Partisans, Wielding Money, Begin Seeking to Exploit Harassment Claims

Discussion in 'Politics' started by Kittamaru, Jan 1, 2018.

  1. Kittamaru Ashes to ashes, dust to dust. Adieu, Sciforums. Valued Senior Member


    As the #MeToo movement to expose sexual harassment roils the nation’s capital, political partisans are exploiting the moment, raising hundreds of thousands of dollars to support accusers who come forward with charges against President Trump and members of Congress, even amid questions about their motivation.

    As accusations take on a partisan tint, activists and lawyers fear that such an evolution could damage a movement that has shaken Hollywood, Silicon Valley, media suites in New York and the hallways of Congress — and has taken down both a Democratic fund-raiser, Harvey Weinstein, and a conservative stalwart, Bill O’Reilly.

    “There is a danger in this environment that unsophisticated individuals who have been abused by powerful people could be exploited by groups seeking partisan advantage, or by lawyers seeking a moment in the limelight,” said Debra Katz, a Washington lawyer who has brought sexual harassment cases against politicians from both parties.

    The lawyers and operatives behind the most politically charged cases brush off those concerns.

    “I approach this with a pure heart,” said Jack Burkman, a flamboyant Republican lawyer known for right-wing conspiracy theories who is seeking to represent sexual harassment victims. “I don’t want to see it politicized, even though, in a democracy, you see the political weaponization of everything.”

    Gloria Allred, a high-profile women’s rights lawyer and Democratic donor, is raising money to fund a lawsuit against Mr. Trump by a woman who says he sexually assaulted her. The woman, Summer Zervos, has filed a defamation suit against the president that could force Mr. Trump to respond to sexual misconduct accusations made in the closing weeks of the campaign by a raft of women.

    And a nonprofit group founded by the Democratic activist David Brock, which people familiar with the arrangements say secretly spent $200,000 on an unsuccessful effort to bring forward accusations of sexual misconduct against Mr. Trump before Election Day, is considering creating a fund to encourage victims to bring forward similar claims against Republican politicians.
    Hm, interesting... Especially

    The partisan efforts have already sparked some backlash. Mr. Cernovich and the far-right activist Charles C. Johnson, had to back away from claims that they possessed a sexual harassment settlement that would bring down a leading Democratic senator when it became apparent that the document — which targeted the Senate Democratic leader, Chuck Schumer of New York — was a forgery, lifting passages verbatim from the Conyers complaint unearthed by Mr. Cernovich. Mr. Schumer referred the matter to the Capitol Hill police for a criminal investigation.
    It's all just a political game now. Not surprised... just disappointed that this has started to become a thing already. I wonder if or how this will harm those looking for justice as they get grouped with those under scrutiny for political maneuvering and potential false claims.

    Cest la vie, America done fucked up again. Shocker.
  2. Google AdSense Guest Advertisement

    to hide all adverts.
  3. ElectricFetus Sanity going, going, gone Valued Senior Member

    No no no Kittamaru, bad sexist misogenist you, bad, women never lie!

    Anyways will this become 12018 the year of the overreach? If the right bring out tons of false claims now that they think they got the sexism upper hand in that their side will counter any claim as "fake news" while democrats (like Franken) have to apologize for "not remembering" because god forbid they claim they are being slandered falsely by women, eventually the left will have to wake up to how baseless and politicized sexual harassment claims have become. I have already heard it internally in the DFL, but no one is saying it very openly other then in the need for due process.

    If we are lucky this tactic will become utterly useless by the elections, and people will go back to arguing policy (I can dream can't I?). The problem of course is the pussy grabber and chief, but russia may prove to be better impeachment material against him.
  4. Google AdSense Guest Advertisement

    to hide all adverts.
  5. spidergoat Venued Serial Membership Valued Senior Member

    False accusations are revealing themselves as they should. What's the problem?
  6. Google AdSense Guest Advertisement

    to hide all adverts.
  7. Kittamaru Ashes to ashes, dust to dust. Adieu, Sciforums. Valued Senior Member

    I guess technically there is no problem here, if we are going to accept the use of Sexual Harassment allegations to undercut opponents as a political strategy.

