A lose-lose situation


Franken is out.

His resignation is a big loss for liberals. He was a good senator, he was a sharp critic of Republican sleaze, he was hard-working and attentive to his constituents. I would have happily kept electing him for term after term. I liked him personally.

However, it would also be a loss if he hadn’t resigned. How effective could he be at criticizing sleaze with this black mark hanging over his head? How well could he continue to do his job while under a pointless investigation that the Republicans, as is their wont, would never allow to come to a conclusion? His offenses were real offenses that needed to be addressed, even if they weren’t as severe as those of Borris Miles (a Democrat in the Texas Legislature), or nowhere near the repellent behavior of Roy Moore or Donald Trump. It’s all got to be cleaned up and out.

There is one way to turn this into a positive gain, though. The Democrats have to wake up and walk the walk, and be strong in demanding ethical, responsible behavior from their representatives. Not only would it make for better government, but it would be a pragmatic step toward strengthening their electoral coalition. Let the Republicans have the bigots and racists and Nazis; Democrats should do right by women. I know who I’d rather have on my side.

And while they’re at it, take pride in being the party of minorities and immigrants and the oppressed. Build a platform for the emerging demographics in this country.

And while I’m dreaming, could the Democrats be the party of labor again? If we want to improve the economy, having a party that actually supported unions would be a phenomenal development. This would build an unstoppable base.

Nah, these are the Democrats. They’ll find a way to fuck it up, probably by continuing to pander to the elite donor class, just like the Republicans.

Comments

  1. consciousness razor says

    Let the Republicans have the bigots and racists and Nazis; Democrats should do right by women. I know who I’d rather have on my side.

    I don’t like this sentiment at all. I won’t “let” them have those either. They should be doing right by women. And all of our political parties should be on the side of human beings.

    If there were just two such parties, it would in theory provide a way to express reasonable and constructive opposition to the other party’s proposals. That’s good, and one-party governments are bad. Like any respectable argument, it isn’t a fight — you ought to try to help your interlocutor (and yourself) come to a better conclusion, which is very different from trying to rip their heads off and claiming victory.

    If we don’t have that, we don’t have anything very respectable. What we don’t need is for one of our political parties to be ghoulish fanatics who shouldn’t have anyone’s support and undermine every worthwhile policy/institution that they come across. My concern is not that the person who gets an elected position has a “D” next to their name, rather than an “R.” No matter who it is or which group they’re in, they will have the same job to do. We had better not let them do anything other than that, whether we elected them or our opponents elected them, because our demands ought to be the same either way.

  2. flange says

    I agree with what The Rude Pundit says:
    “So task number one for Democrats every day, every goddamn day, needs to be calling out Donald Trump as a perpetrator of sexual assault. Every day, they need to call on him to resign, like Al Franken, like Anthony Weiner, like John Conyers. Don’t give a fucking inch. And every chance they have to bring it up, they should. And every time they can confront him right to his stupid fucking face, they should. Make it fucking inescapable. Make Republicans have to either agree or actively deny that Trump did the shit he’s accused of. Grind those fuckers down.”
    I’m not optimistic about the Democrats actually doing this.

  3. says

    The people must never forget: Nowhere in the US Constitution are political parties provided for. Indeed, at the time of the drafting of the Constitution, many of our founding fathers viewed political parties as “factions,” harmful to the new Republic. Political parties have carved out an immense role in governing our nation and our states and they are a total fabrication. They are a ridiculous, self-serving and grotesque perversion of what governing ought to be. They are bank-rolled by rich fat cats (thanks Citizens United!) and do not serve the people, only themselves. Stop thinking of political parties as essential or even inevitable.

  4. jack16 says

    So PZ . . . How about Franken for President. Youth, progressive, I’d vote for him. Second to Bernie sanders of course.

    There’s a twitter theme.
    jack16

  5. mikehuben says

    I have some questions.

    How does resignation benefit the victims?

    If anything, doesn’t resignation make it much more difficult for Franken to do good for everybody, let alone his victims?

    Just what is Franken supposed to do to atone for his transgressions, and why would he need to be out of office to do it?

  6. Nerd of Redhead, Dances OM Trolls says

    MikeHuben, quit trolling. You obviously don’t understand honesty and INTEGRITY.
    So you have none.

  7. drivenb4u says

    I am still not sure what to take away from all this. Franken imo is one of the better Democratic senators. His behavior was boorish and crude, but there were no dick pics, no underage women, no control of anyone’s career. Definitely not anywhere close to same league as any of the other high-profile ones. I guess lose-lose sums it up best.

  8. Dave Grain says

    OP:
    “His offenses were real offenses that needed to be addressed, even if they weren’t as severe as those of Borris Miles (a Democrat in the Texas Legislature), or nowhere near the repellent behavior of Roy Moore or Donald Trump.”

    I believe this is called “whataboutery”, and it is not pretty or useful.

  9. says

    No. If I were arguing that his offenses did not need to be addressed, because whatabout X,Y, Z…that would be whataboutery. This is the opposite of that.

  10. Dave Grain says

    PZ Myers:

    Well, it seems we each chose one of the 2 listed definitions supplied by Wiki:

    “1) Protesting at hypocrisy; responding to criticism by accusing one’s opponent of similar or worse faults.
    2) Protesting at inconsistency; refusing to act in one instance unless similar action is taken in other similar instances. quotation”

    https://en.wiktionary.org/wiki/whataboutery

  11. consciousness razor says

    No. I’m afraid the Republicans won.

    I accept that you’re afraid. If they’ve won anything, it isn’t anything that we should aim for, and that leads me to wonder why you’d give enough of a shit about that to even mention it.

    I can accept that sometimes these things may turn out to be a draw, that nobody gains much from our attempts to work together to make our world a better place, that some conflicts may simply and literally be intractable. But there is no reason to accept the premise that “winning,” in the sense that preoccupies those who think like you, is what we should be after.

    When you are dealing amoral vipers having a moral code greater than survival is a vice.

    That is amoral, self-defeating bullshit. Since you’re not saying it ironically, that makes you one of the “amoral vipers” that we have to deal with. Fortunately, we have better tools to work with than your fear and nonsense, so it will probably work out just fine in the end.

  12. Crys T says

    I’m shocked, *shocked* that there are dudes wailing over Franken’s resignation & weeping that the Republicans have somehow “won” because of it. Listen up: this is not about party politics, this is about human decency. And the irony is that if he’d stayed on, the Dems would be every bit as hypocritical and despicable as the Republicans you claim to despise so much.

    Also, just fyi, you’d be losing a good number of women because they are sick as fuck of being continually thrown under the bus whenever your little boys’ club feels it’s politically expedient. And you know what, boys? Without women on board, you haven’t got a snowball’s chance at winning any offices. Not even for fucking dogcatcher.

    So deal. It’s 2017 and women are officially, publicly sick of your shit.

  13. vucodlak says

    @ Mike Smith. #12

    Franken’s behavior was unacceptable. Some things cannot be tolerated, even from powerful and useful allies. If we refuse to take a stand for our values, then our fight is nothing but empty tribalism. This is about the one of the most fundamental rights of all- the right to be safe and secure in one’s person. Franken has violated that right on numerous occasions.

    That’s not a small thing. It’s not something that can just be shrugged off. We’re not talking about a couple of unpaid parking tickets- he groped women.

  14. John Morales says

    As an outside observer, it seems to me that his incumbency had become untenable as more allegations came up and more and more senators called for his resignation, not just external parties.

    I think that it’s a good political outcome for his party, and (unlike Mike Smith) I don’t dismiss the pragmatic power of the moral high ground. If nothing else, it makes for a stark contrast with the other party on more than one level.

    (Also, women are roughly 50% of the electorate)

  15. John Morales says

    [Crys T, I feel I should add I wrote my comment before seeing yours — which gratifies me]

  16. mikehuben says

    @Nerd of Redhead
    “You obviously don’t understand honesty and INTEGRITY.”
    That’s a nice load of ad-hominem bullshit from a hater.

