Minnesota Senator Al Franken’s resignation announcement is just the latest fallout from the multitude of sexual misconduct allegations leveled against powerful men in recent months. Forum talks with a panel of feminists about what this moment means for women. Does the increasing recognition of widespread harassment signal a more enlightened age, or are we veering toward a destructive backlash?

Al Franken and the #MeToo Revolution  8 December,2017Mina Kim

Guests:
Lauren Duca, columnist, Teen Vogue
Karen Attiah, global opinions editor, Washington Post
Kate Harding, author and editor, 'Nasty Women: Feminism, Resistance, and Revolution in Trump's America'

  • Curious

    Franken is and always was a pig and an ignorant one.

    • William – SF

      How do you feel about DJT and Roy Moore?

      • Curious

        I believe they both have denied the allegations.

        • William – SF

          How do you feel about their accusers? Do you believe the women?

          • Curious

            Well, Moore’s accusers are now being shown to be liars and fraudsters.

          • William – SF

            And DJT’s?

          • Curious

            No idea.

    • Brux

      You don’t sound even that good yourself.

  • jakeleone

    Please also discuss the fact that Bill Clinton threatened Monica Lewinsky with a defamation lawsuit. After Monica gave truthful testimony, under oath, that she had an affair will Bill Clinton. Bill Clinton lied under oath about the affair. Please address this, please help us understand why some people get a free pass and others do not?

    Also, Franken did these things while being a comedian. The Comedians today (even female comedians) are potty-mouthed and bigoted on stage, please explain why Al Franken must resign for things he did when he was a comedian (for example that picture). When the public knew full well he was one of those modern potty-mouth funny people that we all laugh so heartily at when on the road or on stage.

    It can’t just be a case (pardon the comedic pun) of “timing is everything”.

    • Brux

      Lewinsky was not underage, or raped for one thing.
      The other thing was that this was engineered by Republican operatives to get Clinton.
      I never liked Clinton but at the time I remember thinking it was better to support him because
      the real context was Republican dirty tricks. If it had been something more serious, and no I
      don’t really take the Lewinsky thing as that serious. Clinton lied about something not even
      germane to he case he was called on … it was a political setup, and things are subsumed
      by political consideration.

      If you are a Republican you know everything they do is less important than political victory,
      and Democrats will never overcome that if they are going to hold themselves to superhuman
      standards they cannot meet.

  • Noelle

    There has to be A BETTER WAY to deal with this. Do your guests agree that Restorative Justice is a better model?

  • William – SF

    It’s telling that only when those who were sexually assaulted or had to endure repeated unwanted advances combined in numbers large enough did anything meaningful happen. In matters such as this a sexually assaulted victim is functionally powerless in our society. That’s not an editorial, that’s an observable truth.

    • Noelle

      This has been going on for millennia. I remember when rape was considered OK in marriage, then there was a movement against that. Then there was Anita Hill testimony and everyone thought yay we are dealing with this now. It’s about the dominance of men in the power hierarchy, and how men are often oblivious to this. Hoping more men are becoming aware of the psychological and career affecting results of this.

      • Livegreen

        I agree that the men of power falling is often about power. However the strong sex drive in men, and how much more often men think about sex than women, is real. The difference is being empathetic to women & checking physical urges.

        Men in power have a harder time doing that b/c they’re often (certainly not always) thinking about how to exploit that power to fulfill their sexual urges.

        The basic challenge men have is still their physical urges (which comes b/f the power), how to check them, & how to be empathetic.

        • Noelle

          I agree with your last sentence and men need to be more aware.

          • Livegreen

            Yes, men need to be aware. Women need to be aware of how strong men’s physical urges are. It’s biological, it’s a constant, and has always been present. Of course men are still responsible for their actions…

          • Noelle

            Acting on these urges without thinking through the consequences has been a huge problem for both sexes.

          • Brux

            and smacking down al franken is really going to get that done?

          • Noelle

            No, of course not. I am against the Franken resignation.

      • Brux

        > It’s about the dominance of men in the power hierarchy

        so, running Al Franken out of the Senate, one of the few Senators that has actually done something to change that, it going to make the Democrats “clean” again … even Newt Gingrich was laughing at that yesterday.

    • Bill_Woods

      One accusation without corroboration leaves us with “he said, she said”. It’s evidence, but doesn’t meet the burden of proof. Multiple independent accusations, or documentation like photos, can do that.

      • Noelle

        that’s when we have the legal system dealing with this which isn’t always satisfactory for all sides. I call for Restorative Justice as a more effective way.

      • William – SF

        Yet the sexually predatory environment at Fox News persisted for years. Even the acknowledgment among the women in the organization of the predatory environment had no affect. Neither did the repeated lawsuits and hush money paid to silence victims. The sexual assaults came from the highest ranks at Fox News and were dismissed or managed from those ranks. Numbers and proof were just the cost of doing business. It only changed (assuming it has changed) when it financially affected the owners.

        I observe that it is far less about legal proof and far more about our society’s tacit agreement that sexual assault and abuse doesn’t really matter. The victim bears all the burden, the predator practically none.

        • Brux

          > Yet the sexually predatory environment at Fox News persisted for years.

          Yes,

          > society’s tacit agreement that sexual assault and abuse doesn’t really matter.

          No. Society if anything encourages women to get themselves into situations where these misunderstandings, if that is what they are, occur. it is not that society thinks they do not matter, it is just like race, it only matters for some people, rich enough to afford legal representation. Again, a class issue.

          • William – SF

            From the women at Fox News to female actresses like Ashley Judd, it was career advancement that put them in a situation where powerful men felt they could leverage their positions of power for sexual favors. That is neither gender specific (men seek career advancement too from powerful men above them) nor a misunderstanding (the women were not asking for or expecting sexual advances in exchange for help advancing their careers). And the women can not be described as middle class. Lastly, I doubt that the behavior is restricted to only men with financial means – power too often comes in the form a clinched fist, or for a boss, the threat of being fired.

            If society truly condemned sexual assault it would at least merit the same law enforcement efforts as does property theft, and the offender numbers in prisons would reflect that.

      • Brux

        That was not documentation … Go look at some of the clowning around videos they did on the USO tour on You-Tube. This was the norm or the workplace for one thing. For another, Franken did not grope or grab Tweeden … that started out from an absolute lie … you can see it with your own eyes when you look at the picture for God’s sake. Are you going to let Fox News tell you what to see and think?

  • James R

    At a party a gay man grabbed my butt. I turned around, he grinned at me, and I wanted to punch him in the face. Sexual aggression is best nipped in the bud but that is easier said then done. I recommend if a man grabs a women’s rear cheek she slaps his front cheek. What should a woman do when the victim of sexual aggression?

    • Noelle

      Men need to call it out too, if they witness it.

  • EIDALM

    Sex is the biggest curse inflicted on all creature big and small, as it in human beings, as through the ages in the past near one out of 5 women died during child birth, sexual desire out-shadows good sense and reasoning for humans over the eons, the demise of Cesar, Anthony, and Cleopatra because of sexual desire stands out among other untold thousands of others…..Best advice as even without ill intention many of lost a lot of our sexual attraction to the wrong people, stay Hermite. best way to enjoy life ever.

    • William – SF

      Ah, sex is not bad, and with a modicum of observation without it this digital feed and you would not exist.

      • Noelle

        This was the common view of sex for centuries, I’m sure.

    • jake3_14

      Sex isn’t a curse. It’s a primary biological imperative, which is why nature evolved us to get pleasure from it. Learn how to handle your sexual appetite, so you can enjoy more of life.

