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The #MeToo Movement Missed This One: “You Fucking Communist Cunt, Get Out of Here!” (Richard Mellon Scaife’s Directive to a “Columbia Journalism Review” Reporter, Related by Al Franken)

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Lee Ann Tweeden’s Playboy Cover

COMMENT: With Al Franken’s departure from the Senate–an event that figures to make the Democrats’ chances of regaining control of the chamber more precarious–we reflect on aspects of Franken’s and John Conyers’ departures:

  1. Franken’s troubles were foreshadowed by long-time GOP (and Trump) dirty tricks operative Roger Stone. Might Stone, as is his wont, have played a role in arranging this gambit?
  2. Lee Ann Tweeden worked for Fox News for years.
  3. Tweeden’s CV also includes modeling stints for Playboy, among other outlets.
  4. We do not pass judgement on Tweeden’s work for outfits like Playboy and Hooters. In a society that is sexist and hierarchical, “strutting one’s stuff” is a common tactic on a career pathway for women fortunate enough to be sufficiently endowed to effect such a move. Nonetheless, for her to emerge as an icon for sexual harassment is “different.”
  5. Although the famous photograph of Al Franken touching her breasts was non-consensual, it occurred in the context of a script calling for such things. That this is emerging twelve years later is something that warrants more intense scrutiny than it has received. “ . . . Consent is the key. Consent is the cornerstone, the foundation of all sexual assault statutes in the U.S. and likely all nations. Although certainly not interpreted or applied uniformly across the wide spectrum of jurisdictions in equal measure. What Leeann Tweeden did say was that the photograph Senator Al Franken staged 12 years earlier with him pretending to, or lightly touching her breasts as she slept and a kiss during a rehearsal of a scene, in the same time frame, in which a kiss was part of the script, were non-consensual. . . .”
  6. Tweeden’s accusations have been echoed by other accusers, several of whom have chosen to remain anonymous.
  7. Combat helmets of the Azov Battalion, whom John Conyers opposed.

    John Conyers’ troubles were signaled by long-time “Alt-Right” figure Mike Cernovich.

  8. Conyers had been labeled “Putin’s Man in Congress” for criticizing the Azov Battalion. Well, he ain’t in Congress any more. In addition to its openly Nazi symbols, Azov’s spokesman is Roman Svarych–who, in the 1980’s,  was the personal secretary to Jaroslav Stetsko, the wartime head of Ukraine’s Nazi collaborationist government and a key architect of Nazi ethnic cleansing in that state.
  9. Even before entering the Senate, Franken would have been in the GOP’s crosshairs. We note that he related stridently misogynist behavior by GOP financial benefactor Richard Mellon Scaife–a main funder of the far right and a member of the storied, extremely wealthy Mellon family. Scaife’s remark–to a reporter from the Columbia Journalism Review no less–has not garnered much attention. Scaife was using the kind of language we might expect from–Edward Snowden!
  10. All of this is not to say that many–perhaps most–of the sexual harassment charges surfacing in recent weeks against various figures may not be true. One pays a price for doing work of this kind. After close to forty years on the air, part of the price I have paid is misanthropy. Echoing Hamlet “I care not for man.” I have a VERY low opinion of human nature. It is not unusual for people commanding power and influence to routinely leverage such gravitas for financial and/or sexual gain. Nonetheless, in the context of the Four B’s of American politics–Bullets, Bribes, Beds and Blackmail, I think the Conyers and Franken situations bear more scrutiny than they have received.
  11. From the standpoint of counter-intelligence analysis, the #MeToo phenomenon signals a superb tactic for political destruction: a) infiltrate a woman into the entourage or professional environment of a male politician, media or business figure targeted for destruction; b) have her gain the trust of her political target and his associates (the cardinal rule for a good double agent is “make yourself indispensable to the effort”); c) after sufficient passage of time, surface the allegations of sexual harassment; d) IF the opportunity for actual sex play and/or flirtation presents itself, take advantage of it for later use as political/rhetorical ammunition; e) with accusers having the tactical luxury of remaining anonymous, the operational template for a form of sexual McCarthyism and the precedent-setting contemporary manifestation of a sexual Star Chamber is very real–the operational similarities between much of the #metoo movement and the Salem Witch Trials should not be lost on the persevering observer; f) proper vetting of the accusations is absent in such a process; g) for a public figure in the U.S., proving deliberate defamation (libel/slander) is extremely difficult and litigation is very expensive–the mere surfacing of charges is enough to taint someone for life and the exorbitant expense of litigation is prohibitive for all but the wealthiest among us.
  12. The CIA has long been involved with the women’s movement. (Check out Miscellaneous Archive Show M4: Gloria in Excelsis: The CIA, the Women’s Movement and the News Media.)
  13. We can’t help but feel a brutally ironic degree of schadenfreude, with the so-called “progressive sector” now being impaled on the very one-dimensional identity politics they have championed for so long. If Adolf Hitler had been a Palestinian lesbian, folks in Berkeley would be walking around in brownshirt uniforms, Sam Brown belts, jackboots and swastika armbands.
  14. The so-called progressive sector has had little to say about the rape charges against Julian Assange.
  15. We don’t expect so-called progressives to take a critical look at the issues we have raised here. Political comedian Mort Sahl hit the nail on the head decades ago, when he observed: “A liberal’s idea of courage is eating at a restaurant that hasn’t been reviewed yet.”
  16. Past a point, we find it impossible to stomach what is going on. In the last election, with the first female major party candidate in this country’s history (Hillary Clinton) and an openly avowed sexual predator (Donald Trump) running against each other, 52% of white American women voted for Trump–#PhysiciansHealThyselves!

