10 votes

The Case of Al Franken

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18 comments

  1. [18]
    alyaza
    Link
    for those of you unacquainted with al franken and this whole thing, wikipedia has a nice rundown on his sexual misconduct scandal which you may want to peruse before reading this long piece. al...

    for those of you unacquainted with al franken and this whole thing, wikipedia has a nice rundown on his sexual misconduct scandal which you may want to peruse before reading this long piece.


    al franken has been out of the senate for literally a year and a half, but that's not about to stop people from digging up and reigniting the discourse surrounding his controversial resignation, which has yet to subside. this piece by--who else--jane meyer has political twitter aflame yet again because people still aren't really over the franken sexual misconduct allegations and the democratic party appears to be absolutely incapable of keeping its members in line on the whole thing. needless to say, the franken defender camp is now outraged because of this story, while people who don't care or think franken was a dipshit who got what was coming to him are calling this piece a garbage, partisan defense of someone who needs to just take the hint and stop lingering in the past.

    among the disputes that i've seen with the piece, ranging from liberals to moderates to conservatives: the due process defense of franken, word choices by jane meyer, kirsten gillibrand getting shit for how this story was reported yet again, the fact that the first accusation was not what killed franken even though that's the crux of the story here, jane meyer's credentials given her previous reporting, even more just... why writing, and probably many others that i just can't be bothered to trawl through this fucking awful discourse for. this piece basically takes the worst of political twitter and the worst of the metoo movement and smashed it together in one painful, truly awful chemical reaction.

    7 votes
    1. [17]
      jwr
      Link Parent
      So why post it? Just to look at the garbage fire?

      this piece basically takes the worst of political twitter and the worst of the metoo movement and smashed it together in one painful, truly awful chemical reaction.

      So why post it? Just to look at the garbage fire?

      7 votes
      1. [15]
        alyaza
        Link Parent
        i mean, it's a meticulously reported piece which has a lot of details that people previously weren't privy to with this whole controversy--it's just also heavily disputed and also a garbage fire...

        i mean, it's a meticulously reported piece which has a lot of details that people previously weren't privy to with this whole controversy--it's just also heavily disputed and also a garbage fire because people haven't gotten over franken and so there are a lot of people who think he was genuinely railroaded out of office (even though that no longer matters) and conversely a lot of people who want the franken defenders to shut up because he was pretty credibly accused by more than one person and would have probably been forced out of office regardless of whether or not he was given a hearing on it in congress or not.

        9 votes
        1. [14]
          Loire
          Link Parent
          Was he? What constitutes a credible accusation? I seem to remember there was the the Tweeden photo, in which Franken was not actually touching her, and then everything else were simply...

          because he was pretty credibly accused

          Was he? What constitutes a credible accusation?

          I seem to remember there was the the Tweeden photo, in which Franken was not actually touching her, and then everything else were simply allegations.

          Menz acussed Franken of "touching" her butt during a photo and then three anonymous and unverified accusations of the same thing followed. Finally Kemplin accused Frankin of holding her breast while he had his arm around her for a photo.

          So we have three accusations from women willing to put themselves out there, two without proof, and three anonymous accusations, all three without proof. All of which which ranging from 15 to 9 years prior to the accusations.

          Or for the fact that Tweeden's accusations were found, long after Franken had already retired, to have numerous provable lies, and that she had also performed actions on the USO tour that would consitute sexual harrassment/misconduct. Which then brings into question the other accusers since we know from the Moore case, as well as Jacob Wohl and Burkman attempting to create a Robert Mueller sexual harrassment hoax that Republican operatives seek out women to make unprovable allegations against opponents.

          It's not nearly as clear cut as you would like to make it and that's why people are going to debate the Franken case for years to come. This is why we have due process, so that the truth can come out. The court od public opinion is too easily swayed if they believe anonymous allegations with no evidence attached have credibility.

          14 votes
          1. [13]
            alyaza
            Link Parent
            tweeden's accusation and her credibility has basically nothing to do with why franken resigned and is frankly irrelevant to this conversation outside of being what happened to start this whole...

