dreamed about her swimming nude.

“PBS was shocked to learn today of these deeply disturbing allegations,” the public broadcasting service said in a statement. “We are immediately suspending distribution of ‘Charlie Rose.'”

The women, who all worked for Rose or tried to work for him, accused the veteran newsman of groping them, walking naked in front of them and telling one that he dreamed about her swimming nude.

Rose said that he has behaved insensitively at times “and I accept responsibility for that, though I do not believe that all of these allegations are accurate. I always felt that I was pursuing shared feelings, even though I now realize I was mistaken. I have learned a great deal as a result of these events, and I hope others will, too.”

Oh bullshit. The Post story described a consistent pattern:

Five described Rose putting his hand on their legs, sometimes their upper thigh, in what they perceived as a test to gauge their reactions. Two said that while they were working for Rose at his residences or were traveling with him on business, he emerged from the shower and walked naked in front of them. One said he groped her buttocks at a staff party.

Ahh … the I’ll Grope My Way Up Her Thigh And See If She Says NO! approach to ‘shared feelings.’

“He got me back and it hurt”

Also, actress Melissa Gilbert said director Oliver Stone harassed her during an audition:

During an interview on Andy Cohen’s satellite radio show Radio Andy, actress Melissa Gilbert claimed that director Oliver Stone sexually harassed her during an audition for his 1991 film The Doors.
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Gilbert says the role she was auditioning for was the Meg Ryan’s character. She goes into detail about the scene she had him read – a scene he said he wrote especially for her. The scene had her on her hands and knees saying, “Do me, baby.” Gilbert said that Stone asked her to stage it and she refused and left the audition crying.

“I never really talked about it – and it was all because I had said something and embarrassed him publicly,” she said. “He wrote this special scene that he wanted me to do for him physically in the casting room, and it was humiliating and horrid.” She adds, “He got me back and it hurt.”

Gilbert’s accusation against Stone is not the first. Former Playboy model Carrie Stevens claimed that the director groped her during a party. Stone has yet to respond these allegations.

Because who’s never tried the I Wrote A Special Scene For You approach to ‘shared feelings?’

“Many years before, I had attended a dance recital”

And then there’s Alabama senate candidate Roy Moore admitting that he ogled his now-wife when she was a young teen:

[In his book] Moore describes how he met his wife at a Christmas party hosted by friends. He would have been 37. She was 23.

“Many years before, I had attended a dance recital at Gadsden State Junior College,” Moore wrote. “I remembered one of the special dances performed by a young woman whose first and last names began with the letter ‘K.’ It was something I had never forgotten. Could that young woman have been Kayla Kisor?”

Moore later determined that it was.

“Long afterward, I would learn that Kayla had, in fact, performed a special dance routine at Gadsden State years before,” he wrote.

Take a second to think about what’s being said here. Moore first took notice of Kayla at a dance recital?

Perhaps you’re wondering what “many years” means, and I wondered that too. Luckily, Moore again has cleared that up for us.
In an interview Moore gave earlier this year, he gave a similar account, but for one detail.

“It was, oh gosh, eight years later, or something, I met her,” Moore said. “And when she told me her name, I remembered ‘K. K.,’ and I said, ‘Haven’t I met you before?'”

It’s a simple matter of subtraction. When Roy Moore first took notice of Kayla she would have been as young as 15.

There’s a little fuzziness, to be sure, in the timeline. There’s the “or something” Moore fudges with in the interview. Eight years before could have been slightly too early to put Moore in Gadsden, he started work as an deputy district attorney there in 1977.

So maybe she was 15, or maybe she was 16. But still, here is a grown man at about 30 years old attending a girls’ dance recital, and doing what exactly?

AL.com’s Kyle Whitmore concludes:

It was in 1977, Wendy Miller says, when Moore first approached her at the Gadsden Mall, where she was working as a Santa’s helper. She was 14 at the time.

It was in 1977, Beverly Young Nelson says, when Moore assaulted her behind the Old Hickory House restaurant, where she worked as a waitress. She was 16 at the time.

It was in 1977, Gina Richardson says, when Moore called her at her high school to ask her on a date, a date in which she says he forcefully kissed and left her scared of him. She was 18 at the time.

Is it too much to believe that Roy Moore wasn’t praying for women then but preying on women?

Is it too much to believe these women?

If so, then you don’t have to. You just have to believe Roy Moore.

But that would mess up the So What If I’m 30-Something And They’re Teenage Girls? approach to ‘shared feelings.’

Meanwhile….

“These economic benefits would be modest because most tax reductions would accrue to high-income households”

The Tax Policy Center put out their analysis of the GOP tax scam and it’s ugly for working families:

Among middle-class families, 50-70 percent will see a tax increase by 2027. Among the rich, that number is only 15-30 percent. And among the super-duper rich, almost no one sees a tax increase.

That doesn’t include the effects of increased health insurance premiums from repealing Obamacare’s individual mandate, because Republicans don’t want analysts to look at the entire bill. Just the bits they like. But even those bits are a massive ripoff of working families:

The House Republican tax plan would add $1.3 trillion to the national debt over a decade, even after accounting for new economic growth from the bill, according to a nonpartisan study released Monday.

The nonpartisan Tax Policy Center is the third outside group to conclude that the bill would add to the deficit, contradicting Republicans’ claim that the bill would effectively pay for itself via a surge in economic growth.

The Tax Policy Center found that the economic growth the bill would create would add $169 billion in additional tax revenue over the next decade. But that would be far outweighed by $1.436 trillion in revenue losses over the decade due to the bill’s tax cuts, leaving the bill with a net addition to the deficit of $1.266 trillion.
[…]
The Tax Policy Center concluded that the bill would reduce average tax rates for many households in the first few years, boosting their income and leading to more spending.

“These economic benefits would be modest because most tax reductions would accrue to high-income households, who spend a smaller share of any increases in after-tax income than lower-income households,” the Tax Policy Center said.

The basic problem, as Vox’s Matthew Yglesias explains, is that Republicans are stuck in the 1970s:

Tax reform is lining up like this: Republicans want big, business-friendly tax cuts to spur savings and investments while Democrats complain it’ll blow a hole in the deficit. These terms of debate made sense 30 to 40 years ago. Back then, the economy was stuck in a particular kind of rut. With inflation high and profits low, companies weren’t investing and creating new jobs even as a torrent of new workers was flooding the labor force. Very high interest rates lurked in the background.

Both Republicans and Democrats agreed this nexus of issues was a problem, so they had a debate over what to do. There were ideological disagreements about the prescription but consensus on the diagnosis. In his first term, Ronald Reagan implemented the conservative prescription. In his second term, the much-lauded bipartisan 1986 tax reform bill represented a reasonable high-minded compromise of the two poles of the debate.

But today is different. Corporate profits are high, not low. Inflation is low, not high. The workforce is growing slowly, not quickly. Borrowing is cheap, not expensive.

Everything about the situation has changed — except the tax policy debate. And the result is that Congress’ No. 1 priority has almost nothing to do with the biggest problems facing the country.

I think Yglesias is giving Republicans too much credit. They know – or should know – that the economic situation has changed since the 1970s. But that particular historical circumstance justified tax cuts for very rich people and very big businesses … and those tax cuts were good for Republican donors. And it’s still all about paying back those wealthy donors:

Other Senate and House Republicans have admitted as much … so maybe we should take their word for it?

But that would mess up the I’ll Take Your Money And Give It To Rich People approach to ‘shared feelings.’

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Image Credit: Haaretz

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Good day and good nuts