Sex Scandals

Details Of Another Trump Affair Shows How Trump Attempts To Keep His Transgressions Secret

A report out from the New Yorker Friday morning about President Donald Trump’s alleged affair with model Karen McDougal more than a decade ago shows how Trump’s allies paid women who had affairs with him to stay silent.

Trump and McDougal began an affair in 2006 after he met her at a party at the Playboy Mansion in Los Angeles, where he taped an episode of “The Apprentice,” according to notes about their relationship the New Yorker obtained from McDougal.

McDougal’s account of her affair with Trump is strikingly similar to reports about Trump’s affair with porn star Stephanie Clifford, who uses the screen name Stormy Daniels.

According to McDougal’s and Clifford’s accounts, Trump pursued both women while married to Melania Trump, and both women met up with him in a bungalow at the Beverly Hills Hotel. (Former “Apprentice” contestant Summer Zervos alleged in 2016 that Trump inappropriately kissed and groped her at the same hotel years earlier.)

His allies also arranged payments to both McDougal and Clifford in exchange for their silence, according to reports, and the same lawyer — Keith Davidson — represented both women.

The Wall Street Journal reported in January that Trump’s longtime attorney Michael Cohen paid Clifford $130,000 as part of an agreement for her to keep quiet about her relationship with Trump. Cohen on Wednesday confirmed that he made a payment in that amount to Clifford, though he would not say why.

According to the New Yorker’s report, American Media, Inc. (AMI), the company that owns the Trump-friendly National Enquirer, purchased the rights to McDougal’s story — for $150,000, as the Wall Street Journal reported in November 2016 — but has yet to run her account.

McDougal told the New Yorker that Davidson represented her when she sold the rights to her story to AMI, and said he encouraged her to sign the deal. McDougal said that she now regrets signing the contract, in which AMI promised to feature her on two covers and publish regular columns by McDougal about fitness.

“It took my rights away,” she told the New Yorker. “At this point I feel I can’t talk about anything without getting into trouble, because I don’t know what I’m allowed to talk about. I’m afraid to even mention his name.”

McDougal said that she did not fully understand the contract when she signed it. According to emails obtained by the New Yorker, Davidson pushed her to sign the deal to get things “wrapped up.” She also told the New Yorker that AMI has not upheld its commitment to publish her columns regularly, though AMI contended that McDougal did not submit the promised columns.

Trump has denied that he had an affair with either woman. A White House official in January told the Wall Street Journal that allegations of an affair between Trump and Clifford were “old, recycled reports, which were published and strongly denied prior to the election.” Cohen in January also said that Trump “vehemently” denied having a sexual relationship with Clifford.

A White House spokesperson told the New Yorker that McDougal’s account was “fake news,” and said, “The President says he never had a relationship with McDougal.”

Read the New Yorker’s full report here.

Knives Are Out For Chief Of Staff John Kelly, They Say

The media seems to be in a frenzy about the Rob Porter-wife beating scandal, as the White House enters Day 7 of being unable to explain the timeline of events about Porter’s firing, and why he was allowed to stay on as the right-hand man to President Trump even though he couldn’t get a security clearance.

To recap….. Rob Porter, Trump’s staff secretary, who has since resigned, was accused earlier this month of abusing both Colbie Holderness and Jennie Willoughby. Holderness, Porter’s first wife, said she was punched in the face by Porter in 2005 and shared photos of the black eye with CNN and other outlets. In an extensive interview last week, Holderness said Porter repeatedly choked her and threw her on the bed while putting his body weight on her using a limb. She revealed that she did not realize the severity of the situation until years into the marriage, when a trained counselor told her Porter’s behavior was unacceptable. Porter denies these claims.

But as I say, the continued mishandling of the Porter matter is what is plaguing the White House now.

Here — based on CNN’s reporting from more than a dozen sources with knowledge of the Porter fallout and public statements made by top Trump officials — is what Trump’s team actually knew when they were trying to clean up the Porter controversy:

Tuesday, February 6

What happened: The Daily Mail publishes its first report on the allegations leveled by staff secretary Rob Porter’s ex-wives, Colbie Holderness and Jennie Willoughby, at 7:09 p.m. The ex-wives allege physical and emotional abuse, but no photos of the abuse are published in the news article.

What the White House said: White House chief of staff John Kelly tells the Daily Mail that Porter “is a man of true integrity and honor, and I can’t say enough good things about him. He is a friend, a confidante and a trusted professional. I am proud to serve alongside him.”
White House press secretary Sarah Sanders tells the outlet that Porter is “someone of the highest integrity and exemplary character.”

What they actually knew:  Top White House aides knew this story was coming and many — including communications director Hope Hicks and Kelly — worked to prepare a response to the story before it was published. But even though Kelly and Sanders lauded Porter, the White House had months earlier received both Porter’s partial and full background investigation, FBI Director Chris Wray told senators on Tuesday. Wray said the partial report was sent to the White House in March, while the full report was completed in July.

Additionally, CNN has reported previously that it was widely known among Trump’s top aides — including Kelly — both that Porter was facing troubles in obtaining the security clearance and that his ex-wives claimed he had abused them. Kelly took no action on this information and, instead, saw that Porter’s standing inside the White House was elevated.

And Porter told White House counsel Don McGahn in early 2017 that his background check could include derogatory information from the ex-wives, Holderness and Willoughby.

Wednesday, February 7

What happened: Ryan Grim, the Washington bureau chief for The Intercept, tweets a photo of Holderness’ black eye, which she says Porter caused while on vacation in Florence, Italy. The photos were tweeted at 1:53 a.m., marking the first time the disturbing photos were made public.

What the White House said:  The photos sent the White House scrambling, even as some top officials remained staunch supporters of Porter. The Daily Mail then published another story — with the photos — at 10:47 a.m.

Sanders, less than 24 hours after issuing a glowing statement about Porter, announces at the afternoon press briefing that Porter had resigned, but that his departure “won’t be immediate.”

Sanders — at a briefing that started at 1:32p ET — maintains that “Rob has been effective in his role as staff secretary, and the President and chief of staff have had full confidence and trust in his abilities and his performance.”

Sanders reads a statement from Porter that includes a forceful denial: “These outrageous allegations are simply false.”

Kelly did not revise his glowing statement of Porter until 9:28 p.m., when he issued a new statement that said he was “shocked by the new allegations released today against Rob Porter.” The statement includes a condemnation of domestic violence — “There is no place for domestic violence in our society” — but Kelly continues to stand by his previously positive comments about Porter.

Kelly would later say that it took only 40 minutes for him to see the photos and get Porter out.

What they actually knew: By this point, the White House had seen the photos and was well aware of the gravity, but Porter, who had resigned, was allowed to stay on at the White House until a successor could be named.

Though Kelly would later claim that it took him less than an hour to take action on Porter, it took him close to 24 hours to revise the glowing statement he issued about the now-departed Trump aide — and Porter was not dismissed immediately in light of the photos.

Additionally, Porter sat down for an interview with the FBI in the fall of 2017 and the domestic abuse allegations against him were brought up. After the interview, Porter provided more detail to McGahn about what his ex-wives are claiming, a source familiar with the matter told CNN.

McGahn later learned in September, the source said, that the domestic violence allegations against Porter were causing his full security clearance to be delayed.

Thursday, February 8

What happened: White House spokesman Raj Shah, filling in for Sanders, declines to get into details about how much Kelly knew about the allegations and when he first learned of them. “He became fully aware of these allegations yesterday. I am not going to get into the specifics of who may have known,” Shah said.

What the White House said:  At the White House briefing that started at 3:40 p.m., Shah announced that Porter’s last day at the White House was Wednesday — despite the initial plan for him to stay on to find a replacement — and that he cleaned out his desk on Thursday morning. Shah also claimed that Porter’s background investigation “was ongoing” when he resigned.

What they actually knew: Wray’s testimony on February 13 undercut Shah’s claim that Porter’s background check was “ongoing” when he resigned.

Wray told senators that the FBI delivered its final report on Porter in July and closed its file on the aide in January, well before the White House claimed to have first learned of the gravity of the allegations against Porter.

Friday, February 9

What happened: During a regular morning meeting on Friday, Kelly tells aides that he was responsible for securing Porter’s decision to step down from his position and claims he took action within 40 minutes of seeing the photos that had surfaced overnight showing one of Porter’s ex-wives with a black eye.

The timeline Kelly provided is countered by how top White House aides acted on Wednesday.

What the White House said: Trump, during a meeting in the Oval Office with a supporter, makes his first on-camera statement about Rob Porter around 1p.m. ET:

“We wish him well, he worked very hard. I found out about it recently and I was surprised by it, but we certainly wish him well. It’s obviously a tough time for him. He did a very good job when he was in the White House. And we hope he has a wonderful career and hopefully he will have a great career ahead of him. But it was very sad when we heard about it and certainly he’s also very sad now. Now he also, as you probably know, says he’s innocent and I think you have to remember that. He said very strongly yesterday that he’s innocent, so you’ll have to talk to him about that, but we absolutely wish him well, he did a very good job when he was at the White House.”

What they actually knew: Trump’s claim that he “found out about it recently” is undercut by a wealth of reporting that shows the FBI informed the White House about its concerns regarding Porter, including information that it obtained during interviews with his ex-wives.

In March 2017, when the FBI delivered its first report about Porter to the White House, the FBI flagged concerns over Porter’s clearance, according to two law enforcement officials.

And Kelly’s claim that it took him only 40 minutes after seeing the photos on Wednesday to force Porter’s resignation is also untrue, given the facts known. Porter was initially expected to stay on until a successor was found — a process that could have taken weeks — and Kelly left his glowing statement about Porter unedited for nearly 20 hours after the photos were first published on Twitter.

Saturday, February 10

What happened: Trump laments — via a tweet at 10:33 a.m. — that people’s “lives are being shattered and destroyed by a mere allegation,” an apparent reference to Porter.

What they actually knew: By Saturday, Trump’s top aides were aware of the details and the seriousness with which the FBI and others had treated the allegations against Porter.

Trump, though, decided not to mention victims of domestic assault in his tweet, and instead focused on people like Porter, whose “lives are being shattered and destroyed by a mere allegation.”

Sanders said on February 12 that “the President and the entire administration take domestic violence very seriously, and believe all allegations need to be investigated thoroughly. Above all, the President supports victims of domestic violence and believes everyone should be treated fairly and with due process.”

Sunday, February 11

What the White House said: Marc Short, Trump’s top legislative aide, tells NBC that the White House “had not received a final investigation” when Porter resigned. “The FBI has the ongoing investigations,” Short says. “They have not completed that investigation.”

White House counselor Kellyanne Conway adds that Trump is “very disturbed” by the allegations against Porter. “I think he’s very disappointed,” she tells CNN. “I think he believes that the resignation was appropriate.”

What they actually knew: Wray told the Senate on February 13 that the background investigation into Porter was, in fact, complete well before Porter resigned.

He told the senators that the FBI completed its background investigation in late July. He also said that the FBI was asked for follow up information on Porter in November and closed the file on Porter in January.

And though Conway said Trump was supportive of Porter stepping down, his tweet one day earlier seemingly expressed sympathy for Porter.

Monday, February 12

What the White House said: Sanders, again, declines to answer key questions about how the White House handled allegations against Porter, but she does claim that the White House “learned of the extent of the situation involving Rob Porter last Tuesday evening.”

“We learned of the extent of the situation involving Rob Porter last Tuesday evening,” she said. “And within 24 hours his resignation had been accepted and announced.”

What they actually knew: Wray’s testimony on February 13 calls Sanders’ claim into question. The FBI says it informed the White House about its concerns regarding Porter in March and later in July.

Additionally, around Thanksgiving, Porter’s ex-girlfriend called McGahn to express concerns about his romantic relationship with Hope Hicks and detailed the ex-wives’ abuse allegations.

And McGahn was told by the White House Security Office in November 2017 that there are “domestic issues” in Porter’s background, according to a source familiar with the matter. Kelly and deputy chief of staff Joe Hagin were also made aware of the domestic issues, the source said, but the White House contends that the “full nature” of the allegations did not come out until later.

Tuesday, February 13

What happened: Wray, in brief comments about Porter before the Senate Intelligence Committee, contradicts the White House’s suggestion that the delay in processing Porter’s security clearance was with the FBI.

What the White House said: Wray’s comments meant Sanders would have to change her story, so on Tuesday, she admitted that the FBI did complete their investigation. But, she added, the White House Personnel Security office — which Sanders said was staffed by “career officials” — “had not completed their process” on Porter yet.

What they actually knew: This directly contradicts what Sanders said 24 hours earlier, when she looked to blame the FBI for the backlog in security clearances. “Look, this is a process that doesn’t operate within the White House,” Sanders said. “It’s handled by our law enforcement and intelligence community.”

Which brings us to today. Clearly, it looks like Chief of Staff Kelly was protecting Porter for a long time, and his story is belied by Wray’s testimony yesterday. On top of that, a number of White House officials appear to have blabbed to reporters about what a mess Kelly has made of things. Wray’s FBI timeline makes one thing clear: the Kelly coverup is unraveling right before our eyes.

It’s so bad that CNN has an article up speculating about Kelly’s successor:

While the source said there was no indication on Friday that Trump would ask Kelly to resign over the matter, another source told CNN’s Gloria Borger that Trump has been asking friends and associates over the phone about various potential replacements for the chief of staff position.
Those would-be candidates include House Majority Leader Kevin McCarthy, Budget Director Mick Mulvaney and House Freedom Caucus Chairman Mark Meadows. Chief economic adviser Gary Cohn and CIA Director Mike Pompeo could also be on the list of potential replacements.

I don’t know. The decision is Trump’s and the reports that he wants Kelly out seems thin. Trump respects and is in awe of the military. Besides, we’ve learned that Kelly is very much like Trump, right down to the racism and sexism.

Maybe the Senate inquiry might push Trump to do something.  This came from Trey Gowdy yesterday.

You really have to laugh — and cry — when you recall that Trump was the one who said he would drain the swamp in DC.

Speaking Of Sex Scandals…

While we wait for the doors to blow wide open on the Trump-Daniels sex scandal (IF they blow open, that is), let’s chew on this:

Casino mogul and Republican National Committee (RNC) finance chair Steve Wynn is facing accusations of sexual misconduct, including that he forced a woman to have sex with him in 2005, The Wall Street Journal reported Friday.