            Or for the fact that Tweeden's accusations were found, long after Franken had already retired, to have numerous provable lies, and that she had also performed actions on the USO tour that would consitute sexual harrassment/misconduct.

            tweeden's accusation and her credibility has basically nothing to do with why franken resigned and is frankly irrelevant to this conversation outside of being what happened to start this whole controversy, which is part of why meyer's story is kinda useless: the two literally made up within hours of franken making a formal apology to her. it was more people coming forward about him being creepy and committing sexual misconduct that demonstrated what he did with tweeden wasn't exactly a one-off incident which might have otherwise been excusable, and ultimately tanked him and forced him to resign.

            It's not nearly as clear cut as you would like to make it and that's why people are going to debate the Franken case for years to come. This is why we have due process, so that the truth can come out. The court od public opinion is too easily swayed if they believe "anonymous allegations" have credibility.

            it's pretty clear cut, and even people who like franken and attest to his character admit as much and are pretty comfortable standing by the notion that he would have been forced out by his other accusations or (like angus king) just outright say he was almost certainly still guilty but that he only should have been given more of a chance, which a year and a half in the rear-view mirror with democratic senator tina smith occupying the same niches as franken is a pretty pointless statement to hash out in a public article. people who like franken are mostly upset because he was /theirguy/ and the democratic party wasn't willing to try and stand by a pretty clearly sinking ship like republicans were in a time when republicans were under fire for a dude who was credibly accused of very similar actions in a tightly contested senate race, not because he was actually in any way railroaded.

            there's also the fact that if he was really totally innocent, he could have also stayed on if he wanted to--there was nothing compelling him to resign other than democratic pressure, and if he was genuinely 100% innocent he'd presumably have a case to actually back that up with. and yet even this piece, which is nearly 13,000 words, basically does not meaningfully exonerate him or the things he's accused of in any way. nor has he really, seriously made a case for his innocence against the other seven accusations at any point in the past year and a half since those accusations were levied.

            also, we get back to the points of dispute that i mentioned about the story (of which there are many), namely that: meyer glosses over or fucks up a bunch of details that are kinda important, that franken was again not tanked by the first accusation but the seven after it, and that the people pushing for his resignation were not just women but democratic establishment leaders.

            4 votes
            1. [12]
              Loire
              Link Parent
              You make a lot of assumptions about why things that happened happened, which I again point to the importance of an actual investigation (at the time the allegations had come out) because we don't...

              You make a lot of assumptions about why things that happened happened, which I again point to the importance of an actual investigation (at the time the allegations had come out) because we don't know almost any of the things you are saying, in full. You are making assumptions, Franken defenders are doing the same, everyone is grasping at wind to support their side, because there is absolutely nothing here that can be called a fact.

              With that said it's absolutely comical to act like the Tweeden allegations didn't sink Franken when none of the other allegations would have occurred had she not come forward. None of the further allegations had any evidence whatsoever. The photo of Franken's hands over Tweeden's chest was the only bit of evidence that existed and provided a framework for the entire process.

              when republicans were under fire for a dude who was credibly accused of very similar actions

              Are you kidding me right now?

              The Republican was accused of pedophilia.

              12 votes
              1. [11]
                alyaza
                Link Parent
                in general, if you get accused of sexual misconduct by no less than eight women, you're probably not going to survive an investigation into that. it might be an "assumption", but it's not exactly...

                You make a lot of assumptions about why things that happened happened, which I again point to the importance of an actual investigation because we don't know almost any of the things you are saying, in full.

                in general, if you get accused of sexual misconduct by no less than eight women, you're probably not going to survive an investigation into that. it might be an "assumption", but it's not exactly a logical leap of any kind, especially given that franken literally admitted to sexual misconduct with tweeden and apologized for it. also, i reiterate that franken could have chosen to go through the motions of an ethics committee investigation, since he was under no obligation to resign--he did not pursue that option. interestingly, in his parting message he actually said some of the accusations were false ("simply not true"), and then never followed up on that or in any way tried to prove that despite the fact that if his characterization of some of the stories in his resignation message was accurate, he would have most likely been able to sue for defamation of character or something similar. not exactly a ringing endorsement of his claim, to say the least.

                With that said it's absolutely comical to act like the Tweeden allegations didn't sink Franken when none of the other allegations would have occurred had she not come forward.

                ironically in your post about making assumptions, this is an assumption. there's not exactly any basis by which to claim that the other accusations wouldn't have happened had tweeden not come forward for fairly obvious reasons--nobody is clairvoyant. moreover, though, his ouster was more or less explicitly because of the seven other allegations he had to answer to and not tweeden's, which was defused pretty quickly--he actually wasn't explicitly pushed to resign by most democrats until the fifth or so allegation dropped!

