Friday, November 24, 2017

Flynn may be cooperating with Mueller

The New York Times reported last night that there are indications that Michael Flynn may be cooperating (i.e., as in making a deal) with the Mueller investigation.    This is a supposition but is based on a known fact.

Previously, lawyers for Flynn had been sharing information about the Mueller probe with lawyers for Donald Trump.   According to four people involved in the case, who have talked with Times reporters, the Flynn lawyers have notified White House lawyers that they can no longer discuss the investigation.

Although this does not prove that Flynn has become a cooperating witness, as well as a suspect, it is the most logical explanation for the change.   It is unethical for lawyers to share information when it would be a conflict of interest to do so.   And it would certainly be a conflict for lawyers of a client cooperating with the prosecution to work with lawyers for a client still under investigation.

It could simply mean that Flynn has entered into discussions about cooperating, which might also trigger the breaking off of lawyers sharing information.

Flynn has good reason to enter into a plea bargain, especially because his son, who worked closely with his father, is also under Mueller's investigation.  He might do it to save his son jail time, even more than for himself.

This is potentially very big news.   Stay tuned.


Thursday, November 23, 2017

Thanksgiving, 2017

What a tumultuous year it has been.  We have a rogue president who does not keep his oath to uphold the Constitution.  The prime example is that he is incensed to be told that he cannot control the Justice Department's decisions about whom to investigate or prosecute.  In addition, he is obsessed with destroying everything that Barack Obama did as president.   And he has utterly changed our standing in the world from respected leadership to cartoonish derision.

Major destructions are being carried out -- from our standing in the world, to efforts to protect the environment for the future, to backward trends in law enforcement practices, civil rights and voter rights;  and he is well on the way to remaking the federal judiciary with right-wing zealots.

OK.  It's a dark time.   But let's put it aside for today.   Even if we don't feel there is much to be thankful for, we do have untold advantages that the majority of the people in the world do not have.   And, as bad as he is, the president has not yet gotten us into a war with North Korea.

So let's put those worries aside for a day.    It wasn't proclaimed as Thanksgiving Day until President Abraham Lincoln so decreed it a national holiday just before the war broke out.   But apparently the Mayflower settlers in New England did have a good harvest and shared it with the Native Americans living nearby, just as we were taught in elementary school.

Here's an interesting factoid to impress your relatives around the dinner table.   How did our national feast bird get its English name?   It has nothing to do with the nation of Turkey.   According to the AJC's "Facts" column, Christopher Columbus thought he had found a route to India, so that's where he thought at first he had landed.   When he saw these big birds with the fan shaped tails, he called them "tuka," which is the Indian word for "peacock" and which apparently evolved into "turkey."  How the Italian Columbus knew the Hindi language is not explained.   Perhaps since that's where he thought he was going, he took a crash course.   But Rosetta Stone and in the 15th century???  Take this story with a few grains of sodium chloride.

Enjoy a day of food and family and relaxation.


Wednesday, November 22, 2017

Fox News anchor denounces Roy Moore

There are plenty of pundits and politicians speaking out against Roy Moore and his fitness to represent Alabama in the United States Senate.  But when a Fox News anchor speaks as bluntly as does Gregg Jarrett, it's worth sitting up and listening closely.  I hope all Alabama voters will do so.  Here's  what Jarrett said:
*     *     *     *     *
"Roy Moore was always toxic.  Now he is political poison.  Every day seems to bring new evidence that Moore is not telling the truth, while his accusers appear to be.

"If you have any lingering doubt, take the time to watch Monday’s on-camera interview by NBC of Leigh Corfman. She makes a powerful and compelling case that Moore sexually assaulted her when she was a 14-year-old child. 

"If Moore has a conscience, he will do what is right – quit the race to be the next U.S. senator from Alabama. But he won’t do it, of course. His record shows that he rarely does the right thing. He is consistently self-absorbed and self-righteous – a man full of guile, but not an ounce of shame.

"So Moore will surely stay in the race, but he should be repudiated by voters at the polls on Election Day, Dec. 12. His implausible denials and obstinate attitude only do damage to him and the Republican Party. It is his sad legacy, but richly deserved. . . . 

"Poised and articulate, Corfman conveys a persuasive account of how she was intimidated and frightened, saying she 'didn’t deserve' to have an adult man 'prey upon' her.   When challenged as to why she waited nearly 40 years to divulge what she says happened, she explained that fear drove her silence to all but her family and a few friends.

