Welsh Cabinet member Carl Sargent’s suicide results from anonymous sexual harassment allegation

On November 3, 2017, Welsh politician Carl Sargeant was implicated in a sexual harassment scandal, forcing him out of office:

Carl Sargeant has been suspended from the Labour Party as an investigation takes place.

He was [Cabinet] secretary for communities and children.

Mr Sargeant has called for an “urgent” investigation “in order to allow me to clear my name”. First Minister Carwyn Jones made the announcement ahead of a reshuffle of his cabinet team.

[…]

In a statement, the Alyn and Deeside AM said: “I met with the first minister today and he informed me allegations had been made about my personal conduct, which was shocking and distressing to me.

“The details of the allegations have yet to be disclosed to me.”

In an update on Monday:

The first minister said he had become “aware of a number of incidents at the beginning of last week”.

“I asked my office to speak to those women involved who had provided detail of those incidents. As a result of those conversations I felt I had no choice but to refer the matter to the party.”

Mr Jones said the women spoke to his office on the basis of confidentiality.

Then on November 7, 2017, he was found dead at home, considered a suicide. As the Daily Mail reports:

His wife Bernie, 48, and children Jack, 23, and Lucy, 25, said they are ‘devastated beyond words’ because the family have lost ‘the glue that bound us together’.

Mr Sargeant was sacked by Carwyn Jones on Friday after three women contacted the First Minister’s office and made allegations of sexual misconduct.

The father-of-two was in New York with his wife of 25 years when it emerged and he had pledged ‘to clear my name’ in a statement four days before his death.

Again, what led up to this:

Father-of-two Mr Sargeant returned from his family US break to be called into the office of the Labour First Minister Carwyn Jones, who sacked him.

By many accounts, Sargent truly cared about his constituents – a rare breed of politician these days:

A neighbour across the road from his home, who did not want to be named, said: ‘He’s got a wife and children over there, my heart goes out to them, it’s shocking.

‘I’ve known him since being a child. He would be going about canvassing with the local MPs and that type of stuff.

‘He’s a man who still lives in an ex-council house, he’s down to earth and a family man. What happened to innocent until proven guilty?’

Another local said: ‘He’s a lovely, loyal, honest man, who would do anything to help anyone.

‘He would try his hardest to sort anything out for you, no matter who you were or where you came from. He knew his roots. These allegations, it’s all a load of c***.’

His colleagues paid their respects too, including the guy who fired him:

First Minister Carwyn Jones said: ‘Carl was a friend as well as a colleague and I am shocked and deeply saddened by his death. He made a big contribution to Welsh public life and fought tirelessly for those he represented both as a minister and local assembly member. He will be a great loss to our party and to the Senedd.’

Yeah, too bad about your friend, right?

Perhaps the best lesson is that if accusers are anonymous, the accused should be too, and due process should occur before actions are taken.

The meaning of his death

Was Carl Sargeant’s suicide evidence of his guilt? The opposite is more likely. Guilty parties often will hide behind lawyers, issue non-apology apologies, or perform similar antics. However, the falsely accused sometimes have been known to kill themselves. Several occurrences could be named, but the following particularly stands out.

In the aftermath of the 1987 Tawana Brawley case, one of the accused men – Officer Harry Crist Jr. – killed himself four days later. After a media circus lasting nearly a year, the grand jury – a judicial institution that will proverbially “indict a ham sandwich” – dismissed it as a hoax, so it never went to trial. Assistant DA Steven Pagones – another one of the falsely accused – won a defamation lawsuit and eventually started collecting a little of the damages.

For a respected citizen, it’s certainly shocking to be blindsided by a sex scandal – faced with ignominy and loss of livelihood, and his friends turning away from him. Events like that can prompt thoughts of suicide, and others carry it further.

