Democratic Senators call on Al Franken to resign (and a poll)

According to many sources, including the New York Times, a sixth woman has come forward to accuse Al Franken of sexual harassment.  Deciding that they’ve had enough, several Democrats in the Senate, including ten women and seven men, have issued statements calling for Franken to resign his seat (the women are Kirsten Gillibrand of New York, Mazie Hirono of Hawaii, Claire McCaskill of Missouri, Patty Murray of Washington, Kamala Harris of California, Tammy Baldwin of Wisconsin, Debbie Stabenow of Michigan, Maria Cantwell of Washington, Heidi Heitkamp of North Dakota and Maggie Hassan of New Hampshire; the men are Richard J. Durbin of Illinois, Bob Casey of Pennsylvania, Joe Donnelly of Indiana, Patrick Leahy of Vermont, Edward J. Markey of Massachusetts, and Sherrod Brown of Ohio. Tom Perez, chairman of the Democratic National Committee, also called for Franken to resign.

The details of the accusation, from Politico, are these:

A former Democratic congressional aide said Al Franken tried to forcibly kiss her after a taping of his radio show in 2006, three years before he became a U.S. senator.

The aide, whose name POLITICO is withholding to protect her identity, said Franken (D-Minn.) pursued her after her boss had left the studio. She said she was gathering her belongings to follow her boss out of the room. When she turned around, Franken was in her face.

The former staffer ducked to avoid Franken’s lips. As she hastily left the room, she said, Franken told her: “It’s my right as an entertainer.”

“He was between me and the door and he was coming at me to kiss me. It was very quick and I think my brain had to work really hard to be like ‘Wait, what is happening?’ But I knew whatever was happening was not right and I ducked,” the aide said in an interview. “I was really startled by it and I just sort of booked it towards the door and he said, ‘It’s my right as an entertainer.’”

Franken categorically denies that this happened:

“This allegation is categorically not true and the idea that I would claim this as my right as an entertainer is preposterous. I look forward to fully cooperating with the ongoing ethics committee investigation,” Franken said in a statement to POLITICO.

There appears to be some corroboration, though it’s not clearly “independent”:

Two former colleagues of the woman independently corroborated her version of events, including Franken telling her he had the right to try to kiss her because he was “an entertainer.” The first former colleague interviewed by POLITICO said she was told of the incident in 2006, shortly after it happened. The second former co-worker said she was made aware of the encounter sometime in 2009 or 2010.

Although these aren’t truly independent witnesses, they were informed of the accusation years ago, increasing the probability that it really happened. This last accusation, though the accuser is anonymous, was enough to finally get the Democrats to call for Franken’s resignation. I’m guessing he won’t be around much longer.

I’m taking a poll here, so please answer, and add any comments below:

 

 

113 Comments

  1. Posted December 6, 2017 at 1:49 pm | Permalink

    Franken’s lucky he has a job where reputation doesn’t matter. If he worked for Netflix he’d be out.

    • GBJames
      Posted December 6, 2017 at 3:43 pm | Permalink

      Evidently this is true only for Democrats with this job. Republican voters don’t seem to care about reputation so much when it is one of their own.

      • Mark R.
        Posted December 6, 2017 at 4:15 pm | Permalink

        It doesn’t matter what Republican voters think; the Trump followers are more like cultists anyway, so there is no way to sway their blind hate for Democrats. The most important voting block to sway is the independents. My general impression of independents is they would make a distinction between Democrats and Republicans if Franken resigned and Republicans didn’t (or if Republicans embrace an accused child-molester if Moore wins). This would translate to more D-votes from independents imo.

        • tomh
          Posted December 6, 2017 at 5:11 pm | Permalink

          Are there really any independents any more? In the sense that they are fence-sitters who could be swayed one way or the other by this kind of noise.

          • Mark R.
            Posted December 6, 2017 at 11:34 pm | Permalink

            You’re right…they are marginalized and bleeding into both major parties. My point is that any “independent” is not as tribal and therefore more rational. Rationality is the only hope we have here.

  2. Andy Lowry
    Posted December 6, 2017 at 1:55 pm | Permalink

    Not sure what the poll propositions are, but I assume that one choice is “*sigh* yes, I suppose he has to go, though I’m sad about it.”

    • danstarfish
      Posted December 6, 2017 at 5:56 pm | Permalink

      I had a similar reaction. I think it is time for him to go, but I am sad and reluctant to see it. I think he’s been a much better Senator than most and contributed some sanity and good judgement that the Senate sorely needs more of. With this latest accusation though, I just don’t see him staying as tenable anymore.

      I also disappointed. I know his behavior is on the milder scale compared to other things that have come out about other people, but it is still worse than I would have expected from him. There is a limit to how well you really know a public personality, but still he would have been one of the last people I would have expected this from.

