Three Things You Need to Know - November 16, 2017

Even Moore Accusers.

“He didn’t pinch it. He grabbed it.”

That’s a new allegation from another woman accusing the Senate hopeful Roy Moore of sexual misconduct.

In the first accusation that happened after Moore was already married, Tina Johnson claims that Moore grabbed her behind when she was at his office seeking his legal help with child custody in 1991.

Tina Johnson wasn’t the only person to come forward yesterday with new accusations against Moore.

Twenty-two years prior, Gena Richardson recalled a 30-year-old Moore regularly stalking the mall she worked at. Gena recounts that Moore would often come by her section of Sears and talk to her. On more than one occasion her asked the 18-year-old out. She would usually tell him no and that her dad was a pastor and very strict. But according to Gena, Moore wouldn’t take no for an answer. She was in trigonometry class at Gadsden High when she was summoned to the principal’s office over the intercom in her classroom. She had a phone call.

It was Roy Moore and he had called the high school to ask her out on a date again.

She eventually said yes and they went to the movie theatre at the mall where she worked.

It was a normal date until Moore drove Gena to her car after the movie and forcefully kissed her.

After that, she never wanted to see him again.

Moore’s campaign responded to the new allegations with this statement:

“If you are a liberal and hate Judge Moore, apparently he groped you. If you are a conservative and love Judge Moore, you know these allegations are a political farce.”

It is hard to tell what it true and what’s not here. What’s political cannon fodder and what’s real emotional and physical trauma that’s been hidden away for so long? These women should be believed at face value and their accusations should be looked into.

As for Roy Moore, whether these allegations are true or not, he needs to understand that his campaign is in a death spiral and that the best thing for him to do is to get out.

Mnuchin PR Masterpiece

Republicans are now within striking distance of two BIG objectives: tax reform and FINALLY putting a big dent in Obamacare. The GOP is set to approve their tax-reform measure, which includes a repeal of the individual mandate, sometime later today. The margin of error, however, is small. Just yesterday, Senator Ron Johnson from Wisconsin announced he would be the first Republican to break off and vote NO. Will anyone else follow his lead?

The hours leading up to the vote are crucial. You could almost hear the gears churning over at the White House communications department from all across the country. How could they improve their image, become a little more relatable, and - in the process- improve their chances of scoring a big win on the Senate floor?

The answer was so obvious! Deploy the Treasury Secretary Steve Mnuchin and his smoking hot actress wife for a super hot selfie with a bunch of sheets of cash! The public would never know what hit them. It would be a PR coup the likes of which would make even Mugabe recoil in fear.

So that’s what they did. Mnuchin held up a giant sheet of crisp dollar bills that were the first to bear his signature. His wife, standing next to him, gave a smoldering gaze at the camera. Dressed uncannily like Kylo Ren, she looked ready to explode into a dark side fueled lightsaber frenzy. Hope Kicks must have sat back in her chair, propped up her feet, and enjoyed this masterful work of communications art. The tax-reform and individual mandate vote were as good as won. The administration hadn’t looked this slick since the President launched paper towel packages at a gathering of Hurricane victims.

The only thing that could have made this look better… MAYBE… is if Mnuchin made it rain with those dollar bills while a hard base hitting pop song rocked the house. Anyway, a win’s a win. Let’s give the Communications Department their props. You crushed it. Game, Set, Match.

Kids Are Bad for the Earth?

Kids are messy, right? But messy is only half the story. Your kids are actually destroying the planet.

I wish I was joking, but earth death is no laughing matter. Our gases and factory fumes are bad enough for the atmosphere. Co2 emissions? Child’s play compared to the havoc your toddler is wreaking on the earth. Okay bad choice of words to call it “child’s play.”

NBC News posted a story yesterday, a think piece if you will, titled “Science proves kids are bad for Earth. Morality suggests we stop having them.”

The author says, “We need to stop pretending kids don’t have environmental and ethical consequences.” I agree – you bring a newborn home and it’s going to mess with your environment in a big way. I mean the noise alone, and at night when you’re trying to sleep? Totally wrecks the home environment.

And the ethical consequences… the baby wakes you up in the middle of the night again. Do you pretend to stay asleep and hope your spouse deals with it? Or what about this one – the baby needs a diaper change. Do you pretend not to notice until another family member takes care of it? So many ethical dilemmas with children.

Okay, I don’t think that’s exactly the kind of “environmental and ethical consequences” he’s talking about, but I’m bending over backward to find any common ground here because this is absurd. The author goes on to say that “having a child is a major contributor to climate change” and even better, that “having a child… is one of the worst things you can do for the environment.”

The Left ridicules people on the Right for not taking climate change seriously. Here’s a helpful tip: a lot of times it’s because of ridiculous articles like this one. This author seems very sincere – a research scholar at the Berman Institute of Bioethics. But all over the world, right now, children are starving to death, ravaged by disease, and sold into slavery, yet the premise of his article is that it’s morally wrong to have children because they leave too big of a carbon footprint.

Actually, it’s morally wrong to have children and not take care of them. So until we get that problem solved, you may want to re-think your understanding of “moral responsibility.”

Perspective and priorities – two things the Left really struggles with.

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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?