    People, with money, offering to fund lawsuits and allegations that suit their interests, while leaving other victims out in the cold... does that really require an explanation as to why it's a problem?
  8. ElectricFetus Sanity going, going, gone Valued Senior Member

    I would assume they will top funding once they can no longer get political traction out of false allegations, in the mean time though its is a gold mine.
  9. iceaura Valued Senior Member

    With enough power and money behind them, it often won't matter whether the accusations are "revealed" to be false or not. They move the Overton Window anyway. Look at what happened to Clinton. (Or Lyndon Johnson's famous Texas pig farmer opponent, when he was just starting his career - everybody knew the guy hadn't actually been caught having sex with his pigs, but as Johnson put it when helping spread the rumor: "I just want to see him deny it". )

    Meanwhile, the real trouble comes from the way power and money influences the handling of not-false accusations - not quite false, not exactly baseless, but not exactly as publicized either. It's power's influence over how the guilty are handled, not the innocent, that does the major damage. That is the standard authoritarian play - it's not that the jails of America are full of innocent black men, it's that the guilty white men are treated differently.
  10. ElectricFetus Sanity going, going, gone Valued Senior Member

    That is an incredibly powerful and true statement. People like Trump will remain untouched (the women he grabed on the other hand...) while others will be disparaged and have their political careers ruined by accusations that may are may not be true, even if found untrue the damage will already be done.* because they lack an alt-right twitter brigade, a Fox News, a whole right-wing propaganda monstrosity, from fox to britbart, to defend them and disparage any claim against them.

    For Blacks and Whites the problem starts at police that let a white kid pass with some pot but search and destroy a black kid instead. The easiest solution to that specific problem is legalize weed.

    *Hillary is not in jail and most likely never will be, but the accusation she was imprisonable did its job very well.
  11. billvon Valued Senior Member

    I don't think anyone should be left out in the cold. I also think that abuse victims facing very powerful abusers need more help than someone facing an abuser they are on more of an equal footing with.
  12. ElectricFetus Sanity going, going, gone Valued Senior Member

    Extra help from the republican party for example.
  13. Kittamaru Ashes to ashes, dust to dust. Adieu, Sciforums. Valued Senior Member


    Agreed - the problem in this case is that these benefactors aren't doing this for altruistic reasons - they are politicizing and weaponizing these victims as a power-play.

    This is potentially very bad, as it risks further segregating and demonizing of victims, especially as stories emerge of people taking this money and presenting false accusations. It will hurt actual victims chances of ever getting justice because they will face even more opposition and cries of "fake news".
  14. spidergoat Venued Serial Membership Valued Senior Member

    Bells likes this.
  15. Bells Staff Member

    This has always been a thing and it exists all over the world.

    Campaigns and those working with campaigns will often offer money for dirt. Sex crime dirt in particular.

    It isn't new and it hasn't been brought in with the #MeToo movement. Suffice to say, parties have been paying for and releasing information on their oppositions sex crimes or sex lives for decades.

    And if the person is guilty of that crime, does that matter? Or would you rather simply not know because it may have been released by the opposing faction?

    More to the point, are you upset that there are Democrats who are helping fund and finance Trump's accuser's lawyer fees?


    Victims become demonised when supporters of candidates lose their proverbial shit that the information has been released, they start ranting about how it is false or "fake", they start casting doubt on the victims by going on about the false accusation myth. The victims are getting justice by getting their stories out, and by potentially taking these people to court. It's the supporters of those candidates who lose sight of all reason for the sake of politics.

    Put simply, would you rather know if your preferred candidate molested women or little girls even if that information comes by way of an opposing faction? Or not know if the politician in question is one from the party you vote for? Are you upset that many Republicans stayed home or did a write in against Moore, based on the accusations against him, for example? Or how about Trump and the many women who have come forward, many with the support of Democrat funded lawyers? Do you think that's bad too?

    If you are so concerned about the victims, then perhaps you should check your own behaviour in regards to one particular politician from a few weeks back, when you lost your proverbial shit and went on a misogynistic rampage for the sake of politics.

    That's what is bad for the victims. Not their managing to get their stories out. Sure, sometimes those offering up money are doing it for political reasons. But if it means one less sex offender in a position of authority in politics, then so be it.