    • Walt Jones
      Posted December 6, 2017 at 7:07 pm | Permalink

      That was my vote. Unfortunately, his ability to be effetas a senator (my senator, in fact) is compromised. I would prefer due process, but this is politics and the Senate needs to flip next year. Heavy sigh.

  3. GBJames
    Posted December 6, 2017 at 1:56 pm | Permalink

    sub

  4. Posted December 6, 2017 at 1:57 pm | Permalink

    Until the p*ssy-grabing president resigns (or at least is piled on my members of his own party), I don’t think that the Democrats should be piling on Senator Franken for his stupid and perhaps despicable, but not criminal, actions. If the woman or women who were “violated” want to go to court, perhaps he should consider stepping down. Until then, he should remain in office and remain strong, but remorseful and embarrassed.

    • dabertini
      Posted December 6, 2017 at 2:13 pm | Permalink

      Good point.

    • Mark Sturtevant
      Posted December 6, 2017 at 2:20 pm | Permalink

      Has anyone claimed that the president grabbed them there? All I know is that he had bragged about it. And coming from him I automatically believe it less.

    • Heather Hastie
      Posted December 6, 2017 at 3:01 pm | Permalink

      It is not okay for a Dem senator to sexually abuse someone because a Rep president also did that and worse.

      To me Franken appears to be a good senator, so this is a shame. I hope his life isn’t destroyed over this. However, there is a principle at stake.

      I feel like I have to explain another principle every time these issues come up: Two wrongs don’t make a right.

      It’s time there was some integrity in the politics of your country. Country before party. Too many are acting like Dem. and Rep. are religions.

      • Posted December 6, 2017 at 5:28 pm | Permalink

        “Integrity in politics”, the mother of all oxymorons. If it only were that simple.

      • Rita
        Posted December 6, 2017 at 7:59 pm | Permalink

        This feels like a witch hunt to me. In other cases, after learning the details of an accusation I can visualize it happening. That makes it believable. I haven’t been able to picture Al Franken (or any other prominent show business person) saying “It’s my right as an entertainer.” It just doesn’t ring true. The phraseology is off.

        • Heather Hastie
          Posted December 7, 2017 at 2:46 pm | Permalink

          Franken has admitted some of the allegations. He’s denied the one you’re referring to, and I think that’s believable too.

          However, some stars do think it’s their right and say so. It’s a rationalization that was once used on me 35 years ago, and I know I wasn’t the only one for that person as I witnessed him trying it on someone else.

      • Posted December 7, 2017 at 7:43 am | Permalink

        Heather: I agree, however, I think some kind of due process needs to be applied.

        I think the Senate Ethics Committee is the way to go.

        I like this analogy: An attorney holds a press conference: They state that you have been accused of trafficking in child pornography. The accuser wants to remain anonymous. How would that feel?

        Maybe you have no enemies; but certainly most public figures do.

        As I noted below, I have a problem is anonymous accusations. How do we know that an anonymous accusation isn’t coming from the Trump team or Russia? (Seriously, how would one really know?)

        • Heather Hastie
          Posted December 7, 2017 at 2:38 pm | Permalink

          I agree we shouldn’t be able to have anonymous allegations. The accused should always know who’s doing the accusing. However, there are plenty of cases where the public doesn’t need to know.

          • Posted December 8, 2017 at 8:55 am | Permalink

            Well, when the accusation is made publicly, the public should know so they can assess the trustworthiness of the accusation. Afterall, they are deciding whether to toss out a duly elected official.

            If you think about it, anonymous accusations are far, far too easy to toss into public.

            It analogous to the nastiness of anonymous online posting: It’s free for the person making the accusation.

            I think Sam Harris’s comment on such accusations is pertinent. (And for his cases, the data can be checked, and they have some kind of handle attached to them — but not in cases such as the anonymous allegations against Franken.

  5. BobTerrace
    Posted December 6, 2017 at 1:58 pm | Permalink

    Franken should re-sign just after Roy Moore resigns and just after Donald Trump resigns.

  6. rickflick
    Posted December 6, 2017 at 1:58 pm | Permalink

    I’ve watched Franken’s career with admiration. He’s strong on liberal issues and due to his wit, he makes a formidable debater. I enjoy watching him hold Trump’s nominees’ feet to the fire during senate hearings. His style is almost unique. I’m pretty sure he’s going to call it quits. I do hope his replacement is as good at being a senator.

  7. Simon Hayward
    Posted December 6, 2017 at 1:59 pm | Permalink

    I think this is a really tough call. Politically (and he’s a politician) it makes sense for him to resign. The Dems could have taken the high road on this, but Pelosi muffed that option. However, they can still look better than the party led by the pussy grabber supporting the accused child molester.

