Tag Archives: sexual harassment

Matthews’ departure comes into sharper focus

I admit readily — and I have done so many times — that I am not the most intuitive guy in the world.

People say things that zoom straight over my noggin and I barely take note of how offensive their statements might seem to others, such as, oh, women or minorities.

When I heard last night from Chris Matthews himself on TV say that he was leaving MSNBC immediately and ending his two-decade run of “Hardball,” I was flummoxed initially. What the hell just happened? I wondered.

Then I heard about the things he said to Sen. Elizabeth Warren, questioning whether a woman she quoted in a Democratic presidential debate could have been lying about something Michael Bloomberg allegedly told her. It didn’t dawn on me in the moment, when Matthews and Warren sparred over that exchange, that women took serious offense to the questioning that Matthews was leveling at Warren.

Then came reports about Matthews hitting on women on his show, telling one of them how he had failed to “fall in love” with her. She reportedly took offense at the seeming come-on.

Matthews quit suddenly while admitting that times have changed from when the now 74-year-old was coming of age. Things that men said back then are no longer acceptable, he said. He apologized for what he had said.

I have commented already how I will miss his commentary. Yes, I have enjoyed watching him spar and joust with politicians. I have admired his ability to challenge those with whom agrees politically as readily as he does with those on the other side of the fence. To be candid, I didn’t pick up on the issues that others have identified as offensive.

When he wondered aloud about Bernie Sanders’ win in Nevada was akin to the Nazi conquest of France during World War II, I thought: Oh, that’s an interesting analogy. I didn’t cringe as others have done.

So now he’s gone from the air. Matthews could be abrasive, brash and loud. I heard all of that. It didn’t phase me.

I don’t know if any of this will sharpen my intuitive instincts. Maybe it will. If it doesn’t, I want to apologize in advance for any offense that I won’t take when someone pops off.

Trump trashes Biden . . . over this?

Yep. It’s true. Donald Trump probably could “shoot someone on Fifth Avenue and not lose any votes.”

That has to explain how this president, facing the accusations that have been leveled at him by at least a dozen women, could poke fun at a potential 2020 opponent because he’s a bit too touchy-feely.

Trump took dead aim at former Vice President Joe Biden, who’s been accused by four women of getting a bit too close to them. He made them feel “uncomfortable” because he touched them and kissed them on the back of their heads.

Trump? Oh, he’s been accused of sexual molestation, outright sexual assault, sexual harassment — and he’s actually admitted to “grabbing them by their pu***” because he’s a celebrity.

So now he’s poking fun at Joe Biden.

Sheesh! His base loves it. They cheer him on. They think this guy’s the greatest.


Biden’s actions do not constitute sexual assault/harassment

I’ve been thinking a good bit about the allegations concerning former Vice President Joe Biden’s “inappropriate” kissing and hugging of women.

My initial thought that the allegations could — perhaps should — doom Biden’s expected bid for the presidency in 2020. Now I’m not so sure.

A Nevada politician told New York magazine about an event that occurred in 2014 where Biden kissed her on the back of her head and put his hands on her shoulder. She felt uncomfortable. She said it was not appropriate behavior.

A second woman has made a similar accusation. Then we have seen the viral photo of the ex-VP whispering into the ear of then-Defense Secretary Ashton Carter’s wife.

Does any of this rise to the level of (mis)behavior that Donald Trump has admitted doing? Not by a long shot!

I do not disbelieve the accusations that have come forth. I believe they happened, even though Biden says he doesn’t “recall” the first incident I mentioned here.

He will need to explain himself. Yes, we have entered a new age. Women are standing up to men who actually do abuse them, assault them, harass them.

I just don’t believe Joe Biden’s behavior fits any of those descriptions.

Now it’s Joe Biden who’s under the gun

Here we go. Again.

A woman has come forth to accuse a powerful male politician of “inappropriate touching” and of planting an “unwanted kiss” on her.

The pol in question is former Vice President Joe Biden. The accuser is a former Democratic office seeker, Lucy Flores, who ran for lieutenant governor in Nevada.

Biden, of course, is considering whether to run for president of the United States in 2020. He reportedly has decided to enter the fray. He says his family is all in, according to media reports.

But what in the world do we make of this?

According to an article in New York magazine, Biden has been known to get touchy-feely with women. The media have given him a pass on it. Until now.

The #MeToo movement has changed the equation in the most dramatic fashion possible. If it turns out that Flores’ complaint is credible, that it sounds and looks legit, the former VP needs to scrap his presidential campaign plans. Immediately!

