Tag Archives: sexual abuse

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.

Just … go away, Roy Moore

Don’t you wish Roy Moore would simply just vanish? I do.

The combative, zealous and allegedly perverted Republican candidate for the U.S. Senate in Alabama lost an election to Democratic nominee Doug Jones earlier this month.

Moore hasn’t yet conceded defeat to the man who beat him by 1.5 percentage points. Ohhh, no. Instead, this goofball former judge has alleged “massive voter fraud” in Alabama cost him the election to Sen.-elect Jones.

To his credit, Republican Alabama Secretary of State John Merrill dismissed Moore’s bogus claim of voter fraud. There was none found, Merrill said. A judge tossed Moore’s complaint into the crapper. Game over, judge.

Merrill certified Jones’s victory and the new senator will be sworn in next month by Vice President Mike Pence.

But Moore — the former two-time Alabama chief justice and a man accused by women of sexual misconduct — isn’t going quietly away. He’s continuing to raise holy hell with non-existent controversies.

Moore is making a spectacle of himself by seeking some sort of redress while in effect defaming local election officials by contending fraud where none exists.

You know, it’s interesting in one way that Donald J. Trump would have endorsed this guy for election to the Senate, albeit belatedly. Moore is showing the same lack of grace and class as his chief political benefactor, the president of the United States.

Peaceful transitions of power are supposed to be one of the many hallmarks of this great country. Alabama had an election. It produced a clear winner. It’s now time for the loser to bow out.

If only this guy would simply go away. Never to be heard from again.

Et tu, Boys Ranch?

One would be hard-pressed to find a Texas Panhandle institution with more renown and universal respect than Boys Ranch, the school founded in the late 1930s to care for boys in trouble.

The late Cal Farley served in World War I and came home to found the school that offered boys “… a shirt-tail to hang on to.” 

It has graduated young men and women who have gone on to do great things. They have served in elected office and have become pillars of communities across the nation and around the world.

But now comes word from some former students about allegations of abuse they suffered while living at the Ranch. This is heartbreaking in the extreme.

I have good friends with lengthy ties to the Ranch. I am not going to discuss in detail what has been alleged by these former students/residents who have come forward four decades after the incidents reportedly occurred.

Instead, I intend to stand up for the great work that has been done at Boys Ranch in the decades since Cal Farley founded the legendary organization.

What’s more, I want to applaud current president and chief executive officer Dan Adams for “manning up” with a public apology to those who have spoken out. They did so to The Guardian newspaper, which published an article today spelling out the allegations.

Adams issued a statement that said, in part: “Thousands of people have found hope and healing at Cal Farley’s Boys Ranch, both past and present. Tragically, not everyone who participated in our programs through the years was helped by them. No words by me or anyone else will change that.”

See the rest of Adams’s statement here.

The men who spoke to The Guardian say all they want is an apology. They have gotten it.

Is this the end of it? I don’t know. I pray that it is.

Here is the Guardian article.

Oh … my goodness.

Expecting more from our elected officials

I’m hearing the first hint of grumbling over the “Me Too” movement and fallout.

It comes from those who are wondering whether we’re expecting too much of our elected officials who’ve been caught abusing women sexually. Are we asking that only prudes can qualify for public service?

I’m as liberated a male as there is, but I remain fairly old-fashioned on some matters. I don’t believe in knowing the sex of unborn children; I hate the designated hitter rule in baseball … just for example.

Moreover, I expect my elected officials to represent the very best of the people they represent. They are our ambassadors. They are supposed to appeal to the very best of in all of us.

The accusations of sexual misbehavior and misconduct are troubling in the extreme to yours truly.

Yeah, yeah … I understand that no one is perfect. I don’t demand perfection, however. I merely want the individuals we elect to public office to know how to treat other human beings. Threatening them with the loss of job if they don’t “perform” is not part of the routine I want them to follow.

Let’s understand that they work for us. We are the bosses, not them. If they don’t behave the way we want or expect them to behave, they need to prepare to get the boot from those of us who expect more of them.

GOP ‘wins’ while their guy loses

Republicans far and wide are breathing more easily today than they were a week ago.

Last week they were worrying that one of their own, Roy Moore of Alabama, was going to win a special election to a U.S. Senate seat. He didn’t. Moore lost that contest to Doug Jones, a Democratic former federal prosecutor.