    That being said, I don’t like the idea of unproven accusations being a basis for ending or forestalling a career as seems to be happening in other areas. While some or most of the people accused are almost certainly guilty, at the margins there will inevitably be innocent people accused, and thus affected.

    • Posted December 6, 2017 at 2:28 pm | Permalink

      I think he shouldn’t even if the accusations are true. That’s a BIG if.

      If the good people of Minnesota believe the accusers and don’t like Franken’s behavior they can vote him out of office.

      • Helen Hollis
        Posted December 7, 2017 at 12:32 am | Permalink

        All it takes now is votes to make something wrong a right thing.

        • Helen Hollis
          Posted December 7, 2017 at 12:33 am | Permalink

          I live in Chicago, I know how it works. For some.

  8. Posted December 6, 2017 at 2:02 pm | Permalink

    One man resigning is like a drop in the sea, isn’t it? I’d like them _all_ to resign!

    • Art
      Posted December 6, 2017 at 4:28 pm | Permalink

      I agree. Start over with a clean slate, with four year term limits.

      • Rita
        Posted December 6, 2017 at 8:02 pm | Permalink

        We already HAVE term limits: it’s called “voting”. Term limits are being pushed by the Koch brothers because they know it would create even MORE opportunities for them to control our legislators, not less.

  9. Posted December 6, 2017 at 2:03 pm | Permalink

    “Although these aren’t truly independent witnesses, they were informed of the accusation years ago, increasing the probability that it really happened.

    I don’t believe it does. If they did not witness the events they are relying on hear-say alone. What would increase the probability in my mind (besides other actual witnesses) would be a pattern of such accusations.

    • Craw
      Posted December 6, 2017 at 2:07 pm | Permalink

      Not quite. If they are telling the truth about what she told them then we know this is not a story she just made up now, for whatever reason. It also means she isn’t just getting memories mixed up, and misremembering now events back then. She’s less likely to have misremembered 2006 in 2006 than in 2017

      • Posted December 6, 2017 at 2:25 pm | Permalink

        Evidently I am not being clear. I meant that these claims haven’t much weight to me. It’s an opinion of mine.

        Still, i’t is still hearsay, one of the weakest forms of evidence (though not useless). One of these witnesses says she heard of the incident 3 or 4 years after it is alleged to have happened. Sen Franken vehemently denies it happened, his testimony has equal weight (in my mind) to the accusers claims. Two hearsay witnesses, one years removed, don’t impress me.

        • Craw
          Posted December 6, 2017 at 2:58 pm | Permalink

          I find this “It’s my right as an entertainer” thing implausible. I think it’s implausible on its face, but it also sounds a little too like a contrived version Trump’s star comment. Also note that while Franken has been muted in his other denials *this* he denies completely.

      • Posted December 6, 2017 at 2:41 pm | Permalink

        Yes, Craw explains what I meant correctly.

      • Ken Kukec
        Posted December 6, 2017 at 4:24 pm | Permalink

        Rules of evidence don’t apply in this situation, of course, but they can provide a helpful analogy. Under Federal Rule of Evidence 801(d)(1)(B) a witness’s prior consistent statements are admissible to rebut an express or implied charge that the witness has recently fabricated his or her testimony, or is acting from a recent improper influence or motive in testifying.

        It’s precisely the same reason why former FBI director James Comey’s contemporaneous memoranda, and contemporaneous statements to his Justice Dept. staff, are so crucial in any swearing contest against Donald Trump over what was said in their private meetings. Comey’s prior statements were written or spoken before Comey was fired and, thus, before he had a revenge motive to testify against Trump.

        Similarly, the prior consistent statements Franken’s latest accuser made to her friends at the time would help rebut any contention that she’s merely hopping on the bandwagon against Senator Al.

  10. Craw
    Posted December 6, 2017 at 2:03 pm | Permalink

    My answer is no. Not yet at least.

    First I object to rushes to judgment. With Conyers we have actual proof (including payouts) but Franken has consistently denied the particulars. I would like there to be time to assess. Just one example: the original complaint included the claim he modified the script to include a kiss. That is probably wrong. He did the same skit earlier with other women, and it included the kiss. The skit was about finagling a kiss. I think her memory of the event is probably a conflation.

    Some of the complaints are about stupid crude humor. Doubtless, but the voters knew he was a stupid, crude comedian.

    As afar as I see so far he has not abused his office, as Conyers did.

    The time might come, but only after we can assess all this stuff coolly and carefully.

    • pablo
      Posted December 6, 2017 at 4:41 pm | Permalink

      Gillibrand led the Senators to call for his resignation. If that seat goes to a right wing Republican(and it could, his predecessor was Norm Coleman)feminist can thank her for her purity as their rights are abrogated.

