Tag Archives: sexual assault

We have dumbed down our standards

You are welcome to conclude whatever you wish about the statement that will follow in this blog … such as that I am the “master of the obvious.”

I don’t mind. Nor do I care.

The trial in New York on the hush money payment POTUS No. 45 made to Stormy Daniels — aka Stephanie Clifford — is revealing in the starkest terms possible how our political climate has dumbed down voters’ concern about character in the candidates who seek public office.

I haven’t been following the trial too closely, but I have gleaned enough from it to realize many things about the support that the one-time Philanderer in Chief is able to claim among the MAGA cultists around the country.

We have learned in graphic detail about Clifford’s assertion over what happened in the hotel room that night in 2006. The future POTUS’s wife had just given birth to his fifth child, yet there he was in the room dressing down to his silk skivvies asking the adult film actress to take a tumble with him.

Do you remember the day — I sure do! — when that kind of conduct was considered a deal-breaker? How about the sickening “Access Hollywood” recording in which the Groper in Chief boasted how he would grab women by their private parts? And that they enjoyed it because he was “famous”?

I do not get any of this! So help me, I do not understand how an individual who once held the office of POTUS, who wants it once again, continues to receive the level of support from American voters who do not now seem to give a sh** about the acknowledged behavior of the man who seeks their vote.

This drama will play out in due course. I am left to wonder: Are we really ready to toss aside the standards we once set for the people from whom we choose to lead this great country?

God help us if we take that perilous path.

Cosby walks on a technicality

By John Kanelis / johnkanelis_92@hotmail.com

When word came out today that Bill Cosby’s sexual assault conviction had been overturned, my thoughts turned immediately to a sign I once saw way down yonder in the office of the Liberty County, Texas, district attorney.

It spoke to the desire to see a conviction “upheld on a technicality.”

Of course, that never happens. Technicalities usually result in situations such as what happened today.

Cosby is going home after serving two years of a sentence in which he was convicted of sexually assaulting a woman after giving her high-powered drugs. The technicality? The Pennsylvania Supreme Court said Cosby was denied due process because a prosecuting attorney had said there was insufficient evidence to bring the case to trial. That prosecutor left, was replaced by someone else, who then brought the case to a trial that produced a conviction for the still-disgraced former comic and film/TV icon.

Bill Cosby was denied his constitutional Fifth Amendment guarantee against self-incrimination, the court said in its 79-page opinion.

Bill Cosby Released From Prison After Sexual Assault Conviction Overturned (msn.com)

Two things about this case deserve brief mention.

One is that a conviction reversal involving someone with the kind of celebrity status as Bill Cosby has pushed most of the other grim news aside; the nation now is going to talk about Cosby rather than talking about other stuff, such as phony election theft and related matters.

The other thing is that Bill Cosby is — in many Americans’ eyes — still a convicted sexual assailant despite the court’s decision to overturn the conviction. to my way of thinking, the legal technicality that sprung Cosby loose from the slammer does not wipe away what a trial jury concluded.

He wishes her ‘well’

Donald Trump needs to follow the news, as in the real news … not the “fake news” that floods right-wing cable TV and talk radio.

He might, then, understand why his “well wishes” for a suspect accused of sex trafficking seems so stunning.

Today, Trump said he wishes Ghislaine Maxwell, a former girlfriend and confidante of notorious sexual assailant Jeffrey Epstein “well” as she fights the charges being leveled against her. Epstein hanged himself in his New York City jail cell.

Just to refresh your memory, Maxwell is accused of recruiting underage girls for Epstein to pleasure himself. I know she’s entitled to a presumption of innocence, but the allegations seem so very credible to many of us.

According to USA Today: Trump said he had met Maxwell “numerous times” over the years because he lived in Palm Beach. But he said he knows nothing¬†about the charges against her,¬†including an allegation that she arranged an assignation between a young girl and Prince Andrew of Great Britain.

Still, Trump wishes her “well”?

Let’s not forget, too, that there appear to be plenty of pictures of Epstein and Trump … along with a few shots of the two of them with Ghislaine Maxwell.

Trump today wished Maxwell “well.” I wanted to gag the moment I heard him say it.