Lies and the Lying Liars Who Tell Them by Al Franken; Dutton [HC]; Copyright 2003 by Al Franken; ISBN 0-525-94764-7; p. 132.

. . . . Where did this malicious tone come from in the first place? I submit that it can be traced to a day in 1981, when billionaire Richard Mellon Scaife fielded a reporter’s question about his financial backing of conservative groups.

“You fucking Communist cunt, get out of here,” he said to Karen Rothmyer of the Columbia Journalism Review. He went on to tell her that she was ugly and that her teeth were “terrible.” Of Ms. Rothmyer’s mother, who was not present, he said, “She’s ugly, too.” Sensing that it was time to wrap up the interview, ms. Rothmyer thanked Scaife for his time. He bade her farewell with a cheery “Don’t look behind you.” . . . .

 

Discussion

2 comments for “The #MeToo Movement Missed This One: “You Fucking Communist Cunt, Get Out of Here!” (Richard Mellon Scaife’s Directive to a “Columbia Journalism Review” Reporter, Related by Al Franken)”

  1. I’m sure there are fascists who are relieved to know that Franken is not in their hair anymore.

    Posted by Uncle Grody | December 11, 2017, 1:33 pm
  2. Imagine that: a document purporting to be a draft lawsuit complaint against Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer by a former staffer Senate over sexual harassment allegations was released exposed. But it turned out to be an obvious hoax. And it also was sent to multiple news organizations on Tuesday, the same day of Alabama’s special election where GOP Senate candidate Roy Moore was facing numerous sexual harassment allegations.

    So it would appear that there was another right-wing dirty-tricks operation that was intended to create a big “Chuck Schumer sued for sexual harassment!” headline on the very same day of a crucial election involving a GOP facing numerous sexual harassment allegations.

    But it didn’t pan out because it was an obvious forgery. First, it appeared to be lifted verbatim from the from the sexual harassment lawsuit against Democratic representative Conyers. That’s the document that was obtained by BuzzFeed after ‘Alt Right’ media personality Mike Cernovich provided BuzzFeed them with documents from a second complaint against Conyers. Recall that Cernovich was a major promoter of the “Pizzagate” hoax during the 2016 election.

    Second, the fake document makes references to “House Rule 23”, which is a real rule for House of Representatives. But Schumer is a Senator. Oops.

