Franken’s Opportunism on the Iraq War

Sen. (and former comedian) Al Franken was a rising Democratic Party star before sexual harassment allegations brought him down to earth, but was he really ever a progressive hero, asks William Blum at Anti-Empire Report.

By William Blum

Poor Al, who made us laugh for years on Saturday Night Live, is now disgraced as a woman molester – not one of the worst of the current pathetic crop, but he still looks bad. However, everything is relative, and it must be pointed out that the Senator is guilty of a worse moral transgression.

At the start of the U.S. invasion of Iraq in 2003, President George W. Bush ordered the U.S. military to conduct a devastating aerial assault on Baghdad, known as “shock and awe.”

The erstwhile comedian would like you to believe that he was against the war in Iraq since it began. But he went to that sad country at least four times to entertain American troops. Does that make sense? Why does the Defense Department bring entertainers to military bases? To lift the soldiers’ spirits of course.

And why does the military want to lift the soldiers’ spirits? Because a happier soldier does his job better. And what is the soldier’s job? For example, all the charming war crimes and human-rights violations in Iraq that have been documented in great detail for many years. Didn’t Franken know what American soldiers do for a living?

Country singer Darryl Worley, who leans “a lot to the right,” as he puts it, said he was far from pleased that Franken was coming along on the tour to Iraq. “You know, I just don’t understand – why would somebody be on this tour if they’re not supportive of the war? If he decides to play politics, I’m not gonna put up with it.”

A year after the 2003 U.S. invasion of Iraq, Franken criticized the Bush administration because they “failed to send enough troops to do the job right.” What “job” did the man think the troops were sent to do that had not been performed to his standards because of lack of manpower? Did he want them to be more efficient at killing Iraqis who resisted the occupation? The volunteer American troops in Iraq did not even have the defense of having been drafted against their wishes.

Franken has been lifting soldiers’ spirits for a long time. In 2009, he was honored by the United Service Organization (USO) for his ten years of entertaining troops abroad. That includes Kosovo in 1999, as imperialist an occupation as you’ll ever want to see. He called his USO experience “one of the best things I’ve ever done.” Franken has also spoken at West Point (2005), encouraging the next generation of imperialist warriors. Is this a man to challenge the militarization of America at home and abroad?

Tom Hayden wrote this about Franken in 2005 when Franken had a regular program on the Air America radio network: “Is anyone else disappointed with Al Franken’s daily defense of the continued war in Iraq? Not Bush’s version of the war, because that would undermine Air America’s laudable purpose of rallying an anti-Bush audience. But, well, Kerry’s version of the war, one that can be better managed and won, somehow with better body armor and fewer torture cells.”

While in Iraq to entertain the troops, Franken declared that the Bush administration “blew the diplomacy so we didn’t have a real coalition,” then failed to send enough troops to do the job right. “Out of sheer hubris, they have put the lives of these guys in jeopardy.”

Franken was implying that if the United States had been more successful in bribing and threatening other countries to lend their name to the coalition fighting the war in Iraq the United States would have had a better chance of WINNING the war.

Is this the sentiment of someone opposed to the war? Or in support of it? It is actually the mind of an American liberal in all its depressing mushiness.

William Blum is an author, historian, and renowned critic of U.S. foreign policy. He is the author of Killing Hope: U.S. Military and CIA Interventions Since World War II and Rogue State: A Guide to the World’s Only Superpower, among others. [This article originally appeared at the Anti-Empire Report, https://williamblum.org/ .]

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53 comments for “Franken’s Opportunism on the Iraq War

  1. Chris Jonsson
    December 10, 2017 at 1:22 am

    “I found William Blum’s article, “Franken’s Opportunism on the Iraq War,” disappointing. He used Tom Hayden as a reference, but with no explanation and provided no links to sources. He doesn’t appear to have much depth of historical knowledge or awareness, without which his article does more harm than good, in my opinion.”

    • Gregory Herr
      December 10, 2017 at 9:56 am

      Mr. Blum referenced a relevant quote. The relevancy is quite evident…what explanation is required? Here is a source link: https://www.counterpunch.org/2014/10/21/weird-al-franken/

      Mr. Blum has written several books conveying a great deal of knowledge and awareness.

      • Chris Jonsson
        December 10, 2017 at 2:58 pm

        Gregory Herr, Mr. Blum’s reference cited by you is this very same article by William Blum in CounterPunch.

        • Gregory Herr
          December 12, 2017 at 3:00 pm

          Sorry I didn’t independently verify that Hayden wrote what Blum said he wrote. Check the Huffington Post June 2005 archives and see if that satisfies you.

