A Nation of Men and Women, not Laws

As a longtime leftie, I despair of the deliberately self-defeating tactics the so-called opposition is using to get rid of Trump: "blame Russia" and "Me Too". To pick these two tactics when there are so many other avenues for actually impeaching the man (before he sells what is left of America to the billionaire class, and then blows us all to kingdom come) shows what a phony, Kabuki theater our duopolistic political system has become.

It is Kabuki where the rules are unstated. The rules are whatever the corporate media says they are, because they control the microphone - increasingly so as Google and Twitter turn to blatant censorship. The M.O. of the corporate media is polarization, the Saimese twin of divide-and-conquer politics.

The corporate media incessantly hyperventilate about "blaming Russia" (BR), thereby polarizing the country into pro/anti-"Trump is Putin's Bitch" camps. Meanwhile, they ignore mountains of evidence that BR is nothing more than a McCarthyite witchhunt with no evidence, only lies manufactured by the Deep State. They also ignore Trump's shady ties to the Mafia and gambling underworlds (Can't go there. Might implicate Sheldon Adelson.)

Since the election, the corporate media have also pushed the "McResistance" meme, whose "pussy hat" Kabuki demonstration prefigured the #MeToo campaign. To the corporate media, warmongering, elitist Hillary is a leading feminist. So now we are polarized about sexual politics. Meanwhile, the public's opposition to the corporatist program of war, financial looting, and pollution gets no airtime.

The MeToo campaign is already "mission accomplished". It provided cover for the GOP to ram through the obscene, Reverse Robin Hood tax bill. Don't believe me? Look at the timelines. On October 17, the betting was that no tax bill would happen this year. But, the Weinstein story got rolling just about then, and the rest is really bad history. The corpo-Democrats spent two months either pontificating about or cowering from the MeToo crowd, trying to nail Trump or dodge a bullet, instead of rallying their base to oppose 1% looting. Meanwhile the GOP pulled every dirty trick in the Congressional book and passed a major tax bill along completely partisan lines by one vote in the Senate.

I expect the media foot to come off the "Me Too" gas pedal right after Trump signs the tax bill. What, me, cynical? Well I'm not the only one:

All this strategy demonstrates is Democratic Party anemia: due to their illicit marriage to Wall Street and the military-industrial complex, they can no longer maintain their connection to and support of the citizens of the country, since that would require policies, platforms, and actions that specifically defend equality and work to stop oppression in society — and, one might add, makes moves to end illegal U.S. aggression against foreign nations, including the threats to attack North Korea. That the Democrats can only come up with strategies that support the “Me, Too” movement (and “blame Russia”) is a sign of moral and political bankruptcy.

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The essay so far is but a preamble to pointing the reader at a very solid article by, of all people, a philosophy professor. I thought they were extinct. All quotes in this essay are from, again, amazing to say, an article on Counterpunch.

Robert Abele, Reactionary Movements are Not Revolutionary

Let me club you over the head with the message of this article. The MeToo movement is not progressive; it is reactionary. It is another instance of TPTB tricking a group (feminists) into a feel-good, but impotent, veal pen while their real goals are replaced by tokenism and symbolism (i.e., a few high-profile scalps).

Please be clear. I agree that there are real problems about sexual abuse in our society. I agree that women have legitimate goals in the fight against sexism and sexual assault. I agree that Harvey Weinstein is a criminal. However, this OP is focused above the level of individual people; it is focused on the legal implications of MeToo for our form of government. I am saying that the tactics of the MeToo movement are counterproductive, and their overreach will inevitably produce a rightwing backlash. They are burning down our Constitutional house to get rid of a cockroach infestation. But, cockroaches like Trump will easily survive. Meanwhile we will have no house.

Progressive movements traditionally target social issues and institutions for change, not people for professional assassination. If change is the goal, the accusations need to be dealt with either in the institution in which it occurred, or in a court of law, not just in the court of public opinion alone. If it is brought into the public arena, the target should be the offending institution and culture that protects sexually deviant conduct, and their managers who support it. If individuals are named publicly, it should be part of a charge brought against them, not just an unsupported accusation.