  • Noelle

    I have not found shame to be a constructive emotion, however, with all these guys harrassing women I can see that there should be a healthy sense of shame for these men. They are drunk on power, and are not humble at all.

    • William – SF

      How does public shame fit in, or not, with developing social norms? What’s a better tool for bending social norms in the direction of social justice for all?

      • Noelle

        yep. I hope it does become a constructive way to develop new social norms. But it can also become distorted and not create psychological and social change.

    • MikeCassady

      This may be overlooking the social training we were exposed to that framed women as muses, sources of maternizing affection and approval, a ticket of social inclusion for males, a way of displaying virility in favored male competitivesness, and, for women, a whole host of display behaviors aimed at “attractiveness” and election by male “consumers” seeking the right visible way to be socially accepted. Ok, society in small-town USAmerica was a “meat factory.” Social interaction was intentionally structured to encourage a slate of desired behaviors applauded and adulated by the pushing and shoving, and constant intimidation toward conformity that was part and parcel of life in intimate communities fixed in place.

      The current wave of populism resents the loss of this form of tight-knit (oppressive) “community control”, and its pent up anger is being manipulated by savvy conservative pupet-masters who want to break up the national community of concern and opportuntiy that surplanted the hometown village during and after World War II. Since the time of the war local communities have lost their paternalistic right to be the gate-keepers to social status and economic opportunity. Loss of jobs and capital investment in local environments is only a superficial appreciation of a deeper change.

      The effective level of community after the war failed to revert to he status quo anti, and remained at the national level of opportuntiy and capital investment; and one good reason for that is that the war in effect created a new extra-national realtiy of common “citizen” concern to which historic nations belonged as nation states. Historic national communities did not, and could not return to an isolated state of self-sufficiency, materially detached from global economic realities, and deeply felt, familiar psychological sense of an enclosed national, regional, and local destiny.

      Articulate, educated working women are clearly right to defend the advances the national community has made possible for women as a class and constituency, and, as our society becomes more sophisticated, in keeping with the more complex life-environment (no long a communtiy of proximity and “place”), men and women, as is already happening, no longer seek mates based on imposed conditons of local power configurations and status arbitration. The variety in mate partenering has exploded and, in most cases, neither men nor women now typically choose relations of fixed power roles and forms of domination and subordinaton. However, in rural areas which feel abandoned in the postwar era, old habits and forces of conformity still structure social interaction and appearances, and still command loyalty to increasingly empty avenues for finding existential satisfaction. I grew up in rural Northern Calfifornia, in a very remote area that early on was a seven hour drive from San Francisco, on mostly two-lane roads which passed through every town and urban collectivity. The lively small town of my high-school years is now a ghost town. The postwar logging industry left long ago, and the US Forestry Service that supported and promoted the timber extraction also saw a sharp decline in jobs. When I led a Census team in the area during the 2010 Census operation, I was appalled to see how social conditons had declined, often to a point of literal desperation. Progressive public policies with a national scope aimed at relieving the painful impact of rapid local economic change were resisted by state and local leaders who did not want to be bypassed in any redistribution of wealth aimed at helping people transition out of hopeless circumstances they were in. I have seen first hand the dark place out of which the destructive, dehumanizing populist upheaval came. Dismay, depression, opioid comfort, anger and hate fusioned into rage and hysteria in 2016. They have been deluded temporarily by political drummers in high towers and plush LA offices seeking to wring the dying last wad of cash from this chaos by winning votes of desperate people on empty promises floated heavenward on cheap hot air.

    • Brux

      BS – to have any credence at all you cannot just say “these men”, especially in Franken’s case. But I would also invite you to look through all the other Senators, Congressmen, business men, billionaires … tell me when you find one that is humble?

  • LenW

    Please comment on the case of Garrison Keillor.
    Nothing has been said that puts his single, probably inadvertent,
    slipup in the category of any other cases that I have heard of.
    Surely, his punishment of banishment and moves to expunge his legacy
    from history is not in proportion to his error.

    This “Zero Tolerance” action with no possibility of rehabilitation
    has the real danger of eliciting backlash feelings in even this
    lifelong male feminist.

    • Noelle

      His erasure on MPR is Orwellian.

      • Bill_Woods

        As I understand it, Keillor owns a lot of the stuff, so when he went he took PHC™ etc. with him.

    • TimDoyle

      Garrison Keillor is a victim of a witch hunt.

  • TimDoyle

    I think your panel of three female guests and a female host would be better served if you had invited a male guest. Just saying.

    • Noelle

      Prof. Jackson Katz would be an excellent guest.

    • James R

      I had no problem with an all women panel but after listening to them an old saying came to mind: Say More, Speak Less.

  • Winjas

    I absolutely condemn men and women who exhibit this behavior. AND life does not occur in a silo. Can any of these women back up and see what damage these political resignations might do to the country in terms of keeping healthcare, tax reform, cutting back Medicare and social security? The count in the senate MATTERS!!! Let these men/women pay for this behavior, but not instantly and to the detriment of those of us who also care about liberal causes. Liberals are too idealist and Conservatives are pragmatic and run overnight is every time.

    • Noelle

      Franken as sacrificial lamb was a political move. MN at least has Dem governor who will appoint a Dem. I really don’t support his resignation.

      • Winjas

        The appointed Dem will only be till election next year,
        2018.

        • Noelle

          Yep, and Dems are not a shoo-in.

          • Winjas

            Exactly.

          • rhuberry

            But maybe Franken wouldn’t be a shoo-in either. If he barely made it last time, his behavior problems now may turn the slim margin against him. I would guess that all this was calculated with the Minnesota governor and potential replacement when he made the decision to resign “in the near future”. Time will tell. In politics, a year is a long time. Lots more could happen between now and then.

          • Noelle

            Yes, that’s a great point.

          • Brux

            Good point maybe, but I see a lot more people sympathetic to Al Franken than i do who think this was some master stroke of integrity by Democrats … this really makes me pretty disgusting with Democrats who always seem to snatch defeat from the jaws of victory as they say .. is it just a coincidence, or do they really mean to and they are just acting like they care about the people. I know Franken really did because of his votes and his questioning in the Senate.

          • Brux

            Yeah, what I want to know is how much were these top Democrats offered to kill Franken politically?

    • Bill_Woods

      The reason feminists came up with the “one free grope” rule for Bill Clinton.

      • Brux

        Al Franken is not comparable to Bill Clinton. First, Clinton was a fake Democrat. Clinton all the while he was fighting the Lewinsky scandal was trying to work with Erskine Bowles shuttling back and forth with Newt Gingrich to screw up social security just as bad as any Republican.

        Stick to the specifics of these cases, stop equating them all together, they are nothing alike. Anyone who does that, including this panel should be thrown out of journalism for good.

        • Noelle

          When I heard Sen. Gillibrand say enough is enough I can see why HOWEVER she was against discussing the differences of degrees of harassment in these cases in favor of firing these men. I am totally against this approach. I advocate Restorative Justice instead of job loss. Get everyone in a room and talk about what happened and then do something CONSTRUCTIVE about it.

          • Brux

            I am not familiar with the restorative justice term.

            What you suggest sounds good, and the Democrats always seem to posture like that is what they want to do, but why do they always fail? After while it just seems on purpose.

            I was really impressed with Kamala Harris and voted for her. Even her cross-examination of Jeff Sessions was good, but I am so soured on her now that she got together with the rest of these woman and forced Franken out with no due process or discussion.

            it feels to me like an act in a play to generate conflict between men and women … which will really hurt Democrats. It seems possible that some Democrats are wittingly or unwittingly working against the Democratic party and for the Republicans, i.e. money.