    So it was an obvious hoax. But who was behind it? Surprise! Mike Cernovich and fellow ‘Alt Right’ media personality Charles Johnson are the two people who were pushing it…until the it pointed out by others how it was obvious hoax. And now Cernovich and Johnson claim they were completely fooled by it and are the real victims of this hoax and maybe the ‘deep state’ was behind it all in order to discredit them:

    The Daily Beast

    Alt-Right Hyped Sexual Harassment Hoax to Attack Schumer
    The fake document accusing Sen. Chuck Schumer of sexual harassment copied language from a real document that exposed Rep. John Conyers.

    Kelly Weill
    12.13.17 3:09 PM ET

    A forged document accusing the top Democrat in the Senate of sexual harassment copied language verbatim from a real sexual-harassment complaint filed against Rep. John Conyers.

    On Tuesday afternoon, right-wing social media personalities Charles Johnson and Mike Cernovich boasted of obtaining a document that would put a senator out of a job.

    “Michael Cernovich & I are going to end the career of a U.S. Senator,” Johnson posted on Facebook on Monday.

    The senator was Minority Leader Charles Schumer of New York, Axios first reported.

    But the document was fake. A copy of the document, obtained by The Daily Beast, purports to be draft lawsuit complaint against Schumer by a former staffer. It accuses him of sexual harassment. Schumer’s office told The Daily Beast the document and her signature are forgeries. Schumer’s office said the senator was not in Washington, D.C. or the United States during several dates in the document when he is said to have harassed the staffer.

    “The document is a forged document and every allegation is false,” Schumer spokesperson Matt House told The Daily Beast. “We have turned it over to the Capitol Police and asked them to investigate and pursue criminal charges because it is clear the law has been broken. We believe the individual responsible for forging the document should be prosecuted to the fullest extent of the law to prevent other malicious actors from doing the same.”

    The former staffer, who spoke on the condition of anonymity, confirmed the document was a forgery.

    “The claims in this document are completely false, my signature is forged, and even basic facts about me are wrong,” the former staffer said in a statement. “I have contacted law enforcement to determine who is responsible. I parted with Senator Schumer’s office on good terms and have nothing but the fondest memories of my time there.”

    Indeed, elements of the fake complaint against Schumer appear to have been lifted verbatim from a real sexual harassment lawsuit against Conyers. That complaint was unearthed by BuzzFeed—after Cernovich, a right-wing media personality, provided them with documents from a second, similar complaint against Conyers.

    The Conyers complaint references “House Rule 23” and a “mediation” process between Conyers and his accuser. The fake Schumer complaint also describes allegations as falling under “House Rule 23,” which of course does not exist in the Senate. The “mediation” process in the Schumer document was never mentioned again.

    After Cernovich claimed credit for bringing down Conyers, the longest-serving member of the House, he predicted bringing down an even bigger Democrat.

    On Monday, Cernovich tweeted a screenshot of Johnson’s statement on Facebook (“Currently reading the sexual harassment settlement documents of a major Democratic US Senator”) and added: “Spoke with Chuck Johnson on the phone, he told me he as the whole case file.”

    When a journalist criticized Cernovich’s sourcing on Twitter, Cernovich replied that the media was “already doing damage control! It doesn’t matter. I already have legal documents, exact dates, same as with Conyers.”

    Cernovich quickly backtracked once it was reported Schumer’s office had gone to police on Tuesday. (Under D.C. law, forging a document filed in a public office is punishable by up to 10 years in jail or a $25,000 fine.)

    “There’s language that looks like it came from some of the Conyers stuff, like it might have been copied from there,” Cernovich said during a Tuesday evening broadcast on Periscope. Cernovich now said he thought the document was a hoax, but it “still could be confirmed.”

    Reached by The Daily Beast on Wednesday, Cernovich said he was the victim of a “sophisticated forgery” and provided the supposed “number of the hoaxer,” which was disconnected.

    Johnson, for his part, wouldn’t directly answer questions about the forgery.

    “There are no reporters at The Daily Beast but I will give you a quote,” Johnson told The Daily Beast over email Wednesday. “‘I enthusiastically look forward to an investigation.’”

