Tuesday, December 17, 2019

Last Call For Russian To Judgment, Con't

The hammer fell today on former Paul Manafort partner turned government witness Rick Gates, who did not emerge from his sentencing hearing in front of Judge Amy Berman Jackson unscathed, and we learned that Manafort himself was the one who bribed Gates to not cooperate.

A federal prosecutor on Tuesday — at the long-awaited sentencing of former Trump campaign deputy chairman Rick Gates –elaborated on the previously non-specific detail that Gates was offered “monetary assistance” not to cooperate with the Mueller investigation. Assistant U.S. Attorney Molly Gaston said that former Trump campaign chairman Paul Manafort, whom Gates went on to testify against, offered Gates access to a legal defense fund if Gates agreed not to cooperate with the government.
The government’s motion for downward departure only said last week that Gates was pressured not to cooperate and that he was offered monetary assistance, but didn’t get more specific than that:

Finally, is important to note that the public nature of this case has made Gates and Gates’ family the subject of intense media scrutiny. Gates’ cooperation has been steadfast despite the fact that the government has asked for his assistance in high profile matters, against powerful individuals, in the midst of a particularly turbulent environment. Gates received pressure not to cooperate with the government, including assurances of monetary assistance. He should be commended for standing up to provide information and public testimony against individuals such as Manafort, Craig, and Stone, knowing well that they enjoy support from the upper echelons of American politics and society. Based on his substantial assistance, the government recommends a downward departure and does not oppose Gates’ request for a probationary sentence.

The government praised Gates for testifying against Manafort, Greg Craig, and Roger Stone, despite the fact that these individuals had friends in high places. They also asked Judge Amy Berman Jackson to sentence Gates to probation, citing his “extraordinary” cooperation with the government.

Instead, Jackson sentenced Gates on Tuesday to 45 days behind bars that will be served on weekends. The judge tacked on three years of probation and 300 hours of community service.

Six months' worth of weekends is better than no jail time, I suppose, and I really hope he ends up cleaning public toilets for a couple of months, but that's just me.

Still, he did help bury Manafort and Stone.  At least some justice came from the Mueller investigation.

The Reach To Impeach, Con't

With 24 hours until the historic vote, and marches planned across the country later today, the Washington Post takes a look at where the House stands on articles of impeachment.

House Democratic leaders introduced two articles of impeachment against President Trump on Dec. 10: one for abuse of power and one for obstruction of Congress. 
[Everything you need to know about impeachment] 
Trump will be impeached if the House passes one or both articles by a simple majority (That means House Democrats need 216 votes given the current makeup of the House — there are a handful of vacant seats). More than 200 House Democrats have announced their support for both articles of impeachment. 
A two-thirds majority of senators present would then have to vote to convict and remove the president from office. 
The House is expected to vote on the articles before the Christmas recess. Below is a tally of how House members are expected to vote on impeachment. None have yet said they will vote for just one article, but we will track that here if they do.

The count stands at 206 for, with ten more needed out of 27 uncommitted so far.  Now Republican Jeff Van Drew is against the measure, and so far only Minnesota Democrat Colin Peterson has defected.  Independent Justin Amash, driven out of the GOP for even entertaining the idea of impeachment, is a yes vote.

We'll see where the vote lands tomorrow.

The Beat Reporter Beat Is Beat

As much as I complain about the media in this country being a bunch of DC cocktail party circuit nimrods, the fact is I'm glad I didn't go into the field like I wanted to 25 years ago.

Hundreds of freelance writers at Vox Media, primarily those covering sports for the SB Nation site, will lose their jobs in the coming months as the company prepares for a California law to go into effect that will force companies to reclassify contractors in the state as employees.

“This is a bittersweet note of thanks to our California independent contractors,” John Ness, executive director of SB Nation, wrote in a post on Monday. “In 2020, we will move California’s team blogs from our established system with hundreds of contractors to a new one run by a team of new SB Nation employees.”

In a separate memo seen by CNBC, Ness said that California contractors can apply for a full-time or part-time position in California. Contractors who wish to continue contributing can do so but “need to understand they will not be paid for future contributions,” he said. “We know this may be a difficult decision, so we’re giving everyone affected 30 days to decide what works for them,” Ness added.

The announcement follows the September passage of Assembly Bill 5 (AB5) by the California Assembly and its signing by Gov. Gavin Newsom. Targeted primarily at ride-hailing and food delivery companies like Uber, Lyft, DoorDash and PostMates, the legislation requires gig economy workers to be hired as employees with benefits like health coverage and minimum wage protections.

As it pertains to Vox, the law forbids nonemployees from submitting more than 35 pieces per year. Most of the changes at Vox will be at SB Nation, which has writers all over the country covering professional and college sports, but will also touch other sites like Curbed and Eater, according to a person familiar with the matter.

SB Nation is posting about 20 part-time and full-time jobs, so some of the freelancers may be hired on as staff, said the person, who asked not to be named because not all the details have been made public. A few of them were posted on Monday.

California takes action to make gig contractors actual employees, employers respond by laying off everyone and actually expecting people to work for zero dollars instead.

This is going to be the big fight over the next decade.  Employers will be reclassifying everyone as contractors.  It's not just journalism or IT either, at technology eliminates more and more industries eintirely.

We're going to have to come to grips with that, and in the last 25 years we've dona  dismal job of it.  Collective bargaining and organized labor are needed more than ever.  Where's a gig economy smartphone app for that?


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