Unanswered questions

Presently, details are still sketchy. Did Carl Sargeant say “nice dress”, or was it something more? Did anything happen at all? We don’t know. All this was undisclosed stuff from anonymous sources. They didn’t even tell him what he was accused of doing – a shtick straight out of Kafka’s The Trial. The only hints so far might be in another recent article:

Cathy Owens, who runs political consultancy agency Deryn, spoke out about the issue and said a politician once tried to get into bed with her while staying overnight at her house.

She was speaking to Sunday Politics Wales about the sexual misconduct scandal engulfing Westminster.

Welsh party leaders will discuss the issue at the Senedd on Tuesday.

It’s not clear if Carl Sargeant is included in all this, but if so, at least the Welsh Senate had one less item to discuss, as Tuesday was when he killed himself. Further:

She said: “I was very early on in my career, this was an elected representative, I made clear that nothing was going to happen, he was staying in the spare room, and sometime later [I remember him] coming into my bedroom and trying to get into my bed.

“In another situation someone has come into the taxi that I’m going home in.”

If Carl Sargeant was described in either of these two incidents, I’m guessing that’s the second matter. As a married man, he probably wouldn’t be staying overnight in someone else’s house. Riding in the same taxi seems more likely (which is all the article has to say about it). If that’s all there was to it, then up until now, I wasn’t aware that riding in the same cab was even “problematic”.

The final and greatest question is this: was it worth his life?

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Welsh Cabinet member Carl Sargent’s suicide results from anonymous sexual harassment allegation

July 2017 book sale – three titles half off, the rest FREE!

I enrolled my books on the Smashwords sale for this month.  The following three are 50% off:

As for the rest of my deathless prose, you can get it for free while it lasts.  Come on, have a look, you know you wanna

July 2017 book sale – three titles half off, the rest FREE!

Political power structures, past and present

It’s normal that political leaders drive policy changes and historic events.  However, quite often, there are individuals away from the public’s eye who have influence on these leaders.  Sometimes they influence the public itself, often by way of institutions.  Sometimes the leaders have hidden agendas themselves.

Power structures in history

It’s true that there’s nothing new under the sun.  Back in the days of Renaissance Europe, the royalty often was related to each other.  Further, some of the kings were pretty corrupt; it was normal for them to have mistresses, and a few made Bill Clinton seem like a monk by comparison.  Bribery certainly is nothing new; today, they just have more sophisticated means.  The wealthy and ambitious clamored for access to their kings, and some profited greatly.  The difference from today’s times was that things were more out in the open.  Even illiterate peasants became aware of scandals and court gossip, long before television, tabloids, and social media existed.

Still, the intricate pattern of alliances and rivalries between the royal dynasties was public knowledge, and historians have little trouble studying the power structures.  We’re also aware of the beliefs and power of the Catholic Church and its Protestant rivals.  We also have a fairly good idea about what other sectors of society were doing:  merchants, guilds, and the peasantry.  Some things are shrouded in the mists of time, but the broad picture is discernible.

A rational king would identify with his nation and acted in its best interests, so that his eldest son would inherit a stable kingdom, and his dynasty would thrive.  Not all were top-notch, though; some were tyrannical, others were incompetent.  Being the King was no guarantee of good character or even intelligence (some were too inbred).  He got the job by being the firstborn in the lineal succession of whatever warlord last took over the country, and had the advantage of first-class education, but otherwise there’s nothing special about monarchs.  When the common people became literate and started getting a fairly decent education, monarchy started becoming obsolete.

Thus, during the Age of Enlightenment, democratic government became fashionable.  The newborn USA led the way as a proof of concept.  With the people in charge, it was expected that the best men in the nation would rule.

Modern power structures

So the new model worked, giving the public more input into government since the Roman Republic.  An extensive system of checks and balances prevented power from being amassed into too few hands.  (As much as people complain about our recent batch of Presidents, fortunately the USA hasn’t had to deal with any rulers like Caligula, Vlad the Impaler, or Ivan the Terrible.)  In practice, several complications arose.  The Founders didn’t anticipate all this, though they were well aware that their Constitution would only work right with a virtuous public.  In any event, even this masterfully devised system isn’t perfect.