    Johnson referred The Daily Beast to a Facebook post he recently wrote, which read:

    “I was sent a very sophisticated complaint that claimed Senator Chuck Schumer had sexually harassed a subordinate and paid her off. After communicating with the source through encrypted email and texts the source went dark. I sent the document to multiple journalists, lawyers, and members of Congress, all of whom agreed it should be investigated. I am offering $10k for the identity of the persons responsible and would be happy to cooperate with any investigators.”

    “This is the journalist process CNN doesn’t go through,” Cernovich said on Periscope on Tuesday. “CNN, they go ‘oh shit, Don Jr. got an email about Wikileaks before anybody else? Boom boom boom front page news.’ But me, I go oh, wait, hold on a minute, let’s chill.”

    In fact, Schumer’s office said, CNN and other outlets including the Washington Post, BuzzFeed, The New Yorker, and ABC News all received the document on Tuesday, around the same time as Cernovich and Johnson. None of those outlets posted in advance about being in possession of documents that would “end the career of a U.S. Senator” though.

    “Whoever did this — I don’t know if it was a deep state operation, a Soros thing, or if it was just a prankster,” Cernovich said on Periscope, “but somebody’s in a lot of trouble for forging documents.”

    Cernovich and Johnson both have dubious records as journalists. Johnson infamously misidentified a college student as a woman who falsely accused University of Virginia students of rape. He also falsely accused then-congressional candidate Cory Booker of lying about his address, and falsely accused a New York Times reporter of posing for Playgirl. Cernovich fanned the flames of the Pizzagate hoax, a conspiracy theory that accused high-level Democrats of running a child sex-trafficking ring through a pizzeria.

    ———-

    “Alt-Right Hyped Sexual Harassment Hoax to Attack Schumer” by Kelly Weill; The Daily Beast; 12/13/2017

    ““Michael Cernovich & I are going to end the career of a U.S. Senator,” Johnson posted on Facebook on Monday.”

    A Facebook post from Charles Johnson on Monday. That was first hint of that something was coming.

    But then it turned out to be a forgery:


    But the document was fake. A copy of the document, obtained by The Daily Beast, purports to be draft lawsuit complaint against Schumer by a former staffer. It accuses him of sexual harassment. Schumer’s office told The Daily Beast the document and her signature are forgeries. Schumer’s office said the senator was not in Washington, D.C. or the United States during several dates in the document when he is said to have harassed the staffer.

    “The document is a forged document and every allegation is false,” Schumer spokesperson Matt House told The Daily Beast. “We have turned it over to the Capitol Police and asked them to investigate and pursue criminal charges because it is clear the law has been broken. We believe the individual responsible for forging the document should be prosecuted to the fullest extent of the law to prevent other malicious actors from doing the same.”

    The former staffer, who spoke on the condition of anonymity, confirmed the document was a forgery.

    “The claims in this document are completely false, my signature is forged, and even basic facts about me are wrong,” the former staffer said in a statement. “I have contacted law enforcement to determine who is responsible. I parted with Senator Schumer’s office on good terms and have nothing but the fondest memories of my time there.”

    And it wasn’t just a forgery. It was an obvious forgery:


    Indeed, elements of the fake complaint against Schumer appear to have been lifted verbatim from a real sexual harassment lawsuit against Conyers. That complaint was unearthed by BuzzFeed—after Cernovich, a right-wing media personality, provided them with documents from a second, similar complaint against Conyers.

    The Conyers complaint references “House Rule 23” and a “mediation” process between Conyers and his accuser. The fake Schumer complaint also describes allegations as falling under “House Rule 23,” which of course does not exist in the Senate. The “mediation” process in the Schumer document was never mentioned again.

    And now we have Mike Cernovich and Charles Johnson asserting that they had no idea it was a forgery and are themselves victims of this hoax (although Cernovich suggests the document “still could be confirmed”, which doesn’t exactly help his credibility here:


    After Cernovich claimed credit for bringing down Conyers, the longest-serving member of the House, he predicted bringing down an even bigger Democrat.