Wynn, who was named an RNC official after President Trump’s inauguration, allegedly committed acts of sexual misconduct for decades, and would pressure some employees to take part in sex acts.

The Journal reported that Wynn reached a $7.5 million settlement with a manicurist who worked at his Wynn Las Vegas property after he forced her to have sex with him.

She returned from his office upset and told her colleagues about the incident, according to The Journal.
The settlement was referred to in a lawsuit filed by Wynn’s ex-wife, Elaine.

Wynn denied the allegations in a statement to The Journal.

“The idea that I ever assaulted any woman is preposterous. We find ourselves in a world where people can make allegations, regardless of the truth, and a person is left with the choice of weathering insulting publicity or engaging in multi-year lawsuits. It is deplorable for anyone to find themselves in this situation,” Wynn said.

The mogul also said that “the instigation of these accusations is the continued work of my ex-wife Elaine Wynn, with whom I am involved in a terrible and nasty lawsuit in which she is seeking a revised divorce settlement.”

Elaine Wynn’s lawyer told the Journal that the claim that she instigated the reporting “is just not true.”

This appears to be part of a decades-long pattern. The WSJ contacted over 150 current and former employees of Wynn. The majority of those who spoke worried that talking to the media would hurt their job opportunities, citing Wynn’s vast and powerful influence throughout Nevada and the casino industry.

Nevertheless, shares of Wynn Resorts have dropped 6 percent in trading since the story broke a couple hours ago.

Will Wynn get a mulligan too? I am, of course, referring to this:

Tony Perkins, the president of the conservative Family Research Council, contended Tuesday that the evangelical community has given President Donald Trump a “mulligan” when it comes to his personal behavior.

“Yes, evangelicals, conservatives, they gave him a mulligan. They let him have a do-over. They said we’ll start afresh with you and we’ll give you a second chance.” Perkins said in a interview on CNN’s “Erin Burnett OutFront.”

Perkins’ remarks come after a Wall Street Journal report that Trump’s lawyer, Michael Cohen, formed a private LLC to pay a former porn star in exchange for not speaking publicly about an alleged sexual encounter with the then-candidate. CNN has not independently confirmed The Wall Street Journal’s reporting, and in response to the initial Wall Street Journal report about the affair, Cohen said the rumors had circulated since 2011 and that Trump “once again vehemently denies any such occurrence.”

Family Research Council is known for pushing socially conservative family values. One of the foundations of the organization, according to its website, is to promote marriage and family. “Family Research Council champions marriage and family as the foundation of civilization, the seedbed of virtue, and the wellspring of society,” according to the site. “Properly understood, ‘families’ are formed only by ties of blood, marriage, or adoption, and ‘marriage’ is a union of one man and one woman.”

Perkins said it is the relationship Trump has built with evangelicals, as well as his “constitutionally conservative” policies including appointing judges who oppose abortion, that garners the support.

Strange times.

Wynn also was at Mar-a-Lago for the New Year’s Eve party Trump attended.

Breaking: New Trump Scandal Not Even The Worst Of The Week

Chait is correct.

But it is sex and it is easy to understand, so maybe this one will have legs. Stephanie Clifford has privately alleged that a sexual encounter took place with Trump after they met at a July 2006 celebrity golf tournament in Lake Tahoe. Mr. Trump married Melania Trump in 2005, and Barron Trump was born in March 2006.  Trump lawyer Michael Cohen arranged payment to the former porn star, Stephanie Clifford, whose stage name is Stormy Daniels, in October 2016 after her lawyer negotiated an NDA to conceal alleged sexual encounter with Trump.

Let’s dig deeper shall we?

Sexual Harassment Allegations Come To Doorstep of White House

This morning, three women who have accused Trump of sexual assaulting them appeared on Megyn Kelly’s talk show, sharing new details of what they say was abuse at the hands of the president. They are among at least 14 women who accuse Trump of sexual assault. In response, the White House issued a statement claiming these women are lying. Notably, the White House claims that the accusations were contradicted “in most cases” by eyewitnesses:

These false claims, totally disputed in most cases by eyewitness accounts, were addressed at length during last year’s campaign, and the American people voiced their judgment by delivering a decisive victory. The timing and absurdity of these false claims speaks volumes, and the publicity tour that has begun only further confirms the political motives behind them.

This is a lie. Only one “eyewitness” has ever emerged to dispute a claim of sexual assault against Trump. That man, Anthony Gilberthorpe, is a serial fableist with a history of pushing false stories for a few minutes of attention.

At her press conference today, Sarah Sanders promised to produce a list of “eyewitnesses” that dispute the accounts of the women who accused Trump of sexual assault.

Let’s hold her to this.


Trump Endorses Accused Child Molester For Senate

The chyrons say it all:

Kayla Moore (Roy’s wife) confirms:

This is not normal. Can you imagine, in any other time, what would happen if a President endorsed a child molester as a candidate for Senate?

Polls have the two pretty close….

… BUT I am not sure how much to trust these polls. I think many people will lie about whether they are voting for Roy Moore to a pollster, out of embarrassment.

Since It Is Sexual Harassment Day

Matt Lauer and Garrison Keillor have joined the ranks of men getting fired for sexual harassment.  That’s just TODAY… so far.

So I thought I would up a recent Washington Post article about our President:

President Trump and accusations of sexual misconduct: The complete list

Here’s a list of 13 women who have publicly come forward with claims that Trump had physically touched them inappropriately in some way, and the witnesses they provided. We did not include claims that were made only through Facebook posts or other social media, or in lawsuits that subsequently were withdrawn.

We also did not include the accounts of former beauty contestants who say Trump walked in on them when they were half nude because there were no allegations of touching. Trump had bragged on the Howard Stern show of his “inspections” during the pageants: “You know they’re standing there with no clothes. Is everybody OK? And you see these incredible looking women. And so I sort of get away with things like that.”

Two or more contemporary corroborators

Natasha Stoynoff

Allegation: While she was interviewing Trump in 2005 for an article for People magazine about the first anniversary of his third marriage, Trump lured her into a room at Mar-a-Lago, forced her against a wall and abruptly kissed her, forcing his tongue into her mouth. He then said they were going to have an affair.

Marina Grasic, who has known Stoynoff for more than 25 years. She said she got a call from her friend the day after the alleged attack, detailing exactly how Trump pushed Stoynoff against a wall.
Liz McNeil, at the time a reporter for People (she is now an editor). She said that she heard about the incident the day after Stoynoff returned from her assignment. “She was very upset and told me how he shoved her against a wall,” she said.
Mary Green, another People reporter (now editor) who had just returned to New York. “In an early conversation we had in her office, she told me about what happened with Donald Trump,” Green said. “She was shaky, sitting at her desk, relaying that, ‘He took me to this other room, and when we stepped inside, he pushed me against a wall and stuck his tongue down my throat. Melania was upstairs and could have walked in at any time.’ ”
Liza Hamm, part of a “tight-knit’ group of friends. “Natasha has always been a vivacious person who wants to believe in the best of people, and this experience definitely messed with that outlook,” she said.
Paul McLaughlin, Stoynoff’s former journalism professor. He said Stoynoff called him at the time of the alleged incident seeking advice on how to handle it: “She didn’t know what to do, she was very conflicted, she was angry, she was really confused about how to deal with this.” After a discussion, he said, Stoynoff decided it would be best if she kept the incident to herself.

Response: Anthony Senecal, Trump’s former butler, denied the incident: “No, that never happened. Come on, that’s just bull crap.” Trump said: “Why didn’t she do this 12 years ago? She’s a liar. … It never happened. It’s a lie.”

Rachel Crooks

Allegation: Trump in 2005 kissed her directly on the lips after she introduced herself and said she was a receptionist who worked for a company that did business with Trump.

Brianne Webb, her sister. She said Crooks called her about the incident as soon as she returned to her desk. “Being from a town of 1,600 people, being naive, I was like, ‘Are you sure he didn’t just miss trying to kiss you on the cheek?’ She said, ‘No, he kissed me on the mouth.’ I was like, ‘That is not normal.’ ”
Clint Hackenburg, her boyfriend at the time. After he asked her that evening how her day had gone, “she paused for a second, and then started hysterically crying.”

Response: Shouting at the New York Times reporter who called for comment, Trump said, “None of this ever took place.” He then told the reporter, “You are a disgusting human being.”

Cathy Heller

Allegation: While having Mother’s Day brunch at Mar-a-Lago in 1997 or 1998, her mother-in-law introduced her to Trump. She extended her hand to greet him and he grabbed her and kissed her on the mouth. She did turn her head slightly and so he wasn’t able to “get my whole mouth.”

Lloyd Heller, her husband. He said that she immediately told him. He said he told her that “you should have punched him” and he remembers being “puzzled” by why Trump would do something like that in a public space.
A relative who was there, but wanted to stay unnamed. This person said Heller was immediately shocked and asked whether he or she had seen what happened. The two then talked about the incident asking, “Who does he think he is?”

Response: Trump campaign spokesman Jason Miller told People Magazine: “There is no way that something like this would have happened in a public place on Mother’s Day at Mr. Trump’s resort.”

One contemporary corroborator, one additional witness

Kristin Anderson

Allegation: While she was at a Manhattan nightclub in the early 1990s, Trump slid his fingers under her miniskirt, moved up her inner thigh and touched her vagina through her underwear.

Kelly Stedman, a friend. She said she was told about the incident at a women’s brunch a few days later. The women found themselves “laughing at how pathetic it was” on Trump’s part.
Brad Trent, a New York photographer. He says he heard the story from Anderson at a dinner in 2007. “It was just girls saying stories about how they got hit on by creepy old guys,” Trent said of the conversation around the table.

Response: The Trump campaign, in an emailed statement, said Anderson had fabricated the story: “Mr. Trump strongly denies this phony allegation by someone looking to get some free publicity. It is totally ridiculous.”

One corroborator

Summer Zervos

Allegation: Trump kissed Zervos on the lips when he met her in his New York office, which upset Zervos, who had been a contestant on Season 5 of Trump’s “The Apprentice.” She then met Trump at the Beverly Hills Hotel in 2007 for what she thought would be dinner; instead, she was escorted to his private bungalow. “I stood up and he came to me and started kissing me open-mouthed as he was pulling me toward him,” she said. “He then grabbed my shoulder and started kissing me again very aggressively and placed his hand on my breast.” He kept pursuing her, she said, at one point “thrusting his genitals” against her as he tried to kiss her. She said she again rebuffed him.

Ann Russo, friend: She said that Zervos told her in 2010 that Trump had been “verbally, physically, and sexually aggressive with her” but that she had rebuffed his advances. “It was apparent she was conflicted with what Mr. Trump had done to her,” she said, adding that Zervos was torn between her admiration for Trump and Trump’s behavior.

(In her lawsuit against Trump, Zervos says that in 2007 she “spoke to a friend and her parents about [the initial kiss], all of whom concluded that this must just be the way that Mr. Trump greeted people.” She then told her father about the hotel incident, the lawsuit says.)

Response: Trump issued a statement by John Barry, a cousin of Zervos’s: “I think Summer wishes she could still be on reality TV, and in an effort to get that back she’s saying all of these negative things about Mr. Trump. That’s not how she talked about him before. I can only imagine that Summer’s actions today are nothing more than an attempt to regain the spotlight at Mr. Trump’s expense, and I don’t think it reflects well.”

Mindy McGillivray

Allegation: McGillivray said she was groped by Trump at Mar-a-Lago in 2003, when she was 23, at a photo shoot during a concert by Ray Charles.  “All of a sudden I felt a grab, a little nudge. I think it’s Ken’s camera bag, that was my first instinct. I turn around and there’s Donald. He sort of looked away quickly. I quickly turned back, facing Ray Charles, and I’m stunned.’’ She told the Palm Beach Post she was certain it was not an accident. “This was a pretty good nudge. More of a grab,’’ she said. “It was pretty close to the center of my butt. I was startled. I jumped.’’

Ken Davidoff, photographer: He vividly remembers when McGillivray pulled him aside moments after the alleged incident and told him, “Donald just grabbed my ass!’’ He did not witness the incident himself.

Jill Harth 

Allegation: In the early 1990s, Jill Harth and her boyfriend at the time, George Houraney, worked with Trump on a beauty pageant in Atlantic City, and later accused Trump of inappropriate behavior toward Harth during their business dealings. She said that Trump pursued her and groped her; she alleged attempted rape in a sexual harassment suit that was withdrawn as a condition for settling a contract dispute. (We are including her account here because she gave interviews making these charges even after the lawsuit was withdrawn.) Trump had “his hands all over me,” Harth told the New York Times. “He was trying to kiss me. I was freaking out.”

George Houraney, her boyfriend and later husband. The two are divorced but he confirmed her account in an interview with Nicholas Kristof: “Houraney and Harth haven’t spoken in years, but they offered almost identical accounts when I interviewed them separately, and their stories match Harth’s deposition and her sexual harassment lawsuit from the time.”

Response: Trump said it was Harth who had pursued him, and his office shared email messages in which Harth thanked Trump for helping her personally and professionally. The campaign said she was a “pawn” in a lawsuit created by her ex-husband.

Jessica Leeds

Allegation: Trump attacked her while seated next to her on an airline flight. More than three decades ago, when she was a traveling business executive at a paper company, Leeds told the New York Times in 2016, she sat beside Trump in the first-class cabin of a flight to New York. They had never met before. About 45 minutes after takeoff, Trump lifted the armrest and began to touch her. Trump grabbed her breasts and tried to put his hand up her skirt. “He was like an octopus,” Leeds said. “His hands were everywhere.” She fled to the back of the plane. “It was an assault,” she said.

Corroborator: Leeds told the story to at least four people close to her, who also spoke with the New York Times. But most appear to have heard about it more recently. Linda Ross, a neighbor and friend, heard about it six months before Leeds went public, for instance.

Reaction: The Trump campaign offered the perspective of a British man who claimed to have sat near the two on the plane and three decades later remembered the incident in detail. “She was the one being flirtatious,” he said.

