Al Franken’s Future

171116-al-franken-leeann-tweeden-airplane-se-1105a_cdbd11d4ba4f856a53dca9fe3803882f-nbcnews-ux-2880-1000

The Harvey Weinstein revelations and their cumulative impact have given rise to countless Hollywood sexual misconduct scandals, which have altered the cultural atmosphere of our times.

A group of individuals with compelling stories of abuse have come forward with accusations against a number of the rich and famous, including one previously celebrated figure who is currently a member of the United States Senate, “Saturday Night Live” alumnus Al Franken.

Soon after Los Angeles radio anchor Leann Tweeden brought forward detailed allegations that, without her consent, Franken had forcibly kissed her with open mouth and subsequently offensively touched her while she slept, Franken issued multiple apologies and followed up with a request that an ethics committee investigation be conducted regarding his own wrongdoings.

“I understand why we need to listen to and believe women’s experiences,” Franken said. “I am asking that an ethics investigation be undertaken, and I will gladly cooperate.”

Some of Franken’s defenders praised him for submitting himself to an ethics probe. However, from a public relations perspective, Franken had no choice but to take the action he did because of one powerfully strong piece of evidence, which has been widely distributed by the conventional and social media.

A photo depicting a smirking Franken placing his hands on the upper body of Tweeden as she slept is immediately recognizable for what it is, clearly incriminating in nature, and impossible to reasonably defend.

Despite claims by some defenders that the activity in the photo was merely a joke, when taking into account the context that Tweeden has set forth, it is highly likely that Franken intended the action and attendant photograph to be a deliberate provocation.

It is also highly likely that, under the circumstances, Franken has taken the ethics probe approach because it has historically provided a shield to members of Congress who have been accused of corrupt or abusive behavior.

Such an investigation opens up a path for the accused legislator to nurture the image of cooperation while slowing any pending resignation demands. Point of fact: Franken has already been asked by members of his own party to resign. The rules of the ethics committee were written by politicians and seem to have been designed to assist those embroiled in scandal.

Current Senate rules mandate that there be six members on the committee, evenly divided between Democrats and Republicans, with the chairman being a member of the majority party.

After the committee finds that “there is substantial cause for the committee to conclude that a violation within the jurisdiction of the committee has occurred,” it will proceed to conduct a full adjudicatory review. An adjudicatory review normally consists of interviews and sworn statements and can also involve a public hearing. When the committee finishes its review, it will issue a final report to the Senate, which may include a recommendation of disciplinary action. Both the final report and recommendations may be kept confidential at the discretion of the committee.

The committee’s options, with respect to potential disciplinary action, are typically censure, payment of restitution, or expulsion. A censure of a senator is merely a formal scolding for misconduct. Payment of restitution is essentially a fine imposed in order to compensate the victim in a monetary manner. Expulsion is the more difficult option to carry out, since it requires a two-thirds vote in the Senate. Consequently, the Senate has not expelled a member in more than a century.

If we look to history, we see that ethics committee investigations do not usually end up with the accused senator being held fully accountable for his or her actions. In the early 1990s, after only a few months of investigation by the ethics committee, Republican Senator Dave Durenberger was censured and ordered to pay $120,000 in restitution. Durenberger did not run for reelection in 1994 and the next year pleaded guilty to charges of misuse of public funds while in office. He was sentenced to one year of probation.

During the same time period, the Senate ethics panel made the decision not to investigate Democrat Senator Brock Adams, who was accused of sexual harassment and rape. The Ethics Committee sent a letter to the National Organization for Women, which had actually called for the investigation, stating that the investigation would not be pursued for the following reasons: the incidents had occurred before Adams had taken office, the alleged rape had already been investigated by the U.S. Attorney, and the committee had not received a request to initiate proceedings from the alleged victim.

Brock denied the allegations and declined to tender his resignation; however he did end up dropping out of his reelection race.

Around the same time period, Republican Senator Bob Packwood, a public advocate for women’s rights, was accused of multiple instances of sexual harassment. The related ethics investigation lasted nearly three years. Only after the bipartisan committee voted unanimously to recommend that Packwood be expelled did the senator resign.