"Over the years, Corfman said, she struggled with the notion of coming forward to confront Moore. On several occasions, she almost did. But always she worried about what a powerful man would do to her young children and her ability to support them financially.

"When Washington Post reporters recently sought her out, Corfman was reluctant to speak. Assured there were others who said they had been victimized by Moore and were willing to disclose their similar stories, she finally felt emboldened to tell her story.

"When told during the NBC interview that Moore denies he ever met her, she said quite simply, 'I wonder how manyme’she doesn’t know.'”

"It turns out there are eight other women who insist that Moore either sexually pursued, harassed or assaulted them. Their stories are all very specific as to time, place and manner of acts committed. The mothers of some of the women corroborate their accounts of creepy meetings with Moore when their daughters were teenagers – how he fawned over them. 

"These allegations are compelling. They have the ring of truth. Moore’s denials do not. . . .  [Jarrett describes how Moore contradicted himself on Sean Hannity's show, in which he gave three somewhat different answers to the question of whether he dated teen age girls.] . . . People who are incapable of getting their story straight tend to be lying. 

". . . .  Before the Alabama primary, I argued on air that it would be a serious mistake for Republicans to nominate Roy Moore.  He has a long history of lawlessness.  If elected to be a U.S. senator, Moore would bring to the chamber his tempestuous personality and seditious approach to government. For his party and the Senate at large, he would prove to be destructive, not constructive.

"Moore was twice removed from his position on the Alabama Supreme Court for defying federal court orders on important constitutional issues, including his refusal to abide by a United States Supreme Court decision. . . . 

"Yet either though ignorance of the law or insufferable arrogance, Moore has repeatedly attempted to usurp power and substitute his own judgment for that of the federal judiciary. He pretends to embrace the law. But in truth, he has shown nothing but contempt for the rule of law whenever it fails to conform to his own religiously driven interpretation.

"On this basis alone, Roy Moore is not fit to serve in the United States Senate. The appalling accusations of sexual assault and harassment only reinforce that conclusion."

*     *     *     *     *

In addition, the three major newspapers in Alabama have all endorsed his opponent, Doug Jones.    Although the Alabama Republican Party is sticking with him, the Young Republican organization held an emergency meeting of its executive board.  Of the 16 members, 15 voted to call on Moore to step aside unless he can "completely debunk" the allegations.   The leader of these young Republicans said she was proud that her group -- unlike the older party members -- decided on the basis of the long-term success of the GOP.   She added, "Doing what was right was more important than what was politically expedient here."

Meanwhile, Kellyanne Conway, speaking for the Trump administration, summed it up in four words:   "We want that vote" to pass the tax bill.   So much for long term goals instead of political expedience.


Tuesday, November 21, 2017

"Holding men accountable"

I want to summarize something that Kate Harding wrote for the Washington Post about how she would like for the Democrats to respond to Sen. Al Franken's admitted inappropriate sexual behavior when he was still a comedian.   Harding identifies herself as a feminist and author of a book on rape culture;  but she does not think Franken's resigning from his position is the consequence that's best for American women.

She acknowledges that cynics will presume it's because both Franken and she are Democrats;  but, she writes, "it’s meaningless to say it’s because I am a Democrat without asking why I am a Democrat . . . [and] why it might not make the most sense to demand Franken's resignation."

Yes, Franken's replacement would be made by a Democratic governor;  but it would set a precedent, and other cases to come might be replaced by Republican governors.  Harding continues: 

"I am a Democrat because I am a feminist who lives under a two-party system, where one party consistently votes against the interests of women while the other sometimes does not. . . .  I am a realist who recognizes that we get two viable choices, and Democrats are members of the only party positioned to pump the brakes on Republicans’ gleeful race toward Atwoodian dystopia.  Meanwhile, I recognize that men’s harassment of and violence against women is a systemic issue . . .  Its roots lie in a patriarchal culture that trains men to believe they are entitled to control women’s bodies —for sex, for sport, for childbearing, for comedy.

". . . .  Sexual harassment and assault are simply too widespread for Democrats to respond to Franken’s offense with only Franken in mind . . . .  [If Democrats] set this precedent [resigning] in the interest of demonstrating our party’s solidarity with harassed and abused women, we’re only going to drain the swamp of people who, however flawed, still regularly vote to protect women’s rights and freedoms." 

