Tuesday, December 12, 2017

North Koreans Sabotaging Beachgoers With Landmines

 Situated just a few miles away from the North Korea border, Dongmak Beach on Ganghwa Island is a popular destination for foreigners and locals wanting to escape the busy capital city of Seoul for the day, which is about 37 miles away.

Yet this isn't any normal beach resort - it's possibly the most dangerous stretch of sand in the world.

Despite the restaurants, water slides, quirky attractions and hordes of ocean lovers, Dongmak Beach is in a precarious position due to its proximity to the North Korean border.  North Korean soldiers are knowing dumping landmines into the ocean on their side of the border, having discovered that the strong currents push the landmines around to the south side of the island, where the wave action brings them onto South Korea's  most popular beach, endangering visitors and wreaking havoc with South Korea's tourism industry.

South Korean military and police have put up signs warning people how to spot the various shapes and sizes of landmines and to be careful when hunting for crustaceans. 

On one sign, there's a picture of the landmines - one looking like a metal brick and another a small brown disc shape - and the warning reads: "Watch out for loose landmines from North Korea.   Due to the monsoon and raining season, we have been finding landmines near the beach and it is possible that there are more. If you see any objects that look like the mines in the picture below, do not touch it and please contact military services."  The sign continues: "Any attempt to open or apply force will trigger an explosion. We have found 110 landmines on this island."

Another sign reads: "Due to the monsoon and rain we have been finding wooden mines from North Korea. If you do find a mine, do not touch it under any circumstances and call 112  or report to your nearest police station."  Unsuspecting American beach-goers aren't able to read the signs because they are in Korean.  
Shopkeeper Cho Ga Ung, who has lived on the island for 17 years, was hesitant to talk about the landmines to reporters, concerned that it would lead to a negative view of the beach.

He said: "Of course, [the North Koreans] do it on purpose. During the monsoon season, the mines drift down on to the other islands, but they eventually reach here. Some people have died from it.  This has been happening for years, but it's been getting worse since Kim Jong-un got in power. He's just like his father.  We're just trying to make a living, you know. But there's not much we locals can do to stop the mines from coming."

Friday, December 8, 2017

Why Perverts Like Roy Moore Can Get Elected

This is the legacy of a state that spends among the least on education, with less than 25% having earned an associate or college degree.  Tonight, Vice news aired a shocking piece, interviewing a selected group of Alabama voters on why they are voting for Roy Moore despite the overwhelming evidence of his sexual interest in underage girls.  Late in the piece, the group claimed that they hadn't had racial problems since the 80's--  even going so far as insinuating that Obama was responsible for stirring up racial tensions.

Thursday, December 7, 2017

Double Standards in the Senate

Now that Senators Conyers and Franken have resigned, the focus shifts to the GOP. What about Roy Moore and Blake Farenthold?

Roy Moore is by all accounts a pedophile- there is overwhelming evidence that he assaulted underage girls.  His predilections were an open secret in Alabama, and he was outright banned from Gadsden mall.

Blake Farenthold, who was revealed to have used $84,000 in taxpayers funds to secretly settle a sexual harassment case, is still on the job.  Farenthold sexually harassed his former communications director, repeatedly making comments to gauge her interest in sexual relationship with him, including saying he was having "sexual fantasies" about her.  When she complained, she was fired.

If we are to have consistent standards for our elected officials, Farenthold must be pressured to resign and the Senate should refuse to seat Moor if he wins his election next week.

Wednesday, December 6, 2017

Trump the Chump: Chapter Two

Many folks (including Tom Friedman) have never seen a president give up so much to so many for so little, starting with China and (now) Israel. In both the Middle Kingdom and in the Land of Israel, Christmas came early this year. The Chinese and the Jews are both whispering to their kids: “There really is a Santa Claus.”  And his name is Donald Trump.