    What I understand (or not) does not affect the validity of those three questions from #5. Presume for a moment that Franken is honest and has integrity. The questions still stand. And they are hard questions. I don’t see anybody here able to step up to them: not PZ, and definitely not you. Honesty and integrity do not require self-sacrifice through resignation or suicide. What do you think they require in this case and why? Start with the victims and how they will be made whole.

    I bought and read joyously “Al Franken, Giant of the Senate”. Like PZ, I admired him greatly. And as best I can tell, he tried to put his comedic (and sleazy) past behind him so that he could serve the nation. This is hardly the only such conundrum: consider Thomas Jefferson and the contributions he made even after accusations about Sally Hemings came out. How should this work?

  17. says

    @13 is political power worth having?

    It certainly worked out ok for Jews, gay folk, Romani, etc. In 1925 Germany. No mass deaths or anything.

    @15

    Even on the basis of respecting fundamental safety Franken should be tolerated as the Republicans are about to have a person who literally wants me dead and fundamentally violated women too.

    @16

    Republicans don’t believe it’s possible for Democrats to have the high ground, catergorically. They’re blind to the start contrast.

    Enjoy the high road to the gas Chambers and corrective rape.

  18. John Morales says

    mikehuben:

    I bought and read joyously “Al Franken, Giant of the Senate”. Like PZ, I admired him greatly. [blah] How should this work?

    Since you greatly admire and respect him, perhaps simply accept his decision and take him at his word. His was quite a good and very clear resignation speech, in my estimation.

    Me, I listened to his resignation speech and my impression is that, had he had his druders, he would have remained on. But it was an excellent speech.

  19. mikehuben says

    @Crys T

    Without women on board, you haven’t got a snowball’s chance at winning any offices. Not even for fucking dogcatcher.

    That’s a very nice sentiment that I’d love to agree with, if it were true. But the fact is we’re going to have Moore in the Senate instead of Franken. Because many women are not as enlightened as you are, and enough are on board with the bad guys. So who will you vote for when both sides are dirty? I’d hope it would be the lesser of two evils.

  20. mikehuben says

    @John Morales

    Since you greatly admire and respect him, perhaps simply accept his decision and take him at his word. His was quite a good and very clear resignation speech, in my estimation.

    His speech was eloquent. But that shouldn’t discourage me from asking questions of him or of the people here.

  21. tomh says

    I just don’t see this as such a huge loss for Democrats as some others do. Sure, Franken was a decent senator, by today’s standards, but is Dayton going to appoint some right wing nut job? I don’t think so. Is Minnesota going to elect some right winger in 2020? If so, I guess Franken was doomed anyway. I think people are just wringing their hands a little early.

  22. Dave, ex-Kwisatz Haderach says

    Admittedly, it can be hard to see the point in maintaining the moral high ground when your opponents have gleefully abandoned it and gained support by doing so. And if all that matters is the political calculus, they aren’t wrong.

    But decency matters. Being better people matters. For fucks sake Dems, seize this opportunity! Clean house, be the better party. Stop trying to ride the centrist line. Stand for the good of humanity, equality for everyone, care for the health and well-being of people of all ages and classes. If there’s any lesson to be learned from the last election cycle, its that’s there are a lot of people out there who want that in their party.

    Or don’t, stick to business as usual. Stay with being almost-but-not-quite-entirely Repubs. I’m sure whatever gets built from the ashes will be better, it would be hard to imagine something worse.

    But what do I know? I’m just an outsider trying to keep the sickness in American politics from infecting my country.

  23. John Morales says

    mikehuben @22, what follows is not pedantry.

    Do you really not understand “simply accept his decision and take him at his word”?

    If you ask questions of him regarding this issue and its implications, then you have neither simply accepted his decision nor taken his word for it, have you?

    I know you are not stupid, so perhaps consider whether you are locked into a simplistic stimulus-response loop instead of thinking things through. Because your retort was stupid.

  24. vucodlak says

    @ Mike Smith, #19

    Roy Moore isn’t replacing Al Franken. Another Democrat will be replacing Franken and will finish out his term. Whether Franken leaves or stays, it will have no bearing on Moore’s election. However, Franken’s leaving does give the Democrats a better position from which to oppose Moore.

    Yes, it’s true that Roy Moore wants us dead. He will hardly be the first to try. Hopefully he will lose. If not, then hopefully the Senate ethics committee will see him out the door before he has a chance to do any harm. If not, then hopefully the Democrats won’t dither on replacing Franken, and will present an adequate barrier to Republicans.

    There are still a lot of ‘ifs’ before we get to gas chambers. Moore can’t do much by himself. He is not popular among his colleagues within his own party, so most legislation he tries to propose will likely be D.O.A. But, if worse comes to worst, then the right will learn that they don’t have a monopoly on monsters, and neither the coward’s little gun nor his impotent god will save him.

    We’re not there yet, though, and hopefully we never will be.

  25. consciousness razor says

    @13 is political power worth having?

    Getting away with whatever evil shit we can, with whatever power we do happen to wield, is obviously wrong. I think we’re responsible for what we do with our power, and I don’t think the game is just to grab as much of it as we can.

    It certainly worked out ok for Jews, gay folk, Romani, etc. In 1925 Germany. No mass deaths or anything.

    What the fuck are you trying to imply with holocaust denialism, asshole?

    Give a clear explanation of how anything I’ve argued is incorrect, if you think you can do so. Otherwise, shut the fuck up.

  26. tomh says

    “Another Democrat will be replacing Franken and will finish out his term. ”

    Under Minnesota code a special election will be held in November 2018 during mid-term elections. That person will serve until Franken’s term is up in 2020.

  27. Azkyroth, B*Cos[F(u)]==Y says

    It certainly worked out ok for Jews, gay folk, Romani, etc. In 1925 Germany. No mass deaths or anything.

    What the fuck are you trying to imply with holocaust denialism, asshole?

    Are you really that stupid? Or is this more of your pseudo-Socratic playing-dumb bullshit?

  28. Nerd of Redhead, Dances OM Trolls says

    That’s a nice load of ad-hominem bullshit from a hater.

    You aren’t worth hating troll. That takes effort. But 40+ years of honesty and integrity, I know it when I see it. You don’t have it.
    Bullshit questions don’t undermine actions. You don’t know what is or isn’t appropriate. Just what fits you presuppositions.
    Why don’t you show me your honesty and integrity by shutting the fuck up.

  29. mikehuben says

    @John Morales
    It’s hard to be polite when you lead off with:

    Do you really not understand “simply accept his decision and take him at his word”?

    Nope. I’m simply not feeling passive or incurious. Nor are the questions futilely addressed to Franken: they are addressed to our fellow commenters.

    How does resignation benefit the victims?
    If anything, doesn’t resignation make it much more difficult for Franken to do good for everybody, let alone his victims?
    Just what is Franken supposed to do to atone for his transgressions, and why would he need to be out of office to do it?

  30. Nerd of Redhead, Dances OM Trolls says

    Mike Huben, pretending Roy Moore will replace Al Frankin shows with prima facie evidence your lack of honesty and integrity.
    And I would also say totally stupid and ignorant in your assholery.

  31. consciousness razor says

    I may really be that stupid, Azkyroth, but I’m definitely being sincere. Your insult is duly noted. I fail to see how the things I’ve said would lead to the dire consequences represented by Mike Smith’s violent/paranoid fantasies, which are also blatantly inconsistent given his other views expressed elsewhere on Pharyngula.

    Are you really so stupid as to think I didn’t understand the meaning of the words that he typed? That’s not my problem. What I question is the implication being made, because I think it’s a ridiculous non sequitur, which I guess he made out of desperation since he had nothing better to offer. Perhaps there is some more reasonable interpretation that I’m just missing somehow, but if so, I must be too stupid to see anything approaching reasonableness, because I don’t see it. Like I said to him, if you can show me where I’ve gone wrong somehow, I invite you to do so.