          The point remains that the quote is relevant and requires no explanation.

  2. Bill Goldman
    December 9, 2017 at 6:07 pm

    Chris Hedges expanded the definition of liberalism to include foreign policy. General Smedley Butler had made it plain and simple 75 years earlier when he wrote that “War is a Racket”. Comedian and departing Senator Al Franken excluded foreign policy and joined the elite bi-partisan war and empire building meme crowd in the Senate. The US Congress never has more than a few dissenters when it comes to launching war. Does capitalism have to breed sick, angry opinion makers and hence a copy-cat society?

  3. Cratylus
    December 9, 2017 at 5:29 pm

    I listened to Al Franken on AirAmericaRadio. It was clear way back when that he was using that program and everything else to pave the way for a career in politics.
    Several things struck me then. He was an Israel Firster – no doubt about that.
    And he was never against the War on Iraq only against it insofar as it was a Republican war. As the quotes in the comments above show, he wanted the War waged competently. To destroy Iraq and every other Arab country in the region was bad for America but just what Isreal and Franken wanted – and got.
    As far as Russiagate goes, Franken played the role of Inquisition Bully in the Senate turning innocent meetings of Jeff Sessions with Russian officials into conspiratorial gatherings, even when they were carried out in plain view when both Ambassador and Sessions showed up at the same reception as many other officials and scarcely had a word to say to one another there.
    Franken had his eye on the presidency in 2020 – but he was not smart enough and not good enough and, darn it, he was a downright unlikable despicable McCarthyite bully. Perhaps he can try for a seat in the Knesset next.

  4. stan
    December 8, 2017 at 1:52 pm

    Amazing how the news is about “All men are pigs”. Wow, big discovery! Now that’s important!

    Meanwhile, the war machine cleans up its mess in Las Vegas.
    58 American citizens murdered in cold blood in public view, reported tue Oct 2nd.

    On thu Oct 5th, the Harvey Weinstein Hollywood sex scandal news bomb was dropped
    and within 3 days the Las Vegas massacre was off the front page.

    Apparently, what happens in Vegas stays in Vegas.
    Nothing like a great sex scandal to distract the rubes.
    The public is totally under the control of the war machine which controls the information you get.

  5. Evangelista
    December 7, 2017 at 9:03 pm

    I agree that Franken is unprincipled and a false-flag whatever he designates himself. These are qualities that make ‘good’ comedians, of a type, which type is the political-critical-with-‘humorous’-twist type. But they don’t make good politicians, unless by ‘good’ politician one means facile, flexible, flippable, shallow-thinking.

    That said, and granting the fundamental fact that the congresses of the current United States are aggregations of worthless and less-than-worthless incompetents, venalists and hacks anyway, while throwing fish like Franken out of the congressional pond may seem at least not harmful, empty exercise, throwing them out by mob, with the mob stampeded to action by current flutter-flap-up of hysteria, is harmful. It is succumbing to lynch-mob-democracy, to action on accusation, without due consideration, due process or due anything.

    The harm arises from the precipitate-action advocates making themselves no better than who they act against, and, by their actions being reactions, which for being reactions do not have irrational-act component, making themselves deliberate deniers of rights to others and so worse.

    There is nothing of any of the current “sexual assault” hysteria that has been accorded any component of due process, not even due thought. From accusations to demands for actions to reactions ‘to show action’, the whole of all and everything is pure hysteria and mobbery. Pure rush-to “judgment”. In other words, pure Popular Democracy.

    To throw Franken, or any other of the clowns out, find real reasons and back them with real evidences. And vet those evidences: The words of women who come twenty years to late with whines of having felt put upon way-back-then are not competent evidences those women were ‘molested’ any more than the words of Donald Trump in 2005 saying “Women like that, they’ll let you do anything…[even] grab ’em by the pussy.” are evidence that he grabbed women that way.

    When you make yourself an ass by running with a mob you make yourself an ass by running with a mob whatever your politics, your religion or your preference of hysteria and stupid imagination.

  6. Fran Macadam
    December 7, 2017 at 6:01 pm

    Franken’s a former comedian, but a current joke.

  7. Kalen
    December 7, 2017 at 5:49 pm

    Franken(stein) was one of those Saturday Night show clowns brought to fore after professional actors were called for duty by oligarchic elite since amateurish performance of US government talking puppets became inefficient in communicating more and more blatant and absurd ideas expressed in Orwellian newspeak such as freedom is slavery etc.,

    No Franken was not good enough, not smart enough and god damn nobody loved him but abhorrent oligarchy who sponsored him as a good soldier fulfilling dutifully his grocery clerk chores : 90% lying 10% sodomy.