                Are you kidding me right now?

                nope! actually, roy moore's case was extremely similar number wise and with respect to how it played out--he was accused of 3 instances of improper sexual interactions (at least one of which rose to the level of sexual assault) and 6 cases of being a gigantic creeper. the main difference is most of the women involved weren't anonymous. but, to be frank with you, the backlash and vitriol against kirsten gillibrand for even happening to be a major figure in calling for franken's resignation is probably part of why some of franken's accusers are anonymous--i sure as fuck wouldn't want to deal with some of the people rabidly defending him even though he literally admitted to at least one instance of being improper and left the door open to other such cases in his past, personally.

                3 votes
                1. [4]
                  Loire
                  Link Parent
                  .... The main difference is that most of the accusers were underaged and Moore was in his mid 30's. The main accuser was 14 at the time. Gibson was 17. Nelson was 15. That's a wierd fact for you...

                  the main difference is most of the women involved weren't anonymous

                  ....

                  The main difference is that most of the accusers were underaged and Moore was in his mid 30's. The main accuser was 14 at the time. Gibson was 17. Nelson was 15.

                  That's a wierd fact for you to try and twist in order to equate Moore with Frankin. But sure the, number of accusers were the same so it was the same

                  8 votes
                  1. [3]
                    alyaza
                    Link Parent
                    this is a weird thing to take gripe with when my comparison was specifically based purely on the number of accusations and how the two played out, and i stated that up front. might i also point...

                    That's a wierd fact for you to try and twist in order to equate Moore with Frankin. But sure the, number of accusers were the same so it was the same

                    this is a weird thing to take gripe with when my comparison was specifically based purely on the number of accusations and how the two played out, and i stated that up front. might i also point out while we're on this subject that, strictly speaking, the majority of roy moore's accusers had almost no tangible evidence to back up their accusations either as individuals and the key strength of their accusations was that their numbers suggested that they weren't enacting a political hit job and that moore had a repeated pattern of creepy and sexual or sexually-charged behavior, as is true of the accusations against franken?

                    1. [2]
                      Loire
                      Link Parent
                      Is it? Is it a wierd thing to see the difference between "He grabbed my buttocks during a photo op" and having sexual relations with underaged children when you are 35? I didn't realize pedophilia...

                      this is a weird thing to take gripe with

                      Is it? Is it a wierd thing to see the difference between "He grabbed my buttocks during a photo op" and having sexual relations with underaged children when you are 35? I didn't realize pedophilia could be so easily disregarded. The cases were not the same despite your, obviously biased, attempts to equate them.

                      no tangible evidence

                      Other than the corroborating witnesses of meetings, and friends confirming they were told about sexual encounters after they had happened, years before this blew up. The scrapbook putting 35 year old Moore in contact with the highschool aged girl. And, as you pointed out, the fact that the majority of the accusers were not anonymous and thus willing to risk exposure to make their allegations which is a huge difference. An anonymous accusation is not evidence.

                      5 votes
                      1. alyaza
                        Link Parent
                        alleged. there's nothing which proves moore actually did anything, which is literally my point. the former is also still sexual assault! also, at this point i can tell you're not reading my...

                        s it a wierd thing to see the difference between "He grabbed my buttocks during a photo op" and having sexual relations with underaged children when you are 35?

                        alleged. there's nothing which proves moore actually did anything, which is literally my point. the former is also still sexual assault!

                        Other than the corroborating witnesses of meetings, and friends confirming they were told about sexual encounters after they had happened,

                        also, at this point i can tell you're not reading my comments specifically because i said the majority of roy moore's accusers had almost no tangible evidence to back up their accusations either as individuals and you're on a tangent about the evidence that exists, which literally proves that point. there is again nothing which in any way decisively indicts moore on the charges he was accused of, but we still take them seriously--it makes absolutely no sense then, unless you are applying a double standard, to suddenly act like franken is in the clear when the evidence against him is on basically the same level, arguably moreso since we have more tangible proof like photographs and his actual admission of wrongdoing in at least one instance.

                        An anonymous accusation is not evidence.

                        err... good thing franken has non-anonymous accusations, then? and those ones meet the criteria for sexual misconduct and, most likely, sexual assault?