      • johnw
        Posted December 6, 2017 at 5:05 pm | Permalink

        The governor of MN is a democrat and would appoint his replacement, and if done before June 2018 that person could stand for election in Nov. 2018. If appointed after June the special election would be Nov 2019. So there is some reason for Franken to hold on until next July if he indeed is going to step down. Also, the other MN Senator Amy Klobuchar is up for re-election in 2018, and would benefit from having another Democratic Senate colleague campaigning in more urban areas, particularly if popular, rather than running at the same time. I think that these factors are a big part of how this is playing out. Some of the accusations against him are anonymous and I wouldn’t be surprised at all if completely bogus. Franken is now perceived as politically wounded, and it benefits Republicans if he exits quickly, regardless of any comparisons to Moore, who will not leave the race even if more accusers come forward and will likely (common sense tells) still win.

  11. Mark R.
    Posted December 6, 2017 at 2:10 pm | Permalink

    Well, if he was a Republican, no way in hell would he step down. They lie and cheat and steal and pussy-grab with no shame. The right thing to do would be for Franken to resign. After the first woman came forward and after Franken’s heartfelt (I thought) apology, I thought he should stay unless other women came forward. Now that there are 6, he should do what a Republican won’t do. Problem is, no Republican will think “higher” of the Dems for Franken doing it; it’s really just to save face for other Democrats. Maybe some independents will see it as admirable. The only upside is his replacement will be a Democrat since Minnesota’s governor is one.

    • Mark Sturtevant
      Posted December 6, 2017 at 4:14 pm | Permalink

      There is a lot to be said for resigning for the sake of integrity in politics (as if…). But I would take a resignation for the integrity of ones’ political party. If he does not resign, the Republicans will continue to flog the Dems over it, and continue to have (to them) a rational to defend Moore.
      I think he should resign. And if not for the most noble of reasons, then for the 2nd or 3rd tier of less noble reasons. But resign he should.

  12. mordacious1
    Posted December 6, 2017 at 2:21 pm | Permalink

    Franken would have been one of the first to call for a Republican to resign for similar behavior, so yeah, he should fall on his sword.

    • Posted December 6, 2017 at 3:10 pm | Permalink

      Would have been? Did he?

      • mordacious1
        Posted December 7, 2017 at 3:16 pm | Permalink

        Did you see Franken’s resignation speech? He mentioned the irony of him resigning while Trump remains in office for worse behavior. And also mentions Moore who has also behaved worse. I like Al, but would would respect him more if he would just say that yeah, sometimes people (both men and women) do stupid stuff and not feed the hysteria.

    • Ken Kukec
      Posted December 6, 2017 at 4:29 pm | Permalink

      And you know this how?

  13. Randall Schenck
    Posted December 6, 2017 at 2:25 pm | Permalink

    I do not see that it makes any difference if he does or does not. The reputation of the congress and the entire political systems in the United States could not get any lower and certainly is not going to get higher. What quality individual would consider taking any of these jobs today? If you think yes, then name one.

  14. Posted December 6, 2017 at 2:28 pm | Permalink

    Agree with BobT although I believe it ain’t gonna happen.

  15. Jake Sevins
    Posted December 6, 2017 at 2:34 pm | Permalink

    I don’t think a person’s politics should affect whether we think what he’s done merits resignation (I’ll say “he” here for obvious reasons).

    I like Franken quite a bit, but when the number of accusers gets this high, it’s time to do your family and your party a favor and step aside.

  16. darrelle
    Posted December 6, 2017 at 2:37 pm | Permalink

    I’m not sure how the poll question is intended. I may be picking nits. I wouldn’t say that Franken should resign because of this latest allegation. Based on just that I’d rather see him stay on and the appropriate investigation take place.

    But, when the multiple calls from fellow Democrats for him to resign are added to the equation then I’d say, yes, it is probably better if he resigns. Ideally, I don’t think that’s right. The society I would rather live in wouldn’t require that Franken resign until a proper investigation was conducted. But given the current social and, especially, political conditions in the US at this point in time I think it would be better if Franken resigned rather than create a conflict within the Democratic Party over this, and thereby give certain groups some potent ammunition.

    But damn, I’d really like to know. Is Franken lying? I tend to think “no,” but that obviously is not based on anything like good evidence. I don’t really have any either way. No doubt it’s because I’d really prefer him to not be lying because I think of him as one of the good people.

    • Posted December 6, 2017 at 3:07 pm | Permalink

      The GOP seems to have carved out another advantage here: Their base will buy into any falsehood, any Faustian bargain to gain power.

      The Dems, by doing the right thing, may hand them long-term power.

      This really pisses me off.

      The GOP has long lied about:

      “Family values”
      States’ rights / local control
      Tax fairness
      They care about the working class

      And F-me if it isn’t working for them!

      • Posted December 6, 2017 at 3:10 pm | Permalink

        The Dems strategy is to lose. At every opportunity.