In 2009 Republican Senator John Ensign acknowledged having an extramarital affair with a campaign aide. The following year an ethics committee began to investigate whether the Senator tried to buy his former aide’s silence. Ensign resigned in 2011, while the investigation was still ongoing. After probing for twenty-two months, the committee concluded that Ensign broke federal laws, and it referred the case to the Department of Justice. The department decided not to prosecute.

Because it is a highly politicized internal Senate process, an investigation by the Senate Ethics Committee generally takes a significant length of time to complete and, unless evidence of misconduct is overwhelming, results in little or no accountability.

More likely than not, an ethics committee investigation of sexual misconduct on the part of Franken will provide a way for the Democrat senator to wiggle out of any repercussions for his reprehensible behavior.

Advertisements

Hollywood Unravels

harvey-hollywood

Hollywood is experiencing a seismic displacement that is impacting its business, brand, and future prospects.

Since the disgusting serial behavior of Harvey Weinstein was made known to the public courtesy of the tenacious reporting of journalist Ronan Farrow, some of the most powerful members of the Hollywood community have been accused of various forms of sexual misconduct ranging from sexual harassment to criminal sexual assault.

The alleged perpetrators comprise a list of some of the biggest and most heralded names in Hollywood, including Ben Affleck (actor and Oscar winning director), Dustin Hoffman (Oscar winning actor), Kevin Spacey (Oscar winning actor), Jeremy Piven (Emmy winning television actor), James Toback (director and Oscar nominated screenwriter), and David O. Russell (Oscar nominated director).

For decades the Hollywood community has in large part ignored and even condoned the contemptible behavior of Roman Polanski (Oscar winning director) and Woody Allen (four-time Oscar winner).

New revelations related to Hollywood’s unseemly side seem to be pouring in by the hour. Now accusations against Spacey are opening up yet another horrific illegality that has been the subject of rumors in the town for years, the unspeakable crime of pedophilia.

Never before has a scandal this dark and pervasive draped the Hollywood community with such ill-repute. And never before has the Hollywood brand been sullied as badly as it has been during this past year.

Adding to the crushing weight of it all is the fact that the entertainment business is suffering damages in a dollar amount that is still impossible to calculate. Many of those who are currently accused of misconduct have potentially profitable current and future projects that have been cancelled or put on hold.

Some of the accused have careers that are, at a minimum, severely impaired. For others it is most certainly over.

As viewers of entertainment industry award shows are able to attest, Hollywood has set itself up as an agenda driven purveyor of cultural norms. Many entertainment figures are infamous for talking down what they view as “fly-over” country.

Middle America is the place that so-called progressives on the Left Coast use to bolster one another’s views with unfounded smug certainty. Even as Hollywood pitches its out-of-the-mainstream worldview, a twisted form of narcissism, self-idolatry, still rules the roost and blinding hypocrisy reigns. This is particularly evident when it comes to the outward display of self-congratulation via the award ceremony industry.

Movies about Hollywood itself seem to be the recipients of a disproportionate degree of attention, e.g., “The Artist,” “La La Land,” “Argo” and “Trumbo.”

The Left Coast is also in the ugly habit of deriding those who promote government reduction, self-defense rights, border enforcement, and the like. Judeo-Christian faith expression serves as fodder for snide comedic skits and perverse story plotlines. Intact marriages and loving families are the stuff of ridicule. And patriotism has been recast as divisive, outmoded, and worse.

There is a consequence to embracing a worldview that is devoid of time-honored values. What we have now in Hollywood is a frayed fabric that continues to unravel with no apparent way of mending.

Harvey Weinstein: Hollywood’s Open Secret

ashley-judd-e-harvey-weinstein

The Hollywood left and the Democratic Party are reeling from the recent revelations reported by the New York Times, which describe three decades of alleged serial sexual harassment on the part of movie mogul Harvey Weinstein.

Each story seems to follow a similar plotline. A young female employee or Hollywood hopeful in search of a film role is invited to what is represented as a professional meeting with Weinstein. Instead of a meeting, though, what the individual encounters is an attempt to coerce various sexual favors.

More that 20 women, former employees and well known celebrities, were referenced in the New York Times report. Weinstein reportedly paid settlements to at least 8 different women, and other media outlets are planning to release further investigative stories about the filmmaker’s purported misconduct.

