Is it pitchfork time yet?
September 24, 2018 9:20 AM   Subscribe

Brett Kavanaugh, nominee to the Supreme Court, faces more and more allegations of sexual assault. Michael Avenatti has entered the fray. Something's up with Deputy AG Rod Rosenstein. A UN General Assembly Meeting is this week, and Trump is set to chair a Security Council meeting. And among other things, the Trump administration seeks another tightening of immigration rules.

Michael Avenatti tweeted last night with some very graphic details. By request, please do not include the most graphic details in this thread. Bloodless facts like dates, accusers, etc. are fine.

The list of women accusing Kavanaugh is now up to four: Christine Blasey Ford, Deborah Ramirez, one unnamed client of Michael Avenatti, and another accusation being investigated by Montgomery County.

As of now, Ford is set to testify in front of Congress on Thursday, but that could change at any time. Republicans are discussing how to interrogate her without looking bad.

In the past week, Rosenstein was the center of a firestorm that started with a NYT story, Rosenstein Suggested He Secretly Record Trump and Discussed 25th Amendment. Further reporting has only made the story more uncertain and murky. Around 11:00 am, Axios and the Washington Post reported a rumor from White House officials, saying that Rosenstein had offered his verbal resignation. NBC quickly reported that was NOT the case, and Rosenstein had instead been summoned to a meeting at the White House. At the time of this writing, no one knows what's going on.

Deputy AG Rosenstein is one of the key people keeping the Mueller investigation rolling, and firing him is one of the things Trump might do to stop that investigation (here's some discussion about the legal realities of that.) For that reason, Rosenstein being fired is one of the Moveon Rapid Response triggers.

Everything else is still going on at the same damn time. Trump administration seeks to limit access to visas or residency for immigrants who use or are likely to use public assistance (Washington Post)
posted by Rainbo Vagrant (2184 comments total) 118 users marked this as a favorite
 
As always, please consider MeFi chat for hot-takes and live-blogging breaking news, the current MetaTalk venting thread for catharsis and sympathizing, and funding the site if you're able. Also, for the sake of the ever-helpful mods, please keep in mind the MetaTalk on expectations about U.S. political discussion on MetaFilter.
posted by Rainbo Vagrant at 9:22 AM on September 24 [15 favorites]


Around 11:00 am, Axios and the Washington Post reported a rumor from White House officials, saying that Rosenstein had offered his verbal resignation.

Stop. Believing. These. People.
posted by OnTheLastCastle at 9:22 AM on September 24 [126 favorites]


I'm guessing the White House thought they could pull a head fake by floating the resignation balloon and goad Rosenstein into a "You can't fire me, I quit" resignation, but he wasn't nearly dumb enough to fall for it.
posted by 0xFCAF at 9:24 AM on September 24 [22 favorites]


Trump blinked before Rosenstein did.
posted by jaduncan at 9:24 AM on September 24 [27 favorites]


Stop. Believing. These. People.

I would amplify that: I don't think that anyone believes them, I just want the media to stop repeating them. It's not news that someone says something anymore. We're beyond that.
posted by Etrigan at 9:28 AM on September 24 [100 favorites]


I found this interesting from last thread, from zachlipton:

> Shortly before his retirement, Justice Kennedy came around to the position of hostility toward Chevron Deference. This is the explicit project of Don McGahn and the Federalist Society. There's no subtlety here; they're quite clearly saying that they are picking judges who will dismantle "the administrative state."

Another different interesting thing: The Democrats' Next Supreme Court Nominee (Slate). Meet Patricia Millett, the hero of the Jane Doe abortion case and a worthy successor to Ruth Bader Ginsburg.

===

final threadkeeping note: Per the July 28 Metatalk discussion, we should expect and plan for a new politics thread next Monday (Oct 1). The Metafilter wiki has a FPP Draft that anyone can collaborate on.
posted by Rainbo Vagrant at 9:31 AM on September 24 [28 favorites]


link, US Politics FPP draft
posted by Rainbo Vagrant at 9:32 AM on September 24 [7 favorites]


Stop reporting anything that comes out of this den of liars until verified with a third party / physical evidence. More evidence the WH reporters with "inside access" are just stenographers (as Colbert nailed it years ago).
posted by benzenedream at 9:33 AM on September 24 [15 favorites]


[Folks, I know a fresh new thread is tempting, but keep this information-dense or it won't actually help. Thanks. ]
posted by restless_nomad (staff) at 9:35 AM on September 24 [22 favorites]


I think, as a couple of y'all had said, that this was a trial balloon or a ploy to make Rosenstein quit. Trump wants Mueller out so badly he can taste it. I'm hoping Mueller is readying something to drop quickly.
posted by azpenguin at 9:38 AM on September 24 [14 favorites]




I think, as a couple of y'all had said, that this was a trial balloon or a ploy to make Rosenstein quit. Trump wants Mueller out so badly he can taste it.

The stupid thine -- one of the stupid things -- among the stupid things about this move, if move it was, is that it put the Washington press in the frame of mind that Rosenstein's resignation might not be the obvious obstruction of justice that Trump firing him would be.

Now if Trump does fire Rosenstein, it'll contrast with the resignation story and make the obstruction obvious (or, as i said in the previous thread, that if he offered to resign if the Mueller investigation was safeguarded, and Trump refused, it'd cast in even more stark relief that his firing was to shield Trump from a criminal probe).
posted by Gelatin at 9:47 AM on September 24 [2 favorites]


About the theoretical Rosenstein resignation/firing. Whatever meeting happened last night, whatever might have been said, it isn't really news. But if my life had gone in a very different direction, and I were a GOP political strategist, I'd absolutely use this as both a distraction from the escalating very real and serious Kavanaugh mess, as well as the UN and Pompeo's NK disarmament speech. All of which is great cover because it is real and momentarily imprtant, and distracts from the other ongoing serious but not sensational governmental and regulatory dismantling that is the real work and goal.

But it is an even better test of media outlets and response, both by reporters and the general public. Amazing how the conversation has shifted. It is a very handy tool to have.

Josh Barro gets it: The fun thing about this Rosenstein news cycle is we can do it over and over and over again.
posted by monopas at 9:48 AM on September 24 [23 favorites]


I suspect I'm preaching to the choir but, here goes:

Please do not let the deluge of everything that's happening distract you from doing the work that needs to be done for midterms.
-- Donate (up and down the ballot, local elections matter)
-- Make sure you are registered
-- Make sure your friends, family and neighbors are registered and have a plan to vote
-- Volunteer to canvass, write postcards, phonebank, textbank, help in campaign offices, GOTV...

And, most importantly, do not give in to the sins of despair or complacency. If we aren't doing the work, who will? Keeping on top of the news is not a substitute for making change.
posted by mcduff at 9:50 AM on September 24 [86 favorites]


PSA: When the thread gets long, you may want to give the MetaFilter Reader interface a shot. Reader loads up 15 comments at a time, so the total length of the discussion is immaterial. It should offer a snappy experience on just about any device with JavaScript enabled.

It's fast, but you can't comment from the Reader interface. Which, to be honest, may be a bonus for some :)
posted by syzygy at 9:51 AM on September 24 [32 favorites]


Statement from Sarah Sanders: "At the request of Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenestiein, he and President Trump had an extended conversation to discuss the recent news stories. Because the President is at the United Nations General Assembly and has a full schedule with leaders from around the world, they will meet on Thursday when the President returns from Washington, D.C."

So yeah, we get to do this again Thursday, the day of the Kavanaugh hearing. And possibly every single day.

They've already taken advantage of the occasion for a corrupt purpose too: Trump Lawyers Demand Mueller Probe ‘Time Out’ if Rosenstein is Ousted, in which Sekulow and Giuliani (how weird is it that Sekulow has a radio show?) that there needs to be "basically a time out" on the Mueller investigation if Rosenestin is out.

----

@jdawsey1: Kellyanne Conway just defended Brett Kavanaugh on a call with White House surrogates, urged them to defend his nomination. Compared judge to "elite media figures" like Les Moonves & Harvey Weinstein who have been accused of sexual harassment/assault, per two people on call. White House is full steam ahead on Kavanaugh nomination, per four people. Surrogates being urged to defend him; talking points against New Yorker story circulating; lots of calls, huddles about his nomination.

Um, what the what now? I would really like to know more about how she compared Kavanaugh to Weinstein please.

Update: @KellyannePolls: Your leakers need to take better notes. My comparison is to the hypocritical way some in media have covered unverified teenage claims about Judge Kavanaugh & yet protected adult media men who raped threatened & harmed women for decades.

Ugh.
posted by zachlipton at 9:53 AM on September 24 [40 favorites]


mcduff reminds me that I've been meaning to mention that I've been canvassing neighborhoods in Indianapolis and Marion County over the past couple of weekends. The Democrats are pushing hard to get the vote out for Joe Donnelly.

I've had receptions ranging from "I'm still undecided" to "heck yeah i'm voting for Donnelly!" -- and a couple of Republicans who were are least polite -- but while some of the voters I spoke to specifically mentioned wanting Donnelly to be a check on Trump, not a one of them said they wanted him to be more bipartisan.
posted by Gelatin at 9:54 AM on September 24 [36 favorites]


Compared judge to "elite media figures" like Les Moonves & Harvey Weinstein who have been accused of sexual harassment/assault

Does Conway really mean to compare Kavanaugh with two men who were so obviously guilty that they were fired?
posted by Gelatin at 9:57 AM on September 24 [26 favorites]


OK, so let me do some thinking on this from the perspective of Axios & the WP. They got told, by "White House officials" that Rosenstien had offered to resign. It's now becoming apparent that was not the case at all. When does the media becoming tired of being used as patsies in these games, and go back to the mysterious "White House official" and say "OK, shithead, you fed us an outright lie. Here's the story I'm running, which identifies you by name, and outlines the possible motivations for why you lied to me. I'm giving you a chance to respond. The story will be printed with or without your response. Have a nice day."
posted by nubs at 9:57 AM on September 24 [94 favorites]


To clarify, I said that the Rosenstein thing isn't news because it isn't. It is just a rumor that is a seed that could become part of the narrative, but nothing has actually happened...

Well, now there's been a statement that there's been a meeting, and they're going to keep the pot simmering on the stove until Thursday at least (twitter link). When they're definitely going to need another distraction.

This guy gets it too. @SpinDr: Coincidentally, the same time the Kavanaugh hearings will be broadcast live. Not a coincidence.
posted by monopas at 9:58 AM on September 24 [20 favorites]


I work for a small father/son company that replaces auto glass. We were notified, due to the China tariffs, effective October 1st, our prices would increase 10%. On January 1st 2019, prices will go up to 25%.

Sure hope everyone is ready for this.
posted by kiwi-epitome at 9:58 AM on September 24 [141 favorites]


(Oh, I see -- Conway is just being dishonest, pretending there's a double standard in the way they were covered. [Ron Howard narrator voice: There isn't.])
posted by Gelatin at 9:59 AM on September 24 [3 favorites]


WAIT!!! From the last thread:
Ok, so this New Yorker article mentions the hazing scandal a couple of years after Kavanaugh graduated.

Wasn't douchebag Gorsuch 2 years behind Kavanaugh?
posted by yoga at 9:59 AM on September 24 [9 favorites]


Sure hope everyone is ready for this.

Was Trump really so idiotically short-sighted that he timed the tariffs to go into effect a month before the midterms? The majority of his voters have no idea what a trade war means, but they sure as hell will sit up and listen when their bill for Chinese-produced goods at Walmart goes up by 25% overnight.
posted by Mayor West at 10:01 AM on September 24 [38 favorites]


I sincerely hope Trump's abusing the national security loophole of the tariff law -- Trump can only impose them unilaterally under national security grounds, but his blanket retaliatory tariffs on consumer good obviously are nothing of the kind -- destroys the courts' traditional deference to the Executive on matters of national security. Due deference is one thing, but "national security" should not be magic words that exempt the Executive from the law.
posted by Gelatin at 10:02 AM on September 24 [28 favorites]


Gorsuch wasn't a jock. I don't think there's any reason to believe he was involved.
posted by ArbitraryAndCapricious at 10:03 AM on September 24 [1 favorite]


When does the media becoming tired of being used as patsies in these games, and go back to the mysterious "White House official" and say "OK, shithead, you fed us an outright lie. Here's the story I'm running, which identifies you by name, and outlines the possible motivations for why you lied to me. I'm giving you a chance to respond. The story will be printed with or without your response. Have a nice day."

Jonathan Swan, who was the Axios byline that started the hand-wringing fever this morning, was a guest a few weeks ago on Stay Tuned with Preet. He spoke very specifically and convincingly about how truthful sourcing is THE thing he's good at and holds dear, and if you feed him lies your bridge is burned forever. Not sure if I believe him after this ridiculousness today.
posted by mcstayinskool at 10:05 AM on September 24 [19 favorites]


Was Trump really so idiotically short-sighted that he timed the tariffs to go into effect a month before the midterms?

Why do you assume that Trump has any idea what a trade war means? (Aside from the fact that it allows him to act like a tough guy?)
posted by escape from the potato planet at 10:05 AM on September 24 [7 favorites]


Jonathan Swan, Axios: "I asked Justice Dept spokeswoman Sarah Isgur Flores whether she denies that Rosenstein has offered his resignation to Kelly. Response: “My only statement is that Rod is the DAG.”"
posted by MonkeyToes at 10:06 AM on September 24 [1 favorite]


Was Trump really so idiotically short-sighted that he timed the tariffs to go into effect a month before the midterms?

I'm convinced he actually thought that China would simply crumble before the might of the great deal-maker's economic threat.
posted by Thorzdad at 10:06 AM on September 24 [60 favorites]


Was Trump really so idiotically short-sighted that he timed the tariffs to go into effect a month before the midterms? The majority of his voters have no idea what a trade war means, but they sure as hell will sit up and listen when their bill for Chinese-produced goods at Walmart goes up by 25% overnight.

Yes, he's that idiotically short-sighted. He's dumb as fuck, he has no plan at all, he doesn't understand how any of this works, and the scariest thing is I don't think it matters to his supporters at all.

Literally every interview I've heard or read with a businessperson (white, they're always white) who is affected by the tariffs has also been a Trump voter who says in the interview they're willing to suck it up and wait and see. And I've been shocked with the consistency of it, because it's been across different outlets and different mediums, but that message is the same: a long talk about how this hurts them, how it hurts consumers, and then "Oh yeah I voted for Trump and I'm gonna stick with him through this." Grim rather than enthusiastic but the message is still there.

Economic anxiety, y'know?
posted by scaryblackdeath at 10:08 AM on September 24 [57 favorites]


Heard from a friend this weekend that reporters are emailing students who attended Georgetown Law, where Brett Kavanaugh was a professor of some sort, asking if they ever noticed him behaving inappropriately at off-campus bar gatherings with female law students.
posted by chaz at 10:08 AM on September 24 [24 favorites]


Swan is the ultimate shit-stirring access journalist if you ask me. People should stop linking, quoting, and paying attention to him.
posted by FelliniBlank at 10:10 AM on September 24 [1 favorite]


Gelatin: (Oh, I see -- Conway is just being dishonest, pretending there's a double standard in the way they were covered. [Ron Howard narrator voice: There isn't.])

It's a form of wingnut spin so recognizable that Clickhole nailed it with the headline What The Mainstream Media Won’t Tell You: 17 Years Ago, Radical Islamic Terrorists Crashed Airplanes Into The World Trade Center, Killing Thousands Of Hardworking Americans
posted by InTheYear2017 at 10:11 AM on September 24 [51 favorites]


OK, so let me do some thinking on this from the perspective of Axios & the WP. They got told, by "White House officials" that Rosenstien had offered to resign. It's now becoming apparent that was not the case at all. When does the media becoming tired of being used as patsies in these games, and go back to the mysterious "White House official" and say "OK, shithead, you fed us an outright lie. Here's the story I'm running, which identifies you by name, and outlines the possible motivations for why you lied to me. I'm giving you a chance to respond. The story will be printed with or without your response. Have a nice day."

Bursts of manufactured chaos like this morning are great for media outlets. How many eyes were glued to CNN's breaking coverage of the front of a building, scored by aimless speculation by their commentators? How many ad impressions did the WP get as people nervously refreshed the page?
posted by codacorolla at 10:11 AM on September 24 [15 favorites]


Is anyone else surprised by how much of a paper tiger Big Retail turned out to be? You'd think they'd be able to take care of themselves and be incentivized to protect their necks when business was already getting worse, but they seem wholly ineffective at preventing what's essentially a large, regressive domestic tax hike on goods.
posted by Selena777 at 10:16 AM on September 24 [14 favorites]


Avenatti is a PR showman as much as a lawyer. That said, if I needed a showman in a legal matter where our interests coincided I'd consider hiring him.
posted by jaduncan at 10:17 AM on September 24 [5 favorites]


For those worried about the midterms: I'm canvassing a lot and having good results at dinnertime (I know, I suck, people are eating...) and during bad weather.

I'm happy to remind voters that our precinct went for Trump by a 12-vote margin and that every single person who commits to voting single-party ticket for the Dems -- the very last year this is legal in the state of Texas -- is helping fight corruption at the local, regional, state and eventually national level.

TWELVE VOTES. We can do this! Keep fighting, text-banking, calling, donating, etc.! Texans, voter registration ends on Oct. 9. Do the needful (or help others) and register here. People in other states, go here!
posted by Unicorn on the cob at 10:18 AM on September 24 [79 favorites]


Is anyone else surprised by how much of a paper tiger Big Retail turned out to be? You'd think they'd be able to take care of themselves and be incentivized to protect their necks when business was already getting worse, but they seem wholly effective at preventing what's essentially a large, regressive domestic tax hike on goods.

What choice have they got?

When their prices go up, their customer base will do two things: double down on xenophobic explanations, and blame them. Big Retail does plenty of data collection and analysis of their customer base, and they know their customer base will and won't choose to know or believe.
posted by kewb at 10:19 AM on September 24 [1 favorite]


there was some good discussion of Avenatti in the last thread, cough cough
posted by prize bull octorok at 10:19 AM on September 24 [9 favorites]


- Ok, so this New Yorker article mentions the hazing scandal a couple of years after Kavanaugh graduated. Wasn't douchebag Gorsuch 2 years behind Kavanaugh?

-- Gorsuch wasn't a jock. I don't think there's any reason to believe he was involved.


Gorsuch was student body president, and Georgetown Prep has only a few hundred bodies students.
posted by Iris Gambol at 10:20 AM on September 24 [13 favorites]


kewb, you don't think they'll respond by either buying less, or getting into a consumer debt spiral that will eventually result in lessened capacity to buy?
posted by Selena777 at 10:22 AM on September 24 [3 favorites]


Is anyone else surprised by how much of a paper tiger Big Retail turned out to be?

Their tax cuts more than make up for it. Plus potential future tax cuts.
posted by dilaudid at 10:23 AM on September 24 [5 favorites]


Bursts of manufactured chaos like this morning are great for media outlets. How many eyes were glued to CNN's breaking coverage of the front of a building, scored by aimless speculation by their commentators? How many ad impressions did the WP get as people nervously refreshed the page?