Biden has responded by saying he doesn’t “recall” the alleged incident. Doesn’t recall? What does that mean? Is it a case of, shall we say, selective amnesia?

I’ll be candid. I do no want this story to play out. However, it’s not up to me. Nor is it up to Biden’s fans and supporters who want him elected president next year.

This story needs a full airing. It needs to be examined carefully and thoroughly. If it turns out to be true — and I hate saying this — that’s it for Vice President Biden.

Sailor in iconic ‘kiss’ photo passes from scene

George Mendonsa likely would never have gotten away today with what he did nearly 74 years ago.

He was a sailor who was strolling down a busy New York City street when Japan surrendered to end World War II. He grabbed a nurse and kissed her hard. On the lips. It was a moment captured for all time.

Mendonsa died the other day at age 95; he would have turned 96 in two more days. He had fallen in a Rhode Island nursing home where he lived with his wife of 70 years.

He did not know the nurse he grabbed that day in Times Square. She was Greta Zimmer Friedman. He saw her in her white nursing uniform, grabbed her and planted a wet one on her. Friedman died in 2016 at age 92.

Mendonsa was on leave when the war ended. He had served on a destroyer in the Pacific Theater, fighting the very forces that surrendered in August 1945.

The act that Mendonsa pulled off has gotten criticism in recent years as women have spoken out against sexual abuse, harassment and assault. Their concerns about what has happened to them are real, legitimate and worth hearing.

However, I just cannot equate Seaman Mendonsa’s spontaneous bit of joy at the news of the end of World War II with what we’re discussing today, in the next century.

The picture likely will remain as one of the more iconic images of the 20th century. As it should.

Virginia: It’s for political discomfort

They say that “Virginia is for lovers,” which is a slogan the state uses to market itself to the rest of the world.

These days, though, the state is taking on a whole new definition. It’s now a place where the highest echelon of the state’s government is squirming in extreme discomfort.

Gov. Ralph Northam is facing an enormous amount of pressure to resign after a picture surfaced on his medical school yearbook page showing two men, one of them in black face, the other in a Ku Klux Klan outfit. Northam’s name is on the page. He at first apologized for the photo, then said he wasn’t either of the men depicted in it and has resisted demands that he quit the governor’s office.

Lt. Gov. Justin Fairfax, the next in line for the top job in Richmond, has accused of sexual assault by a woman who said he raped her in a hotel room in 2004. Fairfax said the encounter was “consensual,” and has denied doing anything wrong. He’s also issued a type of apology for an act he said he didn’t commit. Go figure.

Attorney General Mark Herring, the next in line for the governor’s office after Fairfax, now reportedly appeared in black face in the 1980s, igniting yet another firestorm in the Virginia statehouse. Herring admitted to wearing black makeup to look like a rapper.

All three of these fellows are facing pressure to quit. They’re all Democrats. The next individual in line to take the top job, if all of them quit — as they likely should do — is the speaker of the Virginia House of Representatives. He’s a Republican.

It goes without saying that the balance of power in a significant “swing state” that has become vital to presidential candidates is teetering on the brink of a major shift.

Does all of this matter to a national audience? You bet it does! We’re talking about race relations and in the age of the #MeToo movement, any reference to sexual assault or harassment lifts it onto the national stage.

Oh . . . brother!

To think that Texas politics has been called a “contact sport.” In Virginia, it has become a “collision sport.” 

Trump’s amorality on full display

Donald J. Trump has earned the title of Most Amoral President in U.S. History.

It is with that dubious distinction that I find it amazing, astonishing and altogether outrageous that this president can speak to any issue involving sex, sexual assault or sexual harassment.

It’s all on the front burner these days as the U.S. Senate considers whether to confirm a Trump nominee to the U.S. Supreme Court. Judge Brett Kavanaugh is under some intense scrutiny these days as he seeks confirmation to the highest court after at least three women have accused him of assaulting them sexually.

I am left to wonder: What has become of our moral compass?

An admitted sexual assailant was elected president in 2016; he once bragged about grabbing women by their “pu***” because his “celebrity status” allowed him to get away with it. He acknowledged walking in on half-dressed women during his days as proprietor of a beauty pageant.

Now he has nominated someone to the high court who stands accused of attacking a woman when they were both teenagers. Judge Kavanaugh has denied the accusation in the most fervent manner possible. The FBI is now looking into the pending accusations before the Senate will consider voting on whether to confirm him.