  32. Nerd of Redhead, Dances OM Trolls says

    Just what is Franken supposed to do to atone for his transgressions, and why would he need to be out of office to do it.If you are so far gone in dishonesty and lack of integrity you think this question is relevant, try this.
    Restart his political career by running for dog catcher, and work his way back up over years.

  33. Nerd of Redhead, Dances OM Trolls says

    Dang, blockquote bork my #36. The first sentence should be blockquoted. My problem with Foxfire, which disabled an extension.

  34. silverfeather says

    There was a time when I really liked and respected Al Franken. Now he’s just one more to add to the “No Heroes” list.

    His resignation speech was terrible, and clearly showed that he is not sorry for his behavior in the least. He didn’t take any responsibility – he actually said he didn’t do anything wrong. He used the same “I’ve become a distraction” talking point that republicans trot out to slime their way out of meaningful accountability – it’s disingenuous bullshit when they do it and it’s disingenuous bullshit when he does it too.

    He should have willingly resigned after Leeann Tweeden. One time is one too many, much less waiting for number eight to allow himself to be pushed out – all the while playing the martyr.

    The thing that he has best illuminated to me is the sheer number of progressives who hypocritically bang the drum against sexual assault and harassment only when it’s politically expedient for them. When it comes time to stand by those principals and hold one of their own to account how quickly they fall into victim blame, excuses, concern over “ruining a good man’s life”, and anything else they can pull out of the Patriarchy Playbook. Deep rifts aren’t just for the atheist movement – we can see the faultlines in the progressive movement as well.

  35. mikehuben says

    @Nerd of Redhead

    Why don’t you show me your honesty and integrity by shutting the fuck up.

    More hate. And the most pathetic attempt at manipulation I’ve seen in years. You’re trying to be hurtful, but are so inept and undignified that it is laughable.

  36. mikehuben says

    @Nerd of Redhead

    Restart his political career by running for dog catcher, and work his way back up over years.

    Finally, you address an issue. Only one problem with your suggestion: it didn’t work for Trump, won’t likely work for Moore who already was thrown out twice as head of a Supreme Court (albeit for different issues) and will probably be elected again. Another problem is that atonement goes, it does not do anything for the victims. It’s as if you wanted to be vengeful rather than find social justice.

  37. consciousness razor says

    mikehuben:

    How does resignation benefit the victims?

    We should hold elected representatives accountable for their behavior. Having a system which actually does that (or accepting their resignation) is beneficial to everyone in the long run.

    If anything, doesn’t resignation make it much more difficult for Franken to do good for everybody, let alone his victims?

    It makes it more difficult for Franken personally to do that, not more difficult for our system as a whole to work properly and do good for everybody in the long run. Obviously, an ounce of prevention, in the form of Franken not misbehaving in the first place, would’ve been preferable, but at this point that’s irrelevant.

    Just what is Franken supposed to do to atone for his transgressions, and why would he need to be out of office to do it?

    What do you mean by atonement, and why do you think that’s what would need to happen? I mean, it’s not like he could undo what happened, whether or not he’s in office. So, assuming you realize that, you’re apparently asking about being forgiven or something along those lines. But another question remains about how we should deal with representatives who don’t adequately represent us. People lose their jobs every day, even very important jobs that no doubt somebody else is capable of doing. This is a job, I think this is cause to fire him, but instead he resigned. If you think it needs to be something worse, in order to justify firing him, then it’s up to you to explain that. Or you could just accept his resignation and move on.

  38. Nerd of Redhead, Dances OM Trolls says

    MikeHubin, you show NO plan, just idiocy and handwaving. What a fool you are if you think it shows honesty and integrity. Which starts with “I am wrong, and I must react to that”. What are you ever wrong about? Nothing from your arrogance, just like Trump’s.

  39. chakolate says

    I like Franken too, but he did have to resign.

    But I think he should run again, and let the people of his state decide whether he’s learned his lesson. He was a damn good senator.

  40. tomh says

    @ #44

    There’s not a chance in Hell he’ll run again. Why would he want all this dredged up again? And so what if he was a good senator, there are plenty of people who could be just as good without all the baggage.

  41. Azkyroth, B*Cos[F(u)]==Y says

    the things I’ve said would lead to the dire consequences represented by Mike Smith’s violent/paranoid fantasies, which are also blatantly inconsistent given his other views expressed elsewhere on Pharyngula.

    Are you really so stupid as to think I didn’t understand the meaning of the words that he typed? That’s not my problem. What I question is the implication being made, because I think it’s a ridiculous non sequitur, which I guess he made out of desperation since he had nothing better to offer. Perhaps there is some more reasonable interpretation that I’m just missing somehow, but if so, I must be too stupid to see anything approaching reasonableness, because I don’t see it. Like I said to him, if you can show me where I’ve gone wrong somehow, I invite you to do so.

    What does any of that have to do with you labeling a sarcastic, rhetorical question referencing the fact that the Holocaust and other genocides did in fact happen as “Holocaust denial?”

  42. says

    @ consciousness razor.

    First of all I didn’t deny the Holocaust. What the hell? I, with dripping sarcasm, referenced it happening to express my disdain for what I consider naive orientation.

    My question wasn’t about what to do with political power once you get some. My question was whether we should be pursuing it at all.

    Given the basic structural arrangement we are under, most notably the first pass the post system, the vast propaganda system on the right, and the Republican base aversion to realty, I am arguing that taking the high road will perpetually knee cap Democrats and likely freeze them out of power. The fact is given the first pass the post system the vast majority of political positions of power are locked in a zero sum game. It IS a game and the Democratic party plays it to have good sportsmanship. The Republicans play it to destroy their opponents. It’s why they are winning and why giving them another weapon is fucking stupid.

    I think you are hopelessly naive on how movable people are in thier political orientation or the degree in which the long term matters. The fact is the rational informed voter is basically a myth. The vast majority of people who vote for Republicans will continue to skip down the road to fascism. The only thing we can do is maintain whatever power we have and begin separating.

    The Republican base and party are, as a class, unreasonable lying liars who lie who are bent on nothing more than their own power. They must be presumed to pose an existent threat at all times. To put the point bluntly I think we are at war already abet a cold one.

    Perhaps you are less pessimistic about the GOP but I see no hope of being able to negotiate with, for example, the Bible belt powers that be. You can’t find any common ground with amoral vipers who want you murdered.

  43. methuseus says

    It bothers me that Franken basically didn’t admit to any wrongdoing at all.

    If he really isn’t guilty, he needs to be very clear about it and fight. Otherwise, if it’s really a snow job by Republicans, they will know they can just do it again to someone else.

    If he’s guilty of even a single instance (which he definitely is judging by the photo released by the first victim) he needs to admit to even one allegation for me to have respect for him, otherwise he sounds like yet another hypocritical politician. I’ll still listen to his voice, I just won’t have much respect for him overall. He was a product of the 70’s comedy scene, which seems to have been at least somewhat misogynistic, but that’s no excuse for what he’s done, especially more recently.

    Either way, I think it better that he waited to resign for more of his peers to add their voices, especially the women. It helps show that we need to listen to women. It also shows that it is not a knee-jerk reaction and that we need thought for these issues. Responding to abuse of any kind is not where knee-jerk reactions belong.

  44. mikehuben says

    @consciousness razor
    Thank you for attempting my questions.

    We should hold elected representatives accountable for their behavior. Having a system which actually does that (or accepting their resignation) is beneficial to everyone in the long run.

    I agree with you. But we do not have such a system. Voluntary resignations are not either of those. As Mike Smith points out, that merely rewards the amoral.

    It makes it more difficult for Franken personally to do that, not more difficult for our system as a whole to work properly and do good for everybody in the long run.