OK, but at a time when their credibility is being assailed, is being used to run false stories really what they want to do?
posted by nubs at 10:23 AM on September 24 [2 favorites]


Their tax cuts more than make up for it. Plus potential future tax cuts.

Yes but that would involve spending their money to solve the problem, not yours & mine.
posted by scalefree at 10:27 AM on September 24 [1 favorite]


For those worried about the midterms: I'm canvassing a lot and having good results at dinnertime (I know, I suck, people are eating...) and during bad weather.

We've had good luck early Saturday mornings (like 9ish) before people are out for the day. They don't even seem mad, it's weird.
posted by contraption at 10:34 AM on September 24 [5 favorites]


kewb, you don't think they'll respond by either buying less, or getting into a consumer debt spiral that will eventually result in lessened capacity to buy?

If there is nothing else to learn here about Trumpism, it's the degree to which the rural and Rust-Belt right have little interest in litigating economic class issues or wealth disparities as long as they occur among "white" people.

White ethnonationalist solidarity simply defines the way they think about everything else that happens to them; all economic problems are either blamed on nonwhites or blamed on whites who betray this ethnonationalist solidarity by supporting anything that might benefit nonwhites.

Merely imagine Facebook rightists or even the Foxbartwars mass media gang "revealing" that, say, Wal-Mart is fighting to let China keep its trade surplus with Murrica, or otherwise undermining Dear Leader's efforts to strike back at various sorts of Those People in the zero-sum game that characterizes Trumpist ideology.
posted by kewb at 10:38 AM on September 24 [20 favorites]


Their tax cuts more than make up for it. Plus potential future tax cuts.

For some of the individual owners, yes. The businesses themselves, however, are likely in a race to the bottom for the debt- and income-related reasons Selena777 mentions. It wasn't so long ago that we had a post on the Blue about Dollar General starting to serve as a diagnostic sign for areas that can't even support a Wal-Mart any longer.

I see nothing in history or the present to suggest that true believers in nativist and fascist movements are dissuaded by economic self-destruction. When things are bad, it's Those People, and when things are good, it's because we've been kicking Those People. And if comes down to it, you can always imagine yourself a martyr to the cause.
posted by kewb at 10:43 AM on September 24 [12 favorites]


> The majority of his voters have no idea what a trade war means, but they sure as hell will sit up and listen when their bill for Chinese-produced goods at Walmart goes up by 25% overnight.

Yeah, they'll sit up and listen to Trump telling them it's not his fault.
posted by The Card Cheat at 10:45 AM on September 24 [15 favorites]




That's why you need to preemptively tell your Trump-voting relatives in rural areas to expect a 10%-25% price hike before Christmas. Don't wait for them to listen to his dumb excuses about why, make them watch for it. If they don't believe select media outlets, here's a direct link to the Walmart letter's source.
posted by Unicorn on the cob at 10:47 AM on September 24 [55 favorites]


if comes down to it, you can always imagine yourself a martyr to the cause.

Psychology of the con: a loss often locks people in, both because of the sunk-costs fallacy and because people hate to admit how stupid they were.
posted by praemunire at 10:59 AM on September 24 [35 favorites]


Kavanaugh writes a new letter to Grassley and Feinstein:
"I will not be intimidated into withdrawing from this process. The coordinated effort to destroy my good name will not drive me out. The vile threats of violence against my family will not drive me out. The last minute character assassination will not succeed."
It's a remarkably gross and political document from someone pleading, in said document, that he has only ever striven to be an impartial judge.
posted by cjelli at 11:04 AM on September 24 [59 favorites]


Gee I think Blasey Ford also feels the threats of violence which have caused her to need private security won’t drive her out either.
posted by sio42 at 11:06 AM on September 24 [47 favorites]


Kavanaugh and Judge have some of the same info in their yearbook profiles; Gorsuch has "Fascism Forever Club (Founder and President)"*.

Then in his Columbia University yearbook, Gorsuch quotes Kissinger: The illegal we do immediately, the unconstitutional takes a little longer.

Who are these people? Sotomayor's Princeton yearbook entry features minister, and 6-time Socialist Party of America presidential candidate, Norman Thomas: I am not a champion of lost causes, but of causes not yet won.

*This was an actual, "anti-faculty student group that battled against the 'liberal views' of the school administration."
posted by Iris Gambol at 11:08 AM on September 24 [104 favorites]


Mayor West: "Was Trump really so idiotically short-sighted that he timed the tariffs to go into effect a month before the midterms?"

The Cheeto, if he gave the timing any thought at all, still believes he can win his trade war with China easily just by continued bullying until they give in. I'm sure he is surprised every he time raises and they don't fold and go away immediately.
posted by Mitheral at 11:09 AM on September 24 [4 favorites]


[Chill out or I swear I will turn this thread around and make you all load the super-long one instead. ]
posted by restless_nomad (staff) at 11:12 AM on September 24 [244 favorites]


Trump wants to crash the economy and blame it on the incoming Democratic Congress.
posted by dances_with_sneetches at 11:13 AM on September 24 [10 favorites]


Well color me surprised:
Natasha Bertrand: Gabe Sherman reports that the Rosenstein leak appears to have been a "smoke bomb" to knock Kavanaugh out of the news. “The strategy was to try and do something really big,” said a source familiar with Trump's thinking.
posted by FelliniBlank at 11:15 AM on September 24 [82 favorites]


Trump Lawyers Demand Mueller Probe ‘Time Out’ if Rosenstein is Ousted,

We'd like to further obstruct the investigation if our client obstructs the investigation.
posted by chris24 at 11:24 AM on September 24 [27 favorites]


Natasha Bertrand: Gabe Sherman reports that the Rosenstein leak appears to have been a "smoke bomb" to knock Kavanaugh out of the news. “The strategy was to try and do something really big,” said a source familiar with Trump's thinking.

@jonathanvswan: This is such disgraceful bullshit. @gabrielsherman should be ashamed of himself and should stop doing stenography for Steve Bannon. Rosenstein offered his resignation to Kelly. We wrote “verbally resigned.” Justice Dept isn’t denying he offered his resignation.

What if everybody just stopped everything?
posted by zachlipton at 11:25 AM on September 24 [30 favorites]


We wrote “verbally resigned.” Justice Dept isn’t denying he offered his resignation.

Writing that without the additional information since reported that there were conditions placed on his resignation that could not be agreed upon is equivalent to reporting “Trump fired a nuclear bomb” without the additional clarifying information of “in this dream I had last night.”
posted by C'est la D.C. at 11:34 AM on September 24 [33 favorites]


It's helpful to remember that "a source familiar with Trump's thinking" frequently, if not always, means the source is Trump himself.
posted by emelenjr at 11:36 AM on September 24 [19 favorites]


A "verbal resignation" is not a thing. That should have been @jonathonvswan's first clue he should have been circumspect about the info he'd been given.
posted by notyou at 11:37 AM on September 24 [20 favorites]


Yeah, "distraction" is nearly always a mistaken attempt to impose a framework on what is fractally a dumpster fire. (Sometimes the imposing is from political analysis, and sometimes, it's some staffer/official saying "We meant to do that.")

If this White House ever manages a calm, chaos-free 48-hour period, that's what should activate our suspicions.
posted by InTheYear2017 at 11:39 AM on September 24 [13 favorites]


To add to that: It's not that there's no grand strategy. It's that being a dumpster fire is the strategy.
posted by InTheYear2017 at 11:40 AM on September 24 [20 favorites]


cjelli, I really like this tweet from the same WH reporter.
posted by Halloween Jack at 11:47 AM on September 24 [7 favorites]


Giving credit to Trump is also a good move, as it is obvious that whoever really thought of this carefully prepped him for it. A good ego stroking keeps him contented and malleable.

How handy to time it all to distract from the walkout as well. And Trump's comments on Puerto Rico. And the tariffs. And now an oil train safety regulation roll-back (The Hill. Sorry).

It is still being talked about and analyzed, and the ripples will continue all day long. Hell, we're still talking about it. It broke up the building wave on Kavanaugh, giving them time to regroup and try to adjust the narrative there, and pushed all of the pesky women who were starting to be taken seriously and gather power out of the spotlight at a critical stage.
posted by monopas at 11:48 AM on September 24 [8 favorites]


Reminder: Jonathan Swan is part of the Trump Whisperer Troika. His leaks from the Trump White House potentially go all the way to the top. That said, there's a difference between relying on him to learn what they're thinking and reading him to be aware of what they'd like us to think they're thinking.

If this White House ever manages a calm, chaos-free 48-hour period, that's what should activate our suspicions.

e.g. how suspiciously calm @realDonaldTrump's posts were this weekend. Following its direct attack on Ford on Friday, that account confined itself to retweeting about Trump's recent rallies and posting anodyne news about economic stats, Shinzo Abe, and Tiger Woods.

Incidentally, CNN reported yesterday that McConnell called Trump to say Kavanaugh tweets weren't helpful.
posted by Doktor Zed at 11:51 AM on September 24 [12 favorites]


I am as cynical as it gets, and I can tell you that nothing much will distract women from the fact that Kavanaugh is a probable serial gang rapist. We’re not quite as distractable as, say, Jonathan Swan, or a kitten with a fascination for laser pointers.
posted by schadenfrau at 11:53 AM on September 24 [90 favorites]


High-Skilled Immigrants Call Out The Trump Administration's 'Hypocrisy' (NPR, Sept. 24, 2018)
The Trump administration says it wants to move to a "merit-based" immigration system — one that gives priority to immigrants who speak English and are highly educated.

But critics say that rhetoric is at odds with the administration's actions.

"Show me any policy that's come out so far that has actually made it easier for highly skilled immigrants," says Doug Rand, who worked in the White House Office of Science and Technology Policy under President Barack Obama.

"I haven't seen any," Rand said.

In practice, critics say the administration is making high-skilled immigrants' lives harder, in all sorts of ways. It has gotten tougher to get or renew an H-1B visa, a program that brings in tech workers, doctors and other professionals. And the administration is getting rid of other visa programs altogether.
...
[Neha] Mahajan has a master's degree in English literature and worked as a journalist in India. It never occurred to her that she would have trouble finding opportunities in the U.S. But Mahajan was not allowed to work when she first got here.

"So here I am in the U.S., the most advanced nation on this Earth," Mahajan said. "But I'm in a cage. A metaphoric golden cage."

Mahajan moved here with her husband and daughter in 2008 when he secured an H-1B visa to work as a software developer. But she wasn't able to work legally until 2015, when the Obama administration launched the H-4 EAD program. It allows the spouses of H-1B guest workers to get work permits once they've been approved for a green card. About 100,000 people have signed up — mostly women, and mostly from India, which has a years-long waiting list for green cards.

Now the Trump administration is poised to end the program, which it considers an overreach.

"For me, one of the main reasons for proposing to rescind that is because I don't think it's appropriate," said Lee Cissna, the head of U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services, the agency in charge of legal immigration. "I don't think that Congress intended for the spouses of H-1Bs to work."

Cissna did not respond to requests for an interview. But he did speak last month to the Center for Immigration Studies, which favors lower levels of immigration.

"Everything we do is guided by the law," Cissna said. "That's all we're doing."
Emphasis mine, because what da fuq? Also, it seems like another instance of picking and choosing how to implement "the law," in addition to not trying to change the laws that are supposedly the problem, instead happily going along trying to Make America White Again and throwing up their hands when questioned about their practices, saying "sorry, it's The Law!"

Gosh, if we only had some way to change The Law ... Hmmm.
posted by filthy light thief at 11:55 AM on September 24 [28 favorites]


If distraction from Kavanaugh was the goal they botched this one. A bit too early. News on Avenatti's client just started to make the rounds, and the 4th in Montgomery County broke directly before.

The walk out will bring the narrative right back to Kavanaugh, while the Rosenstein flap fades into Scaramucchi time.

I'm not optimistic about much, but I'm pretty sure Kavanaugh's troubles are just beginning.
posted by Twain Device at 11:57 AM on September 24 [6 favorites]


"X is a distraction" is the sort of never-entirely-wrong but rarely helpful insight that these threads pretty much never need more (or any) of
posted by prize bull octorok at 11:58 AM on September 24 [71 favorites]


"Show me the results" should be the standard retort to Trump's exaggerated sales pitches.
posted by Gelatin at 12:00 PM on September 24 [4 favorites]


[It frustrates me that we ever have to leave this kind of reminder, but: if you are workshopping a satirical-joke-about-rape and think you are managing to pull off something that isn't in fact basically a rape joke, close the browser and go do something else until you come to your goddam senses. Thank you.]
posted by cortex (staff) at 12:01 PM on September 24 [175 favorites]


Democrats Are Busting Their 2016 Mobile Canvassing Records (Issie Lapowsky for Wired, Sept. 24, 2018)
For Democrats, there are already plenty of signs pointing to a good election night this November. There's the record number of House candidates outraising their Republican incumbent rivals. There's the unlikely rise of Texas senate candidate Beto O'Rourke giving Ted Cruz a real run for his seat. There are the upset victories in state legislature races, like the one in Virginia last fall. And of course, there are polls showing Democrats with a steady lead over Republicans on a generic ballot.

But NGP VAN, which has maintained the Democratic voter file since 2004 and builds many of the party's voter outreach tools, is trumpeting a different data point: the record number of people using MiniVAN, its mobile canvassing app.

MiniVAN is what Democratic volunteers use when they knock on your door. Instead of lugging around a clipboard and stack of papers, they can log their results in the app, which also tells them what houses to hit. The app launched on iOS in 2010 and Android in 2011. Earlier this month, one user noticed that MiniVAN was trending in the iPhone app store and tweeted it out.
Cody Wilson arrives back in the States, enters US Marshals custody -- Wilson will initially be booked into the Harris County Jail located in Houston. (Nathan Mattise for Ars Technica, Sept. 23, 2018)
In a late evening press release on Saturday, September 22, US Marshals announced they have received and taken custody of Cody Wilson at the International Airport in Houston. The 3D printed guns activist is charged in nearby Travis County for the alleged sexual assault of a female minor.
Post-Cody Wilson’s arrest, few know what’s up with his company or legal efforts -- Filmmaker who got to know Cody Wilson says his company “can’t last” without him. (Nathan Mattise and Cyrus Farivar, Sept. 22, 2018)
posted by filthy light thief at 12:03 PM on September 24 [19 favorites]


Cody Wilson arrives back in the States, enters US Marshals custody

Here's an odd little thing: the username ("Sanjuro") that Cody used on the website where he found his victim just happens to be the same as the anonymous founder of the first Assassination Market. The founder and Cody also use strikingly similar language. Etc. Etc.
posted by Rust Moranis at 12:11 PM on September 24 [22 favorites]


Why Senator Mazie Hirono Asked a Crucial Question at the Kavanaugh Hearing
(Osita Nwanevu | New Yorker)
On the second day of Brett Kavanaugh’s confirmation hearings before the Senate Judiciary Committee, two weeks ago, Senator Mazie Hirono, a Democrat from Hawaii, pursued a line of questioning that now seems like an act of clairvoyance. “Since you became a legal adult, have you ever made unwanted requests for sexual favors or committed any verbal or physical harassment or assault of a sexual nature?” she asked. “Have you ever faced discipline or entered into a settlement related to this kind of conduct?”
posted by Barack Spinoza at 12:14 PM on September 24 [88 favorites]


Yeah, I use MiniVAN when I canvass here in Indianapolis. It's super easy.

I also tote around a clipboard (well, a backpack, now) to contain the campaign literature i leave with prospective voters, but the app tells me who to visit and helps plan my route.
posted by Gelatin at 12:15 PM on September 24 [7 favorites]


cjelli, I really like this tweet from the same WH reporter [@seungminkim: What a century this week has been]

And that was Saturday morning. We're going to need a bigger time-space continuum for all this infrastructure.
posted by FelliniBlank at 12:16 PM on September 24 [6 favorites]


Just FYI: 63.3% of men at one university who self-reported acts qualifying as rape or attempted rape admitted to committing repeat rapes (source: doi:10.1177/1077801210387747).
posted by Dashy at 12:16 PM on September 24 [17 favorites]


MiniVAN is what Democratic volunteers use when they knock on your door.

I was talking to a Casten (IL-6 challenger to Roskam) canvasser yesterday and it seemed like she had a VERY specific list of households to target. Her success rate, according to her, was above expectations. If this app is what's making it work, that's awesome. I should have asked more about her setup but I didn't want to stall her momentum...
posted by JoeZydeco at 12:16 PM on September 24 [1 favorite]


The anti-Collins campaign fund is a mere $986 from hitting $1.5 million.
posted by duffell at 12:19 PM on September 24 [26 favorites]


If it's not revealing insider-strategy secrets, can someone explain how this app works? I mean is it tell you to visit Republicans so you can convert them? If it tells you to visit democrats that sounds like a) preaching to the choir and B) only slightly useful since it might GOTV but wouldn't change anyone's vote. But if it's tell you to target dems, wouldn't that explain how well everyone reports the canvassing is going?
posted by If only I had a penguin... at 12:21 PM on September 24 [1 favorite]


+1 MiniVAN is what our precinct canvassers are using here in Texas as well.
posted by Unicorn on the cob at 12:21 PM on September 24 [2 favorites]


I was talking to a Casten (IL-6 challenger to Roskam) canvasser yesterday and it seemed like she had a VERY specific list of households to target. Her success rate, according to her, was above expectations.

I know it's kind of small potatoes in comparison to [gestures wildly about her] but goddamn, FUCK Roskam. I hope Casten kicks his ass.
posted by We put our faith in Blast Hardcheese at 12:22 PM on September 24 [6 favorites]


And for those of you waiting with bated breath for Janus to bear fruit, exhale now. The attempt to bankrupt unions is well underway. Or, if you want to hear it from the spokesman for the group behind this suit and behind Janus itself: "If a bank robber steals someone's money, people ought to be able to get it back."

Obviously, this suit and others like it may fail. In particular, it's not clear on what theory plaintiffs can recover money that unions collected legally under then-prevailing law. But meanwhile, we're all going to have fun watching the fireworks! In a vet-with-PTSD way.
posted by prefpara at 12:24 PM on September 24 [6 favorites]


Never heard of MiniVAN before today, but it makes perfect sense as a platform tool: empower your local volunteer coordinators with the ability to target the demos that make sense for the race (or even district) in question.

A small but very insistent part of me wants to see how much of what's under the hood of MiniVAN is the same code that was powering Howard Dean's campaign outreach solution in late 2003. That sucker was pushing Ruby on Rails as far as it would go, but damned if it didn't make our frigid New Hampshire campaigning days just a little less awful.
posted by Mayor West at 12:25 PM on September 24 [6 favorites]


I'm not sure how the "smoke bomb" theory makes any sense. First, we have no real sign that Trump ever plans much of anything at all. More importantly, if he did: this lasted, what, hours? So did he choke on firing Rosenstein at the last minute? Or did he never plan to in the first place? Either he was going give himself a massive self-inflicted wound to distract from an ongoing self-inflicted wound that isn't going away, or he was looking for a distraction that would last a couple hours?

At this point I'm starting to feel like a bunch of journalists are trying to cover for their peers screaming thinly-sourced rumors and scaring the hell out of everyone. Or it's their rumor sources trying to salvage their own utility as sources. Or both.