It was intended that the cream of society would do tours of duty in Washington, then return to private life.  These days, politicians are careerists, usually ascended lawyers.  Some are decent people, but all too often they gradually fall out of touch with the experience of their constituents.  The best and brightest don’t always come to power; having the right connections is the critical factor.  Further, the corrupt and power-hungry have a way of rising to the top.  Finally, excessive centralization and judicial abuses have distorted Constitutional rule of law.

The influence of monopolies and trusts became very powerful during the Industrial Age.  As time went on, semi-formal international coalitions of billionaires began casting a long shadow.  The banking dynasties of Europe were already manipulating politics there.  In the USA, industrialists and bankers began forging international alliances in the 20th century, with considerable political influence behind the scenes by the 1940s.

Unlike monarchy at its best, business interests aren’t in it for the generational long haul, but rather whatever gets the best quarterly numbers.  Neither must they be loyal to their countries; instead, they see things like borders, sovereignty, and national solidarity as a barrier to profits.  Short-sightedness is a huge problem.  It seems that today’s Powers That Be don’t care if their heirs inherit a global slum.

Perhaps the greatest unintended consequence of the democratic system is that political parties almost immediately became the gatekeepers of power.  In the USA, the Electoral College and lack of runoff elections all but guarantees the two party system.  (In Europe, it’s a little more diverse, where three and sometimes four viable parties operate and form parliamentary coalitions, but they can still defy the people’s will with impunity.)  So it came to political machines, Tammany Hall, smoke-filled rooms, and all the rest of it.

Oligarchical control

Today, money and media access are everything.  Major contributors call the tune, usually hedging their bets with both parties.  This is how the oligarch class has owned the Republicans and the Democrats in recent decades, giving the public the good cop / bad cop treatment.

The 2016 election was a great upset, practically a bloodless coup.  Democrats were stunned, as one would expect.  What truly was surprising – at least to those unaware of today’s power structures – was that Republican party bosses fought their top candidate every step of the way.  (The bipartisan opposition by the leadership had everything to do with Trump’s disdain for to globalist policies, and nothing to do with saying the word “pussy”.)  Donald Trump is a billionaire, but is basically a rebel opposing others in the oligarch class.  His victory was possible only because he is rich enough that he could finance his own election and couldn’t be bought off.  However, how independent he actually is – and what the extent of the Deep State is – remains anyone’s guess at this moment.

Ultimately, the oligarchs have become even more powerful than most nominal heads of state.  Yet in today’s information age, ironically the picture of the top-level power structures is quite murky.  With the lack of transparency, looking for evidence about today’s shadow government leads one down countless rabbit holes, leaving more speculation than facts.

The problem is, democratic societies are supposed to be better than all this.  With the people in charge – so the theory goes – if politicians abuse their power, the public could throw the bums out.  The Founding Fathers did understand that danger was always present; as Thomas Jefferson said,

The tree of liberty must be refreshed from time to time with the blood of patriots and tyrants.

If he were around today, that attitude probably would’ve put him on some watch list.  All told, perhaps draining the swamp might be more akin to a Superfund abatement.

Political power structures, past and present

The Adventures of MP0werdW0myn and OmegaMan: Mission 1 – Operation Cockblock

The menacing horde closed in for the kill.  The lone defender, his armor gleaming under the sun, held his sword at the ready.

“Turn that damn thing off!”

Derp pouted.  “But I have to win this!”

“Don’t you dare disobey.”  A hand reached out to the power button and shut off the computer.

“Muffy!  Couldn’t it wait?  I was so close to leveling up!  Besides, the forces of evil threaten the citadel.”

“You’ve been playing Warcrack all day.  You’re not supposed to do that when there are dirty dishes in the sink.  Besides, didn’t you hear this go off?”  Muffy held out her iPhone.

Derp gasped.  “It’s the Virtue Signal!”  The pink app was glowing, indicating a crime in progress.  “Sorry; my iPhone is charging in the bedroom.”