The process of “accusation—>termination” does not fit either the legal or the moral requirements of being presumed innocent until proven guilty, being permitted to publicly confront one’s accuser, etc. The whole point is to protect the presumption of innocence against mob mentality of assumed guilt on the basis of a public accusation. These are all issues that the ACLU usually fights for, but they have been inexplicably quiet during this process. (The accused) have a right to the presumption of innocence until the evidence shows otherwise. This is all included under due process.

Many feminist authors would have trouble with the current movement as well. For example, Simone de Beauvoir, in her book, The Ethics and Ambiguity, makes it clear that she is arguing against authoritative and abusive institutions and structures, not individual personalities.

Abele's argument is worth discussing. Why can't anyone see that denunciations (sometimes anonymous) acted upon by unaccountable authorities without due process is exactly the Inquisitorial/police state behavior that we used to be aghast at when it was used by Communists or the growing police state in the US (e.g.,"no fly lists")? Who wants their careers to be forfeit without due process? Where is the ACLU? They had no problem defending Nazis; but they can't defend that professional milquetoast, Garrison Keilor?

Picking up on Abele's focus on organizational accountability: Why hasn't anyone sued Harvey Weinstein's company under existing laws? Why hasn't anyone sued NPR for not having mechanisms to protect their employees from accused predators Garrison Keilor and Tavis Smiley?

Perhaps the CT folks are correct. Perhaps MeToo had to chop a few Democratic heads in order to get the credibility to put Trump into the guillotine. OTOH, there is a counter CT which says that the victims to date are Trump's enemies, and therefore he is winning. Either CT is plausible; both involve extra-legal behaviors. We have gone from a nation of laws to a nation that denounces people to the corporate media authorities. Who made the media judge, jury, and executioner?

The whole MeToo "movement" has no agreed-upon leadership, no formal organization, no specific platform, no concrete legal goals. It is an unaccountable loose cannon. It's visibility depends upon its ability to deliver eyeballs to the media by delivering victims to the guillotine. This is a recipe for a Reign of Terror.

Abele's main point is that this all being done extra-legally. How does that change anything in our sexist society? How does it stop the oppression of women? Once this media-inflated ten-minute hate is shut down and the spotlight turned elsewhere, these kinds of accusations will go back to being ignored or hushed up with a little cash. No new laws will be on the books (like the GOP are going to pass such. LOL.), and the ones that are already there will continue to be ineffective. The only change will be that the true feminist movement will have been slandered by the evidence-optional approach of MeToo, which seems dangerously vulnerable to substituting vendetta for due process.

Acceptance of the tactics of MeToo by Hillaryite "liberals" demonstrate the complete collapse of public awareness of (or, alternatively, faith in) the procedures and rights listed in our Constitution and laws. If psyops like Me Too continue to circumvent the legal system, American government could easily degenerate into nothing more than a media-incited lynch mob.

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In closing, let me remind you of the brilliant dialogue in Robert Bolt's great play about Thomas More.

More: What would you do? Cut a great road through the law to get after the Devil?

Roper: I'd cut down every law in England to do that!

More: Oh? And when the last law was down, and the Devil turned round on you — where would you hide, Roper, the laws all being flat? This country's planted thick with laws from coast to coast — man's laws, not God's — and if you cut them down — and you're just the man to do it — d'you really think you could stand upright in the winds that would blow then? Yes, I'd give the Devil benefit of law, for my own safety's sake.

- Robert Bolt, A Man for All Seasons

MeToo is just the latest gambit of TPTB to cut down the forest of laws.

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NOTE: I am aware of the tension on this board about issues involving the politics of sex. In this OP, I have written about the legal and Constitutional implications of MeToo's tactics, not about the merits of any individual cases. I hope the C99p community can do a better job of making that distinction than the general public.

