Scandal

No More Heroes Anymore

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The allegations against Neil Degrasse Tyson are disturbing enough to warrant an investigation. This article seems to lay the groundwork for assessing the credibility of the women who have accused him:

“Hi there. I just wanted to reach out [to] say that I BELIEVE YOU about Neil deGrasse Tyson,” Watson wrote on Aug. 23.

On Thursday, Watson’s allegations were made public on a blog called Patheos, which had previously published Amet’s claims, twice. The new story also described a third woman, Katelyn Allers, an astronomy and physics professor at Bucknell University, who said Tyson had grabbed her and reached down the front of her dress to look at her tattoo at a scientific meeting in 2009.

With three women now making allegations on the record, the Patheos article spread far and wide, prompting Fox Broadcasting Company, which produces the show, and National Geographic, which airs it, to announce an official investigation. A spokesperson for the American Museum of Natural History in New York City, where Tyson has led the Hayden Planetarium for over 20 years, said that it has never received a complaint about him, but was also looking into the allegations. On Saturday, Tyson released a 1,600-word statement on Facebook, confirming many of the details of Watson’s and Allers’ allegations, and apologizing for what he deemed clumsy displays of affection that had been misunderstood.

It’s a powerful article, and this issues deserves the attention it is getting. No one should be excused for their behavior, and celebrity status does not mean you can just wave away accusations like this. So far, Tyson has appeared to be forthcoming and welcoming of scrutiny. What happens next is something that should be carefully appraised and handled like any other case.

I can’t help but feel like there are no heroes anymore, just a lot of flawed people who behaved badly years ago.

Stormy Daniels is Not a Stupid Person

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We have been conditioned to think that the blonde in question is an idiot. That does not seem to be the case:

Stormy Daniels [Stephanie Clifford] can't get her story straight. Or maybe she can but chooses not to.

The pornographic film director and actress issued a signed statement Tuesday in which she once again denied having an affair with Donald Trump in 2006. Then, in a bizarre twist, she cast doubt on the authenticity of the statement hours later in an interview with late-night comedian Jimmy Kimmel.

Kimmel noted that Daniels's signature on the statement appeared different from her previous signatures.

“Did you sign this letter that was released today?” Kimmel asked.

“I don't know. Did I?” Daniels replied. “That does not look like my signature, does it?”

Wait. What? Of course Daniels knows whether she signed the statement. After the Kimmel interview, Daniels's spokeswoman, Gina Rodriguez, told The Washington Post that she and an attorney witnessed Daniels sign the document Tuesday afternoon.

Daniels either suffers from short-term memory loss or, more likely, is deliberately sending mixed messages.

Why would she do that? Here's a theory: Daniels is trying to tell us, through winks and nudges, that she did have sex with the future president, even as she officially denies an affair.

Daniels said in her statement Tuesday that she was not “paid ‘hush money,’ as has been reported in overseas-owned tabloids.” That was a backhanded reference to a report by the Wall Street Journal that Daniels accepted $130,000 to keep quiet during the 2016 presidential race. (For the record, Journal owner Rupert Murdoch is Australian-born but is a U.S. citizen, and the paper is not tabloid-size.)

Of course, all someone has to do is step forward with a penalty check--probably a little larger than $130K--and then double it so that Miss Clifford (her real last name) can come clean about what went on, but who's going to do that?

She knows that no one will help her. No one will do that. So, why not cash in?

We are being manipulated, of course. We're being led around by a woman who understands that men are stupid because they will spend untold amounts of money to be in her presence and buy the products she sells (beyond movies, she is an entrepreneur who sells access to the content she creates and to the sex toys that she endorses). She knows that the focus is on her looks and her line of work. This is smart because she is in the process of enriching herself despite what the country is doing to itself. She's more of a Republican than Trump, for crying out loud.

But what's really troubling is that this has not crippled Trump politically. Lesser sex scandals in size and scope (he had a relationship with her for about a year, in case you have forgotten) have sunk Democrats. For someone like Trump, of course not. This is who he is. He's a serial philanderer who doesn't care what anyone thinks of him. He makes hypocrites out of every follower.