I keep circling back to the president. He has attacked the credibility of one of Kavanaugh’s accusers, much as he has done with the many women who have accused him of groping them. He stands foursquare with men who have faced credible charges by women who accuse them of sexual misbehavior; he is doing so yet again with Judge Kavanaugh.

And then we have the likes of the Rev. Franklin Graham, one of Trump’s more ardent evangelical supporters, saying something truly astonishing, that what Kavanaugh allegedly did to Christine Blasey Ford doesn’t really matter because they were teenagers at the time.

What in the name of sexual assault is Rev. Graham talking about?

I’ve long thought of the Republican Party as an organization that stood tall and firm on the side of moral rectitude. Yet, Republican No. 1, the president of the United States, assumed office after blazing a career-long trail of sexual misconduct.

Dear reader, we have entered a strange new world. Man, oh man. I need to find a way out of here.

Sex abuse ain’t a joking matter

Put yourself in the mind for a moment of someone who is recovering from sexual abuse or sexual harassment.

You’re hurting, right? You’re in pain. You cannot sleep at night because of the trauma you’ve endured. Maybe there’s a trial pending involving the individual who did so much damage to you.

Then you’re traveling in your motor vehicle and you hear a couple of fools on the radio making jokes about um, sexual abuse and harassment. Is it funny to you? Do you slap your knee while guffawing at the idiocy coming out of your vehicle radio? Of course not!

This morning, my wife and I were tooling north along U.S. 385 heading toward Dalhart on our way for a two-night stop in our fifth wheel in suburban Denver. We dialed our truck radio to those two redneck morning drive-time yokels; John Boy and Billy, isn’t that their name? I believe their radio show is syndicated out of the Carolinas … North or South. I don’t know, nor do I care.

These idiots were cracking wise about a list of questions you might get have to answer regarding sexual abuse or harassment. They seemed to be talking about their relationships with each other.

“I hope they get lots of complaints,” my wife blurted out to me when she heard those morons yukking it up over their idiotic quips.

“That is not funny,” she said. No kidding. It isn’t.

Those morons just affirmed to me in spades why I hate listening to them.

The lesson — which I am certain is lost on those blathering blowhards — is that there are some issues that aren’t funny. Sex abuse and harassment are two of them.

POTUS ridicules ‘Me Too’? No kidding?

Donald John Trump Sr. no doubt would boast about the “stones” he packs around.

I’ll refer to them in the proverbial sense, given that he stood before that rally crowd in Great Falls, Mont., this week and actually poked fun of the “Me Too” movement, which grew out of revelations of sexual harassment/assault/misbehavior among powerful men in politics and entertainment.

He did precisely that even though the president himself has been accused by women of groping them, of committing sexual assault. He has actually acknowledged that his “star” status has enabled him to grab women by their genitals.

And so for Trump to ridicule the Me Too movement in the manner that he did demonstrates clearly and without equivocation that he doesn’t give a rat’s rear end about the country beyond his blindly faithful base of voters.

They cheer, laugh, hoot and holler when he denigrates others.

Donald Trump relishes it.


Connecting some dots inside the White House

I feel like connecting a few dots. So … here goes.

The 2016 Republican Party presidential nominee was revealed in a decade-old recording boasting about how he could grab women by their “pu***” because his status as a “star” gave him license.

The nominee, Donald John Trump, was elected president.

He declares war on media outlets that he finds disagreeable. He calls them “fake news” and then submits to interviews almost exclusively with Fox News, which was run by the late Roger Ailes.

Ailes, meanwhile, gets hit with complaints of sexual harassment by a number of high-profile female journalists; Megyn Kelly and Gretchen Carlson are two of them.

Ailes gets the boot. But his No. 2 man, Bill Shine, stands with him and allegedly covers up for the boss.

Then, just this week, Shine — who left Fox News — has been named deputy White House chief of staff in charge of communications.

So, we have the president — who has a history of sexual harassment complaints leveled against him by many women — hires a guy with a sexual harassment history of his own. The White House underling is now director of communications for the administration.

It’s fair to wonder about Trump’s values. He never rails against accusations of sexual harassment. He defends those against whom these complaints are leveled; he called former Fox News commentator Bill O’Reilly — who also faced such accusations — a “good man.”

Trump reportedly takes a dim view of the “Me Too” and “Time’s Up” movements, believing that the women who make accusations against powerful men are off base.

Oh, and then his former personal lawyer, Michael Cohen, paid Stormy Daniels $130,000 in hush money to keep quiet about a tryst that Trump says never happened.

What do you suppose is the common denominator here? Let’s see. I think it’s boorish behavior toward women, which appears to have Donald Trump’s fingerprints all over it.