With the prospect of more sordid details yet to come, the Hollywood left and its favorite political party are feeling the heat. For his part, Weinstein appears to be of the mindset that he can resurrect his image by simply demonstrating his unwavering adherence to the tenets of liberalism.

Despite his stature as a movie executive, bought-and-paid-for connections with numerous politicians, and sizable crisis management machine, Weinstein’s effort to be granted the same latitude as Woody Allen or Roman Polanski does not appear to be working.

The tactical failure may be occurring, in part, because Weinstein’s alleged sexual abuse has a number of high-profile celebrity victims, including actresses Ashley Judd and Rose McGowan.

There is another component that is of even greater import for Weinstein in general and the Democratic Party in particular; that is, the issue of women’s rights and its attendant agenda items, which includes sexual harassment in the workplace. As the mid-term elections loom, liberals can in no way afford to protect a Hollywood filmmaker, even one that has been a prime source of financial support for left-wing campaigns and political causes.

Weinstein assembled a team of political spin doctors and public relations experts to counter recent allegations. He enlisted the help of Democrat public relations firm SKDKnickerbocker and former Obama White House Communications Director Anita Dunn.

He had also brought onboard attorney Lisa Bloom, the daughter of high-powered agenda-driven attorney Gloria Allred, to provide tutelage on feminist principles, and former President Bill Clinton’s chief crisis manager Lanny Davis, who is known for his quick responses to sexual abuse allegations. However, Davis and Bloom have abruptly left “Team Harvey,” perhaps pulling out after Weinstein combined an attempted apology with a threat to sue the newspaper that broke the story.

Weinstein had sent a poorly written statement to the New York Times, which shifted the blame for his behavior on having supposedly grown up in a sexist time. In the same statement, he makes a commitment to seek therapy.

It would be of interest to know whether any of Weinstein’s experts advised him to make the claim that a “right wing conspiracy” is to blame for the predicament in which he finds himself. It would be equally intriguing to know whether he was counseled to include in a release, which was supposedly written to express remorse, his intention to go after the NRA.

Perhaps to demonstrate that he is still trendy after all these years, Weinstein included in his statement a quote, which he purportedly obtained from a Jay Z tune, to somehow partially explicate a long history of alleged harassment. (Reports indicate that no such lyrics exist in any released Jay Z material.)

“Jay Z wrote in 4:44 ‘I’m not the man I thought I was and I better be that man for my children.’ The same is true for me,” Weinstein wrote.

It is predictable that Weinstein would believe that Hollywood would let him off the hook for any abusive behavior toward women. After all, he has held a unique position in Hollywood for a very long stretch. Along the way he was able to grab a Best Picture Oscar for “Shakespeare in Love” and to also create a large number of critically acclaimed films that include “Sex, Lies, and Videotape,” “Pulp Fiction,” and “Good Will Hunting.”

When he served as head of Miramax along with his brother Bob, he pioneered the art of turning an artsy independent film into box-office gold. Known as the master of the Academy Award campaign, he was able to obtain nominations for lesser known titles. In fact, Miramax snagged an unprecedented 249 Academy Award nominations and was able to secure 60 wins in a mere 15 years.

After Weinstein and his brother left Miramax and started up the Weinstein Co., they were able to use their Oscar formula to win Best Picture two years in a row for “The King’s Speech” and “The Artist.” All the while Weinstein nurtured the image of the consummate liberal, supporting left-leaning causes, particularly feminism, to bolster his progressive bona fides.

In light of the New York Times article, one cannot help but see the irony of Weinstein’s 2015 distribution of “The Hunting Ground,” a documentary that examines sexual assault on American college campuses.

The entertainment community ignored the incessant rumors about Weinstein that circulated for years. Hollywood insiders knew about Weinstein’s purported conduct and in keeping quiet became enablers of the most hypocritical kind.

Reacting to the New York Times article, Rebecca Traister wrote in The Cut, “I have been having conversations about Harvey Weinstein’s history of sexual harassment for more than 17 years,” adding that she had heard from “lots of other people, now other reporters, who were working, often for years, to nail down the story of Harvey’s sexual abuses.”