Other accusers

Temple Taggart McDowell: The 1997 Miss Utah USA said Trump kissed her directly on the lips, at a time he was married to Marla Maples and McDowell was 21. Later, when she visited Trump Tower to discuss a modeling contract, she says Trump again embraced and kissed her on the lips, this time in front of two pageant chaperones and a receptionist. The New York encounter made one of the chaperones so “uncomfortable” that she advised McDowell not to go into any rooms with Trump alone, McDowell told NBC News.

Karena Virginia: A yoga instructor said Trump harassed and groped her during a chance encounter at the U.S. Open in 1998. Virginia said Trump, a total stranger, then grabbed her arm and touched her breast. “I was in shock,” Virginia said. “I flinched. He said, ‘Don’t you know who I am?’ I felt intimidated and powerless. I said ‘yes.’”

Jennifer Murphy: A former Apprentice contestant said Trump in 2004 kissed her on the lips. “He walked me to the elevator, and I said goodbye. I was thinking ‘oh, he’s going to hug me,’ but … he pulled my face in and gave me a smooch.”

Ninni Laaksonen: A former Miss Finland said Trump in 2006 grabbed her bottom shortly after he had married Melania. “Trump stood right next to me and suddenly he squeezed my butt. He really grabbed my butt.”

Jessica Drake: A porn star and sex educator said that during a 2006 golf tournament in Lake Tahoe, Trump “grabbed” her and two other unnamed women tightly and kissed them on the lips “without asking permission.” He then offered Drake $10,000 and the use of his private plane, she said, if she would agree to come back to his room and accompany him to a party.

Trump Finally Weighs In On Moore

As for the open Alabama seat, Trump has remained unusually quiet, ignoring questions from reporters. But today, he couldn’t help himself.

This is worth noting because WH spokesperson Sarah Sanders had said on several occasions that Trump supported the RNC’s decision to cut off support for Roy Moore. Yeah, she lied.

When asked if it is better to have a child predator than a Democrat in that seat, Trump responded…

It’s better on video —

And Now It’s…. Oh Dear… Senator Al Franken’s Turn?

The sexual harassment purge is getting ugly.


Broadcaster and model Leeann Tweeden said Thursday that Al Franken “forcibly kissed” and groped her during a USO tour in 2006, two years before the Minnesota Democrat’s election to the U.S. Senate.

“You knew exactly what you were doing,” Tweeden wrote in a blog post for Los Angeles radio station KABC, for which she works as a morning news anchor. “You forcibly kissed me without my consent, grabbed my breasts while I was sleeping and had someone take a photo of you doing it, knowing I would see it later and be ashamed.”

The allegations came two days after a stunning hearing in Washington, where lawmakers acknowledged sexual harassment is a pervasive problem on Capitol Hill — and amid mounting sexual misconduct accusations against Alabama Republican Roy Moore, who has brushed off calls from Republican leaders to end his Senate campaign.

Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.) immediately called on the Senate Ethics Committee to review the allegations against Franken, who issued a brief statement of apology.

Of course Mitch did. It took him three days to condemn Roy Moore, who groped several UNDERAGE girls, but he was on top of this within an hour.

In her blog post, Tweeden recalled that Franken “had written some skits for the show and brought props and costumes to go along with them. Like many USO shows before and since, the skits were full of sexual innuendo geared toward a young, male audience.”

Franken, she said, “had written a moment when his character comes at me for a ‘kiss’. I suspected what he was after, but I figured I could turn my head at the last minute or put my hand over his mouth, to get more laughs from the crowd.”

But on the day of the show, she wrote, “Franken and I were alone backstage going over our lines one last time. He said to me, “We need to rehearse the kiss.” I laughed and ignored him. Then he said it again. I said something like, ‘Relax Al, this isn’t SNL … we don’t need to rehearse the kiss.’

He continued to insist, and I was beginning to get uncomfortable.

He repeated that actors really need to rehearse everything and that we must practice the kiss. I said ‘okay’ so he would stop badgering me. We did the line leading up to the kiss and then he came at me, put his hand on the back of my head, mashed his lips against mine and aggressively stuck his tongue in my mouth.

I immediately pushed him away with both of my hands against his chest and told him if he ever did that to me again I wouldn’t be so nice about it the next time.

I walked away. All I could think about was getting to a bathroom as fast as possible to rinse the taste of him out of my mouth.

I felt disgusted and violated.

In a statement, Franken said: “I certainly don’t remember the rehearsal for the skit in the same way, but I send my sincerest apologies to Leeann.

“As to the photo, it was clearly intended to be funny but wasn’t. I shouldn’t have done it.”

Tweeden’s blog post included an image of Franken looking into a camera, his hands either over or on Tweeden’s chest as she slept.

This is that photo.

A few points:

(1) In the photo, I’m not sure he is touching her.

(2) I would feel much better if there was more than one accuser. While I am certain elements of her story are true, I wonder how much of it is exaggerated — in particular, the tongue down the throat. I’m not saying she is lying, but she may be mis-remembering it based on emotion.

(3) This is really really ugly, especially the art above.  But, standing alone, it does not show a pattern of predatory behavior.

(4) Franken should pay for this — censure, for sure.  I’m not 100% on board with resignation though, which many are calling for.  I’m about 85% there.


Franken is doing this right —

A further thought:

The Moore Accuser Count Is Up To 8

Via WaPo:

Roy Moore. Born in 1947. He moved out of Gadsden, Ala., in 1954, returning after his service in Vietnam in 1977. He joined the office of the district attorney that year. In 1982, he again left Gadsden, returning in 1985, the year he married his wife, Kayla. She was 24, and he was 38. In 1992, he was appointed to the circuit court.

Leigh Corfman. Born in 1965. Corfman alleges that in 1977, when she was 14, Moore introduced himself to her outside a child custody hearing at the local courthouse. He later called her and asked her on a date, during which, she alleges, he took her to his house and tried to initiate sexual contact. Moore was 32.

Wendy Miller. Born in 1963. Miller alleges that Moore first started talking to her while she was working as an elf at Gadsden Mall at the age of 14. Two years later, he began to ask her on dates. Her mother prevented her from doing so. Moore was 32.

Debbie Gibson. Born in 1964. Gibson alleges that Moore came to her civics class at Etowah High School to talk about serving as an assistant district attorney before asking her out on a date. They dated for several months while she was 17. Moore was 34.

Gloria Thacker. Born in 1961. Thacker alleges that she was working at a store at the mall at the age of 18 when Moore asked her out. They dated off and on for several months. Moore was 32.

Beverly Young Nelson. Born in 1961. Nelson was 16 when she worked at a restaurant called Old Hickory House in 1977. Moore, she said during a news conference this week, was a regular customer who, at one point, signed her high school yearbook. On one evening, he offered her a ride home. Nelson alleges that he instead drove behind the restaurant and assaulted her. Moore was 30.

Gena Richardson. Born in 1959. Richardson alleges that she was working at Gadsden Mall in 1977, at age 18, when Moore introduced himself. He called her at school, interrupting her trigonometry class, to ask her out. He was 30.

Tina Johnson. Born in 1963. Johnson told that she was 28 when she visited Moore’s office for a legal issue in 1991. Moore, she says, made several inappropriate comments and, as she was leaving, groped her. He was 44.

Moore has specifically denied the allegations levied by Corfman and Nelson.

That’s where things stand today — this morning.


More More Moore (How Do You Like It?)

Roy Moore is now adopting the “best defense is a good offense” strategy. He is setting up to hit the Washington Post with a lawsuit over the allegations that he had sexual contact with a 14-year-old girl while Moore was in his 30’s.

According to AP, Moore told his supporters in Huntsville, Alabama on Sunday that the WaPo story was “fake news” and “a desperate attempt to stop my political campaign.”

Moore added that the newspaper “will be sued,” a declaration that received applause from the crowd.

I put the chances of this at or about zero percent.  Why?

Discovery, that’s why.

This is like when Donald Trump threatened to sue the women who accused him of sexual harassment. The lawsuits never happened.

Meanwhile, at least five companies said over the weekend that they will no longer advertise their products during Fox News’ “Hannity” television show, which sparked an outpouring on Sunday of counter-protests on social media.

Keurig,, 23 and Me, Eloquii and Nature’s Bounty all pulled their ads from the television show, in response to Fox host Sean Hannity’s coverage of the sexual misconduct allegations against Alabama Senate candidate Roy Moore.

Although Hannity is “in the tank” for Moore, his actual interview of Moore the day after the allegations broke was pretty aggressive, at least for Hannity.  He came back to several points and Moore readily admitted dating younger women, although he denied the worst allegations (fondling a 14 year old).

But that wasn’t what caused advertisers to balk.

On Thursday, the Fox News host spoke about the allegations against Roy Moore, the Alabama senate candidate who, The Washington Post had reported that day, made sexual advances toward teenage girls when he was in his early 30s, including a 14-year-old.

Mr. Hannity, describing those actions on his radio show while speaking with a co-host, Lynda McLaughlin, seemed to justify Mr. Moore’s reported conduct by calling one of the encounters “consensual. Later, on his television show, Mr. Hannity said that the statement “was absolutely wrong” and that he “misspoke.” He then brought up the possibility of accusers lying for money, or for political purposes.

On Friday, Angelo Carusone, the president of Media Matters for America, the partisan watchdog organization that has campaigned against Mr. Hannity since at least May, began to criticize advertisers for sponsoring his show in light of his comments about Mr. Moore.

Keurig responded to Mr. Carusone, and said that it had stopped an ad from airing during Mr. Hannity’s show.

Conservatives have responded to Keurig’s boycott with their own boycott of Keurig, although it is likely to grow except for a few viral videos like this:

This clearly annoyed Hannity who has tweeted about Keurig repeatedly over the past few days.

And while some on the left dutifully took up arms, tweeting in support of Keurig, others just seemed bemused (or amused).

“Sorry, I was off Twitter for a while,” wrote the author Geraldine DeRuiter. “It appears that people are destroying coffee machines to show their support of child molesters?”

It is unclear what impact any of this has on Alabama voters.  One poll puts Moore’s Democratic competitor, Doug Jones, up by 4.  Another poll, taken over the same span of days, has Moore up by 10.

Here’s a nice editorial from a leading Alabama newspaper. The author is worried that Moore, if elected, will become Alabama’s “brand” and will hurt business (he’s right):

The Republicans in Congress would REALLY like this go away, and even Senator McConnell came out (moments ago) and said he believes the women.

UPDATE — Here’s Moore’s response

Back to usual post….

Moore defenders — mostly Breitbart at this point — are trying lame attacks.  Like the 14 year old woman is lying, or was paid by the Washington Post. Proof of lying is scant, but they only need to convince those with a propensity to believe Moore, and that’s not hard.

Some are saying that, even if true, it’s not a big deal. Alabama state Auditor Jim Zeigler (R) told the Washington Examiner that the allegations are “much ado about nothing.” Zeigler said that even if the allegations are true, Moore never had sexual intercourse with any of the women. He also dismissed the revelations because the accusations are from “40 years” ago and Moore ”

Another tack is to say — so what?  Here is an ugly tweet about that:

Hard to believe. That’s the state of the GOP today: Democrats are worse than child molesters, literally.

The next chapter in the scandal is coming later today…..

More Moore to come….

UPDATE — The next accuser….

Beverly Young Nelson said Moore she was approached by Moore in 1975 in a Gadsen, Alabama restaurant where she worked. One night, Nelson said Moore offered her a ride home in his car. Instead of getting on the highway, Moore parked in the back of the Olde Hickory House restaurant. Nelson said she asked Moore what he was doing.

“Instead of answering my question, Mr. Moore reached over and began groping me, putting his hands on my breasts,” Nelson said. “I tried to open my car door to leave, but he reached over and locked it so I could not get out. I tried fighting him off, while yelling at him to stop, but instead of stopping he began squeezing my neck attempting to force my head onto his crotch. I continued to struggle. I was determined that I was not going to allow him to force me to have sex with him. I was terrified. He was also trying to pull my shirt off. I thought that he was going to rape me. I was twisting and struggling and begging him to stop. I had tears running down my face.

“At some point he gave up. He then looked at me and said, “You are a child. I am the District Attorney of Etowah County,” she continued. “If you tell anyone about this, no one will believe you.” He finally allowed me to open the car door and I either fell out or he pushed me out. I was on the ground as he pulled out of the parking area behind the restaurant. The passenger door was open as he burned rubber pulling away leaving me laying there on the cold concrete in the dark.”

Two years later, Moore signed Nelson’s yearbook:

More Fallout From More Pedophilia

  • Republican Alabama State Representative Ed Henry said on Friday that he wanted someone to bring charges against the women who accused GOP Senate candidate Roy Moore of making sexual advances on them when they were teenage. This has brought huge backlash against Henry, naturally.
  • Vulnerable GOP Senator:

  • The national Republican Party is creating distance. Locals, however, are running to the candidate’s defense. A joint fundraising committee benefitting Moore and a handful of Republican Party organs filed paperwork with the Federal Election Commission on Friday removing the National Republican Senatorial Committee as one of its beneficiaries. Going forward, the committee’s fundraising will benefit Moore’s Senate campaign, the Alabama Republican Party, and the Republican National Committee but not the NRSC.
  • Roy Moore’s brother reportedly defended him against allegations of sexual conduct with a minor, comparing the situation to the persecution of Jesus Christ, according to CNN.
  • Buzzfeed News reports:

    Moore and Democrat Doug Jones are tied at 46% in the survey, which was conducted Thursday by Opinion Savvy and commissioned by Decision Desk HQ in the aftermath of a bombshell Washington Post report in which the accuser, now 53, went on record with her story.

    The results also suggested that a write-in campaign by another Republican could tip the seat to Democrats — a prospect that once seemed far-fetched in deep-red Alabama. A three-way race — with Moore, Jones, and interim Sen. Luther Strange as a write-in candidate — would favor Jones with roughly 44% of the vote, followed by Moore at 41%, and Strange at 12%.

In Which My Brilliant Comment Makes The NY Times Pick

UPDATE:  And just as I was typing this, Louis C.K. released a short, emotional statement. It’s as if he read what I wrote. This is a good apology.


In a related story, Roy Moore, accused yesterday of having physical relations with a 14 year old in 1979, is not leaving the race. In fact, he and his Alabama cronies are invoking Jesus’ persecution.

No Pee Tape, BUT….

Breaking from NBC:

WASHINGTON — After a business meeting before the Miss Universe Pageant in 2013, a Russian participant offered to “send five women” to Donald Trump’s hotel room in Moscow, his longtime bodyguard told Congress this week, according to three sources who were present for the interview.