    You should also consider that going by your own link in the OP, few have actually been successful in offering money to out sex offenders in politics. Trump's case is still to be heard or make it to court, the others never really panned out and most never took up the offer. The allegations against Conyers were presented to a Republican before he started offering up money, and he passed it on to a progressive news site for them to investigate and break the story if they found it was true. The story with that one was even bigger, since it also involved the discovery of the slush fund for Congress to pay out to accusers. Which is insane when one considers the implications.

    So the question remains, would you rather know? Or not know?

    And would you reconsider how you carried on about the victims, for the sake of your politics?
  16. ElectricFetus Sanity going, going, gone Valued Senior Member

    Or? This is not mutually exclusive situation.

    Reason is to ask for due process, that we can't conclude guilt for serious crimes, like how you murder and eat children, simply because people like you think false accusations are mythical, especially when it is politically advantageous for the other side to make false accusations.

    lets look at a mythical false accusations:

    Now Bells, are women people? If so then they can and will lie, because that is what people do. They can most certainly be bribed to make false statements too.

    I ask again: would you have voted for Bill Clinton or Bob Dole? I would think just the issue of abortion, bob's tepid disapproval of a unconditional ban vs bills' support of abortion especially after he fucks them, is enough to choose the lesser evil.

    YES YES I DO! They should have been tried in a court of law years ago! Neither would be in politics now had women come out THEN, now we have the pussy grabber in chief because no one went to the police! Accusations now are useless, maybe we could have an impeachment trial for Trump, but that is not going to happen unless we have democratic rule of the legislator, and even if we get him kicked out we get Pence.

    I'm more concerned about society.[/QUOTE]
  17. Kittamaru Ashes to ashes, dust to dust. Adieu, Sciforums. Valued Senior Member

    The fact that a gofundme has to exist for justice to be served is, honestly, kind of sickening. Course, same could be said about it needing to exist for covering lifesaving medical procedures in this country.

    It would make more sense to me if, instead of forcing victims to shell out thousands to tends of thousands of dollars (or more) to seek legal relief, perhaps it would make sense to instead have the costs of the case(s) held until the end where, if the accused is found guilty, they are required to also cover all legal fees associated with the case; if found not guilty, then the costs are picked up as they are now. (If there is a settlement, then the costs would be handled therein)

    I think it's notable that we are, seemingly, on the verge of repeating the same mistakes made in the mid 90's - that is, making snap decisions to complicated problems and, instead of creating solutions and making things better, making things worse as a result of going off half cocked.

    For example:

    The U.S. legal landscape was reshaped by federal laws passed in the mid-1990s, in response to heinous but statistically unusual crimes involving stranger abduction, rape and murder. The Wetterling Act required convicted sex offenders to register with local authorities, and Megan’s Law required law enforcement to notify neighbors about the presence of a sex offender in their community. As a result, all states now post searchable online lists of at least some categories of registered sex offenders. The U.S. Department of Justice links all the states’ registries in a single searchable site, available to neighbors, employers, landlords and the public at large.
    That sounds all well and good - empower the public to protect themselves and be aware of such violent and abusive individuals; nothing wrong with that. The idea is sound and it makes sense (and, arguably, it has helped).

    Problem is:

    These public lists do include some violent repeat offenders, which was the original aim of the laws. But the registries have grown rapidly — to nearly three-quarters of a million registrants at latest count. Culpability and harm vary greatly in the offenses for which people are registered. Some states require exhibitionists and “peeping Toms” to register. By best estimates, a large majority is registered for conviction on first offenses involving neither violence nor coercion (or even, in some cases, physical contact). Many registrants would not be classified as criminal under European laws, which set lower ages of consent than do American laws. Registrants even include minors who had consensual sex with their high school sweethearts, or who traded self-taken sexually explicit photos with their peers (“sexting”).

    Such provisions were promoted as applying to the “worst of the worst,” like child rapists and violent repeat offenders. In practice, they turn expansive classes of people into pariah outcasts who can never be reintegrated back into society: adults who supplied pornography to teenage minors; young schoolteachers who foolishly fell in love with one of their students; men who urinated in public, or were caught having sex in remote areas of public parks after dark.