“It wasn’t a secret to the inner circle,” said Kathy DeClesis, Bob Weinstein’s assistant in the early 1990s, as quoted by the New York Times.

“The only thing I’m surprised about,” one former Miramax executive, who worked closely with Weinstein, told the Los Angeles Times, “is how long it took.”

Chuck Schumer and Democrat Allies Use Jimmy Kimmel as a Political Pawn

1506115848910

After late-night host Jimmy Kimmel used the opportunity of his show to launch a series of attacks on the latest Senate version of the GOP’s health care legislation, many folks were wondering how it was that Kimmel had become such an authority on health care in general, and on the Graham-Cassidy bill in particular.

It turns out that the co-writer of Kimmel’s health care remarks was none other than Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer.

According to The Daily Beast, for months Kimmel and Schumer had been coordinating behind the scenes to put a wrench in the Republican undertaking of repealing the failing health care system known as Obamacare. Schumer had apparently given Kimmel “technical guidance and info about the bill, as well as stats from various think tanks and experts.”

Kimmel’s spokesman Lewis Kay confirmed to CNN that the late-night host had consulted with Schumer and other groups opposed to the bill. As Graham-Cassidy began to look as though it may have a chance at passage, the partisan New York senator was evidently the one who encouraged Kimmel to use his show as a platform to critique the legislation.

Kimmel’s son had already had to battle congenital heart disease in his infant life. The Democrats apparently saw the opportunity to exploit Kimmel’s family difficulties, using the hardship as a means to attack the Republican proposed legislation by feeding lies to the late-night host. Particularly underhanded was the reframing of the efforts by the GOP to repeal and replace Obamacare as a plan that would fail to protect people with pre-existing conditions such as the one Kimmel’s son experienced.

In an on-air monologue, Kimmel demeaned the legislation for failing to meet the so-called “Jimmy Kimmel test,” a term that Cassidy had used inadvisably as a measure of acceptable health care legislation.

Kimmel seemed more than willing to engage in some Hollywood style virtue signaling while simultaneously relishing the opportunity to disrespect President Trump. He even targeted by name Fox News co-host Brian Kilmeade for calling out the banality of Kimmel’s analysis. Kilmeade had referred to Kimmel as a member of the Hollywood elite, a designation of the late-night host with which few could disagree.

Lost in the media coverage has been the truth that people with pre-existing conditions would not be denied coverage under the GOP’s proposed legislation. However, it appears as though Kimmel was fed purposely misleading information from Schumer and dutifully repeated the lines for his audience.

The influence of Kimmel on the press and social media seems to have accomplished the goal of tainting the image of Graham-Cassidy, which consequently created an opening for the Republican Party non-loyalist, Senator John McCain, to once again attempt to kill the bill.

The late-night host dedicated a series of monologues to emotion-packed health care sermonizing.

Rather than engaging in serious debate, Kimmel put out falsehoods and half-truths, which went wholly unchallenged by the mainstream media.

Democrats took advantage of Kimmel’s health care segments, using them as fodder for advertising and social media posts in an effort to leverage the late-night host’s influence with a sizable segment of the public.

Kimmel became the star of the Democrat political grandstanding sideshow. The Democratic Senatorial Campaign Committee (DSCC) launched a digital advertising campaign that was framed around the “Jimmy Kimmel test” meme. The ads targeted Republican candidates in crucial midterm election states.

As part of a six-figure digital campaign in 12 states, ads appeared in searches by those trying to get information on “health care,” “repeal,” “the Jimmy Kimmel test,” and other topics, redirecting individuals who clicked on the terms to the DSCC’s already existing health care page.

The targeted states were those that were perceived to have the closest upcoming Senate races in 2018: Arizona, Florida, Indiana, Montana, Nevada, North Dakota, Ohio, Pennsylvania, Tennessee, Texas, West Virginia, and Wisconsin.

Democrats also took advantage of the Kimmel coverage by posting comments on social media. House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi tweeted a video of one of the Kimmel monologues along with a thank you note.

“Stories like yours are why we will defeat #Trumpcare,” Pelosi wrote.

