Archive for the ‘Politics’ Category

Liberal media joining (alleged) gropers’ club

Monday, November 27th, 2017

First published November 21, 2017 in the Toronto Sun

Just when you thought it couldn’t get any more shocking or shameful, more women have come forward to allege that yet another powerful player groped them. This latest accused sexual predator is 45-year veteran journalist and broadcaster Charlie Rose.

In grotesque detail, the Washington Post reported that eight women told the paper “Rose made unwanted sexual advances toward them, including lewd phone calls, walking around naked in their presence, or groping their breasts, buttocks or genital areas.”

Yuck!

But no one seems to be more stunned by the revelations than Rose’s liberal media colleagues.

Appearing alongside her ‘CBS This Morning’ co-host Norah O’Donnell, a shell-shocked Gayle King commented on Rose’s alleged behaviour.

“I really am still reeling. I got an hour and 42 minutes of sleep last night, both my son and my daughter called me. Oprah called me and said, ‘Are you OK?’ I am not OK after reading that article in the Post,” King said Tuesday. “It was deeply disturbing, troubling and painful for me to read.”

Before one of their own was accused of behaving badly, the mainstream media — including Rose himself — gloated with glee and wagged their finger at Fox News channel’s culture of harassment. But, as it turns out, conservative media titans Roger Ailes and Bill O’Reilly weren’t the only foxes prowling around the proverbial hen house.

The Post article reads like something out of a raunchy erotica novel, or Fifty Shades of Grey. From the late 1990s to 2011, the women describe Rose engaging in behaviour you might expect from an adolescent boy — or at a frat party.

In an utterly meaningless boilerplate apology that we’ve seen from the litany of accused rogue men — like Sen. Al Franken — Rose said that he’s been an advocate for women.

“I am greatly embarrassed … I always felt that I was pursuing shared feelings, even though I now realize I was mistaken,” Rose said in a written statement.

Oh.

I don’t know how groping someone’s buttocks at a staff party, or calling a 21-year-old late at night to tell her you’d like to see her swimming naked in your pool is “shared feelings.”

Rose appears “embarrassed” because he finally got caught after decades.

While I’m not defending Rose’s behaviour or that of the female executive producer of his PBS show, who reportedly ignored the allegations from female employees, I will suggest that some of his accusers need to take responsibility for their own actions. Many of the women, who were between the ages of 21 and 37 at the time of the alleged incidents, agreed to do work at (and stay overnight in) his home, or join him for dinner in hopes of becoming employed by his production company or secure future employment with him.

When a boss invites you to work with him at his home, you know that’s not professional. Men like Charlie Rose must be stopped, and fired, for their behaviour — but women, too, must say no to these blatant sexual overtures masquerading as work-related.

Then Politico reporter Glenn Thrush talks with Julie Mason while recording an episode of The Press Pool at Quicken Loans Arena on July 20, 2016 in Cleveland, Ohio. (Photo by Kirk Irwin/Getty Images for SiriusXM)

Rose isn’t alone in the liberal media’s own house of cards. Glenn Thrush, the New York Times White House reporter and President Donald Trump basher, has also been accused of lewd behaviour and placed on suspension by the paper. (You might also remember him as the guy who sent his columns for Politico to the Clinton campaign for approval before they were published.)

Let’s see if the liberal Times will be as relentless in pursuing the allegations against Thrush, who has been described as a rising star (hack) as the paper has been in trying to destroy the Trump presidency.

Powerful men everywhere must be shaking in their wingtips, doing mental audits of their behaviour (past and present) now that women have gone feral in their fight against sexual harassment. Stay tuned, I’m sure there will be more men losing their shirts.

Congress also behaving badly

Tuesday, November 21st, 2017

First published November 16, 2017 in the Toronto Sun 

Congress is an institution for governing not a body for groping. Against the back drop of Hollywood’s exploding sex scandal of Harvey Weinstein, Kevin Spacey and other powerful men preying upon female and child actors, America is learning that the men in the hallowed halls of the United States Congress are also behaving very badly.

GOP Alabama Senate candidate Roy Moore’s alleged sexual misconduct with teenage girls ages 14 and 16 when he was in his 30s seems to have been the tipping point for women to speak out.

During a House Administration Committee hearing about sexual harassment in Congress, female members described in lurid detail how male members of Congress think its their right to objectify and fondle women like pieces of produce. Rep. Jackie Speier (D-CA) described a chief of staff forcibly kissing her when she worked in Congress as a young staffer.

Rep. Barbara Comstock (R-VA) explained that someone told her in confidence about a member of Congress who asked a female staffer to deliver documents to his home after work. When the staffer arrived, her boss greeted her in a bath towel wrapped around his waist, which he promptly dropped to expose himself.

Just like the actresses in Hollywood, women in Congress have literally turned the other cheek without reporting harassment to save their careers.