  8. Jessejean
    December 7, 2017 at 5:29 pm

    O thank Blum for this wonderful walk thru Al’s slimey mind before he gets buried in the accolades he’s demanded for agreeing to finally step down. I’ve always loathed this sexist man’s humor, his sanctimonious duplicity as he excoriated others for doing things he was himself doing, but his hiding behind a liberal facade was the most maddening to me. And his APOLOGIES! “I’m sorry if you were offended”. God!
    I looked up Fraken’s natal chart on line and would you believe? He has the same chart as T-rump. Predators unite! Ha ha ho.

  9. Leslie F.
    December 7, 2017 at 4:26 pm

    He was never a progressive hero. I don’t remember much about his stance on Iraq, but I do know that he was one of the first and most enthusiastic to jump aboard Russiagate, which is a heart a right-wing CIA inspired endeavor despite press attempts to protray it as leftist. And his wishy-washy “endorsement” of single-payer was maddening.

    But, unfortunately, he is far from the worst Democrat from a progressive perspective. He was not involved in the attempt to futher roll back bank regulations as were 10 other Democrats. And I am really worried that about the tax bill vote. He is a definate “no” and any attempt to defeat it could rest on one vote.

    And, there is something just not right about this harassment narrative. I’m afraid he is being set up.

  10. Piotr Berman
    December 7, 2017 at 4:14 pm

    Franken had some “faint promise”. Before becoming Senator he wrote two decent political satire books, one of which I heard on tape “Lies: And the Lying Liars Who Tell Them: A Fair and Balanced Look at the Right”. However, from the beginning he was an opportunist, sticking to the least controversial position from the point of “liberal mainstream”. And that liberal mainstream became really long past “best use before” date. Foreign policy is flamboyantly misguided, but even domestic program falls woefully short of “technocratic standards” that “third way” prophets promised at the time of ascendence of Tony Blair, Bill Clinton etc.

    To give one example, the largest bloodsuckers of them all in USA is medical robbery system. Many people know benefits of leeches in therapy, but leaving health care to leeches, hienas, voltures etc. is bound to make it a wee bit dis -functional. And propping private insurance with tax money through an intricate combination of mandates and subsidies turned out to function so-so and alienate more people than not. Strategically, reforming health care should cement Democrats in power for decades, but they botched that. They could pick Sanders and get the second chance to get it right, but that would be, horror, radical.

    The combination of “safe issues” and “canine devotion to corporations” finally spelt the end of Franken-the-politicians. The likes of Kirsten Gillibrand need SOME issues on which they can be bold, not an easy task for an inoffensive centrist, so once something like that appears, no compromise is possible, this is hojotoho heiaha* time! (* battle cry of a valkyrie, or a blood curdling sound emitted by a grandmotherly matron).

  11. Abe
    December 7, 2017 at 3:01 pm

    In October, Franken spoke in the Senate to commemorate the 15th anniversary of the death of progressive hero Democratic Senator Paul Wellstone.

    Wellstone was a leader of the progressive wing of the national Democratic Party, known for his work for peace, the environment, labor, and health care. He joined his wife Sheila to support the rights of victims of domestic violence, was a supporter of immigration to the U.S., and made the issue of mental illness a central focus in his career.

    Wellstone voted against authorizing the use of force by President George H. W. Bush before the Persian Gulf War on January 12, 1991 (the vote was 52–47 in favor).

    However, Wellstone did support requests for military action by Democratic President Bill Clinton, including Operation Restore Hope in Somalia (1992), Operation Uphold Democracy in Haiti (1994), Operation Deliberate Force in Bosnia and Herzegovina (1995), Operation Desert Fox in Iraq (1998), and Operation Allied Force in Yugoslavia (1999). On July 1, 1994, during the 100-day Rwandan Genocide from April 6 to mid-July 1994, Wellstone authored an amendment to the 1995 defense appropriations bill.

    Wellstone distinguished himself as a progressive by being one of only eight members of the Senate to vote against the repeal of the Glass-Steagall Act in 1999.

    Wellstone also voted against the use of force by George W. Bush before the Iraq War on October 11, 2002 (the vote was 77–23 in favor). Wellstone was one of 11 senators to vote against both the 1991 and 2002 resolutions.

    Wellstone actively spoke out against the Bush administration’s threats to go to war with Iraq. He addressed the Senate chamber on 9 October 2002, pleading against the nation’s reckless rush to war during the Iraq Resolution debate.