Two of the sources said the bodyguard, Keith Schiller, viewed the offer as a joke, and immediately responded, “We don’t do that type of stuff.”

The two sources said Schiller’s comments came in the context of him adamantly disputing the allegations made in the Trump dossier, written by a former British intelligence operative, which describes Trump having an encounter with prostitutes at the hotel during the pageant. Schiller he described his reaction to that story as being, “Oh my God, that’s bull—-,” two sources said.

The conversation with the Russian about the five women took place after a morning meeting about the pageant in Moscow broke up, two sources said.

That night, two sources said, Schiller said he discussed the conversation with Trump as Trump was walking back to his hotel room, and Schiller said the two men laughed about it as Trump went to bed alone. Schiller testified that he stood outside Trump’s hotel room for a time and then went to bed.

One source noted that Schiller testified he eventually left Trump’s hotel room door and could not say for sure what happened during the remainder of the night.

Two other sources said Schiller testified he was confident nothing happened.

Schiller said he and Trump were aware of the risk that hotel rooms in Moscow could be set up to capture hidden video, two sources said.

Schiller was grilled about the Moscow trip as part of four hours of testimony before the House Intelligence Committee. The questioning around the Moscow trip took a significant amount of time, the sources said. Schiller was also asked about the June 2016 meeting at Trump Tower between Donald Trump Jr. and Russians, two of the sources said. He testified that he did not recall much about that day.

This doesn’t mean the tape exists, but it DOES mean that the salacious allegations in the dossier were not ENTIRELY made up out of thin air.

Roy Moore Sex Scandal

The woman is a god-fearing, Trump-voting Republican:

Leigh Corfman says she was 14 years old when an older man approached her outside a courtroom in Etowah County, Ala. She was sitting on a wooden bench with her mother, they both recall, when the man introduced himself as Roy Moore.

It was early 1979 and Moore — now the Republican nominee in Alabama for a U.S. Senate seat — was a 32-year-old assistant district attorney. He struck up a conversation, Corfman and her mother say, and offered to watch the girl while her mother went inside for a child custody hearing.

“He said, ‘Oh, you don’t want her to go in there and hear all that. I’ll stay out here with her,’ ” says Corfman’s mother, Nancy Wells, 71. “I thought, how nice for him to want to take care of my little girl.”

Alone with Corfman, Moore chatted with her and asked for her phone number, she says. Days later, she says, he picked her up around the corner from her house in Gadsden, drove her about 30 minutes to his home in the woods, told her how pretty she was and kissed her. On a second visit, she says, he took off her shirt and pants and removed his clothes. He touched her over her bra and underpants, she says, and guided her hand to touch him over his underwear.

“I wanted it over with — I wanted out,” she remembers thinking. “Please just get this over with. Whatever this is, just get it over.” Corfman says she asked Moore to take her home, and he did.

Two of Corfman’s childhood friends say she told them at the time that she was seeing an older man, and one says Corfman identified the man as Moore. Wells says her daughter told her about the encounter more than a decade later, as Moore was becoming more prominent as a local judge.

Aside from Corfman, three other women interviewed by The Washington Post in recent weeks say Moore pursued them when they were between the ages of 16 and 18 and he was in his early 30s, episodes they say they found flattering at the time, but troubling as they got older. None of the women say that Moore forced them into any sort of relationship or sexual contact.

Wendy Miller says she was 14 and working as a Santa’s helper at the Gadsden Mall when Moore first approached her, and 16 when he asked her on dates, which her mother forbade. Debbie Wesson Gibson says she was 17 when Moore spoke to her high school civics class and asked her out on the first of several dates that did not progress beyond kissing. Gloria Thacker Deason says she was an 18-year-old cheerleader when Moore began taking her on dates that included bottles of Mateus Rosé wine. The legal drinking age in Alabama was 19.

Of the four women, the youngest at the time was Corfman, who is the only one who says she had sexual contact with Moore that went beyond kissing. She says they did not have intercourse.

In a written statement, Moore denied the allegations.

“These allegations are completely false and are a desperate political attack by the National Democrat Party and the Washington Post on this campaign,” Moore, now 70, said.

The campaign said in a subsequent statement that if the allegations were true they would have surfaced during his previous campaigns, adding “this garbage is the very definition of fake news.”

None of the women have donated to or worked for Moore’s Democratic opponent, Doug Jones, or his rivals in the Republican primary, Luther Strange, according to campaign reports.

Corfman, 53, who works as a customer service representative at a payday loan business, says she has voted for Republicans in the past three presidential elections, including for Donald Trump in 2016. She says she thought of confronting Moore personally for years, and almost came forward publicly during his first campaign for state Supreme Court in 2000, but decided against it. Her two children were still in school then and she worried about how it would affect them. She also was concerned that her background — three divorces and a messy financial history — might undermine her credibility.

The sad thing is that this woman is going to get death threats and be dragged through the mud, and it is unclear if she will even be believed. Obviously, Trump supporters (including herself!) don’t think sexual harassment is an impediment to holding public office. It will be interesting to see how this plays out.

That said, I’m not even a little bit surprised.

These women did not seek out the Post and are not looking for the limelight. They only revealed their story after some coaxing:

The implication of this is actually pretty big. If Moore loses the Alabama Senate race in the special election next month (and Doug Jones wins), the Senate is in play. Dems might be able to retake it in 2018.

UPDATE:  Apparently, it is too late to take Moore off the ballot, even if he withdraws, and even if the GOP pulls him.  Furthermore…

Then again…

Republican Hypocrisy Exhibit No 352

Earlier this week, Republican Rep. Tim Murphy of Pennsylvania voted in favor of the Pain-Capable Unborn Child Protection Act, which “would ban abortions after 20 weeks of pregnancy,” according to GovTrack.

The congressman has been lauded by the Family Research Council, for his stance on abortion, as well as for family values, generally. He also has been endorsed by LifePAC, which opposes abortion rights, and is a member of the House Pro-Life Caucus, an affiliation that is often cited by his office.

But the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette found out something:

A text message sent in January to U.S. Rep. Tim Murphy by a woman with whom he had an extra-marital relationship took him to task for an anti-abortion statement posted on Facebook from his office’s public account.

“And you have zero issue posting your pro-life stance all over the place when you had no issue asking me to abort our unborn child just last week when we thought that was one of the options,” Shannon Edwards, a forensic psychologist in Pittsburgh with whom the congressman admitted last month to having a relationship, wrote to Mr. Murphy on Jan. 25…

And the kicker? She wasn’t actually pregnant. It was just a scare.

“After discussions with my family and staff, I have come to the decision that I will not seek reelection to Congress at the end of my current term,” he wrote in a statement. He added: “In the coming weeks I will take personal time to seek help as my family and I continue to work through our personal difficulties and seek healing. I ask you to respect our privacy during this time.”


[NOTE: As for the probably unconstitutional bill, it faces an uphill battle in the Senate, where Republicans don’t have the votes to override a filibuster from Democrats, who blocked similar versions of the legislation in 2013 and 2015.]


The Less Said, The Better

Ted Cruz is an evangelical Christian who once defended a ban on dildos in Texas, has referred to birth control as “abortifacients,” and pulled an ad during the 2016 primary when he discovered one of the actors he’d hired was a softcore porn actress.

I thought that was important context for this:

Sen. Ted Cruz‘s official Twitter account appeared to “like” an explicit tweet Monday night, causing a stir on social media.

The Texas senator’s account, which has more than 3 million followers, liked a tweet from the account @SexuallPosts, which posts explicit content and porn. The “like” was later removed from the senator’s account, Cruz’s senior communications adviser Catherine Frazier said.

So… that happened.  It’s amusing and hard to know where to take the joke, but in this age of Trump, Ted can probably ride it out by doing nothing. No attempt to say “my account was hacked”.  Just…. nothing.

UPDATE:  I stand corrected.

Tantaros’ Complaint Against Fox News, O’Reilly, Ailes, and Others

What kind of a place is Fox News?  These allegations keep on coming.

Some excerpts:

[C]ommencing in February 2016, Bill O’Reilly (“O’Reilly”), whom Tantaros had considered to be a good friend and a person from whom she sought career guidance, started sexually harassing her by, inter alia, (a) asking her to come to stay with him on Long Island where it would be “very private,” and (b) telling her on more than one occasion that he could “see [her] as a wild girl,” and that he believed that she had a “wild side.” Fox News did take one action: plainly because of O’Reilly’s rumored prior sexual harassment issues and in recognition of Tantaros’s complaints, Brandi informed Cane that Tantaros would no longer be appearing on O’Reilly’s Fox News show, The O’Reilly Factor.

Ew…. and….

Perhaps the most shocking encounter of all was a Spring 2015 meeting between Tantaros and Fox News Senior Executive, Defendant William Shine (“Shine”), during which Tantaros sought relief from Ailes’s sexual harassment… In response, Shine told Tantaros that Ailes was a “very powerful man” and that Tantaros “needed to let this one go.” Yet, after Ailes was revealed to be a sexual predator and forced to resign, Shine was promoted to Co-President of Fox News. Shine’s inexplicable elevation sends the message that it will be “business as usual” at Fox News when it comes to the treatment of women

Here’s the whole thing:

Cooper Files Response To DOJ Complaint


Gov. Pat McCrory announced Thursday that his office and four outside attorneys would represent North Carolina in the federal government’s challenge of House Bill 2, hours after making a political issue of a court document filed in the case by his Democratic challenger.

An exchange of political volleys Thursday started when the Republican governor portrayed Attorney General Roy Cooper – who has said he would not defend the law – as reversing himself by responding to the complaint by the Department of Justice.

Cooper’s office had filed the response on Friday, with a deadline to respond looming and no other private attorneys representing North Carolina at the time – raising the possibility that the state could have been left unrepresented or had a judgment entered against it for lack of response. The filing asked for an extension of the deadline.

On Thursday, Cooper’s campaign called McCrory’s criticism misleading, reiterating Cooper’s opposition to the law and that he wouldn’t defend it.

McCrory’s campaign then called on Cooper to resign as attorney general “for gross incompetence.”

U.S. Attorney General Loretta Lynch and the federal Department of Justice brought the lawsuit last month, naming as defendants the state, McCrory, the state Department of Public Safety and the UNC system and its board of governors.

Put another way, McCrory was going to blow off the deadline in the DOJ lawsuit, so Cooper filed a response to the complaint.  Cooper agrees with the DOJ, so McCrory was not happy with the nature of the response.

Basically, it was a set-up.  McCrory wanted to make Cooper look bad by making Cooper stick to his guns and not defend the case.  When Cooper did file a (conceding) response, McCrory could then claim that Cooper was incompetent.

Except it really doesn’t seem that way.  It seems that Cooper saved McCrory from a default judgment.

The Cuban Mistress Crisis

The National Enquirer is reporting that Ted Cruz is hiding five different mistresses.

Before you scoff, remember that the National Enquirer was right about Gary Hart’s affair, and John Edwards.  Others in (somewhat) more respectable media outlets seem to think it is accurate.

Brietbart News is claiming the story was peddled to them some time ago by “Rubio allies”

The bombshell report, published in the magazine’s March 25th issue, includes pixelated photos of the women allegedly involved with the first-term senator, but doesn’t give their names.

However, several reports in online journals and on Twitter — where the hashtag #CruzSexScandal is trending worldwide — identify one of the women as Katrina Pierson, a former Cruz aide and tea party congressional candidate who now works for GOP front-runner Donald Trump.


Pierson identified above rejected the allegations on Twitter:

Yet she made her Instragram account private last night:


Another of Cruz’s purported lovers outed by the Internet is Sarah Isgur Flores, who worked for former Republican presidential contender Carly Fiorina. The former Hewlett-Packard CEO briefly challenged Trump for the lead in the race, but she dropped out of the campaign in February.

Last July, a Cruz-affiliated super PAC donated $500,000 to Fiorina’s campaign, without explanation — a highly unusual move that is being reexamined in light of the Enquirer’s report about Cruz’s indiscretions. And Fiorina made a highly publicized last-minute endorsement of Cruz in the final days before the Florida primary, helping him come in a respectable second to Trump and keeping his White House hopes alive.

A third woman has been identified as Amanda Carpenter who denies as well

Cruz himself denies it, of course.  He posted this on his Facebook page:

I want to be crystal clear: these attacks are garbage. For Donald J. Trump to enlist his friends at the National Enquirer and his political henchmen to do his bidding shows you that there is no low Donald won’t go.These smears are completely false, they’re offensive to Heidi and me, they’re offensive to our daughters, and they’re offensive to everyone Donald continues to personally attack.

Donald Trump’s consistently disgraceful behavior is beneath the office we are seeking and we are not going to follow.

But THEN there is a story which I was GOING to blog about a long time ago, but I figured there was no there there.  It’s this, a Texas state police report from 2005 claiming that Heidi Cruz was a “danger to herself” as she was found sitting aside an Austin expressway.  Jilted?


Trump, a longtime friend of the Enquirer’s CEO, says he has nothing to do with the Enquirer story.  And actually, I believe him.  He’s ahead.  Why attack Cruz now?  Or was their little spat about their wives what prompted this?

So far, a lot of speculation and nothing solid.  But in the weirdest of campaign seasons, who knows if it is possible?

RELATED:  Ted Cruz using the word “copulate” is just as bad as him using the word he was trying to avoid.

On The Ashley Madison Hack

So, a few days ago, the website Ashley Madison was hacked and its 37 million customers could soon have their data leaked online by a crew calling themselves The Impact Team.  Ashley Madison, for the uninitiated, is a site that lets spouses cheat on their partners — kind of like a for adulterers. The Impact Team has threatened to release a huge trove of data beyond the snippets of information they already leaked from Avid Life Media, the owner of Ashley Madison and related properties Established Men and Cougar Life, if the cheating site was not shut down.

Why is Impact Team doing this?  Well, it seems they were particularly aggrieved at a service launched by Ashley Madison last year, promising it could delete users’ information so it was irrecoverable for $19. The hackers claimed that service didn’t do as advertised, and customers’ names and addresses were still stored on ALM’s servers.