Then the legislative branch will simply remain in the control of "old, white Republican men who regard women chiefly as sex objects . . . and we’ll show them how staunchly Democrats oppose their misogynistic attitudes by handing them more power."

Harding is in no way suggesting that they not hold Franken accountable, only that "we think in terms of consequences that might actually improve women’s lives going forward."

She then outlines a plan:   Franken should announce that he will not run again in 2020, then go on a listening tour in his state to learn what women want him to work on during the rest of his term -- and then "go to the mat for their needs."   She then adds that she would like to see him "support a qualified progressive woman . . . to run for his seat. . . Don’t just apologize and drop out of sight. Do penance. Live the values you campaigned on. Be a selfless champion for women’s rights."

Harding points out that this would set a pattern for handling other cases among Democrats -- and maybe force Republicans to take the problem seriously.  She does put limits to this plan:   if there is a credible accusation of violent assault or if the alleged abuses involve their work in politics, an immediate investigation and resignation would be in order.   She wrote this prior to the second complaint against Franken.   And she concludes:

"[In] a sharply divided political climate where toxic masculinity knows no party, yet is only ever acknowledged by one, we must think about how to minimize harm to women. One more empty apology and resignation . . . will not make American women safer or better off. Powerful men lifting up women’s concerns and supporting progressive women candidates, however, could be a real step toward changing the culture that makes victims of so many of us."
*     *     *     *     *
New York Times columnist Charles M. Blow  focused on our cultural learning about roles and relationships.   He writes:
". . . . Something far more fundamental has to take place.  We have to re-examine our toxic, privileged, encroaching masculinity itself. . . .  We have to focus on recognizing an imbalance of power during sexual dynamics so that men better understand the implicit 'no' even when women don't feel empowered to articulate a 'no' . . . .

"Society itself has incubated and nourished a dangerous idea that almost unbridled male aggression is not only a component of male sexuality, it is the most prized part of it.  We say to boys, be aggressive.  We say to girls, be cautious.  Boys will be boys, and girls will be victims.

"We say, almost without saying it at all, that women are the guardians of virtue because an aroused man is simply an unthinking mass of hormones, raging and dangerous  We say that men in that condition are not really responsible for their actions, so it is up to women to do nothing to put them in that position. . . . These are the rules of the road.   This is the outrage.

". . . . [But] Women are not responsible for men's bad behavior.   The idea that horny men can't control themselves is a lie! . . .  This kind of bulldozer, pelvis-first mentality is the foundation of the more aggressive, more intrusive behavior, and until we recognize that, we will count on the courts to correct something that our culture should correct."
*     *     *     *     *
As I write this on Monday night, eight women have accused TV interviewer Charlie Rose of inappropriate sexual behavior.   Both CBS and PBS have suspended him.   I'm sure there are many more exposures that will come out about other men.   Meanwhile, the president of our country stands accused by fifteen women, with one lawsuit pending, of some of the same things he admitted to doing on the Access Hollywood tape.   Republicans are in a bind.   The local Alabama Republican party stoutly defends Roy Moore, while national Republican leaders (McConnell, Ryan) call on him to step down.    But they remain silent on the leader of their party, as he remains silent on Roy Moore.

We live in interesting times.


Monday, November 20, 2017

More catch-up news

1.  Republican lead in the Senate:  An uncertainty about widening the Republicans' lead in the Senate has been settled.  New Jersey Democratic Senator Bob Menendez has been on trial for corruption (accepting gifts and expensive vacations from his wealthy friend).   If he were convicted, and if he had to resign from the senate before January, Gov. Chris Christy would appoint his successor, most likely a Republican and moving them from a two to a three vote advantage.   But the trial just ended in a deadlocked jury and a mistrial.  The prosecutors have not yet announced whether they will do a retrial.  One juror has said that they were close to an outright acquittal but had a few holdouts.   So they may not even retry the case.   Even if they do, and even if Menendez is convicted, he could appeal.   There's no way that could all happen before the new governor is sworn in in January -- and the Democrat is running well ahead in the polls.   So it looks like that seat stays with the Dems, one way or another.

2,  The online TripAdvisor released its list of top 25 tourist attractions in the U.S.  #16 is the Atlanta Aquarium.