Other high-profile Democrats who took to Twitter in an effort to make the most of the Kimmel criticism of GOP health care legislation included Schumer, Sen. Bernie Sanders, and California Lt. Gov. Gavin Newsome.

The truth of the matter is that while out boisterously attacking the pending GOP legislation, Kimmel deceptively kept quiet about the fact that one of the highest profile partisan Democrats was supplying him with his politically poisonous script.

It is more than unfortunate that a television personality on a major broadcast network would allow himself to be used as a pawn on a political chessboard.

Jennifer Lawrence’s Latest Film Gets ‘F’ Rating from CinemaScore

9f094c41b14783e3_gettyimages-497460426

By virtually every Hollywood measure, it would have to be said that Jennifer Lawrence has experienced more than her fair share of success over her compact career.

Having earned the title in 2015 and 2016 of highest paid actress in the world, her films have grossed over $5.5 billion worldwide.

The Kentucky born star has been known for possessing an uncanny ability to pick her projects well, while simultaneously nurturing the down-home accessible image that the public finds so appealing.

Things of late seem to have taken a turn for Lawrence, though. Her most recent film is tanking at the box office and her image seems to be suffering from a number of self-inflicted wounds.

Ironically, Lawrence’s box-office run and star status are the stuff of dreams for any Hollywood hopeful or entertainment industry devotee. In her budding career, she had the good fortune of becoming part of two lucrative franchises, with a portrayal of the mutant Mystique in the “X-Men” movies and a role as Katniss Everdeen in the “Hunger Games” film series.

Hollywood decision makers took special note of Lawrence for a role that she played in the 2010 movie “Winter’s Bone,” a film for which she received an Academy Award nomination for Best Actress.

She additionally garnered coveted critical acclaim and significant award nominations via her subsequent work with director David O. Russell, receiving an Academy Award for Best Actress for her performance in “Silver Linings Playbook,” which at the age of 22 made her the second-youngest winner of the award. (Twenty-one-year-old Marlee Matlin won the award in 1986 for her role in “Children of a Lesser God.”) She also received an Oscar nomination for Best Supporting Actress for her work in Russell’s “American Hustle.”

The most recent vehicle in which Lawrence has chosen to star is a movie called “mother!” The film is produced, directed, and co-written by Lawrence’s latest romantic interest, Darren Aronofsky.

Unfortunately, the cinematic piece is pretentious, cluttered, and hopelessly self-indulgent.

The public seems to wholeheartedly agree, having given the film a dismal rating of “F” on the respected CinemaScore survey. The film’s box-office performance is considerably below expectations as well. As a result, Lawrence is experiencing her lowest opening ever, checking in at less than $8 million.

Prior to the lead-up of the film, Lawrence’s brand was well-honed, and she was frequently referred to in the media as “America’s Sweetheart.”

However, her image has suffered some blows of late as a result of having fallen victim to the Hollywood syndrome of believing that along with their entertainment fare folks actually want a heaping serving of celebrity sanctimony.

Most recently, while out promoting her new movie, Lawrence suggested that the devastation in Texas and Florida, which was caused by hurricanes Harvey and Irma, was “Mother Nature’s revenge and wrath” due to the sizable portion of the American people that had voted for President Trump and had failed to embrace the theory of man-caused global warming.

Lawrence had already alienated many would-be filmgoers with her avid support of Planned Parenthood and participation in a video this year against any de-funding for the abortion provider.

Her media image is also in the process of being further tarnished by the anti-Christian content in “mother!” The movie clumsily incorporates biblical themes throughout its storyline.

Aronofsky had previously shown his antipathy for faithful Christians and Jews in his 2014 attempt at biblical storytelling, “Noah,” a movie that he also produced, directed, and co-wrote.

Aronofsky himself revealed on Reddit that he had biblical themes in mind in creating “mother!” He wrote, “…when trying to think about mother earth’s relationship to people I decided to turn to the stories of the bible as a way of describing on [sic] version of people’s story on earth.”

In commenting on the “mother!” movie, Daniel Montgomery of GoldDerby wrote that the film is “being described as the Bible by way of Roman Polanski (‘Rosemary’s Baby’) and Lars von Trier (‘Antichrist’).”