The problem with claiming Trump did something because he planned it is it rests on the assumption he's capable of planning.
posted by scaryblackdeath at 12:28 PM on September 24 [5 favorites]


I don't know what the internal workings are like, but volunteers check in with the coordinators and input a list number. The lists I've had are individual names and addresses, not every door in the neighborhood, and I'm told they are registered voters who are likely Democratic voters. There's a Google Maps-like interface that shows the addresses. The list isn't perfect -- I've been told by people on the list that they're Republican, and we're instructed to thank them for their time and wish them a good day (and like I said, they've at least been polite).

Again, I can't speak to the strategy, but I'm pretty sure this weekend I got a couple of undecideds to commit to voting. I drop campaign literature if no one answers the door; Ford knows how effective that is, but it can't hurt. And the app accepts notes, so we can report back what individual voters' issues are. I even added someone by passing a car covered with sympathetic bumper stickers at an address that wasn't on the list yet and dropping off literature with the owner.

(Inputting a list number also keeps things coordinated and prevents freelancing, I'd imagine.)
posted by Gelatin at 12:29 PM on September 24 [4 favorites]


All the canvassing I've done in previous years was aimed at finding volunteers and then GOTV. Changing people's minds is not something you can easily train people to do, and confronting people can fire them up to go vote against you. Turnout is everything. When we get out the vote, we win.
posted by rikschell at 12:30 PM on September 24 [28 favorites]


The problem with claiming Trump did something because he planned it is it rests on the assumption he's capable of planning.

This kind of sentiment is all over these threads, and I think it is really pernicious. People's fantasies of Trump as a kind of zombie of pure momentary impulse are certainly hyperbolic. It does not take that much cerebration to conceive of planting a story as a distraction.
posted by thelonius at 12:31 PM on September 24 [6 favorites]


B) only slightly useful since it might GOTV but wouldn't change anyone's vote

My understanding is that this is super useful. Especially in a mid-term or off-cycle election, there's lots of low-hanging fruit in turning out your base. It's a lot more efficient use of volunteers' time to get sympathetic folks to vote than to try to change a Republican's mind (and risk reminding them of the election).
posted by bassooner at 12:33 PM on September 24 [33 favorites]


MiniVAN does whatever the campaign organizers want it to do. VAN holds data; organizers create walk lists; canvassers load the lists on to their phone; MiniVAN is the smartphone app that's the interface for them to work with. It's the same idea as turf packets, just digitized and with a lot more detail.

But even the extra detail is only useful insofar as your campaign organizers know how to use it.
posted by Rainbo Vagrant at 12:34 PM on September 24 [7 favorites]


Rust Moranis: Here's an odd little thing: the username ("Sanjuro") that Cody used on the website where he found his victim just happens to be the same as the anonymous founder of the first Assassination Market. The founder and Cody also use strikingly similar language. Etc. Etc.

More likely they're film buffs. The ronin with no name played by Toshiro Mifune in Akira Kurosawa's Yojimbo gives "Kuwabatake Sanjuro" ("Mulberry field thirty-years-old") as a fake name made up in the spot and "Tsubaki Sanjuro" (Tsubaki = "Camellia tree") in the sequel, Sanjuro. They're not obscure movies.
posted by sukeban at 12:35 PM on September 24 [20 favorites]


If it's not revealing insider-strategy secrets, can someone explain how this app works? I mean is it tell you to visit Republicans so you can convert them? If it tells you to visit democrats that sounds like a) preaching to the choir and B) only slightly useful since it might GOTV but wouldn't change anyone's vote. But if it's tell you to target dems, wouldn't that explain how well everyone reports the canvassing is going?


Talking to Republicans at best, won't change their minds, and at worst, will trigger a backfire effect and get them even more motivated to get out and vote. If you happen upon one while canvassing, you say "Thank you, have a nice day", and leave; no arguing or debating.

I've been doing union organizing lately, and it's the same deal. We're hitting up all of the former fair-share paying non-members. If they say they hate unions and everything they stand for, we say thank you, make a note to not visit them in the future, and move on.
posted by damayanti at 12:36 PM on September 24 [16 favorites]


But does it really change anything if the Rosenstein story is a distraction? How should we calibrate our response, our elected officials' response, and the media response?

"Oh fine fire Rosenstein if you really want" is not acceptable under any circumstances. This is not a game where we can assume they are bluffing to overshadow Kavanaugh's hearings. I mean, this is is ALL a dumpster fire, and it is all extremely dangerous, distractions or no.

Fight it on all fronts or we lose.
posted by lydhre at 12:37 PM on September 24 [15 favorites]


This kind of sentiment is all over these threads, and I think it is really pernicious. People's fantasies of Trump as a kind of zombie of pure momentary impulse are certainly hyperbolic. It does not take that much cerebration to conceive of planting a story as a distraction.

And yet, again, what good did it do? A couple hours of the Monday morning news cycle and more fodder for worry until Thursday? Sure, it's possible somebody has a plan, but we've got like two years of evidence of this White House not planning anything. If this came from McConnell's end, I'd be inclined to believe it's all dirty tricks. But reading the explanations of how it's all a set-up is like reading fanfics trying to rehabilitate bad movie plotlines into something clever. Fanfic is often smarter, sure, but it isn't canon.

I can buy the decision for a face-to-face on Thursday as a sudden impulse of "Hey, people will be distracted!" but not the idea of it being a master plan all along. I just don't see evidence of this White House planning things with any more utility than that.
posted by scaryblackdeath at 12:38 PM on September 24 [3 favorites]


@Taniel:
Some Dem counties exploit the opaque nature of local immigration decision-making to derive big profits from Trump's deportation machine, all while justifying themselves with anti-Trump grandstanding & questionable statements.

A short thread about NJ's Bergen County. 1/?
This seems like an area blue state folks can get into on a local level. Sheriff offices aren’t really known as bastions of human rights. I’m betting there are other super blue counties with shithead Sheriffs and ICE contracts who are hoping nobody notices them being shitheads with ICE contracts.
posted by schadenfrau at 12:41 PM on September 24 [16 favorites]


I just don't see evidence of this White House planning things with any more utility than that.

And yet immigration rules keep getting harsher and harsher, even outside of child abduction. Miller and Sessions are some of the most effective drivers of policy they have...and not on a short term basis, either.
posted by jaduncan at 12:43 PM on September 24 [7 favorites]


My abuser abused other women. One of them privately got in touch with me today to say that she would stand by me if I ever had to go public with it. How many women are having these private discussions, right now, today, this week? How many of us are walking around in the world with a tight smile on our face, keys between our fingers, trying to hold it the fuck together while all of this goes on? Talk about invisible fucking labor. I am trying to keep in the rage, but it's leaking out, and it's not good for me. How many women feel like me right now? It's taking such a toll on me, on my friends, on my colleagues, on all of us. And yet we must not crumble, or even show the cracks. We can't show our work, but we get lambasted for not showing our work. It's almost like being a woman is a goddamn curse.
posted by sockermom at 12:49 PM on September 24 [188 favorites]


Was Trump really so idiotically short-sighted that he timed the tariffs to go into effect a month before the midterms?

I'm convinced he actually thought that China would simply crumble before the might of the great deal-maker's economic threat.


This, and all other comments that hinge on the idea that Trump being reckless and crashing the economy would be unintentional...

Please consider that U.S. economic weakness is in Putin's best interest and doesn't hurt the super-rich hardly at all. If you assume the motive for Trump's actions is consolidating power among the rich and weakening the U.S. as a global player it makes much more sense.

Please don't assume that these impacts are accidental or unplanned.
posted by jzb at 12:49 PM on September 24 [19 favorites]


This kind of sentiment is all over these threads, and I think it is really pernicious. People's fantasies of Trump as a kind of zombie of pure momentary impulse are certainly hyperbolic. It does not take that much cerebration to conceive of planting a story as a distraction.

---

And yet, again, what good did it do? A couple hours of the Monday morning news cycle and more fodder for worry until Thursday?


I think it's simultaneously true that marketing and playing the press is the one thing he's really really good at, and that those skills just don't get you far when dealing with a passionate, fired up opposition watching like hawks. Normalization is a double edged sword, with everything crazy all the time since 2016 instead of just being Gish Galloped into the dust we're getting a lot of practice at keeping our eyes on every ball flying out of the ridiculous pitching machine on the fritz that is this administration.
posted by jason_steakums at 12:52 PM on September 24 [10 favorites]


Brett Kavanaugh and his wife Ashley just taped an interview with Fox New's Martha MacCallum, to air tonight. They're expected to address the allegations against him.

My analysis of this is: ugh.
posted by cjelli at 12:53 PM on September 24 [24 favorites]


It's also based on your voting history (whether or not you voted in various elections, not who you voted for), which are public records collected and stored in NGP VAN. If you're a registered Democrat who reliably votes every time, a campaign might not spend its resources canvassing you. If you're a registered Democrat who voted in '12 and '16 but not '14, then that's a really great opportunity to put someone on your doorstep who can explain why this election is so important and get you to commit to vote this time. Turnout in the midterms is so much lower than Presidential election years, and as we've discussed in these threads many times, getting our voters to show up is pretty much the entire ballgame.

Which is my place to plug the VoteWithMe app. You download it and give permission to upload all your contacts from your phone (which yes, is utterly terrifying, more on that in a second). The app attempts to match your contacts with voter data from the TargetSmart voter database, and gives you a list of people to encourage to vote. You can see if they live in a district with important races, their party affiliation, and their past voting history. It's not always 100% accurate (matching names to voters is hard, and the voter history sometimes gets truncated when people move), but it's spooky, and you will be surprised at the behavior of some of the people you know. And then it gives you prompts to compose messages to encourage your contacts to vote, with filters to target those likely to need the message based on the races they can vote for and their past voting behavior.

So yeah, it requires you to upload your contacts. Which is terrifying, and entirely understandable if people want to give it a pass for that reason, or try it out on a burner phone or Android VM with a limited contacts list on purpose. There are a few reasons to consider trusting them (as described in their FAQ): it's run by a a non-profit 501(c)(4) headed by Mikey Dickerson of US Digital Service fame; they promise to "never contact your friends or sell their information to anyone. Ever."; and they promise the data is then deleted from their side after the matching is done.
posted by zachlipton at 1:04 PM on September 24 [24 favorites]


I have conflicted feelings about this one, but might it not be for the best, strategically, that Kavanaugh appears to be doubling down and fighting this? Bowing out quickly gives them more option to nominate someone less obviously horrible. Forcing an FBI investigation could drag this out to the point where that isn't possible.

That said, dragging it out is presumably harder on his victims. On the third hand, those who are already paying the cost of coming forward might prefer to see if though on the hopes it leads to more justice than just being denied this appointment? No one but the individuals in question can answer that one, but it seems like an open question.

Feh. As usual, in 2018, none of the answers are good, and which one is least bad is unclear.
posted by bcd at 1:09 PM on September 24 [10 favorites]


Field report: When doorknocking for McCaskill, we use paper, pens, and a folder. We don't even get a clipboard.
posted by fluttering hellfire at 1:09 PM on September 24 [5 favorites]


Brett Kavanaugh and his wife Ashley just taped an interview with Fox New's Martha MacCallum, to air tonight.

They should have two interviews. One sober and then an hour later after three beers.

From classmate accounts Kavanaugh is quiet and charming when sober but becomes boisterous and obnoxious when drinking. They want people to only see the Dr. Jekyll and not the Mr. Hyde.
posted by JackFlash at 1:12 PM on September 24 [55 favorites]


When I get a job I promise I'll send a clipboard to any canvasser who wants one.
posted by rhizome at 1:12 PM on September 24 [6 favorites]


Brett Kavanaugh and his wife Ashley just taped an interview with Fox New's Martha MacCallum, to air tonight.

Big deal. If he's so innocent, why doesn't he tell his story far and wide? Running to the conservative propaganda network, where he knows he'll get the softball treatment, is another tacit admission of guilt.
posted by Gelatin at 1:13 PM on September 24 [40 favorites]


Telling his story before any testimony is also an obvious spin move, no matter who does the "interview."
posted by agregoli at 1:16 PM on September 24 [13 favorites]


The problem with claiming Trump did something because he planned it is it rests on the assumption he's capable of planning.

Do you think former Fox News president and Roger Ailes acolyte turned White House Communications Director Bill Shine is capable of planning? Do you think the guy who covered up for the culture of sexual abuse at Fox for years and years would be capable of coming up with a "smoke bomb strategy"? Do you think he would be sophisticated enough to come up with a story that would immediately grab all of our attention in the middle of a Supreme Court confirmation fight at the exact moment that new accusers are coming forward, thereby sucking all the oxygen out of the room for a critical few hours on a Monday morning? Do you think he would be smart enough to do it in such a way that damaged the New York Times' and Axios' news brand with liberals and Democrats? Do you think he's smart enough to design the story so that the next time, when Trump initiates a constitutional crisis for real, we'll hesitate to believe the story? Because he just did that.

What if MoveOn and company had taken the bait and activated their rapid response programs, and it turned out to be a false alarm? You get one shot at that working, and if they cry wolf, it's off the table. Then the Fox/Russia propaganda machine scares their voters with "Lawless liberals in the streets! Turn out to save Trump!" Worked like a charm for Nixon.

After half a century of Republican ratfucking, and now state level information warfare installing an American president, how can you dismiss the possibility that they continue to manipulate the media, with an alarming rate of success?
posted by vibrotronica at 1:18 PM on September 24 [114 favorites]


Also, how many times have we seen the "trot-out-the-wife-to-show-what-a-family-man-this-creep-is" ploy?

Kavanaugh's entire life is sexism personified. Which is great for those who are all in on the patriarchy, I guess, but it seems a lot of folks are saying "I've seen this movie before, and i know how it turns out."
posted by Gelatin at 1:19 PM on September 24 [57 favorites]


And then it gives you prompts to compose messages to encourage your contacts to vote, with filters to target those likely to need the message based on the races they can vote for and their past voting behavior.

Interesting! As someone who was formerly a Republican-by-default, I've been especially hesitant to talk about voting on social media because I'll likely be reminding people who would be, let's say, voting differently that I'd prefer. This could be an interesting way to only encourage friends who share my views.

(on a related note: There's a local political ad that accuses the Democratic candidate of enabling some nasty behavior because the law didn't really allow his office to do anything about it. He's supported legislative changes, now in effect, so that the situation won't be repeated. The attack ads make for a juicy elevator pitch but I feel like the logic falls apart if you think about it for too long.

Is it worth talking about this on social media to help encourage people, especially "default" voters, to stop and think, or does that fall under the "at best, won't change their minds, and at worst, will trigger a backfire effect and get them even more motivated to get out and vote"? Happy to take answers on MeFi Mail, and I suppose I could write this up for AskMe later on as well)
posted by Nonsteroidal Anti-Inflammatory Drug at 1:20 PM on September 24 [5 favorites]


Relevant re: Kavanaugh:
@EluraNanos: As I walked out of the courthouse at the #CosbySentencing — a woman driving by, hanging out of her car screamed at the crowd, “If you raped, you don’t wait no 30 years to come forward!”
Another woman standing on the corner replied, “I did.” #cosby #METOO
posted by scaryblackdeath at 1:24 PM on September 24 [72 favorites]


I appreciate the canvassing discussion and especially applications of technology that make it smoother for volunteers. I'm canvassing for a campaign that is still working from printed packets (at least they have clipboards, I guess), which has meant some really staggering mileage totals for me, since lately I've driven 12.5 miles (one way) to the office to pick up a packet, made the drive back past my house to walk a turf north and east of me, returned the packet to the office so an intern or volunteer can do the data entry, and then finally driven home. It added up to just over 60 miles the last time I went out. I've been trying to coordinate with other volunteers who are closer to the office and meet up with them in the field once they have addresses, but I'll ask about miniVAN too.
posted by danielleh at 1:25 PM on September 24 [6 favorites]


Telling his story before any testimony is also an obvious spin move, no matter who does the "interview."

This also seems like an incredibly stupid move ahead of the hearing? It’s entirely likely he’ll inadvertantly provide democrats with more avenues to question during the hearing. But that’s also totally on brand for someone who has never faced meaningful consequences before in his life.
posted by C'est la D.C. at 1:28 PM on September 24 [17 favorites]


Maria Farrell at Crooked Timber recalls debating some schmuck from Princeton in 1992: Owning the Peanut Gallery - "Ted Cruz has been accused of debating Beto O’Rourke in the style of a US college debater, more concerned with winning points than hearts. Twas ever thus."
For a couple of tournaments, as his normal partner wasn’t available, I debated with our team’s president. Gerry spoke with an authority that gathered the jangled masculinity of our many opposing alpha try-hards into itself, exposing their puff and strut as mere mummery. He knocked points down like an apex predator who has only occasionally to swat at something for it to shrink away. I’m not sure what I brought to the partnership. It’s hard to picture it, now. I had the novelty accent, for sure, plenty of earnest and the odd flash of wit. Whatever it was, we took home a fair amount of silver though I never won a tournament or placed in the top three.

We went to Harvard some time in the autumn of 1992, cutting through the preliminary rounds like a hot knife through butter. The semi-final was to be held in a medium-sized, steep walled amphitheatre, just like home. Our opposing team was also a man and a woman, Ted Cruz and a woman whose name I don’t remember. (In fact, I hadn’t recalled that it was Cruz till Gerry reminded me during the US presidential primaries a couple of years back.)
posted by the man of twists and turns at 1:29 PM on September 24 [22 favorites]


jzb: "This, and all other comments that hinge on the idea that Trump being reckless and crashing the economy would be unintentional... "

It's not that I think the effects are unintentional; it's that everyone the Cheeto has dealings with (that don't have some sort of kompromat on him and even that isn't a guarantee) ends up getting exposed to his bullying behaviour. That he cheats and bullies anyone he deals with is axiomatic to any attempts to comprehend what is goin on.

agregoli: "Telling his story before any testimony is also an obvious spin move, no matter who does the "interview.""

Kind of spikes the advantage the senate committee is trying to get him of testifying second.
posted by Mitheral at 1:30 PM on September 24 [6 favorites]


How many of us are walking around in the world with a tight smile on our face, keys between our fingers, trying to hold it the fuck together while all of this goes on?

I know this is rhetorical, but me. I take this moment to highly recommend Soraya Chemaly's Rage Becomes Her.

Our rage is so so warranted.
posted by Sophie1 at 1:32 PM on September 24 [35 favorites]


McConnell said on the Senate floor today that there will be a vote on Kavanaugh no matter what (which kind of gives away the game on whether any of the Judiciary R's really care whether he's a rapist, but that's not really a surprise). This is being widely read as a pressure move on reluctant Republicans, signaling that they cannot rely on him to scuttle the nomination based on a backroom head-count -- if they're going to vote no, they will have to vote no and deal with whatever rage that generates in their base.