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I expect veal pen, psyops, and kabuki to be words never spoken on FCC media.

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bygorry

ggersh's picture

@#0

We have gone from a nation of laws to a nation that denounces people to the corporate media authorities. Who made the media judge, jury, and executioner?

It's no CT that amerika is pretty much a fascist oligarhy
in line with Mussolin's Italy, the German version, coming
soon.

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7 users have voted.

“The downward spiral of dumbness in America is about to hit a new low.”

Hunter S. Thompson

trumpolini, amerika's last president

we are being governed by a minority of the minority

arendt's picture

@ggersh

They learned not to get any hard-right politico who is both charismatic and smart into the office. (Clinton was both, but he was only center-right at the time. Obama had the charisma of a choirboy.) They learned that they themselves could wind up twisting on a gibbet if they let someone like that into power.

Notice how the last three of the last four GOPer presidents have been mentally impaired: Reagan was going senile; W Bush was a post-alcoholic, dry drunk wreck; and Trump is a mental case.

They intend to let the Presidency be a figurehead, like the Emperors of Japan under the military Shogunate (i.e., the real power). They will let the President take the fall for any Deep State policy that fails. Meanwhile, the real power will vaporize off into the global internet, beyond the reach of any mere country.

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ggersh's picture

@arendt and the children have been programmed
already although when Bernie came along they
began to see, watch, but not fully comprehend
the evil behind it all

Meanwhile, the real power will vaporize off into the global internet, beyond the reach of any mere country.

BTW if I haven't said it yet, great essay!

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2 users have voted.

“The downward spiral of dumbness in America is about to hit a new low.”

Hunter S. Thompson

trumpolini, amerika's last president

we are being governed by a minority of the minority

ggersh's picture

@arendt and the children have been programmed
already although when Bernie came along they
began to see, watch, but not fully comprehend
the evil behind it all

Meanwhile, the real power will vaporize off into the global internet, beyond the reach of any mere country.

BTW if I haven't said it yet, great essay!

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1 user has voted.

“The downward spiral of dumbness in America is about to hit a new low.”

Hunter S. Thompson

trumpolini, amerika's last president

we are being governed by a minority of the minority

studentofearth's picture

Agreements and mandatory arbitration which can hide a pattern of behavior expressed by individuals and corporations. It will be interesting if the current worry of Non-Disclosure Agreements being invalidated by the court for sexual abuse or harassment will be extended to environmental, health and safety hazards.

Sexual misconduct outcry makes U.S. lawyers rethink confidentiality

As more women, and sometimes men, speak out, settlement deals with non-disclosure agreements (NDAs) that bar victims from discussing past claims of harassment or abuse have come under fire, with many lawmakers and advocacy groups now arguing they should be abolished.

Lawyers who represent plaintiffs and defendants in harassment cases said they had previously assumed NDAs, which are rarely breached, would be upheld in court if challenged. But now there is a greater probability courts could void such agreements deeming them against the public interest.

Lawyers say some hardball tactics aimed at enforcing confidentiality might also go away. Plaintiffs’ lawyers say clients have previously been asked to hand over or destroy evidence or sign affidavits absolving defendants of wrongdoing. Some settlements have been structured in installments so a threat of withholding payment can be held over the accuser.

Lawyers on both sides of such cases say such terms would now likely be red flags to courts, inviting invalidation for the whole deal.

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Still yourself, deep water can absorb many disturbances with minimal reaction.
--When the opening appears release yourself.

arendt's picture

@studentofearth

Lawyers say some hardball tactics aimed at enforcing confidentiality might also go away. Plaintiffs’ lawyers say clients have previously been asked to hand over or destroy evidence or sign affidavits absolving defendants of wrongdoing. Some settlements have been structured in installments so a threat of withholding payment can be held over the accuser.

Lawyers on both sides of such cases say such terms would now likely be red flags to courts, inviting invalidation for the whole deal.

NDAs are the employment equivalent of the click thru licenses by which you sign away your rights as a customer. NDAs make you sign away your rights as an employee. There is no way corporations are going to backtrack on NDAs, however much I would love to see it happen.

