Three Things You Need to Know - October 11, 2017

The Weinstein saga makes one thing crystal clear.

Angelina Jolie, Gwyneth Paltrow, Ashley Judd, Mira Sorvino.

All have come out as victims of Harvey Weinstein’s disgusting behavior.

The situation has gone from bad to worst-case scenario for Weinstein.

For almost a week, allegations have mounted that Weinstein sexually harassed an untold number of women over the last 30 years.

Sunday night Weinstein was fired from his own company. Yesterday, his wife, Georgina Chapman, announced she is leaving him. The couple have two children, ages 4 and 7.

Yesterday, The New Yorker published a story that dwarfed last week's original piece from The New York Times with even more appalling revelations. The story quotes two women who say they were raped by Weinstein, and four others describe being touched by Weinstein, without their consent. Four additional women say he exposed himself or masturbated in front of them.

Sixteen former and current employees at Weinstein’s company say Weinstein had a system of preying on young actresses by inviting them for business meetings, then dismissing other employees from the meeting so he could be alone with the actress.

All of the victims told The New Yorker they were scared of Weinstein’s retaliation, fearing he would ruin their lives.

Weinstein released a statement denying the rape and retaliation accusations, ending it with: “Mr. Weinstein is hoping that, if he makes enough progress, he will be given a second chance.” Only in Hollywood.

Now that Weinstein’s ship is sinking fast, former President Obama and Hillary Clinton are feigning surprise that their fundraising pal is actually a creep. Obama, whose daughter Malia interned at Weinstein’s company last year, said, “Michelle and I have been disgusted by the recent reports about Harvey Weinstein. Any man who demeans and degrades women in such fashion needs to be condemned and held accountable, regardless of wealth or status.” Hillary said she is “shocked and appalled.”

Yes, but were they disgusted, shocked or appalled when Weinstein was signing those Democratic fundraising checks? No.

All these after-the-fact denunciations from celebrities and politicians are meaningless. This Weinstein saga has made one thing crystal clear about the liberal elite --- respecting women and protecting them from predators like Weinstein is top priority, just not while the checks are still rolling in.

California's attempt to "destigmatize" HIV is senseless.

The phone rang.

“Hello?”

Silence.

“Hello? Who is this?”

The silence on the other line suddenly turned into hysterical, manically laughter.

“Burn, I got you!”

The man dropped the phone. He knew who the caller was.

It was the man who intentionally gave him HIV.

That man, Daryll Rowe, is on trial in England right now for maliciously infecting four men with the HIV virus without their knowledge.

This creep had a terrifying system. He would sabotage any protection, infect his victim, and then mercilessly mock them with abusive texts and phone calls that he had given them the disease.

If Daryll Rowe moved to California, he would not be behind bars awaiting a court date like he is now.

He would be a free man. Probably swiping right to meet his next victim.

Starting January 1, it will no longer be a felony in California to knowingly expose a sexual partner to HIV with the intent of transmitting the virus.

Why?

To destigmatize HIV.

Bill sponsor Senator Scott Wiener explained, “We are going to end new HIV infections, and we will do so not by threatening people with prison time, but rather by getting people to test and providing them access to care.”

So, let me get this straight. California is going to stop HIV infections by letting terrible human beings continue to spread HIV infections to unknowing victims.

That makes absolutely no sense at all.

California, I’m sorry to break it to you, but you cannot “destigmatize” HIV.

It’s a potentially fatal disease. No one wants it.

It will never be destigmatized.

HIV positive people shouldn’t be judged by their disease or discriminated against, but the disgusting people who intentionally infect others should be criminalized.

California, your efforts to normalize and condone this terrorism is beyond revolting and will have the opposite effect on HIV infections.

How long before something snaps in North Korea?

Strategic bombers were flying over South Korea again yesterday. Two B-1 Lancers flanked by Japanese and South Korean fighter jets buzzed North Korea in yet another show of force.

Perhaps the weirdest thing about all this is how routine it's beginning to feel. This wasn’t an elaborate air show or even a recon mission to take pictures, this was a mission to deter against nuclear war.

Tough talk and saber rattling between Kim Jong Un and President Trump has become so common, it’s easy to miss just how close to war we are literally every day.

Take yesterday for example. It was the 72nd anniversary of the founding of North Korea’s ruling Workers’ Party. Kim Jong Un typically uses these holidays for nuclear or missile tests, and the last threat we heard was a possible hydrogen bomb test over the Pacific.

Trump set the stage last week when he said we were in the “calm before the storm.” Everyone began to wonder what that meant, and on Friday, Press Secretary Sarah Huckabee Sanders confirmed there were “world issues” and named North Korea specifically.

Over the weekend, Trump doubled down in an ominous tweet saying diplomacy hadn’t worked for 25 years and “only one thing will work!”

Early Tuesday morning, Trump called for a meeting with Defense Secretary Mattis and Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff Dunford. They discussed “a range of options” to respond militarily to North Korean aggression. They’ve had these planning missions over a hundred times since this crisis began. Why did they pick Tuesday for another?