    Once again, a system that allows the amoral to remain while those like Franken leave is not going to work properly. And it will not benefit everyone, let alone the victims.

    What do you mean by atonement, and why do you think that’s what would need to happen? I mean, it’s not like he could undo what happened, whether or not he’s in office.

    Atonement is the concept of a person taking action to correct previous wrongdoing on their part, either through direct action to undo the consequences of that act, equivalent action to do good for others, or some other expression of feelings of remorse… In the legal systems, the concept of atonement plays an important role with respect to criminal justice, where it is considered one of the primary goals of criminal rehabilitation. The ordinary meaning.

    People lose their jobs every day, even very important jobs that no doubt somebody else is capable of doing.

    Ah, the “every cog in the wheel can be replaced” view of human nature. While Franken can be replaced, it is not likely that his replacement will be as good. He really is an exceptional senator, holding the Republicans’ feet to the fire in an important way that nobody else does. He IS trying to make the political system work the way you think it should. Such exceptional people should not get a pass for bad behavior; I think they should be required to atone. Perhaps by dedicating themselves to improving the system, something Franken was already working on.

    But none of these ideas directly benefit the victims. The victims have no say in them. Insisting on resignations is just as blunt an instrument as “kill them all and let God sort them out.”

  45. whywhywhy says

    #49 mikehuben

    But none of these ideas directly benefit the victims. The victims have no say in them. Insisting on resignations is just as blunt an instrument as “kill them all and let God sort them out.”

    Franken is still alive. He still commands attention of the press and if he can truly recognize the pain he has caused his victims, then he can begin to atone as a citizen. He does not seem to recognize the harm he has done and thus even as Senator, how could he atone? His resignation sends a signal to his victims that abusers are not to be rewarded. That message alone is a step towards atonement and a step to improve society: abuse of women is unacceptable regardless of whatever else one may do.

    In other words, is it OK to look the other way as someone steals your wallet since there is someone else currently stealing your car? Even if the person stealing your wallet is trying to catch the guy driving your car? Most folks would want to prosecute both, but I am not sure about you.

  46. says

    @mikehuben

    Once again, a system that allows the amoral to remain while those like Franken leave is not going to work properly. And it will not benefit everyone, let alone the victims.

    What you do not seem to understand is that Franken is just one of these amorals. There is at most a difference in quantity, but not in quality between people like Trump or Moore and Franken. Franken is an asshole, who has no problem with violating the consent of others (see his missing apology).
    There is also no way to atone for what he did. This is not a window he smashed that he could replace and say sorry. He can not “ungrope” the people he molested. He could atone legally, but never morally. That does not mean he has to life as a pariah as long as he shows remorse and change (both of which he has not shown at all btw.). But it does make him unfit to be a senator.
    And can we please stop with the “but the others are worse” excuse? Yes the GOP is worse. Thats why they are the political enemy. That does not mean that we should start emulating them by doing the same bad stuff they are doing. Political power by any means is the way the GOP works, and what makes the GOP such a horror.

    PS: You have no clue what “benefits the victims”. Neither do I or anyone besides the victims themself. Maybe they get at least some satisfaction from him losing his job, or maybe not. So could you PLS stop using the victims as your argumentative pawns?

  47. rpjohnston says

    I recall there being a lot of hate for Bernie-Or-Busters. Sanctimonious pricks, they were. White dudes who had the privileges of stodgily standing on the “moral high ground”, refusing for to vote for a “lesser evil” even to prevent a far greater evil from taking power, because their self-righteous “principles” were more important to them than the practical effects on the people those “principles” were supposedly protecting. We sneered at them: they threw the elections and fucked everything up because they’re so shortsighted! They can’t think strategically! (I switched to Clinton in the general, for the record, because I’m not a flaming idiot.)

    Anyway, what was this topic about again, something about how we need to show our moral high ground and toss out gropy Democrats, even if it allows the even greater evil of women’s enslavement (and they’ll get replaced by rapey Republicans who won’t give a fuck)?

    This pretty much sums up my feelings on the matter: https://hecatedemeter.wordpress.com/2017/11/28/what-i-think-al-franken-must-do/

    The Republicans are going to win and win and fuck ALL of us over because Democrats are all damned Bernie-Or-Busters whenever it comes to any matter of sanctimony vs strategy. And you all should know – those of us who get really fucked by this, we’re going to remember that you, yeah YOU, sold us to the Republicans because you cared more about posturing your support for your own egos than ACTUALLY supporting us.

    Anyway at least until 2018 I’m sure Franken will be replaced by somebody good, but after that, we’re just going to have to HOPE that the Gropy Democrat Seat doesn’t become the Rapey Genocidal Republican Seat. Thanks very fucking much.

  48. rpjohnston says

    Also, Trolley Problem Redux: Flip the lever for the creepy crappy Democrat and save lives, but feel personally icky, or do nothing and let the Republican trolley run over millions of people but keep your own hands clean? I figured out my general response to the Trolley Problem long ago: Even if I choose not to decide, I’ll still have made a choice, and that decision will be on my hands. So I’ll choose the lesser evil, every time, even if it means touching the lever.

  49. a_ray_in_dilbert_space says

    A little history:
    In the early 1800s, the Women’s suffragists were also among the strongest voices in the abolition movement. They remained steadfast throughout the antebellum period and through the dark years of the civil war. Yet, when the 14th and 15th amendments came forward, the abolitionists abandoned the cause of women’s suffrage and women remained neglected by the Constitution. Only about a decade later, the corrupt bargain led to the end of Reconstruction and the abandonment of black Americans in the South in return for Republican nonentity Rutherford B. Hayes being elected President. Constitutional protection was only as good as its enforcement.

    A century later, Americans had an opportunity to correct this omission by passing the Equal Rights Amendment. Again, women were thrown under the bus–this time to avoid offending religious conservatives who were afraid the amendment would outlaw separate rest rooms for the sexes. The Equal Rights Amendment died, and the progressive, women’s and civil rights movements have been on the back foot for nearly half a century since.

    Then came Anita Hill, who was thrown under the bus to appease conservatives and because Clarence Thomas dared to call the accusations a “lynching”. We all know how well that turned out.

    Now, we’re having another moment. Half the country has already shown that they are willing to accept a sexual predator in the highest office in the land. Accepting one in the Senate seems a small price to pay when you’ve already sold your soul. And the other half is being asked to sell its soul, as well, for the greater good…for the good of the women… We’ve been down this road before. We are asked to compromise on what should be a bedrock principle–women’s bodily autonomy, women’s equality, women as fellow humans–to hold onto some perceived gain or “greater good”. And when we do, the patriarchy uses the moment to attack on all fronts and knock us back…a year…a decade…a millennium.

    There are only two sides here, and there’s only one question: Which side are you on?

  50. microraptor says

    rpjonston @52:

    Anyway at least until 2018 I’m sure Franken will be replaced by somebody good, but after that, we’re just going to have to HOPE that the Gropy Democrat Seat doesn’t become the Rapey Genocidal Republican Seat. Thanks very fucking much.

    First of all, that would still be an issue if Franken stayed in office. And as a lot of Democrats are now unfriending him, it means that he’d have a lot less ability to do anything until that special election in 2018 than his replacement, so net loss there.

    Second of all, Hillary never got credibly accused of any crimes and Bernie had already signaled his willingness to compromise with Republicans when it came to things like health care and LGBT rights if it got him some of his economic policies, so let’s stop with the pretending that he was a perfect progressive already.

  51. mikehuben says

    @rpjohnston
    Wow. That’s exactly what I think. Excellently written. I especially like the analogy of the Bernie-Or-Busters: it’s what we’re seeing here in this blog from many of the writers.

    @a_ray_in_dilbert_space
    I don’t buy your interpretation of history. And simplistic “with me or against me” thinking is not the style I like.

