November 26, 2017

Sunday Off-Topic (Moderated) Open Thread (112617)

Filed under: Lucid Links — Tom @ 6:00 am

This open thread is meant for commenters to post on items either briefly noted below (if any) or otherwise not covered at this blog. Rules are here.

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  1. The Political Establishment is beginning to show that it thinks it can wait out the Workplace Sexual Harassment conversation and return to ‘business as normal’. Gillibrand (NY) said Bill Clinton should have resigned, but then backed off. Klobuchar (MN) established the stall tactic by going along with Al Franken’s (MN) convenient slow-walk: no opinion, wait for the comments of the ethics committee. Both women have been mentioned as potential 2020 Presidential candidates, but the weakness on this issue is sad and disappointing.

    Today, Pelosi follows the Klobuchar model. In an interview on MeetThePress, she repeatedly refers to House Rep John Conyers in the familiar personal “John”, to subtlely tell the audience he’s in the family and actions against him are a career risk. This simple use of the First-Name is one of the subtle ways the Establishment shows who they will protect. When asked about the accusations, she declares innocent but Again Makes It Personal: “do you know who they are?” That’s her more polite version of saying ‘these are Nobodies’ who should be easily ignored and dismissed; her polite dog whistle to others to go harsher such as James Carville’s infamous demeaning phrase: ‘if you drag a dollar through a trailer court’. Pelosi plays the polite Grandma figure, all the while showing her allegiance to her colleague Rep John Conyers. He was on the JUDICIARY committee, for goodness sake!, so certainly knew the rules.

    She/Pelosi calls him “an icon” for what he did for VAWA, regressing to also use the Old Playbook: he’s with us/powerful-people on our issues so he can get away with terrible treatment of those little people, the Conyers staffer as our modern day Paula Jones. Her invocation of VAWA is eminiscent of Joe Biden, who led on VAWA to make up for his poor treatment of Anita Hill, where a bipartisan weakness on the issue retained to the powerful the ability to harass. There were apparently other witnesses not called, but by not supporting Ms Hill’s statements to be confirmed, the Establishment caused the conversation on Workplace Harassment to wither and fade, be twisted during the Bill Clinton era into ‘personal’ behavior despite occurring in the Oval Office with an intern, and then be diminished for a generation. That Conyers worked for VAWA should count as Double Points Against him; i.e., if he worked for that legislation then he SHOWED HE KNEW THAT LAW yet still harrassed a staffer anyone.

    Pelosi pretends to be for “due process” but meanwhile is completely setting the stage for the ‘I can wait this out’ defenses of Franken and Conyers. The Conyers incident should not be in an Ethics Committee; it should be in the DOJ as Criminal Fraud: misuse of funds, fraudulent payments made for other than the purposes on the employment records, and RICO conspiracy to misuse taxpayer funds.

    “Conyers’ office recently confirmed issuing a settlement of $27,000 to a former staffer who says she was fired for resisting the congressman’s sexual advances. Conyers has acknowledged the payout, which he said amounted to a severance package, but he denied the allegations about what it was for.

    The payout from Conyers’ office first became public in a report published by Buzzfeed on Monday, and came after a number of men in powerful positions in politics, entertainment and media have faced public accusations of sexual harassment. The accusations have opened up a national conversation about how women are treated in the workplace by men in positions of power.”

    Conyers has admitted to a payout, and to mis-labeling a “severance package” (a one-time payout check received on your last day at the office). But apparently the facts are these: a 3-month employee salary even though she was not required to come into the office. That is TimeCard Fraud, at a minimum, and therefore PERJURY by all who knew what was happening.”

    Note the delayed placements of the Timecard Perjury and the Conyers consequences:
    We learn in the opening paragraphs that Conyers has stepped down from Ranking Member of the House Judiciary Committee; but learn only after scrolling past 2 videos that he stepped down only AFTER Pelosi’s disasterous interview:
    “after Pelosi’s interview on Sunday, he announced that he would step down from the position while the Ethics Committee investigates.

    Pelosi said in a statement later Sunday, “Zero tolerance means consequences. I have asked for an ethics investigation, and as that investigation continues, Congressman Conyers has agreed to step aside as Ranking Member.”