Having said that, all of the NDAs I have signed were about trade secrets and company strategy. No way that harrassment comes into play there. Ditto for the multi-year non-compete agreements that can put your career into limbo.

Interesting input. In the unlikely event it happens, it would be an instance of changing the institution. Thanks.

Nice dream, though.

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edg's picture

If the plan was to get Trump and Republicans, it failed miserably. I can't find the reference right now, but I recently read an article that said either 83% or 87% of the cases involve Democrats. Republican's have certainly benefited from this movement.

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arendt's picture

@edg

Perhaps the CT folks are correct. Perhaps MeToo had to chop a few Democratic heads in order to get the credibility to put Trump into the guillotine. OTOH, there is a counter CT which says that the victims to date are Trump's enemies, and therefore he is winning. Either CT is plausible;

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BrutallyHonest's picture

If there ever were any rules, there definitely aren't any anymore. Once more people wake up to this lie the sooner we can create a more just and less sociopathic society.

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arendt's picture

@BrutallyHonest

Same as things were under Uncle Joe Stalin.

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BrutallyHonest's picture

Until we kill capitalism and address the Sociopaths in our midst we will not change anything for the better.

Capitalism is a breeding ground for every societal ill we face.
Our inability to understand, or believe that there are people who do not feel shame, empathy, nor care what others think about them and their actions allows them to fester and grow.
I never thought there was true evil in this world until I learned about Sociopaths. They are the one true enemy humanity faces.

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arendt's picture

@BrutallyHonest

Thanks for bringing the subject up.

A form of government interesting to ponerologists is one they have called pathocracy, in which individuals with personality disorders (especially psychopathy) occupy positions of power and influence. The result is a totalitarian system characterized by a government turned against its own people. A pathocracy may emerge when a society is insufficiently guarded against the typical and inevitable minority of such abnormal pathology, which Łobaczewski asserts is caused by biology or genetics. He argues that in such cases these individuals infiltrate an institution or state, prevailing moral values are perverted into their opposite, and a coded language like Orwell's doublethink circulates into the mainstream, using paralogic and paramoralism in place of genuine logic and morality.

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Political_ponerology

Capitalism and sociopaths go together like bread and butter. As someone here said recently, capitalism is the state religion of sociopaths.

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Alligator Ed's picture

published later today. And you do a critique quite insightful of political motivations. The Democratic party is so feeble, inept, and toothless, that it cannot do a proper job of calling out Republican sexual malefactors. They can only fall back on Russia, Russia, Russia. Who believes them now? No one.

Democrats have shot their shot, missed the target, and cannot refocus on anything substantive which matters to the majority of the non-elites.

It is sufficient to say, in this case, where one cannot "follow the money", that "follow the carnage" is a suitable tell of the motivations for this current flurry of sexual misconduct revelations. The current carnage is 6 out of 7 against Democrats. But this need not imply that Repugnants are the molders of this strategy. My feeling is that the political jujitsu is being impotently leveraged to try to pin sexual harassment against Trump. It won't work. It isn't working.

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Steven D's picture

@Alligator Ed the Democratic party is merely a virus at this point. There my be be good people working within its structure who are attempting to make it a monoclonal antibody, but that time has passed. The sooner the Democratic Party implodes the better.

Unfortunately, it is difficult to kill a mutating virus.

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"You can't just leave those who created the problem in charge of the solution."---Tyree Scott

arendt's picture

@Steven D @Steven D

clueless middle class "liberals". They checked in with Bill Clinton, and haven't checked out 25 years later. In the interim, the DP sold their asses to the highest bidder: Wall St.

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arendt's picture

@Alligator Ed

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Alligator Ed's picture

@arendt It's online now. Thanks.

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I would love to have your faith in the rule of law. Sadly, my experience with it makes me think that the court of public opinion is the only way today the poor and disenfranchised have any chance for redress of their grievances. It wasn't always that way; in the days of the Warren court, the disenfranchised had a realistic chance of redress. But that was a time long, long ago.