            I consider Gillibrand a political enemy of her own party and will never support her or vote for her. I am not happy with Kamala Harris either. I don’t see how this kind of scheming and machinations help anything. It just confirms people’s worst impressions of Democrats.

            The only reasonable solution to me would have been to wait for things to settle and let Minnesotans decide. I think forcing Franken out will just embolden Republicans in Alabama,and Democrats will just think, oh the same boring stupid old Demcrats, why vote when they kill their own?

          • jake3_14

            In order to have restorative justice, the offender has to acknowledge and take responsibility for the wrongness of his actions. Franken explicitly denied some of the accusations. For the others, he merely regrets that his victims felt uncomfortable. He didn’t express remorse for any of his groping. Until someone or group can establish which of the accusers are lying (e.g., Tweeden, the two anonymous accusers), there can’t be any restorative justice.

          • Brux

            That makes sense but how do you institutionalize that, or manage it, or collect statistics on it?

  • Winjas

    What are the ages of these panelists? Are they concerned about their Medicare and Social Security when they get older? Are they concerned about clean air to breathe when they get older? It is a bigger picture when you are talking about politics.

    • Noelle

      Paul Ryan & his pals are setting their sights on SS, Medicaid, Medicare. Steve Bannon is glad we are debating the issue while the Repubs are able push this awful agenda through.

      • Winjas

        Exactly. A total red herring. Dems fall for it every time!

    • Brux

      With all due respect, these panelists are clueless idiots. There is no discussion about the accusations at all. Just the number of accusations, not the number of real accusations which was ZERO, and if I remember my math, zero times any number is still ZERO.

      • jake3_14
        • Brux

          I don’t know from zero jake. I don’t know what you mean by that, nor what you mean to imply about me framing your question that way.

          I have seen video of Tina Dupuy where she was interviewed and told her story as freely as she wanted. It seemed to me that if she decribed her encounter accurately ( and honestly, it’s not fair to take someone public to task over something that does not measure up to a real crime. )

          What “publishers” should do is not publish anything that local police or regional DA would not press charges on or investigate further. That would tie these incidents to something real. If someone violates that they should be held accountable, not in some draconian way unless malice can be ascribed, but for some kind of real proof.

          But the “broadcast”, no pun intended, ability is important of these accusations is the occasion for all kinds of mischief, but also corroboration, Combined with politics and this is the first major step to totalitarianism with no public due process of answerability.

          Dupuy said that she asked to take a picture with Senator Franken, without any explanation, then Franken is suddenly grabbing her waist, over her clothing, not explained how long or in what way. I might describe that as over-famililiarity, and that was what happened. She added in the video that it made her feel fat and bad. OK, yes, that is something to talk about, yes, I will grant her that much.

          Believe me I’ve had people make me feel bad in my life, and any sexual harassment element is minor, but I am a male. Before we know how to sort this complicated subject out, having political decisions made without due process and any public debate, – IN WHAT IS AN UNBALANCED, UNREGULATED MEDIA – is now being normalized. AND to top that off, even if quite a few people raise a flag and complain, after the fact, there is no one listening. This is a catastrophic media tool to allow to remain uncontrolled. The pursuit of this kind of use of technology will destroy this country faster than anything.

          I think people are really missing the significance of this bad situation.

          • jake3_14

            “What ‘publishers’ should do is not publish anything that local police or regional DA would not press charges on or investigate further. That would tie these incidents to something real.”

            The statute of limitations has expired on many of these accusations. In additions, many of the harassers performed their harassment in a way that could not be corroborated by anyone else, either because the harassers isolated their victims or the harassment happened quickly in a crowded environment. Harassers are cunning like that. The victims who come forward after a long delay due to the fear of not being believed or of retaliation (or both) deserve a standard of proof that’s different that what a prosecutor would require. The very phrase “due process” comes from the legal arena and implies a standard of evidence that is inappropriately strict for these incidents.

            I guarantee you that Dupuy felt more than just “bad” and “fat.” She felt bodily violated — because she was. By virtue of being more physically powerful, men can’t fully grasp the sense of violation that these harassers wreak on women. That’s what men need to believe about women whose harassment can be corroborated in some way, either by their retelling it to their friends contemporaneously or by several victims reporting a similar pattern of harassment over time.

          • Brux

            >> She felt bodily violated — because she was.

            How do you know that? How can you judge the severity or know if there is any bad intent?

            >> men can’t fully grasp the sense of violation that these harassers wreak on women.

            Oh, the old men cannot understand gambit, eh? Well, then it is up to anyone to explain what happened or find a lawyer who can. The law has its limits in everything that it concerns itself with, and you never know who you are talking with who is a liar or a hypocrite, or why they do or say whatever they do. The cannot just automatically handle these incidents by believing everyone or counting the number of other people willing to say MeToo.

          • jake3_14

            “How do you know that?” From talking to a dozen women who’ve been groped and reading the accounts of many more women who’ve been physically sexually harassed.

            “Oh, the old men cannot understand gambit, eh?” No, outs the old “Before you judge someone, walk a mile in their shoes” gambit. Unless you have been physically, sexually harassed, you cannot truly understand the deep sense of violation, especially because it’s compounded by societal messages that women aren’t innately as valuable as men.

          • Brux

            What you have heard from other people doesn’t necessarily apply. And the intensity of the insistence that people get down and visceral with IMAGINING someone’s sense of violation, while important … is not a state of mind you want when you are trying to measure a reaction to one specific circumstance.

            This “operation” of the Republicans, actually the hidden Conservative Libertarian counter-revolution so to speak, reveals a lot about their technology, and their power.

            Since we started having money as speech, it is being used in full force, and lots of techniques in propaganda are coming from the advances made in neuroscience. This is very dangerous, and it thoroughly over-rides any insistance from you that it follows your “feelings”.

            This is life and death for our Republic/Democracy and not something that should be resolved in what has been an almost hysteria whipped up by the media.

  • jakeleone

    We see in the movies all the time, a guy and girl kissing, sometimes after a dinner date. We probably will have to clearly define what is incorrect and what is correct very clearly. Obviously touching in the wrong locations, intentionally, is bad. But kissing, hugging being unsure/uncertain/not-knowing are not easily defined and should not be shamed.

    Also, we might want to revisit some kind of law involving employer/boss/employee dating with some clear advise for men and women on how to proceed if they are attracted to a co-worker, to make sure (and without job repercussion) we can make clear to a pursuer that we are or are not interested.

    I asked a co-worker out once, and we kissed on the first date, and got married a year and half later. But what if the relationship had been unwanted got to wonder?

  • Livegreen

    How do guests distinguish between a man’s innocently misreading affection on the part of a woman, then acting on a misperception, vs. harassment?

    Men have a hard enough time reading women, while often being expected to do so & to initiate action. It might be helpful to have a broader discussion on male-female sexual relations in the 21st Century. Men fit into this somewhere and aren’t all bad.

    • Noelle

      We all need to be more aware. I look back and I had a lot of problems with reading the opposite sex.

      • Livegreen

        Like mental & physical health, education & discussions need to start in middle and high school, and continue in college. Mandatory.

        • Brux

          These discussions should be outside of school. Because we have no other social institutions that bring people together doesn’t mean school is the right place. American society is to a large extent dysfunctional and norms are all over the place, and it seems it is mostly adults that need to get this message.