“Well, let’s get suited up.  Here’s your chance to fight evil in the real world.”

Muffy donned her MP0werdW0myn costume.  For the finishing touch, she put on her problem glasses.  Derp struggled to zip up his OmegaMan jumpsuit.  “This fabric keeps shrinking on me, damn it…”

Derp’s platonic partner considered remarking on his donut and pizza consumption, but reconsidered, since she didn’t have much room to criticize.  “Well, you’re in charge of the laundry.  Figure something out.  By the way, your cape is looking pretty ragged.  I know you’ve been wearing it since junior high, but isn’t it time you got a new one?”

“It started out as my security blanket, so there’s no replacing it,” he grumbled.

Soon they left the little apartment.  She got onto his 1982 Honda MB5, and he took the bitch seat like always.  The little motorcycle, overloaded by a pair of hefty bodies, struggled to accelerate.  As they zigzagged through the streets, OmegaMan held onto her waist, dreamily wondering what it would be like to touch her breasts.  Meanwhile, the iPhone’s app read out the directions to the scene of the crime.

Upon arrival, they dismounted.  A woman was sobbing, obviously in terror.  She pointed across the street.  “He’s just around the corner now!”

OmegaMan gasped.  “What happened?”

The witless turned off the app that summoned the superzeroes.  Her face, multiply pierced and framed with Whitey-dreads dyed blue, wrinkled with rage.  “Somebody… is doing daygame!”

MP0werdW0myn scowled.  “Unauthorized initiation of conversation?  Don’t worry; I’ll handle this.”

They got a brief description, then crossed the street and rounded the corner.  The offender was dead ahead:  a man, a bit tall and built like a linebacker.  He was obviously chatting up a pretty lady in a green dress.

The superzeroes snarled.  The crimson haired harridan took point.  “Excuse me, mister!”

He turned to the costumed figures.  “You’re looking for the comic expo?  I heard it’s at the convention center.  That’s a few blocks down the street over there.”

OmegaMan stepped up and exclaimed, “You’ve been reported for a Social Infraction.  You talked to this innocent victim without authorization!”

“Butt out, why don’t you?”

“Who are these weird people?” asked the lady in the green dress.  She wrinkled her nose in distaste at the odd specimens of humanity who had come to save her.

The dweeby superzero continued, “When the cause of Social Justice is threatened, we will not hesitate to step forward and intervene.  For your information, it’s not allowed to go up to someone and start talking.”

The tall guy folded his arms.  “You mean like what you two just did?  Now if you’ll allow me, I’d like to go back to my private conversation.”

“Yeah, what he said.  It’s not like he’s being rude, unlike you.”

MP0werdW0myn said to her, “I’m afraid that you suffer from what Karl Marx called ‘false consciousness’.  So we’re speaking on your behalf, because you don’t know what’s good for you.”

“Yeah, unauthorized initiation of conversation is rape culture!” squealed OmegaMan.  “We have to rescue you.”

She replied, “Look, this is getting pretty awkward.  I’d better get back to work now.  Why don’t you two pop a Cymbalta and stare at the carpet or something, okay?”  She turned to the tall guy.  “I get off at five.  I’ll call you then.”

“I can’t believe you’re actually going to reward this Neanderthal for his uncouth behavior!” he screeched.  Meanwhile, his platonic partner cursed like a sailor.

The tall guy scowled.  “I really don’t appreciate you idiots trying to ruin my pickup.  I gave her my number, but didn’t get a chance to get hers before you interrupted.  Worse, you scared her off and gave our interaction a really bad vibe.  Who the hell do you think you are, anyway?”

“We’re Social Justice Warriors,” replied MP0werdW0myn.  “We’re here to make everyone equal, and we won’t stop until everyone is all the same.”

“That sounds pretty stupid to me.  But what does this have to do with trying to stop relationships from forming?”

“When you do that,” sneered OmegaMan, “You’re exercising your misogynistic, patrifocal, kyriarchal, phallocratic male privilege.”