The New York Times wrote about several former Capitol Hill staffers who describe a Lord of the Flies kind of environment reminiscent of pubescent boys. A senior male staffer tried “to tug open a junior aide’s wrap dress at a bar; a congressman grabbing a young woman’s backside.” Another House member told a female staffer “to twirl in a dress for him, then gave her a bonus when he liked what he saw.”

Senator Al Franken has been accused of sexual misconduct before he was elected to the Senate. KABC radio host Leanne Tweeden alleges that during a 2006 USO tour, when Franken was a comedian, he insisted that they practice a kiss for skit he wrote.

“We did the line leading up to the kiss and then he came at me, put his hand on the back of my head, mashed his lips against mine and aggressively stuck his tongue in my mouth,” she recalled.

Franken didn’t stop there. On the cargo plane ride home from Afghanistan, Tweeden has a picture that a photographer took of Franken groping her chest while she was asleep.

About 1,500 former staffers signed a letter to leaders in the House and Senate demanding that Congress not only require sexual harassment training for all employees and members but also make it easier for victims to report claims to the Office of Compliance.

Current federal law makes it almost impossible for victims to win complaints against members or employees of Congress.

After a three-month waiting period, victims of sexual harassment can file a complaint with the Office of Compliance and then must undergo 30 days of mandatory counselling and complete 30 days of mediation. Many people don’t know the Office of Compliance exists.

In response to this tsunami of complaints, the Senate approved new rules mandating anti-harassment training for employees. The House introduced the Me Too Congress Act, a bipartisan bill aimed at making the complaint process easier. It also would require the Congress to publicize the names of Congressional offices that paid settlements to accusers in harassment cases.

Perhaps these actions may help neuter this “boys will be boys” mentality in Congress.

House Speaker Paul Ryan and Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell have also shown leadership by emphatically stating that they believe the women accusing Moore of sexual misconduct and that he should drop out of the race.

But President Donald J. Trump, who is usually a loquacious twitterer on a host of topics, has yet to weigh in personally on Moore’s alleged behaviour or the unchecked culture of harassment raging in Congress.

The president wasn’t shy about tweeting insults at Republican Senators Jeff Flake and Bob Corker when both announced they wouldn’t run for re-election. I’m sure the women in America are eager to hear where the president stands on sexual harassment and pedophilia.

 

The hypocrisy of Hollywood

Wednesday, October 25th, 2017

First published October 24, 2017 in the Toronto Sun

Who would have imagined that liberal Hollywood and conservative Fox News Channel had so much in common: Both appear to have created a culture where male predators thrived.

Claims by George Clooney and Matt Damon that they’re shocked to learn about producer Harvey Weinstein’s alleged sexual harassment and abuse of women over decades was as hypocritical as Megyn Kelly’s feigned outrage at Bill O’Reilly for his alleged bad behavior.

In promoting the movie ‘Suburbicon,’ which stars Matt Damon, director Clooney said he was aware of Weinstein’s behaviour.

“Most of the rumours I knew, were from Harvey himself: ‘I had an affair with an actress or that actress,’” said Clooney. “Somebody knew. There were people that brought young actresses to his hotel room.”

Clooney and many others knew, too. But did he he ignore the rumours because mega producer Harvey launched and fuelled his career by casting him in big films?

In a separate interview with NBC’s Today, Matt Damon likewise talked out of both sides of his mouth. He said that he “knew the Gwyneth story” — that Weinstein allegedly harassed the high-profile actress — because “Ben [Affleck] had told me about it.”

Damon knew Weinstein Paltrow story but told Today’s Natalie Morales that he didn’t know what he could have done. Hmmm … how about speak up about it when it happened? But Damon, like Clooney, owed the start of his career to Weinstein.

The New York Times recently broke the allegations about Weinstein’s notorious behavior, but Clooney blamed the media for not exposing Weinstein. Huh? “Whoever had that story and didn’t write it, should be responsible. I want to know what kind of ad dollars were spent from the Weinstein Company and Miramax,” Clooney scolded. He even had the audacity to add: “We should have known this.”

You did know this George; but you, Matt, and the rest of Hollywood chose to ignore it and remain silent. From what we have been told, it was Hollywood that created a monster, not the media.

Male predators who use their positions of power and influence to sexually assault and harass women are despicable. Yet employers and employees who enable these men’s behavior in the workplace, for their own monetary and personal gain, are equally culpable.

Keeping silent about the pervasive culture of sexual harassment during her meteoric rise at Fox News Channel, Megyn Kelly — now at NBC — is speaking out, trying to portray herself as a champion of women’s rights. Since the New York Times published a story that Bill O’Reilly paid $32 million to settle sexual harassment allegations brought against him by a former Fox News contributor, Kelly has been grandstanding about how she complained about Bill O’Reilly to her bosses when both women were at FNC.