Every Israeli government has craved U.S. recognition of Jerusalem as its capital. And every U.S. government has refrained from doing that, arguing that such a recognition should come only in the wake of an agreed final status peace accord between Israelis and Palestinians — until now.

Today, Trump just gave it away — for free. Why in the world would you just give this away for free and not even use it as a lever to advance the prospect of an Israeli-Palestinian deal?  Only the so-called "king of deal makers" Trump knows-- and everybody else in the political world must be wrong.

Today's blunder with Jerusalem mirrored the mistake he made with the Chinese earlier this year.  The TPP free-trade deal was an historic agreement that Obama forged with Australia, Brunei, Canada, Chile, Japan, Malaysia, Mexico, New Zealand, Peru, Singapore and Vietnam. It was not only the largest free-trade agreement ever, it was the best deal for U.S. workers, closing loopholes Nafta had left open.  But on his first day in office, Trump tore up the TPP--- clearly without having read it or asking China for any trade concession in return. Trump simply threw away the single most valuable tool America had for shaping the economic future of the region and for pressuring China to open its markets to more United States goods.

Trump is now trying to negotiate trade openings with China alone — bilaterally — and getting basically nowhere. And yet he could have been negotiating with China as the head of a 12-nation TPP trading bloc that was based on U.S. interests and which controlled 40% of the global economy. Think of the leverage we lost.

Trump got played by the Chinese and now he's been played by Israel.  We'll be watching and waiting for the "magical mideast deal" from Trump and his cherished child, Jared.  But we're not going to be holding our breath.

Sunday, December 3, 2017

Sexual Harassment Hall of Shame

Well, it seems that the stories keep rolling in.  Every day, we hear about another man accused/caught abusing his power over a woman.  In order to maintain focus on the issue-- and to help you keep track-- I thought I would publish an updated list of those accused of sexual harassment.  Little did I know it would be such a long list!  It boggles the mind-- especially since 3 out of 5 women say they have experienced sexual harassment . . . and police authorities say that only 1 out of 4 women who experience harassment actually report it.


Film producer Harvey Weinstein: Accused by dozens of women of sexual harassment or sexual assaults, including rape. Fired by The Weinstein Co. and expelled from various professional guilds. Under investigation by police departments in New York, London, Beverly Hills and Los Angeles. Weinstein denies all allegations of non-consensual sex, but he has apologized for causing "a lot of pain" with "the way I've behaved with colleagues in the past."

Film producer Bob Weinstein (brother of Harvey Weinstein):   Accused of harassing TV producer Amanda Segel over a three-month period.  Segal claims Weinstein continually tried to invite her to dinner, to his home and to a hotel room during the summer of 2016.

Oscar-winning writer and actor Ben Affleck: Accused of groping MTV host Hilarie Burton during a 2003 appearance on Total Request Live. He issued an apology, tweeting, "I acted inappropriately toward Ms. Burton and I sincerely apologize." His apology came a day after he condemned Weinstein’s behavior.

Conductor James Levine:  Accused of sexual misconduct  and under investigation by the New York City Metropolitan opera.  According to the charges, the conductor abused a teenage boy beginning in the summer of 1985 and continuing over a number of years.  Levine says the charges are false.  

Showrunner Andrew Kreisberg:  Accused by 19 women of sexual harassment and inappropriate touching. The "Supergirl" and "Arrow" showrunner has been suspended by Warner Bros. Television Group. He told Variety he has made comments on women's appearances and clothes "but they were not sexualized.

Celebrity chef John Besh: Accused by 25 women of sexual harassment. He has stepped down from the company he founded.

Singer Nick Carter: Accused by pop singer Melissa Schuman of raping her approximately 15 years ago. Carter has denied her allegations.

Comedian Louis C.K.: Accused by five women of sexual misconduct. Planned release of film "I Love You, Daddy" halted. Netflix special canceled. He says the allegations are true and has apologized.

Cinefamily executives Hadrian Belove and Shadie Elnashai: Accused of sexual misconduct. Movie theater shut down in the wake of allegations due to crippling debt.