Where is the truth to be found?

I admit readily that I don’t understand a lot of things in this crazy old world of ours.

One of those unknowable things — at least to me — is this: How do we establish the truth between someone who levels an allegation against a politician and the person who has been accused of behaving badly?

I present to you Joseph R. Biden and Tara Reade.

Reade has accused Biden of assaulting her sexually in 1993; she says Biden, then a U.S. senator from Delaware, pinned her against a wall in the Capitol Building, shoved his hand under her skirt and touched her where he shouldn’t have touched her.

Biden denies it. Categorically. Emphatically. Says it did not happen.

Who is telling the truth? I don’t know. Nor do I understand fully how we get to the truth.

Do the accuser and the accused submit to polygraph exams? That’s dicey for this reason: Polygraph examinations cannot be used as evidence in a court trial, which often renders the results potentially suspect.

Biden is now the presumptive Democratic nominee for president. His opponent this fall will be Donald J. Trump, who’s got a lengthy list of accusers who have alleged he has done many things to them. Indeed, Trump can be heard on an audio recording bragging about how he has grabbed women by their genitals; he has admitted to philandering; he has boasted of the boorishness he has exhibited with women. In this context, though, that is beside the point.

The crux of this blog post deals with how Biden can possibly put this matter aside beyond merely denying he did what Reade says he did.

I suppose this matter falls the category of “Whom Do You Believe?

I am inclined to believe Biden. Reade reportedly filed a sexual harassment complaint against the Biden Senate office. Indeed, Biden has acknowledged behaving in a manner that some women have said crossed the line into sexual harassment. He has apologized for it and has vowed to keep his distance among women. Sexual harassment, though, is a huge distance away from sexual assault.

Reade waited only until now to allege a sexual assault? Victims of such acts often have good reasons for not wanting to file complaints in the moment.

I don’t know what to believe. Nor am I aware of anything Biden can do to push this accusation aside. A flat-out denial never is good enough. Indeed, even proper “vetting” of such an accusation will not dissuade the most hardened cynics/conspiracy theorists from believing there’s more to the accusation than meets the proverbial eye.

This is the kind of story that gives me an upset stomach. I need to gulp some Pepto.

Biden is not Kavanaugh

I feel the need to look briefly at two men who faced allegations of sexual assault. One of them has been a known quantity to Americans for nearly 50 years; the other one burst on the national scene only two years ago.

Americans know plenty about Joseph R. Biden Jr., the presumptive Democratic Party presidential nominee. Tara Reade has accused him of sexual assault in a 1993 incident on Capitol Hill. Biden became a national figure the  moment he was elected to the U.S. Senate in 1972; he was 29 years of age at the time of his election. Then his wife and daughter died in a tragic auto accident. He took office under the crushing burden of unfathomable grief.

Yes, we know Joe Biden. No one ever has said anything publicly about this man being the kind of beast that Tara Reade alleges he became when he assaulted her.

What’s more, don’t you think Barack Obama, the nation’s first African-American president, would have vetted Biden with utmost care and diligence when he selected him as vice president in 2008?

Then we have Supreme Court Justice Brett Kavanaugh. Donald Trump nominated him to the high court in 2018. Few of us knew a thing about Kavanaugh when he got the nod to join the court. Then up stepped Christine Ford, who accused him of sexually assaulting her when they both were much younger. Kavanaugh denied the allegation angrily.

The difference between Biden and Kavanaugh, I submit, merely rests in what we know about both men. I feel as though I know Biden, given that I have watched his public career from afar almost since the moment he joined the Senate in 1973. I find it difficult to believe he would behave with such boorishness as has been alleged. Justice Kavanaugh? I know next to nothing about him, other than his conservative judicial philosophy. I cannot make any kind of determination on the veracity of the allegation brought against him.

Joe Biden is another sort of politician altogether. I am going to stand with the former vice president until Tara Reade can persuade me she is telling the whole truth. I don’t believe she will deliver the goods.

How about some ‘transparency,’ Mr. POTUS?

It’s the “t-word,” which means “transparency,” and it is fast becoming the latest overused term in the American political glossary of overused verbiage.