I may be in the minority, but if Clifford had come out with her story in late 2016, it wouldn't have made a difference. It might have even helped Trump with the asshole contingent that voted for him. Certainly nothing he does is hurting him with evangelicals and Nazis.

Alana Evans

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At any other point in American History, Alana Evans would be a household name right now:

President Trump allegedly chased adult film star Stormy Daniels around a hotel room in his underwear, friend and fellow adult-film star Alana Evans claimed Tuesday in an appearance on Megyn Kelly Today. Evans first told The Daily Beast that she was invited to the hotel room that night to “party” with Trump and Daniels. “‘Come hang out with us. Come have fun. Let’s party,’” Evans told Kelly that Trump said. “If you’re inviting me to a hotel room to hang out with another man and a girlfriend of mine, it’s very easy for you to, you know, believe that there’s going to be more going on than just, you know, playing cards or scrabble.” Evans relayed that when she later asked Daniels how the night went she’d said, “‘Well, picture this. Donald Trump chasing me around the bedroom in his tighty whities’ isn’t something that you ever forget.’”

Basically, the President of the United States of America had ongoing relationships with multiple adult film stars and Playboy models. Hush money was paid to an unknown number of women to remain silent about this.

When did the president wear tighty whities and why isn't that being asked by every reporter in the land right now?

It's okay if you're a Republican, but when this stuff happened to Democrats (Gary Hart, Bill Clinton, John Edwards), it was Earth shattering and consumed the media for years.

Silencing Meryl Streep

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Recent attacks on Meryl Streep do not come from activists who actually care about the #MeToo movement or about how women are being treated in the arts and entertainment field. This attack was financed by wealthy conservatives in Hollywood:

Two of the three behind the "She Knew" posters claim they are financed by unnamed wealthy conservatives who pay them $5,000-$20,000 per "mission."

In a booth on the Westside of Los Angeles sit a trio of conservative provocateurs plotting their next "street art" prank on a liberal celebrity destined to be thrust into the limelight for reasons beyond their control. The restaurant has become a watering hole for conservatives who work in Hollywood and don’t usually share their political opinions with their liberal colleagues for fear of retribution.

Friends of Abe, the private group of Hollywood conservatives, used to meet at the same place. The three artists, in fact were often spotted at FOA gatherings, where actors like Tom Selleck, Gary Sinise, Robert Duvall, Kelsey Grammer and Patricia Heaton generously hobnobbed with others in the entertainment industry who lacked their fame and fortune.

One of the street artists usually works independent of the others, but recently they’ve banded together to focus their efforts on Harvey Weinstein and all those who, they claim, allegedly enabled his predatory behavior for decades. Their aim is to call out Hollywood for its “hypocrisy,” they say. Two of them have careers in the industry to protect so they remain anonymous, and their anonymity is fodder for detractors who take to social media to call them out for cowardice and slander.

One justifies his secrecy by noting he’d surely be fired for his very public artwork — which sometimes amounts to attacks on actors, movies and TV shows he is associated with through his full-time job. Another is a freelancer in the industry who used to design interactive media for Steven Spielberg.

This is not a grass roots attack from the left. It's a smear campaign from people who should be exposed. And while I would agree that Streep probably knew something about how Harvey Weinstein treated women, I think it's also true that she might have been insulated from that because of the very nature of what he was doing to people. He had Miramax employees who were working to keep this out of the media. He had millions of dollars at his disposal. And he targeted people who could be smeared or driven from the industry. 

Notice the pattern here? And, yes, this comes to mind almost immediately, doesn't it? 

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Credible voices on the left are being marginalized and silenced. Is this designed to make sure that Streep doesn't say anything next Spring when the Oscars rolls around? What's the difference between what they're doing to her and what members of Congress are doing to high-ranking officials at the FBI?

I'm not the only one who thinks this is being put out there to divide people:

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Streep has been a mainstream film actress of the highest caliber for forty years. Weinstein was just manipulative enough to keep his secrets from her. So, while I think it's possible she knew, I also think it's possible that she didn't know and I don't need a bunch of conservative Hollywood jackasses who are afraid their names might be known to tell me that.

If they're so sure, they should put their names on their attack.