Tag Archives: Me Too

Duplicity snags another big-time pol

Eric Schneiderman is paying the price that so often is levied on politicians who say one thing, but then demonstrate their through their actions to be someone quite different.

The former Democratic New York attorney general quit suddenly this week after allegations surfaced that accused him of sexual assault. Yes, the “Me Too” and “Time’s Up” movements caught another one!

But here’s the thing. Schneiderman has been out front and quite vocal in criticizing others who’ve been caught doing the same things that the former New York AG has been accused of doing.

That only heightens the hypocrisy of it.

This reminds me at one level of the recent case involving Missouri Republican Gov. Eric Greitens, who has been accused of sexual misconduct. You see, what makes Greitens’s alleged transgression so ghastly is that he campaigned for election by proclaiming himself to be a “proud husband and father.” He was a “family values” candidate and he played on that theme while winning election to the Missouri statehouse. While he was bellowing his love for his his wife and children, he was messing around with a woman who isn’t his wife.

That makes what Greitens did all that much worse and it elevates it from a “private” matter to a “public” scandal.

Do you remember when former U.S. Sen. John Edwards was campaigning for vice president as part of the Democratic ticket led by U.S. Sen. John Kerry in 2004? Edwards was so proud to proclaim his love for his wife, Elizabeth, while keeping secret an affair he was having with someone else.

Eric Schneiderman managed to pop off quite vocally about how other men should be ashamed of behaving badly with women. It turns out he also was misbehaving — allegedly — in violent ways with women with whom he was having sex.

Shameful.

‘Me Too’ snags another perp … allegedly

The “Me Too” movement has just landed another big fish … allegedly.

Eric Schneiderman is now the former New York attorney general who quit suddenly this week after allegations surfaced that he mistreated at least three women. One of them says Schneiderman slapped her hard across the face during a sexual encounter she said was “unwanted.”

Schneiderman, a Democrat, of course denied doing anything wrong, or “non-consensual,” but he resigned anyway.

One of the more hideous aspects of this latest big-time pol’s fall from power is how he was so public in criticizing the misbehavior of other public figures, such as the disgraced Hollywood film mogul Harvey Weinstein.

There’s a lesson to be heeded here as many political observers ponder Schneiderman’s own disgrace.

  • Democrats need to be forceful in their condemnation of this man’s behavior, presuming it is true; I happen to believe the accounts that have surfaced.
  • Moreover, Republicans need to take great care to avoid politicizing this too heavily; I mean, they have their own high-profile pols who’ve been tarred by allegations by women who’ve come forward in this new era of “Me Too” and “Time’s Up.”

As for Eric Schneiderman, he needs to face the same level of scorn he heaped on others while defending the women who came forward to accuse them of ghastly behavior.

Sexual misconduct charges: deal breaker for sure

One of those online “polls” showed up on MSN.com that asked the following: “Do sexual misconduct charges against celebrities affect your entertainment choices.”

Umm. Yep. By all means!

The roster of entertainment casualties keeps growing. What’s interesting, though, about the “poll” question is that the allegations — even those that aren’t yet proven — have doomed many celebrities’ careers.

Kevin Spacey is a goner. Bill Cosby is now a convicted felon. Harvey Weinstein isn’t likely to produce another film ever again. Dustin Hoffman is toast. The list is a lengthy one.

Check it out here.

Indeed, if I know that an actor is involved with a sexual harassment/abuse/assault allegation I am most likely never to spend a dime to watch his work ever again.

The same is true for assorted other controversies. Tom Cruise has made a spectacle of himself over the Scientology controversy that erupted around him years ago. I haven’t paid to see a Cruise film ever since.

Do politics factor in my entertainment decisions? Not in the least. One of my favorite actors is Clint Eastwood, a serious Republican. I do love the man’s art. Same for the late John Wayne, whose films I always enjoyed watching, even though I didn’t care for his political leanings.

But in this era of “Me Too” and “Time’s Up,” I find myself making entertainment choices based on whether the star of the show is caught up in allegations of sexual misconduct.

I also will presume that millions of others are making the same decisions based on the same criteria. That, I will suggest, will hit these low-lifes where it hurts the most.

Jury delivers justice to ‘America’s Dad’

Earlier today, a Norristown, Pa., jury of seven men and five women did something many of us a decade ago never would have imagined.

They convicted one of America’s most iconic entertainers of three counts of sexual assault. To be totally candid, I am still trying to process the conviction of Bill Cosby of the crimes he was accused of committing.

Think about this for a moment. There will be no more “alleged” adjective attached to the counts of sexual assault that Cosby committed against Andrea Constand, a one Temple University employee with whom Cosby was acquainted.