Actor Richard Dreyfuss: One woman alleges sexual harassment. He denies the allegation.

Film producer Adam Fields: Accused of offering a promotion to a woman at his former employer, Relativity Media, in exchange for sex. He has denied the allegations.

Director-producer Gary Goddard: Accused by one man of sexually molesting him when the man was 12. He denies the allegation.

Casting employee Andy Henry: Admitted to urging women to take off their clothes during coaching sessions in 2008 while working on the "CSI" series. He was fired by his current employer.

Actor Dustin Hoffman: Accused by woman of sexual harassing when she was 17. He has apologized for his behavior.

Actor Robert Knepper: Accused by one woman of sexual assault. He denies the allegations.

Showrunner Andrew Kreisberg: Accused by 19 women of sexual harassment and inappropriate touching. The "Supergirl" and "Arrow" showrunner has been suspended by Warner Bros. Television Group. He told Variety he has made comments on women's appearances and clothes "but they were not sexualized."

Pixar and Disney Animation chief John Lasseter: Accused by several women of unwanted touching and has announced he is taking a six-month leave of absence. He has acknowledged some "missteps" with employees and apologized for any behavior that made workers uncomfortable.

Actor Jeremy Piven: Accused by three women of sexual misconduct. He denies all allegations.

Filmmaker Brett Ratner: Accused by at least six women of sexual harassment. Playboy shelved projects with Ratner and Ratner stepped away from Warner Bros. related activities. He denies the allegations.

Comedy festival organizer Gilbert Rozon: Accused by at least nine women of sexually harassing or sexually assaulting them. Rozon stepped down as president of Montreal's renowned "Just for Laughs" festival and apologized "to all those I have offended during my life."

Producer Chris Savino: Accused of harassing up to 12 women. Fired from Nickelodeon. He has apologized for his behavior.

Actor Steven Seagal: Accused by two women of rape. He denies the allegations.

Def Jam Records mogul Russell Simmons: Accused by model Keri Claussen Khalighi of coercing her to perform a sex act and later penetrating her without her consent in his New York apartment in 1991. Simmons has disputed her account, saying the relationship was consensual.

Actor Tom Sizemore: Accused of groping an 11-year-old actress in 2003. Utah prosecutors declined to file charges, citing witness and evidence problems. He denies the allegation.

Actor Kevin Spacey: Accused by at least 24 men of sexual misconduct or assault. London police reportedly investigating two sexual assaults. Fired from "House of Cards" and replaced in Ridley Scott's completed film "All the Money in the World." Massachusetts prosecutors are investigating one allegation. His former publicist has said he is seeking unspecified treatment.

Actor Jeffrey Tambor: Two women — an actress on his show "Transparent" and his assistant — allege sexual misconduct. He denies the allegation, saying in a statement that he has "never been a predator — ever." Tambor said this week he doesn't see how he can return to the Amazon series.

Actor George Takei: One man alleges sexual assault. He denies the allegation.

Writer-director James Toback: Accused by hundreds of women of sexual harassment. Beverly Hills police investigating complaints. He has denied the allegations to the Los Angeles Times.

"Mad Men" creator Matthew Weiner: Accused by one woman of sexual harassment. He denies the allegation.

Actor Ed Westwick: Accused by two women of sexual assault. The BBC pulled an Agatha Christie adaptation from its television schedule and halted production on a second sitcom starring the former "Gossip Girl' actor. Los Angeles police are investigating. He denies the allegations.
Media, publishing and business:

Billboard magazine executive Stephen Blackwell: Accused of sexual harassment by one woman. He has resigned from the magazine.

Penguin Random House art director Giuseppe Castellano: Accused by one woman of sexual harassment. Penguin Random House is investigating. Castellano has not commented.

Playwright Israel Horovitz:  Accused by nine women of sexual misconduct, including forcible kissing and rape. He tells The New York Times his recollection of the events is different from the women's accounts and apologized "with all my heart to any woman who has ever felt compromised by my actions."