        • Harrison
          Posted December 7, 2017 at 12:10 am | Permalink

          We’ve evolved to the point where we’re Swift Boating ourselves.

      • darrelle
        Posted December 6, 2017 at 3:11 pm | Permalink

        +1

      • GBJames
        Posted December 6, 2017 at 3:38 pm | Permalink

        Pisses me off, too. Big time.

      • Mark R.
        Posted December 6, 2017 at 4:21 pm | Permalink

        It is very, very frustrating. So tired of losing. I wonder if Trump supporters or tired of winning yet?

      • c carter
        Posted December 7, 2017 at 9:58 am | Permalink

        I do not agree that the Dems are “doing the right thing.” Why is it right to believe any accusation, from anyone (including those who remain anonymous) with little or no evidence; accusations denied by the accused, a person of demonstrated integrity and respect for women. His few lapses (the photograph in the aircraft – which appeared to me to be a caricature of sexual harassment, as opposed harassment itself; and the kiss, which was part of a skit; and for both of which he gave an apology that was accepted). This vicious, self-righteous, unfounded purging is stupid, wasteful, and dangerous. (Incidentally, i am an old liberal, atheist, feminist from way back, and a Democrat.)

        • Posted December 8, 2017 at 8:58 am | Permalink

          I basically agree with you; but they are trying to strike the righteous pose.

          I too think it is a mistake.

  17. Historian
    Posted December 6, 2017 at 2:40 pm | Permalink

    In today’s climate I think it impossible for Franken to hang on. This is what I think he should do.

    He should say that he will resign the day Roy Moore, should he be elected, is expelled from the Senate. If Moore is not expelled, he will not resign until the Democratic governor of Minnesota has selected his successor and this person can immediately take Franken’s seat. If Jones wins, Franken should say he will resign immediately. By doing this, Franken and the Democratic Party will have taken the high road.

    By taking this approach, Republicans will not gain a seat advantage in the interim between now and the successor of Franken taking office. With the Senate so evenly divided, one vote could determine if the tax bill passes or fails. A reconciled version of the tax bill (between the House and Senate) could come up for a vote any day. Democrats should not allow the hypocritical Republicans, now embracing Moore, to gain an advantage by being the patsies.

    • Posted December 6, 2017 at 2:58 pm | Permalink

      How likely (in anyone’s opinion) is a Moore victory?

      • Posted December 6, 2017 at 3:04 pm | Permalink

        Slightly better than 50/50 per the polls this morning (per NPR). But the polls told us in Nov 2016 that we’d have Pres. H. Clinton now…

        • Ken Kukec
          Posted December 6, 2017 at 4:55 pm | Permalink

          Yeah, Moore odds on. I’d make him a 7-to-5 favorite about now.

      • mordacious1
        Posted December 6, 2017 at 3:05 pm | Permalink

        Very likely, although polls have them tied right now. People vote party, not morality.

        • Posted December 6, 2017 at 3:10 pm | Permalink

          Have to disagree a bit on that – the morality that many Alabamans are voting on is abortion, same sex relationships, and Christian-nation bullshit. Moore panders to the vilest expression of “Christian values”, and, as do many others, plays the “We Christians are being persecuted” card.

          • Posted December 6, 2017 at 3:11 pm | Permalink

            So you’re saying it’s Moore in a landslide.

            • Posted December 6, 2017 at 3:17 pm | Permalink

              Not a landslide, but there are not enough sane Republicans to stop Moore. Chasing teenagers and making unwanted sexual advances is a trivial matter compared to the abominations they cannot abide.

              • Posted December 6, 2017 at 3:19 pm | Permalink

                And I did not mean to discount party affiliations, since affiliation and beliefs seem to parallel each other quite well.

    • Mark R.
      Posted December 6, 2017 at 4:26 pm | Permalink

      I think this is a brilliant strategy. Now if only I had Al Franken’s cell #.

    • Ken Kukec
      Posted December 6, 2017 at 4:43 pm | Permalink

      So Franken-for-Moore would be like one of those Cold War prisoner exchanges? Kinda like swapping U-2 pilot Francis Gary Powers for that KGB agent in Berlin? Maybe the Dems & Repubs can set up a Checkpoint Charlie replica under the rotunda dome in the Capitol.

      Cool.

      • nicky
        Posted December 6, 2017 at 8:05 pm | Permalink

        😂😂😂

  18. Dave B
    Posted December 6, 2017 at 2:52 pm | Permalink

    Not an USAIAN so..

    Not yet. Nobody should fall on their sword until all the cockroaches are exposed. I understand (maybe misunderstand) that the senate has some kind of slush fund to pay out victims, that means there has to be some kind of record keeping – use Franken as leverage to expose this to the light, then stomp all the bugs at once.