    At risk of losing his re-election bid, Wellstone spoke his conscience:

    “When the lives of sons and daughters of average Americans could be risked and lost, their voices must be heard in the Congress before we make decisions about military action. … Right now, despite a desire to support our president, I believe many Americans still have profound questions about the wisdom of relying too heavily on a pre-emptive, go-it-alone military approach. Acting now, on our own, might be a sign of our power. Acting sensibly and in a measured way, in concert with our allies, with bipartisan congressional support, would be a sign of our strength.”

    https://www.youtube.com/watch?time_continue=5&v=BF2CLRZLK2E

    Along with seven others, he died in an airplane crash in northern Minnesota on 25 October 2002, just 11 days before his potential re-election in a crucial race to maintain Democratic control of the Senate.

    Documents about the FBI’s involvement in investigating Wellstone’s death were not publicly released until October 2010. Government documents indicated that the FBI had been following Wellstone before he became a senator, and included records dating as far back as his arrest at a 1970 antiwar protest.

    A tearful remembrance of Wellstone on the Senate floor does not excuse Franken’s defense of the continued war in Iraq (not to mention the other behavior of Franken).

    • Abe
      December 7, 2017 at 4:05 pm

      Stuart Franken’s parody of a progressive hero just wasn’t good enough or smart enough to save the dysfunctional Democratic Party family from it’s post-9/11 shame spiral.

      https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=6ldAQ6Rh5ZI

      And doggone it, no amount of daily affirmation or vaping will make Bernie the Bomber’s parody of a “fighting” progressive hero any less shameful.

      American progressives need to jettison these sacks of shit from the Democratic warmongering wing of the Republican Party and organize strongly as a true Progressive party with candidates for government at every level.

      But “Best in Show” Bernie is back put out there on the “front line”, giving his “best so far” speeches, barking and yapping and growling about Trump so progressives won’t walk away en masse from the fetid corpse of the Democratic Party.

    • John the Ba'thist
      December 13, 2017 at 11:52 am

      Thanks for posting that, Abe. I was reading the comments and waiting for someone to mention Wellstone, whom I admired early in his senatorial career, when he opposed the Elderbush’s campaign to put the Sabah clan back in control of Kuwait’s seaports and oil fields [and part of Iraq’s oil fields, too, if the slant-drilling and overexploitation of shared deposits accusations were true.(For that matter, if God had wanted Iraq to have a seaport He wouldn’t have made it funnel-shaped)]. As his career in Washington continued he moved farther into the mainstream in his foreign policy stance, but still GHWBush had called him a “chickenshit” who had tried to prevent him from kicking “the Vietnam syndrome once and for all”, and that was like a Medal of Honor to me.

      Then, at the end, facing opposition from Norm Coleman, a Likud-connected heavy, Paul rediscovered his chickenshit anti-imperialist heart and mind, and voted against authorizing an even worse aggression against Iraq by Bush the Lesser. As an anecdote, I happened to be watching CNN on the morning of the charter crash, and I was really stunned by Wolf Blitzer’s behavior. He argued with his reporter on the ground near the crash site,who told him repeatedly that there was no icing condition aloft in the area, but Wolf was insistent about it. It was remarkable for an anchor in a remote location to do that, I thought. It seems to me that Wolf’s interpretation that it was icing is what stuck in the public perception, although much later the FAA blamed it on the pilots, which I continue to doubt.

  12. Mildy - Facetious
    December 7, 2017 at 2:34 pm

    Thank You, Mr. Blum, for the memories and reminders of another time in America.
    I’ve always he’d great respect for & recognized more, from your Editorial writing.

  13. Bob In Portland
    December 7, 2017 at 2:15 pm

    Franken was a neoliberal. However, the Dems won’t run a more progressive, actual anti-war candidate in the race after he’s gone. He will be replaced by a Dem even less progressive, or the Rep will win.

    Essentially, his departure is insurance for that Republican majority in the Senate.

    Since I don’t know the circumstances behind all the charges I can’t weigh the charges. Did he actually grope a woman in the middle of the Minnesota State Fair a decade ago? Unfortunately, without hearings on the charges, for Franken, Moore, Trump or anyone else, no one’s charges are proven either way. No one gets to face his accuser.

    Does anyone remember Gary Hart’s finale, with Donna Rice sitting on his lap on the Monkey Business? Ms. Rice at the time was very good friends with Ollie North’s co-shredder, Fawn Hall. And Lucianne Goldberg was Linda Tripp’s friend was Monica Lewinsky’s friend.