But it’s important. It means a lot to us as we look across the landscape and ponder the upcoming election for, oh, president of the United States.

The presumptive Democratic Party presidential nominee, Joe Biden, is facing allegations of sexual assault from a woman who said Biden attacked her in 1993. Her allegation isn’t holding up all that well upon closer scrutiny. Still, Tara Reade’s accusation needs to be “vetted” carefully, as Biden himself as stated.

He’s calling for transparency. That’s a good thing in my humble view.

Meanwhile, we have Biden’s opponent, the Republican president named Donald J. Trump. He’s got a boatload of accusations leveled against him. Have we vetted those accusations? Have we summoned those women forward to talk to us? No. Trump calls them liars and losers and other hideous names that seek to disparage them.

We need some transparency, Mr. President. He tells us on occasion that he’s the most transparent president in the U.S. history; then again, he’s the most everything in American political history.

He isn’t transparent. He hides, bobs and weaves, dissembles, and does all he can to avoid the kind of scrutiny that goes with holding the highest public office in the world’s most indispensable nation.

Oh, one more thing: those tax returns. Trump said he would release them after they go through a “routine audit.” The Internal Revenue Service said an audit doesn’t prevent anyone from releasing those returns, but Trump still hides behind that dodge.

He now vows to fight to keep them from public view. The Clown in Chief owes it to us. We need to look at this most public man’s books. We deserve to know if he is as rich as he boasts, whether he pays his share of taxes (which he demands of others) and whether there are any foreign influences on his business dealings that might have an impact on his public duties as president.

Transparency, Mr. President? Come clean on all of it.

Thoughts from a former staffer put Biden issue in perspective

I have received permission from a longtime colleague and a professional source — who has become a friend now that we’re “civilians” — to share some thoughts about the sexual assault allegation against former Vice President Joe Biden.

My friend is Elaine Lang Cornett, who served as press secretary for the late U.S. Rep. Charles Wilson, an East Texas Democrat and arguably one of the more colorful and effective members of Congress in the past 100 years.

Elaine is casting doubt on the allegation leveled by Tara Reade that Biden sexually assaulted her. Elaine writes:

I have two observations on this story based on my time working in a congressional office. In 1993 the Hill was deep into the sexual harassment allegations against Sen. Bob Packwood. This would include any and all HR departments to report problems. If there was any whisper of an allegation against Biden at that time, it would have surfaced. I can speak to this since I was the press secretary in my office, and fielded phone calls about this issue several times a week. Also, I walked (and sometime ran) through every hallway under the Capitol during the 15 years I worked there and there was no corridor in the basement catacombs where there would have been enough privacy for the events described. These were heavily trafficked passageways used to move from building to building and also were the location of many support offices. I have been skeptical since this story started to percolate. 

OK. I’ll take her word for it. My friend always shot straight with me while I worked for the Beaumont Enterprise and her boss was representing the Second Congressional District of East Texas.

It’s good to keep many aspects of this allegation — which Biden has denied categorically and emphatically — in its proper perspective.

Biden faces growing scrutiny … as if he hasn’t faced it already?

There’s something we should know about Joseph R. Biden Jr., as he prepares to take the Democratic Party presidential nomination to run against Donald Trump for the presidency.

It is that this man who’s now in his late 70s has been standing in the middle of the national spotlight since before he turned 30 years of age.

Biden is the presumptive Democratic nominee for president. He now faces allegations from a woman who has accused him of sexual assault in 1993, when he was a veteran U.S. senator from Delaware.

When and why did the national spotlight start shining on this fellow?

He ran for the Senate in 1972. He was elected to that seat before he was old enough to qualify to hold it; the U.S. Constitution says one must be at least 30 years of age to serve in the Senate, but Biden was 29 at the time of his election, but would turn 30 before he took the oath of office.

Then tragedy struck. His wife and daughter were killed in a traffic accident. The young senator-elect considered bowing out, thought about not serving. He was crushed, heartbroken. His allies talked into serving. So he took the oath with the spotlight shining brightly on him from the very beginning of his Senate career.

Biden took office as a single father to two young sons. He commuted back and forth daily between Capitol Hill and his home in Delaware. The nation continued to follow his emotional journey.