“Oh, really?  Tell you what.  When your parents met, I bet that happened because your dad walked up and talked to your mom.  They wouldn’t have hooked up otherwise.  Unfortunately, he forgot to use a condom, but the point is that you owe your existence to your dad having the guts to chat her up.”

The dweeb sputtered, “All that was a barbaric relic of the 20th century.  It’s the Current Year!”

“I see.  Do you think people should be hatched from eggs too?”

“Actually, that’s pretty much the point of my doctorate dissertation in women’s studies,” interjected MP0werdW0myn.  “And after cloning technology is perfected, that’ll be the last of you evil males.”

“But who’s going to open jars and parallel park cars and move boxes?  Heck, how will anything in the world get done after that?”

She shrieked.  “How dare you say a thing like that?”

“Remember civics class?  Heard about something called the First Amendment?  They made it the first because it was pretty darn important.  It protects my right to speak just as much as it does yours.  By the way, that also includes me chatting up pretty ladies.”

OmegaMan rubbed his grubby little palms together.  “Comes the glorious Communist Revolution, we’ll do something about the First Amendment, and the second too.”

He gazed at the brainwashed chump with incredulity.  “What’s your problem, dude?”

“Ha!  You assume gender!  Are you aware that’s a Social Infraction too?  For your information, gender is a social construct.  You are whatever you think you are at the moment, and for your information, I happen to identify as a genderfluid nonbinary.”

“I hate to burst your bubble, but your professors lied to you while they were robbing you blind.  The sexes are based in biology.  All that other crap like you spouted was obfuscation made up to confuse the issues.”

“How can you say that?  You’re nonbinary yourself.  Look at your hair!”

The tall guy glanced down at his dirty blond ringlets, below shoulder length.  “Oh, that?  It’s all natural, and I’m rather proud of it.  I keep it long in memory of my Viking ancestors.”

The superzeroes shivered.  Clearly this one was very deplorable indeed!  Then MP0werdW0myn gasped.  “Could it be…”

Her sidekick screeched.  “You’re that supervillain, Bright Spectrum!”

She replied, “Be careful; these pickup artists have psychic powers.”

Bright Spectrum laughed.  “I’m not actually a pickup artist, but I do my part to help guys improve their game.  There’s nothing wrong with learning to be more attractive and presentable.”

“You’re not allowed!” bellowed OmegaMan.  “That’s more rape culture!”

“Part of getting good at game is working on intuition and social awareness.  It’s not psychic powers, and it’s far from perfect.  However, in the toxic social environment that feminists like you created, every bit helps.  Allow me to demonstrate.  I sense that you’re doing all this crap to try to impress this chick here.  She’s no great prize, but I’ll give you some tips, even though you don’t deserve it for being a shmuck.  It’s because I care; some guys really need a lot of help.  First, stop acting like a wimp; that never works.  Second, be your own man and stop trying to impress her.  Third, pick up some weights and stop eating all that junk food.  Also, showering daily is-”

OmegaMan slapped Bright Spectrum.  “Noooo!  Stop using your evil PUA psychic powers on me!  And don’t try to encourage me to fix my life; I enjoy wallowing in misery!”

“Dude!  I sure hope you used hand sanitizer some time this week.”

MP0werdW0myn kicked him in the shin.  “Take that, penis crotch!  And I think of him like the gay brother I never had!”

“That one hurt, but you still hit like a girl.”

She shrieked.  “I’ll have you arrested for that remark!  Look, there’s a cop coming now.”

Five minutes later, Derp turned to Muffy inside the police car.  “Well, today sucked.”

If you liked this, be sure to check out more of my deathless prose on Smashwords or Amazon.