          Also, this has bled over from the sexual harassment to anyone being mean, abrupt or making someone else really unhappy in some way that can kind of be described as abuse.

          There is that book about “A***oles”, defines the problem people, but how do you make precedent law out of the unprecedented experiences that people have that we now consider outside of the law’s purview?

          The rich and powerful often project that they think it is there right abuse or treat people like inferiors. That seems to be human nature to a large extent, but maybe worse on the male side.

          People who want to feel they are important or exert their power sometimes act like “A***oles” out of frustration, and it has taken over most discussions on the Internet. We have a lot of power and status issues in America now that class has reared its ugly head larger.

    • Brux

      Harassment must be ongoing or continued. That is exactly to allow for mistakes, and none of these situations with Franken was remotely close to harassment.

    • jake3_14

      Make a *small* first romantic/sexual response to the perceived invitation for physical affection. Gently touching someone in a non-sexual area, e.g., a hand or a shoulder, or a lean-in, and see what the other person does in response. If you encounter *any* hesitation or resistance, back off and apologize for misreading the situation.

      That’s not so hard, is it?

      • Brux

        Jake >> That’s not so hard, is it?

        Not hard at all and very reasonable, but how do you classify NOT doing that?

        Don’t you still have to break whatever “it” is into some actionable “crime” in some way?

        And how do you make it a crime if you have no idea the universe of incidents it would
        apply to. If 80% of men do this, then what do we do, outlaw men? Or 10% of women
        are bugged enough by something to say something about it and we got no real understanding
        of the scope of the problem. Why should it come down on the head of one poor guy
        whose actions were so outside the whole discussion of SEXUAL harassment.

        Can anyone get “fired” now for being perceived to be mean, or touching anyone in
        some way they might say they do not like years later? There is so much wrong with
        that, it goes past even fake news into fake social manipulation with heavy duty
        political consequences that in this case is denying Franken’s constituency their right
        to be represented, taking their Minnesotans right to make this choice away from them.

  • Winjas

    By the way, I am a woman who has been harassed and, again, I condemn it. I also think the politics and senate matter more right now. Whether it’s a pat on the butt or pedifilia matters to me.

    Losing clean air and healthcare over a pat on the butt? Really?

    • Noelle

      I agree with your concerns. Hard to be on the side of women but then there’s the bigger picture we have to be aware of.

      • Brux

        Which is what? What can possible justify the mass condemnation of Al Franken on the basis of these “trumped” up charges. Not a single one of these accusers had a clear and solid story to tell, and the first two were with FOX News with years. One woman said the way Al Franken touched her made her feel fat?

  • Mary Jane Boucher

    I think that the idea that some men will be collateral damage, and that’s just fine is a dangerous, mean, vindictive, destructive and distractive direction for this national conversation to take. I fear that this cavalier, take no prisoners attitude may be exactly the fuel that a likely backlash will require. The cry of witch hunt are not far away. Stop the conversation? NO. Defintely not. Keep it up, but if you want lasting change, there has to be a point where the anger has to give way to a firm, driven focused movement. That’s ultimately what we need most.

    • Noelle

      Great insight.

    • Bill_Woods

      It’s not as though we haven’t seen several false accusations at universities, partly as a result of the Obama administration’s “Dear Colleague” instruction. Duke, UVA, Columbia, etc.

    • Livegreen

      Well said. Hopefully we can have a holistic discussion about finding solutions.

      • MikeCassady

        This is not just about male crib-side training in the right to dominate, It’s about an angry mob boxing shadows which has found its GREAT What? Male What? Martian leader-take-me-to-your. They’re gosh-and-golly enough to have openly made “It’s a Man’s World” their game rally song and shall be impeached for copyright infringement as soon as the music stops. A few of my seriously unimaginative Boomer brothers and sisters have decided for our whole cohort to not go out with a whimper, or a bang, but to go out in a savage state of mental meltdown wearing a toutou and a headdress built with flash-mob Depends Max’s “for stronger surges” and doing the Michal Jackson moonwalk reconfigured for high-wire walkers in the dream sequence.

        Ok, shooting blow-fish blown up egos in a barrel profile selected for a desperate, maginally criminal, need for love, attention, some way to avoid getting sand kicked in the face a the beach, zero-sum life is either the thrill of victory or the agony of defeat: that is just really all right if you’ve already pulled the pin on your brain part and metal recyled it. Why is the elephant in the room still chewing peanuts and laughing hysterically. In other words, where are the CEO’s and members of the mostly male enabler-board who have made all this possible, and, not to excuse us in the audience, because it’s been proven we buy more pretzels when were to scared or otherwise jazzed to think straight.

        53% of women voted Trump. At least some small percentage of those might possibly be among them who bought into the happy plastic couple wedded at the hip suggestively on the bombastic cake, and might have every reason to panic in fear that jobless “Hubby” Bob without family money (how reckless can one get) waxing couch potato, might fail at his end of the teeter-totter quid pro quo bargain sworn at the alter before man and God and the church mice. I bet most women out in the wilds and winds of day to day are supportive of respect for women’s autonomy, and so are a lot of their gendered friends who are no longer interested in possessing some UL approved ape-display meat arm candy all in a days work to drag around the top of a tower doing the speed-read version of “The Beauty and the Beast” in the full hair-suit rendition. Let’s turn the spot-light on the CEO’s, the Boards, and the hapless investors who have no idea what uses their cash is being put to. Give the shadow-puppets their shot at a golden shower of debugging sunshine, an equal opportunity chance to come clean.

    • Brux

      >> The cry of witch hunt are not far away.

      WITCH HUNT!!!

    • jake3_14

      Shame on Kirsten Gillebrand for leading the mob.

  • TimDoyle

    You are not worried about “men’s fears” I got arrested in San Francisco for domestic violence 4 times by my ex-girlfriend. She was an alcoholic and when she didn’t get her way she would call SFPD and say I hit her. I would go to 850 Bryant Jail and have to bail out. FALSE ACCUSATIONS suck.

    • Winjas

      That’s terrible. Why did you stay with her to be arrested 4 times? I guess we’re all human.

    • Noelle

      Well, I think they are not referring to men who has been through what you have.

    • Livegreen

      Many women just wouldn’t believe your story. I, however, saw something similar in action in Oakland: a cop pulled over a female driver for drunk driving. She accused her husband of abuse. She was cursing pedestrians as they walked by, including children. But the cop had to take her statement. The whole time her husband was trying to talk to her & calm her down.

    • Brux

      Hate these kinds of stories that really add nothing to the broader issue. Why 4 times? If someone did something like that to me, I’d never get close to them again. What are you hoping this adds to the issue of Al Franken? There was cynical motivation behind these accusations of Franken, to remove a guy just started to get his stride in the Senate and being effective at backing down Republicans … and the Democratic Party thinks it is more important to try to be virtue signaling ( a phrase I really hate but that fits )

      It is like the top leadership of the Democratic Party is in the same position as Betsy DeVos, only in their positions to destroy their institutions.