A few hours later that day, B1 bombers and Japanese and South Korean fighter jets flew over the Korean Peninsula. Was it just a show of force or were they waiting for an attack order?

The threat of war with North Korea is greater than it’s been in over 50 years. Kim Jong Un apparently got the message yesterday and backed down. Will he the next time?

MORE 3 THINGS

Stop trying to be right and think of the children

Mario Tama/Getty Images

All the outrage this week has mainly focused on one thing: the evil Trump administration and its minions who delight in taking children from their illegal immigrant parents and throwing them all in dungeons. Separate dungeons, mind you.

That makes for a nice, easy storyline, but the reality is less convenient. Most Americans seem to agree that separating children from their parents — even if their parents entered the US illegally — is a bad thing. But what if that mom and dad you're trying to keep the kids with aren't really the kids' parents? Believe it or not, fraud happens.

RELATED: Where were Rachel Maddow's tears for immigrant children in 2014?

While there are plenty of heartbreaking stories of parents simply seeking a chance for a better life for their children in the US, there are also corrupt, abusive human traffickers who profit from the illegal immigration trade. And sorting all of this out is no easy task.

This week, the Department of Homeland Security said that since October 2017, more than 300 children have arrived at the border with adults claiming to be their parents who turned out not to be relatives. 90 of these fraud cases came from the Rio Grande Valley sector alone.

In 2017, DHS reported 46 causes of fraudulent family claims. But there have already been 191 fraud cases in 2018.

Shouldn't we be concerned about any child that is smuggled by a human trafficker?

When Homeland Security Secretary Kirstjen Nielsen pointed out this 315 percent increase, the New York Times was quick to give these family fraud cases "context" by noting they make up less than one percent of the total number of illegal immigrant families apprehended at the southern border. Their implication was that Nielsen was exaggerating the numbers. Even if the number of fraud cases at the border was only 0.001 percent, shouldn't we be concerned about any child that is smuggled by a human trafficker?

This is the most infuriating part of this whole conversation this week (if you can call it a "conversation") — that both sides have an angle to defend. And while everyone's busy yelling and making their case, children are being abused.

What if we just tried, for two seconds, to love having mercy more than we love having to be right all the time?

Remember when cartoons were happy things? Each panel took you on a tiny journey, carrying you to an unexplored place. In Understanding Comics, Scott McCloud writes:

The comics creator asks us to join in a silent dance of the seen and the unseen. The visible and the invisible. This dance is unique to comics. No other artform gives so much to its audience while asking so much from them as well. This is why I think it's a mistake to see comics as a mere hybrid of the graphic arts and prose fiction. What happens between . . . panels is a kind of magic only comics can create.

When that magic is manipulated or politicized, it often devolves the artform into a baseless thing. Yesterday, Occupy Wall Street published the perfect example of low-brow deviation of the artform: A six-panel approach at satire, which imitates the instructions-panel found in the netted cubbyhole behind seats on airplanes. The cartoon is a critique of the recent news about immigrant children being separated from their parents after crossing the border. It is a step-by-step guide to murdering US Immigrations and Customs Enforcement agents.

RELATED: Cultural appropriation has jumped the shark, and everyone is noticing

The first panel shows a man shoving an infant into a cage meant for Pomeranians. The following five panels feature instructions, and include pictures of a cartoonish murder.

The panels read as follows:

  1. If an ICE agent tries to take your child at the border, don't panic.
  2. Pull your child away as quickly as possibly by force.
  3. Gently tell your child to close his/her eyes and ears so they won't witness what you are about to do.
  4. Grab the ICE agent from behind and push your knife into his chest with an upward thrust, causing the agent's sternum to break.
  5. Reach into his chest and pull out his still beating heart.
  6. Hold his bloody heart out for all other agents to see, and tell them that the same fate awaits them if they f--- with your child again.

Violent comics are nothing new. But most of the time, they remain in the realms of invented worlds — in other words, not in our own, with reference to actual people, let alone federal agents.

The mainstream media made a game of crying racism with every cartoon depiction of Obama during his presidency, as well as during his tenure as Senator, when the New Yorker, of all things, faced scrutiny for depicting him in "Muslim clothing." Life was a minefield for political cartoonists during the Obama era.

Chris Hondros/Getty Images

This year, we saw the leftist outrage regarding The Simpsons character Apu — a cartoon representation of a highly-respected, though cartoonishly-depicted, character on a cartoon show composed of cartoonishly-depicted characters.

We all remember Charlie Hebdo, which, like many outlets that have used cartoon satire to criticize Islam, faced the wrath and ire of people unable to see even the tamest representation of the prophet, Muhammad.

Interesting, isn't it? Occupy Wall Street publishes a cartoon that advocates murdering federal agents, and critics are told to lighten up. Meanwhile, the merest depiction of Muhammad has resulted in riots throughout the world, murder and terror on an unprecedented scale.

The intersection of Islam and comics is complex enough to have its own three-hour show, so we'll leave it at that, for now. Although, it is worth mentioning the commentary by satirical website The Onion, which featured a highly offensive cartoon of all the major religious figures except Muhammad. It noted:

Following the publication of the image above, in which the most cherished figures from multiple religious faiths were depicted engaging in a lascivious sex act of considerable depravity, no one was murdered, beaten, or had their lives threatened.