3.  The Islamic State (aka ISIS) has been routed from the last spot it controlled in Iraq.  They still control some areas in Syria but have been completely ousted from Iraq.   That's some sort of a milestone;  but it does not mean they are no longer a problem.   They have dispersed into areas in North Africa;  and their operation now depends on internet radicalization and encouraging individuals to carry out terrorist attacks in Europe and the U.S.

4.  Record sale of da Vinci painting:  Famed art auction house Christie's sold a painting thought to be by Leonardo da Vinci for $450 million, more than double the previous record for a painting sold at auction.   Although its authenticity has been verified by experts, some critics still have doubts that it was primarily da Vinci's work.   Once owned by an English king, it had long been lost.  It was discovered at an estate sale in 2005 and bought for $10,000.  Christie's advertised and sold it as "the only da Vinci" still privately owned.   The other 15 existing paintings by the old master are all in museums.    The buyer has not yet been identified.

5.   Evidence has emerged in an email chain from May 2016 revealing another attempt by a Russian with Kremlin connections, and claiming to have dirt on Clinton, to set up a meeting with candidate Trump during the campaign.   Jared Kushner was one to whom the request was forwarded, and he supposedly forwarded it to Hope Hicks, an aide to Trump who is now his Communications Director.    Kushner supposedly nixed the idea -- but his reasoning, according to the wording of his response, was that many people make such claims just to get a meeting with Trump;  and it usually doesn't turn out to be anything.   What he didn't say was that this would be illegal and they wouldn't touch it even if it were a bona fide connection with Putin,  It was apparently these emails that the Senate Judiciary Committee chided Kushner for not turning over to them as requested.  They learned about it from other sources.   We might also note that Hope Hicks is on the list to be interviewed by the Mueller team.  So they'll get her version of this story.  It's also worth noting that this email discussion among some of the Trump team was weeks before the email to Don, Jr. offering a meeting with the Russian lawyer offering dirt on Clinton.  And Don, Jr. did have the meeting, and Jared attended.   They must have decided it was more legit -- it came from someone they knew -- so they don't get any points for turning the other one down.  Neither decision was based on whether it was legal.

6.  Alabama Governor Kay Ivey will vote for Roy Moore.   The Alabama establishment Republicans are rallying around their nominee, choosing to put party above Moore's accusations, which he continues to steadfastly deny.  The governor indicated that it is the importance of having a Republican to vote on Supreme Court nominees and loyalty to party values that decided it for her.  She said this:  "I believe in the Republican Party, what we stand for, and, most important, we need to have a Republican in the United States Senate to vote on things like the Supreme Court justices . . . . So that's what I plan to do, vote for Re;publican nominee Roy Moore."
   A Fox News poll released two days ago shows Democrat Doug Jones leading with 50% to Moore's 42%, with 9% undecided.   That's a change from a Fox News poll on October 7th when they were tied at 42% each -- before the revelations about sexual assault.

7.  Today, November 20th, is the 70th wedding anniversary of Queen Elizabeth II and Prince Phillip.   QE II has another distinction.   She was crowned queen on June 2, 1953 upon the death of her father;  and in 2015 she surpassed Queen Victoria as the longest reigning monarch in British history.  And here's something I didn't know.   Elizabeth is not alone in being related to Victoria.  Both she and Prince Phillip are great-great grandchildren of Victoria, which makes them cousins, like 10th removed or something.


Sunday, November 19, 2017

The sinister take-over of the FCC and our news sources

I want to amend/correct something I wrote yesterday about the proposed TimeWarner and AT-T merger.  I was partially incorrect in saying the Trump administration's opposition to the merger was political in that their threat to deny the merger was based on wanting to force TimeWarner to sell off CNN under the Antitrust Act.  That is, to avoid a monopoly in one industry achieved though a merger of competitors.  That is what Trump says;  but he's not factual.

While it may be true that Trump wants to retaliate against CNN, it's not true that it could fall under antitrust laws.   The proposed merger would be what is called a "vertical" merger, which does not involve merging companies that compete with each other to any significant degree;  and, therefore, it would not reduce the competition and harm the public by higher prices.

As clarified in a New York Times article, AT-T is a communications company that deals in a process, not contentTime-Warner is an entertainment, news, and information corporation -- i.e., content.  The two do not have any competing businesses.   So there is no antitrust problem, and insiders who understand this had been baffled by the uproar.   Apparently it's once again our president intruding inappropriately in something he either does not understand or intentionally is trying to obfuscate for his own reasons.