Garrison Keillor, former host of "A Prairie Home Companion": Says he has been fired by Minnesota Public Radio over allegations of what the network called improper behavior.

Ethan Kath, songwriter and producer of Canadian music group Crystal Castles:  Accused of rape and long-term abuse by by former bandmate Alice Glass.  Kath (whose real name is Claudio Palmieri) has denied the allegations.

Magician David Blaine:  Accused by model Natasha Prince of raping her in 2004  shortly after her 21st birthday.  Currently being investigated by London police, Blaine has denied the allegations.

Actor and comedian Andy Dick:  Accused of groping people’s genitals, unwanted kissing/licking and sexual propositioning at least four members of a recent film production. Dick denied the groping claims, but admitted to licking and propositioning people. He has since been fired from his role in the film, and was let go from a separate film for similar behavior.

Music executive and talent manager Benny Medina (currently representing Jennifer Lopez):  Accused of attempted rape by actor Jason Dottley, who says Median threw him onto a bed in Medina's home and "stuck his tongue down my mouth.” Medina denies the allegation.

Screenwriter Murray Miller (HBO's "Girls"):  Accused of sexual assault by actress Aurora Perrineau, when she was 17 years old. Miller denies Perrineau's allegations. Girls creator and star Lena Dunham initially support of Miller, but later apologized after receiving criticism on social media.

Twiggy Ramirez, former bassist/guitarist for Marilyn Manson:  Accused of rape by singer Jessicka Addams, who said Ramirez (real name: Jeordie White)  physically and sexually assaulted her while they were dating.  Four days later, Marilyn Manson decided to “part ways" with Ramirez/White.

Fashion photographer Terry Richardson:  Faces multiple allegations from models who describe episodes of graphic abuse, inappropriate touching and sexual harassment during photo shoots.  Condé Nast International has discontinued working with Richardson and banned him from future assignments.  A representative for Richardson issued a statement saying, "[Terry] is an artist who has been known for his sexually explicit work so many of his professional interactions with subjects were sexual and explicit in nature but all of the subjects of his work participated consensually."

Screenwriter Mark Schwahn ("One Tree Hill"):  Accused of "traumatizing" sexual harassment by 18 cast and crew members of his former show, including Sophia Bush and Hilarie Burton.   E!, Universal Cable Productions and Lionsgate Television announced that they are monitoring the information carefully.

Actor Sylvester Stallone:  Accused of sexual assault in an incident from 1986 in Las Vegas. A 16-year-old unnamed teen claims she consented to sex with Stallone, but did not consent to group sex after Stallone invited his bodyguard to join them. Under Nevada law, the age of consent is 16.  Stallone denies the allegation.


New Republic publisher Hamilton Fish: Multiple sexual harassment allegations. He has resigned from the magazine.

Journalist Mark Halperin: Accused of harassing about 12 women while at ABC News. Book contract terminated. Fired from job at NBC News. He has denied some of the allegations.

Artforum publisher Knight Landesman: Accused by multiple women of sexual harassment and sued by one woman. He has resigned from the magazine.

NPR news chief Michael Oreskes: Accused of inappropriate behavior or sexual harassment by at least four women while at The New York Times, NPR and The Associated Press. He has been ousted from NPR.

PBS and CBS host Charlie Rose: Accused by several women of unwanted sexual advances, groping and grabbing women, walking naked in front of them or making lewd phone calls. He has apologized for his behavior, but has questioned the accuracy of some of the accounts.

New York Times White House reporter Glenn Thrush: Accused of making drunken, unwanted advances on women. He disputes some of the accusations but has said he had had a drinking problem and apologized for "any situation where I behaved inappropriately."

Rolling Stone publisher Jann Wenner: Accused by one man of sexual harassment. He says he did not intend to make the accuser uncomfortable.