    Comment by Cornfed — November 26, 2017 @ 3:25 pm

  2. (My apologies if repeat, as either my post already was submitted or I accidentally deleted typed text.)

    This Sunday, Speaker Pelosi tried AND FAILED to defend “John”. That’s the friendly first-name personal term she used for Rep Conyers, while use the delay tactic of ‘wait for the ethics committee’ to attempt to avoid the situation.

    The situation is simple: Timecard Perjury! This should be referred for Criminal charges, not covered up by an ethics committee.

    REFERENCE:
    https://www.nbcnews.com/politics/politics-news/nancy-pelosi-john-conyers-deserves-due-process-n823991

    Note the reporters spacing of important information to attempt to reduce their importance:

    a) The opening paragraphs tell us the fact that “Rep. John Conyers, D-Mich., stepped down as the ranking Democratic member of the House Judiciary Committee on Sunday”. This early placement seems to give credit to Conyers for doing the right thing; however, careful reading shows he only stepped down after poor reaction to Pelosi’s abysmal Sunday interview.

    Scroll past 2 videos, until right before the 3rd video, where we learn: “after Pelosi’s interview on Sunday, he announced that he would step down from the position while the Ethics Committee investigates.”

    Pelosi belatedly gets it — the blowback of her terrible interview: “Pelosi said in a statement later Sunday, “Zero tolerance means consequences.”

    Yes, violating VAWA laws means Consequences: that is the only way to stop the abuse!

    b) Timecard perjury

    It takes careful reading to discover this is not a matter for an ethics committee, where improper gifts and other such matters are evaluated. This appears to be a matter for potential Criminal Charges.

    First, note early in the article where Conyers admits a payout: “Conyers’ office recently confirmed issuing a settlement of $27,000 to a former staffer who says she was fired for resisting the congressman’s sexual advances. Conyers has acknowledged the payout, which he said amounted to a severance package, but he denied the allegations about what it was for.”

    Even if the payments were not for the reasons claimed, they still represent TimeCard Fraud with taxpayer money. We must scroll way down to see …oh wait, it’s not in this article at all!

    From another article, we learn that Conyers used a unique loophole to not payout from the Judgment funds but instead to pay from his office budget.

    “a daunting process that ended with a confidentiality agreement in exchange for a settlement of more than $27,000. Her settlement, however, came from Conyers’ office budget rather than the designated fund for settlements.”

    Reference: https://www.buzzfeed.com/paulmcleod/she-complained-that-a-powerful-congressman-harassed-her?utm_term=.rrqVGN7lpa#.ll4qopB4kY

    “In this case, one of Conyers’ former employees was offered a settlement, in exchange for her silence, that would be paid out of Conyers’ taxpayer-funded office budget. His office would “rehire” the woman as a “temporary employee” despite her being directed not to come into the office or do any actual work, according to the document. The complainant would receive a total payment of $27,111.75 over the three months, after which point she would be removed from the payroll, according to the document.”

    Read that again: Her settlement was paid out from “payroll”: that’s timecard perjury by those who caused the payments to be made.

    This was a political cover-up, plain and simple. There will be DOCUMENTS on who did what when to cause the payments. It is FRAUD to convert “payroll” into a “severance”.

    And that this occurred by a Representative who was both on the Judiciary Committee and a leader to pass VAWA should make his actions EVEN WORSE! He clearly had roles where he had reason to KNOW his actions were illegal, yet he did them anyway and then used FRAUD to further hide them from public accountability.

    Unconscionable!

    Comment by Cornfed — November 26, 2017 @ 3:48 pm

  3. “It is FRAUD to convert ‘payroll’ into a ‘severance’.”

    The whole thing is obviously unsavory, but I’m not so sure about fraud. People get terminated with severance treated as normal payroll all the time. Payroll was, as I understand it, part of the Congressman’s “office budget.”

    Additionally, “severance” is not always, and in fact usually is not, a “one-time payout check.”

    Now if you want to argue that raising the pay of a person who probably wasn’t making 9K a month to 9K x three months during the severance period is some form of fraud, you might be on stronger ground. And of course the motivation for the severance is the heart of the issue.

    Comment by Tom — November 26, 2017 @ 4:19 pm

  4. Thanks for the definitions and clarification.

    Comment by Cornfed — November 26, 2017 @ 9:23 pm

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