What is of concern, however -- and it may be this that Trump is trying to conceal by creating a distraction with something else -- is that the Federal Communications Commission is about to do something that could create a semi-monopoly in the television industry.    The FCC has just voted 3 to 2 along party lines to eliminate the rule that prevents a single company from owning a newspaper and television and radio stations in the same town.  They also changed a rule that now will allow one company to own as many as two of four tv stations in the same market.

Both of these would change decades long regulations that have protected the independence and diversity of our news sources.   The FCC is operating under its new chairman, Ajit Pai, a Trump appointee.   He strongly favored these changes.  And now some Democrats are calling for an Inspector General investigation of Mr. Pai and his relationship with the Sinclair Broadcasting Group, which will benefit greatly in spreading conservative media content from these changes.

Never heard of Sinclair?   I hadn't either until recently when this issue became news.   What they have done is to quietly acquire local tv stations in small cities throughout the country, and they definitely push a conservative content that is to the right of Fox News.

In addition, the New York Times reported that, last April, Sinclair paid $3,9 billion for the Tribune Media Company in a merger that "would allow Sinclair to reach 70 percent of American households."  This merger brought to Sinclair its 39 local television stations and 10 newspapers, including the Chicago Tribune and the Los Angeles Times.   These FCC changes will give them license to expand that network, so that they could conceivably own half the television coverage, as well as the major newspaper and radio stations in small town America.

The FCC's Pai argues that our digital age has changed everything, that social media and internet news do not come under the old regulations, so the need to restrict ownership of mainstream media to protect media freedom is no longer the same.   The other side of that argument is that social media does not produce content, and the internet's "content" does not come under journalistic standards, as do the tv and newspaper outlets.   The problem with that rebuttal is that Sinclair does produce content and controls what content its local stations air.  It's part of their agreement that they will air the content sent out from the central station -- and that content is a strong, right-wing opinion presented as fact.

Needless to say, the Sinclairs are wealthy Trump supporters.    It's in areas like this, and the dismantling of the EPA, that Trump is doing his most lasting damage.  It's going to be very hard to reinstate all that he is destroying.


Saturday, November 18, 2017

News briefs of the week

1.  Update on the hiring of Russian guards for our embassy in Moscow. (Wed, 11/15 #6)   NYT explains that Putin's retaliatory order that we reduce our embassy staff by 755 explains the need to hire local guards.   Also a spokesperson for the State Department said that they would would be used primarily for things like registration of visitors and would not be allowed into sensitive areas.   And the "no-bid" contract:   Several U.S. companies had turned down contract offers.   Am I completely reassured?   No.

2.  In a referendum on same-sex marriage, the Australian people voted 62% to 38% in favor.   Almost 80% of voting age Australians took part in the survey.  This referendum is non-binding and was initiated by Prime Minister Turnbull, who wanted to put pressure on conservatives in Parliament to change the law.  Liberals believe they have enough votes in the Senate to pass it, and then it will be up to Parliament.

3.  Two cheers for Jeff Sessions.   There's so much negative to say about the Attorney General, his selectively faulty memory and his draconian retreat to the ugly past;  but here's one hope that he will stand up for Justice's independence.   In his Monday hearing, he held firm against Republicans' pressure to commit to appointing a special prosecutor to investigate Hillary Clinton.   Ticking off the Republican talking points (mostly false or distorted), Rep. Jim Jordan (R-OH) said, "It sure looks like" collusion between Clinton and the FBI.    Sessions shot back:  "'Looks like' is not enough," and then explained that career Justice Department officers will examine the charges, the evidence, and make a determination whether there is "probable cause" to open an investigation.  Pressed on the issue, Sessions said:  "I will commit to follow the law and to carry out my duties as Attorney General."     His tone suggested that he does not expect there will be probable cause.