    There are many ways to control politicians, and weakness of the flesh is right on top. No progressive should rejoice, even with a liberal’s demise. You don’t know if this was orchestrated and there is no guarantee that Trump or Moore will ever have his political career cut short because of their indiscretions. Maybe not even their crimes.

  14. Fuad Ramses.
    December 7, 2017 at 1:02 pm

    Frankenstein symbolizes everything wrong with the Democratic Party and neoliberalism in general

  15. Zachary Smith
    December 7, 2017 at 1:02 pm

    In my opinion the author could have chosen some considerably more pungent examples of Al Franken being only a fake progressive.

    Al Franken vs. BDS

    Sen. Al Franken (D-Minn.), a former comedian and Saturday Night Live regular, noted his continuing popularity as a campus speaker and said he would use that platform to push back against the boycott, divestment and sanctions movement, which he called “pernicious.”

    If the Senator has every veered from total support of the cesspool state of Israel the news didn’t reach me. Regarding the sacking of Libya by the Obama/Hillary duo:

    DFL Sen. Al Franken said today he supports the mission. But in a statement to MPR News, Franken also suggested that the Obama administration needs to better explain the mission’s goals.

    Maybe the man was “progressive” in ways other than supporting the easy stuff like gay marriage, but again, I never heard of it. If he resigns, possibly somebody more useful can replace him.

  16. Drew Hunkins
    December 7, 2017 at 12:18 pm

    I can’t say I’m disappointed to see Franken shown the door. He’s been one of the staunchest and most unwavering Dems incessantly propagating the dangerous Russiagate groupthink.

    • Realist
      December 7, 2017 at 5:34 pm

      I’ve come to dislike him for the reason you just state–him and just about all of his fellow lemmings in the Democratic caucus, not that I care for any of the Republicans in congress either. I believe his explanation for being a USO entertainer was to distinguish between the masterminds of the American wars in the Middle East (i.e., the American government) and the executioners of it (i.e., the troops). Either he was sincerely giving the troops a pass for their murderous actions under his personal philosophy–a pass the Wehrmacht “order followers” did not get after WWII–or he was attempting to recruit potential voters from the conservative ranks by “supporting the troops.” The second interpretation disappoints me more than the first. I had hopes the man would stand for consistent principles and not be just another political pawn. If he truly hates Russians, he’s a menace. None of the rest then matters.

  17. Virginia
    December 7, 2017 at 12:16 pm

    To everyone here who prays, whatever religion, please pray about the destructive fires in Southern California. Hopefully this request won’t offend those of you who don’t because no disrespect intended.

    • mike k
      December 7, 2017 at 3:01 pm

      Maybe those who don’t pray could at least unleash a few choice curses against the fires! (lol)

  18. mike k
    December 7, 2017 at 11:47 am

    The whole support system for the troops needs to be disrespected. Chaplains, fast food venues, all the comforts from back home for the hired killers carrying out the Empire’s world domination program – including torture and death for those who resist them. Putting halos above these “hero’s” heads is the job of “patriotic” propagandists paid by the oligarchs, who seek to reduce the rest of us to their slaves, prisoners, or corpses. The Empire is nothing more than a huge MAFIA, and these useful idiot soldiers are it’s “enforcers”.

    • Virginia
      December 7, 2017 at 1:17 pm

      Agree with you, Mike. It’s very hard even to pledge allegiance to the flag, and when I do I am thinking of the ideals on which we “believe” our country was founded: Democracy, equality, liberty, justice for all, government by the people. It’s hard for individuals born in the US to get their thought around the fact that the goal — that is the goal of the DeepState, The Establishment, the Illuminati — is to make slaves of the 99%. As you said, “…propagandists paid by the oligarchs, who seek to reduce the rest of us to their slaves, prisoners, or corpses.” It would be good if those serving in the military could wake up to this, see through how they are being used, and respond accordingly.

      Franken resigned just minutes ago. Ending his career in disgrace! Good!

      • December 7, 2017 at 5:20 pm

        “I pledge allegiance to the flag of the United States of American and to the republic for which it stands, one nation indivisible with liberty and justice for all.

        “Therefore this current fake republic that steals life, liberty, and justice from many of its citizens and millions of people through out the world through its imperialistic wars to increase the profits of the corporate elite does not have my allegiance and the flag that represents it does not stand for liberty and justice for all. So I will not say a false pledge, a lie.

        “It would be even more than a lie to add this is all under God, a God that most Americans believe in through a Christian understanding, which must include the statement of Jesus of Nazareth that his divine parent only wants those who worship to worship God in spirit and truth. It then becomes blasphemy.