I’ll leave it to my old pal Tom Taschinger — who succeeded me more than 20 years ago as editorial page editor of the Beaumont Enterprise — to explain in detail how Republicans won while losing an election.

Read Taschinger’s essay here.

Moore was a damaged candidate even before allegations surfaced from women who accused him of sexual misconduct. He is a religious zealot who doesn’t work well with so-called “establishment” Republicans, many of whom cringed at the idea of him joining the ranks of the U.S. Senate.

Moreover, other GOP candidates would have had to run under the banner of a party that elected someone accused of the hideous acts that Moore is alleged to have committed. That’s if he won.

Since he didn’t, Republicans now have been spared the misery of campaigning under the specter of a “Sen. Roy Moore.”

Does this put the Republicans in the clear? Does it make a forgone conclusion that they’ll hold onto their slim Senate majority after the 2018 midterm election?

Hardly. The fight has just begun.

Capitol Hill gripped by fear of harassment

It’s come down to this.

Members of Congress — senators and House members — are being harassed and hassled themselves by bogus complaints alleging sexual harassment.

What has become of this scandal? Has it grown to something no one recognizes?

Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer has had to fend off a fake complaint, as has Sen. Richard Blumenthal.

Yes, this issue is real. It has reached scandalous proportions as scores of women have levied credible, legitimate complaints against powerful men in government. Three of them have been forced to resign; others are declaring their intention to bow out after the 2018 midterm election.

Some of these accusations involve some truly hideous conduct.

But there now appears to be some evidence of bogus allegations surfacing.

Let’s be careful — shall we? — as we continue to grapple with this matter.

We have complaints being lodged against none other than the president of the United States. Many of those complaints seem quite credible, in my humble view. The president has called them liars and said their accusations are part of a “fake news” effort to undermine him.

Then we have comments from the U.S. ambassador to the United Nations, Nikki Haley, saying that all complaints “need to be heard.” I agree with her.

Be careful of fear

Then again, let us be take care that we don’t push the sexual harassment panic button at every single complaint. Human beings are quite capable of tricking the rest of us.

As Sen. Lindsey Graham said, “You want to have a welcome environment to report abuse — you don’t want to deter victims. But you’ve got to have enough due process and scrutiny to make sure it’s accurate.”

“I think this environment is pretty crazy right now,” Graham added, and “what happened to Sen. Schumer is a concern to a lot of us.”

It’s over, Roy Moore; concede, will ya?

I must be feeling all Christmas-y or something. I’m about to agree with Donald John Trump.

The president is calling on Roy Moore, the defeated Republican candidate for the U.S. Senate from Alabama to concede to Democratic Sen.-elect Doug Jones.

Moore was Trump’s guy. He endorsed him, despite the allegations of sexual misconduct that several women had leveled against the former Alabama Supreme Court chief justice. The president recorded some phone messages that were sent to ‘Bama voters prior to the special election earlier this week.

Jones won by about 1.5 percentage points. No need for a recount.

Moore is hanging on to some delusion that the result might change if they recounted the ballots. Um, no, judge. It won’t happen.

As Politico reported:  “I think he should. He tried. I want to support, always, I want to support the person running. We need the seat, we’d like to have the seat,” the president said … “As far as Roy Moore, yeah, it’s — I would certainly say he should” concede.

There you go, judge. Your main political proponent says you ought to give it up. It’s time for you to move on. Make the call, congratulate the guy who beat you.

It’s damn sure time for Moore to retire … and remove himself permanently from the public stage.

Many of us out here have had enough of this guy.

Another one bites the dust

Blake Farenthold has given a new, but strangely ironic meaning to the “Me Too” movement.

The Republican member of Congress from Corpus Christi has said “Me, too … I’m ‘retiring’ from the House of Representatives because of sexual harassment allegations.”

Farenthold reportedly is going to call it a career after the 2018 midterm election. He won’t seek re-election.

He joins a growing and infamous list of members of Congress who’ve bowed to immense and intense public pressure brought on by their sexual misbehavior. We have seen the departures of Democratic Sen. Al Franken, Democratic Rep. John Conyers, Republican Rep. Trent Franks and now this guy, Farenthold.

Read more about it here.

Are there other individuals out there? I’m thinking … yep. There are.

Farenthold is a back-bench member. He’s not a GOP leader in the House. He’s just sort of a loudmouth who once implied he would like to engage in a duel — you know, with pistols — with female members of the House who voted against the GOP plan to repeal the Affordable Care Act.