Which, of course, means that there are reluctant Republicans and as it stands right now, the leadership doesn't have the votes. Otherwise McConnell wouldn't be pressuring them on CSPAN.
posted by Holy Zarquon's Singing Fish at 1:33 PM on September 24 [47 favorites]


Today Trump told the UN that he wants to eradicate "cocoa" production in Colombia. Won't somebody think of the children?
posted by mbo at 1:36 PM on September 24 [44 favorites]


"McConnell said on the Senate floor today that there will be a vote on Kavanaugh no matter what (which kind of gives away the game on whether any of the Judiciary R's really care whether he's a rapist, but that's not really a surprise). This is being widely read as a pressure move on reluctant Republicans, signaling that they cannot rely on him to scuttle the nomination based on a backroom head-count -- if they're going to vote no, they will have to vote no and deal with whatever rage that generates in their base."

Maybe. Maybe McConnell will force a vote before he can get the vote through; but then he's acknowledging the thing is over. Sure there might be rage with some republican voters, but less than 1/3rd of Republicans Senators are up for re-election this November.

I think he's bluffing, and will only force a vote he's going to lose if he's convinced that there is no chance he'd ever get the remaining votes.
posted by el io at 1:39 PM on September 24 [4 favorites]


It's not like Kavanaugh's wife can actually vouch for his character when drinking.

In an email from just 2001, not 35 years ago, when Kavanaugh and a bunch of male friends rented a boat for a week of debauchery he apologized to all for "growing aggressive after blowing still another game of dice (don't recall)."

Yet another case of getting blackout drunk and losing his memory of his bad behavior? At least to his fellow men he feels the need to apologize.

And then "Reminders to everyone to be very, very vigilent w/r/t confidentiality on all issues and all fronts, including with spouses."

How could his wife know what he's like when he is drunk? He arranges to conceal it.
posted by JackFlash at 1:42 PM on September 24 [104 favorites]




This also seems like an incredibly stupid move ahead of the hearing? It’s entirely likely he’ll inadvertantly provide democrats with more avenues to question during the hearing. But that’s also totally on brand for someone who has never faced meaningful consequences before in his life.

This assumes the “interview” isn’t carefully-scripted and edited to dovetail neatly with the script the Republicans are going to follow at the hearing. Honestly, I’m surprised they even did an “interview” given that his confirmation is pretty-much a fait accompli.
posted by Thorzdad at 1:46 PM on September 24 [2 favorites]


His wife might know it all, and she might be perfectly practised in the old art of "covering up for the alcoholic".
posted by clawsoon at 1:47 PM on September 24 [13 favorites]


This assumes the “interview” isn’t carefully-scripted and edited to dovetail neatly with the script the Republicans are going to follow at the hearing.

Oh, I wouldn't limit it to that.

It's Fox during a fight for the Supreme Court and just before the midterms, whilst Trump and the Reps more generally are having credibility issues, quite probably arranged with Bill Shine's level of knowledge of the producer and certainly with Murdoch's supervisory eye of Sauron trained on the result. Naturally it is going to be North Korea levels of hagiographic.
posted by jaduncan at 1:56 PM on September 24 [11 favorites]




The interview won't cede any strategic ground for the hearing before the Senate, it will be a hagiography, and any denials elicited will be unattached to facts which could conceivably cause Kavanaugh any trouble. And given that the interview is on Fox, the point isn't even to convince viewers of any particular facts, just to create a feeling of connection and solidarity with Kavanaugh himself.
posted by skewed at 1:59 PM on September 24 [5 favorites]


Artw: The Next Step for #MeToo Is Into the Gray Areas -- "As #MeToo founder Tarana Burke told Yes! Magazine’s Zenobia Jeffries in January:
The gray area is really important to talk about because so many of us live in the gray area. People talk a lot about how men are confused about consent and they don’t know if they should touch this or touch that, or ask.

But I also think there are issues around consent for women as well because we’ve been socialized to believe that we have to give in to the whims of men. That you have to well, OK, he asked three times, he asked four times, I gave in on the fifth time. And I’m not saying that giving in is automatically sexual assault, but it definitely is a gray area.
"How do we talk about behavior that is harmful and inequitable but isn’t illegal? How do we talk about the women affected by it? And what happens when accusations of such behavior are made against someone who is supposed to be an ally? These “gray areas” are embodied in a story Jezebel has been reporting since June, an example of the ways in which the messy contours of alleged coercion and manipulation are far more nuanced and more difficult to trace than behaviors that violate the law."

[Expanding the link here for context, but it's likely worth its own thread.]
posted by filthy light thief at 2:07 PM on September 24 [29 favorites]


Axios, Swan (there are some significant details in here, including an important note about this morning’s reporting, which I believe is worth noting, though like all such stories, not uncritically and not without considering which agendas are being advanced), Justice Department drafted exit statement for Rod Rosenstein
Shortly after Axios published its story this morning, saying that Rod Rosenstein had "verbally resigned" to John Kelly, Justice Department spokeswoman Sarah Isgur Flores drafted a statement that would announce Rosenstein's departure, written in the voice of Attorney General Jeff Sessions.

Driving the news: The White House received the statement within an hour of the Axios story being published online, according to a source close to the White House. Flores would not comment on the record about her statement.
...
The draft statement from Sessions says: "Rod Rosenstein has served the Department of Justice with dedication and skill for 28 years. His contributions are many and significant. We all appreciate his service and wish him well."

The draft statement goes on to say that Sessions' chief of staff Matt Whitaker would go on to serve as his deputy, and that Noel Francisco, the Solicitor General, would serve as the Acting Attorney General overseeing the special counsel investigation.

When I asked Flores whether she denies that Rosenstein offered his resignation to Kelly, she replied: "My only statement is that Rod is the DAG [Deputy Attorney General]."
That’s not much of a statement. This is the note on this morning’s nonsense (emphasis added):
Note for readers: I regret the way I wrote this morning's version of the story. By saying Rosenstein had “verbally resigned” to Kelly rather than “offered his resignation,” I conveyed a certainty that this fluid situation didn’t deserve. It’s an important nuance, and I regret the wording.
posted by zachlipton at 2:08 PM on September 24 [13 favorites]


By saying the inbound ballistic missile threat was "NOT A DRILL" rather than "A DRILL," I conveyed a certainty that this fluid situation didn't deserve. It's an important nuance, and I regret the wording.
posted by theodolite at 2:12 PM on September 24 [56 favorites]


Gonna be a hard hitting interview tonight.

@marthamaccallum
“Sickening” was the word I heard most often this weekend to describe what is happening. Innocent until proven guilty is how we do this in America.
posted by chris24 at 2:15 PM on September 24


“Offered his resignation” is too certain, too, probably, and does not accurately capture what other media has described as “discussed his possible resignation.”

Basically instead he should have just added “n’t” in there somewhere.
posted by notyou at 2:16 PM on September 24


Innocent until proven guilty is how we do this in America.

Except, of course, when it comes to "but her emails".
posted by Slothrup at 2:19 PM on September 24 [61 favorites]


It's not like Kavanaugh's wife can actually vouch for his character when drinking... In an email from just 2001...

Kavanaugh married Ashley Estes in 2004. In the interview, his wife may be credited for 'saving' him from youthful indulgences like hard drinking.
posted by Iris Gambol at 2:20 PM on September 24 [18 favorites]


@ronanfarrow: Update: 2 Kavanaugh classmates withdrew from a statement his lawyers issued disputing Ramirez’s claims. It is now signed by the 2 men whom Ramirez alleged had egged on Kavanaugh, the wife of the man she said told her to "kiss it,” and one other classmate

Per the update now attached to the story: “This story was updated with comments from two former classmates of Kavanaugh, Louisa Garry and Dino Ewing, who initially signed a statement of support for Kavanaugh provided by his attorneys. They approached The New Yorker after this story was published and asked that their names be removed from the statement, saying that they did not wish to dispute Ramirez’s claims.”

This was the “We can say with confidence that if the incident Debbie alleges ever occurred, we would have seen or heard about it—and we did not.” statement. Yeah, that wasn’t a good idea. The statement is now signed by two of the men accused of being involved, the wife of another man accused of being involved, and a third man. Garry, who removed her name, appeared in the Judicial Crisis Network ad praising Kavanaugh.
posted by zachlipton at 2:22 PM on September 24 [44 favorites]


So he never did any of the things he's accused of, and his wife saved him so he'll never do them again.
posted by clawsoon at 2:23 PM on September 24 [38 favorites]


Innocent until proven guilty is how we do this in America.

FFS, it's not a trial it's a job interview. For a lifetime appointment. To the most powerful seat on one of the three branches of government. Having a due process for that job interview is not sickening, jackasses.
posted by mcstayinskool at 2:23 PM on September 24 [126 favorites]


Except, of course, when it comes to "but her emails".

Or Ted Cruz's dad killing JFK, for that matter.

“Sickening” was the word I heard most often this weekend to describe what is happening.

Disgust is empirically linked to authoritarianism. When they say "disgusting" or "sick" or "sickening," it's a brain-hacking appeal to base (in both meanings of the word) authoritarianism. It means the position or argument has failed and that there's no other rhetoric to fall back on besides tapping into their natural inclination to follow the leader. Luckily for them, that inclination is a thus-far inexhaustible resource.
posted by Rust Moranis at 2:26 PM on September 24 [38 favorites]


Update: 2 Kavanaugh classmates withdrew from a statement his lawyers issued disputing Ramirez’s claims.

Sadly, their withdrawal will not receive anything like the coverage that the initial statement got. The prevailing narrative has been established as "every person alleged to be present denies it happened".

FFS, it's not a trial it's a job interview

For what its worth we should be careful with this analogy. It's not a very good one. A lifetime appointment vetting is not a job interview. Furthermore under some circumstances it's actively illegal to refuse to hire someone in circumstances which are at least as close as the "job interview" analogy. We like this analogy because its straightforward and seems to make sense, but the law isn't always the same as common sense.
posted by Justinian at 2:27 PM on September 24 [6 favorites]


FFS, it's not a trial it's a job interview. For a lifetime appointment. To the most powerful seat on one of the three branches of government.

Or as Doug Muder says: "It makes sense to let ten guilty people go free rather than send one innocent person to prison. But if we’re talking about positions of high power, I would rather turn down ten innocent people than elevate one guilty one."
posted by OnceUponATime at 2:27 PM on September 24 [183 favorites]


For those tracking the trade war thing, here are some choice snippets from some research I completed for work earlier this evening. Frankly, the signals are all pointing to a major rerouting of global trade flows and patterns, and the trade related articles have begun mentioning this shift. This time next year it's gonna be a wholly different global economy.

I'm convinced he actually thought that China would simply crumble before the might of the great deal-maker's economic threat.

The Cheeto, if he gave the timing any thought at all, still believes he can win his trade war with China easily just by continued bullying until they give in. I'm sure he is surprised every he time raises and they don't fold and go away immediately.


First, major hints that China is in it for the long game.

Jack Ma, co-founder of Chinese e-tech giant Alibaba Group Holding, said on Thursday that people should make preparations for 20 years of China-U.S. trade frictions. The economic situation is not good, and that could last for a long time, Ma said at the World Economic Forum in Tianjin.

China added $60 billion of U.S. products to its import tariff list on Tuesday to hit back at U.S. duties on $200 billion of Chinese goods that go into effect from Sept. 24


Plus, Ma rescinded on a million new jobs for the United States:

Alibaba founder Jack Ma said his ambitious pledge to create one million jobs in the United States had been scuppered by the trade row between Beijing and Washington, Chinese state news reported on Thursday (Sept 20). The billionaire owner of China's largest online shopping portal made the headline-grabbing promise to Mr Donald Trump last year, as Beijing courted the then-newly elected president.

But Mr Ma told Xinhua that his pledge had been made on the basis of continued cooperation and trade growth between the US and China, and would now be difficult to fulfil.

"However, the previous basis for trade has been undermined," he said in an interview on Tuesday.



Meanwhile, Canada's shipping grain to the EU while Egypt is sending its oranges to China because trade war you know.

This captures in brief the ebbs adn flows of the fortunes of Asian companies in response to the impact of the elephants fighting.

PwC India goes as far as to say that the Other [the PoC trade] is where the growth trade is at in the coming future as they're shut out of the "Big Boys" club.

And, some shocks are yet to be felt, as are the surprises.

I can write a synopsis extrapolating the outcome of these "weak" signals and there's a lot more shifting and changing going on that I haven't linked to, including things such as China lowering import tariffs for all their other partners. But you'd have to ask nicely since it'd be a waste of time given that nobody up there pulling these tariff strings is listening to anyone but themselves now.

On a high note, "el monde" is moving to increase tariffs on the instruments of torture and curb trade in this equipment.*

Trade Commissioner Cecilia Malmström is co-chairing the first Ministerial meeting of the Alliance for Torture-Free Trade, bringing of together almost 60 countries, to take stock of progress to ban the trade in goods used for torture and the death penalty


*that particular keyword search was satisfying to have logged on google ;p
posted by infini at 2:29 PM on September 24 [40 favorites]


The perfect person to interview them.

Soledad O'Brien
Martha MacCallum, July 2016, describing Roger Ailes after Gretchen Carlson sued him for sexual harassment: “Roger is such a terrific boss,” mused MacCallum. “I don’t like to see anything that reflects negatively on him.”

Note: 2 months later Fox paid Gretchen $20 mil to settle.
posted by chris24 at 2:31 PM on September 24 [47 favorites]


A piece on why the "job interview" analogy is a bad one.

tl;dr - these accusations should absolutely be a factor, but not because this is a job interview and if it was a job interview it would be legally dicey to use them.
posted by Justinian at 2:32 PM on September 24 [3 favorites]


How Trump Got Rolled
...it seems likely that John Kelly either believed or wanted to believe that Rosenstein said he was open to resigning or would resign. It seems quite clear he was unwilling to do so. Otherwise there’s no way you end up with this sloppy and embarrassing public face plant. One strong possibility is that Kelly was not willing to fire Rosenstein himself. He insisted that the President do that. And Trump was unwilling.

As I suggested below, I think there’s a very good chance that that is why we went through this exercise this morning: Because President Trump wasn’t there and couldn’t be there in person. It was a way of getting Kelly to do the deed.

Alternatively, perhaps it wasn’t about Kelly refusing. It may simply have been that the White House was not willing to fire Rosenstein. He called their bluff and Trump folded.
...
Trump’s public persona as a no nonsense executive with his signature “you’re fired” tagline is utterly belied by the record of a man who is deeply conflict averse, a coward. He rails against underlings on Twitter and then apparently never makes the same comments to their face. Firing Rosenstein obviously has big consequences, both political and administrative.

It is highly unlikely that Rosenstein will either be fired or resign in that Thursday meeting with President Trump, if indeed that meeting happens at all. I would not at all rule it out tomorrow or the next day or at various times before that Thursday meeting, if it happens. But at the meeting? Doubtful.

There’s even a chance that this episode ends up strengthening Rosenstein’s position inasmuch as Trump showed his cards and then backed down.
posted by kirkaracha at 2:50 PM on September 24 [29 favorites]


Boycott update:

Chewy.com sent me a reminder that I have a regularly scheduled shipment coming up, which reminded me that they'd sent me a wishy-washy response to my email about them advertising on Hannity, and I never followed up. Many people wrote them in March about advertising on Hannity (here's merocet's excellent text.)

grabyourwallet.org says that Chewy stopped advertising on Hannity in April (scroll down to row #84.15).

foxnewsadvertisers.com, for its August 2018 post, lists PetSmart (which owns Chewy) on the list of top Fox & Friends advertisers (#12).

It's not clear to me from this whether the PetSmart ads on Fox & Friends also include Chewy-specific ads, but I'm going to email Chewy to ask, and also to thank them for stopping their ads on Hannity.

Boycott strategies: Since I asked Chewy to drop Hannity and they have, it's important to reward this responsiveness by keeping on shopping there, correct? Because I'm inclined to move the goalposts and say, "Thanks for dropping Hannity! Now, what about dropping Fox & Friends?" but I know how important positive reinforcement of desired actions is.

Would it work better if I got friends who are Chewy customers, but who never contacted them about Hannity, to say, "Hey Chewy, please drop Fox & Friends because of their support for credibly accused attempted rapist Kavanaugh, if you want my dollars"?
posted by cybercoitus interruptus at 2:58 PM on September 24 [13 favorites]


The Violence Against Women Act (VAWA) Expires September 30, Leaving Indigenous Women Especially Vulnerable [SLTeenVogue]

While a new reauthorization bill, which includes enhanced protections for Native victims of stalking, sex trafficking, and sexual violence, was sponsored by Representative Sheila Jackson Lee (D-Texas) in late July, serious action has not yet happened.
posted by Iris Gambol at 2:59 PM on September 24 [19 favorites]


There’s even a chance that this episode ends up strengthening Rosenstein’s position inasmuch as Trump showed his cards and then backed down.

There's also a chance that Trump is aware of how publicly he showed his bedraggled ass here, and Rosenstein's position has become more precarious inasmuch as Trump will feel the need to save face with a show of strength.

I mean, who the hell knows. I can feel myself getting stupider every time I try and read Trump's mind.
posted by duffell at 3:01 PM on September 24 [8 favorites]


Looks like Jonathan Swan finally
admitted he botched his story, to some degree.
Baby steps.
Agree it’s a critical distinction. I screwed up by giving it a certainty it didn’t warrant. Offering a resignation is different from resigning.

posted by msalt at 3:02 PM on September 24 [2 favorites]


The question is whether the "Trump got rolled" narrative or the "Advisers lied about Rosenstein's comments to try and roll Trump, but failed" narrative wins out.
posted by Holy Zarquon's Singing Fish at 3:04 PM on September 24 [6 favorites]


A piece on why the "job interview" analogy is a bad one.

tl;dr - these accusations should absolutely be a factor, but not because this is a job interview and if it was a job interview it would be legally dicey to use them.


Not a huge deal, but that post sort of mixes up the notion of a criminal charge without a conviction being discovered in a post-conditional-employment-offer criminal background check, on the one hand, and non-law-enforcement information coming to light about a job applicant without the employer having done any affirmative checking about it, on the other. The "legally dicey" area the author alludes to exists in the former situation, but not so much in the latter, and that's mostly because of specific types of "ban the box" legislation in some states that doesn't apply in a situation like Kavanaugh's and doesn't apply in lots of run-of-the-mill employment situations, either.

One thing that's perplexing is that the FBI, together with the Judiciary Committee's nominations staff, conduct extensive background checks, which include interviewing friends, acquaintances, etc. going back decades. Feinstein - Ranking Member on the Committee - had the anonymous letter during the time when the background check would have been in the process of being conducted by a group that included her own staff together with the FBI. Typically, if something like that comes up in the course of the pre-nomination background check, the nominee quietly withdraws his or her name from consideration and that's the end of it. I suspect that if the whole story ever comes out about Kavanaugh's process, we'll learn that both sides of the Committee, as well as the White House, knew about Ford and others all along, and that the White House and Kavanaugh decided, nevertheless, to forge ahead with the nomination. I would be very surprised if that were not the case here.

Anyway, if you're interviewing someone for a job and, in the middle of the interview process, someone he went to high school with contacts you and says he sexually assaulted her when he was 17 and she was 15, I can't off the top of my head think of a good reason not to just end the process right then and there - and I advise on that kind of thing for a living, and I'm very cautious. But maybe there's some consideration other than ban the box that I'm not thinking about at the moment.