  52. Holms says

    #55
    But the unfriending is part of the issue. Team Progressive* rushes to show how noble they are by distancing themselves from a guy guilty of demanding kisses from women – while Team Pussygrabber cackle in glee and endorse a paedophile. I bet they can hardly believe their luck.

    * relative to the Republicans, anyway.

  53. says

    @Homes
    YES. I indeed do distance myself from people whole sexually assault people. I do not think that makes me noble.
    It makes me “not an asshole” so.

    Why are so many people here willing to overlook the sexual assault of at least six women, just because it is inconvenient for them?
    (Yes yes, i know the answer. Women do still not matter when it gets “really important”)

  54. Saad says

    Holms, #57

    Team Progressive* rushes to show how noble they are by distancing themselves from a guy guilty of demanding kisses from women – while Team Pussygrabber cackle in glee and endorse a paedophile. I bet they can hardly believe their luck

    Nice try. But you have to do much better than “they do it, so we should too.” I heard they also let their people get away with being anti-environment.

    Also, it wasn’t just kisses. It was also groping women’s breasts and buttocks. I bet you knew that though but left it out deliberately.

  55. Onamission5 says

    @Saad:
    It also wasn’t just “demanding kisses” as if they were pecks on the cheek. It was pushing his tongue into a woman’s mouth without asking after she reluctantly agreed to participate in the skit he’d written which said she had to kiss him.

    So, to recap. Franken–
    –wrote a script in which he got to kiss the younger female entertainer
    –pressured her to go along
    –then stuck his tongue in her mouth when he knew she didn’t want to kiss him in the first place

    And then after she pushed him away with harsh words, proceeded to antagonize her the remainder of the tour. And that was just his behavior as described from the first account of harassment. There’s five more.

    But sure, oh laundry list of hand wringing men in this thread and elsewhere, it’s all about the stupid women not knowing that Franken was our gift horse and greatest ally, the only person doing any serious work to hold the US together. It can’t possibly be about men consistently trying to minimize his behavior because they identify with him and not his targets. It can’t possibly be about ostensibly progressive men who still, after all this time, think of women as objects with which to bludgeon conservatives rather than people in our own right.

  56. Holms says

    #59
    Actually no, I had not been aware that he had done more that the aggressive kissing, but now I am.

  57. Holms says

    Oops, didn’t mean to post just yet…

    #59
    Your characterisation of my post was not accurate. I was not at all arguing that we should join them in the sexual assault stakes, only that I did not think Franken’s actions (as I understood them at that time) warranted resignation.

  58. KG says

    While Franken can be replaced, it is not likely that his replacement will be as good. He really is an exceptional senator, holding the Republicans’ feet to the fire in an important way that nobody else does. – mikhuben@49

    Franken himself ensured, by his repeated sexual assaults on women, that he would no longer be able to hold Republicans’ feet to the fire – whenever and however he tried to do so, his attempts would be undermined by the known fact that he is a serial sexual abuser. I’m still finding it next to impossible to understand how you manage not to see this; the only viable hypothesis appears to be that you don’t actually see such assaults as a matter of much importance.

  59. birgerjohansson says

    Repubublican congressmen fear their base, as there is a real risk of getting “primaried”.
    Maybe it is time for Democratic voters to show their politicians they have no patience for the usual Democratic BS and republican-lite that passes for “mainstream” politics.

    Republicans have been fighting a low- intensity war since Reagan and it is time for the accomodists to get out of the way.

  60. rpjohnston says

    Since I posted from this blog earlier in the thread, they’ve made another post about Franken and fallout, so I’m posting here again though I didn’t plan to continue. https://hecatedemeter.wordpress.com/2017/12/08/this-franken-thing-isnt-sitting-right-with-me/

    A few things to mind: They are still more blase about the whole thing than I am. Their point about anonymous accusations doesn’t sit right with me. The power imbalance in Trent Franks’ case makes it more than “just a weird thing”. And their “I’m-not-touching-you” excuse for that Franken is still stupid and I’m not playing that game, nor the one in parens about the accuser grab-assing. As much as I liked Franken before, he looks condemnable to me now, and I don’t like them downplaying it.

    But the point that they make at the end is important. A lot of people think that we’re showing the Republicans the high road – but no, we’re showing them where we’re weak and they can lie about us. So, once again, I’ll reiterate my position from before, and from last thread: In this moment, we need whoever we can get; primary the hell out of them when we have the opportunity. Replace Franken, and whoever else falls (yes, there will be more Democrats falling) on the ballot in 2018. Preferably with women. Old white men have had their time far too long. But if we decide to give all of ours the axe right now? The Republicans will give all our necks the axe. Including those women we’re all so vcal about defending. Yeah, I don’t like it either. I feel like slime. But this is the real world, buttercups, there ain’t a perfect solution to anything and there ain’t a not-shitty solution to a lot of things, and often you just have to suck it up, use your head, and go with whatever is least bad, and accept that you ain’t a goddamn saint.

    @63: No Democrat can hold Republicans’ feet to the fire. They don’t give a flaming shit what Democrats think, except that whatever we’re for, they’re against it. It’s time to wake out of the pollyannish dream that we can make Republicans gain a sense of morality, if only we’re good enough, realize that they’re going to do whatever the hell they’re going to do, and we can either take the knife from them or get stabbed.

    @58 Why are you willing to overlook the welfare and autonomy of millions of women, when doing so is convenient to you? I like how you summed all that up as “really important” (scare quotes yours).

  61. a_ray_in_dilbert_space says

    Mike Huben,
    Pray, what do you take issue with in my narrative. Those are all documented facts. No less a voice in the abolitionist movement than Frederick Douglass said that women would have to wait for the right to vote because they couldn’t jeopardize the possibility of providing protection to the new black citizens in the South.

    And the Equal Rights Amendment, Clarence “The Pube” Thomas–they all happened within my lifetime. Women keep getting asked to take one for the team–for the greater good, and yet it seems they never get included in that good. It’s time for new teams. The one I’m on believes women are entitled to bodily autonomy and equal respect and opportunity. Which one are you on?

  62. says

    Yep, it’s lovely how the dudes (Mike, Mike, Holms et al.) tell us women what we should put up with for the sake of “the greater good”.
    Just like when Sanders endorsed an anti-choice bigot, defending the decision by telling women that the dude’s economical positions would benefit them so much. I mean, their husbands would earn more so they could feed the baby they didn’t want.
    And here’s something about atonement, rehabilitation and 2nd chances: yes, I believe in all those things. But a second chance doesn’t mean you’re getting a second chance at a really high and privileged position. There are tons of people who are just as smart, hard working and dedicated who never get a first chance, often because they are all given to white men.
    If you argue that a guy who abused his position deserves a second chance at that position, you’re arguing that they are inherently more valuable and deserving than others.

  63. Tethys says

    I’m super-bummed to lose my Senator who is very good at his job, but when the tales of groping and inappropriate kisses become a daily thing he is no longer able to effectively do that job. It is prudent that he is going to keep working until January, but since saying no to rape culture is going to be a key part of the 2018 elections the Dems simply cannot keep Franken in office. Dear Al, I’ll miss you but you can’t matter anymore.

  64. mikehuben says

    @Turi1337 (#51)

    What you do not seem to understand is that Franken is just one of these amorals. There is at most a difference in quantity, but not in quality between people like Trump or Moore and Franken.

    Ah, so if anybody commits any offense against morality they are also “just one of these amorals” with at most a difference in quantity? Please tell me what the smallest offense is to get lumped in that category that you want to damn people with eternally. Does rudeness count? Or is it merely having an opinion different than yours? And just what does this make them unfit for and why? Less absolutist minds want to know!

    You have no clue what “benefits the victims”. Neither do I or anyone besides the victims themself. So could you PLS stop using the victims as your argumentative pawns?