New Republic editor Leon Wieseltier: Accused of sexually harassing numerous women. Removed from the masthead of The Atlantic magazine. He has apologized for his behavior.

NBC News booker Matt Zimmerman: Accused of inappropriate conduct by multiple women at the network. He was fired from NBC.

"Today" show anchor Matt Lauer:  Accused of inappropriate sexual behavior. He was fired by NBC News.

Journalist Geraldo Rivera:  Accused by Bette Midler of groping her in the early 1970s when Rivera was sent to interview her. He has not yet responded to Midler's renewal of the allegation, which she made in a 1991 interview with Barbara Walters.


Lockhart Steele, editorial director for Vox Media:  Accused of engaging in "conduct that is inconsistent with the company's core values."  Steele was fired after an internal investigation.

Amazon executive Roy Price: Accused by one woman of sexual harassment. He resigned from Amazon.

Webster Public Relations CEO Kirt Webster: Accused of sexual assault by one woman. Firm renamed and Webster is "taking time away."

Technology fund manager Gavin Baker:  Accused by multiple employees of harassment, most notably a female equity-research associate who filed a formal complaint.  Initial reports indicated that Baker was fired by Fidelity Investments, but Baker (who denies the allegations) claims he left the company "amicably."

David Guillod, producer and co-CEO of Primary Wave Entertainment:  Accused by actress Jessica Barth of drugging and sexually assaulting her in 2012 when he was working as her manager. Barth also claims that Guillod threatened her with a lawsuit to keep her from pressing charges. Guillod has taken a leave of absence from the company.

Steve Jurvetson, founding partner of venture capital firm DFJ:  Being investigated by his firm over "indirect and second-hand allegations."  of improper conduct with women.  He has left his firm and given a leave of absence from his position as member of the boards for SpaceX and Tesla. Jurvetson denies any allegations.

Tech consultant and blogger Robert Scoble:   Accused of sexual harassment by two women. A third woman claimed Scoble verbally harassed her.   After initially apologizing for doing things "that are really, really hurtful to women," Scoble later said he's not guilty of sexual harassment because he had no power to "make or break" the careers of women who made allegations against him. Scoble ended up resigning from the business consulting firm Transformation Group.


Florida Democratic Party Chairman Stephen Bittel: Accused of sexually inappropriate comments and behavior toward a number of women, Bittel resigned. Meanwhile, Democratic state Sen. Jeff Clemens resigned after a report that he had an extramarital affair with a lobbyist, and Republican state Sen. Jack Latvala is being investigated by the Senate over allegations of harassment and groping. Latvala has denied the allegations.

Former President George H.W. Bush: Accused of patting seven women below the waist while posing for photos with them in recent years, well after he left office. The 93-year-old Republican has issued repeated apologies through a spokesman "to anyone he has offended," with the spokesman noting that the former president uses a wheelchair and that his arm sinks below people's waists when they take photos with him.

U.S. Rep. John Conyers (D-Mich.): Accused of sexual harassment toward staffers in his office, and has settled one claim of harassment. He has denied the allegations, even the one he settled.

Two Minnesota state lawmakers: Democratic Sen. Dan Schoen and Republican Rep. Tony Cornish — said they would resign after they were accused of misdeeds that ranged from groping colleagues to persistent unwanted sexual advances and sexting.

British Defense Secretary Michael Fallon: Accused of inappropriate advances on two women, the Conservative resigned. Sexual harassment and assault allegations have also emerged against a number of other U.K. political figures. Labour Party legislator Carl Sargeant is believed to have taken his own life after harassment allegations cost him his post as the Welsh government's Cabinet secretary for communities and children. He had asked for an independent inquiry to clear his name. Also, Labour Party member Ivan Lewis has been suspended over an allegation of sexual misconduct; Lewis disputed the account but apologized if his behavior had been "unwelcome or inappropriate."