(FWIW, James Joyner, who wrote that blog post, is apparently a Security Studies professor at Marine Corps University's Command and Staff College, and not an employment lawyer, so he may just be over-interpreting stuff he's read about ban-the-box. Or maybe he's thinking of something specific that I'm not seeing.)
posted by The World Famous at 3:07 PM on September 24 [31 favorites]


It makes a big difference whether the employer discovers the information themselves in a background check or whether the information comes to them without actively looking for it? Law is weird.

You're the law talker here so I don't see any reason not to believe you over Joyner. And he seemed so confident.
posted by Justinian at 3:14 PM on September 24 [2 favorites]


I spent 25 years in the bar business and Kavanaugh sounds like the classic Mean Drunk. Perhaps pleasant and personable when he walks in but a flaming asshole after he gets a few under his belt. And it's quite plausible that he has no recollection of many of these events since blackout drinking is a real thing. Not exactly what I'm looking for in a Supreme...
posted by jim in austin at 3:14 PM on September 24 [42 favorites]


@waynefreedman
James Roche continues re: roommate Brett #Kavanaugh at Yale and Ramirez accusation: "I did not observe the specific incident in question, but I do remember Brett frequently drinking excessively and becoming incoherently drunk." #abc7now #KavanaughConfirmation
posted by Artw at 3:16 PM on September 24 [20 favorites]


And he seemed so confident.

Well, except that he ends his article by conceding that it's a political process and that the Senate can accept or reject a nominee "for any reason, or for no reason" so the whole thing about due process doesn't really apply after all.
posted by Atom Eyes at 3:18 PM on September 24 [2 favorites]


Louisa Garry and Dino Ewing, who initially signed a statement of support for Kavanaugh provided by his attorneys

I can see making this mistake very early in the process. But at this point, frankly: what the fuck is wrong with these people?
posted by praemunire at 3:22 PM on September 24 [4 favorites]


Well, except that he ends his article by conceding that it's a political process and that the Senate can accept or reject a nominee "for any reason, or for no reason"

Right, but Joyner was saying the analogy was bad because you can do things in a political process that you can't do in a job interview. So pointing out that its not like a job interview is his point. Which, while true, is apparently kinda irrelevant because TWF says he's wrong about the things you can't do in most job interviews and TWF would know.

someone was wrong on the internet

fwiw Avenatti has put on more info on his new client and she sounds credible. On the other hand this process is 95% over so the fact that he's still playing coy is very dubious. There's obviously a reason legitimate reporters aren't touching it with a 10 foot pole.
posted by Justinian at 3:22 PM on September 24 [2 favorites]


Field report: When doorknocking for McCaskill, we use paper, pens, and a folder. We don't even get a clipboard.

Unfortunately, campaigns need to pay to use MiniVAN, and not all budget the money (or have the money to budget). MiniVAN is run by NGP VAN, a privately-owned company that does all the voter file management and administration for the DNC. The Republicans have similar.

Your walk lists for canvassing are based on modeling scores and other factors used by a campaign to cut up the voter files they get from the DNC or local DNC-related organization. Earlier in the summer you would have been doing persuasion work, on potential voters who were ostensibly chosen for their possible enthusiasm for your issue(s) and candidate(s). It wouldn't be the most enthusiastic voters, ideally--just the ones who weren't 100% committed but you might have a chance to convince. In this era this would've included Republicans depending on what area you went to--when I did persuasion canvassing it certainly did. There is a lot of debate over whether persuasion canvassing actually works.

At this point in the election season all efforts are focused on registration and GOTV, so you should only be sent to houses that are considered Dem votes if they vote. So that's your job--to convince them to register and vote.
posted by schroedinger at 3:22 PM on September 24 [12 favorites]


Jonathan Swan was an entirely unremarkable reporter in the Canberra press gallery not that long ago. He’s somehow Forrest Gumped his way into being a Whitehouse insider/conduit. From here it seems very odd.
posted by the duck by the oboe at 3:22 PM on September 24 [15 favorites]


Jonathan Swan is engaged to the Daily Beast's Betsy Woodruff.
posted by Iris Gambol at 3:31 PM on September 24 [8 favorites]


New Yorker, Jane Mayer, How Russia Helped Swing the Election for Trump: "A meticulous analysis of online activity during the 2016 campaign makes a powerful case that targeted cyberattacks by hackers and trolls were decisive." This is based on the new book by Kathleen Hall Jamieson: Cyberwar: How Russian Hackers and Trolls Helped Elect a President What We Don't, Can't, and Do Know. It's not necessarily new information, but packaged together in a way that makes a persuasive case.

There's a good callback to that story about how Comey sidelined Lynch because of a possibly fake Russian document? I mean if I forgot...
posted by zachlipton at 3:36 PM on September 24 [27 favorites]


It makes a big difference whether the employer discovers the information themselves in a background check or whether the information comes to them without actively looking for it? Law is weird.

Ban-the-box statutes typically specifically make it illegal for an employer to ask an applicant whether they have a criminal record, but allow a background check to be run after a conditional job offer has been extended, so that applicants with a record get a fair chance in the process and must then be given an opportunity, if there is a record, to provide information to explain their conviction and for the employer to then consider whether that newly-discovered information changes the willingness to employ in connection with something tangible related to the job. In that context, an arrest without a charge typically cannot form the basis for withdrawing the conditional offer, nor can a charge that ended without a conviction, though pending charges can. Basically, the idea is that a criminal record carries an unfair stigma that can, due to the discriminatory nature of the criminal justice system, result in discriminatory hiring results if considered as part of the hiring process.
posted by The World Famous at 3:38 PM on September 24 [12 favorites]


I can tell you that nothing much will distract women from the fact that Kavanaugh is a probable serial gang rapist.

No doubt this is true, and it is getting very hard to imagine "serial rapist" not being attached to his name for a very long time, even if we get no further info from this moment on.

But is there any realistic way that can be translated into a No vote on confirmation once the senate pushes this to the floor? Last I checked there were still three or four senators that needed to flip to the No side, not just "express reservations" or "have concerns", and I can't even speculate on realistic candidates to do so. Murkowski, who is not up for reelection anytime soon? Collins, who probably won't run again anyway? Even if you have both of those, it's still not really enough.

Is there anyone else likely to be moved? If so, is there an effort to pressure those senators, specifically? And if so-so... how can we help?

I realize we're going to get a crazy conservative judge, here. But it'd sure be nice to get one who's less willing to protect the White House from scrutiny, which is pretty damn important right now, and is, you know... a lot less rapey.
posted by rokusan at 3:52 PM on September 24 [4 favorites]


@DavidWright_CNN: Per @Kantar_Media data, Maine has seen over $7.4 million of SCOTUS ads since July -- $6,585,520 anti-Kavanaugh vs. $837,500 pro-Kavanaugh

@jameshohmann: This is VERY unusual in a court fight. Typically conservative interest groups have been way more activated & willing to $pend. Consider Gorsuch last year. Perhaps, though, the right feels like they've got Collins vote locked up so they don't feel compelled to give her air cover.

Speaking of Maine, let's check in with Sen. Collins: "First of all, I do not believe he's going to repeal Roe v. Wade." She says she's "very close" to a decision.

Sen Collins has also escalated to being "very concerned" that Rosenstein could be fired, but appears to have forgotten she is a US Senator and is just voicing that concern on Twitter like the rest of us.
posted by zachlipton at 3:52 PM on September 24 [31 favorites]


Can confirm there are constant anti-Kavanaugh ads on tv in Maine; most of the ones I saw were Nice Respectable Older White Women, giving first-person statements about having had an illegal abortion before Roe v Wade. They're effective ads, it'll be interesting to see if they swing perception on that issue in Maine.
posted by LobsterMitten at 3:57 PM on September 24 [16 favorites]


If they feel like Collins is locked up then this is a complete fait accompli, so why are they running so scared? I can't really square that circle.
posted by Justinian at 4:03 PM on September 24 [7 favorites]


Speaking of Maine, let's check in with Sen. Collins: "First of all, I do not believe he's going to repeal Roe v. Wade."

Just like she believed Gorsuch when he said that he respected settled law.

Just like she believed McConnell when he said that he would take up DACA right after passing the budget resolution.

Just like she believed Paul Ryan when he said they would patch up the ACA cuts right after they passed the tax bill.

Seems that either Collins is dangerously gullible or else she is just lying about what she believes. Perhaps both.
posted by JackFlash at 4:10 PM on September 24 [108 favorites]


so why are they running so scared?

I guess the question is: are they? I mean, they've blustered out a bunch of piss-poor excuses. But the pissed-poor nature is telling in and of itself: no one on the side of defending Kavanaugh is trying especially hard. Yes, there's a lot of publicity, and that requires responses on the Republican side. But beyond that requisite activity, they've shown no sign that they give a damn about the allegations against Kavanaugh, and all of the back room discussions come to light, and public commentary from R senators, is "Get 'er done, let's wrap this up."

Their posturing is for show. They plan to push the nomination through anyway, and nothing short of an extremely convincing public meltdown (orchestrated by us, or the nominee) is going to change the course, unfortunately. Yeah, we gotta keep trying. But I'm not optimistic.
posted by Brak at 4:18 PM on September 24 [6 favorites]


no one on the side of defending Kavanaugh is trying especially hard

I think the best evidence that concern exists is Kavanaugh doing an interview on Fox sitting next to his wife. That's not something that would have happened if the GOP was fully confident Kavanaugh was going to make it.
posted by Justinian at 4:20 PM on September 24 [21 favorites]


[Couple deleted; in general, answering rhetorical questions like "why are Republicans acting this way" rarely leads to anything very illuminating, and instead leads to a dozen or more rehashy comments repeating the same things as always. So let's skip it.]
posted by LobsterMitten (staff) at 4:24 PM on September 24 [10 favorites]


Mike Pompeo on China trade war: ‘We are going to win it’

Given the real world shifts in real world commodities such as grains and fruits now moving around in different directions, can the CIA really make a difference in this war? Seriously asking from the global trade geek perspective.
posted by infini at 4:26 PM on September 24 [3 favorites]




NYT, Rod Rosenstein’s Job Is Safe, for Now: Inside His Dramatic Day
When Rod J. Rosenstein, the deputy attorney general, headed to the White House on Monday morning, he was ready to resign and convinced — wrongly, it turned out — that President Trump was about to fire him. Top Justice Department aides scrambled to draft a statement about who would succeed him.By the afternoon, Mr. Rosenstein was back at his Pennsylvania Avenue office seven blocks from the White House, still employed as the second-in-command at the Justice Department and, for the time being at least, still in charge of the Russia investigation.

What happened in between was a confusing drama in which buzzy news reports of Mr. Rosenstein’s imminent departure set in motion a dash to the White House, an offer to resign, Capitol Hill speculation about Mr. Rosenstein’s successor and, finally, a reprieve from an out-of-town president.
...
By Friday evening, concerned about testifying to Congress over the revelations that he discussed wearing a wire to the Oval Office and invoking the constitutional trigger to remove Mr. Trump from office, Mr. Rosenstein had become convinced that he should resign, according to people close to him. He offered during a late-day visit to the White House to quit, according to one person familiar with the encounter, but John F. Kelly, the White House chief of staff, demurred. Aides began planning over the weekend for his departure, coming in to the Justice Department to determine how to recalibrate in the aftermath of his exit.

Over the weekend, Mr. Rosenstein again told Mr. Kelly that he was considering resigning. On Sunday, Mr. Rosenstein repeated the assertion in a call with Donald F. McGahn II, the White House counsel. Mr. McGahn, who was dealing with the emergence of another accusation of sexual assault against Brett M. Kavanaugh, the president’s Supreme Court nominee, asked Mr. Rosenstein to postpone their discussion until Monday.
...
By about 9 a.m. on Monday, Mr. Rosenstein was in his office on the fourth floor of the Justice Department when reporters started calling. Was it true that Mr. Rosenstein was planning to resign, they asked? Officials at the Justice Department took the inquiries as evidence that the White House wanted to speed along that outcome.

Mr. Rosenstein and Ed O’Callaghan, his top deputy, raced out of the building and headed to 1600 Pennsylvania Avenue for what they expected to be the final word. Justice Department officials told reporters that Mr. Rosenstein expected to be fired upon arriving there.
...
The president had already planned to clean house at the Justice Department — but not until after the elections, according to one person who had discussed Mr. Rosenstein with Mr. Trump before last week’s Times article. Monday’s drama about an imminent resignation created an unwanted headache, the person said.
@matthewamiller: Nobody wants to hear this, but this story shows something I think has been evident all along: Rosenstein isn’t as strong a personality as the country needs in this job right now. The rub is that he’s almost certainly stronger than anyone who would replace him.

@qjurecic: @matthewamiller is right here, I think—Rosenstein is a weak person desperately trying to be a strong person.

As far as who would replace him, the article notes that the Justice Department was prepared to appoint Noel Francisco to oversee the Russia investigation. Some say that Francisco would need a waiver from the White House because his former law firm, Jones Day, represents the Trump campaign in that same investigation. Also notable: Matthew Whitaker, Sessions' chief of staff, would replace Rosenstein: "an unusual move; typically, a top aide to the deputy attorney general would take over the post."
posted by zachlipton at 4:29 PM on September 24 [7 favorites]




Never underestimate the power of humiliation coupled with 5000 years of recorded history.
posted by infini at 4:31 PM on September 24 [31 favorites]


Never underestimate the power of humiliation coupled with 5000 years of recorded history.

And a trillion in foreign reserves carefully accumulated over the past 40 years.
posted by Definitely Not Sean Spicer at 4:33 PM on September 24 [25 favorites]


NYT, Rod Rosenstein’s Job Is Safe, for Now: Inside His Dramatic Day

It’s come to the point where Haberman’s byline just indicates White House spin for me.
posted by schadenfrau at 4:33 PM on September 24 [53 favorites]


@matthewamiller is right here, I think—Rosenstein is a weak person desperately trying to be a strong person.

That was Comey's assessment as well. That Rosenstein was a moral guy but swayed in the prevailing winds too easily. He called it being a "survivor" which apparently was a bad thing to Comey. Which I sorta understand. But on the other hand Rosenstein is still in his job protecting the American people while Comey handed the country to Donald Trump and then took up a new career as a twitter dragger, so who really made the better life choices?
posted by Justinian at 4:39 PM on September 24 [64 favorites]


Louisa Garry and Dino Ewing, who initially signed a statement of support for Kavanaugh provided by his attorneys

I can see making this mistake very early in the process. But at this point, frankly: what the fuck is wrong with these people?


Louisa Garry is a teacher at my alma mater, a deeply white Quaker private school where her husband also teaches. She was always incredibly kind to me even though I never had her as a teacher and would chirp “Hi!” when I passed her classroom because her husband coached my bench-warming younger brother in some sport even though I was the outspoken liberal atheist girl who was friends with the outcast art stoners. I always thought of her as a nice, nice lady.

My school was so white and so wealthy; everyone played lacrosse and got into Cornell as a safety school. The headmaster, upon acceptance of the job, got automatic admission to a nearby country club that didn’t allow Jews (until my badass mom, who worked in the school library, told him to better reject that membership). We spent one hour a week in a meeting house reflecting on our inner Jesus. We had classes on charity and poverty. Everyone was so goddamn nice.

These are the a lot conservatives we’re up against: Genuinely nice people from an insular white, monied world who can’t imagine anything else.
posted by Yoko Ono's Advice Column at 4:39 PM on September 24 [97 favorites]


@qjurecic: @matthewamiller is right here, I think—Rosenstein is a weak person desperately trying to be a strong person.

Thing is, Rosenstein just kicked the shit out of the Trump administration. Which shows that whatever his faults, he's got what it takes, since the Trump administration IS weaker.
posted by mikelieman at 4:40 PM on September 24 [20 favorites]


Given the real world shifts in real world commodities such as grains and fruits now moving around in different directions, can the CIA really make a difference in this war? Seriously asking from the global trade geek perspective.

Pompeo is Secretary of State now. CIA Director is Gina Haspel. Deck chairs on the Titanic and all that.
posted by The World Famous at 4:43 PM on September 24 [3 favorites]


Never underestimate the power of humiliation coupled with 5000 years of recorded history.

And a trillion in foreign reserves carefully accumulated over the past 40 years.


imo, ignore the ongoing news cycle on this on a daily or weekly basis and only pick it up on a monthly and quarterly survey, if necessary, otherwise, just sit back and relax. Winter is coming, and it's going to be good for the environment, given that increasing localization now an observed trend.
posted by infini at 4:47 PM on September 24 [3 favorites]


Daily Beast, Democrats to Avenatti: You’re Not Helping in the Kavanaugh Fight
“Mr. Avenatti has a tendency to sensationalize and make his various crusades more about himself then about getting at the truth,” said a senior Senate Democratic aide. “This moment calls for the exact opposite.”
...
Democratic senators stopped short of criticizing Avenatti, but appeared to be low on patience with his tactic of dribbling out information before a dramatic big reveal, fearful that it undermined the seriousness of the issue of sexual assault.

“If Michael Avenatti has any evidence, he should come forward promptly. If he has a client who has relevant information, I welcome hearing from him,” Sen. Chris Coons (D-DE), a member of the judiciary committee, said in an interview. “If there are additional allegations to come forward, this would absolutely be the time because I don’t see us pursuing this matter much more than the next week or two at most.”
...
“I believe there is a decent chance the person he reps may have a real allegation,” said another Democratic source working on the confirmation proceedings. “But he undercut it. If he had vetteed it through a media outlet and had journalists represent it in a well reported way or have the committee introduce it, it would have been better.”

Avenatti showed little concern that his involvement might complicate matters for Democrats as they press the case against Trump’s Supreme Court nominee. Instead, in a brief phone interviewed, he ridiculed his detractors for not appreciating the stakes of the confirmation battle ahead of them.

“I think that is ridiculous and I think it is another example of certain Democrats being weak-kneed and not up for the fight,” he told The Daily Beast. “If heat is too hot in the kitchen they need to just get out.”
...
“Is this about Avenatti or the women?” said Adam Jentleson, a former top aide to ex-Sen. Harry Reid (D-NV). “Hopefully it’s about raising up the voices of women and I guess we’ll find out in the next few days.”
posted by zachlipton at 4:49 PM on September 24 [8 favorites]


CIA Director is Gina Haspel. Deck chairs on the Titanic and all that.

Ah, now I understand that Malmstrom salvo on trade on the tools of torture.

The cooperation concerns products like batons with metal spikes, electric shock belts, grabbers that seize people while electrocuting them, chemicals used for executions, as well as gas chambers and electric chairs.