    Sorry, but I view that as another invitation to stop thinking and shut up. We do know some things about victims (it’s not as if victims are a new thing and this never has been researched), and indeed the legal system is set up to deal with the concerns of victims to some extent. And we do know that the first woman to come out about Franken accepted his apology: presumably his apology benefitted her. The feelings of victims are NOT unknowable. Ignoring the issue of what benefits the victims is one way to push an absolutist agenda. We see a lot of that here.

  65. Helen Huntingdon says

    I’m confused by those who talk about this as a matter of morals — it looks like straight-up bigotry to me. I’ve known all along that Franken is an appalling bigot who pretends otherwise when it works to his own aggrandizement, much like a certain community college instructor most feminists won’t mention anymore.

    If Franken’s representation of himself in light of these accusations were true, that he is simply an affectionate guy who has maybe been a bit too affectionate and needs to rethink that, then we would have the photos and the witness accounts of him grabbing male asses and pasting wet sloppy kisses on male faces.

    But we don’t, because it’s not his morals/”affection” that’s the problem — it’s his bigotry.

  66. mikehuben says

    Ah, the haters have arrived. People who cannot fathom the simple idea that other people can legitimately have different opinions, people who think they have a pipeline to truth, and damned be all those who are so impure as to disagree. Then they attempt the character assassination, loaded questions, and outright lying so characteristic of the right.

    @Saad (#59) “It was also groping women’s breasts and buttocks. I bet you knew that though but left it out deliberately.”
    @KG (#63) “ the only viable hypothesis appears to be that you don’t actually see such assaults as a matter of much importance.”
    @Giliell (#65) “Mike killing your wife doesn’t make you a bad person Huben is back defending another abuser”
    @a_ray_in_dilbert_space (67) “It’s time for new teams. The one I’m on believes women are entitled to bodily autonomy and equal respect and opportunity. Which one are you on?”

    Lessee: two outright hostile ad-hominem speculations, a bald lie, and a loaded question with a false dichotomy. So much winning!

    Anyway, about me: as I said in #56, I agree with rpjohnson in #52 and now #66.

  67. microraptor says

    mikehuben @73:

    Ah, the haters have arrived. People who cannot fathom the simple idea that other people can legitimately have different opinions, people who think they have a pipeline to truth, and damned be all those who are so impure as to disagree. Then they attempt the character assassination, loaded questions, and outright lying so characteristic of the right.

    What do you mean “arrived?” You’ve been here this whole time.

  68. mikehuben says

    @a_ray_in_dilbert_space (#67)

    Pray, what do you take issue with in my narrative. Those are all documented facts.

    Your interpretation of “facts” is problematic. You present no evidence that women’s rights were popular enough to have been enacted along with the 14th and 15th amendments, but you assume it. Then you don’t notice that the ERA didn’t pass because women’s rights were STILL not popular enough. And Anita Hill went down under the bus because the US was STILL not ready to give credence to women without evidence. That is finally changing (as is the availability of evidence).

    And the sad thing is that I agree with you that all of those events were horrible wrong turns. But well meaning people can differ legitimately over their historical interpretation. I can disagree with you without insisting you are “with me or against me.” Why don’t you?

  69. mikehuben says

    @microraptor (#74)
    So know you’ve descended to “I know you are but what am I territory”? So much winning!

  70. consciousness razor says

    Mike Smith:

    First of all I didn’t deny the Holocaust. What the hell?

    I asked what you were trying to imply with it. I chose my words carefully. I didn’t ask “why are you denying the holocaust?” I also didn’t ask “why are you accusing me of denying the holocaust? WTF?” And I didn’t ask many other things. I still haven’t gotten an answer to the question I did ask. But trying to follow your leaps in logic is not a priority for me; so don’t even bother and leave it to the side. The core issue for me is that you haven’t said anything which convinces me of a mistake in my reasoning, and I think that’s what you would have to do, if you’re interested in changing my mind.

    mikehuben:
    I’m not in a position to forgive Franken on behalf of the people he mistreated. They do not need my permission to forgive him, nor do they need my guidance about what should be required of him for atonement with them (if that’s what any of them want), because that’s entirely up to them.

    As a citizen, I am in a position to decide that we should set some standards for ourselves, such that an elected official like him should be fired for misconduct. The fact that certain people get away with it does not even look like it’s addressing this claim, much less refuting it.

    Likewise, people also get away with murder. That changes nothing whatsoever about my claims that murderers have violated the law, that they should be treated fairly and humanely in our criminal justice system, that they should not suffer the death penalty, that we should try to rehabilitate and reintegrate them into society, and so forth.

    If I had implied anywhere that nobody gets away with it, then it would’ve been reasonable for you to point to the fact that people do get away with it. But I’ve said nothing of the sort.

  71. Chuck Stanley says

    A U.S. Senator is an incredibly powerful person in American Society. Mr hands and tongue grabbed butts, breasts, or forcibly tongued 8 women without their consent.

    I’ve heard all the rationalization for him not resigning and have not been swayed by any of it. But seriously I don’t see how anyone can bring themselves to defend that position anyway without vomiting. I can understand how the Republicans can stomach defending their pigs, but if you can do it then seriously you are no better, no matter how you rationalize it. The women (and subsequently the men) of the Senate who called for his resignation got it exactly right.

  72. says

    Franken is one Senator. Yet some of the comments I’ve seen here and elsewhere treat him as if he were the last Democrat who will ever be elected, who had superpowers that would allow him to stop Trump and co. in their tracks. He isn’t. and he doesn’t.

    Helen Huntingdon@72, which community college instructor are you talking about?

  73. Helen Huntingdon says

    timgueguen, I’m not writing his name out of consideration to PZ — he has a long history of tracking mentions of his name and harassing the hell out of bloggers. Like Franken, he spotted a period in time when a white dude saying feminist things could ride a wave of opportunity, no matter his ugly history, and he rode it for all it was worth to aggrandize himself. And then imploded when too many facts about his sleazy doings were put together.

  74. microraptor says

    mikehuben @76:

    Don’t know who you’re used to dealing with, but here your comments are easily viewable so your continued attempts to gaslight and misrepresent everything you and everyone else has said aren’t going to actually accomplish anything.

  75. mikehuben says

    @microraptor (#81)
    If you have an argument about something I have said, cite me. Otherwise you’re just waving your hands and spewing vague accusations.

    Don’t know who you’re used to dealing with…

    Do you realize how pompous that sounds?

    Allow me to quote Voltaire: “I have never made but one prayer to God, a very short one: Oh Lord, make my enemies ridiculous. And God granted it.”

  76. mikehuben says

    @consciousness razor (#77)
    Perhaps the difference in our opinions is due to my being a pragmatist, while you might be an idealist (maybe you tell me: I can’t tell from such brief exposure, and I don’t want to put you in a box.)

    I think we agree that we should have enforceable standards, for many things not just sexual piggishness. But where we differ (perhaps) is that I don’t believe we should enforce on our side when they will not enforce on their side. It gives away the game. The senators who wanted Franken to resign: did they also ask for Trump to resign for even more serious reasons?

    People say Franken would be unable to continue effectively as a senator. That’s ridiculous. People continue in office effectively after all sorts of scandals and crimes. Bill Clinton did quite well after the Monica story, for example.

    If I was Franken, I would have insisted that I would resign as soon as Trump resigns or is impeached for his sexual abuses. Until that time I would devote myself to working to enact legislation for women’s issues as penance. That would allow Franken to point out how Republican critics are hypocrites and continue to subject them to the public excoriation they deserve.

  77. John Morales says

    [meta]

    mikehuben to cr:

    Perhaps the difference in our opinions is due to my being a pragmatist, while you might be an idealist […]

    That elicited a chuckle.

    But where we differ (perhaps) is that I don’t believe we should enforce on our side when they will not enforce on their side.

    Just… wow. And you imagine yourself a pragmatist!

    People say Franken would be unable to continue effectively as a senator.