        “This nation is not under any God resembling the God of Jesus of Nazareth who teaches us to love our enemies, to feed the poor, clothe the naked, invite into our homes the homeless, heal the sick, and set free the prisoners. This nation is about the opposite. It is about making more enemies and killing and torturing them and their families, about starving the poor, taking away the income of the naked, arresting the homeless, taking away the healthcare of the sick, and making more prisoners.

        “I will not be duped into making a pledge that is not true. I will not stand at attention and cross my heart to honor an anthem that is about war, an unjust war by the way that was about enriching the elite of 1812 and attempting to conquer Canada, an anthem that in a later verse celebrates how the U.S. will kill more slaves.

        “No. I will instead pledge my allegiance to the non-violent revolution to make this nation what the pledge calls it to be and which it never has been.”

        • Sam F
          December 7, 2017 at 8:10 pm

          Not sure of the source of that very reasonable quote, but here is a suggested pledge of allegiance:

          “I pledge allegiance to the principles of the United States of America, but not the corruption or foreign wars; one nation in need of reform, to gain liberty and justice for all.”

          • December 8, 2017 at 5:59 am

            Oh, I wrote it all as I posted it.

            The quotation part was that it was what I’d say if I was asked to say the pledge.

  19. turk151
    December 7, 2017 at 11:40 am

    Hillary’s Senate shill being disgraced over molestation, poetic justice. Franken’s hypocrisy is emblematic of the modern day DNC liberal, pro-women, pro-gay rights, while cheer-leading genocide in the middle east.

    “Hey! Hillary! How many kids did you kill today?”

    • Sam F
      December 7, 2017 at 12:40 pm

      Yes, fake liberals liberate only themselves, and fake conservatives conserve only their own wealth and power.
      The US Constitution is liberal, so one cannot be a conservative of national principles without being a liberal.
      Ask a Rep or Dem to grant Constitutional rights for all humans as it requires, and they will refuse.
      Ask them to liberate the world’s poorest from poverty at modest cost, and they will refuse.
      Offer them cash to betray all principles and enslave the earth, and they will seek only an excuse.

      • Bob Van Noy
        December 7, 2017 at 2:02 pm

        Well said Sam F. Many thanks…

      • mike k
        December 7, 2017 at 2:58 pm

        I can’t cut moral sell-outs any slack whatever. They are servants of evil and enemies of humankind, and all other life on our precious and only planet. These shameless tools of the powerful deserve only our contempt.

  20. Adam Kraft
    December 7, 2017 at 11:24 am

    I listened to Franken on Air America. As a senator he was lockstep. The little respect I had for the democratic party along with Franken ended with their support for the phony Russia campaign collusion narrative.

  21. brian
    December 7, 2017 at 10:37 am

    It is refreshing to hear people like William Blum, as usual, stating the situation as it is. He takes no prisoners and calls the actions of Senator Franken as he sees them. I too was disturbed by the meme of “Bush didn’t execute the Iraq was correctly” being substituted for the invasion and occupation of Iraq was an act of aggressive war, the most egregious of war crimes because it encompasses all the others. Those who participated are war criminals who have never been brought to justice for their crimes, which continue until today.

    I lost some respect for Franken when he went to Iraq in the same way Rachel Maddow lost some respectability in my eyes — and has since sold any semblance of integrity for a $30,000/day news anchor job. They made the decision to go along to get along. When people and governments commit evil acts, it is those who allow it to happen who enable it.

    • Skip Scott
      December 7, 2017 at 11:15 am

      As much as I disagree with Rachel Madcow, I think she is a true believer rather than a sell-out. She is the Glenn Beck of the R2P’ers, AKA the liberal cousins of the neocons. She sees Putin’s conservative stance on homosexuality as an personal affront, and has allowed that to derail any logical assessment of the veracity of RussiaGate. And of course the $30,000 a day ain’t bad either.

      Franken is just a “not too bright” ass grabber, boor, neanderthal, whatever. He’s not so much a sell-out, as he is a very shallow thinker, both intellectually and morally.

      • December 7, 2017 at 5:02 pm

        You are wrong on Rachel Maddow. She is too smart to not know when she is spouting misinformation. She did this long before all this Russiagate nonsense. Here’s what I wrote about her when I first realized she’d bend the truth to support the Democratic establishment no matter what and sheep dog her viewers to support NeoLiberalism:

        https://shadowproof.com/2012/01/09/the-strange-case-of-dr-maddow-and-mr-lew/

        Somewhere in an attic room of Rachel Maddow’s home there must be a painting where her expression is cynical, her eyes have no twinkle, her smile is ghastly and her greed has turned her once beautiful face into something that looks like a goblin. But on her MSNBC television show her expression is genuine, her eyes twinkle with goodness, her smile is endearing and her still beautiful face shines with sincerity and humor.