By joining the Alliance, countries commit to controlling and restricting exports of these goods, and making it easier for customs authorities to track down shipments and identifying new products.

posted by infini at 4:53 PM on September 24 [1 favorite]


This One Piece of Paper Threatens Trump at His Very Core — And Explains Why He Needs Rosenstein Out Now - Mark Sumner/Daily Kos (Alternet.org)
Trump’s “genius” for selling New York and Florida real estate at ridiculous markups actually disguises systematic money-laundering.
...
The scariest thing about Rod Rosenstein isn’t that he protected the continued existence of Robert Mueller’s investigation: it’s that he signed an order (PDF) expanding the scope of that investigation to include the money-laundering scheme on which Paul Manafort was convicted. Most of the document that contained that expansion was redacted. It’s not hard to guess what was under all that black ink: authority to investigate Trump’s business dealings.
posted by ZeusHumms at 4:58 PM on September 24 [53 favorites]


A Leaked White House Memo Reveals Trump’s Plan For Going After Google and Facebook - Tonya Riley, Mother Jones

The White House is considering an antitrust investigation into 'online platform bias' at Google and Facebook - Jim Edwards, Business Insider
Business Insider has obtained a copy of a proposed executive order for President Trump that would ask federal law enforcement to "thoroughly investigate whether any online platform has acted in violation of the antitrust laws," to "protect competition among online platforms and address online platform bias."
The proposed text of the order is the bottom half of the article.
posted by ZeusHumms at 5:07 PM on September 24 [3 favorites]


Business Insider has obtained a copy of a proposed executive order for President Trump that would ask federal law enforcement to "thoroughly investigate whether any online platform has acted in violation of the antitrust laws," to "protect competition among online platforms and address online platform bias."

Given that the big 3 have already been caught colluding to suppress tech workers wages and had to pay out a settlement I'd say anti-trust is probably an easy wide open slam dunk. Can the current bozos dunk? Probably not.
posted by srboisvert at 5:10 PM on September 24 [9 favorites]


Calls to the National Sexual Assault Hotline Spiked Last Weekend While More Kavanaugh News Broke - Jackie Flynn Mogensen, Mother Jones. "Friday to Sunday saw 57 percent more calls."

"You can reach the RAINN sexual assault hotline at (800) 656-HOPE."
posted by ZeusHumms at 5:12 PM on September 24 [20 favorites]


Oh my what the hell is wrong with these people? NYT, Kate Kelly and David Enrich, Kavanaugh’s Yearbook Page Is ‘Horrible, Hurtful’ to a Woman It Named
Brett Kavanaugh’s page in his high school yearbook offers a glimpse of the teenage years of the man who is now President Trump’s Supreme Court nominee: lots of football, plenty of drinking, parties at the beach. Among the reminiscences about sports and booze is a mysterious entry: “Renate Alumnius.”

The word “Renate” appears at least 14 times in Georgetown Preparatory School’s 1983 yearbook, on individuals’ pages and in a group photo of nine football players, including Judge Kavanaugh, who were described as the “Renate Alumni.” It is a reference to Renate Schroeder, then a student at a nearby Catholic girls’ school.

Two of Judge Kavanaugh’s classmates say the mentions of Renate were part of the football players’ unsubstantiated boasting about their conquests.

“They were very disrespectful, at least verbally, with Renate,” said Sean Hagan, a Georgetown Prep student at the time, referring to Judge Kavanaugh and his teammates. “I can’t express how disgusted I am with them, then and now.”
...
This month, Renate Schroeder Dolphin joined 64 other women who, saying they knew Judge Kavanaugh during their high school years, signed a letter to the leaders of the Senate Judiciary Committee, which is weighing Judge Kavanaugh’s nomination. The letter stated that “he has behaved honorably and treated women with respect.”

When Ms. Dolphin signed the Sept. 14 letter, she wasn’t aware of the “Renate” yearbook references on the pages of Judge Kavanaugh and his football teammates.

“I learned about these yearbook pages only a few days ago,” Ms. Dolphin said in a statement to The New York Times. “I don’t know what ‘Renate Alumnus’ actually means. I can’t begin to comprehend what goes through the minds of 17-year-old boys who write such things, but the insinuation is horrible, hurtful and simply untrue. I pray their daughters are never treated this way. I will have no further comment.”
posted by zachlipton at 5:13 PM on September 24 [81 favorites]


Odious Pro Kavanaugh ads are running on MSNBC
posted by fluttering hellfire at 5:18 PM on September 24 [1 favorite]


Odious Pro Kavanaugh ads are running on MSNBC

Are those the ones starring another woman who has withdrawn her support from Kavanaugh?
posted by gerryblog at 5:20 PM on September 24 [4 favorites]


Are those the ones starring another woman who has withdrawn her support from Kavanaugh?

Those were last week. This week is the Democratic Cabal Smearing Our Hero.
posted by FelliniBlank at 5:27 PM on September 24


But why didn't she report it before? Surely the justice system would have given her a fair shake.

TW for assault and just general not taking this shit seriously. Because there is absolutely no sign we ever will.
posted by East14thTaco at 5:56 PM on September 24 [5 favorites]


@matthewamiller is right here, I think—Rosenstein is a weak person desperately trying to be a strong person.

A weak person doesn't stay in the job of Deputy Attorney General under all the crazy pressures of the Trump administration--unless he's on the administration's side, and that sure hasn't been the narrative about Rosenstein since Comey was bounced. I think one can accuse Rosenstein of bad judgment in a few instances. Perhaps more than a few. But weak? A weak person in his role finds a new job and says he can make better money for far less grief and he'd be factually correct in saying so.

The final verdict on where Rosenstein was in all this is gonna evade us until we see the end results from Mueller, or from Trump firing him. But I don't think "weakness" is gonna be the key factor.
posted by scaryblackdeath at 6:10 PM on September 24 [31 favorites]


@frankthorp [letter attached]: In new letter from Dr Ford’s Attorney to the Judiciary Committee, they again object to having outside counsel ask the questions for republicans at Thursday’s hearing, and ask for the name and resume of who that person will be. This does not appear to be a done deal.
posted by zachlipton at 6:11 PM on September 24 [13 favorites]


Of all the issues of contention with the GOP Senators that's the one I'm on record here as saying struck me as non-negotiable for Ford. I've been surprised that they seemed willing to go forward even with outside counsel grilling her. But maybe that's been a misread.

I don't really understand what objecting gets them. Either they are willing to testify even with questioning by outside counsel or they aren't. If it is a red line, as I originally thought it would be, why not say so? Do Ford's lawyers think she'll have more leverage as we get closer to the scheduled hearings? I would have said less?

But her attorneys are by all reports very good so clearly they know what they are doing even if I don't understand it.
posted by Justinian at 6:21 PM on September 24


"The word “Renate” appears at least 14 times in Georgetown Preparatory School’s 1983 yearbook, on individuals’ pages and in a group photo of nine football players, including Judge Kavanaugh, who were described as the “Renate Alumni.” It is a reference to Renate Schroeder, then a student at a nearby Catholic girls’ school."

WHAT THE FUCK IS WRONG WITH THESE PEOPLE

WHAT THE FUCK IS WRONG WITH THE SCHOOL THAT THEY ALLOWED THIS TO BE PRINTED
posted by Eyebrows McGee at 6:23 PM on September 24 [152 favorites]


Both CNN and MSNBC are now running with the Avenatti thing, so I guess this is happening.

One bit of weirdness: He's on both MSNBC and CNN right now, and BOTH interviews are labelled as "LIVE". Which is either impossible or Avenatti definitely has my vote for whatever he wants to run for. But I'm guessing is impossible. Isn't labelling a recorded interview as LIVE a journalistic no-no?
posted by Justinian at 6:27 PM on September 24 [18 favorites]


addendum: CNN abruptly pulled the LIVE marking from their interview. So it's obviously the recorded one. I guess somebody dun fucked up.
posted by Justinian at 6:29 PM on September 24 [8 favorites]


With the yearbook story, I can't help but notice that there's no apology. This woman's name appears at least 14 times in the yearbook, and Kavanaugh's lawyer is putting out statements about how they kissed once (which she says never happened), so he'll talk about it, but there's no recognition at any point that, I don't know, it's creepy as fuck to describe yourself in the yearbook as an "alumnus" of a girl you knew and that you might maybe show a shred of contrition over that with the benefit of several decades of hindsight. If we want to talk about character and judgement, there's something wrong with a person who pretends this is fine and normal instead of having the decency to acknowledge he showed bad judgement and hurt somebody here.

It's been the same pattern throughout this entire process. No introspection or apology over Alex Kozinski, over Manny Miranda's document theft, his drinking, etc... I'm not talking about admissions of wrongdoing, but some basic human acknowledgement that, in hindsight, you've realized it's wrong to creep on a girl in the yearbook or you regret not knowing that your friend and mentor was a notorious harasser or that you apologize that you were given and used stolen documents. I don't think that's an unreasonable standard for human decency, let alone the Supreme Court.
posted by zachlipton at 6:39 PM on September 24 [120 favorites]


WHAT THE FUCK IS WRONG WITH THE SCHOOL THAT THEY ALLOWED THIS TO BE PRINTED

Judging by the stream of consciousness 'thoughts' adjacent, they didn't police them beyond obvious obscenities. They didn't even correct "Alumnius"
posted by ChurchHatesTucker at 6:49 PM on September 24 [20 favorites]


Is it safe to assume these society Republicans don't actually care about their daughters, if they have them? Because if so, why would you send them off into that environment, having been through it yourself, either as a victim or a perpetrator?

I'm sorry for the girls destined for the attentions of the prep assholes--sending your girls away to deal with eight years of frat bros, instead of the four years they'd otherwise have to deal with them, when they head off to college (at a slightly more mature age, as well) seems intentionally cruel.

The boys school Kavanaugh et al attended seems a hideous institution, apparently perfectly OK with churning out as many rapists as they can. Are the private girls' schools at least a bit better institutionally, or do they do everything they can to foster this environment as well?
posted by maxwelton at 7:04 PM on September 24 [15 favorites]


Having been a 17 year-old boy allow me to give you a glimpse into their apparently mystical thought PROCESS. A bunch of guys got word that a particular girl in their community was a slut and decided to tell a joke about it all together.

Har. Har. She probably kissed one or two of them so she might as well have fucked them all, right? Aren't we clever.

The thing is, that, on its own is just idiot teenagers being (egregiously) idiotic teenagers. But taken with the steadfast refusal to admit that the joke is what it obviously is along with everything else does raise serious questions about whether this person should be adjudicating the rights of women in the highest court in the land.

I wouldn't trust a man who has behaved like this to process an EEOC complaint, let alone have input on what future law students learn is a valid one.
posted by East14thTaco at 7:07 PM on September 24 [69 favorites]


[Gonna strongly suggest we not drive off into a wide-ranging discussion of the problems with prep schools, social class, internalized misogyny etc. Or someone can make a separate thread for it if we need to have that discussion.]
posted by LobsterMitten (staff) at 7:08 PM on September 24 [10 favorites]


I just feel the need to say this:

It didn't surprise me when Kavanaugh was accused of sexual assault, and it didn't surprise me when a second accusation appeared. As soon as I saw who was nominated, and despite having never heard his name before, I thought to myself, "There's a good chance this guy is going to go down in flames due to sexual assault allegations." I have two thoughts about that.

First, that's appalling. All I was basing that judgement on was the preconception that, well, a lot of guys are serial sexual assaulters. Like, if the last few years have taught me anything, it's that a lot of guys are serial sexual assaulters. Period. That is the water we all swim in, and that's disgusting.

Secondly though, it's heartening. It's only in the last year or so that I've started to notice that women are regularly coming forward, against powerful and famous men, and making these allegations—and they're starting to stick. At least, some of the time. Maybe enough of the time that we're starting too see a snowball effect, where women feel able to come forward more and more because they feel better and better about their chances in doing so, and the more accusers come forward the harder and harder it becomes to dismiss them.

It would be a pretty amazing thing, if that happened.
posted by Anticipation Of A New Lover's Arrival, The at 7:08 PM on September 24 [43 favorites]


> This month, Renate Schroeder Dolphin joined 64 other women who, saying they knew Judge Kavanaugh during their high school years, signed a letter to the leaders of the Senate Judiciary Committee, which is weighing Judge Kavanaugh’s nomination. The letter stated that “he has behaved honorably and treated women with respect.” When Ms. Dolphin signed the Sept. 14 letter, she wasn’t aware of the “Renate” yearbook references on the pages of Judge Kavanaugh and his football teammates. ... “She should be offended,” Mr. Hagan said of Ms. Dolphin. “I was completely astounded when I saw she signed that letter” on Judge Kavanaugh’s behalf.

Since there is no mercy for us any more, I guess before this is over we are going to find out what a few other cryptic notes on the yearbook page are referring to. Avenatti has already claimed the "FFFFFFFourth of July" and "Devil's Triangle" - but what about "Malibu Fan Club"? "Wendy Whitney Fan Club"? "Maureen - Tainted Whack"? "Anne Daugherty's"? What about the Rehoboth Police Force, and which Judge asked about Boofing?? We'll all need brain bleach by the time this is done.

And those poor brave women. It's just horrifying what they're facing.
posted by RedOrGreen at 7:08 PM on September 24 [28 favorites]


What about the Rehoboth Police Force
Rehoboth is the Delaware beach town where D.C. prep school kids went for Beach Week, which was (is?) an unsupervised week at the beach where you could drink a lot and get up to no good if you were the kind of kid who drank a lot and got up to no good.

Also, I want to punch a lot of people on Renate's behalf, starting with the girls who didn't tell her at the time and the women who let her sign the letter all these years later. What the everloving fuck? I wonder what her social status was at her school.
Are the private girls' schools at least a bit better institutionally, or do they do everything they can to foster this environment as well?
One of my closest childhood friends ended up at Stone Ridge, a Catholic girls' school with close ties to Prep, and it wasn't as bad. It had some issues, but she found it to be pretty feminist in that don't-fuck-with-badass-nuns way that some Catholic girls' schools are feminist.
posted by ArbitraryAndCapricious at 7:16 PM on September 24 [15 favorites]


From Vice: Another Kavanaugh accuser has talked to Maryland authorities, report says.

Note that the person is talking to local authorities, not the Feds.
posted by Justinian at 7:37 PM on September 24 [12 favorites]


[A few deleted. I know we have feelings about the yearbook thing but no. If this is the thing that blows up so much that people need a separate Kavanaugh thread, so be it. But this thread needs to stay more-or-less on track, and high school yearbook/who were the sleazy kids at your school/what would your teachers have thought - it's just irresistible derail fodder.]
posted by LobsterMitten (staff) at 7:38 PM on September 24 [8 favorites]




Well Trump just tweeted that the Democrats are leveling "an array of False Acquisitions the likes of which have never been seen before," and I, for one, am curious to know what we're acquiring beyond worsening headaches and feelings of impending doom.

And I guess someone reminded him he's supposed to be encouraging people to vote, because he tweeted simply "REMEMBER THE MIDTERMS!"
posted by zachlipton at 7:47 PM on September 24 [18 favorites]


ELECTIONS NEWS

** 2018 House:
-- TX-32: Siena poll has GOP incumbent Sessions up 48-47 on Dem Allred [MOE: +/- 4.8%]. [Clinton 49-47 | Cook: Tossup]

-- KS-03: Siena poll has Dem Davids up 51-43 on GOP incumbent Yoder [MOE: +/- 4.7%]. [Clinton 47-46 | Cook: Tossup]

-- TX-31: ALG poll has GOP incumbent Carter up 46-42 on Dem Hegar [MOE: +/- 4.4%]. Poll was commissioned by the Hegar campaign. [Trump 54-41 | Cook: Likely R]

-- PA-11: PPP poll has GOP incumbent Smucker up 44-35 on Dem King [MOE: +/- 4.2%]. You may have seen the recent Metafilter FPP about the King campaign. [Trump 61-35 | Cook: Solid R]

-- FL-17: Dem candidate April Freeman died unexpectedly last night. Under state law, her name will stay on the ballot, but the party will have a week to come up with a substitute candidate [Trump 62-35 | Cook: Solid R]

-- IA-01: DCCC cancels all remaining ad spend here, as everyone seems to think GOP incumbent Blum is done for. [Trump 49-45 | Cook: Lean D]

-- Weekly check-in on 538 generic ballot average shows D+8.5 (49.4/40.9).
** 2018 Senate:
-- AZ: Emerson poll has Dem Sinema up 45-39 on GOPer McSally [MOE: +/- 4.4%].

-- FL: UNF poll has Dem incumbent Nelson tied 45-45 with GOPer Scott [MOE: +/- 4.0].
** Odds & ends:
-- AZ gov: Same Emerson poll has GOP incumbent Ducey up 42-38 on Dem Garcia.

-- FL gov: Same UNF poll has Dem Gillum up 47-43 on GOPer DeSantis. | Amendment 4 (felon re-enfranchisement) is up 71-21. Needs 60% approval to become law.
posted by Chrysostom at 7:50 PM on September 24 [24 favorites]




The activists also shouted “Beto is hotter than you”
posted by The Whelk at 7:56 PM on September 24 [74 favorites]


Peter Kauffmann tweets a statement from Kavanaugh's Yale roommate James Roche, including:
"Based on my time with Debbie, I believe her to be unusually honest and straightforward and I cannot imagine her making this up."

"Based on my time with Brett, I believe that he and his social circle were capable of the actions that Debbie described."
posted by FelliniBlank at 8:08 PM on September 24 [94 favorites]


With everything going on in this thread, and the news that the sexual assault hotlines are overloaded with calls/texts, may I take a brief moment to remind my fellow mefites that you can help? Every call center is staffed by volunteers, and they never have enough. Specifically, the Crisis Text Line always needs more people. Their goal is to answer every texter in under 5 minutes, and at times like these, that's just not possible without more help. They provide training, you select your own schedule, and there's TONS of support. You're never stuck wondering how to respond to someone. If you want to do more, consider CTL, or any crisis or rape hotline.

And if you need someone to listen without judging, text 741-741.
posted by greermahoney at 8:10 PM on September 24 [71 favorites]


The "aggressive and belligerent drunk" theme seems to be very consistent from high school to college into the 2000s.
posted by FelliniBlank at 8:12 PM on September 24 [10 favorites]


It is very striking that the people offering the blanket denials did not know him as well as the people saying it's plausible. Even Judge notably denies the specifics rather than the broad sweep of them being hard drinkers with an unpleasantly misogynistic streak and history.
posted by jaduncan at 8:38 PM on September 24 [12 favorites]


I'd also note that the accusers coming forward are intensely brave, but so is the roommate; all of them are risking a libel action from a federal judge just to try and ensure a rapist doesn't get to be a Justice.

It's actually incredibly patriotic.
posted by jaduncan at 8:41 PM on September 24 [92 favorites]


JEBUS FUCKING KRUSTY - if Trump goes down as "Only Trump could make rape culture [absolutely] unacceptable" like "Only Nixon could go to China" ... I'd be ok with that if "frat boys" and that kind of culture be then universally considered unacceptable.

Not going to happen, even if the percentage of leadership positions (elected/ appointed, private sector) are majority women, for a very long time.

I hope that I'm wrong.
posted by porpoise at 8:48 PM on September 24 [2 favorites]


Amendment 4 (felon re-enfranchisement) is up 71-21. Needs 60% approval to become law.