    • Dave B
      Posted December 6, 2017 at 2:53 pm | Permalink

      ..with apologies to bug lovers everywhere. Figurative bugs, not literal.

  19. Posted December 6, 2017 at 3:02 pm | Permalink

    I have a basic problem with anonymous accusations. If the accusation in anonymous, then you trusting something at second hand (at best). And the consequences are pretty large.

    I’m not quite sure how we got to: Second-hand accusation, leads directly to penalty. Not only no due process, no process at all.

    I think this is something to adjudicate in the ethics committee and in the courts (if needed).

    I have no fear of this happening to me (I’ve never harassed a woman and no concern that my female colleagues would present a false accusation). However, if I were in a position of intense competition with female colleagues, I think I would apply the Pence Rule: Never be alone with a female colleague (I already refrain from drinking with work colleagues).

    Most people value their reputation and career pretty highly. If it’s guilt by accusation, I’d be taking pretty severe measures to prevent any potential false accusations.

    Two men I knew personally at a previous employer were warned and one of them demoted for:

    1. A female colleague heard that he had a pornographic image in his briefcase — which was never shown at work or to her. He did not speak her about it (or speak to her about anything of a sexual nature). (Stern warning, threatened termination; he tried defend himself and was told to be quiet, he wasn’t allowed to say anything.)

    2. He did not vigorously-enough pursue the person who sent him an off-color joke in an email: He deleted the email and warned the sender never to do it again. (Demoted two levels of management)

    • Kevin
      Posted December 6, 2017 at 3:45 pm | Permalink

      Under UK law, you can go to the Industrial Tribunal and appeal against measures taken by an employer if they do not follow correct procedure.
      They need to have an internal company hearing to which you have a right to appeal.
      Depending on the offense, you are given a verbal or written warning.
      You also have a right to have a witness/union rep present.

      If you seriously breach your contract, there may be a case for summary dismissal, but you can also take this to the Industrial Tribunal.

      I’ve been through the whole process as an employee’s witness: appeals, Industrial Tribunal, High Court, police statements concerning negligence. Not very pleasant.

      In any case, if the company took measures against you with only anonymous hearsay, they could be risking it a bit. Depends how good your lawyer is.

      • Steve Pollard
        Posted December 6, 2017 at 4:16 pm | Permalink

        Too right. I have been through something similar (alleged bullying, not sex-related) both as senior manager and as independent arbitrator. The whole thing depends on effective due process. I cannot imagine anybody in the position of jblilie’s colleagues being disciplined in this way in the UK – without, apparently, the possibility of any redress.

        As regards Franken: as a foreigner I have no dog in this fight; but I can’t help thinking that “due process” has not even started yet.

      • Ken Kukec
        Posted December 6, 2017 at 4:50 pm | Permalink

        “… you can go to the Industrial Tribunal …”

        Thank the Trades Union Congress. See what collective bargaining can do?

        • Kevin
          Posted December 6, 2017 at 5:49 pm | Permalink

          I’m currently in animated debate with an Ayn Rand Objectivist: she would not have liked collective bargaining.

          Its like arguing with a creationist believer, sorry ID “proponent”.

          Long live the public sector!

      • Posted December 7, 2017 at 7:49 am | Permalink

        These men were engineers and engineering managers.

        At that employer, it was at-will employment. You could be fired for no cause.

        I think the company people violated their own SOPs in Case #1; but the second case was purely a judgement call by management against a third-level manager, and he had no recourse.

        In Case #1, He just shut up and got on with his work. What else to do? He just wanted to put it behind him.

  20. Posted December 6, 2017 at 3:30 pm | Permalink

    “Daddy, what did you do during the Grope Wars?”

    That’s all you have to answer.

  21. Ken Kukec
    Posted December 6, 2017 at 3:31 pm | Permalink

    Sorry, Al, you’ve been one of my favoritest-most US senators, but it’s time to do the Big Vamoose. There’s a major cultural shift going down here, and it’s best to make a clean break of it.

    Does seem like asymmetrical warfare, though, with the Dems facing the music and the Republicans thinking they can get away with it if all they do is deny, deny, deny.

    • Mark R.
      Posted December 6, 2017 at 4:33 pm | Permalink

      Very lopsided…we lose a Senator with integrity (when it comes to his job) and they win a child-molester.

      I like Historian’s strategy above though. Franken should hold on until the Alabama election on the 12th. If Jones is elected, Frankenstein resigns immediately. If Moore is elected and the Senate doesn’t reject him, he doesn’t resign. If Moore does get rejected by the Senate, Franken will resign immediately.

      • Mark R.
        Posted December 6, 2017 at 4:35 pm | Permalink

        “Frankenstein” Hahaha. Sometimes autocorrect has a sense of humor!