Of course, Occupy Wall Street is free to publish any cartoon they like. Freedom of speech, and so on—although there have been several instances in which violent cartoons were ruled to have violated the "yelling fire in a crowded theater" limitation of the First Amendment.

Posting it to Twitter is another issue — this is surely in violation of Twitter's violent content policy, but something tells me nothing will come of it. It's a funny world, isn't it? A screenshot of a receipt from Chick-fil-A causes outrage but a cartoon advocating murder gets crickets.

RELATED: Twitter mob goes ballistic over Father's Day photo of Caitlyn Jenner. Who cares?

In Understanding Comics, Scott McCloud concludes that, "Today the possibilities for comics are — as they've always been — endless. Comics offers . . . range and versatility, with all the potential imagery of film and painting plus the intimacy of the written word. And all that's needed is the desire to be heard, the will to learn, and the ability to see."

Smile, and keep moving forward.

Crude and awful as the Occupy Wall Street comic is, the best thing we can do is nod and look elsewhere for the art that will open our eyes. Let the lunatics draw what they want, let them stew in their own flawed double standards. Otherwise, we're as shallow and empty as they are, and nothing good comes of that. Smile, and keep moving forward.

Things are getting better. Show the world how to hear, how to learn, how to see.

People should start listening to Nikki Haley

ANDREW CABALLERO-REYNOLDS/AFP/Getty Images

Okay. Let's take a vote. You know, an objective, quantifiable count. How many resolutions has the UN Human Rights Council adopted condemning dictatorships? Easy. Well. How do you define "dictatorship"?

Well, one metric is the UN Human Rights Council Condemnation. How many have the United Nations issued to China, with a body count higher than a professional Call of Duty player?

Zero.

How about Venezuela, where socialism is devouring its own in the cruelest, most unsettling ways imaginable?

Zero.

And Russia, home of unsettling cruelty and rampant censorship, murder and (actual) homophobia?

Zero.

Iraq? Zero. Turkey? Iraq? Zero. Cuba? Zero. Pakistan? Zero.

RELATED: Nikki Haley just dropped some serious verbal bombs on Russia at the UN

According to UN Human Rights Council Condemnations, 2006-2016, none of these nations is as dangerous as we'd imagined. Or, rather, none of them faced a single condemnation. Meanwhile, one country in particular has faced unbelievable scrutiny and fury — you'll never guess which country.

No, it's not Somalia. It's Israel. With 68 UN Human Rights Council Condemnations! In fact, the number of total United Nations condemnations against Israel outnumbers the total of condemnations against all other countries combined. The only country that comes close is Syria, with 15.

The Trump administration withdrew from the United Nations Human Rights Council on Tuesday in protest of what it perceives as an entrenched bias against Israel and a willingness to allow notorious human rights abusers as members.

In an address to the UN Security Council on Tuesday, Nikki Haley said:

Let's remember that the Hamas terrorist organization has been inciting violence for years, long before the United States decided to move our embassy. This is what is endangering the people of Gaza. Make no mistake, Hamas is pleased with the results from yesterday... No country in this chamber would act with more restraint than Israel has.

Maybe people should start listening to Haley. Hopefully, they will. Not likely, but there's no crime in remaining hopeful.

Here's a question unique to our times: "Should I tell my father 'Happy Father's Day,' even though he (she?) is now one of my mothers?"

Father's Day was four days ago, yes, but this story is just weird enough to report on. One enjoyable line to read was this gem from Hollywood Gossip: "Cait is a woman and a transgender icon, but she is also and will always be the father of her six children."

RELATED: If Bruce was never a he and always a she, who won the men's Olympic gold in 1976?

Imagine reading that to someone ten — even five — years ago. And, honestly, there's something nice about it. But the strangeness of its having ever been written overpowers any emotional impact it might bring.

"So lucky to have you," wrote Kylie Jenner, in the Instagram caption under pre-transition pictures of Bruce Jenner.

Look. I risk sounding like a tabloid by mere dint of having even mentioned this story, but the important element is the cultural sway that's occurring. The original story was that a band of disgruntled Twitter users got outraged about the supposed "transphobic" remarks by Jenner's daughter.

But, what we should be saying is, "who the hell cares?" Who cares what one Jenner says to another — and more importantly and on a far deeper level — who cares what some anonymous Twitter user has to say?

When are we going to stop playing into the hands of the Twitter mob?

When are we going to stop playing into the hands of the Twitter mob? Because, at the moment, they've got it pretty good. They have a nifty relationship with the mainstream media: One or two Twitter users get outraged by any given thing — in this case Jenner and supposed transphobia. In return, the mainstream media use the Twitter comment as a source.

Then, a larger Twitter audience points to the article itself as proof that there's some kind of systemic justice at play. It's a closed-market currency, where the negative feedback loop of proof and evidence is composed of faulty accusations. Isn't it a hell of a time to be alive?