  • MikeCassady

    While the anecdotal accounts of sexual harassment and intimidation of women in the workplace are important to hear, it should not hide the larger issue about how this issues fits into the present populist assault on the status of women, of people of color, of immigrants, and young poeple wishing to challenge public policy as was the case in the ’60’s. All of these categories of persons found a voice in the postwar period by becoming united as national constituencies able to escape the domination of small-town local authority structures that “kept people in their places.” The present anti-big government agenda is a cover for a long festering opposition to the nationalization of USAmerican community during and after the war. Presently, what we see is an openly divisive political thrust to divide women into oppositng factions, to pit people against each other on the basis of wealth and income, thus, permitting the plight of people of color in USAmerican society to be denied as a larger community problem, and to make targets for social exclusion of by supporting the right of the strong to disregard those less advantaged. Working women are a powerful and helpful voice for women, but the 53% of women who voted for Trump are not similarly empowered to resist the social practices that lead to their psychological and physiological dependence on males. Do we not see that the age of heroic brawn is in the past, and all the reasons for excusing dominance by muscle are no longer operative?

    • Brux

      If you are positing that this is going to set men against woman in the Democratic party as the Right has cleverly gotten blacks and whites, and rich and poor, yeah, it is a great tactic to throw Democrats into disarray so that voter turnout will continue to be low on the demoralized side of the Democratic party, even as they establishment Democrats claim they did this to energize their base, I guess I’d agree.

      • MikeCassady

        Opposition to Trump’s politics of temporization and division should set party donkeys and elephants aside and favor a positive politics of inclusion, unity and social cohesion by making a wide appeal to forward looking thinking. Age attrition will have its way with ideological dizzy Boomers (including yours truly) from twisting up in their own spin.

        Corporations and high income folks are not “enemies of the USAmerican people.” They often are socially responsible in many ways, but public-private cooperation can vastly improve how that works. Inclusion means ALL generous spirits and persons of good faith speaking for creation rather than destruction and senseless exploitation. Congress will eventually work to empower all persons in our increasingly integrated economy by affordable education, by a fair tax code that rationalizes engines of work and opportunity that extend beyond the nation and recognizes those who operate inside the national economy and those who have access to opportunities outside the national economy cannot pretend to operate on a level playing field; as well as an effective public-private partnership that promotes cooperation and serves the common good. Congress can undo Citizens United in the interest of transparency.

        With the bulk of work now dependent upon brains rather than brawn, specialization in work on the basis of gender doesn’t make sense, and modern woman have every reason to protect a framework of opportunity friendly to innovation, variety and as free as possible from the brutal elbowing of status ranking, i.e., putting people in “their place.” . If sustainability is becoming more important in the conversation about uses of productive resources in transforming matter for purposes of life, transforming matter intelligently and very carefully, profits cannot much longer be considered the only measure of productive value.

        Yes, there are plenty of jobs waiting out there even now: Jobs that study and promote environmental friendly results can be expected to expand geometrically. Careful productivity shall require public partnering with private capital to assure viability. In France, the autoroute system is a toll system paid by users; they are built with public investment, but they are managed by private operators. Healthcare and schools also adapt well to this partnering model; it makes sense that the public partner use its powers to make such activities attractive to private management and investment.

        STEM studies are, at present, being wrongly sold as a way to pump new life back into the quantity over quality productivism. Training young people to be employable instruments of the machine economy armed with science, and payed to intrude in a purely extractive way upon the natural world, rather than protect it from subsequent harm, is one sided. There’s a crying need to encourage young people to develop powerful analytical and writing skills capable of articulating and advocating in favor of necessarily complex policies of the environment friendly sort, and informing the consensus process by way of public education aimed at raising people to a level of reasoning consistent with a more complex collective life, from the local to the global level. Promoting lawyers to do this work is often counterproductive in sustainability terms because legal training and the use of law generally is principally adversarial, not a priori favorable to cooperation between public and private goals and interests. I don’t share your dystopian vision.

  • Abby

    I feel like an important part of this discussion is how women can use power. For instance, I read yesterday that J. K. Rowling is “not only comfortable [with having Johnny Depp involved in the next Fantastic Beasts movie], but genuinely happy to keep Depp” onboard even though he’s been accused of domestic abuse (Boot Riot). This is a form complicity. I’m a huge fan of the Harry Potter franchise, but this is a chance to vote with my feet by not going to see the movie.

  • Jessica

    I think “Me, too” conflates unwanted advances, sexual harassment, sexual assault, and rape. I think by giving all women a single voice, we’re also denying both victims and perpetrators the nuances.

    I think we can discuss the spectrum of sexual misconduct, and forgive lesser offenses without being apologists.

    Franken should not have to resign.

  • Max

    A comment about the host. I have rarely heard a host shut down a caller or say they “don’t get it” as happened during this segment. I listen to NPR for an open, fact-oriented discussion of issues and I expect the moderators to illicit discussion not squash it. Please think about it.

    All sexism, racisim, bullying, harassment, discrimination due to sexual orientation, nationality or religion is the cause we should rally around. The attention to this aspect (sexism) of the big issue is important, warranted and long over due. However, as @MaryJaneBoucher pointed out, we need to find the path that unites us to solve the problem. It is critical for us to demonstrate the power of the moral high ground. The world will join us.

    • Brux

      What does that even mean … do you support the political assassination of Al Franken based on the number of nothing reports where not one of these women experienced what is known as “sexual harassment”. For God’s sake included in these accusers was a woman who said that Al Franken made her feel fat when the touched her waist. There was no qualifying, investigation, or fair comparison of any of these accusations to what has been going on … it was just, let’s throw Al on this train and send him packing.
      F- that, that is not the American way.

      • Max

        Hi Brux. First my comment was primarily about the moderator. Second, regarding Franken the fact that he stepped down closes the discussion. He made a choice. There were allegations of inappropriate behavior. He apparently agreed it was inappropriate enough to step down. I am sorry you didn’t understand my post. I was posting about the program and the speakers, not about Franken. You may have a point you want to make here so go ahead and make it on your own.

        • Brux

          Hi Max, perhaps a decision was made about the bounds of this specific discussion. This program seemed to be about how so-called real-world feminists felt about the Franken resignation as smoke clears. To me implicit in that in this confusing situation would be at least a brief discussion of the facts. That did not happen and the vague impression that Franken was the same as the others wrongly prevailed. The program was entitled “Al Franken and the #MeToo Revolution”, which I wonder should be changed to screwing Al Franken into the #MeToo counter-revolution.

          As was said in the program around the 28:00 mark, “there needs to be a process to ensure that due process is happening” but unspoken was let’s just not talk about what happened in the case of Franken. The first comment after that is it doesn’t matter because there will always be a backlash. So in a sense this program is a continuation of a twisted right-wing agenda tarring Franken and what Limbaugh insultingly calls the FemiNazis, while what happened and who made it happen are invisible.

          I somehow doubt that anything that I would recognize as a real feminist, a humanist, would be OK with getting railroaded and used by conservative media jujitsu on their own political correctness, When used to create injustice in the name of the “right-wing thing” instead of the “right-thing” it puts feminism out there to be the “fall-girl” for what was increasingly looking like just another political operation that I am sure feminists had little to do with, but have been duped with to feel vindicated by this Pyrrhic victory. Really sad.

          What I hear you saying is that anything but passive acceptance of this situation is worthy of name-calling me, i.e. trolling, possibly a way to attack my comments without actually having to make an argument. I am not sure you understand what trolling is, but in not qualifying what the “right thing” is or how to decide it I don’t hear your thinking process which was why I asked.

          Respect, according to the dictionary, is a feeling of deep admiration. How does that respect work in the case of Senator Franken? I would have more admiration for him if he was somehow able to stand up to the lynch mob, and even the faux-feminists. Respect, the way you employ it here is eerily reminiscent of what the Salem witch-hunters must have had for their victims when they drown and sank to the bottom of the lake proving their innocence.

          Franken made no choice, got no due process, this was a disgrace to Democrats somehow deluding themselves that it was a moral victory, and their whole leadership was right out front.