This week, in the opening monologue of an episode of her eponymous show, Kelly declared: “O’Reilly’s suggestion that no one ever complained about his behaviour is false. I know because I complained.”

In a self-righteous tone, Kelly read an e-mail complaining about O’Reilly that she sent to Fox co-presidents Bill Shine and Jack Abernathy two months before she left the network.

Kelly concluded with “The abuse of women … it has to stop.”

Kelly looks like an opportunist. Toward the end of her tenure at Fox, Kelly sat on a powerful perch, as one of, if not the superstar of the network. She was unstoppable, and so could have helped stop the apparent misogynistic culture at Fox. If only she had complained much sooner than she did.

 

 

Commend Trump for taking action

Wednesday, October 18th, 2017

First published October 15, 2017 in the Toronto Sun

If you’re a Republican president with a do-nothing GOP majority in Congress — which refuses to pass your (and their) agenda — you take matters into your own hands.

This week President Donald Trump did the work the GOP campaigned on for seven years: He began dismantling the Affordable Care Act (ACA) through executive order.

Halleluiah!

“For a long period of time — since I’ve started running and since I became president of the United States — I just keep hearing: ‘Repeal and replace, repeal and replace.’ Well, we’re starting that process, and we’re starting that in a very positive manner,” Trump declared.

Under Trump’s executive order, insurers will be allowed to sell less expensive policies to people, like me, who don’t receive health insurance through an employer. This means a 50-year-old man won’t have to pay for coverage for other people — like maternity benefits — that he will never use and which raised the cost of his monthly premium.

Aside from mandating that every individual buy insurance, Obamacare required that insurers force individuals to pay for “minimum essential coverage” like maternity leave even if they weren’t using it.

Perhaps, that’s why my old plan became unaffordable at $607 a month. My new plan is just as bad. I pay $367 a month with a $5000 deductible for care I don’t receive so that I can subsidize care for other people. No wonder 6.7 million Americans dumped their costly insurance in 2015 and paid the tax penalty instead, according to the Wall Street Journal.

Other actions in the order direct agencies to consider loosening regulations on short-term plans that people buy when they are in between jobs. The administration will also consider blowing up the individual mandate that requires every American to buy health insurance.

Democrats like Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer groused loudly that Trump bypassed Congress, “sabotaging the system, using a wrecking ball to single-handedly rip apart our health-care system.” I guess Chuck forget about the wrecking ball of skyrocketing premiums that Obamacare has caused over the past seven years or insurers fleeing markets, leaving some regions of the country with one or no health plans to buy.

Schumer also had no problem when President Barack Obama bypassed Congress to unilaterally rewrite U.S. immigration law with his executive order — Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) — granting amnesty to non-citizens.

But when a white, Republican president exerts his executive privilege to free Americans from the costly stranglehold of unaffordable health insurance, Democrats and the liberal media depict him as the bad guy.

For seven years, Republican members of Congress promised to repeal Obamacare. And Sen. Ted Cruz’s epic 2013 “Green Eggs and Ham” filibuster that briefly shut down the government in an attempt to repeal Obamacare even though there was no chance in hell of that happening. But in 2017, with a Republican president finally in the White House, the GOP-controlled Congress still couldn’t get it done.

Republicans choked not once but three times when finally given the opportunity to repeal the ACA they claimed to despise so much. It’s nice to see Trump deliver on campaign promises the GOP Congress won’t.

Sad to see Trump Defend the Indefensible

Thursday, August 31st, 2017

First published August 19, 2017 in the Toronto Sun

Nearly eight months into his fledgling presidency, President Donald Trump seems to be committed to no one but himself and his perverse ideas of what makes America great.

Exhibiting his hallmark brutish behaviour, Trump doubled down in his defense of neo-Nazis and white supremacists.

“There is blame on both sides, and I have no doubt about it,” Trump declared angrily, in a freewheeling, impromptu press conference Tuesday.

Answering questions from reporters, Trump blamed the tragedy in Charlottesville on “the alt-left,” rather than on the neo-Nazi, who plowed his car into a crowd of people, killing Heather Heyer.

“What about the alt-left that came charging at the, as you say, the alt right? Do they have any semblance of guilt?” Trump barked in reply to a reporter’s question.

Certainly there were counter-protestors (some who engaged in physical tactics), including Black Lives Matter advocates, at Saturday’s white nationalists rally. But they didn’t kill Heyer or injure 19 other people.

Please note: I have roundly condemned the Black Lives Matter Movement, particularly in my book Con Job, for the violence that group has caused, including the deaths of Dallas police officers in 2016 by one of their sympathizers.

The thing is, there is no “alt-left.” But the alt-right exists: they’re the white supremacists, who also happen to be hardcore conservatives…the same mob which rejects any Republican who supports inclusion, by labeling them as ‘cuckservatives.’ During the 2016 presidential election, these racists felt very comfortable taking off their hoods and supporting Trump.