    Why is this relevant? Simple - scope creep. The laws were not written to be specific enough, and so what they cover has expanded beyond its intent... to the point that basic civil rights are at risk:

    Other laws go further still. Civil commitment procedures allow for the indefinite detention of sex offenders after the completion of their sentences. Many states require some sex offenders to be monitored for life with electronic bracelets and global positioning devices. A 2006 law, the Adam Walsh Act, established a federal pilot program to use global positioning to keep an eye on sex offenders.
    So not only are we lumping nonviolent offenders in with rapists, we are taking these people and holding them against their will, sometimes indefinitely... for what? Public urination? Stupid choices?

    Sure, violent sexual offenders should be harshly punished; I don't think anyone of sound mind and reasonable moral standing would argue against that fact... but that isn't what is happening.

    According to classical precepts, just laws are supposed to deter crime, to apply determinate punishments in proportion to real harm, and to rehabilitate offenders. U.S. sex offender laws fail on all three counts. They violate basic legal principles and amount to excessive and enduring forms of punishment.
    Now, it looks like we are ready to make this same mistake all over again, by allowing fear and anger to make decisions instead of logic and rational thought... and it is going to harm the cause and make it harder for victims in the end.
  18. Kittamaru Ashes to ashes, dust to dust. Adieu, Sciforums. Valued Senior Member


    We now have an opportunity for profound reform, for women and men to join together to treat each other with dignity and respect. But as this unexpected revolution unfolds, we should also keep in mind the dangers of creating new injustices in the service of correcting old ones.

    For that, it’s useful to look at how reforms played out on campus, where, unfortunately, many of the Obama administration’s good intentions went awry. Among the principles and polices that have become entrenched at schools—and are now spilling out into the wider world—are the beliefs that accusers are virtually always telling the truth; that the urgency to take action is more important than fair procedures; that we shouldn’t make distinctions between criminal acts and boorishness; and that predatory male behavior is ubiquitous. These beliefs have resulted in many campus cases in which the accused was treated with fundamental unfairness, spawning a legal subspecialty of suing schools on behalf of these young men. Examining what happened on campuses shows where the politics and social rules of interaction between the sexes might be headed—and how to avoid making the same mistakes on a larger scale.

    This made it sound as if either Franken knew he had done inappropriate things and wouldn’t admit it, or he believed he hadn’t but couldn’t say so—proclaiming his innocence would mean casting aspersions on his accusers’ truthfulness. Franken sounded as if he had taken last year’s mandatory Title IX training for freshman at the University of Southern California, where the first piece of advice given to USC students accused of sexual assault is to acknowledge the likelihood that they are guilty, as documented in an article in the conservative outlet Campus Reform: “Admit to yourself that even if you don’t remember the event, or don’t believe yourself capable of hurting someone, that it’s possible that you may have crossed a boundary.”

    In the announcement of his resignation, Franken took a more defiant tone, backing off the admonition to believe his accusers’ version of events. He said he had “wanted to be respectful of that broader conversation, because all women deserve to be heard and their experiences taken seriously,” but that his statements “gave some people the false impression that I was admitting to doing things that in fact I haven’t done. Some of the allegations against me are simply not true. Others I remember very differently.” So we are left knowing Franken was forced out by his Democratic colleagues, but not knowing exactly what to believe about the charges against him.
    In our rush to defend victims, we need to be careful not to jump into the "guilty until proven innocent" mindset... but then, it seems, in many ways we are already there:

    The case of veteran New York public radio host Leonard Lopate illustrates what such “interim measures” look like in the workplace. On Wednesday, just before he was about to go on the air, Lopate was told he was being suspended because an investigation of “many” sexual harassment complaints against him was underway. He told the New York Times that he was “shocked” and “baffled” and that WNYC “didn’t even give me a clue” about the nature of the allegations.He added, “I am sure any honest investigation will completely clear me.” Indeed, both Lopate and the public are entitled to hear the results of a fair investigation. But surely before being publicly shamed, Lopate was entitled to know what the accusations against him were.
    Whether or not he is guilty is irrelevant here, as punishment was met out before guilt was established. That is a dangerous standard to set, and it is a standard some representatives seem to like:

    At a 2015 congressional hearing on campus sexual assault, Representative Jared Polis of Colorado suggested that anyone accused of sexual misconduct should be dismissed without any fact-finding at all. “If there are 10 people who have been accused, and under a reasonable likelihood standard maybe one or two did it, it seems better to get rid of all 10 people.
    Lump the innocent in with the guilty, for the benefit of the whole...? We are implementing a divisive ideal of fear, where danger lurks around every corner and every accusation has to be taken at face value and the accused punished immediately, sometimes before even knowing what they are being accused of... to what end? Will this actually eliminate sexual harassment, or even reduce it?