Lawrence has never taken more than a few months between movie projects. In fact, the first trailer for her 2018 Russian spy drama, “Red Sparrow,” was just released.

After the paltry box-office performance of her latest star vehicle, Lawrence may actually be taking a leave from acting so that she can take up a new hobby.

“Today” host Savannah Guthrie asked the actress during a recent appearance on the morning show if she was planning to keep releasing back-to-back films or whether she would be taking a break.

“I’m taking one,” Lawrence replied. “I don’t have anything set for two years.”

Guthrie then asked her what she would do with her newfound time during her two year hiatus.

Lawrence answered, “I don’t know. Start making pots?”

 

George Clooney and Jennifer Lawrence Alienate Potential Moviegoers

imgonline-com-ua-twotone-35heluaid71l

Two of Hollywood’s top celebrities just offended tens of millions of would-be moviegoers with their ill-timed politically charged remarks and over-the-top rants about our current president.

In so doing, the duo may have placed their box-office potential in some serious jeopardy.

George Clooney is on record as being a certified Trump antagonist. In April 2016 he lobbed pejoratives at then-Republican presidential candidate Donald J. Trump when he referred to the promise to build a wall at the U.S. southern border as a policy that does not represent “U.S. values.”

The actor seemed to echo anchors at CNN and MSNBC as he mindlessly attacked the president’s immigration policies.

Clooney additionally used a string of vulgarities to vilify former White House chief strategist Steve Bannon. While speaking at the Toronto International Film Festival to a fawning press, the star characterized Bannon as a “failed f***ing screenwriter.”

Interestingly, Clooney employed the exact same language about Bannon in February of this year while attending the César Film Awards ceremony in Paris.

Apparently preoccupied with Bannon’s film career (16 films produced) Clooney was again unable to control his profane language. He arrogantly claimed that if Bannon had “somehow managed miraculously to get that thing [his screenplay] produced, he’d still be in Hollywood, still making movies and licking my a** to get me to do one of his stupid-a** screenplays.”

Similarly, while attempting to sell his new movie to The Daily Beast, Clooney became unhinged about Bannon.

“Steve Bannon is a pu**y,” Clooney coarsely remarked.

He went on to call Bannon a “little wannabe writer who would do anything in the world to have had a script made in Hollywood.”

Clooney did admit that he had read one of Bannon’s scripts and proceeded to label it “just f***kin’ terrible.”

The supposed pro-refugee actor recently made the decision to move his family to the U.S. over security concerns in the U.K., concerns that are likely related, at least in part, to some serious refugee issues overseas.

Meanwhile, despite the fact that Texas is struggling to recover from Hurricane Harvey and Hurricane Irma wreaks havoc in Florida and the Caribbean, actress Jennifer Lawrence let loose with a number of insensitive remarks that landed her on a roster of Hollywood celebs who have made some of the biggest blunders in PR history.

While out promoting her latest film, Lawrence suggested that the devastating hurricanes in Texas and Florida were “Mother Nature’s rage and wrath” at the American electorate for voting President Trump into office and failing to embrace the theory of man-made global warming.

While speaking to the U.K.’s Channel 4, the actress responded to an interviewer’s question with the following comments:

“You know, you’re watching these hurricanes now, and it’s really hard, especially while promoting this movie, not to feel Mother Nature’s rage and wrath.”

“It’s also scary to know that climate change is due to human activity, and we continue to ignore it, and the only voice that we really have is through voting.”

Lawrence evidently believes that the “rage and wrath” she describes has occurred because of the election of Trump, which she called “really startling.”

The actress told Entertainment Weekly in 2015 that if Trump were to win the White House it would be “the end of the world.” She has purportedly been feeling very distressed ever since that fateful November evening.

When Lawrence experiences distress she reportedly calms herself with a “Kardashian tent,” which is a tent that she has said contains “pictures of the Kardashians and Keeping Up with the Kardashians playing on a loop…”

The actress also supposedly stocks her tent with gobs of gumballs, calling it her “happy place.”

After the public gets wind of their remarks and the box-office results for their respective movies come rolling in, both stars may need to seek the shelter of a “happy place,” complete with gumballs, Kardashian pics, and a pair of matching binkies.