I never write about specific incidents in politics, because it’s such a snakepit of a topic, but today I need to make an exception. I believe that something evil is afoot.
Senator Al Franken (D) New Jersey has recently been accused of groping cast member Leeann Tweeden during a USO tour in 2006. There are so many things wrong with this accusation, and a lot of reasons why I think this whole thing stinks to high heaven.
- She was rehearsing for a USO skit, for a script she read in advance (a script Al Franken could not have written so as to take advantage of Tweeden, because he wrote it in 2003), so she knew what was going to happen before it happened. She was on that USO tour because at the time she was a famous soft-core porn pinup girl. It was literally her job to titillate the enlisted men. This does not diminish the potential validity of her claim of abuse, but it does demonstrate that she should have been aware that her personal space was likely to be violated during the trip, and repeatedly, while the show was on tour, as part of or related to the entertainment being presented.
- The photo shows Franken pretending to touch her, but if you look at the shadows under the fingers, he never actually touches her, and the photo was quite obviously staged. This is theatrical limerence, not sexual aggression. Feel free to disagree with me, but this is what I think. You’ll also note that she’s wearing a flack jacket. He’s pretending to grope her through a flack jacket. Let that sink in a moment.
- Franken was under military guard the entire time he was there. Even in the men’s room. They followed him into the men’s room. It was that guard’s duty to stop any untoward or forbidden behavior Franken might attempt should he do so, and he wasn’t left alone for a moment. Literally. Tweeden’s claim that Franken lip-locked her once he got her alone couldn’t have happened the way she claimed. They were never alone, ever.
- The accuser is a Fox News employee and Trump spokesmodel, so she’s part of an organization that has a great interest in taking potshots at Democrats, especially Senators who might have something to say about who gets approved on judicial nominations. Fox News is a strong ally of the GOP and parrots the GOP spin machine virtually unedited most of the time.
- Somehow Roger Stone knew what was going to happen 24 hours before the news was released, and tweeted about it. If this was a legitimate accusation and not a political plot against Franken, how did he know, and why is he involved?
- Franken’s female staff is united in their support of Franken, and they say that over years he has never treated any of them with anything but the utmost respect. The female cast members of Saturday Night Live came forward and said the exact same thing. Instead of over a dozen women accusers, Franken has over a dozen women defenders. Where’s the pattern of bad behavior? It’s missing here, and somebody with a problem like this is going to have it through his entire career. Everybody else with a problem like this has, why not Franken? This information does not fit the pattern.
- Franken has called upon Congress to launch an investigation into his own behavior. This is not typically something something you do when you are guilty. Tweeden hastily responded to this by saying,”Oh, no, that won’t be necessary.” She’s already come out with this accusation, and we’ve all seen the staged photograph, so that’s established. What would an investigation uncover? If Franken is volunteering, you can bet the answer is “little to nothing”, or why do it? If Tweeden wasn’t serious about the accusation, why make one? If she was, why back away from Franken being investigated? What’s she hiding? She’s an entertainer, and used to being paid to say and do all sorts of things that might not be in her nature. Where’s the real Leeann Tweeden in all this? How much is fiction? How much is real?
- She’s already been offered a book deal by Sinclair Publishing. This is a branch of Sinclair Communications, well known for pushing right wing agenda as though it were news on TV and radio stations across the country. THAT was fast. How did they know to set this deal up this fast? Interesting. Usually you wait to see if a person’s story isn’t going to fall apart under scrutiny first. Like, a day or two at least.
- She allegedly showed the picture to her husband shortly after it happened in 2006, and neither she nor her husband felt it important enough to do anything about. It wasn’t until Franken became a political powerhouse that it was suddenly relevant – not because of what Franken did, but because of what Franken became long after the fact.
- Lastly (and this one is big), it appears that the photograph in question carries metadata, which shows the actual time, date, and equipment used to take the photograph. It says that the photo was taken on December 21, 2006 and not on December 24 as Tweeden claims. Her allegation is false in some major aspects. It gets worse. The metadata also shows the picture was altered the SAME DAY Coleman conceded to Franken, meaning someone was planning on using this against him from the second he became senator. This data is called EXIF data, and it shows not only when the photo was shot, but the last time it was altered. In this case it shows that the photo was altered on July 1, 2009, so it’s been through Photoshop. This doesn’t mean it’s been doctored, necessarily, but it does mean that somebody cropped it and made a copy of it for later use, on a very significant date.
4. The photo here, if you check the metadata – was taken at 5:19 PM on December 21st.
So – not Christmas Eve. Not at night while sleeping.
Folks, grab a copy of the photo and follow along with me. https://t.co/XQL5yQO3sN
But that's not all, Mr. Franken.
— It's chaos. Be kind. (@DipswitchDan) November 17, 2017
This absolutely reeks of a setup – and the GOP is trying anything to fix their Roy Moore problem. It looks like he may not win his Senate seat, and they need him to vote the way he’s told in the Senate. They’re possibly looking at taking Franken out as a way to counterbalance losing a seat to Doug Jones, Roy Moore’s democratic competitor.
And then there’s this. This video shows Tweeden grabbing the ass of a lead guitarist on stage, and doing a sort of lap dance thing against his leg. Does this mean her own accusations are invalid, or make them somehow less true just because of this? Does this make her a “loose woman”?
Of course not.
She is a performer, an actor. She was being paid to do this, just as Franken was.
However, it also shows that she knew full well that she was part of a theatrical production, and knew in advance what was in the show and what was going on. She shouldn’t have been taken by surprise by any of this; the point here is that she knew in advance that things like this were likely to happen, because she was doing them herself.
Think Tweeden got permission b4 or apologized after for this? USO 2006 tour pic.twitter.com/xTjtXM0j0f
— JETconsul (@JETconsul) November 18, 2017
This whole thing is evil twice – once simply because it appears that the charges are largely concocted to try to take out a political adversary of the GOP, and once because it poisons the well for the #metoo movement of women (and a few men) coming forward to talk about the sexual aggression to which they were subjected.
My conclusion? It’s all fabricated. The most evil thing Franken might be guilty of is a joke in poor taste.