4.  Jared Kushner made an unannounced trip to Saudi Arabia in late October and reportedly stayed up until 4 AM talking with the Crown Prince at his ranch.  The two are close to the same age and seem to have formed a bond  during two prior visits.  Only days later, the Crown Prince, who seems more and more to be taking over the reins of government from his aging father, began a crack-down on "corruption."   In all, 11 other princes and some 200 business elites were arrested and are still being held in captivity in the Ritz Carlton Hotel in Riyadh (some hardship!).   Many questions remain.   Is this legitimate "cleaning house" or a bold consolidation of power in anticipation of his soon becoming the King?   White House sources said that the Prince gave Kushner no "heads up" about the coming crack down.   Nevertheless, President Trump was quick to praise, tweeting:   "I have great confidence in King Salman and the Crown Prince of Saudi Arabia;  they know exactly what they're doing. . . .  Some of those they are harshly treating have been 'milking' their country for years."    The Saudis are long-standing allies of the U.S., but they are also destabilizing the region with their war on Yemen and leading the blockade of Qatar.  But they are bitter enemies of our enemy, Iran, which backs the rebels in Yemen.   And there are some who fear that the Crown Prince may be ramping up for a war with Iran.  Let's hope that Jared Kushner didn't promise that we would help -- or was it perhaps his mission to bring a message from Trump encouraging a war?

5.  A merger between Time-Warner and AT-T is in the works, and it is raising concerns over whether a merger of the two communications giants would constitute an unacceptable monopoly through reduction in competition.   The decision whether to block it will go through the Justice Department's Antitrust Division.   But questions are being raised about whether Trump's Justice Department can be impartial, given his repeated attacks on the media and, in particular on CNN, which is owned by Time-Warner.  Reportedly the Antitrust Division has asked them to sell CNN as a condition for approval of the merger.  It's a good question.   I'm personally very opposed to the consolidation of our news sources under control of a few powerful corporations.  So I would oppose the merger on those grounds without knowing the particulars.   But I also oppose meddling in such decisions for political purposes.  And there's plenty of reason to suspect this cannot be non-politically motivated in a Trump administration.

6.  The House passed it's tax bill.   I haven't been getting into details about this, because this won't be the final version.  The Senate is working on its own bill -- and they may not be able to pass it anyway.   So I'll just say that everything we hear about both versions is bad, really bad.   It so clearly is a transfer of wealth upward, from the middle class to the superwealthy;  and they are doing it at the bidding of their few, very wealthy, top donors who are demanding the tax cuts.   At the same time, they're piously proclaiming that it helps the working class families.  One estimate has the Trump family saving about $1 billion over 10 years, while anyone making less than $75,000/year will pay increased taxes by the end of the decade.   And for good measure, at the very last minute, the Senate threw in eliminating the individual mandate in the Affordable Care Act, which will raise premiums on others, while 19 million will lose insurance.  Another outrage:   graduate students will now be taxed on the value of tuition grants they receive -- all in order to give tax cuts to billionaires.

7.  Sexual assault charges continue to expand:   I believe the count of women accusing Roy Moore is now up to nine.  And now Sen. Al Franken has been named as having inappropriate sexual behavior with a fellow comedian during a USO tour back in 2006 before he entered politics.  The accusations are of an inappropriate tongue kiss during rehearsal for a skit that actually involved a kiss (but which Franken had apparently written into the script himself) and later taking a photo of her while she was asleep on the plane, with Franken's hands covering her breasts (thought maybe not actually touching them), which was later circulated among those on the trip.   Franken had treated it all as a joke at the time.   Following the accuser's coming forward, he issued a sincere apology, which included an acknowledgement and an indication that he realizes now the seriousness of his acts and that it was not funny.    She has accepted his apology and says it was not her intent to have him resign from the Senate.  However, others, including several women senators and journalists, have called on him to resign.

Without wanting to  minimize the inappropriateness of Franken's act or the suffering and humiliation experienced by his accuser -- I am concerned that, by putting all acts together under one rubric of "sexual assault," we muddy the distinction between heinous crimes like rape and child abuse, on the one hand;  a pattern of persistent sexual harassment and dominating behavior, on another hand;  and inappropriate pranks and overly aggressive sexual advances, on the other.  Don't misunderstand.   They are all wrong, all abuses of power;  but perhaps we need some way of distinguishing the degree of offense.  A New York Times article, just out, makes a distinction between a pattern of sexual abuse and a mistake.

Al Franken and Roy Moore both have done bad things to women (although so far only one has accused Franken);  but Franken and Moore are not the same kind of men, their offenses are not the same, and their consequences do not deserve the same level of severity.   In his written apology, Franken has called for the Senate Ethics Committee to investigate himself.   Moore is still denying all and accusing the accusers of lying and faking his signature.

And then there's Donald Trump.