Cosby is now a convicted felon who faces the possibility of a lengthy prison term for the three counts of sexual assault. As I understand it, he could be sentenced to 30 years in prison: 10 years for each of the counts.

Now, as an 80-year-old felon, does anyone really expect the judge to throw Cosby in prison for 30 years? I don’t think so.

However, I won’t buy into the canard that Cosby’s age by itself should compel sentencing leniency. As has been noted already, he wasn’t 80 when he attacked Constand; the assault occurred in 2004, meaning Cosby was a “spring chicken” of 66 years of age. As such, he ought to spend a good stretch of time behind bars.

I am left to wonder out loud whether we are witnessing the “Me Too” and “Time’s Up” movements coalescing at just the right moment as it regards Bill Cosby. The jury that heard this retrial convicted the once-revered Cosby after the emergence of the twin movements that arose from accusations of sexual abuse that have leveled high-level entertainers and politicians.

Cosby’s original trial, which ended with a hung jury in 2015, hadn’t yet been overshadowed by the movement that has empowered women around the world to speak out against abuse, harassment and assault.

We have entered a new era. Justice has been delivered to Bill Cosby. The man once known as “America’s Dad” has become “America’s Sexual Predator.”

Pushing back against the pushback

Allow me this chance to push back against some of the soreheads who have dismissed a demand that has come from Texas Gov. Greg Abbott.

The governor has written a letter to former U.S. Rep. Blake Farenthold, a fellow Republican politician, demanding that he pay the full cost of the special election that will occur on June 30 to determine who should replace Farenthold in Congress.

Farenthold quit because of sexual harassment charges leveled against him. Then it was revealed that he took $84,000 in public money to cover the cost of lawsuit settlements involving the complaints of sexual harassment. Farenthold reportedly is seeking a second mortgage on his Corpus Christi home to raise the money to pay back the congressional fund.

Abbott said in his letter that Farenthold’s behavior is cause for the election and that he should pay for it — in its entirety.

The pushback came from those who reminded me that Abbott is campaigning for re-election. His demand, they suggest, is nothing than a sop to voters, a publicity stunt from a pol seeking some positive publicity.

To which I say: Baloney!

So what if it’s an election year? So what if Abbott is up for re-election? He is a strong favorite to win a second term, no matter who wins the upcoming Democratic Party primary runoff between Lupe Valdez and Andrew White. He doesn’t need the good PR.

Hey, I am in no way an Abbott apologist. I just want to recognize when a politician does the right thing even when it’s juxtaposed with the political context in which he does it.

Gov. Abbott has made a poignant political demand of a disgraced — and disgraceful — fellow Republican politician. My praise of the governor still stands.

There. Now I have pushed back.

Another ‘Me Too’ congressman hits the road

Blake Farenthold, a Republican congressman from Corpus Christi, has quit. Good deal. Hit the road, dude!

This means Congress’s ranks of men accused of sexual harassment has thinned by one more.

Farenthold, though, is a bit of a special case. He isn’t your garden-variety sexual harasser. He happens to be someone who bilked taxpayers out of $84,000 to settle a harassment claim. You see, the money came from that mysterious fund that enables lawmakers to use the fund — which is public money — to pay off those who accuse them of personal misbehavior.

House Speaker Paul Ryan said Farenthold has pledged to pay the money back. He hasn’t done so just yet. Hey, I thought this guy took out a personal to reimburse the fund. Isn’t that what was reported when the allegations came forth in the first place and when Farenthold announced his intention to retire at the end of his current term.

He’s thought differently about that. I won’t say “better,” because of the statement he issued when he announced his resignation effective immediately. “While I planned on serving out the remainder of my term in Congress, I know in my heart it’s time for me to move along and look for new ways to serve,” Farenthold said.

Here’s a thought as this fellow begins his search for “new ways to serve”: Don’t harass anyone — sexually or otherwise.

Oh, and how about lobbying Congress to get rid of the fund?

This just in: Oprah won’t run in 2020

This “scoop” comes from a member of my family: “You don’t need to worry about Oprah running for president; she isn’t going to do it.”

There you have it. Why? Because Oprah Winfrey isn’t going to give up being the world’s most powerful and revered woman. She isn’t going to expose herself to the denigration that would await her if she were to run against Donald John “Stable Genius” Trump Sr.

She won’t “lower herself” to Trump’s level, my family member said.

So, is that what will happen? I’m inclined to believe the assessment I have received.

I am no expert. I am no soothsayer. I cannot predict what celebrities will do. I once said publicly that former first lady Hillary Clinton wouldn’t run for the U.S. Senate in 2000. Wrong!

Winfrey brought ’em to their feet at the Golden Globes show this past weekend. She roared that “a new day is on the horizon!” Women no longer will be intimidated, shamed, abused, assaulted by men, she said. Hmm. Did she have anyone in mind? Oh, wait! Maybe it’s the president of the United States!