          • Max

            Hi Brux. Thanks for explaining your perspective. Let me try to clarify mine. First I was concerned by the moderator’s reaction to the caller from San Jose. I felt that she shut down that call. That really has nothing to do with Franken. That was the first half of my comment.

            Second, I agreed with another post identified in my initial message that reacted to a comment by one of the speakers made at roughly minute 28 as you noted – specifically some future “collateral damage” was acceptable given the history of harassment women have endured. I don’t agree with that and feel that the speakers and all of us would be better served without sacrificing either the pursuit of harassers or the concern for truth. That, to me, is the “right thing”. I made this comment because, independent of Franken, it is the way that I feel we should approach these problems. This isn’t an issue of passivity in my opinion. There is an overarching problem with predatory behavior and discrimination that we need to expose and to end. And we need to do that with concern for a due process. However, for me the program was not about Franken nor intended to examine whether Franken was a victim. It was about the way forward in light of the Franken, Franks and so many other recent harassment revelations or allegations.

            In that context, I used the word trolling, and perhaps mistakenly, because I saw over 10 subsequent postings from you, all with the same point about Franken and all using the reply function rather than simply posting your opinion. Using reply, one reaches beyond the forum to the inbox of participants. In my case, with an opinion that was not relevant to what I was discussing from the program nor to my comments, as my comments were about the moderator and guests. I won’t speak for others, but the replies seemed to me to be out of context on several other posts as well. So the use of the word trolling had nothing to do with your opinion specifically, simply about the way you thrust it into the discussion. I apologize for any offense to you, and please consider the judicious use of reply as you participate.

            Finally, as it seems that you are still pushing the issue of Franken with me, I don’t share your view. I understand the perspective that there was hardly a due process. However, I wouldn’t waste any time on an analysis of whether there was any actual contact in the photograph. It is repugnant on its own merits and it isn’t even funny. I didn’t buy “locker room talk” from Trump and I wouldn’t justify this either. The further challenge for Franken is that the behavior continued past the comedy years, and a good amount of it as well. Inappropriate contact isn’t confusing, it’s obvious. It is not a challenge to avoid it, particularly when you are in a position of power. It’s a basic lesson for any competent executive. I also believe that Franken did make a decision, certainly with pressure, and I do respect that decision to resign. I feel we are in the midst of a battle for the soul of this country against the lies, hatred and duplicity of this administration and it’s public and private backers. My feeling is that he will accomplish more for himself and for turning the country from its current path than if he stayed in the Senate. It is just my opinion that there can be no confusion when it comes to integrity. Best regards.

          • Max

            Hi Brux. Thanks for explaining your position. Let me clarify my comments for you. I’ll start by establishing that, for me, this program was not an examination of the Al Fanken allegations. It was about what we do from now on.

            The first half of my comment was about the moderator. I felt she shut down the caller from San Jose. Nothing there about Franken.

            The second half of my post had to do with a comment a speaker made after the due process question you identified at minute ~28. I refer to an earlier post expressing disagreement with the idea that some “future collateral damage” is acceptable as we work to eliminate sexism and sexual harassment. I, like the other commentator, disagree. The “right thing” is to pursue harassers with commitment to due process. One could turn this point to be retrospective – Franken – but again that was not the purpose of this program.

            In that context I used, perhaps mistakenly, the word “trolled” because I saw you make 9-10 additional replies with the same point about Al Franken. And instead of simply making a single comment to express your views, you used the reply function which reaches out of the forum and into my inbox. I don’t have any motivation to silence your message, but my post was not about Franken, so why spam me? I apologize if I offended you, but please consider a more judicious us of post vs reply.

            Finally, as you continue to press me on Franken. I understand where you’re coming from, but I don’t share your perspective. I am not wasting any time measuring the distance between his hands and her body. The photo is repugnant on its own merits. It highlights a behavior that is disrespectful, objectifying and not even the slightest bit funny. I didn’t buy into “locker room”” talk with Trump, and I am not about to justify this either. Second, the behavior seemed to continue past the comedy years, and quite a lot of it. There is no confusion with inappropriate contact and no challenge avoiding it. There is plenty of training and any competent executive understands the boundaries and is aware at all times. I am open to the idea there was/is no ill intent, but he should have known better than to put himself in this position. Which brings me to Franken’s decision to resign. Yes, considerable pressure and it may be unfair, but I agree with his calculus. Franken understands the battle we have against the current climate of lies, hatred and duplicity. As he indicated in his resignation, he will be less effective going forward. 2018 is a critical year for change and a long, public “he said-she said” investigation will put a powerful distraction into the hands of the opposition, and ultimately even an exoneration would diminish his impact. I also think it’s better for Franken personally if he wants to continue as an activist or more. So I believe that he decided, and I agree with his decision. And I respect it. For me, there can be no confusion when it comes to integrity. Best regards

  • reich.jonathan

    Unfortunately, today’s panel will hasten the backlash.
    What happened to Franken and Garrison Keillor was not right.
    Maybe don’t listen to me – but read what Ginger Rutland wrote in the Sacramento Bee:
    http://www.sacbee.com/opinion/op-ed/soapbox/article188588814.html
    For the commentators benefit, here’s a little bit about Ginger Rutland:
    http://www.capradio.org/about/bios/ginger-rutland/

    • Macarena Torres

      I agree, I am a woman, a feminist, have been sexually harassed, groped (from the age of 13 on), and raped. If I had been a man, I would have been somewhere very different on the success scale yet, today’s panel did not represent me and I think some of their positions were extremely narrow minded and damaging to our cause.

      • Brux

        Your cause … certainly not their cause. If Franken’s political assassination had anything to do with “our”, i.e. the cause of the American people, cause, then the Democratic Party’s pursuit of that cause is so incompetent as to be unbelievable,

        That is, these top Democrats have no plausible deniability that they were not just acting to remove a loud, vocal, gutsy, force from the Democratic party to make the party safe for sellouts and phonies as bad or worse than the Republicans.

  • Winjas

    Al Franken should not have resigned.

    • Brux

      Totally … he was railroaded without a thought to what he had done, or who set this sting operation up. That will come out in the future when it is too late. I wish Franken would put up a defense and take back his resignation … he has nothing to lose at this point, an this unthinking corrupt Democratic Party needs to be put in its place and the establishment pawns running it are the ones who need to resign. They did not expel Franken for women … not in the least.

      • jake3_14

        Franken should have had the cunning and guts to fight back. That he didn’t means he’s unfit to lead Democrats in resisting Republicans’ war on our republic. We need warriors for this war. If individual Democrats aren’t skillful or determined enough, they should get out of the fight.

        Gov. Dayton can appoint Keith Ellison to fill Franken’s seat. Ellison is a warrior, and he will take the fight to the enemy.

        • Brux

          Now that is a really good point. I am not sure I agree with it, but let’s say it is true that Democrats are clueless when it comes to be political conspiracy attacks.

          If the broader Democratic leadership any better and if not what business is it of theirs to force Franken out for Democrat brownie points.

          I think you are putting too much emphasis on that argument just because you want a certain outcome. Franken is a better Senator than Ellison, and Minnesota is being cheated out their right to be represented by the person they elected. Franken got taken in by a clever operation trying to do the right thing. The Republicans who did this, FOX News, etc, had this cleverly gamed out.

          By the time the unthinking but always talking people saw that picture Franken was already Frankenstein. And they kept playing it and kept calling what Franken did groping and grabbing when he did not do either.