        Or maybe in a hidden room, of which only she has the key, is a secret laboratory where she brews up in a test tube a secret formula that with a gulp of its bitter gall she feels her conscience fade into nothingness and her ethics shrivel up into dust as she feels her lower desires for fame and fortune grow into a monster. Then she can go on her MSNBC television show and distort the truth without any shame. Meanwhile, thanks to that painting up in the attic, she doesn’t look like a monster. She look just like the woman I used to admire and trust. But she isn’t. Like Darth Vader, when she turned to the Dark Side in a sense she killed the good woman she used to be.

        Tonight she reported on Obama’s appointment of Jack Lew as his new chief of staff. Here’s his biography according to Dr. Maddow. He’s been an advisor to President Clinton, worked for Secretary State Hillary Clinton as a deputy director and was Obama’s director of the office of management and budget. That’s it!

        Oh wait. There’s more.

        Eric Cantor, a supposed enemy of Obama, had good things to say about Mr. Lew. He praised him right in the midst of the brinksmanship of the debt ceiling fiasco last summer. Rachel gave us the money quote where Cantor praised Lew saying no one was more prepared or more in tune with numbers that he was.

        Rachel Maddow then turned up her twinkle to an eleven and beamed at us to comment on the ultimate goodness of Obama appointing this hard working civil servant, why it might bring back civility to Washington. Imagine that. End of story.

        Up in that attic room the painting must have changed. A new level of corruption must suddenly have been apparent in the picture. Any one gazing on it must realize it portrays a women who has sold her soul, a woman who has no problem lying to a nation through omission, a woman who would spend hours explaining how terrible a crime is and then stand behind the one way mirror and lie through her teeth that she doesn’t see the culprit who committed the crime when she knows exactly that he is the one on the end as she fingers the pay off check hidden in her pocket.

        For she did spend hours explaining the crime. Over and over on her show a few years back she used various props and metaphors to explain to her audience how Wall Street banks, like Citigroup, defrauded investors with toxic derivatives they knew were junk, making billions off this fraud. She lamented how they got away with it after being bailed out by TARP. Oh, yes, Dr. Maddow understood the crime. She was eloquent in explaining it.

        But now she describes Jack Lew and just conveniently forgets he was the Chief Operating Officer of Citigroup’s Alternate Investments from 2006 until Secretary Clinton recruited him. She doesn’t recall that during his tenure Citigroup’s investors went from holding a wealth of over 200 billion dollars to under 20 billion. She has amnesia that part of those alternative investments was a hedge fund that made billions by betting against the housing market while Citigroup convinced those investors who lost hundreds of billions to bet on the same market, the very crime she so eloquently reported once upon a time. She just doesn’t know that while Jack Lew was at Citgroup that he lobbied and got a bailout from TARP.

        No. She may have sold her soul, but she hasn’t lost her mind. She knows all of this. She is completely aware that she is editing the truth, leaving out the most important part of the truth, so the remaining truth becomes a lie. Dr. Maddow is now a liar.

        Ah, but her task isn’t done. It’s not enough that she manipulates the truth so that her audience will continue to believe that Obama is a man of the people and not a toady of Wall Street. Now she has to join in the frenzy of bringing down Mitt Romney as, well, as someone like…, like Jack Lew. The Republicans who despise Romney are doing it because they want to keep him from getting the nomination. But Dr. Maddow knows Romney will get the nomination. So she’s prepping her audience for the big lie next fall: Obama is on our side and Romney is on Wall Street’s side and we better support Obama or we’ll get this villain Romney. How delightful to instill this propaganda in her audience’s consciousness while using clips of Republicans themselves.

        A sane person watching this wants to yell at her over and over as she describes how bad Romney is due to his disaster capitalism, “You mean like Jack Lew?”

        Then finally along comes Dylan Rattigan. How creative this is! Bring on a man who has created a reputation for calling out the financial crimes of our system to talk about Romney with her. Well, Rattigan has to speak more truth than Rachel. He has to point out it’s not just Romney. He has to point out it’s standard operating procedure. He has to point out all those dratted Republicans support the same stuff.

        But he stops short of saying, “Just like Jack Lew.” No, you won’t hear that on Dr. Maddow’s show on MSNBC.