      • Samedi
        Posted December 7, 2017 at 7:22 am | Permalink

        If you look at this through the lens of us-versus-them you are part of the problem. Principled stands–not partisanship–is the remedy for the current insanity. The core American principle here is innocent until proven guilty, not innocent until attacked in the media. The principled stand is to extend that courtesy to everyone, regardless of political affiliation.

    • Jenny Haniver
      Posted December 6, 2017 at 6:37 pm | Permalink

      Don’t you mean “make a clean breast of it”? A phrase apropos for the occasion. And this from phrases.org.uk: The Oxford English Dictionary defines the noun breast as ‘the two soft protuberances situated on the thorax in females’. The meaning used in ‘make a clean breast of it’ is an earlier and less literal one. The ‘breast’ there is the seat of the one’s emotions and secrets; one’s ‘heart’. To disclose this openly was to clean one’s heart of impurity. Any mention of breasts now is likely to be a reference to the ‘soft protuberances’ – we are more liable these days to ‘get something off our chest’.
      Funny, I’d never thought of breasts quite that way before.

      Franken in this situation

      • Ken Kukec
        Posted December 7, 2017 at 9:30 am | Permalink

        I was referring to the cultural shift, Jenny, and the need for a clean break with the past — but, yeah, I think men who’ve engaged in sexual harassment need to make a clean breast of it, too.

  22. jhs
    Posted December 6, 2017 at 5:01 pm | Permalink

    If Franken were my boss, I probably would want him to resigned or be fired or since I would have to work with him. If he were my friend, I probably would forgive him since he seems to have changed and done many good things for many people.

    I didn’t get a chance to tell you my gender in the survey.

    • jhs
      Posted December 6, 2017 at 5:05 pm | Permalink

      I should have proofread before I submitted my comment.

  23. johnw
    Posted December 6, 2017 at 5:09 pm | Permalink

    Greg Laden had some interesting comments on this back when it all started…

    http://gregladen.com/blog/2017/11/17/franken-thing-going-play/#more-27909

  24. JonLynnHarvey
    Posted December 6, 2017 at 5:58 pm | Permalink

    Franken is a fairly unique asset to the Senate, a political comedian who makes astute points in his comedy. Not quite in the league with Jon Stewart, but he’s in the Senate.

    He’s also been a fairly effective Senator, creating the Service Dogs for Veterans Act among other things.

  25. Posted December 6, 2017 at 6:00 pm | Permalink

    In this political climate, I see nothing to be gained by calling for Franken’s retirement. I don’t think voters care that much about the kind of stuff Franken is accused of. I am not saying that what he did is acceptable but it doesn’t fall anywhere near some of the accusations of others. Dems won’t gain much from taking the high road, even if that’s even what calling for Franken’s retirement would be. Right now, we need a fighter like Franken.

    • Posted December 6, 2017 at 6:15 pm | Permalink

      I agree. But the Dems want his head. They are very good at self-inflicted wounds.

    • Rita
      Posted December 6, 2017 at 8:12 pm | Permalink

      Agreed.

  26. Luke Vogel
    Posted December 6, 2017 at 7:44 pm | Permalink

    As of 7:44 EST, “Thirty-two Democratic senators — 13 female and 19 male — called on Franken to resign as allegations of sexual harassment against him continue to mount.”

    I’m siding with them, because I think they’re right.

    • Luke Vogel
      Posted December 6, 2017 at 7:56 pm | Permalink

      Also, I am a registered Democrat. I generally consider myself a Social Democrat, Liberal.

    • johnw
      Posted December 6, 2017 at 8:52 pm | Permalink

      There are other avenues. A Senate censure would allow them to show their disapproval. Forcing him out now could hand a seat to the Republicans, as that puts two Dem senators up for election next November in a purple state. He has 7 accusers. Two are anonymous, one is a Bible college educated Trump supporter who looked pleased as punch in a photo in which he’s supposedly simultaneously groping her, and one is a Fox New employed birther (the original accuser). I dunno anything about the others. Politics ain’t beanbags and we have a venal mendacious nutcase in the Whitehouse with the Republicans on the verge of a historically regressive tax gift for the top few % and the social safety net in their cross-hairs.

  27. Andy
    Posted December 6, 2017 at 9:31 pm | Permalink

    I was a definite ‘no’ vote. I really just don’t believe the claims so far.
    Just like the fake abortion allegation against Roy Moore, I think that there will be several false claims: to perpetuate the both-sides are just the same argument; and also to say, ‘if you doubt this claim, you must doubt all women’; and so on…

    My suspicion is that there’s actually something quite devious going on. If you want to make a false allegation against someone: Try to find some circumstance that can look bad, or where they’ve genuinely screwed up, then use that as ‘evidence’ of something bigger, but otherwise unsubstantiated; ideally where the defense has to be that they are not evil, just stupid; keep repeating the big allegation, and the little ‘evidence’.