Today, in the courts, due process can be so abused (when you have the money to abuse it) that any real chance of redress is extremely remote by those seeking justice.

I do wish it were otherwise. I do wish people did not have to be condemned in the court of public opinion, but that is what happens when the legal system is only for the rich and powerful.

Nader gave an excellent overview of the present state of affairs at Harvard Law last month with a challenge to law students. But law students and young lawyers have a very uphill climb. Here is the speech.

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lotlizard's picture

@davidgmillsatty  
believing, or having ever believed that, when the chips are down, “rule of law” actually exists — particularly the “innocent until proven guilty” part.

The “court of public opinion”? Good luck with that when even Dr. Seuss waxes racist against you.

Executive Order 9066.

Concentration camps in the desert like Manzanar.

Korematsu v. the United States.

Or, if that was too long ago, then the case of Wen Ho Lee, or Xiaoxing Xi.

I rest my case.

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Cant Stop the Macedonian Signal's picture

@davidgmillsatty The court of public opinion is, at this point, at least as corrupt as the courts of law.

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The issue is patriotism. You've got to get back to your planet and stop the Commies. All it takes is a few good men.
--Q

Exit polls not involving George W. Bush or Hillary Clinton tend to be quite accurate.
--Doug Hatlem

snoopydawg's picture

This should be interesting. I have a few people I'd like to see on this list.

BOMBSHELL: At Least Thirty More Members Of Congress Implicated In Sexual Harassment Charges; Resignations Coming

Here’s a bombshell that’s going to rock Washington, and the country: There are at least another 30 members of congress implicated in sexual harassment scandals, and about twenty are likely to resign after January 1st.

The Washington Post has the names of the implicated members and is working on a story now. Other newspapers and media outlets are working on related stories, but apparently only the Post has the full list.

Secretive taxpayer funds used to settle lawsuit against Gregory Meeks

A secretive, multi-million dollar taxpayer-funded slush fund used for years (1995) to pay off victims of sexual misconduct was tapped to settle a lawsuit against New York Rep. Gregory Meeks.

The Congressional Office of Compliance agency recently came under fire when it was revealed that it had spent more than $17 million in settlements over 22 years, many related to sexual-harassment claims against mostly unnamed members of Congress.

BTW, a few congress members (Leahy) are saying that they think Franken shouldn't resign from congress until he goes through an ethics investigation. (many people on ToP agree with this)
This is a great idea, huh? I'm sure that the women who wanted him to resign will be okay with it.

The democratic congressman from Nevada has been accused by multiple women and Pelosi is telling him to step down, but so far he hasn't said that he will.

Get your popcorn ready, fun times ahead Dance 4

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America is a pathetic nation; a fascist state fueled by the greed, malice, and stupidity of her own people.
- strife delivery

Alligator Ed's picture

@snoopydawg No snark intended by my pun. You are talking about politics and not morality, which should dampen any emotional outburst to discussing this issue. The tax-payer slush-fund is almost as disgusting (or perhaps more disgusting) than the behavior--but such a comment might rekindle flame-war fires.

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This is interesting because Congressmen, who refuse to resign, have to be impeached and convicted under the same standards that presidents do, the only difference being that charges and the trial are brought and conducted by the same body that the Congressman is in. And it takes 2/3 to convict. Sexual harassment may not meet the standard of a high crime or misdemeanor since the word "high" is supposed to mean a crime primarily against the government and not an individual, although under some circumstances a crime against an individual might qualify. However, since what a high crime means is left up to the conscience of the congressional jurors, you just never know.

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Thanks for this essay. Rules have rulers and for me, the term "sexual misconduct" can die in a fire, along with its partner "sexual harassment".

I think the abuse comes from the position of power, all genders do it in various ways not just sexual. Media loves sex, everybody loves sex, we are sexual beings. The "misconduct" could be anything, but sex sells. I wish people would use words that actually describe (what I think is) the problem, abuse of power, that is what should be against the law, should be upsetting the social conscience.