    Those “people” include Franken, who is clearly far less naive than you.

    If I was Franken, I would have [blah]

    ‘Were’, not ‘was’ — you’re mixing up the indicative with the subjunctive.
    Not that it matters, of course — this is actual pedantry.

    And if you were Franken, you would have done exactly as Franken did, else you would not be Franken, you’d be you. Duh.

    (Yeah, I know full well you intended to express “were I in his position”, but it is what you actually wrote)

  78. consciousness razor says

    But where we differ (perhaps) is that I don’t believe we should enforce on our side when they will not enforce on their side. It gives away the game.

    I’m not playing your game.

    The senators who wanted Franken to resign: did they also ask for Trump to resign for even more serious reasons?

    I don’t care. You’re asking me what I think is true. I think for myself. My answer doesn’t depend on theirs.

    Do I also want the Senators you’re referring to out of their offices? Yes, I probably do. Most of them are awful people who aren’t doing their jobs. Hence, why I don’t take them to be good role models, which is to say that I don’t care what the fuck they are doing instead of the jobs that they ought to be doing.

    If I was Franken, I would have insisted that I would resign as soon as Trump resigns or is impeached for his sexual abuses.

    Why would you let Trump make your decisions for you? And if you were Al Franken, why would you let Trump your decisions for Al Franken?

    Sounds like you think Trump makes good decisions, so maybe you should keep him in office.

    Until that time I would devote myself to working to enact legislation for women’s issues as penance.

    Not unless we fire you first. Al Franken works in a democracy. We rule it. It is not up to you to dictate the terms of your own “penance.” If people don’t want you working for this country anymore, don’t want to forgive you, don’t want anything to do with you, etc., then that’s the end of it.

    That would allow Franken to point out how Republican critics are hypocrites and continue to subject them to the public excoriation they deserve.

    You clearly have no regard for what is right or true, so your talk of hypocrisy is laughable. You’re playing a game. You just want to manipulate the population so that you get your way and R’s don’t. I’m one of those people, and we’re not all like you. Asshole.

  79. consciousness razor says

    Sounds like you think Trump makes good decisions, so maybe you should keep him in office.

    But it’s not up to you, naturally. I guess the “thinking” is that we should just wait for Trump to decide if he will ever leave. That will teach him real good.

    correction:

    Not unless if we fire you first.

    There is no doubt I would fire you at the first opportunity, mikehuben. But you get the idea.

  80. Tethys says

    I don’t believe we should enforce on our side when they will not enforce on their side. It gives away the game

    Do as I say, not as I do? That is not a morally defensible position. It must be nice to be able to think about the subject impersonally and strategically as if it is a game. As a woman with decades of firsthand experience with the pervy grabass “game”, I prefer that men with predatory and abusive behaviors all get held accountable and removed from any postions of power.

  81. Simple Desultory Philip says

    mike @71:

    there was a previous thread, on another topic, in which i thanked you very much to stop weaponizing the feelings of victims to make a personal political and moral point, which those victims do not necessarily support, and should never be coopted into. guess you’ve decided to flip me the bird on that. but i’m here again to press it. sorry, not sorry. *you’re* not a victim here. *you* don’t speak for victims here. if you have a point, make it – but don’t claim you have the special moral high ground because you’re ostensibly speaking for victims who never asked you to speak for them and do not agree with your position. gross.

  82. says

    @mikehuben 71

    Ah, so if anybody commits any offense against morality they are also “just one of these amorals” with at most a difference in quantity? Please tell me what the smallest offense is to get lumped in that category that you want to damn people with eternally. Does rudeness count? Or is it merely having an opinion different than yours? And just what does this make them unfit for and why? Less absolutist minds want to know!

    The simple fact that you believe that forcing people to kiss you while groping them is even on the same moral PLANET as being rude or having a different opinion as me shows what this is really about.
    But to answer your question, how about: When you violate the consent of another person, especially in (but not necessarily limited to) sexual matters you are out. No position of power for you.
    There. A clear and easy rule anyone can follow*. So you can sleep easy that asking people to respect the consent and bodily autonomy of others will not lead the the fourth reich.
    And to the why? Because people who violate that rule can not be trusted. History shows that if they get away with it, they will do it again. They also contribute the the toxic work environment that people (mostly woman) have to live with, which is unacceptable.
    Additionally there is the simple fact that if the legal system would have worked, he would have lost his job as senator A LONG TIME AGO, if he had gotten his job in the first place. Jail time is not good for a senator seat.

    *Before you even try, yes the police is allowed to violate this rule. No i am not happy about this, but the pragmatist in me can see that body cavity searches can be necessary, even if the way this is handled in the US is very often a disgrace.

  83. Azkyroth, B*Cos[F(u)]==Y says

    You just want to manipulate the population so that you get your way and R’s don’t.

    That’s odd. I certainly want the R’s to not get their way…because of what “their way” ENTAILS. Why isn’t that important to you?

    Seriously, this is like the third thread on the topic where 90% of the comments only make sense if one assumes that the legislature doesn’t DO anything and being a Senator is just for bragging rights. (No, sweetie, that’s not how it works).

    I think in this situation Franken stepping down may in fact be the most effective way to minimize harm going forward (particularly since it gives his successor a chance to build a resume before the seat is up for grabs, although apparently we were lied to when we were told over and over that another non-Repigfucker would assuredly be taking it for the rest of his term, so what were we worried about, and it’s actually up for grabs next year?). I’m disturbed that I’m the only person who recognizes A) this and B) that this consideration is even legitimate.

  84. mikehuben says

    @John Morales (#84)

    Those “people” include Franken, who is clearly far less naive than you.

    That’s actually a strong point, but not conclusive. A little imagination might show how that could be an excuse (because it has not been the case in the past), when there is some other reason for resigning. Or Franken could be making a mistake.

    @consciousness razor (#85)

    Why would you let Trump make your decisions for you?

    Because that would change it from a lose/lose scenario to a win/win scenario no matter which way Trump chooses. Trump doesn’t resign, Franken keeps rubbing their noses in their messes. Trump does resign, Republicans lose their base’s president. It’s called strategy.

    You clearly have no regard for what is right or true… Asshole.

    Pragmatism has its own versions of those. Obviously not the same as yours. Oh, and I love the way you characterize your desires as “right and true”. Will you grant that privilege to other people too? Or tell us the authoritative source of your rightness and truth?

    @ Tethys (#87)

    I prefer that men with predatory and abusive behaviors all get held accountable and removed from any positions of power.

    And I thoroughly agree. But until we have that option for all men, we should not unilaterally disarm. Very simply, it is a prisoner’s dilemma. If you want change in the direction we both want, you should not choose to lose.

    @Simple Desultory Philip (#88)

    but don’t claim you have the special moral high ground because you’re ostensibly speaking for victims

    And I don’t make ANY claims for speaking for the victims. Cite me. I have pointed out that various proposed solutions do not take the victims into account. Maybe you can’t tell the difference.

  85. John Morales says

    mikehuben:

    A little imagination might show how that could be an excuse (because it has not been the case in the past), when there is some other reason for resigning. Or Franken could be making a mistake.

    If it’s an excuse instead of a justification, it’s what we common people term a ‘lie’, the which makes him a liar.

    If he’s making a mistake… well.

    But yes, it it hardly conclusive.
    After all, it is certainly not impossible that your political nous and experience regarding this matter exceeds Franken’s own. Right?

    (But hey, at least you have now indisputably demonstrated your attitude towards my earlier suggestion to in response to your query about your quandary: you neither simply accept Franken’s own decision nor do you take him at his word. He’s admirable, but you have better political nous. Got it.)

  86. says

    But where we differ (perhaps) is that I don’t believe we should enforce on our side when they will not enforce on their side. It gives away the game.