“Full Delete netted ALM $1.7mm in revenue in 2014. It’s also a complete lie,” The Impact Team said in a notice alongside the leak, in which they also claimed to have taken complete control of ALM’s “office and production domains”, as well as “all customer information databases”.

If that is true, I think they have a point.

Now, I suppose the news of the leak is ho-hum news to a lot of people, but to 37 million — wait…. let’s just contemplate that number.


Ok.  Well to them this is potentially… bad.  REAL bad.

What disgusts me are people like Christian evangelist Franklin Graham, who posted a message on his Facebook page about the matter Wednesday afternoon, stating:

The Bible says, “be sure your sin will find you out.” Ashley Madison, the website for people who want to cheat on their spouses was hacked this weekend. Their slogan is: “Life is short. Have an affair.” Hackers threatened to reveal personal data related to 37 million users. I have news for all those worried cheaters out there wringing their hands—God already knew! His holy Word says, “Nothing in all creation is hidden from God’s sight. Everything is uncovered and laid bare before the eyes of him to whom we must give account” (Hebrews 4:13). Times may have changed, but God’s laws and standards never change—all sin has a price. The New York Daily News calls this an “‪#‎adultery‬ website.” Isn’t it a shame that immorality is such big business?

You know what?  F you, Franklin Graham.

Not being married nor inclined to cheat, I’m not personally affected by this hack, but it does establish a terrible precedent.  We don’t want to snicker at the cheaters who got caught because you never know what could be out in the dark hidden recesses of the web that reflects badly on you or. . .  and this is important . . . someone with the same name as you.  So I think we need to pay attention to this type of thing a little more closely.

Gawker Is Imploding

More fallout from this debacle:

Tommy Craggs, the executive editor of Gawker Media, and Max Read, the editor-in-chief of, are resigning from the company. In letters sent today, Craggs and Read informed staff members that the managing partnership’s vote to remove a controversial post about the CFO of Condé Nast—a unprecedented act endorsed by zero editorial employees—represented an indefensible breach of the notoriously strong firewall between Gawker’s business interests and the independence of its editorial staff. Under those conditions, Craggs and Read wrote, they could not possibly guarantee Gawker’s editorial integrity.

Excuse me?  “Editorial integrity?”

Gawker Does The Right Thing . . . Too Little, Too Late Though

I was going to write about a certain story, but I didn’t want to promote it.  Basically, the Gawker news site put a story up online about a certain person you have never heard.  And it doesn’t matter who it is.  But he is the brother of someone in Obama’s cabinet, and the CFO of a major publishing company.

And the story was long and detailed, but the thrust of it was simple: this man, who has a wife and kids, paid $2,500 to have sex with a male escort.  How did Gawker get the story?  The male escort was trying to blackmail the man-in-question, and passed on texts and emails to Gawker.  Which Gawker published last evening.  They basically outed a guy and destroyed his personal and possibly his career.

Gawker’s story, written by Jordan Sargent, instantly and almost universally provoked unbridled scorn, and rightfully so.  The story had many problems — including the question of whether the subject was prominent enough to be covered at all.  And for the LGBTQ community in particular, the story brought back memories of people effectively weaponizing a person’s sexual orientation or gender identity for blackmail and other threats.

Gawker’s editor-in-chief Max Read defended the story in a way that is utterly laughable, and it’s grounded in a premise that is very common when people want to wallow in others’ private lives, yet incredibly toxic.  He tweeted:

Ugh. Gawker wants you to think it is simply on the prowl to locate and punish adulterers who are vandalizing the sanctity of their marital vows. It’s just about solemn retribution for sinners. They are posing as the chivalrous defender of this man’s wife. (And note the sexist attitude of the tweet — what if a “married c-suite executive is cheating on her husband?)

But in truth, they are are hoping for clicks and pageviews so they can get revenue from their advertisers.  That’s all.  It’s not news — it is cllick-bait.

Even if you buy Read’s justification, you know it is a lie.  Read has no idea whether the CFO’s wife knew about the adultery or not. To justify the article, Read is feigning knowledge that he in fact completely lacks: the private, intimate understanding between the CFO whose life he tried to destroy and the wife whom he has deluded himself into believing he’s protecting.

A good rule of decency is to stay out of the private, personal, and sexual lives of consenting adults, absent some very compelling reason to involve yourself (such as damaging hypocrisy on the part of a political figure). The temptations to intrude into and sit in judgment of those aspects of other people’s lives are powerful, but they’re almost always lowly, self-degrading and scummy. If you have any doubts about that, reading that vile Gawker post will permanently dispel them.


I was going to write about all that, but Gawker just did the right thing, and took down the article.  Here’s the story about that, from, well, Gawker:

Yesterday, Gawker published a post about the CFO of Condé Nast attempting to pay a gay porn star for a night in a Chicago hotel. Today the managing partnership of Gawker Media voted, 5-1, to remove it. Executive editor Tommy Craggs, who helped edit the piece, was the sole dissenter.

The vote to remove the post, which was written by staff writer Jordan Sargent and edited by several other Gawker staffers, comes after widespread criticism from our own readers and other outlets. Along the Craggs, every other member of Gawker Media’s editorial leadership, including Gawker’s editor-in-chief Max Read and the executive editors of Gawker Media’s Politburo, strenuously protested removing the post.

The partners who voted to remove the post were Heather Dietrick, who serves as president and chief legal counsel; Andrew Gorenstein, who serves as the president of advertising and partnerships; chief operating officer Scott Kidder; chief strategy officer Erin Pettigrew; and chief executive officer Nick Denton, who founded Gawker Media in 2002. Along with Tommy Craggs, they belong to Gawker Media’s managing partnership, which Denton established in 2014 and whose members decide on all major company matters.

“The point of this story was not in my view sufficient to offset the embarrassment to the subject and his family,” Denton wrote in a lengthy statement issued on Friday afternoon. “Accordingly, I have had the post taken down. It is the first time we have removed a significant news story for any reason other than factual error or legal settlement.”

Score one for the mission-to-civilize.

Unfortunately, they don’t actually apologize.  They’re basically saying, we were right to post it, and we’re right to take it down.  Ugh again.

Some Sarah Word Salad

Why isn’t the dialogue going right now towards hey, let’s get that law enforcement official — he or her — who released this file, this confidential.

Who — who has been a victim, is a victim — would ever want to speak out and still be able to trust law enforcement that what they’re being told, with counselors and amongst themselves, that their files are going to be held confidential, and then they’re exploited! Why isn’t the press going after that police chief, she or he or whomever it was who released this, and you know it was for political reasons, Sean.

Duggar <> Dunham

So Sarah Palin wrote this:

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I worship this.  And because no Facebook post by Sarah Palin is ever complete without a moment of total monkeyfuck insanity, the best part is where she jabbers, “Such obvious double standards applied to equally relevant stories underestimate the wisdom of the public, discredit the press, and spit on the graves of every American who fought and died for the press’s freedom.”  Kind of a leap there how she got the soldiers tied into it.

And Bristol wrote this:

I can’t believe how crazy the media is going over the Duggar family compared to the big fat yawn they gave Lena Dunham when she wrote in her book that she sexually experimented with her sister. I’m sorry to have to do this, but let me remind you:

In her new book called Not That Kind of Girl – according to Bradford Thomas — she writes about “experimenting sexually with her younger sister Grace, whom she says she attempted to persuade to kiss her using ‘anything a sexual predator might do.’ In one particularly unsettling passage, Dunham experimented with her six-year younger sister’s vagina. ‘This was within the spectrum of things I did,’ she writes.”

It gets worse.

She also – according to her own book – used her sister, “essentially as a sexual outlet, bribing her to kiss her for prolonged periods and even masturbating while she is in the bed beside her.”

That makes me want to puke.

Remember the liberal media outrage?

Oh that’s right. It didn’t happen. The liberal media darling Dunham was praised for her “honest and witty” book.

The double standards make me sick. Josh Duggar touched a sleeping girls breast – a terrible thing to go. But now their ENTIRE family is punished and their hit show is canceled? He’s labeled as a pedophile? His family is crucified!

Liberals in today’s media can do no wrong, while conservatives can do no right.

Now, Lena Dunham’s stories are admittedly ookey, and she didn’t help herself by saying that she would do “anything a sexual predator might do”.  But that is (as she has since explained) hyperbole, one of the tools in a comedian’s belt.  But as for actual molestation, there are a couple of important distinctions between Dunham and Duggar, which are apparently lost on the Palins and Jesus:

(1a) Josh Duggar molested 5 girls, including his own sisters and a babysitter.  There were repeated incidents

(1b)  Lena Dunham examined her one-year-old sister’s vagina…. once.

(2a)  Josh was 14 at the time.

(2b)  Lena was 7 at the time.

(3a)  Josh was old enough to know better.

(3b)  According to the American Academy of Pediatrics, touching and observing a new sibling’s genitals is a “normal, common” behavior in kids ages 2 to 6 (Dunham was 7, but still…..)

(4a)  With Josh, it was sexual.

(4b)  With Lena, it was curiosity following a discussion with her mom about uteruses.

(5a)  With Josh, it happened.

(5b)  Dunham’s account is suspicious, claiming that her one-year-old sister had put pebbles in her vagina “as a prank” to get Dunham to look there.  (Do one-year-olds “prank”?)

(6a)  Josh’s parents, Michelle and Jim-Bob, buried and denied the crime in order to serve the higher power of spreading their ultra-Christian faith to the masses. Via a reality TV show. For profit.

(6b)  In her memoir Not That Kind of Girl, Dunham self-reported her incident.

But other than that, these two situations are exactly the same. Thanks for pointing out this glaring “double standard”, Sarah Palin; your entire post is definitely unrelated to your chummy relationship with Josh Duggar. God bless Sarah Palin for protecting us all from hypocrites, pedophiles, and liberals.

The Duggars Get Softball Interview

Okay, the Duggars.  One word: ugh.  And I could add a lot more to that — about how they’re not really “owning” that their son molested their daughters — but they demonstrated that themselves in an interview with Duggar-friendly Megyn Kelly of Fox News.  Raw Story nails this:

There was so much to dislike and be horrified by in Jim Bob and Michelle Duggar’sinterview with Megyn Kelly on Fox News Wednesday night that it is hard to even know where to start.

With an able assist from Kelly — a former lawyer who used her legal training like a defense attorney walking a client through court testimony, making a small admission of guilt here, pointing the finger at someone else in the courtroom over there — the entire interview was an exercise in damage control and blame-shifting with a healthy dollop of the persecution blues.

Among the many low-lights:

  • Jim Bob Duggar, with his wife looking adoringly on, admitting that their son Josh groped –or in carefully-couched crisis manager-speak “inappropriately touched” — several younger Duggar daughters. But the girls were asleep and didn’t know it happened. Also, he touched them over their clothes. Oh, yes, and it was only for a “few seconds,” as if the 5-second rule was in effect which means it never “really” happened. Did I mention that a tearful Josh ratted himself out to his parents? Yes, according to Jim Bob, that happened.
  • Jim Bob and Michelle once again equating transgendered men and women with pedophiles which, by the way, Josh Duggar is not even though one of the victims of the then-14-year-old would have been attending kindergarten if she wasn’t being home schooled. How do we know Josh is not a pedophile? According to Jim Bob, “Actually a pedophile is an adult that preys on children. Joshua was actually 14 and just turned 15 when he did what he did. And I think that the legal definition is 16 and up for being an adult preying on a child. So he was a child preying on a child. ” Move along folks, nothing to see here, just a 14-year-old playing doctorgynecologist with his 5-year-old sister. Nothing weird about that.
  • Why didn’t the Duggars turn their creepy son in? Jim Bob — and you should get used to Jim Bob speaking for the family, because he is the patriarch and also because Michelle doesn’t seem particularly bright — explains: “As parents, you’re not mandatory reporters… The law allows for parents to do what they think is best for their child.” Laws that require teachers to report child abuse to authorities apparently do not apply to home schooling parents. Score one for the home schooling movement. Subtract one from moral culpability.
  • The acknowledgement, as Michelle explained in her little-girl-voice, that the Duggars don’t even let their girls hold hands, kiss or be alone with their boyfriends when they are allowed to have one, lest their purity be sullied. A lesson, I might add, that the girls have had beaten into their heads long after their parents covered up the fact that their own brother had already gotten to second base with four of them.
  • Bringing on Jessa and Jill Duggar — two of the molestation victims whose interview will air on Friday — to vouch for their brother while claiming that they are victims of… wait for it… a vengeful and anti-Christian media, including the tabloids who had a major hand in turning the whole family into America’s Most Famous Breeder Couple and Their Spawn.

This is where Megyn Kelly hit her journalism stride, turning a previously softball interview into an inquisition of the “media” and police authorities who are the real bad guys here and not Josh who, according to his parents, is still working things out with God since he is conveniently beyond the reach of the law.

Because they are Christians, albeit ones who never felt to the need to admit that their son was a creepy sister-groper while they preached sexual morality to America’s legions of sinners, apparently no one else was supposed to know about a little indiscretion that happened multiple times over almost two years with five different young girls.

“I know everyone of us has done things wrong. That’s why Jesus came,” Michelle explained. “I feel like this is more about… there’s an agenda.”

Prompted by Kelly, who practically held up cue cards and mouthed the words for them, Jim Bob said that “THE REAL STORY” is how the supposedly sealed juvenile record of their son was released since they had gone to such extreme efforts with local authorities to bury it for the sake of Josh Duggar’s future. Also, the girls. Them too.

“And when you’re in every newspaper and everything throughout the world, I mean, it’s been an unprecedented attack on our family. And this information was released illegally,” Jim Bob explained. “And so I wonder why all this press is not going after the system for releasing juvenile records. That is a huge story.”

Speaking for his daughters who have been paraded on television since 2008, when they weren’t having their marriage details sold to People magazine as “exclusives,” Jim Bob added, “They didn’t want this out. Every victim should have the right to tell their own story, not the tabloids.”

Defending her daughters who were apparently  raised to believe that “what Josh does in the Duggar household, stays in the Duggar household,” Michelle Duggar explained that the girls” have been victimized more by what has happened in these last couple weeks.”

Accordingly the Duggars insisted that the people who released Josh Duggar’s file either “have an agenda,” maybe were “bribed,” and have absolutely “no consideration” for the girls.

NOW the girls are victims.