        • disqus_JxA7Fvme5A

          I agree and in the simplest terms he “wimped out”. I’m not impressed at all by what he did. Quite the opposite!

  • Macarena Torres

    I was very disappointed with the response to the caller who asked that there be workplace ethics and standards for behavior that would guide women as well as men. He said women turn on the flirting like a light switch and use themselves to close the deal. The woman who responded (sorry can’t remember the name) did not address this and basically missed an opportunity to educate. There is a very clear explanation – having been in the position of having to act cute, or dumb, or flirt a little, or tolerate some manhandling to get something accomplished at work – I can say to the caller, we are not USING ourselves. We are using the only means available to us to earn a living. Women who don’t use those tools, don’t “close the deal”, don’t get heard, etc. I have been in many a meeting where the only way to get a group of fellow co-workers to listen and do the right thing by the client was to act dumb and cute and ask leading questions, say “we” a lot, and pretend that my ideas were their ideas, to get them to the right conclusion I had reached way before. Did I like it? No. Was I disgusted, heck yes! Did it feel unfair? Mightily! Could I have achieved the same results by being straightforward and acting just like the men were. No, no, no! I’ve tried that, with the same group of men. I would have been branded a **tch, aggressive, bossy, not a team player, the adjectives go on. I’m familiar with them all, and on top of that, we would have lost the clients because we would have develop an inferior product and delivered inferior service.

    • Brux

      You cannot argue abstractly about how things should be, and then without looking at the real situation with Franken just automatically put him the category of sexual harasser without due process, any humanity or fairness or actually looking at only the number of accusations, not what the accusations really were, and where they came out of, FOX News mostly.

      I have to think that the answer to get women to be treated more fairly is not to unthinkingly treat men unfairly to make up for it,especially a guy who is basically on your side.

    • disqus_JxA7Fvme5A

      Oh my God are you kidding ? There are plenty, plenty of women that do not resort to having to act dumb or cute to be heard. You act cute and dumb when you want to manipulate.

  • Macarena Torres

    I found the response to the caller comment that “men should feel that there was due process” completely inappropriate and dismissive of everything we stand for”. Is it acceptable that some men will lose their jobs, possibly have their lives ruined because women have suffered for so long? Is due process only for crimes? Absolutely NOT. It is not acceptable for women to be harassed. It is not acceptable for men to be falsely accused and lose their jobs. I am a feminist and I don’t think it is acceptable for men to be dismissed from their jobs without some process whereby the accusations are validated. This very narrow minded perspective puts everyone at risk, and yes, turns the whole thing into a witch hunt.

    I think the process and conversation we need to engage in now is more along the lines of “Truth and reconciliation”. We need to acknowledge that standards were different and judge people based on their actions in the context of that time and circumstance. When I was a senior in high school, my group of friends went through a phase of pulling each other’s pants down – I am in possession of a very embarrassing photograph of me being the “victim” of one of my male friends. I don’t look happy in the picture. Should I pull that out now, 40 years later, and ruin the man’s career? What is the limit?

    We need to distinguish between crimes and boorish, foolish behavior, between sexual harassment and an unwelcome advance, touch, hug. I doubt there is a woman alive who hasn’t had someone come on to them that made them feel uncomfortable. That is not sexual harassment.
    We also need to distinguish between then and now. Did the man do something inappropriate then? Does he do these inappropriate things now or recently? Did he grow up, mature, become enlightened, perhaps become an ally in the intervening years? Does he acknowledge, does he understand now (Franken) or does he defiantly defend his actions of just a few months ago and call his accusers liars (Trump)?
    All of those things matter. We are an intelligent species and are perfectly capable of telling the difference between a rapist or pedophile and a jerk. We need to not take down good men for past mistakes or boorish behavior (as long as it remained in the past). Their acknowledgement, repentance, and current behavior is much more effective to make our case than the slash and burn tactics that are going on now.
    As women we need to lead the charge, but on the high road.

    • MikeCassady

      It is important to keep in view the distinction between women out socializing in the marketplace of ideas, and mates, or what?, and women at work, or around colleagues connected to work. Power legislating in ordinary society is changing, especially among cohorts born after the war who have enountered the mystique of the dominion of muscle as it governed every aspect of life in the past, not to exclude labor and birth, mostly at the movies, or through the imagination at any rate.

      In the workplace a different order of power relations exist and sexual framing and intimidation there are lethal for cooperative productive work, and they are often game-changers for women as regards careers and their own idea of their productive prospects. That being said, the high stakes risk taking venues of the economy have long run on ego-enhancing drugs high wire display, for which women, in their prior form, were cast to play the role of the one supposed to notice and elect the primal heros doing performance viril. In its most perverse permutation, as I’ve observed it, as regards workplace gender struggle, is seeing women conflicted about rising to the challenge by trying to be more guy than guys, whoever they may be. Gender chemistry being as complex and variable as it appears to be, role assignments in healthy relations seem to be a (constantly) moveable feast, and the future seems to be more themed “variety is the spice of life”, than it does a masked ball of iconic costumery with some LSD secreted into the punch. Strong women have operated through me at times by our mutual consent, since i’d rather read, doing by way of agreed non-hostile take-over, and they’ve been pretty amazing. If history has gotten us this far, women have obviously been in there somewhere wagging the dog.

      • jake3_14

        Mike, get an editor. There are some good ideas in your comments, but there’s a fair amount of literary foaming at the mouth mixed in.

        • MikeCassady

          I appreciate your kind observation and shall take it into serious consideration, but an editor could be hard to find since my feet smell above the level permitted by OSHA. I think using first-person expression in something of a flagrantly subject-acknowledged way is a kind way to suggest it’s ok for people, and me in particular, to collect and speak out in many different voices without being so seriously transcendent by appearing to speak in the collective “I”, or the Royal “we”. It’s not refreshing to hear from our president what “we” think; the elipses is understood, “We think…(or else). Being somewhat liberal, I think speaking like a grammar Turing machine should be left to ethnic machine learners with their notoriously limited converstational repertoire, well, that is, if they agree to obey the rules about being “computationally correct.” My humble opinion has reached nearly delusional fervor about struggling against thoughts with under 140 characters, which joins seamlessly with my fobia about waking up in the night fully aware that I no longer am able to want anything money can’t buy. My mentor is Mark Twain, whose paper dry remains live not far from me in the Bancroft Library at UC Berkeley. He was like Socrates: never used straight talk for fear of putting people to sleep, or favoring the very silly over the occasionally wise; but clearly he meant every word of what he was thinking and a number of the words that came with whatever he discovered he was saying at the time. In fact, thanks for reading me.

        • MikeCassady

          Jake,
          Allow me to say, on re-reading myself several times after simmering down from your honest assessment, I’m more on your side than mine. I went over any number of red lines—like the welts on the bare back of Billy Budd—assuming it’s the season for “red”, and I want to credit your judgment. I’m not bi-polar, or zero-sum. When my brain is not off, it doesn’t mean its on all the way either. I sometimes find it helpful to just throw a shoe at it. You’re lucky to have survived. Did you do Navy Seal trining?

          • jake3_14

            I used to write for a living.

          • MikeCassady

            I do welcome your comments.

    • jake3_14

      “Does he acknowledge, does he understand now (Franken)…”

      Franken has explicitly denied some unspecified number of the accusations, and he’s only apologized for making some women uncomfortable through his actions/assaults. That’s regret at getting caught, not remorse for being a groper in the first place. When he admits that his assaults were, per se, wrong, then we can have a “truth and reconciliation” approach. Even then, there must still be consequences for the assaults, such as an in-person meeting with all of the women he assaulted (flown in at his personal expense) that includes an individual apology to each woman, who can choose whether to forgive him.