    In a game of patriarchy, women are not the opposing team, women are the ball.
    Hey Mike. It’s not like we cannot fathom you having a different opinion, it’s that this is now threas number 3 where you clearly demonstrate that you’re a fucking misogynist who is willing to let men get away with anything. Of course you don’t believe that sexually assaulting women should have consequences. You don’t even believe that killing them makes you a bad guy.

  87. consciousness razor says

    You just want to manipulate the population so that you get your way and R’s don’t.

    That’s odd. I certainly want the R’s to not get their way…because of what “their way” ENTAILS. Why isn’t that important to you?

    I don’t want a manipulated population. I have no interest in pretending as if I’ve mastered some bullshitter’s game, played according to a set of rules told by an idiot, full of sound and fury, signifying nothing, etc.

    In short, that’s not getting my way. What about you? Do you ever read full sentences for comprehension, or do you only latch onto words or short phrases and let them provoke a reaction?

  88. mikehuben says

    @Giliell (#93)

    … you clearly demonstrate that you’re a fucking misogynist who is willing to let men get away with anything. Of course you don’t believe that sexually assaulting women should have consequences. You don’t even believe that killing them makes you a bad guy.

    Ho hum, more libel by a “mean girl” who has NEVER been able to show clear evidence of her accusations by citing me. Instead she relies on her ESP for a Gish Gallop of ridiculous taunts, even though that contradicts what I’ve been writing. Why don’t you go back to junior high school where that behavior works, “cupcake”?

    In a game of patriarchy, women are not the opposing team, women are the ball.

    Well, oh mistress of misleading metaphors, who’s objectifying women now? Ball indeed. Simple fact is that women are on both sides, conservative and liberal. At the risk of making sense of your stupid metaphor, women’s freedom is one of many trophies.

  89. mikehuben says

    Here are two editorials that explain my viewpoint very clearly.

    The Uneven Playing Field by Dahlia Lithwick.
    “Is this the principled solution? By every metric I can think of, it’s correct. But it’s also wrong. It’s wrong because we no longer inhabit a closed ethical system, in which morality and norm preservation are their own rewards. We live in a broken and corroded system in which unilateral disarmament is going to destroy the very things we want to preserve.”

    I Don’t Think the Moral High Ground Exists Anymore by Charlie Pierce.
    “Lithwick is dead right. There is no commonly accepted Moral High Ground left to occupy anymore, and to pretend one exists is to live in a masturbatory fantasyland.”

  90. silverfeather says

    From The Dahlia Lithwick article linked @97:

    This isn’t a call to become tolerant of awful behavior. It is a call for understanding that Democrats honored the blue slip, and Republicans didn’t. Democrats had hearings over the Affordable Care Act; Republicans had none over the tax bill. Democrats decry predators in the media; Republicans give them their own networks. And what do Democrats have to show for it? There is something almost eerily self-regarding in the notion that the only thing that matters is what Democrats do, without considering what the systemic consequences are for everyone.

    I haven’t seen anyone arguing that they don’t see a double standard between what the two parties are willing to accept. We see it, and we should continue to be disgusted by it and call it out. We should mobilize in force in every election possible to try to get those scumbags out of office. I also think the systemic consequences of jumping into the cesspool with republicans are huge… but she isn’t looking at that aspect in her article.

    The Democratic party’s base is not like the Republican party’s base. A lot of studies have been done and ink spilled over the authoritarian mindset vs the progressive one. Expecting progressives (in general) to line up behind the idea that our “team” must win at all cost is a losing strategy, as well as being morally reprehensible. A lot of us won’t do that. (And don’t get me wrong, there are areas of compromise to our ideals to be explored, and issues where incrementalism is likely the only way forward – but accepting sexual assault from our leaders is not a thing that should be compromised on. It sure isn’t a thing that many of us are willing to continue to compromise on).

    If what dems want is an energized base, becoming more like the republicans is not a smart direction to move in. Standing up for what is right and being the party decent people can enthusiastically rally behind is. At some point, those people making the arguments that we should be willing to accept sexual assault from dem leaders because repubs love it in thier leaders… well, you guys might want to stop complaining to those of us with a functioning moral compass and start complaining to the rancid sacks of shit that are busy trying to get a pedophile elected to the senate.

  91. mikehuben says

    @Giliell (#99)
    First, “mean girl” is not a misogynistic term: read the wikipedia article I link. It is about a bullying style of behavior that fits you to a T.

    Second, you didn’t quote from Sarkeesian: at best you plagiarized her. Quotes identify the author.

    Third, where you cited me it was to make a metaphor. That citation does not support your Gish Gallop of ridiculous taunts. (Which are typical of “mean girl” behavior.)

    You have a very authoritarian intolerance of legitimate disagreement. I call it legitimate because there are plenty of other feminists, humanists, atheists and progressives who disagree with you whose positions I share. Such as Dahlia Lithwick.

  92. says

    Also, Mike, two things:
    1. if you think that taunts and insults are “mean” maybe look at your own behaviour first. Yep, I plead guilty on both charges, I personally think a well placed insult is a work of beauty, but I’m not being lectured by somebody who engages in exactly the same sort of thing.

    2. This is what one finds when they bother to read that Wikipedia article:

    Many of these aspects of meanness — namely empowerment, bullying, aggression, cruelty, and ruthlessness — have been incorporated in the late 20th and early 21st century popular cultural concept of the “mean girl”.

    Oh, wait, we’re not actually talking about female behaviour, we’re talking about a popular cultural concept.

    Social science professor Valerie Walkerdine argues that “meanness is becoming a dominant motif for Western girlhood”, as it fits well with the normative, repressive, boundaries of what is appropriate to modern femininity in work and school, and supports the narrative that empowered, successful, females cannot treat empowerment and success positively, but rather always risk slipping into cruelty.

    In other words, it’s a concept used against girls and women as they transgress what is seen as appropriate female behaviour. The social science professor isn’t actually arguing that girls and women are necessarily “mean”, but empowerment and success cannot be simply celebrated.

    With sociology professor Jessica Ringrose she contends that the “mean girl” stereotype from popular culture, as supported by what they criticise as “highly suspect” research in developmental psychology, is being increasingly taken up by policy makers in education.

    Look and behold, a stereotype used against successful women and girls, based on shady research, employed to put them into their place, including using official state sanctioned policies, forever threatening their social standing should they become too dangerous to male hegemony.
    Looks like this doesn’t describe me to a T, Mike, but you*.

    *Are you actually that bad at reading? Or did you hope that we are?

  93. mikehuben says

    I was wrong: I just read Walkerdine and accept that “mean girl” is likely misogynistic. I read the Wikipedia article carelessly.

    I agree that I taunt and insult as well: my defense is that I generally attempt to make it about a bad argument, not the person. I do retaliate when my person is the subject of taunts, insults, and misrepresentation.

  94. says

    I agree that I taunt and insult as well: my defense is that I generally attempt to make it about a bad argument, not the person. I do retaliate when my person is the subject of taunts, insults, and misrepresentation.

    I was only insulting you in self-defense. Especially when I called you names.
    But you get some points for admitting to having been wrong.

  95. Tethys says

    I missed this stale bit of circular reasoning from Mike

    But until we have that option for all men, we should not unilaterally disarm. Very simply, it is a prisoner’s dilemma. If you want change in the direction we both want, you should not choose to lose.

    It is incredibly shallow and sexist to attempt to paint the fight for equality as a political battle. Franken is not a weapon in the fight against misogyny, he is an example of it. Claiming that we can’t hold him accountable unless we can also magically hold every man accountable is absurd. Clearly the world has not ended because a few powerful men with long histories of bad behavior have been held to account, which coincidentally is exactly the type of social change that is necessary. Women are simply done with being told their bodily autonomy is a non-issue compared to the poor abusers reputation and career. The current occupant of the WH is at the top of the list. Megyn Kelly is making sure that his victims get heard, and I’m fairly certain she isn’t a Dem.

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