                        3 votes
                2. [6]
                  tea_and_cats_please
                  Link Parent
                  The accusations against Moore are a hell of a lot worse than those against Franken, you're painting with a ridiculously wide brush. Child molestation vs. an unwanted kiss (in a skit). You've got...

                  The accusations against Moore are a hell of a lot worse than those against Franken, you're painting with a ridiculously wide brush. Child molestation vs. an unwanted kiss (in a skit). You've got to be shitting me.

                  You can't have "improper sexual interactions" with a 14 year old. There's no such thing as proper sexual interactions between a 30 year old and a 14 year old, therefore there's no such thing as improper ones. There's just molestation.

                  8 votes
                  1. [5]
                    alyaza
                    Link Parent
                    who said they weren't? what's being contested has literally nothing to do with the severity of the offenses; it only has to do with whether something is sexually improper or not in the first...

                    The accusations against Moore are a hell of a lot worse than those against Franken, you're painting with a ridiculously wide brush. Child molestation vs. an unwanted kiss (in a skit). You've got to be shitting me.

                    who said they weren't? what's being contested has literally nothing to do with the severity of the offenses; it only has to do with whether something is sexually improper or not in the first place. moore was sexually improper, so was franken, and both did not deserve to serve in a position of power and trust given those sexually improper actions. there's actually probably a better case, as i stated below, for moore being in a position to reject the accusations levied against him since there's no actual, physical evidence of him engaging in acts whereas there is physical evidence for franken!

                    3 votes
                    1. [4]
                      tea_and_cats_please
                      Link Parent
                      Franken was arguably sexually improper. Moore molested children. Not the same ballpark, not even the same game. That's why one's a felony and the other's not even illegal. Severity might not...

                      Franken was arguably sexually improper. Moore molested children. Not the same ballpark, not even the same game. That's why one's a felony and the other's not even illegal. Severity might not matter to you, but it does to most of the rest of us.

                      You can have some weird zero tolerance, "sexless elected officials only" campaign if you like. But please stop equivocating child molestation with he kissed a girl and she didn't like it, it's offensive.

                      4 votes
                      1. Whom
                        (edited )
                        Link Parent
                        It's pretty troubling that zero tolerance for sexual harassment / assault is "sexless" to you. Severity shouldn't matter in the specific way the comparison was made here, since they should both be...

                        It's pretty troubling that zero tolerance for sexual harassment / assault is "sexless" to you.

                        Severity shouldn't matter in the specific way the comparison was made here, since they should both be bad enough that if true, neither should be supported. So then, if we're able to get past the (apparently difficult??) question of "is sexual harassment something we want elected officials doing?", the question becomes about if they did what they were accused of. The if has nothing at all to do with the severity of the actions, so comparing the evidence and accusations without taking that into account makes plenty of sense.

                        3 votes
                      2. [2]
                        alyaza
                        Link Parent
                        there's really nothing "arguable" about the sexually improper nature of grabbing someone's ass without their consent or kissing people against their will, and the fact that people are seriously...

                        Franken was arguably sexually improper.

                        there's really nothing "arguable" about the sexually improper nature of grabbing someone's ass without their consent or kissing people against their will, and the fact that people are seriously arguing that somehow that's acceptable or "arguably" improper just because it's "not illegal" (what is sexual harassment?) is pretty weird to me and reeks to me of people who are mildly afraid of being accountable for improper contact with people who don't want it.

                        2 votes
                        1. [2]
                          Comment removed by site admin
                          Link Parent
                          1. [2]
                            Comment removed by site admin
                            Link Parent
                            1. Deimos
                              (edited )
                              Link Parent
                              Alright, enough of trying to see who can win this round of the "gotcha" game while taking backhanded shots at each other. Another thread locked, since none of you will ever give up on trying to...

                              Alright, enough of trying to see who can win this round of the "gotcha" game while taking backhanded shots at each other. Another thread locked, since none of you will ever give up on trying to get the last word otherwise.

                              (Mostly addressed to you and @Loire, but I'll mention @tea_and_cats_please too since they were involved, so they know why it's locked)

                              1 vote
      2. NaraVara
        Link Parent
        It's going to be a significant part of "the discourse (tm)" for a while. Like it or not, it's gonna be something we'll need to be aware about if we want to understand what's being discussed in the...

        It's going to be a significant part of "the discourse (tm)" for a while. Like it or not, it's gonna be something we'll need to be aware about if we want to understand what's being discussed in the media.

        2 votes