    On Monday, Cernovich tweeted a screenshot of Johnson’s statement on Facebook (“Currently reading the sexual harassment settlement documents of a major Democratic US Senator”) and added: “Spoke with Chuck Johnson on the phone, he told me he as the whole case file.”

    When a journalist criticized Cernovich’s sourcing on Twitter, Cernovich replied that the media was “already doing damage control! It doesn’t matter. I already have legal documents, exact dates, same as with Conyers.”

    Cernovich quickly backtracked once it was reported Schumer’s office had gone to police on Tuesday. (Under D.C. law, forging a document filed in a public office is punishable by up to 10 years in jail or a $25,000 fine.)

    “There’s language that looks like it came from some of the Conyers stuff, like it might have been copied from there,” Cernovich said during a Tuesday evening broadcast on Periscope. Cernovich now said he thought the document was a hoax, but it “still could be confirmed.”

    Reached by The Daily Beast on Wednesday, Cernovich said he was the victim of a “sophisticated forgery” and provided the supposed “number of the hoaxer,” which was disconnected.

    ““There’s language that looks like it came from some of the Conyers stuff, like it might have been copied from there,” Cernovich said during a Tuesday evening broadcast on Periscope. Cernovich now said he thought the document was a hoax, but it “still could be confirmed.”

    And Charles Johnson describes the source of the forgery as a source he communicated with through encrypted email and text:


    Johnson, for his part, wouldn’t directly answer questions about the forgery.

    “There are no reporters at The Daily Beast but I will give you a quote,” Johnson told The Daily Beast over email Wednesday. “‘I enthusiastically look forward to an investigation.’”

    Johnson referred The Daily Beast to a Facebook post he recently wrote, which read:

    “I was sent a very sophisticated complaint that claimed Senator Chuck Schumer had sexually harassed a subordinate and paid her off. After communicating with the source through encrypted email and texts the source went dark. I sent the document to multiple journalists, lawyers, and members of Congress, all of whom agreed it should be investigated. I am offering $10k for the identity of the persons responsible and would be happy to cooperate with any investigators.”

    And note how it sounds like multiple news outlets also received these same forgeries on Tuesday, the same day of Alabama’s special election and one day after Johnson’s Facebook post:


    In fact, Schumer’s office said, CNN and other outlets including the Washington Post, BuzzFeed, The New Yorker, and ABC News all received the document on Tuesday, around the same time as Cernovich and Johnson. None of those outlets posted in advance about being in possession of documents that would “end the career of a U.S. Senator” though.

    “Whoever did this — I don’t know if it was a deep state operation, a Soros thing, or if it was just a prankster,” Cernovich said on Periscope, “but somebody’s in a lot of trouble for forging documents.”

    That sure seems like extremely suspicious timing. Specifically, that sure seems like extremely suspicious timing that points in the direction of a right-wing dirty tricks operation designed to create a one-day story on the same day of the Alabama special election where sexual harassment charges against the GOP loomed large.

    Don’t forget that it doesn’t matter if the document later revealed to be a hoax as long as the intended impact is to shift the vote towards the GOP candidate in a special election on Alabama on the day the forgery becomes a public story.

    That’s why the Tuesday distribution of this forgery to new outlets one day after Johnson’s cryptic Facebook post is so suspicious…it appears that Johnson and Cernovich were building up hype with the intent of ensuring the story got at least some national exposure during the crucial voting period in Alabama before it was identified as a hoax.

    Maybe that wasn’t the actual intent, but it sure appears that way. And as dirty-tricks hoaxers like Cernovich and Johnson know well, appearances matter. A lot. That’s why they’re dirty-tricks hoaxers smear merchants. It works. So while we don’t know yet the motive behind this hoax, it’s hard to come up with a more appropriate pair of individuals than Cernovich and Johnson to point out over and over how this appears to be an intentional smear job knowingly pushed by Cernovich and Johnson on the day of the Alabama special election for the purpose of a one-day shock story. We don’t know that’s true, but boy does it look like it.

    Posted by Pterrafractyl | December 13, 2017, 5:00 pm

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