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       *** MANDOS POST *** I have been thinking about writing another post about Britain and Brexit for some time, but every time I started it, there’d be literally another new dramatic twist, so I’d stop.  But now it seems like a corner is being turned. What the corner really is, we’ll still have time […]
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“Unnamed Sources” Up the Ante on Massa Harrassment Accusations

Eric Massa

Why are the powers that be so afraid of what newly retired New York Representative Eric Massa has to say about the treatment he has gotten from Rahm Emanuel? If Massa’s complaints are really so “ridiculous,” as the President’s press secretary Robert Gibbs said on Good Morning America today, why isn’t the White House simply ignoring him?

Carol D. Leonnig of the Washington Post has a new story up about alleged ethical accusations against newly retired Rep. Eric Massa (D-NY). According to these anonymous sources,

Former Rep. Eric Massa (D-N.Y.) has been under investigation for allegations that he groped multiple male staffers working in his office, according to three sources familiar with the probe.

The allegations surrounding the former lawmaker date back at least a year, and involve “a pattern of behavior and physical harassment,” according to one source. The new claims of alleged groping contradict statements by Massa, who resigned his office on Monday after it became public that he was the subject of a House ethics committee investigation for possible harassment.

Leonnig also writes that two anonymous sources claim that the sexual harrassment complaints against Massa were reported to the House Ethics Committee by a former staffer.

Massa’s former deputy chief of staff Ron Hikel provided the information about the staffers’ allegations to the House ethics committee three weeks ago. Hikel had earlier sought advice from Majority Leader Steny Hoyer’s office about brewing internal complaints, the sources said, and had been urged to report the allegations to the committee.

Hikel, reached at his home Tuesday, declined to comment on the ethics investigation.

According to this local WGRZ story, from March 5, Hikel claims to have been sexually harrassed by Massa.

An alleged harassment scandal involving the Southern Tier Congressman began four weeks ago.

That’s when a young male staffer in Massa’s office went to a senior member of the staff and said that Massa had been harassing him.

According to the Gannett’s Washington Burerau, that senior member was Massa’s former legislative director, Ronald S. Hikel, according to a source familiar with the investigation. Hikel is a military veteran and friend of Massa’s who was hired last year as the congressman’s expert on health care issues, the source said. His last day at work was Feb. 26.

2 On Your Side’s Erika Brason spoke to Hikel on the phone, but he would not confirm or deny any information.

I’ll continue to update this post with any new information I find.

A Sailor’s Daughter Discusses “Salty Language”

Crossing the line

Chris Bowers  headed to the fainting couch yesterday when Eric Massa violated his delicate sensibilities.  Massa recounted his days at sea and talked about the Crossing the Line ceremony for sailors who cross the equator for the first time.

My dad was one of those guys who crossed the line, having spent most of the Vietnam War at sea.  He was no typical squid.   He was a serious, family guy (or so we think).  He never swore.  When his ship was in port, we would sometimes go onboard and check the place out.  Those ships were labyrinthine places with lots of chutes and ladders that sailors would slide down on their elbows.   The food was pretty good, especially when my dad was in charge of the mess.  The sleeping quarters were tidy but cramped with narrow metal bunks  riveted onto the wall and stacked three bunks high.  Forget privacy.  People were coming and going at all times of the day and night as they finished their shifts and climbed into bed.  That’s where my dad lived for 8 months at a time while we lived in relative luxury at home.

Dad filmed a crossing the line ceremony once.  The film had that garish coloring of the home movie and was shot on a brilliantly sunny day somewhere in the Pacific.  What I remember of this hazing ritual was that the fattest sailor on the ship was dressed up like King Triton.  A bucket of something vile and disgusting was brought out and smeared on his belly.  The polliwogs were forced to crawl on their knees to the King and kiss his belly.  There were attendants to the king dressed up in drag with stringy blonde wigs.  My little sister and I were grossed out and fascinated at the same time.  Did our daddy have to do that too?  Ehh, by the time the film was shot, my dad was a veteran of such affairs.

We’re pretty sure that a shipful of males in the prime of their lives in the middle of nowhere on an endless sea communicate in a lot of salty language.  They must have gone nuts.  People are social animals.  They need family and friends and physical touch.  I can’t  imagine spending eight months at sea and never deliberately touching another human being.  I’m betting that my dad had some stories to tell, although I’ve heard that the really kinky sailors are on subs.  Even sailors like my dad were wary of them.   It’s different these days because life shipboard is not exclusively male.  Back when my dad was a sailor, it was the path for lower middle class guys to learn something and get ahead.  That’s probably why stories like Massa’s seem so foreign to the Chris Bowers and Josh Marshall’s of the world.  They can’t fathom what it’s like to be a poor working class guy stuck on s flat gray hunk of metal in the middle of the ocean months away from their wife and kids.

Eric Massa is an extrovert.  He looks like he’s a bit of a loose cannon as well.  I kinda like that about him.  And his stories of life aboard ship are going to resonate well with a lot of working class guys who took a similar route in life.  Maybe Massa can shake things up a bit while he has some face time with the public.  What does he have to lose at this point in time?  His leadership has apparently made an international incident out of something that took place at a wedding reception when he behaved like a drunken sailor and got carried away.  He regrets his behavior as unbecoming of a congressman, as well he should.  But if Massa were the standard for politicians, then Cheney should have been thrown out of office for telling a Senator to go fuck himself, Newt Gingrich would never be taken seriously again for getting blowjobs in his car from a staffer, and Jim Bunning would be publicly reprimanded for giving reporters the finger last week.  Let’s not pretend that Washington is a place where every day is a cotillion.  There are a lot worse sins than Massa’s and harrassment cases a lot more straightforward and unambiguous.

Bowers and Marshall reveal their revulsion of working class people when they get all fluttery over Massa’s life as a sailor.  But more than that, they reflexively smear a Democrat who challenges authority.  They get all nervous when a Democrat doesn’t conform.  They repeat the smears of Democratic leadership without reflection.  Does what Massa did rise to the level of impeachment?  Was it really harrassment?  Or is this a case of a guy who won’t stay in the lines and therefore must be punished? I really wish the A listers would stop and think about what they’re doing for a change.  Their initial reason for being was to stand outside the status quo.  Now, they are the status quo and carrying the water of the type of people they once railed against.

So, Eric Massa is going up to 11.  While I don’t particularly care for Glenn Beck, no publicity at this point is bad publicity.  Eric has nothing to lose.  Go for it, Eric.  Give’em hell.

And Chris Bowers can go frak himself.