    As Laura Kipnis, a feminist professor at Northwestern, writes in her book, Unwanted Advances, “I can think of no better way to subjugate women than to convince us that assault is around every corner.”​

    Even then, this entire #MeToo movement feels like it is being treated as a "problem over there" and not something here at home... and it is leaving swathes of those it says it exists to protect behind.

    For Black women especially, the fact that the conversation is almost entirely dominated by white women preyed upon by white men means that for those dealing with the added pressure of misogynoir their stories get even less attention. The incredible journalism from Buzzfeed on R&B singer R. Kelly is just one example of this double standard. According to reporter Jim DeRogatis, Kelly is continuing to hold women essentially captive in several of his homes and is controlling every aspect of their daily lives. By and large young Black women, his victims are often made to lie to their parents and change their behavior according to his whims - not to mention the sexual abuse.

    One would think that the story of a major-label artist holding multiple women captive would have been the sort of thing that would have ended Kelly’s career like it did Kevin Spacey’s or Louis C.K.’s. Instead, the story has been largely dismissed by the media, in part because the victims are not “sympathetic enough” - i.e., they are not white. Young Black and Hispanic women are more often abused than white women, and at much younger ages. But because we are conditioned to believe not only that these women are inferior but that they are sexually deviant, we dismiss and deny their experiences in favor of narratives that better suit our paradigms.

    But besides the ways that #MeToo is failing to tell the stories of survivors in authentic, honest ways, it also seems like there is no way out. There is no end game. It could be months, years, or decades of exposures and stories of abuse. It’s as if in an attempt to clear a forest of dead and diseased trees, the woodcutters are trampling on the fragile undergrowth, struggling to find sunlight and grow. We need to be having these conversations. What we don’t need to do is step on the backs of survivors - especially marginalized ones - to have them.
    The list goes on and on and on. Knee-jerk reactions and rapid fire condemnation isn't going to fix anything.

    And now... now we have politically motivated groups offering up large sums of money to fund litigation against political opponents to further their own political agendas.

    This isn't justice... it's the prelude to a witch hunt, one that can damage the cause for years to come. When this reaches a fever pitch and people are forced to start becoming more and more skeptical (which already is a problem), and the money dries up... what is going to be left for other victims to do? They will make their claims, and likely be waved off as politically motivated or just looking for a story.

    Is that what we want... because that doesn't seem to be "justice" for anyone except those with money and power.

    Lets stop fooling ourselves and start actually trying to fix the problem.
  19. Kittamaru Ashes to ashes, dust to dust. Adieu, Sciforums. Valued Senior Member

    No doubt this is not going to be a popular set of thoughts... but the truth often isn't. Ultimately, we need to step back, evaluate, and act appropriately - otherwise we are going to further the divide between those who have power and those who don't... and as is happening in this case, we will see those with power using victims and their stories to attack others.

    I don't think it is unfair, unwarranted, or uncouth to say that a victim of sexual harassment deserves better than being turned into a political pawn... yet that seems to be exactly the kind of situation we are rapidly heading towards.

    What about those victims who were harassed by some no-name person? Are they to be cast aside because their assailant is a nobody and politically / socially irrelevant? I don't think so... yet I don't see these partisan folk lining up to help fund their cases.
  20. Bells Staff Member

    You keep asking for due process, but you don't seem to understand what it means.

    That's not what due process is about.
    You really are a pathetic and ridiculous troll.
    The myth of false accusations, which are exceptionally rare, is to attempt to use it to silence women speaking out. It's a right wing misogynistic tool to silence women. Why are you spreading such propaganda?
    Yep. Now compare that to how many other cases that were reported that were not false. Once again, since you appear to be incapable of understanding big words.

    False rape accusations are really rare.

    Why do you keep pushing this myth in your zeal to silence women attempting to speak out?
    Stop enabling a culture that harms women (and men).
    You are blaming the victims for Trump being elected?

    You seem to be confusing civil and criminal cases.