And what’s indefensible is for the President of the United States to defend these groups in any way!

In response to Trump’s deplorable behaviour, CEOs began fleeing his White House business councils. First to take a moral stand was the black CEO of Merck, Kenneth Frazier, who stepped down from the American Manufacturing Council.

Of course Trump’s response was to insult Frazier on Twitter:

“Now that Ken Frazier of Merck Pharma has resigned from President’s Manufacturing Council, he will have more time to LOWER RIPOFF DRUG PRICES!”

Campbell Soup CEO Denise Morrison said this, in a statement about her resignation from the White House’s Manufacturing Jobs Initiative:

“Racism and murder are unequivocally reprehensible and are not morally equivalent to anything else that happened in Charlottesville.”

As Trump’s councils were fast becoming councils of one, the president pulled the plug — on Twitter of course.

Yet, Trump wasn’t even getting started with his insults and unyielding resolve to behave like a spoiled toddler…okay, maybe a teenager.

In a litany of tweets the morning of Aug. 17th, Trump praised the glory of the Confederacy.

“Sad to see the history and culture of our great country being ripped apart with the removal of our beautiful statues and monuments. You…can’t change history, but you can learn from it. Robert E Lee, Stonewall Jackson — who’s next, Washington, Jefferson? So foolish!”

I agree that we should not set a precedent by tearing down monuments; because we’d have to start destroying everything built by slave hands: Monticello, Mount Vernon, the White House, Congress.

But neither the Confederacy nor its history was beautiful for blacks. And it’s beyond immoral to see our president defending a time in America where whites owned blacks as property and fought a bloody war to keep that right.

Is Trump trying to #MakeAmericaGreatAgain or make America racist again? He’s quickly insulting his way to one of the worst presidencies in history…and quite possibility something unfathomable.

Trump reluctant to denounce white supremacists

Thursday, August 31st, 2017

First published August 13, 2017 in the Toronto Sun

Why is President Donald Trump so reluctant to denounce white supremacists who support him?

During the campaign, Trump “denounced” the endorsement of David Duke, a renowned white supremacist, rather than outright condemning and rejecting him. White supremacists turned Charlottesville, Va., into a violent scene reminiscent of the hatred wrought by bigoted whites upon blacks during the civil rights movement. Duke was in attendance.

And Trump again was reluctant to condemn the hate.

It took him over an hour to respond after a racist madman drove his car into a crowd of counter-protestors, killing one person and injuring 19 others. While the president seemed to dither about what to say, others — including his wife — called it exactly what it was.

“Our country encourages freedom of speech, but let’s communicate w/o hate in our hearts. No good comes from violence. #Charlottesville,” First Lady Melania Trump tweeted.

White nationalists, neo-Nazis and Ku Klux Klan members planned the Unite the Right rally to protest the city’s plan to remove a statue of Confederate General Robert E. Lee.

Trump — a normally effusive serial tweeter — took until after 1 p.m. to finally tweet:

“We ALL must be united & condemn all that hate stands for. There is no place for this kind of violence in America. Lets come together as one!”

Calling this hate by its name “white supremacy” would have been a more appropriate response for Trump, especially since dozens of these white nationalists were wearing Make America Great Again hats (Trump’s campaign slogan), as reported the Washington Post.

Instead, during a press conference in New Jersey after the tragedy, Trump again avoided calling racists by their name.

“The hate and the division must stop and must stop right now. We condemn in the strongest possible terms this egregious display of hatred, bigotry and violence on many sides. On many sides,” Trump declared. This was not the occasion to cling to his anti-PC mantra, which is what he seemed to be doing.

There’s only one side, as former vice-president Joe Biden tweeted. And Trump could say the name of the side that in Charlottesville who caused the hatred and violence.

When asked by a reporter at the press conference if he wanted the support of white nationalists, Trump said nothing. A president brings the country together when he leads by example.

In contrast, the president’s daughter, Ivanka Trump, who is Jewish and married to a Jared Kushner, also Jewish, tweeted words the president can’t seem to.

“There should be no place in society for racism, white supremacy and neo-nazis.”

And then Duke quoted Trump’s tweet in a tweet that read:

“I would recommend you take a good look in the mirror & remember it was white Americans who put you in the presidency, not radical leftists.”

Perhaps, therein lies the answer to the troubling question of why Trump can’t find the courage to say more.

As a native of Richmond, Va., the former capital of the Confederacy, I know all too well how some whites like to cling to their heritage of hate.

Monument Ave. is a grand boulevard in Richmond, littered with statues of Lee and other notable Confederate warriors. Thank God the war was won by the right side.

In America, you’re entitled to your free speech. But you’re not entitled to kill people with it.