I'm so pleasantly surprised to see this one doing so well, it really feels indicative of a significant shift toward decency and democratic values.
posted by contraption at 8:51 PM on September 24 [22 favorites]




Well, at least the kids are alright: We asked teenagers across the U.S. what they think about the Allegations Against Brett Kavanaugh: NYT Single link, behnd paywall, so here are the quotes:

Layla King, a high school sophomore in St. Louis, Mo., was asked by her mother this week what she thinks about Brett M. Kavanaugh: If he was guilty at 17 of sexually assaulting a girl at a party decades ago, should he still be held accountable?

“He should,” said Ms. King, who is 15, “because you’re definitely supposed to know right from wrong by my age.”....

On Tuesday, Emma Thatcher, a high school student in Florida, tweeted: “I would just like to say that the emergence of this whole ‘teenage boys should get a pass because they’re not mature enough to understand consent’ narrative is probably one of the most unsettling things I have ever witnessed.”.....

Ms. Leach said she was frustrated by the doubt cast on Dr. Blasey’s claims, a reaction other girls in her high school have also encountered.

“When a girl has come to school after a weekend party and says someone made her feel uncomfortable, she’s called a drama queen,” Ms. Leach said. “People would say she’s fabricating stories for attention. The language being used by a lot of Republicans is eerily similar to the way boys sound in high school.”

For some teenage boys, the controversy underscores the importance of treating girls with respect. And it has been sobering to realize that gaining a job as powerful as sitting on the Supreme Court bench could hinge on what may have occurred in high school.

Dan Radka, 17, a high school senior who lives in Clinton, Conn., said he had learned from friends who were girls how important it is to obtain consent in sexual situations. His teachers have also stressed using caution on social media, where youthful posts can live forever.

But Mr. Radka said the controversy in Washington has made him think even more deeply about making the right choices now and in college, knowing they may well impact his future.
“I don’t want to do something dumb that I could have prevented,” he said.
posted by anitanita at 8:55 PM on September 24 [68 favorites]


But Mr. Radka said the controversy in Washington has made him think even more deeply about making the right choices now and in college, knowing they may well impact his future.
“I don’t want to do something dumb that I could have prevented,” he said.


Still striking that the narrative is 'what, there might be consequences for me for a dumb action' rather than 'this would be a horrific thing to do', but baby steps I guess.
posted by jaduncan at 9:18 PM on September 24 [63 favorites]


Has CNN yet made any statement about their decision to portray GOP party operatives as "average Republican women" yet?
posted by yesster at 9:21 PM on September 24 [46 favorites]


I'll also remember his quote next time someone says it's not important what people did in high school. It absolutely is essential to normalise the concept that there are consequences for rape and sexual assault even when the offenders are teenagers, because it's essential that we do what we can to ensure that today's teenage girls are less likely to get raped.
posted by jaduncan at 9:23 PM on September 24 [45 favorites]


Rod Rosenstein was pretty strong when he was testifying to Congress.
posted by M-x shell at 11:09 PM on September 24 [8 favorites]


Tuesday: Trump addresses the UN general assembly.
Wednesday: Trump participates in UN security council briefing, meets with Macron and Netanyahu.
Thursday: Trump meets with Rosenstein to talk about growing unemployment rates.
Also Thursday: Christine Blasey Ford's testimony.

This week is going to be a long year with plenty of opportunities for Trump to take the spotlight off Kavanaugh. They seem to be keeping good twitter discipline so far, but dear god, he's speaking at the UN.
posted by adept256 at 12:49 AM on September 25 [4 favorites]


I was going to ask you what the deputy AG had to do with the economy and then I went "ohhhhh noooooo".

Don't forget that Avenatti's client or clients are going public Wednesday night. Which will either be the death knell to Kavanaugh or discredit the whole enterprise.
posted by Justinian at 12:56 AM on September 25


I'm not particularly interested in seeing Kavanaugh on Fox, but they did show a clip during a news bulletin on Australian TV. In it, he claims he was a virgin at the time of the alleged incident, and was for many years after. Being Fox I suppose that went unchallenged. He said this while sitting next to his wife, as if to imply he was waiting for marriage.

Well, that's the image he's going for on Fox I guess.
posted by adept256 at 1:46 AM on September 25 [2 favorites]


That doesn't obviate the Blasey's story at all. But I'll call bullshit in any case.
posted by michswiss at 2:16 AM on September 25 [7 favorites]


Canvassing apps: (jumping back up the thread a bit) Pretty much every Democratic candidate in Houston, TX is using MiniVAN and have been for a while. It’s a nice app on my phone that picks registered Democrats. So you don’t knock doors of Republicans at all unless they crossed party lines in a primary vote, or the data is old, which happens. If they’re polite about it you can correct the data and leave them alone. If they don’t answer or don’t help me clarify my information is wrong I don’t correct it someone later may knock their door again. But because it’s been usead so much the last few years a lot of the incorrect or out dated information has been corrected.

Which is great because our problem in Texas is horrible voter turn out. We are the 50th state in voter turn out. So generally the goal in canvassing is familiarize your candidates name, review upcoming election dates and encourage a voter plan. Simply talk with people who are already registered to actually GO vote.

There is a group of hardcore canvassers in town who are Volunteer Deputy Registars who are going to apartments and canvassing to register voters. It’s non partisan, but generally more votes are better for our candidates.

Beto’s field team uses a different app, Polis. It also pulls up “likely voters.” It’s brand new to the area so the data is not as current as miniVAN. MiniVANs lists come from the campaign or precinct chair. Not sure where Polis gets its lists. So with both you skip a lot of houses. We aren’t trying to convince people to turn to our candidate, we are just trying to get people likely to lvote for our candidate to go vote.

So while miniVAN is probably more efficient, Polis is easier for me to canvass on the spur of the moment because anyone on there can pull up a list of houses. I think if I was a Precinct Chair or Captain I might have more access with miniVAN. Last week I started doing super short canvasses as I walk my dog. I can pull up a list on my phone and hit a few doors really quick.

A canvassing friend did a similar thing while hanging out at a friends house. They just decided hey let’s knock some doors real quick, pulled up a list and knocked out a whole list of 50. It’s really nice that with Polis you don’t have to wait for an official campaign sponsored canvass you can just go whenever. I just wish their data was as current as miniVANs. I have a bag ready with candidate push cards, a pen, some buttons and stickers plus a clipboard when I need a writing surface.

We will see what happens. I’m so hopeful about Beto, my CD02 House Candidate Todd Litton, who is also a “toss up,” and I have some great people running for State and Local races I’m excited about. Hopefully we can keep working past this election and maintain the community building we have done here. Our voter turn out isn’t an accident it was planned, and built, and the other side worked hard to convince everyone voting wasn’t worth the bother. So much work to do before AND AFTER these midterms.
posted by dog food sugar at 3:29 AM on September 25 [41 favorites]


A query: some of this stuff has been in plain sight for a while, like the Renate Alumni thing. This dude has been through a bunch of background checks, I mean, even prior to this. Does the Secret Service or whoever not go that far back? Is it something that is sort of a rich white privilege thing where there's an assumption of innocent hijinks and no investigator furrows his or her brow and follows up on that?

The other thing I find really sinister is that these are published yearbook remarks? Nobody ever thought to tell Ms. Renate that she was the subject of some crude in joke that was in a yearbook that probably still resides in hundreds of homes? That kind of blows my mind.
posted by angrycat at 3:34 AM on September 25 [43 favorites]


David French at National Review sounds worried that Kavanaugh may have overextended in his Fox interview last night:
He extended his denials into three very specific areas that were specifically designed to counter the elitist party-bro narrative that’s dominating the left side of Twitter. Each of these specific denials is subject to fact-checking (though it could get quite personal), and if any of these denials fails that fact check, he may face real issues with wavering Republicans. First — in the claim that’s rocketing around Twitter — he asserted that he was a virgin throughout high school and for many years afterward. ... Second — he denied ever drinking to the point of memory loss. ... Third — he denied going to any parties in the area where Ford claimed the party took place. Again, this is a highly specific denial. He didn’t just deny attending the party with Ford, he denied attending any party in the general area.
posted by clawsoon at 4:18 AM on September 25 [35 favorites]


And there goes the bit of doubt I had on his guilt.

HuffPo: Rep. Keith Ellison Won’t Rule Out Possibility Of Future Abuse Allegations
“I don’t know what somebody might cook up,” the Democratic nominee for Minnesota attorney general said.
posted by chris24 at 4:20 AM on September 25 [41 favorites]


Wait a minute--in an email he admitted to drinking to the point of memory loss in 2001 and apologizing for it. How is he going to reconcile that with his Fox interview?
posted by angrycat at 4:34 AM on September 25 [44 favorites]


HuffPo: Rep. Keith Ellison Won’t Rule Out Possibility Of Future Abuse Allegations

Ellison has to go.
posted by Faint of Butt at 4:36 AM on September 25 [59 favorites]


Haven’t other people already said Bart K went to those parties? (In addition to the email angrycat mentions)
posted by sio42 at 4:44 AM on September 25 [1 favorite]


WSJ: In rebuke to Trump, Eu­rope will es­tab­lish a spe­cial pay­ment chan­nel to al­low Eu­ropean and other com­pa­nies to legally con­tinue fi­nan­cial trans­ac­tions with Iran while avoid­ing ex­po­sure to U.S. sanc­tions
posted by chris24 at 4:45 AM on September 25 [19 favorites]


Although Judge has explained that names were changed in his book to protect privacy — Georgetown Prep is referred to as Loyola Prep — there is a reference in the book to a drunken “Bart O’Kavanaugh” vomiting and passing out in a car. On his yearbook page, Judge apparently refers to Kavanaugh as Bart.
From https://theintercept.com/2018/09/22/mark-judge-wasted-brett-kavanaugh/, I realise it's the intercept, but the reference is the same as I've heard before. Also CW on the article going over the details of Dr. Ford's assault.

Given what he said in the interview it seems absurd if they don't bring Mark Judge in for questioning under oath (and ideally others from the clubs they were in).
posted by Buntix at 4:58 AM on September 25


First — in the claim that’s rocketing around Twitter — he asserted that he was a virgin throughout high school and for many years afterward

That loud thump you heard is a thousand incels pounding on their desks in approval.

People postpone sex for a variety of reasons, but doesn't Kavanaugh realize that he comes off as a sexless incel creeper who believes that men have a right to sex at any cost, and that aggression is morally legitimate?
posted by Gordion Knott at 4:59 AM on September 25 [13 favorites]


This Minnesota Star Tribune link made me think I can believe Ellison's accuser, Karen Monahan, and still believe be okay with Ellison being MN AG. I have been following the story carefully and have been on the fence (Doug Wardlaw, Ellison's Republican opponent, works for the "Alliance Defending Freedom" and is loudly anti-gay and anti-trans.)

From the link:
Kavanaugh is being accused of attempting to rape a woman. Ellison is being accused of … well, if you pay attention to the details … pulling on his ex-girlfriend’s feet and demanding that she move out of his house because their relationship had ended.
I think that's accurate, based on what I have read, and I do think that's a distinction that matters. Not saying I have a great opinion of Ellison these days, but I don't think this accusation is at the same level as even the ones against Al Franken.

Now if someone else DOES some forward with allegations against Ellison, I will have to revisit this.
posted by OnceUponATime at 5:01 AM on September 25 [8 favorites]


Also his membership in a secret college group with a name referring to female genitalia doesn't scream 'no sex until marriage'

This interview stuff is just riffing on: don't believe what you see, are told. That he'd issue these specific denials that some random internet person can poke major holes in doesn't make sense but for the subscription to a different reality, or maybe the idea that only winning matters. Maybe the interview was just about turning out the base in the midterms by constructing that different reality.

But Kamala Harris and the other Democratic members of the judiciary committee have a lot to clearly demonstrate he's a steaming garbage pile of a person. What that will do but motivate the democratic base, I don't know.
posted by angrycat at 5:02 AM on September 25 [6 favorites]


That loud thump you heard is a thousand incels pounding on their desks in approval.

Well he was prepped by the right wing propaganda machine, so this might have been designed to appeal to the incels and the evangelicals at the same time.
posted by duoshao at 5:06 AM on September 25 [1 favorite]


Wait a minute--in an email he admitted to drinking to the point of memory loss in 2001 and apologizing for it. How is he going to reconcile that with his Fox interview?

Does he have to? Like, he's just not going to, right? Literally nobody on Earth who knows about Brett Kavanaugh thinks he's telling the truth about the sexual assaults. Everybody already knows he's a liar. This new lie isn't going to matter.
posted by IAmUnaware at 5:06 AM on September 25 [35 favorites]


This dude has been through a bunch of background checks, I mean, even prior to this. Does the Secret Service or whoever not go that far back?

I think it's much more likely that the Secret Service doesn't give a shit that a white dude's prep school yearbook seems to allude to a bunch of drinking, bullying and bro sex laffs. Those of us who have been on the receiving end of this kind of behavior know that it's not all just innocent youthful hijinks but we are witnessing in real time everyone else coming to finally realize that young white men may actually be held responsible for their choices some day.
posted by soren_lorensen at 5:07 AM on September 25 [61 favorites]


This new lie isn't going to matter.

Can we stop with this? A month ago he was a lock to be long confirmed by now but people kept fighting and digging and he's at best 50/50 now. Things do matter – maybe not as much as we'd like – but he's the most unpopular nominee ever and they don't have the votes right now. And this is before Ford testifies and whatever else comes out. Even Rs who want him confirmed are saying these lies last night are bad news for him. I get that things seem hopeless and meaningless at times but they're not. And giving in to that is what the bad guys count on when they have a weak hand.
posted by chris24 at 5:14 AM on September 25 [143 favorites]


Rehoboth is the Delaware beach town where D.C. prep school kids went for Beach Week, which was (is?) an unsupervised week at the beach where you could drink a lot and get up to no good if you were the kind of kid who drank a lot and got up to no good.

A minor point: Dewey Beach, which is maybe two miles south of Rehoboth, is the party-and-drinking town in the area. This is not to suggest that kids didn't drink in Rehoboth because of course they did and do, but if you're a hard partier, you go to Dewey. In Animal House terms, Rehoboth is for Otter, Dewey is for Bluto.

A month ago he was a lock to be long confirmed by now but people kept fighting and digging and he's at best 50/50 now. Things do matter – maybe not as much as we'd like – but he's the most unpopular nominee ever and they don't have the votes right now.

The problem is that 50/50 is a winning hand. I remain convinced that Susan Collins will happily be vote #53 or #54 against Kavanaugh but will refuse to be #51. She will not get a hall pass of any sort because the stakes are too high and the consequences of a surprise defection would be too severe. Either Kavanaugh gets toxified to the point where a bloc of moderates all decide to move or the needle will simply not move far enough.
posted by delfin at 5:41 AM on September 25 [4 favorites]


Ellison has to go.

100% Investigation and if needed, action, immediately.
posted by mikelieman at 5:58 AM on September 25 [10 favorites]


doesn't Kavanaugh realize that he comes off as a sexless incel creeper

This is nothing to do with incels (he's probably only passingly aware of them, if at all) and all about the what a Catholic would be expected to say if they actually followed the dogma.

Why the fuck are we believing his claim that he was a virgin when he's already lied under actual oath?

Because that this point, the only court that matters is public opinion. The general populace doesn't follow news with enough attention to detail to care whether he purjured himself about Democratic emails but might pay attention to laughable claims of virginity.
posted by Candleman at 6:19 AM on September 25 [11 favorites]


Not that we don't already know this, but: as a person who drank too much in college and was blackout drunk a number of times, I still find a lot of what Kavanaugh has admitted to sounding worse than anything I ever did in terms of drinking. The notion that he did all that drinking and was involved in all these "secret clubs" referencing alcohol and was never blackout drunk doesn't just stretch credulity, it pretty much tears it in half, throws it into a nearby shredder, and then tosses the remains in a bonfire.
posted by tocts at 6:27 AM on September 25 [27 favorites]


I’m not cool with the idea that only a little hitting or ass-grabbing is okay in a political candidate. That’s like suggesting that Knoblach shouldn’t end his campaign because he didn’t actually molest his daughter, the paper said he only did some neck-kissing and forcible lap-sitting. If we’re going to decide that abusing people is fine and that it’s only a matter of haggling about the amount, then how can we ever call ourselves moral or ethical people? How do we ever expect to see the end of abusive people in our power structures if we continue to excuse their behavior and give them a pass?
posted by Autumnheart at 6:27 AM on September 25 [46 favorites]


laughable claims of virginity

I wouldn't call the claims of virginity straight-up laughable, and they won't sound that way to us weirdos who were given all of the tools to fail at interacting with women by our churches. It is surprisingly easy to simply not have sex for many, many years.

That has no bearing on what Kavanaugh did or didn't do, but it will have a bearing on his believability for his target audience.
posted by clawsoon at 6:32 AM on September 25 [9 favorites]


The blanket denial of blackout drinking is interesting, because if Kavanaugh admitted to blackout drinking -- and Trump's doctrine is never to admit, always deny -- then how could he be sure he never assaulted anyone?
posted by Gelatin at 6:41 AM on September 25 [4 favorites]


Just so we're clear, being a virgin doesn't mean you wouldn't, couldn't or didn't commit sexual assault.
posted by Miko at 6:41 AM on September 25 [117 favorites]


Virginity doesn't exist. It's not a thing. It's a made up misogynistic concept that breaks down upon the slightest scrutiny. And it certainly has nothing to do with sexual misconduct. What activities Kavanaugh did with other consenting people has nothing to do with what actions he did to nonconsenting people. The fact that he would even reference the concept of virginity in this context adds to his established record of being a misogynistic, abusive person who is incapable of understanding human relations at a level we want in a Supreme Court justice.
posted by melissasaurus at 6:43 AM on September 25 [80 favorites]


Yeah, having gone to Catholic college and thus being quite familiar with toxic Catholic all-male prep-school grads and their shenanigans, I'm totally willing to believe Kavanaugh remained technically a virgin for however long, but that says nothing about how many women he sexually assaulted, which does not require penis-in-vagina to be assault. And look, if he was physically forcing women to give him blow jobs, he'd still be saying he hadn't had sex and believing he's telling the truth, because he'll have been taught a reductive PIV vision of sex and virginity. There's even a significant subset of this cohort of young men who believe anal sex isn't sex.

Like, he was well-positioned to catch Bill Clinton in the "I did not have sex with that woman" thing because Kavanaugh, too, would insist that oral sex wasn't sex and didn't count. He could identify the sophistry because he would use the same sophistry -- and probably is using it right now.

"I'm still a virgin" and "we didn't have sex!" is absolutely par for the course for skeezy Catholic college guys trying to weasel out of sexual assault charges.
posted by Eyebrows McGee at 6:50 AM on September 25 [105 favorites]


> we are witnessing in real time everyone else coming to finally realize that young white men may actually be held responsible for their choices some day.