    How do you figure?

    If anything, the women speaking out are showing that they are no longer afraid.

    Why is this a problem for you?

    You seem to be contradicting yourself, yet again. One minute you are for the victim and in the next, you seem to be arguing that these victims should not always be believed or they should be treated differently in some way or fashion. Why?

    Do you realise how damaging it is to victims when they are not believed?
    The organisation investigated the allegations and then fired him.

    As they are within their rights to do so. He was suspended when the reports were made about his behaviour (which is standard for most organisations), and it was investigated and he was found to have broken the company's rules in how he behaved and so he was fired.

    What is your problem with that?

    Secondly, I seriously doubt he was not made aware of what the actual accusations were. He would probably not have been told the names of the 4 women who were accusing him, for obvious reasons, but he would have been advised of why.. Not to mention the fact that he had been made to undergo training in the past for his problematic behaviour after previous reports were made against him, prior to the #MeToo movement. So he was aware (he was warned back in February of last year) that he was dancing on thin ice in how he interacted with his co-workers when it comes to harassment before further accusations were made and they decided to suspend him (since previous attempts, such as training, for example, failed to change his behaviour).

    Do you have a problem with how the company handled it?

    *Raise eyebrows*

    Why are you disagreeing with this?

    Aren't you the one who kept plugging away the whole trolley cart, put the good of the majority over that of the minority? Flicking that switch?
    Considering you are basing this on a guy who had a history of such behaviour, had been warned about the behaviour in the past and made to undergo harassment training for having harassed female staff, don't you think you are being a tad ridiculous with these claims?

    Secondly, are you arguing against believing victims, or taking each accusation at face value?
  21. ElectricFetus Sanity going, going, gone Valued Senior Member

    Going to the police, a court of law deciding guilt?

    So this is all you got? Insults? pathetic ones at that, like literally pathetic.

    Rare? How do you know this? From the 2-8% of proven false accusations? Yeah and what percentage of rapes are convicted? what like 6%? What does that mean about the other 93%? It is purely your opinion that false rape accusations are "exceptionally rare" as we have ~88% of he-said-she-said in which no one knows the fucking truth, NO ONE!

    Anyways lets go on your premise that all false accusations are 2-8%? Does that make it ok to just slander a person because there is only a 1/20 chance they are innocent?

    How is asking they go to the police "silence women attempting to speak out"? Public hysterias is not "speaking out" it is only harmful for the cause.

    Let me get this straight, saying women are people, and that people lie, is "enabling a culture that harms women (and men)"... how? First of all it is fact, I not going to lie to myself because the facts can result in unwanted consequences, I will just try to do things to mitigate the consequences while acknowledging reality.

    When you put it like that... well that like blaming the guy that did not shoot hitler. Yes that guy fucked up, I mean I don't want him punished for fucking up, but yeah fucked up. Likewise had the victims of trump's self admitted pussy grabbing pressed charges decades ago maybe they would have saved the world the horror of president trump, oh well opportunity missed, hopefully people will learn from that, which they presently are not doing by enabling trump and his ilk by having a temper tantrum on social media instead.
  22. billvon Valued Senior Member

    Do you think people who supported the victims of Roy Moore were "weaponizing" them? I don't. Given what those women had to endure (including death threats) they needed all the help they could get. And if some of that support came from people who wanted to support victims of sexual violence AND who thought Roy Moore was a child molester who shouldn't be elected - that is still support, and it's still a good thing.
  23. ElectricFetus Sanity going, going, gone Valued Senior Member

    Did these women have death threats before coming out publicly about it? Had they gone to the police years ago, under law their names would have been kept secret to prevent public persecution.

    I think Roy Moore should not have been elected because he is a conservative bible thumping ideologue who wants to implement policies that will harm us all simply because he 'thunk god don command it!' We all know Bill Clinton sexual harassed interns and secretaries that were not willing (and got blow jobs and sex from the ones that were willing) despite his behavior I would vote for him over just about any republican, unless that republican wanted legalize abortion, legalized drugs, high taxes on the rich, universal healthcare, It at least know Bill wants those things, but he is a pussy footing (trigger warning: pussy footing means how a scared cat places its feet, has nothing to do with women) moderate that gave into just about any compromise.

Share This Page