        No if you say that on MSNBC you will be fired. You might have your integrity but you won’t have fame and fortune anymore. You might be able to speak the truth on Current TV, but it will not be high def, it won’t have good graphics, and your audience share will drop drastically. You will no longer have assistants fawning all over you and plush limos picking you up from first class seats to drive you to high class hotels filled with expensive gift baskets when you want to report on things somewhere else than your regular studio.

        But in this strange case of Dr. Maddow and Mr. Lew she doesn’t need her integrity anymore. She’s got that magic painting and that secret formula so she can be a lying monster and never look like one.

        • Lois Gagnon
          December 7, 2017 at 10:08 pm

          I agree with you about Rachel. I live in Western Mass where she has her main residence. She enjoys cult like status around here. It makes me sick.

          The over the top hypocrisy of the faux left is burying those of us who have done the hard work against the corporate power structure for decades. They are the equivalent of a political black plague. And just as difficult to eradicate.

        • Skip Scott
          December 8, 2017 at 8:33 am

          I stand corrected. I haven’t watched her in a long time, so you have a much better sense of her true self.

        • Tom R
          December 8, 2017 at 4:33 pm

          you are soo right about Maddow – just another paid commentator/politician who is somewhat of a gatekeeper to steer the ‘Left’ folks towards a politically possible future that would be just more of the same but under the banner of justice for the downtrodden. Clinton, Bush, Obama, Trump – what’s the difference? there’ll all doing what the oligarchs that put them in power want and pursuing the war and empire agenda that the oligarchs – led by the banksters – want. So anyone who gets behind either Maddow or Beck or any of the other paid MSM shills are just dumbed downed politically immature children who really don’t understand what is going on and how people like Maddow get hired by the MSM not to bring us truth and justice and ‘keeping the bastards honest’, but just paid shills for both the right, left and center of American politics.

          • Nils Monahan
            December 8, 2017 at 10:10 pm

            Ms Maddow is paid $30,000 a day – which is a clue to what is important in her world view. #followthemoney
            Al Franken most recently disgraced himself by going on the attack over supposed Russian ‘interference’.
            They are politicians – they are all wholly cynical and practice (regretfully or willingly) moral bankruptcy.

      • Bill
        December 8, 2017 at 10:15 pm

        Actually, he’s quite intelligent. Saying otherwise reflects on your ability to judge those sorts pf things accurately. Doesn’t mean I or you have to like him.

        • Gregory Herr
          December 9, 2017 at 10:43 am

          The forms or manifestations of human intelligence are profoundly diverse and complex. The “intelligence” exercised by any individual human being ranges widely in consistency, blind spots or sustained peaks of insight, creativity, and reason.

          I could characterize myself as “not-too-bright” or “quite intelligent” and from certain perspectives be correct on both scores. But I feel no need to “pin that down” about myself (or Franken for that matter).
          It’s all relative and in flux anyway.

          Certainly though, I have to agree with Skip that Franken has exhibited a shallowness of intellect and morality. I do not think he is too dumb to correct his shallowness, but is simply satisfied in his own shallowness. For instance, he is satisfied to think the Crimean referendum was not really a referendum and that the troubles of East Ukrainians are the fault of Putin. He is satisfied to think the invasion of Iraq was right but just not done right. He is satisfied to be a Senator but doesn’t seem to care much about immersion in facts, ethics, or any real deep thinking. Not that he can’t…he won’t.

          So that’s my take. Franken is a highly intelligent dumbass.

          • Skip Scott
            December 9, 2017 at 11:23 am

            Gregory-

            Thank you for your reply. I was just about to reply to Bill when I noticed and read your comment. Really couldn’t have said it better (or even as good) myself.

    • Sam F
      December 7, 2017 at 12:32 pm

      Apparently Franken sold entertainment to the right when more profitable than selling it to the left.
      The Dem/Rep choice was a choice of profit opportunities: not surprising that he went into politics.

    • Paul G.
      December 7, 2017 at 4:29 pm

      Money talks,liberals walk. “A liberal is one step to the left in good times, two steps to the right when it effects them personally…” Phil Ochs.

  22. Nir Haramati
    December 7, 2017 at 10:05 am

    “was he really ever a progressive hero”?

    Yes, he was, and one of the best and most consistence, across the board.

    His sexual harassment, notwithstanding disqualifies his future public service, not his past.

    • December 7, 2017 at 4:53 pm

      You need to actually investigate his past actions. He’s a NeoLiberal and a supporter of the American Imperial Project.

      Wake up.

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