The Adventures of MP0werdW0myn and OmegaMan: Mission 1 – Operation Cockblock

April roundup

So the results of my diet and fitness efforts are that I’m down about 30 pounds from when I started back in late December.  I could be doing better, but I’m not complaining too much.  My waist has shrunk quite a bit and I’m into pants that I haven’t worn in ten years.  My muscle definition and vascularity are a bit sharper.  I’m wondering how this is going to affect how I’m treated once I’m where I want to be.  Hopefully the transition in process from off-season linebacker to gym rat will get me a better reception, though I’m afraid I might look a bit like a knucklehead.  Anyway, going from blue collar work to white collar work set me back, but I’ve now made significant strides to fix it.  I’ve taken a week off, might cheat just a bit more, then back into the routine.

Concerning the situation in Syria, there is plenty of commentary on the missile strike in response to the gas attack, but I’ll add some of my own.  Given the scanty evidence available now, it’s not entirely clear who was doing the gassing or if it really took place.  There are parties who would be willing to spread false rumors in order to make the regime look bad (well, worse anyway) or to get us involved.  In any case, the “shoot first and ask questions later” approach on our part seems to be a bit ill-advised.  I’d prefer that we don’t get sucked into this.  In general, Assad isn’t exactly a candidate for sainthood, but if he got deposed, none of the other parties that would be likely to fill a vacuum of power would be an improvement.

As for my writing projects, I’m still working on Space Vixen Trek Episode 4 and Episode 17.  Inspiration is coming along, slowly…  For the latter, I’ve been doing a bit more study on conspiracy stuff and kooky UFOlogy, and it’s coming together.

I’m up to my 42nd post on Return of Kings, with two more in the pipeline.  That’s where most of my political content is these days, though I do have some old classics here as well.  I’m a bit afraid of getting typecast as a political writer, though there are worse fates that could befall me.  One of them would involve being the sort of political writer that National Review would hire 🙂

Other than that, they’ve issued an article (not mine) called “How To Meet And Date Mormon Girls“.  The only thing missing from that is cultural notes about Jello and turns of phrase such as “Oh my golly!”  (I’m technically Mormon, but I’m a very bad one, and I do like beer…  Actually, I found some wiggle room for the Word of Wisdom to allow Mormons to drink beer; you’ll have to get a copy of The Final Falafel for the details!)  The article is pretty much on the mark as for most Mormon ladies being prim and proper, though with a subset who are anything but.  I had one as a girlfriend, rather briefly, who happens to be a preacher’s kid.  She’s quite fair and delightsome (bonus points if you get the reference), and sophisticated, and also quite wild in bed.  I miss her…

April roundup

March update

My Smashwords promotion earlier had a bit of success.  Walking the Planck had some sales, way cool!  In case the title doesn’t make it clear, it’s got space pirates – yarrrr!  My creatively corny classic about these cutthroat corsairs is on Amazon as well.

I’m working on a couple of others now.  One will be my first effort at the Space Vixen Trek line, which – believe it or not – I’ve had on the back burner since about 1994.  It’s basically a prequel of Walking the Planck.  I’m in the process of reworking it.  My writing skills have improved since then, so the results should be interesting.  The other one is Space Vixen Trek Episode 17, which will be quite a wild ride indeed.  It’s sort of alternate history, sort of conspiracy, sort of retro-futurism, sort of space opera.  I have it over half done, filling in some blanks.

I’m up to thirty six articles on Return of Kings, with two more in the pipeline presently.  Also, I’ve made my debut on Occidental Quarterly, with an article about Richard Coudenhove-Kalergi, about whom they have an earlier article too.  He got the ball rolling with the European Union, but unfortunately happened to be the archetypal ultra-wealthy dick given to social engineering, thinking he knew better than everyone else on how to run their societies.  Worse, he wanted to destroy diversity in the name of diversity, and didn’t care for self-determination either.  I try to be as fair as possible, but it’s not very PC, due to the subject matter.  The greater problem is that subjects like this are taboo to discuss.  I guess I’ll just have to be deplorable then.

Finally, I’m down 25 pounds from my diet.  It’s not as hardcore as my earlier attempts, but I’m not arguing with results too much.  I took off for a few days, now back at it again for another month.

March update