As blame-shifting goes, refocusing the narrative on the evil media and the legal system while climbing up on the cross, this was not entirely surprising since there is a lot of money in play here if TLC dumps their show.

As for the show, Jim Bob said they weren’t worried about that right now, saying, “At this point, our family is trying to regroup from these attacks.”

Then Kelly thanked the couple for the interview, to which Jim Bob told Kelly in the only moment in the interview that was the honest to God truth: “Thanks for telling our story.”

That was her job, after all.

Mission accomplished.

Catching Up

The merry month of May is a busy one.  Fortunately, not a lot is happening news-wise upon which I feel the urge to pontificate at length.  However, I few tidbits are worth at least a passing mention:

  • Yay, Ireland for the feckin’ landslide to legalize same-sex marriage.  Significant, I think, in light of the strong Catholic sentiment there.  Seems that Rome is really out of lockstep with much of the flock.
  • Mad Max: Fury Road is everything people say it is, for better or worse.  It’s adrenaline, which means that even if you don’t like it, you’ll enjoy the incredible effort that must have gone into making it.  Steampunk Mario Brothers, as they say.
  • RIP John Nash:

    John Forbes Nash Jr., a mathematical genius whose struggle with schizophrenia was chronicled in the 2001 movie “A Beautiful Mind,” has died along with his wife in a car crash on the New Jersey Turnpike. He was 86.Nash and Alicia Nash, 82, of Princeton Township, were killed in a taxi crash Saturday, state police said. A colleague who had received an award with Nash in Norway earlier in the week said they had just flown home and the couple had taken a cab home from the airport.

  • The Josh Duggar apologia from the Christian right has been pretty sickening.  The speed with which they “forgive” and pray for Josh Duggar is alarming.  Almost no mention of praying for his victims.  I’ve read so many articles that say, “Josh Duggar was wrong, BUT…..”.  And yes….. technically, he was an underage teen, but I don’t find that to be an excuse — at 17, you’re old enough to know not to molest your sisters and their friends in their sleep.  More importantly, we are learing more about the Duggar’s “purity culture’, and what it does to silence its victims.  And of course, all the forgiveness overlooks the ugly cover-up where the Arkansas Republicans worked to get the police record of the investigation into Josh’s assaults expunged.
  • This will probably develop into a more full post at some point, but I can’t quite get on board with the objections from some womens’ groups about the “gratuitous rape” scenes in HBO’s Game of Thrones.  First of all, anyone who has watched the series at all knows that the show doesn’t pull any punches on a number of fronts.  Incest, horrific and bloody murders, rapes…. they are all in there.  I don’t quite understand why, in Season 6, some people are suddenly finding one aspect of this dark dark show to be objectionable.  Secondly, speaking specifically of the rape of character Sansa Stark two weeks ago, it was not (compared to other GoT scenes) very graphic.  There was no nudity nor was it violent.  It was tame by Game of Thrones terms.  But it was a rape.  And notably, everyone agrees that the scene was exceedingly disturbing…. as depiction of rape should be.  To me, a gratuitous rape scene would be one which was clearly thrown in just to thrill and titillate the audience.  This was not that.  I recall many years ago when Edith Bunker was raped on an episode of the 1970s hit comedy All In The Family.  It was, to my knowledge, the first depiction of rape on television (although the actual rape was not shown).  There was the same sense (in some corners) of outrage — what is rape doing on the entertainment box?  Well, I understand that people don’t want their comedies, or violent medieval dramas, sullied with real-life horrors.  But rape happens, and it is ugly.  I don’t mind that ugliness in my fiction, as long as it is not glorified, and especially if it gets people talking about it.

Anthony Weiner’s Problem

Apparently, being busted for an online affair and forced to resign from Congress taught Anthony Weiner that he'd need to be more careful, and use an alter ego the next time he sent pictures of his equipment to women.

So he used the name "Carlos Danger."

It was bound to happen sooner or later: An anonymous woman has claimed to the Arizona-based gossip and nudies site The Dirty that she carried on an explicit online affair with mayoral candidate Anthony Weiner — after he was busted and forced to resign from Congress for the exact same thing. "She was lured by Anthony Weiner post scandal via Facebook," wrote the site's editor Nik Ritchie yesterday. "They had a relationship for 6 months and she believed they were in love … The relationship consisted of Anthony Weiner and Anonymous sending sexually explicit pictures of each other and having sexual conversations via phone. The best part was Anthony used an alias this time thinking this would protect him. Anthony Weiner used the name 'Carlos Danger' when he would email pictures of his penis via Yahoo."

Weiner has owned up to it and apologized.

I don't really care about the sexual lives of our politicians unless they are in a position to be blackmailed or whatever.  And that held true for the first round of Weiner scandals.  But at some point, it becomes an issue of ones' common sense, and Weiner seems to lack it.  It's not so much the pictures themselves, but the stupidity of a candidate who can't lay off something which acts as a constant distraction.

Plus that fact that, according to some reports, he wasn't asked to send out these explicit pictures of himself — he just did it.  That's kinda creepy.

Maybe Weiner needs to re-evaluate his life goals again.

The Petraeus Affair

So let's get this straight: a woman who is a close friend of CIA Director Gen. David Petraeus and his wife triggers a FBI investigation of threatening emails from another woman, who is instantly found to have been engaged in an illicit sexual relationship with Petraeus, and apparently thought the first woman was a rival for the general's favor, although the FBI almost instantly discovered the theoretically unrelated fact that said first woman had actually exchanged a few thousand "potentially inappropriate" emails with Petraeus' successor to Petraeus in Afghanistan, Gen. John Allen. And the original FBI investigator sent shirtless photos of himself to the woman who started the whole investigation.  None of these people are single or married to each other.

I don't have much to say about this except that I really don't care.  It's a weird story, and unfortunate, and none of our business.

I also disagree with those senior members in Congress who think they should have been informed about it earlier.  This is just ego.  Senior members of Congress are not normally put into the loop when there is an investigation going on, even a security investigation… unless there appears to be an actual breach, which wasn't the case here.

It is amusing, I will say, to watch the right wingers try to spin this scandel into some grand conspiracy having to do with Benghazi, or the elections.  Even if those theories make no sense whatsoever.

Short Takes

*  Britney Spears – who used to be famous – is engaged.  Uh, to be married.  Uh, again.  She's 16 years old still.

* Naughty Republicans — the mayor of Grandaven, Mississippi for 14 years — a guy named Greg Davis — re-ran for mayor in 2008 on a family values platform.  You know where this is going, right?  He's in trouble now for using thousands of dollars of taxpayer money on liquor, expensive dinners at a local restaurant, and a visit to an adult store catering to gay men.  The latter revelation forced him to admit that he is gay.

* Naughty Tebaggers – Tea Party Patriots co-founder Mark Meckler was taken into custody Thursday morning after he tried to check in for a Delta flight to Detroit with a locked gun box containing a Glock pistol and 19 cartridges of ammunition, Queens prosecutors said. [CBS News]

*  The Florida Family Association can suck it.  Seriously.  The new show on TLC, called American Muslim, portrays Muslims in America as normal everyday Americans with normal everyday American problems.  The Florida Family Association objects to the show… because it portrays Muslims in America as normal everyday Americans with normal everyday American problems.  Apparently, you can now protest stuff because it ain't bigotted enough for you.  Oh, and screw you Loew's.

*  Every once in a while, Congress will do something good — like ban traditional incandescent light bulbs (which are inefficient and hurt the environment).  Unfortunately, the good die young.

Cain’s Newest Accuser

Responding to a fifth accuser, who claims that she and Herman Cain have had an on-and-off sexual relationship for 13 years, Cain said that he knew the woman and was trying to help her out financially, adding this on CNN yesterday:

 I have no idea what it is that she's going to have to show proof. 

Hmmm, let's see:

She showed us some of her cell phone bills that included 61 phone calls or text messages to or from a number starting with 678. She says it is Herman Cain's private cell phone. The calls were made during four different months– calls or texts made as early as 4:26 in the early morning, and as late as 7:52 at night. The latest were in September of this year.

“We've never worked together,” said White. “And I can't imagine someone phoning or texting me for the last two and a half years, just because.”

Oh, Herman.  Give it up. 


UPDATE:  Reports are out today that Cain is talking with his staff about dropping out.  Which can only mean one thing — he's dropping out.  Probably will take a few more days to mull it over (so it won't look like this accusation was the death blow), but he's going to be gone by the end of the week.

Penn State Update

Nothing to add except that Sandusky's interview with Bob Costas the other day was just plain oookey.  And I can't believe his lawyers saw any benefit to Sandusky for giving this interview, especially if he was going to say what he said.

I mean, "Sure I showered naked and frolicked with little boys.  I mean, I like that.  But I didn't bang 'em."*that doesn't help your case, Sandusky.

* Not an exact paraphrase, but pretty darn close.

Raw Deal for Paterno

I'm not a Penn State fan; I'm not even a follower of college football.

But as I understand it, after 46 seasons, Penn State college football coach legend (he's a "legend" apparently, although I wouldn't know) Joe Paterno has been removed from his position because he supposedly exercised bad judgment back in 2002.  What happened was, he was told by a graduate assistant coach that Jerry Sandusky (a former assistant coach to Paterno who stilled used the Penn State facilities) sexually assaulted a boy in a school shower.  The graduate assistant coach witnessed the assault.

Paterno reported the incident to Penn State athletic director Tim Curley and Penn State vice president Gary Schultz, who did nothing, and are now under criminal investigation for doing nothing and covering the matter up.

And now, in the wake of a scandal where Sandusky is accused of molesting/raping dozens of boys over several years, the Penn Board of Trustees have removed Paterno.

Why, exactly?  Paterno reported the incident to his higher-ups, whose job it was to take it further to the police.  They didn't.  How is that Paterno's fault?

Sure, with the benefit of 20/20 hindsight and knowing NOW what a danger Sandusky was, I'm sure everyone, even Paterno, wishes that that Paterno had "done more".

But at the time, all Paterno was aware of was a single incident, relayed to him as a second-hand account.  He had no independent knowledge of the incident.  He didn't sit on it; he reported it to authorities.  They dropped the ball (negligently or intentionally); not Paterno.  And arguments (mainly from the left) that Paterno is a child-molester "enabler" simply overlook the what Paterno knew to be true as well as when he supposedly "knew" the facts.

Furthermore, it seems to me that the assistant coach who witnessed the rape has some culpability as well — tell me, why isn't that a 911 call?

UPDATE:  Bill in the comments thoughtfully disagrees:

Need to disagree with you on this one. Paterno had a severe moral lapse. What he should have done is reported what he knew to the police and then the university, immediately and in that order – what he should *not* have done is sat by for nine years while nothing happened.

But this is my point.  What Paterno KNEW at that time was nothing much.  Rumor isn't knowledge.  And in fact, the more outlandish the rumor, the less likely someone in Paterno's position is likely to accept it as "factual truth".  What's worse, he could have suffered consequences (including lawsuits) for making what could have been false accusations.  If he had done nothing, I would agree that he was being, at best, negligent.  But he didn't do nothing.

To my mind, the "moral lapse" moniker doesn't apply unless one expects Paterno to have possessed, at that time, 20/20 hindsight, or that he actually witnessed a 10-year-old boy being raped.  In retrospect, he says he wishes he had done more, and I'm sure we all agree.  But his failure not to do more is not, in my view, sanctionable.  This strikes me as a typical situation where peoples' (understandable) outrage over the heinous act is causing them to demonize people — Paterno, specifically — who not culpable of anything truly immoral.

Put another way: if, back in 2002, Curley and Schultz had done what they were supposed to do, namely:

(a) talk to the graduate student to confirm the allegation; and
(b) notify the police and/or district attorney

then this scandal would have erupted in 2002 and 2003.  Would anyone be criticizing Paterno for a "moral lapse" then?  Not likely.  In fact, he would be praised for setting the wheels in motion to bring a horrific molester to justice. 

So why is he being blamed now?

Shorter Aaron Worthing

The depraved idiot tries to make a deep point, but just spittles on his face:

The First Amendment doesn't prevent people from making sexual threats in the workplace, and it shouldn't.

UPDATE:  Worthing responds in the comments.  I stand by my "shorter" representation of what he was saying, and of course, I have provided the links so that readers can be the judge.  Worthing apparently doesn't think that making hostile and offensive sexual comments in the workplace serves as a implicit threat to many (particularly women) who hear them.

Cain: “Sharon WHO?”


Cain, a leading contender for the Republican presidential nomination, maintained his innocence amid allegations that he had made an inappropriate advance toward [Sharon] Bialek in 1997, when he was head of the National Restaurant Association (NRA) and she had traveled to Washington, D.C. to seek his help in finding a job.

"I can categorically say I have never acted inappropriately with anyone, period. As far as these latest charges, I don't even remember — I reject all of those charges. How can I defend charges when I don't even remember this person by name," Cain said in an interview with ABC News and Yahoo, streamed online this afternoon.

Cain said he hadn't even recognized Bialek or remembered that she had worked at the restaurant group Cain had led.

To be fair to Cain, it's probably hard to keep straight all the women he sexually assaulted.

“Doesn’t Exist” Is The Scariest Response

It's a bit disconcerting to see some of the responses from the Cain supporters this morning, following the sexual harrassment/assault allegations of Sharon Bialek directed at Cain.

It's one thing to disbelieve Bialek.  In a he said/she said situation, people are going to line up that way.

But what's happening in some quarters of the right is stomach-turning: some rightwing columnists and pundits are saying that her accusations are irrelevant.  And why?  Because sexual harassment doesn't exist.  This is simply insulting to women, period, and shows a cruel ignorance of reality.  Over at Slate, Dalia Lithwick has the bill of particulars:

Why not start with John Derbyshire, who put it this way in the National Review: “Is there anyone who thinks sexual harassment is a real thing? Is there anyone who doesn’t know it’s all a lawyers’ ramp, like ‘racial discrimination’? You pay a girl a compliment nowadays, she runs off and gets lawyered up.” In Derbyshire’s America, “girls” see litigating as a shortcut to riches. Evidently we can’t procure riches the old-fashioned way anymore.


Laura Ingraham, who—recall—also has no idea whatsoever what happened between Cain and his accusers, is equally certain that each of the women involved is just greedy: “We have seen this movie before and we know how it ends. It always ends up being an employee who can’t perform or who under-performs and is looking for a little green,” she said on her radio show. Exactly. Like my mom always said: If you can’t marry a rich man, your next best option is to sue one.