U.S. Sen. Al Franken (D-Minn.): Accused of forcibly kissing Los Angeles radio anchor Leeann Tweeden while rehearsing for a 2006 USO tour; Franken also was photographed with his hands over her breasts as she slept. He also has been accused by three other women of touched their buttocks. Franken has apologized, though hasn't admitted to groping or other inappropriate touching. He has acknowledged that some women felt that he had done something offensive during their encounters. He faces a Senate ethics investigation for improper conduct.

Kentucky House Speaker Jeff Hoover: Stepped down as speaker this month after news surfaced that the Republican had settled a sexual harassment claim from a GOP caucus staffer. Hoover denied the harassment allegation but said he sent consensual yet inappropriate text messages. He remains in the Legislature.

U.S. Senate candidate Roy Moore (R.-Ala.): Accused of sexually assaulting two women decades ago when they were teenagers; about a half-dozen other women have accused Moore of inappropriate conduct. The former state Supreme Court chief justice denies the allegations. He has rebuffed pressure from national Republican leaders to step aside; the state GOP is standing by him.

Johnny Anderson, a staffer for Democratic Louisiana Gov. John Bel Edwards: The deputy chief of staff for programs and planning resigned to avoid becoming a "distraction" to the governor. Accused of sexual harassment, he denies any wrongdoing.

California state Rep. Raul Bocanegra:  Accused by multiple women of groping them or kissing them against their will. He has resigned his seat, and says he hopes to clear his name and has said, "While I am not guilty of any such crimes, I am admittedly not perfect."

Florida GOP state Senator Jack Latvala:  Accused by six women (Republican and Democrat staffers) of harassment and groping. Latvala has denied the allegations.


International Olympic Committee member Alex Gilady: Accused by two women of rape and by two others of inappropriate conduct. Gilady denied the rape accusations, said he didn't recall one of the other allegations, but acknowledged a claim he'd propositioned a woman during a job interview 25 years ago was "mainly correct." He stepped down as president of an Israeli broadcasting company he founded. The IOC has said it is looking into the allegations.

Former South African soccer association president Danny Jordaan: Accused by former member of parliament Jennifer Ferguson of raping her in 1993. Jordaan denies the accusation.

Sports physician Dr. Larry Nassar:  Accused of molesting girls while working for USA Gymnastics and Michigan State University.  Pleaded guilty to multiple charges of sexual assault and facing at least 25 years in prison. Olympians Aly Raisman, McKayla Maroney and Gabby Douglas say they were victims.  Nassar is also facing  jail time for possession of child pornography.  More than 100 women and girls are suing him.

Wednesday, November 29, 2017

Lauer Out At NBC in Kharmic Payback

NBC announced that longtime “Today” host Matt Lauer has been fired following allegations of workplace misconduct. The termination reminded many of Lauer’s relationship with former co-host Curry and the role he played in her departure from the show in 2012.

According to the New York Magazine, the two former morning co-hosts did not get along. Lauer apparently did not like Curry and didn’t put any real effort into improving their awkward on-air interactions.

According to The New York Times, Curry also felt a “boys’ club atmosphere behind the scenes at ‘Today’ undermined her from the start.” She told those close to her that her last few months at the job felt like “professional torture.”

Curry was allegedly fired from “Today” because the show’s ratings had fallen behind rival “Good Morning America.” But in reality, internal research found that when the two were onscreen together, it was Lauer who was less appealing to viewers, not Curry.  “He was looking aloof, a little bit holier-than-thou, and pompous,” a former NBC executive who viewed the research told New York Magazine at the time.  When Curry eventually announced her departure on air, she openly wept and turned away from Lauer. 

It was a moment etched in many viewers’ memories.

In response to Lauer’s firing, Curry said earlier today, “I’m still really processing it.”  Before Curry could release a fuller public statement, people on Twitter began imagining her reaction to the news of Lauer’s firing, with many using the phrase “Somewhere, Ann Curry ...” to express their own karma-is-a-bitch fantasies.


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