  • Brux

    I can understand how Roger Stone and FOX News can work together to execute a dirty-tricks operation against Al Franken, but what I cannot understand the is the repeated failure of the Democratic party to do the appropriate and inspiring thing, rather than chase after some kind of absurd politically correct image building.

    I don’t feel like anyone has bothered to investigate or think about what really happened here with respect to Al Franken. What I see is that these Democrats have either been hoodwinked by FOX News or are just feigning stupidity to follow their paymasters in order to hurt the Progressive wing of the Democratic Party.

    First was Leean Tweeden, a FOX News employee for years, whose story would have been nothing without the dramatic presentation of the interviewer making anguished faces and sighing aghast when Tweeden was allowed to present her story in the most damaging way. I say that because first, she lied. Leean Tweeden lied outright. She was not grabbed or groped in the photo she presented. AGAIN, I have to say it, she lied about being groped. She also talked about kiss she consented to, in the spirit of the trip. I say that having seem the video of the very tour she was on with Franken at the time. Did anyone look at this or think about this. I’ve had the classes in a corporate setting, this was not sexual harassment, and this was not comparable with other cases that were being adjudicated in the court of public opinion.

    Next was Melanie Morgan, also a FOX News alum, who claimed only that Al Franken argued too passionately.

    Then I heard a raft of more accusations, none of them with witnesses, and none of them claiming any more than Franken somehow touched them in a way they were not comfortable with, in public. Over the clothes, in some cases in front of witnesses who saw and were told nothing about it.

    Finally there was the last one I heard about was Tina Dupuy who said that at Obama’s inauguration that she asked Franken to take a photo with her and he grabbed her waist over her clothes and that this made her feel fat because she had recently gained weight.

    Are these people crazy? What is the trade-off to sell out a feel team mate on the Democratic party with no evidence on the claim of these women with connections to an opposition known for cold-blooded dirty tricks?

    This whole story puts Franken way way way out outside the narratives of all the other women who have make accusations, and yet how can the Democratic Party look at this and say Franken must go so that we can be squeaky clean again and face women. Even the slimy Newt Gingrich knew to laugh at this ridiculousness.

    Al Franken absolutely should not have resigned, and it is an outrage and a travesty that the most activist, loudest Senator in the Senate is the one that all other other hopeful chose to cannibalize. Even my favorite Bernie Sanders jumped on this disgusting bandwagon.

    I have always supported women ever since the 70’s when my parents got divorced and I saw what a raw deal my mom got, and how hard it was for her. I would never have thought that this emotion of care and concern for justice could be corrupted and perverted inside what is supposed to be America’s political party for the regular people, the opposition party, that acted in a way so as to do the greatest favor for Republicans.

    What I think now has changed the basic way I think about American politics. I no longer thing the Democrats represent anyone but themselves and the donors – who are the same donors as the Republicans. Democrats are part of THE biggest reality show in America, the reason we have a media is fake politics, doing their part to play the role of distraction, while the anonymous money managers to explain how the people keep losing all the time while somehow keeping them playing the rigged game.

    My view of PBS, news and Forum itself is changed completely when you can do a whole show on this and not mention even once the validity of the accusations against Al Franken. You totally just copped out and decided it was just all the number of accusations, not even whether any of them were true, or of a seriousness to merit any reaction at all.

    This show, and the broader show in Washington really turns my stomach. I think Al Franken should take back his resignation and tell his story, because not one of the stories I have heard would merit even being reported on, if there were not all these other stories from Roy Moore, to Harvey Weinstein, to Donald Trump, to Louis CK … and on and on. Franken does not even show up on the radar screen.

    America has lost because of the corruption of the media and the Democratic party on this, even as they are trying to fake us out that they are doing the noble thing. How do you think this is going to help even one woman who has to face a hostile workplace in real America, outside of politics and the media. Answer is – it won’t. This is a fake action that can only be explained as raw power reaching down and flicking Al Franken, a guy who actually did make a difference, away like a fly. That says it all. This system, the media, and even NPR, including KQED is either hopeless clueless, incompetent or corrupt.

    I remember back in the day of Newsroom and the actual real conversations that used to happen on that program. What happened with you people?

  • Brux

    That photo ???? (talked about around the 5 min 40 second mark )
    I see that photo, and I see Franken being a clown … but not grabbing or groping anything.
    Grabbing and groping requires actual contact. So that report, was a bald-faces lie, from
    what were two supposed journalists. Not only that but his hands were above a flak jacket,
    not her breasts. What else was she lying about, because the story was so thin that both
    Tweeden and her interviewer had to continually make faces and sounds to intimate how
    awful Al Franken was in a visceral way … because he did commit any crime.

    Take a look at some of the You-Tube video, presumably posted by soldiers and others
    who were there, and look at the atmosphere of the show and the USO group.

    This is going to polarize the Democratic party even more, this is a Republican political
    operation, but it required true idiocy on the part of the Democrats … and I just have to
    wonder how were the Republicans so sure that the Democrats would do this?

    Think about it.

    And NO, there was not a need to move quickly when it crushes due process and people’s rights.
    Abusers … the idea of calling Franken an abuser with not proof is wrong, and it will backfire
    on Democrats.

  • Brux

    Clearly this is too hard to analyze, and impossible to be fair about, and looking
    at the demographics of the last vote there is something going on that is not
    understood, at least by Democrats who somehow thing they cannot get Trump
    or Moore, so they have to show they are serious by slamming Franken … what
    idiots. Conyers … sadly yes, there was a history and proof. I have not problem
    with that. The games, nonsense and BS that goes on in American poltiics is
    not being reported on and I doubt anyone knows much more about any of this
    other than how it hits them emotionally. And reacting on pure emotions with
    no facts or disregarding the facts to make some kind of virtue signal or be
    politically correct is foolish and unproductive, and explains why Democrats
    are where they are even with the Republican swamp filled with sewage. The
    sign of insanity is doing the same failing thing over and over. Maybe stop
    Democrats and don’t make important decisions when you are hysterical.

    One of these women used the term thin-slicing … but I would say she is
    mind-blind another terms from the Gladwell book.

    • Noelle

      Steve Bannon must be very happy about everyone going on about this harassment issue with politicians. Now they can try to pass their awful bills that will harm even more people.

      • Brux

        Yeah, and Al Franken was a good effective and rousing voice against them, no silenced by his own team.

  • jake3_14

    Kate Harding scares me. In her zeal, she’s said that it’s OK to throw out the baby with the bathwater, because women must take the opportunity to remove the really bad men in power. If some less bad men get swept out — too bad, so sad. Harding should read Arthur Miller’s “The Crucible.”

Host

Mina Kim

Mina Kim is KQED News’ evening anchor and the Friday host of Forum. She reports on a wide range of issues affecting the Bay Area and interviews newsmakers, local leaders and innovators.

Mina started her career in public radio at KQED as an intern with Pacific Time. When the station began expanding its local news coverage in 2010, she became a general assignment reporter, then health reporter for The California Report. Mina’s award-winning stories have included on-the-scene reporting of the 2014 Napa earthquake and a series on gun violence in Oakland.

Her work has been recognized by the Radio Television Digital News Association, the Society of Professional Journalists and the Asian American Journalists Association.

Mina grew up in St. John’s, Newfoundland and Oak Park, CA. She lives in Napa.

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