Or take the legal stylings of Kurt Schlichter, who asserts that “the only things you need to file a lawsuit are the filing fee and a printer. Facts are optional. … Where sexual-harassment law once protected women from being forced to be the playthings of crude lechers, it’s been transformed to enforcing a prim puritanism that drains the humor and humanity from the workplace.” The humorless line is the route Sen. Rand Paul chose to deploy as well: “There are people now who hesitate to tell a joke to a woman in the workplace, any kind of joke, because it could be interpreted incorrectly.” You catch that? Humorless puritanical women have weaponized sex-discrimination law as a part of their global war on humor.


Rep. Steve King doubled down on this theme, calling sexual harassment “a terrible concept,” and lamenting the tendency “to define an action by the perception of the perceived victim.” Not clear whether the civil justice system is better off for examining only the perceived perceptions of the drunken harassers, but I take it that King is generally more confident that men are more perceptive about all things than the women who work for them.

But leave it to former Sen. Fred Thompson to really elevate the debate. In a riotously funny column penned in Cain’s defense, he too blows the whistle on the whole “sexual-harassment scam.” Because it is, as he conceives of it, a talentless woman’s golden ticket to fame: “These alleged victims and their lawyers—no matter what they may say publicly—are champing at the bit to come forward for their day in the limelight and the inevitable book deal.” Just think of all the famous sex-discrimination memoirs you’ve read recently. Yeah, me too. Or as my colleague David Weigel notes, “My idea of frothy fun would be to make accusations of sexual harassment against a powerful person, become a notorious figure whose life and character came under microscopic examination, and then spend the rest of my life living in a legal system shaped by the man I accused.”

And Ms. Lithwick sums it up nicely:

This isn’t just an effort to discredit Cain’s accusers. It’s an effort to dissuade women with genuine complaints from coming forward to report them…. [and] what’s worrying to me is the indifference of so many Republican voters:  New poll results show that 70 percent of Republicans say the sexual harassment scandal makes no difference in their vote. It’s no longer just a Republican war on women. It’s a war on the idea that any woman might ever tell the truth.

Cain Campaign Delusional

This is part of a statement released by the Cain campaign last night, after Cain's fourth accuser got on national television and told her story in detail:

Unfortunately, the media-driven process by which one must seek this opportunity is fundamentally unserious. I have touched on this before – the emphasis on "gaffes," gotcha questions and time devoted to trivial nonsense – and everyone knows the process only became further detached from relevance this week as the media published anonymous, ancient, vague personal allegations against me.

Hey, if people don't want to believe the accusations of Sharon Bialek, that's fine.  But factually, you simply can't call them "anonymous" or "vague".

And you lose credibility by saying so.

Pig (and Stupid Lawyer) Of The Day

Aaron Worthing (who purports to be a lawyer) at Patterico's Pontifications, on the subject of Herman Cain:

Or did he do the full quid pro quo (“something for something”) and say, “sleep with me or you are fired/won’t get that promotion, etc.?” Now I want to be careful to say that we are not nearly there, yet, but if that is what it was, then it’s not just “sexual harassment.” Seriously what do you call it when you give something of value in exchange for sex? In most states, that’s prostitution. 

No, Aaron.  An employer saying to an employeee "sleep with me or else you are fired/won't get that promotion" is the textbook definition of sexual harassment.  It is a violation of Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964.  Go back to law school (or alternatively, get a job and read the company employee manual).

EEOC, get my back:

Unwelcome sexual advances, requests for sexual favors, and other verbal or physical conduct of a sexual nature constitutes sexual harassment when submission to or rejection of this conduct explicitly or implicitly affects an individual's employment, unreasonably interferes with an individual's work performance or creates an intimidating, hostile or offensive work environment.

Aaron has a hard time understanding these situtations.  For example, he gets puzzled about the following scenario:

Cain pressures the woman to have sex with him, she capitulates… and then she goes to HR, hires a lawyer and sues? That sounds odd to me, although the answer might be that something might be missing. 

He finds it "odd" that a woman would capitulate to pressure?  What's so odd?  That's what the harasser is trying to do, and sometimes they succeed!  

Aaron, of course, is demonstrating the mentality that makes sexual harassers think they can get away with their harassment in the first place.  They hit on their employee (with the subtle threat of repercussions if the employee doesn't give it up).  If the employee shoots them down, the putative harasser can always say they were just joking.  Bu if the employee has sex with them, then the harasser is shielded from liability (i.e., "she wanted it")

Unfortunately for Aaron, that's not how it works.  It does not matter whether she "accepted" the full "quid pro quo".  After all, agreeing to have sex with a harasser doesn't negate the coercion aspect (and it arguably bolsters it).

Then, to make sure his stupidity and ignorance about sexual harassment is solidified, Aaron writes:

Indeed, I have read of cases where Virginia attorneys offered for their clients to pay them in sex instead of fees, which then led them to be arrested for soliciting prostitution.

Which relates to the Cain allegations how?  At the risk of pointing out the obvious, an attorney-client relationship is not the same as workplace conduct, since the two actors there do not work for the same company or employer.

FURTHER THOUGHT:  Of course, Aaron's views change when Democrats and blowjobs are involved.  In those situations, it is of course, sexual harassment.

UPDATE:  Worthing responds in the comments below, and for once, he's right about something: dyslexia wins the day.  I read what he wrote as "…then it’s just not 'sexual harassment'.", instead of what he actually wrote, which was "…then it’s not just “sexual harassment'.” (as in "it's not only sexual harassment").

So the "pig" remark is retracted on my part, although I stand by the rest of the post (and why is "sexual harassment" in scare quotes, anyway?).

Herman Cain And Racism

Okay.  So Herman Cain was once accused of sexual harassment.  And now people want to know more.

My feelings?  I don't think this has any bearing on anything, and I detest this kind of politics.  I need to be shown why it is important, and how it bears on his ability to be president.  There are answers to that question — legitimate ones.  For example, if he had previously said that he never had been accused of sexual harassment, and he knew that statement to be false, that is an issue that goes to his credibility.  

Or, if the sexual harassment was part of a serial problem.  Or, if it rose to the level of a crime.

But that's not the case.  Apparently, he was accused of sexual harrassment.  He admits this, although he denies the sexual harrassment.  The matter was settled by a confidential settlement agreement.  End of story as far as I am concerned.

On the other hand, Cain's defenders, including Rush Limbaugh, are saying that all this interest in Cain's possible sexual harassment is…. racism. 

Wait, what?  Aren't the Republicans the one who bristle when their criticisms of Obama is labelled as "racism"?  And yet, here they are.

And it's an odd criticism.  I mean, WHERE is the racism exactly in any of Cain's critics?  WHO are the racists, exactly?  

Cain refuses to talk about the incident.  Worse yet, he's changed his story.  Is pointing out that he changed his story, racism?  And if so, how?

Excuse me, Cain supporters.  I think there are reasons why the sexual harrassment "issue" should be put to rest (i.e., it is irrelevant until somebody makes an argument why it should be relevant).  But to use Cain's race as a basis to try to shut down inquiry?


(The real thing scary about Cain is his incredible lack of knowledge about basic things any president should know.  Yes, Herman, China is a nuclear power.  It has been for almost 50 years.)

NOM Uses Obama Crowd Photos In New Hampshire Ad

See if you can spot any similarities in this website, which is a website that the National Organization for Marriage has put up to end same-sex marriage in New Hampshire…


and this website post, which is about the crowds who turned out for an Obama rally in November 2008 in Columbus Ohio:


Hint: look in the lower left hand corner of each picture.

It's an obvious attempt to make NOM appear to be popular and formidable than it actually is.  I mean, when you have to borrow crowds…

RELATED:  In a vote of 11-6, the New Hampshire House Judiciary Committee has voted to accept a sub-committee’s recommendation and approved a mesure to repeal the state’s 2009 marriage equality law. The full House is expected to take-up the issue in January.

The Long National Obsession Is Over

Weiner is stepping down.

Rep. Anthony Weiner of New York will step down from office amid intense pressure from congressional Democrats following his admission of risque online chats and photo swaps with multiple women and lying about it, sources tell ABC News.

Weiner, 46, has begun sharing his decision with close friends, the sources said, but has not yet sent a formal letter to New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo indicating his intentions.

A Democratic source said Weiner called House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi and Rep. Steve Israel, chairman of the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee, Wednesday night while they were at a White House picnic to inform them he would resign today.

I'm still not convinced that Weiner's misdeeds warranted a resignation.  He broke no law (as far as I know); he's not a moral hypocrite.  Yes, he's a little ookey sexually, but then again, so was Ben Franklin.  And Sen. David Vitter (R-La.), meanwhile, remains a senator in good standing, despite his lies and habit of hiring hookers. 

The Final Word (One Hopes) On Weiner

I'm just outsourcing this to Glenn Greenwald, who makes some valuable points:

What makes the Anthony Weiner story somewhat unique and thus worth discussing for a moment is that, as Hendrik Hertzberg points out, the pretense of substantive relevance (which, lame though it was in prior scandals, was at least maintained) has been more or less brazenly dispensed with here.  This isn't a case of illegal sex activity or gross hypocrisy (i.e., David Vitter, Larry Craig, Mark Foley (who built their careers on Family Values) or Eliot Spitzer (who viciously prosecuted trivial prostitution cases)).  There's no lying under oath (Clinton) or allegedly illegal payments (Ensign, Edwards).  From what is known, none of the women claim harassment and Weiner didn't even have actual sex with any of them.  This is just pure mucking around in the private, consensual, unquestionably legal private sexual affairs of someone for partisan gain, voyeuristic fun and the soothing fulfillment of judgmental condemnation.  And in that regard, it sets a new standard: the private sexual activities of public figures — down to the most intimate details — are now inherently newsworthy, without the need for any pretense of other relevance. 


Yes, Anthony Weiner lied — about something that is absolutely nobody's business but his and his wife's.  If you're not his wife, you have absolutely no legitimate reason to want to know about — let alone pass judgment on — what he does in his private sexual life with other consenting adults.  Particularly repellent is the pretense of speaking out on behalf of his wife, as though anyone knows what her perspectives on such matters are or what their relationship entails.  The only reason to want to wallow in the details of Anthony Weiner's sex life is because of the voyeuristic titillation it provides: a deeply repressed culture celebrates when it finds cause to be able to talk about penises and naked pictures and oral sex while hiding behind some noble pretext.  On some level, I find the behavior of the obviously loathsome Andrew Breitbart preferable; at least he's honest about his motive:  he hates Democrats and liberals and wants sadistically to destroy them however he can.  It's the empty, barren, purse-lipped busybodies who cannot stay out of other adults' private and sexual lives — while pretending to be elevated  — that are the truly odious villains here.

In The AtlanticConor Friedersdorf argues that the private consensual sexual activities of politicians are none of our business, and in reply,Megan McArdle insists that "society has [an] interest in whether people keep their vows" in marriage and thus it's a good thing "to use a few of our precious news hours to say, 'Hey, not okay'!"  Except McArdle has absolutely no idea what vows Weiner and his wife have made to each other, and she shouldn't know, because it's none of her business, despite her eagerness to learn about it and publicly condemn it.  Even if she had any idea of what she was talking about — and she plainly doesn't — nothing is less relevant than Megan McArdle's views of the arrangement Anthony Weiner and his wife have for their marriage and whether each partner is adhering to that arrangement.  That a journalist atThe Atlantic wants to talk about this, and dig into the details, and issue judgments about it, says all one needs to know about our press corps.

Can one even imagine how much different — and better — our political culture would be if our establishment media devoted even a fraction of the critical scrutiny and adversarial energy it devoted to the Weiner matter to things that actually matter?

And that's just the highlights — read the whole thing.

The End Of Weiner?

I like Anthony Weiner and his brand of politics.  No holds barred.  Fiery.

And then he had to go and do something stupid and classless like having inappropriate online conversations with women not his wife, some underage apparently, and some conversations including risque photos.  Worse than that — far worse than that — he made Andrew Breitbart look somewhat respectable.

So…. after finally fessing up, what now?  Weiner says he's not going to resign.  And I think that is good.  I don't think politicians should be held to a higher moral standard unless of course they hold themselves and others to that standard.  Weiner was never the sanctomonious holier-than-thou type, and now we know that he doesn't have good reason to be.  In other words, the status is quo.

But of course, this may not be his choice.  There will be motions to censure, calls for criminal investigations, etc.  The GOP will not rest until they have their head.

Oh, Anthony.  You and John Edwards.  What the hell were you thinking?  WERE you thinking?

Wither Representative Christopher Lee

Which is funnier regarding the Rep. Christopher Lee (R-NY) story:

That Lee, a man with the finely-toned body of a PGA golfer, described himself as "a very fit fun classy guy" after lying about his profession, his martial status and his age. 


That in the post-Mark Foley era, a married US congressman with a child would be so naive as to think, in the digital age, that appealing to a strange woman on Criagslist whom he's never met with half nude photographs wouldn't wind up on a website like for public ridicule such as this.

It's a tough call.

[h/t: Brilliant at Breakfast]

P.S.  For those keeping score… Number of resignations from the "new" Republican-controlled House: 2;  Number of legislative bills passed: 0

UPDATE:  The Left Coaster suggests that we make this a "teachable moment" for our kids:

Let's salvage something from Christopher Lee's misadventure and seize the opportunity to explain to our children that it's cool to have a phone that can take a picture and it's wonderful to have a mirror where we can do a little prep work before we go out in public, but when you stand in front of mirror with your phone camera and start clicking, you really have to expect that the resulting photos may show up anywhere.

Yes.  Especially if you are famous or in a position of public trust. 


The story which will occupy the news next week will be about John Boehner's affair.

Oh, yes.  You read right.  Affair.  The story hasn't broke yet, but it will in 3… 2….

Another Naughty Megachurch Leader

Is this even news anymore when this happens?

Two young men in Georgia said Tuesday that the pastor of a 33,000-person Baptist megachurch, Bishop Eddie L. Long, had repeatedly coerced them into having sex with him.

In two lawsuits filed in DeKalb County, the men said that Bishop Long, a prominent minister and television personality, had used his position as a spiritual counselor to take them on trips out of state and perform sexual acts on them.