But … my family member believes Oprah won’t enter the 2020 presidential contest.

“She’ll go to her grave with her incredible wealth and reputation intact,” she said.

I’m good with that.

Get a clue, Ivanka

First, I will stipulate that I do not subscribe to the statement attributed to former White House strategist Stephen Bannon in the “Fire and Fury” book that Ivanka Trump is “dumb as a brick.”

The first daughter, though, seems to be tone deaf. Politically, that is.

Oprah Winfrey got the Golden Globes crowd all worked up Sunday night with that speech in which she declared to women around the nation that a “new day is on the horizon!”

Ivanka then weighed in with a tweet that endorsed Winfrey’s “empowering and inspiring” speech.

Uhh, oops!

The speech was seen by many as a first shot in the 2020 presidential campaign. Oprah might be considering a run for president against, um, Ivanka’s father, Donald Trump Sr., the president of the United States.

Here is where I’ll note that Ivanka stood by Dad when those women came forward to accuse him of sexual abuse, assault, harassment. She has said in public that the president is women’s most powerful ally; Ivanka has drawn scorn for saying that, too.

Now she endorses Oprah’s speech and the “Me Too” movement, while standing by her father?

Ivanka isn’t “dumb as a brick.” She does need re-calibrate her political antennae.

Oprah in 2020? Umm, no thank you

Oprah Winfrey has just elevated herself into the discussion of possible presidential candidates for 2020.

I want to douse this notion with a tanker full of cold water.

Do not do this, Oprah!

The talk-show queen/billionaire businesswoman/partisan activist brought the house down Sunday night at the Golden Globe award ceremony. No more “me too!” she bellowed. Men who abuse women no longer will be tolerated, she exclaimed. Their time is up, she said.

Some pundits suggest that was the start of her campaign for president. I am presuming she would run as a Democrat.

Pleeeaase! No!

The United States of America already has elected someone with zero political experience. Donald Trump parlayed a successful real estate career into a successful reality TV show, when then led to his successful presidential campaign in 2016. He has spent his entire professional life for one purpose only: personal enrichment. He has succeeded. Trump then managed to persuade enough voters in battleground states that he was the man for the job.

Trump has demonstrated what we’ve all thought, which is that “anyone can be elected president.” I do not want just anyone to hold the nation’s highest, most exalted public office.

I am kind of old-fashioned in this regard. I want my president to take office with at least some semblance of government/public service experience. Trump had none of it. His lack of government experience — let alone knowledge of government– has been shown repeatedly during his first year in office.

What in the world does Oprah Winfrey bring to this discussion? Nothing of substance. Not a single thing.

She is an iconic figure to millions of Americans. Winfrey didn’t inherit any of her parents’ money to get started. She worked her way to uber-wealthy status on her own. She was abused as a girl. She came from poverty. Winfrey is a commendable celebrity.

However, she is a celebrity. Winfrey stands on a platform from which she can bring change. She is no more qualified than Donald J. Trump to become commander in chief, the head of state, head of government and leader of the Free World.

One more time: Don’t run for president, Oprah.

Boys Ranch story still causing pain

Now it’s Bill Sarpalius coming forward to tell us about his experiences at Boys Ranch.

The former Democratic U.S. representative grew up at the ranch. He tells the world that older students sexually abused him. And, yes, he was disciplined severely by staff members.

Other men have come forward to tell about actual abuse heaped on them by students and by staff members. They spoke to The Guardian newspaper and local media have picked up the story.

Let’s just say the “Me Too” movement has come to the Texas Panhandle.

I’m now believing that Boys Ranch officials need to provide explicit and clearly stated measures on how they are preventing this kind of behavior on the campus about 30 miles northwest of Amarillo.

To his credit, Boys Ranch CEO and president Dan Adams has issued a highly public apology and has acknowledged that what the men have alleged did occur — years ago! He said the ranch has taken measures to assure they don’t happen now. I happen to believe Adams’s assurances.

That might not be enough to satisfy everyone with a keen interest in this iconic institution, founded in 1939 by one of the Panhandle’s legendary figures, Cal Farley.

Sarpalius tells riveting story

I don’t know Sarpalius. He left office the week of my arrival in early 1995 to become editorial page editor of the Amarillo Globe-News. But he tells a remarkable tale of abuse at the ranch. Yet he continues to express support for the longtime superintendent, Lamar Waldrip, who was identified in The Guardian article as one of the main culprits in the stories of abuse.

Still, the ranch’s reputation has been soiled. The folks who run the place now would do well to come squeaky clean with detailed assurances on how they are preventing this kind of activity from recurring.

I believe the great Cal Farley would want that, too.