    Well, anyway, I also believed Anthony Weiner for quite some time. 😉

    As Prof. Ceiling Cat recently gave a link to DailyKos, here’s a good one:
    https://www.dailykos.com/stories/2017/11/22/1717990/-I-finally-found-it-video-of-Tweeden-on-Hannity-questioning-Obama-s-birth-certificate

  28. Thanny
    Posted December 6, 2017 at 10:01 pm | Permalink

    I think a lot of people have forgotten what the word “accusation” means.

    • Harrison
      Posted December 7, 2017 at 2:19 am | Permalink

      Funny enough there’s a segment in one of Franken’s books where he quotes part of a radio interview with Tom Oliphant regarding the Swift Boat slander campaign against John Kerry. Oliphant’s words:

      “We’ve put a million stories in our wastebaskets over the years, because they don’t check out. Today, we publish, or we broadcast, the mere FACT of the accusation, regardless of whether it’s filled with helium. THAT’S what changed in our business. We served as transmission belts for this stuff without ever inquiring into its accuracy.”

  29. Posted December 7, 2017 at 7:45 am | Permalink

    Yet again, I am stunned by how the GOP always seems to have its cake and eat it too.

    It remains the preferred party of the religious right, and also is the party of Roy Moore and Donald Trump. It is also propped up by FOX News, a network that has taken lying to new levels.

    It has stolen large swathes of working class voters from the Democrats. Yet, as the new tax bill has shown, the GOP’s primary interests continue to be protecting the interests of the wealthy and of large corporations. Also, it is seen as the fiscally responsible party, but (yet again) a Republican president has just added trillions to the deficit.

    And now, some Democrats have examined their core principles and concluded that people like Franken have to go, despite the fact that he is one of their tribe and is sorely needed. Meanwhile, the Republicans will gladly circle the wagons around any of their own so long as that person can advance their agenda, ethical principles be damned.

    The GOP is sniggering at the Dems right now, knowing that a) the Dems will gain no advantage from voters by doing the right thing, and in fact will probably suffer a net loss and b) knowing that they will get away scot-free with defending a man who had sex with children.

  30. chris
    Posted December 7, 2017 at 9:03 am | Permalink

    I voted ‘yes’ but it’s going to be awfully difficult for me to vote for Gillibrand when she comes up for re-election.

  31. Hempenstein
    Posted December 7, 2017 at 9:12 am | Permalink

    Gee, he tried to kiss her. I guess I missed the part where he pinched her on the ass / grabbed her chest / stuck his hand in her crotch / threw he on the sofa / stalked her for days….

  32. nay
    Posted December 7, 2017 at 9:48 am | Permalink

    I voted No. I haven’t seen the entire list of Franken accusers, but the anonymous ones should be discounted immediately. Have these accusers been vetted as fully as Roy Moore’s? I believed the first one because she showed her face and gave her name, as well as the level of detail in her story. Note: the photo was just a juvenile prank – he did not actually grab her breasts; but the tongue-kiss was an assault. I’ve been on the receiving end of one of those and it was GROSS. Anyway, Franken should stick with his original response and go through an ethics investigation. I’d be interested to know whether any of the alleged incidents occurred after his marriage or after he became a senator.

    • Walt Jones
      Posted December 7, 2017 at 10:11 am | Permalink

      He’s been married over 40 years.

  33. Posted December 7, 2017 at 4:58 pm | Permalink

    I was sorry to hear these accusations about Al Franken. Since media sourced and driven in
    the court of public opinion without due process, and in most cases anonymously, I would prefer to withhold judgment.

    1: All people make mistakes, many of which they’d prefer remain unpublicised. Remember about “glass houses” and “stones”?

    2: Although there should be no sexual “crimes”, they should be “graded” as to severity from dirty language or jokes, inappropriate touching, rubbing or groping, kissing with or without tongue, sexual penetration of any orifice without invitation or consent, etc. There’s a lot more that could be listed and graded. They should not all be equally weighted as to severity and atrociousness.

    One danger in the flood-jam release of year’s of feminine (and some masculine) pented up anger is the tendency to paint all incidents as being the equally, or very similarly, terrible. Do the women hold dirty language and unrequested touching on the same scale as actual sex? I find that hard to believe.

    In our culture that heavily promotes purity, lack of sex, virginity and a host of other
    controls on sexuality, it’s no wonder that some men will break out of the restrictions inappropriately. Not good for men or women. The individual gets tarred. The
    hyper-religious continue to teach idiocies:
    preventing sex education, no condoms for safety from sexual diseases, no birth control of any sort, on and on. Much of the sexual dysfunction and misbehavior is directly attributable to our puritanical busybodies trying to control sexual behavior other than their own.


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