Bishop Long is the pastor of New Birth Missionary Baptist Church in Lithonia, an Atlanta suburb. It is one of the largest churches in the country.

“Defendant Long has a pattern and practice of singling out a select group of young male church members and using his authority as bishop over them to ultimately bring them to a point of engaging in a sexual relationship,” said a suit filed by one of the men, Maurice Robinson, 20. The other man who filed suit is Anthony Flagg, 21.

The Al Gore Sexual Misconduct Allegation

I almost hate to give credence to this National Enquirer driven story.  But conservative blogs are all over this, so it need addressing.

The first thing to keep in mind is that the incident supposedly happened in October 2006.  And we're only hearing about it now.

Secondly, this:

The Multnomah County district attorney's office was aware that the woman's attorney filed a complaint with police about two months after the encounter, but the woman didn't show up for three scheduled interviews with police investigators. At that time, police were told the woman didn't want to proceed with a criminal case and would pursue a civil case instead.

In other words, she wanted $$$$.

But I have some trouble with the narrative of what (supposedly) happened:

According to a lengthy transcript of the woman's Jan. 8, 2009, statement to a Portland detective, the therapist said she arrived in the suite about 11 p.m. Earlier that evening, Gore addressed a near-capacity crowd in the Rose Garden's Theater of the Clouds, telling the audience that man-made global climate change is the most important moral challenge of our time. She said Gore changed into a bathrobe, spoke of his grueling travel schedule and need to relax and told her to call him "Al."

While giving Gore an abdominal massage, she said he demanded that she go lower and soon grabbed her right hand and shoved it under the sheet.

"I felt like I was dancing on the edge of a razor," she told Detective Molly Daul.

Then why didn't she leave at that point?

She tried to use an acupressure technique to relax Gore and thought she may have nearly put him to sleep.

That would have been a good time to leave too.

She went into the bathroom to wash up and came out to pack up.

That's when, she says, Gore wrapped her in an "inescapable embrace" and fondled her back, buttocks and breasts as she was trying to break down her massage table.

She called him a "crazed sex poodle" and tried to distract him, pointing out a box of Moonstruck chocolates on a nearby table. He went for the chocolates and then offered her some, cornering her, fondling her and shoving his tongue in her mouth to french kiss as he pressed against her.

She said he tried to pull her camisole strap down.

She said she told him to stop it. "I was distressed, shocked and terrified."

She said she was intimidated by his physical size, calling him "rotund," described his "violent temper, dictatorial, commanding attitude" — what she termed a contrast from his "Mr. Smiley global-warming concern persona."

She's right.  That doesn't sound like Gore.

Later, she said, he tried to lure her into the bedroom to hear pop star Pink's "Dear Mr. President" on his iPod dock. She said Gore sat on one end of the bed and motioned for her to join him.

Whoa, whoa, whoa.  The massage is over and, according to her, she's already been groped and manhandled once.  She's no longer in the "inescapable embrace" of Gore.  So why the hell isn't she leaving NOW?

Suddenly, she said, he "flipped me on my back, threw his whole body face down over a top me, pinning me down."

She said she loudly protested, "Get off me, you big lummox!"

And this is where credibility really goes out the deep end.  "You big lummox".  What is this?  A Katherine Hepburn movie?

Seriouslly, with the "lummox" comment and the "Dear Mr. President" playing on the iPod, this sounds like really bad fan fiction.

The therapist said she injured her left leg and knee and sought medical care for several months.

The therapist later told detectives she did not call the police because she was afraid she wouldn't be believed. "I deeply feared being made into a public spectacle and my work reputation being destroyed," she said.

As it was, she said, even friends of hers who had voted for Gore didn't necessarily support her.

No, I'm sure they didn't support her.  I doubt it had anything to do with voting for Gore though.

She did call the Portland Women's Crisis Line, which encouraged her to call police.

She told detectives last year that she was not out for money but only wants "justice."

Then, if it was about "justice" and not about money, why didn't she fail to show up for three police interviews on three separate occasions?  Why did she pursue a civil remedy, rather than a criminal one?

Tellingly, neither the police nor her former attorney seem too exorcised about the sexual misconduct:

Randall Vogt, a Pearl District attorney who specializes in sexual misconduct cases, said he represented the massage therapist in 2006. "That file was closed and put to bed and forgotten," Vogt said. "She and I parted on friendly terms as best I can recall." He was not aware that his former client reactivated her claims against Gore last year.

Wheat said police didn't investigate the woman's 2009 statement further because "they didn't feel there was any additional evidence that would change what they saw in 2006." That's also why the police didn't consult with the district attorney's office about the 2009 statement, she said. Wheat added that the woman received a lot of attention from police and a victim's advocate, who made sure she had counseling.

Look, it is entirely possible that everything that this woman said happened, happened.  But her story sounds very suspect, IMHO.

UPDATE:  The woman's statement to the police is available verbatim at The Smoking Gun.  Why didn't she run from the room?  She was afraid of getting tasered or shot by Gore's security detail.  Riiiiiiight.  (Interestingly, she later recounts having a conversation with Gore that night in which he told her that he doesn't get Secret Service protection).

If you read the whole thing, you get a good idea of this woman's mental state.

Oh, she's a 54 year old grandmother.

UPDATE #2:   Case closed.


She alleges that Gore played Pink's "Dear Mr. President" on his iPod.  In fact, he serenaded her with it.

Problem:  The alleged event took place on October 24, 2006.  "Dear Mr. President" was released on December 21, 2006.

How likely was it that Gore had obtained a pre-pre-release copy?

UPDATE #3:  Okay, maybe not.  There had been live performances of "Dear Mr. President" prior to the December 21, 2006 release date, going as far back as July 2006.

So, Is ANY Republican Faithful To Their Marriage In South Carolina?

Outgoing governor had an affair, wife divorces him. Former wife now supports new GOP gubernatorial candidate, who we now know also had an affair – with a staffer of the adulterous governor – and who distanced herself from the governor because of HIS affair.

Haley, who is married and has two children, has yet to comment on Folks' announcement. About an hour after Folks announced the affair, Rep. Haley canceled an interview with WIS News 10 that had been previously scheduled for Monday morning and had been confirmed by the campaign before the FITSNews page went live.

Haley recently rocketed to the front of the polls in the Republican race for governor after being publicly endorsed by Republican icon Sarah Palin and former first lady Jenny Sanford. Ms. Sanford, who divorced her husband after the governor announced an extramarital affair of his own, has not commented on the news of Haley's alleged affair.

Haley was once a close political ally of Governor Sanford, but somewhat distanced herself from him after Sanford's affair came to light, saying the governor had "fallen short" in his behavior.

Here's the blogger's admission of the affair.

The Class of 1994

Here we go again:

"I sinned against God, my wife and my family by having a mutual relationship with a part-time member of my staff…."

That's Representative Mark Souder (R-Ind), sponsor of the "Marriage Protection Amendment" to the U.S. Constitution, admitting to an extramarital affair yesterday morning with part time staffer Tracy Jackson.  (The two can be seen here in a video interview discussing, ironically, abstinence education.  Jackson is the "interviewer").

The Washington Post notes that the Republicans who were swept into office in 1994, which includes Souder, seem to have, well, a lot of "issues":

Souder appears likely to join classmates Mark Foley (lewd text messages to House pages), Mark Sanford (hiking the proverbial Appalachian Trail with his Argentine mistress) and John Ensign (whose parents paid the family of his ex-mistress $96,000) in the sex-scandal hall of fame. Another of their classmates, Bob Ney, did prison time for his role in the Jack Abramoff scandal.

As Eric Massa, John Edwards and Eliot Spitzer can attest, scandal can visit any party or any political body. But the House Republicans of '94 stand out: No fewer than 15 of the 73 elected in the landslide that year have entertained the nation with flaps that include messy divorces and a suspicious car accident.

Philadelphia Democrat “Outs” Her Opponent… As A Straight Man

Is Gregg Kravitz, a Republican candidate running for the Pennsylvania State House, only pretending to be gay in order to win over LGBT voters?  His Democratic opponent thinks so:

Josephs-kravitz-split-cropped-proto-custom_2The longtime Democratic incumbent in a Pennsylvania State House race is accusing her primary challenger of trying to win votes by keeping his heterosexuality in the closet.

"I outed him as a straight person," Rep. Babette Josephs said during a fund-raiser, according to the Philadelphia Inquirer, "and now he goes around telling people, quote, 'I swing both ways.' That's quite a respectful way to talk about sexuality. This guy's a gem."

Josephs contended that her challenger, Gregg Kravitz, had said he was gay, then brought a "girlfriend" to an event and now says he is bisexual — a ploy, she says, to get the votes of the district's LGBT voters.

"He's said so many things to so many different people that I am puzzled," said Josephs, a widow. The issue, she said, is Kravitz's credibility.

Kravitz — whose campaign sent the audio of Josephs' remarks to the paper — denied the charges that his bisexuality is a beard.

"My sexuality is not a qualification for office," Kravitz said. "I bring it up only in the context that it's important for the LGBT community to have a seat at the legislative table."

He also said he doesn't recall using the phrase "I swing both ways" and said he hasn't discussed his sexuality with Josephs.

Josephs, 70, has been a supporter of gay rights since she was elected in 1984, according to the Inquirer, working to add sexual orientation to a hate-crimes bill.

Strange times.

More RNC Sex Woes

Not an April Fool's Day joke.

So the RNC sent out this mailer recently:

And guess what you hear when you dial that number at the bottom:

"Hey there sexy guy.  Welcome to an exciting new way to go live one-on-one with hot, horny girls waiting right now to talk to you.  Lie back, baby.  Relax and get ready to meet real local students, housewives, and working girls from all over the country.  Hundreds of hot girls call free all day and night cuz we love nasty talk as much as you do.  Hot amateur talk and voice personals for just 99 cents per minute.  Or live one-on-one talk with a nasty girl who will do anything you want for just $2.99 per minute.  This service is brought to you by Intimate Encounters.  You must be over 18.  Enter your credit card now to join the fun. 

No credit card?  Call 1-900-Talkline for just $1.99 per minute.  That's 1-900-T-A-L-K-L-I-N-E.  Or try collect call back.  Dial 1-215-SexTalk and we'll call you right back.  Connecting you to hot live talk with horny students, housewives and working girls.  That's 1-215-S-E-X-T-A-L-K.  For the same exciting action call 1-775-785-6860 for exciting action at just 89 cents per minute.  That's 1-775-785-6860 to bill this call discretely to your phone.

Now it's time to stick it in.  Enter your Visa, Mastercard, Discover, or AmericanExpress card number now followed by the pound key.  Or press 1 for other billing options."

[Source: ABC News]

Republican Sex Scandal of the Week: Hypocrisy Alert

Republican Missouri State Senator Rod Jetton fired a state lawmaker from his committee chairmanship in 2007 because the lawmaker had changed a bill in order to end a state ban on gay sex.  You can read Jetton's defense of his actions from a 2007 editorial here.  In it, he boasts "I have fought attempts by liberals to repeal the gay sex ban for years". 

Also in that 2007 editorial, Jetton laments how, thanks to his colleague's actions, gays can have sex (what Jetton calls "deviate sexual intercourse") in Missouri.


Flash forward to Monday.  Seems the (now-former) state senator has more than a passing familiarity with "deviate sexual intercourse":

The former speaker of the Missouri House has been charged with a felony after what looks like a bout of sado-masochistic sex that went way too far.

Details are still unconfirmed, we should note. But a woman appears to have suggested to police that Rod Jetton, a Republican who now works as a political consultant, may have slipped something into her drink, then beat her up during sex, after she failed to use the safe word they had agreed upon as a signal to calm things down.

Here's what we know: The woman, who lives in Sikeston, Missouri, told police that Jetton and she spoke by phone on November 15th about their plans to have sex that night, according to the blog of a TV station. Several hours later, she says, he went to her home with two bottles of wine. According to the woman, Jetton poured the wine in the kitchen, out of her view. He then returned to the living room and handed her a glass. While they were watching a football game, the woman says, she started 'fading' in and out and lost consciousness several times.

The woman added that she and Jetton had agreed on the phrase "green balloons" as a "safe word" that she could use if things got too rough during sex. That's not uncommon among people who enjoy sex that involves dominance and submission.

But somehow things seem to have gotten way out of hand. The police report continues: "[The woman] recalls Jetton hitting her on the face very hard. She then remembers waking up, lying on the floor and Jetton was choking her. [The woman] said she did not know what happened with her memory because she had been drunk but had never had the blank spots in her memory."

According to the formal complaint filed against Jetton, he "recklessly caused serious physical injury" to the woman "by hitting her on the head, and choking her resulting in unconsciousness and the loss of the function of part of her body."

Jetton then stayed the night, says the woman. When he woke up, she says, he kissed her and said, "You should have said green balloons." He then left and hasn't returned.

So, in the Jetton world view, consensual gay sex is "deviate"; beating that crap out of woman during sex in which you slipped her date rape drugs… not so much.

UPDATE:  Yeah, this was particularly nasty….

The Power of Tiger

It says something about the fame of Tiger Woods when the number one search term for Google today is "transgressions" (a word used by Tiger in his press release this morning).

It also says something about the stupidity of people when the number four search term today is "transgression definition".

In fact, 7 of the ten top googled search terms involve the Tiger Woods scandal (including searches for pics of the women in question).

RELATED:  From the police photos, we can see what Tiger's reading:


Carrie Prejean, the Anti-Gay Christian Spokesperson, Has A Sex Tape

It's almost not worth writing about anymore.  Another "family values" icon proves to be a hypocrite.  TMZ writes:

Carrie Prejean demanded more than a million dollars during her settlement negotiations with Miss California USA Pageant officials — that is, until the lawyer for the Pageant showed Carrie an XXX home video of her handiwork.

The video the lawyer showed Carrie is extremely graphic and has never been released publicly. We know that, because TMZ obtained the video months ago but decided not to post it because it was so racy. Let's just say, Carrie has a promising solo career.

We're told it took about 15 seconds for Carrie to jettison her demand and essentially walk away with nothing. As we first reported, the Pageant is paying around $100,000 to her lawyers and publicist — a fraction of her bills. She pockets nothing in the settlement.

I wonder if she'll be invited to next year's Values Voter Summit.