Tag Archives: sexual harassment

Cuomo’s time has come?

By JOHN KANELIS / johnkanelis_92@hotmail.com

It is beginning to look to me as though Andrew Cuomo’s tenure as New York governor might be about to pass into history.

The Democratic politician is getting plenty of pressure to resign and it is coming from senior members of the state’s congressional delegation. He stands accused of sexual harassment by at least seven women, not to mention the scandal that erupted before this stuff arrived about the undercounting of COVID deaths among nursing home residents.

President Nixon faced similar pressure in August 1974 when the Watergate scandal was about to produce a certain impeachment. Senior congressional Republicans went to the White House to inform Nixon that his tenure as president was toast, that he had no support in Congress. Nixon quit.

Impeachment looms just ahead for Cuomo.

It looks as though there might be something similar is building in  the New York statehouse.

Time to go, Gov. Cuomo

By JOHN KANELIS / johnkanelis_92@hotmail.com

Andrew Cuomo has been a national political figure since before he took office as New York governor.

He comes from a renowned New York political family, being the son of a former governor and he once served as U.S. housing secretary in the Clinton administration.

It is with that context being laid out there that a blogger from faraway Texas — that would be me — has an interest in the political calamity that has befallen this guy.

He’s got to resign from office and find a way to rehabilitate himself.

I hate using the word “distraction,” but this fellow’s gubernatorial performance is being distracted to the point of irrelevance. He cannot propose anything for his state that isn’t measured against the allegations that have been leveled by seven women who have accused him of sexual harassment and actual sexual assault.

It’s over, Gov. Cuomo. He had his moment in the sun with his stunning media performance chronicling his state’s response to the COVID-19 pandemic. He was being held up as the gold standard for governmental candor compared to what we were getting throughout 2020 from the president of the United States.

Then the crap hit the fan on that matter, too! Reports surfaced about Cuomo undercounting the number of infections and deaths at nursing homes in New York. Bad call, dude.

Now come the seemingly credible accusations of sexual misconduct by women who formerly worked in the Cuomo administration. Democrats have joined Republicans in calling for Cuomo to resign. The New York House of Representatives has launched an impeachment inquiry that, it now appears likely, will result in articles of impeachment being filed against Cuomo.

It’s time for Andrew Cuomo to exit the political stage he has commanded for decades.

Will these allegations hold up?

(AP Photo/Alex Brandon)

By JOHN KANELIS / johnkanelis_92@hotmail.com

We likely are going to witness a fairly significant difference in the way the public and the political establishment treat two public officials accused of misbehavior while holding public office.

They aren’t parallel examples, but pretty close.

New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo, a Democrat, has been accused by three women of committing acts of sexual harassment. Cuomo has apologized (more or less) for his misdeeds, declaring he “never intended” to act so boorishly. Calls among Democrats and Republicans are mounting for him to resign. Cuomo says he won’t quit.

Now, we have U.S. Rep. Ronny Jackson, a Republican, who’s been accused by a government inspector general of sexual harassment of employees while he served as White House physician. The IG also says Jackson, who represents my former congressional district in the Texas Panhandle, drank on the job and took sleeping pills while tending to three presidents of the United States. Jackson calls the IG report a hit job and blames it on partisan politics.

I haven’t heard anyone up yonder in the Panhandle of Texas declare that he should quit. Could it be that the GOP-friendly Panhandle, governed by a party that used to proclaim allegiance to the notion that “character counts,” no longer holds that view?

I believe Cuomo will have difficulty riding out this storm. Jackson should have at least equal difficulty.

Indeed, the IG report was issued after interviews with about 70 eyewitnesses who testified under threat of committing a felony for lying about what they saw Dr. Jackson do. Isn’t that credible enough?

The congressman’s dodge that it is a partisan hack job just doesn’t hold up, given the nature of the inspector general’s office … which is decidedly non-political.

Gov. Cuomo … you’ve messed up

By JOHN KANELIS / johnkanelis_92@hotmail.com

Andrew Cuomo isn’t your run-of-the-mill governor of one of our 50 states. He has a famous political name; he once was married to a member of the Kennedy clan; he became a national media star with his COVID pandemic press briefings.

However, he appears to have messed up big time.

Three women have accused him of sexual harassment. The New York Democrat is under fire from his fellow Democrats to resign in the face of the accusations that appear to be credible.

What gives them credibility is his non-apology. Cuomo has declared that he didn’t intend his actions to be “flirtatious,” that he was trying to be “funny,” and that he apologizes for any “misinterpretation” that was derived from the way he talked to these women.

Oh, brother.

The 60-something governor has had a very rough couple of weeks. It started with reports of how he undercounted the deaths at nursing homes of COVID victims. It then got worse with the accusations of sexual harassment.

Gov. Cuomo is known in New York as someone who treats others badly. He reportedly can be downright mean and belittling in his confrontations with those who disagree with him.

So, as I watch this drama play out I am inclined to give the accusers the benefit of the doubt. As for that ridiculous, phony “apology” that Cuomo offered, well … it only worsens matters.

Were he to ask for my advice, I would say Gov. Cuomo needs to find something else to do.

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.

Disgusting.

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.”