If MeToo sweeps a bunch of incumbents out of politics, it's fine with me. Bye Felicia! In fact Stuart Smalley looked pretty darned happy with that shit eating grin leaving the senate floor. Martyred door revolver.

Gil Fulbright, he just gets back up and rides again. https://honestgil.com/

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Cant Stop the Macedonian Signal's picture

Abele's argument is worth discussing. Why can't anyone see that denunciations (sometimes anonymous) acted upon by unaccountable authorities without due process is exactly the Inquisitorial/police state behavior that we used to be aghast at when it was used by Communists or the growing police state in the US (e.g.,"no fly lists")? Who wants their careers to be forfeit without due process? Where is the ACLU? They had no problem defending Nazis; but they can't defend that professional milquetoast, Garrison Keilor?

When you turn to wealthy multinational corporations and Paul Ryan for help, that's what the help looks like.

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The issue is patriotism. You've got to get back to your planet and stop the Commies. All it takes is a few good men.
--Q

Exit polls not involving George W. Bush or Hillary Clinton tend to be quite accurate.
--Doug Hatlem

Cant Stop the Macedonian Signal's picture

of laws."

MeToo, as a political object disseminated by the corporate press and some politicians, has a number of functions. It slices, it dices, it juliennes.

This is the problem with co-optation.

Which makes it all the more horrible, from my POV, that most of the stories are true. I say most, because the following is extremely disturbing, if true. Have you seen this?

Tavis Smiley says he still doesn't know why he was suspended by PBS

Talk show host Tavis Smiley told Fox News on Monday he’s not sure why PBS suspended him and that the network has refused to reveal the specific allegations of sexual misconduct that have been levied against him.

"PBS to this very moment has not told me specifically what I am being suspended for," Smiley said during an interview on "Tucker Carlson Tonight," adding that he did not even know an investigation had begun until co-workers contacted him.

"PBS launched an investigation without telling me about it," he said. "I found out about it in the streets. When former colleagues of mine started calling me to tell me that they received strange phone calls and were asked strange questions from some investigator asking questions like, ‘Did Tavis ever make you feel uncomfortable? Are there other persons we should talk to?’"

Smiley also said he tried to set up a meeting with officials at PBS, but was rebuffed for weeks and that it was only when his attorneys threatened to sue that they met with him.

"And in that three-hour conversation, they never told [me] what the accusations were," he said to Carlson. "Who the accusers were... I was never allowed to provide any data. Any evidence to debunk anything, perhaps I could have debunked."

Well, unless he's lying, which of course is a possibility--it would be a dumb lie, but it's possible--what we've got here is

1)not being able to face your accuser
2)not being told what the accusations are
3)the investigators fishing till they find something

I believe most of the stories are true. But when they are presented through corrupt media with shitty standards, it creates an environment that any opportunist would leap at, either to make money or to eliminate a hated rival--or a dissident.

Brace yourselves for the backlash. It's gonna be a doozy.

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The issue is patriotism. You've got to get back to your planet and stop the Commies. All it takes is a few good men.
--Q

Exit polls not involving George W. Bush or Hillary Clinton tend to be quite accurate.
--Doug Hatlem

Big Al's picture

@Cant Stop the Macedonian Signal you might want to post PBS's response back to Smiley's assertions just to keep the story straight.

http://www.latimes.com/entertainment/la-et-entertainment-news-updates-pb...

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Cant Stop the Macedonian Signal's picture

@Big Al Well, unless he's lying, which of course is a possibility--it would be a dumb lie, but it's possible

I have no idea who "you guys" are, since I haven't seen any comments about Smiley on here except two I've made.

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The issue is patriotism. You've got to get back to your planet and stop the Commies. All it takes is a few good men.
--Q

Exit polls not involving George W. Bush or Hillary Clinton tend to be quite accurate.
--Doug Hatlem