He found love again. Sen. Biden married his wife, Jill. They produced a daughter. Their love story became one of Washington’s ongoing feel-good sagas.

And so, with that tragedy behind, with his newfound love, his reputation as a champion for women’s rights on the line, we now are being asked to believe he would squander all of that by attacking Tara Reade, one of the senator’s staffers?

This one strains credulity. Yes, I know there are other stories of politicians who portray themselves as loving family men only to be revealed as cads, philanderers and moral alley cats. I think at this moment of former Sen. John Edwards, the North Carolina Democrat who cheated on his cancer-stricken wife with a woman who would give birth to his child.

Joe Biden isn’t the perfect man. No one can make a claim to perfection. Is he capable of throwing away a lifetime in politics and public service with an astonishingly stupid act such as what has been alleged?

I don’t think so.

Biden faces stern test of his character

Well now, an interview that Joe Biden thought might quash concerns about a sexual assault allegation likely has done nothing of the sort.

The former two-term vice president of the United States and presumptive Democratic Party nominee for president has been accused by former Biden staffer Tara Reade of sexually assaulting her. Reade says that in 1993 Biden pinned her against a wall and groped her.

Biden went on the air this morning to deny categorically the allegation. He told MSBNC’s Mika Brzezinski that the incident never happened. He didn’t question Reade’s motives. Biden said no one on his staff ever reported anything resembling what Reade has alleged.

Furthermore, Biden today announced he has asked the secretary of the U.S. Senate to obtain personnel records from the National Archives that would contain any formal complaint that Reade might have filed and release them to the public. Biden said the archived record would contain nothing of what Reade has alleged.

Is that good enough? Will it quell the questions? Will it stop Donald Trump’s slime machine from kicking into high gear? Hah! No to all of it!

I am inclined to believe Biden, but you likely have assumed that already. Fine, assume all you want. I also believe we need to examine fully the veracity of what Tara Reade has alleged and come to a conclusion on its validity.

Yes, this episode has the sort of echo that resonated when Christine Blasey Ford alleged sexual misconduct by U.S. Supreme Court Justice Brett Kavanaugh when the two of them were much younger. Ford got her public hearing, as did Kavanaugh. The U.S. Senate confirmed Kavanaugh to the Supreme Court and the story of what she alleged has more or less gone dormant.

Meanwhile, the president of the United States has been accused by more than 20 women of assorted acts of sexual misbehavior. Donald Trump has denied all of it; he has called the women liars and worse. Accordingly, he has suggested that Reade’s allegation might be as false as the accusations he has said were leveled against him. Of course, we have heard that hideous recording of Trump regaling “Access Hollywood” about how he sought to have sex with a married woman and how his celebrity status allowed him to grab women by their genitals. What a guy.

Whatever. This matter needs a resolution.

My own belief is that Joe Biden has been a national political figure since the moment he was sworn into the Senate in 1973. He took office under the most extreme duress imaginable, having lost his wife and daughter in a tragic auto accident in late 1972.

He and his second wife, Jill Biden, have been at the forefront of any number of social issues, involving protection against women facing sexual assault. Therefore, I would be astonished beyond all measure to learn that Joe Biden — of all people — would have behaved in the hideous manner that Tara Reade has alleged.

Let’s get to the truth.

Allegation against Biden well might explode in Trump’s face

I have expressed my concern about how Joe Biden should handle the sexual assault allegation leveled against him Tara Reade, who said Biden assaulted her in 1993.

Biden needs to deal forthrightly with it. The allegation needs to be vetted carefully and thoroughly. Biden’s ardent denial of doing anything that has been alleged won’t make it go away.

However, now he faces the possibility of campaigning against a president with an admitted record of sexual assault, philandering and otherwise boorish behavior with women.

How does Donald Trump handle this issue if it still lingers while he campaigns for re-election the presumptive Democratic Party presidential nominee? He ought to leave it alone. Don’t touch it. Not even in a hazmat suit.

You see, this is the kind of issue that could explode all over Donald Trump if he or his campaign team decides to make hay over an unproven allegation leveled against Joe Biden.

Then again, maybe he ought to go for it.