by baldilocks

First things: my gratitude to Fausta for filling in for me on Saturday. I still have some computer issues which will be dealt with directly.

Some may remember that one of the first of the gazillion sexual harassment/assault accusations and revelations was from actor Anthony Rapp, who told of being assaulted by actor Kevin Spacey when Rapp was a 14-year-old.

At present, Rapp plays Lt. Paul Stamets on Star Trek: Discovery, a show which, despite my initial skepticism, is excellent so far, rivaling my beloved Deep Space Nine as my favorite Trek. In short,

Rapp as Stamets

Discovery is exciting and fun; Rapp appears to be a fine actor.

To repeat what I said here, I follow the Social Media accounts of some actors whose work I admire and do so with the expectation that they will be liberals/leftists and will, therefore, offer some opinions with which I strongly disagree and Rapp’s political tweets, like that of his co-star Jason Isaacs, I tend to ignore.

But one thing I cannot ignore is the daily harassment received by Rapp due to the revelation. It’s more than abhorrent. Rapp shares almost every one of the messages with his followers and I don’t think that many in my political and spiritual circles are paying much attention to what people like Rapp are experiencing. He’s been getting missives like this one on his Twitter and Instagram accounts for months now.

That’s right. People are harassing Rapp because they thought he had ended House of Cards, a TV show on which Spacey was the star. Spacey was fired after the allegation and Spacey’s apology.

I thought it would be interesting to point out that this is emblematic of why rape and sexual assault victims often don’t come forward.

Rapp is famous and thousands of people follow his account, yet he still gets hundreds of nastygrams from Spacey’s remaining fans. Can you imagine the type of harassment that non-famous people receive when they out a predator?

Rapp and I are not on the same “teams.” He’s gay, I’m straight. I’m a Christian; I don’t know anything about his spiritual beliefs. I’m a conservative; he’s a liberal.

But the team I hope I suit up for is decent human being. And I think most DTGB readers do as well.

This kind of harassment should be outed and the perpetrators should be shamed, if possible.*

I don’t think it is, though.

*I’ve re-thought my position on shame. Some of it is good.

Juliette Akinyi Ochieng blogs at baldilocks. (Her older blog is located here.) Her first novel, Tale of the Tigers: Love is Not a Game, was published in 2012. Her second novel tentatively titled Arlen’s Harem, will be done one day soon! Follow her on Twitter and on Gab.ai.

Please contribute to Juliette’s JOB:  Her new novel, her blog, her Internet to keep the latter going and COFFEE to keep her going!

Or hit Da Tech Guy’s Tip Jar in the name of Independent Journalism!

The numerous errors and continuing employment of ABC News reporter Brian Ross made me think about what went wrong with investigative journalism.

As a young reporter in the 1970s, I cut my teeth in Chicago, a city where journalism came straight off The Front Page.

Back in 1977, The Chicago Sun-Times bought a bar, The Mirage, to investigate payoffs to local and state officials.

Journalist Pam Zekman and Better Government Association chief investigator Bill Recktenwald purchased the bar under aliases. Reporter Zay N. Smith, who wrote the series, and BGA investigator Jeff Allen posed as the bartender and manager, respectively. Sun-Times photographers Gene Pesek and Jim Frost posed as repairmen and were in charge of photographing the tavern’s activities from a hidden section of the tavern built over the washrooms.

Corrupt practices ran the gamut from shakedowns to tax fraud.

The amounts were small, typically less than $100, or what the team called the supermarket approach to graft: low prices, high volume.

For example, a city electrical inspector agreed to overlook the tavern’s faulty wiring. A fire department lieutenant signed off on the bar’s grand opening despite loose wiring hanging from rafters and a basement piled high with trash. A city health inspector ignored maggots and drains that emptied down to the basement floor. A state liquor inspector ignored fruit flies in the booze. 

The crimes also included illegal kickbacks from pinball and jukebox operators as well as tax fraud. An accountant gave the team lessons on how to keep two sets of books to skim profits without paying taxes. He also advised them what time of day inspectors showed up and how much their shakedowns would typically cost. The only officials he warned against bribing were the police, noting that “if you pay off a cop, they keep coming around every month, like flies, looking for a payoff.”

The Mirage resulted in major reforms, including city code revisions, new procedures in inspections, and investigations at federal, state, and city levels. The IRS looked at tax fraud in primarily cash businesses. The Illinois Department of Revenue formed a new investigative team: the Mirage Audit Unit. A federal investigation resulted in the indictments of a third of the city’s electrical inspectors in 1978.

The series was initially nominated for the Pulitzer Prize for general reporting, but the awards board decided not to give the prize to the Sun-Times when Ben Bradlee of The Washington Post led an attack because the reporters used undercover reporting to do the story.

Bradlee made some good decisions in his career. Denying the Pulitzer to the Mirage reporters was not one of them.

I am struck by how  journalists got it right back then even in a city where journalism and ethics may not have been uttered frequently in the same sentence.

ABC’s latest debacle is reminiscent of a growing penchant for bad investigative journalism from Hulk Hogan’s sex life to the University of Virginia “rape” story.

Here is background about the Mirage story: https://www.topic.com/the-story-behind-the-chicago-newspaper-that-bought-a-bar

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Everyone knew that whoever let the sadness overtake him would sink into the swamp.

The Neverending Story

It’s now been a year since President Trump’s election and I, for one, think that’s plenty of time for all the tantrums to have played themselves out. I can understand the disappointment of the losing side in the immediate aftermath of the election, and I can even understand how they could imagine that all their worst-case scenarios might actually come to pass, even if some of them were pretty ridiculous. But come on, after a full year of actual results, isn’t it time for the Left to stop pretending that the country is doomed?

I can understand having policy differences with the administration. Heck, I spent eight years disagreeing with the Obama administration on just about everything, so I know what that’s like. But the economy is growing at more than double the rate it was under Obama, the stock market is at record levels, ISIS is actually “on the run” now that the rules of engagement have been changed to let our military do its job, and consumer confidence is higher than it’s been in over 15 years. So, what’s the problem?

The problem is that, rather than actually being afraid that President Trump is going to ruin the country, the left is, and always has been, afraid that Trump really will Make America Great Again. So they will seize on any issue, no matter how small, as long as they can use it to claim that they’ve been right all along. What do the Russian collusion “investigation” – with no evidence having been found to that effect after more than a year of investigating – and the fake news story of President Trump supposedly over-feeding fish in a koi pond in Japan have in common? They can both be used to claim that the president is unfit for office. And then the left claims these as proof that President Trump can’t govern.

Think of how our allies, and especially our enemies see this. No matter what the president tries to do, foreign leaders will see a divided country behind him, and a relentlessly negative press and this considerably weakens our position. Imagine if President Trump could engage a foreign leader with the same kind of press coverage that Obama received. This leader, whether friend or foe, would reasonably conclude that President Trump would likely be in power for the next 7 years and could enact whatever policies he might use to entice/threaten/coerce that leader to do what we want. The options of either ignoring the U.S. or actively antagonizing us would be off the table because they would know – or at least perceive – that President Trump means business and that the country is behind him.

Regardless of how much they try to spin it, it is obvious that Obama left the country in a hole. They tried to convince us that it was “the new normal” and that things just were the way they were and had nothing to do with Obama’s incompetence or socialist tendencies. Even with the relentless negativity, President Trump has, in less than a year of governing, been able to reverse a lot of that “old normal,” and that scares the pants off the left. So, unfortunately, I predict that the whining, crying and fake news will continue for the foreseeable future. But at least we can see it for what it is: a desperate and disingenuous strategy to weaken the president and the country until democrats can get back in power. SAD!