Then it got even worse!

Farenthold was revealed to have spent $84,000 in public money to settle sexual harassment complaints against him. To his credit, he took out a personal loan to pay it back.

That’s not the end of it. CNN reports that new allegations have come forward, accusing Farenthold of being verbally abusive and sexually demeaning.

I guess that signaled the end of the line for this guy. I would prefer he would just walk away now and allow someone else to win a special election and represent the Coastal Bend district with dignity and honor. We’ll have to settle for this clown serving until the end of his term.

This is the new culture in Washington, D.C. Women are coming forward, emboldened to speak out strongly against those who they contend are abusing, demeaning and threatening them.

Now … if only we could just get the goods on yet another leading politician, the guy who calls the shots in the Oval Office.

Maybe that day is coming, too.

GOP about to engage in un-civil war

Intraparty conflicts aren’t pretty. Just ask any Democrat who got caught in the 1960s-70s battle that damn near destroyed that party in the wake of the Vietnam War.

I am thinking the Republican Party is about to launch a rhetorical bombardment on its own in the aftermath of that stunning loss in Alabama, where Democrat Doug Jones beat Republican Roy Moore in the race for that state’s U.S. Senate seat.

Let’s re-trace a few steps for a brief moment.

  • Moore challenged U.S. Sen. Luther Strange, the Republican appointed to fill the seat vacated by Jeff Sessions, who became U.S. attorney general. Donald Trump endorsed Strange, campaigned for him and then watched him lose the GOP runoff race to Moore, who had been backed by Trump’s former senior White House strategist, Stephen Bannon.
  • Then came the allegations against Moore from several women who accused him of sexual misconduct. “Establishment Republicans” began fleeing Moore. They withdrew their previous endorsement. Senate GOP leaders said he was unfit for a Senate seat. Then the president decided belatedly to endorse Moore, meaning that Trump and Bannon were back on the same team.
  • Moore then lost the election to Jones, a former federal prosecutor. The race was close but it falls outside the margin that triggers an automatic recount. Moore hasn’t yet conceded to Jones. Trump congratulated Jones. Then he tweeted something about how he knew all along that Moore couldn’t win, that the “deck was stacked against him.” What utter crap! The deck was stacked in Moore’s favor, given Alabama’s tradition of backing Republicans over Democrats.

So, what does the Republican Party do now? Does it continue to fight among itself? Bannon considers himself to be a “kingmaker.” His latest candidate for U.S. political royalty has been toppled.

As for Trump? Well, his instincts aren’t so great either. No surprise, given that the president had zero political experience prior to being elected to the highest, most exalted office on Earth.

I sense an un-civil war is about to commence.

The sun shines a bit more brightly today … in Alabama

I awoke this morning. The sun came out and is shining quite brightly here on the Texas High Plains.

This is an unproven notion, but my sense is that it likely is shining a bit more brightly today over yonder in Alabama, where voters did something few of us thought possible. They rejected a deeply flawed Republican candidate for the U.S. Senate and elected a moderate, mainstream Democrat.

Who knew, yes?

Sen.-elect Doug Jones is likely beginning his preparation to join the Club of 100 on Capitol Hill. He will be the first Democrat to represent Alabama in the Senate in 25 years. This was supposed to be GOP nominee Roy Moore’s election to lose and by golly he found a way to do it.

He campaigned badly, particularly in the final days when he disappeared from the campaign trail. He left the field wide open for Jones, who took full advantage down the stretch.

But … that’s side-show stuff. The real flaws in Moore’s candidacy stemmed from his outrageous notion that only evangelical Christians were fit to serve in public office and, oh yes, those allegations about sexual misconduct.

The stunning aspect of Jones’s victory is being felt in the White House, where Donald Trump staked a great deal of his political capital on a Moore victory. Some analysts are calling this defeat the worst of Trump’s tenure as president. Jones cuts the Senate GOP’s already thin margin by a single seat. It now opens the door to a possible Democratic takeover of the Senate in 2018, not to mention possibly puts control of the House of Representatives in play.

And all this happened in Dixie, in a state Trump won by nearly 30 percentage points in 2016.

It’s been said that a week, a month — let alone a year — can be a “lifetime in politics.” The stunning result that occurred in Alabama last night drives the point home.

Boy, howdy!

Let the sun shine brightly.