Hence all the pushback and refusal to just find a candidate who (presumably) hasn't committed sexual assault. This is the barricade being manned (pun intended), the hill they've chosen to fight and possibly die on. Or, as someone else put it, "If somebody can be brought down by accusations like this, then you, me, every man certainly should be worried."
posted by The Card Cheat at 6:51 AM on September 25 [13 favorites]


The WaPo has an annotated transcript of Kavanaugh's Fox interview if you're into that sort of thing.
posted by peeedro at 6:51 AM on September 25 [5 favorites]


GOP sees highest favorability in seven years. Yep, the GOP has certainly never been grander.
posted by The Card Cheat at 6:58 AM on September 25 [5 favorites]


Here's a default response I've developed to people that cross my feed suggesting that Ford might be making up her accusations: "then I hope you've contacted your Senators to show support for the request for a full FBI investigation to establish the facts. Here are their numbers."
posted by Miko at 7:03 AM on September 25 [46 favorites]


Here's a thing—it's via a dude named Thomas Fine (@thomasafine), whose twitter is giving me heavy OTT vibes to be honest—but whose evidence seems straight-up enough: in 2005 Creative Response Concepts (CRC)—Ed Whelan's old firm—registered with FARA to provide services for Paul Manafort's buddy Viktor Yanukovych. The very same year, in fact.

I should say that I suspect that this is less evidence of some kind of direct conspiracy linking Manafort to Kavanaugh and more of a demonstration of just how thirsty all of these guys were/are for that foreign dictator action, but it's still remarkable.
posted by octobersurprise at 7:07 AM on September 25 [14 favorites]


It won't be long before Kavanaugh says he's never had a beer. A friend tells me the secret society he belonged to is notorious for sleazy, drunken behavior. When she found out he was a member, she said "that's all I need to know".

I buy that he was a virgin, but it's beside the point. You can be a virgin and still terrorize someone. You can be a virgin and still stick your dick in someone's face. In fact, in 80's culture you may have been somewhat more likely. During the 80's, it wasn't uncommon for gay bashers, especially the really violent ones, to actually be gay themselves. Some virgins were similarly obsessed in proving to the world what hyper-masculine testosterone-filled asses they were. For me, it helps explain his behavior, not prove his innocence. .
posted by xammerboy at 7:14 AM on September 25 [24 favorites]


Hence all the pushback and refusal to just find a candidate who (presumably) hasn't committed sexual assault. This is the barricade being manned (pun intended), the hill they've chosen to fight and possibly die on. Or, as someone else put it, "If somebody can be brought down by accusations like this, then you, me, every man certainly should be worried."

'zactly. This would be a very different political moment if Kavanaugh had been directed by his Federalist Society handlers to make contrite noises about how he doesn't remember any specific incidents, but that he knows he made some bad choices as a young man, that he did not respect women as much as they deserve, and that he's done a lot of growing and changing in the ensuing 30 years. But instead they went hard on DENY DENY DENY to the point of absolutely absurd lies about even non-illegal or not-really-that-illegal teen behavior that no one believes. This is another one of those weird totalitarian loyalty tests: will you convince yourself to believe a blatant lie for the party? Even an inconsequential one?
posted by soren_lorensen at 7:16 AM on September 25 [31 favorites]


I’m not cool with the idea that only a little hitting or ass-grabbing is okay in a political candidate.

I think it is important to note that nobody has accused Ellison of doing either of those things.
posted by OnceUponATime at 7:16 AM on September 25 [14 favorites]


Which senator is going to get to ask him, based on the interview, which sex acts he had or had not participated in during the time period he describes himself as a "virgin?"
posted by Exceptional_Hubris at 7:17 AM on September 25 [10 favorites]




I’m not cool with the idea that only a little hitting or ass-grabbing is okay in a political candidate.

I think it is important to note that nobody has accused Ellison of doing either of those things.


I don't think that's correct. Ass-grabbing maybe not, but I'm not going to split hairs on whether on not grabbing someone's ankle and trying to drag them forcibly from a bed/out of a room is sizably different from shoving/hitting.
posted by phearlez at 7:19 AM on September 25 [5 favorites]


From the Daily 202 from WaPo: -- Looking ahead to Thursday, Republicans apparently continue to insist that Ford be questioned by a female attorney. Michael Bromwich, Ford’s lawyer, complained last night that Grassley’s staff has said they’re going to have an “experienced sex crimes prosecutor” ask questions, but they’ve thus far refused to identify that person.

I wonder what ability Ford has to come in, sit down, and just refuse to answer the questions put to her by someone who is not a Congresscritter. Do the committee members have the liberty to delegate questioning to someone else and still have the ability to hold someone in contempt? They can and have and do have staffers talk to witnesses but I wonder what limits, if any, exist to compel folks to talk to non-elected officials.

Would they be willing to hold her in contempt if Ford simply respectfully refused to speak to non-congressfolks and instead said what she wanted to say? What would it look like if this experienced prosecutor tries to hardass Ford in that sort of circumstance?

How do you pull this off and deny Dems the ability to have their own experienced sex crimes prosecutor ask Kavanaugh questions?

This is such a bullshit farce.
posted by phearlez at 7:30 AM on September 25 [21 favorites]


Who didn’t set their gym on fire and murder dozens of classmates when they were a teenager?

For the record if Buffy Summers, who definitely did this, were running for national political office it would be so vastly preferable to our current garbage timeline that I can't even put it into words.
posted by nonasuch at 7:40 AM on September 25 [59 favorites]


Was there ever any progress on Kavanaugh's money trail? He was throwing some frankly ridiculous amounts of money around, like that house down payment that exceeded his entire stated net worth... The focus is where it is for a very good reason, I'm just wondering if this was reported out and I missed it in the storm.

I'm sure his family has money, and his wife as well, but you would think it would be trivial to show an innocent paper trail if that's where it came from. If not, well, curiouser and curiouser.
posted by BS Artisan at 7:41 AM on September 25 [20 favorites]


This is such a bullshit farce.
They're trying to force Dr Ford to withdraw from appearing.
It's the only way they can move this forward now.
posted by fullerine at 7:43 AM on September 25 [12 favorites]


Never not lying.

Secretary of Homeland Security Kirstjen Nielsen: "We do not have a policy of separating families at the border. Period."

Danielle Brian of Project on Government Oversight: "BREAKING: There was a DHS family separation policy and we found it"

Non-Twitter link here.
posted by marshmallow peep at 7:45 AM on September 25 [84 favorites]


A few other things—

• Via @WarfareNavel, a detailed examination of how CRC tried to propagate the "Kavanaugh doppelgänger" story.

• On the topic of propagating stories, "On the Origins of Memes by Means of Fringe Web Communities," by Savvas Zannettou, Tristan Caulfield, Jeremy Blackburn, Emiliano De Cristofaro, Michael Sirivianos, Gianluca Stringhini, and Guillermo Suarez-Tangil.

•On Monday, The National Archives released a memo written by Kavanaugh in 1998 in which he laid out in explicit language the kind of questions he wanted the Independent Counsel's office to ask Bill Clinton.
" ... The President has disgraced his Office, the legal system, and the American people by having sex with a 22-year-old intern and turning her life into a shambles -- callous and disgusting behavior that has somehow gotten lost in the shuffle. He has committed perjury (at least) in the Jones case. He has turned the Secret Service upside down. He has required the urgent attention of the courts and the Supreme Court for frivolous privilege claims -- all to cover up his oral sex from an intern. He has lied to his aides. He has lied to the American people. He has tried to disgrace you and this Office with a sustained propaganda campaign that would make Nixon blush.

He should be forced to account for all of that and to defend his actions. It may not be our job to impose sanctions on him, but it is our job to make his pattern of revolting behavior clear -- piece by painful piece -- on Monday. I am mindful of the need for respect for the Office of the President. But in my view, given what we know, the interests of the Office of the President would be best served by our gathering the full facts regarding the actions of this President so that the Congress can decide whether the interests of the Presidency would be best served by having a new President. More to the point : Aren't we failing to fulfill our duty to the American people if we willingly "conspire" with the President in an effort to conceal the true nature of his acts?"
posted by octobersurprise at 7:46 AM on September 25 [43 favorites]


I'm sure his family has money, and his wife as well, but you would think it would be trivial to show an innocent paper trail if that's where it came from.

Actually I think it would be hard to show an innocent paper trail there because not only are there questions of gift taxes that must be paid but it's potentially mortgage fraud if you have received undisclosed help to make those down-payments. Us peons* get scrutiny about this. If, when they look through your last few months of bank statements, they see big cash transfers from accounts you have not provided statements from you absolutely will get questioned on it.

* My family is fortunate enough to be up pretty high on the ladder when it comes to this sort of banking but we still aren't near the level where folks just shrug and let you go by without all the documents.
posted by phearlez at 7:47 AM on September 25 [5 favorites]


I don't really understand what objecting gets them. Either they are willing to testify even with questioning by outside counsel or they aren't. If it is a red line, as I originally thought it would be, why not say so? Do Ford's lawyers think she'll have more leverage as we get closer to the scheduled hearings? I would have said less?

But her attorneys are by all reports very good so clearly they know what they are doing even if I don't understand it.
posted by Justinian at 9:21 PM on September 24 


Well...in the time they've been stalling, 2 more women have stepped up with allegations, which, IIRC, is exactly what happened with Cosby,et al...so...seems like a pretty good technique. Plus, the levels of emotional and mental preparation Ford must be going through right now (plus, oh yeah, media circus) must be crushing. She can take as long as she needs IMO.
posted by sexyrobot at 7:49 AM on September 25 [13 favorites]


Add saying the 18 year olds were drinking legally to the obvious bullshit and lies from last night.

The drinking age changed to 21 in Maryland on July 1st, 1982 when Kavanaugh was 17.
posted by chris24 at 7:50 AM on September 25 [27 favorites]


Trump is being laughed at at the UN.

Daniel Dale is reporting that when Trump started his speech at the UN and told the room that his administration has accomplished more than almost any administration in the history of our country, there was laughter. When he then said, "So true." More and louder laughter.

Trump is flustered and says, "Didn't expect that reaction."
posted by Sophie1 at 7:51 AM on September 25 [186 favorites]


Daniel Dale @ddale8 from the Toronto Star is live tweeting the speech.
posted by Sophie1 at 7:53 AM on September 25 [3 favorites]


The drinking age changed to 21 in Maryland on July 1st, 1982 when Kavanaugh was 17.>

Yes but the drinking age in DC, 15 minutes away from his prep school, was 18 until 1986.
posted by Definitely Not Sean Spicer at 7:54 AM on September 25 [9 favorites]


Philip Gourevitch (New Yorker)
Nonpartisan group of 6,000+ Mormon women calls on Judiciary Committee—naming "the four members who share our faith,” Hatch, Lee, Flake & Crapo—"to immediately suspend the confirmation proceedings” for thorough independent investigation of K, to "prevent harm to SCOTUS legitimacy"

OFFICIAL STATEMENT FROM MORMON WOMEN FOR ETHICAL GOVERNMENT WITH REGARD TO THE BRETT KAVANAUGH CONFIRMATION PROCEEDINGS (FB post)
Given the seriousness of the allegations levied against Judge Kavanaugh, we call upon the members of the Senate Judiciary Committee to immediately suspend the confirmation proceedings until a thorough independent investigation can be conducted.

We very specifically urge the four members of the committee who share our faith as members of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints--Senator Hatch, Senator Lee, Senator Flake, and Senator Crapo--to ensure that these charges be taken seriously and that every attempt be made to ascertain the truth of the situation. Our mutual faith teaches that any sexual abuse or assault in any context is contemptible and worthy of the most severe condemnation.

If these accusations are proved false, an investigation will prevent harm to the court's legitimacy. If they are true, then Judge Kavanaugh must not be confirmed.

As we have stated previously, sexual assault must not be normalized or condoned in any way or by anyone, especially those charged with political leadership. We boldly condemn any attempts to justify such inexcusable and reprehensible behavior and demand that our elected leaders set a morally sound example.
posted by chris24 at 7:55 AM on September 25 [109 favorites]


[A few deleted - please don't liveblog each line of the speech, instead wait a few min and collect several points into a longer comment; thanks.]
posted by LobsterMitten (staff) at 7:56 AM on September 25 [3 favorites]


Manu Raju (CNN)
I just asked Sen. Lisa Murkowski, key GOP swing vote, if there should be a full FBI investigation into allegations from Kavanaugh’s past. “It would sure clear up all the questions, wouldn’t it?” she said
posted by chris24 at 7:57 AM on September 25 [46 favorites]


And a lot of states had grandfather clauses. Example, I was 17 iirc when the law changed to 21, but because of where my birthday fell, I was legally allowed to drink at 18.
posted by SecretAgentSockpuppet at 7:57 AM on September 25 [3 favorites]


that was a link to the live updates by The Guardian and The Independent.
posted by infini at 7:58 AM on September 25 [1 favorite]


Well...in the time they've been stalling, 2 more women have stepped up with allegations, which, IIRC, is exactly what happened with Cosby,et al...so...seems like a pretty good technique. Plus, the levels of emotional and mental preparation Ford must be going through right now (plus, oh yeah, media circus) must be crushing. She can take as long as she needs IMO.

And it seems that every time they do this back and forth it gets talked about and the desperation to avoid being seen questioning her might be revealed to more people. Also probably doesn't hurt that they mention that Congressional Republicans want to have a sex crimes prosecutor question the alleged victim.

I am obviously highly biased in this, but from here it seems like Ford is making overtures to come talk to them while they're afraid to be seen talking to her. Maybe it's good enough that people like me see that. Maybe people who aren't coming from my position are seeing it too.
posted by phearlez at 7:59 AM on September 25 [1 favorite]


Example, I was 17 iirc when the law changed to 21, but because of where my birthday fell, I was legally allowed to drink at 18.

Kavanaugh was 18 on Feb 12th 1983. The cutoff for MD's grandfather clause was 18 by July 1, 1982.
posted by Definitely Not Sean Spicer at 8:00 AM on September 25 [8 favorites]


I did not know there were four Mormon senators. I am surprised.
posted by OnTheLastCastle at 8:00 AM on September 25 [4 favorites]


I did not know there were four Mormon senators. I am surprised.

There's four on the Judiciary Committee, but there are six total: Crapo, Flake, Hatch, Heller, Lee, Udall.
posted by peeedro at 8:03 AM on September 25 [7 favorites]


Trump is being laughed at at the UN.

Trump has said time and time again that this is his worst fear.

Washington Post: Trump Said Foreign Leaders Wouldn’t Laugh At The U.S. Now They’re Laughing At Him. (June 2017)

Washington Post: The 100-Plus Times Donald Trump Assured Us That America Is a Laughingstock (January 2016)

The Atlantic: Notice a Theme? Trump Thinks Everyone's Laughing at Us (April 2011)
posted by Doktor Zed at 8:04 AM on September 25 [45 favorites]


WSJ: In rebuke to Trump, Eu­rope will es­tab­lish a spe­cial pay­ment chan­nel to al­low Eu­ropean and other com­pa­nies to legally con­tinue fi­nan­cial trans­ac­tions with Iran while avoid­ing ex­po­sure to U.S. sanc­tions

This is pretty big stuff. The world's currency has at least a few ways around it. One has now been specifically created by the EU as a "fuck you" to the world's currency. What a stable genius we have.
posted by petebest at 8:06 AM on September 25 [30 favorites]


When he then said, "So true." More and louder laughter.

Trump is flustered and says, "Didn't expect that reaction."


This mockery is of course deserved but it still makes me flinch. This is a significant narcissistic injury.
posted by contraption at 8:06 AM on September 25 [48 favorites]


I am watching this speech to the U.N. and I haven't watched any of his speeches since before the election. The laughter is healing. He flinches at the bigger reactions.
posted by agregoli at 8:09 AM on September 25 [17 favorites]


I did not know there were four Mormon senators. I am surprised.

The LDS church has a strong presence in the states bordering Utah as well (when I lived in Reno, I passed at least two LDS temples on the way to my Episcopal church each Sunday), and they're very civic-minded.
posted by Etrigan at 8:09 AM on September 25 [1 favorite]


David French at National Review sounds worried that Kavanaugh may have overextended in his Fox interview last night:
He extended his denials into three very specific areas that were specifically designed to counter the elitist party-bro narrative that’s dominating the left side of Twitter. Each of these specific denials is subject to fact-checking (though it could get quite personal), and if any of these denials fails that fact check, he may face real issues with wavering Republicans. First — in the claim that’s rocketing around Twitter — he asserted that he was a virgin throughout high school and for many years afterward. ... Second — he denied ever drinking to the point of memory loss. ... Third — he denied going to any parties in the area where Ford claimed the party took place. Again, this is a highly specific denial. He didn’t just deny attending the party with Ford, he denied attending any party in the general area.

@skantrow: Perhaps Brett Kavanaugh was a virgin for many years after high school. But he claimed otherwise in a conversation with me during our freshman year in Lawrance Hall at Yale, in the living room of my suite.
posted by mazola at 8:09 AM on September 25 [67 favorites]


Trump at the UN: “The United States leads the world in foreign aid. But seldom do other countries give anything to us.”

Donald Trump does not understand charity as a concept. Donald Trump thinks a strong, great America is one which is the beneficiary of foreign aid, presumably directed into one of his family slush funds.
posted by East Manitoba Regional Junior Kabaddi Champion '94 at 8:10 AM on September 25 [17 favorites]


New call script for the Senate Judiciary Committee (202-224-5225) and your Senators.
It is essential for the FBI to conduct a full investigation into Brett Kavanaugh's history of alleged sexual predation and drunken behavior.

* Kavanaugh's college roommate James Roche has recalled Kavanaugh's aggressive and belligerent drunkeness
* Multiple witnesses must be called, including Kavanaugh's alleged accomplice Mark Judge
* Kavanaugh has never denied the specific allegations against him
* It is an unforgivable abdication of Senatorial duty for outside counsel to be asking questions of Ms. Ford
* The Republican attempt to force a confirmation vote last week while knowing about Debbie Ramirez's second credible allegation of sexual predation shows again how Republicans routinely enable rapists and strongly support sexual predators
* Sexual predators almost never strike only one time.

There is no good reason to rush through this confirmation given the seriousness and credibility of the allegations. We see through Senator Grassley's machinations and know he doesn't care about the truth.
Every delay makes it harder for this sexual predator to get on the court. Every delay gives more people an opportunity to dig into this guy's past. Every delay gives another courageous and determined heroine a chance to speak her truth about Kavanaugh's sexual predation.
posted by Excommunicated Cardinal at 8:12 AM on September 25 [54 favorites]




Good Ford, this "I can't be guilty of attempted rape/sexual assault because I was still a virgin afterward" defense is so cataclysmically stupid that it, and it alone, should disqualify Kavanaugh from serving as any kind of judge, up to and including the local chili cook-off, let alone SCOTUS.
posted by Gelatin at 8:13 AM on September 25 [69 favorites]


I am watching this speech to the U.N. and I haven't watched any of his speeches since before the election. The laughter is healing. He flinches at the bigger reactions.

Yes, they are laughing again and again at him. It makes me wonder if this was planned.

"Germany needs to change course or will be 'totally dependent' on Russian energy," Mr Trump said, to a bit of laughter from the German delegation shown on camera.

He attacked the International Criminal Court (ICC) and now the Organization of the Petroleum Exporting Countries (OPEC).

He gets another laugh, for saying OPEC is taking advantage of the US “and I don’t like it.”

posted by infini at 8:14 AM on September 25 [28 favorites]


...he denied ever drinking to the point of memory loss...

I can see how this is going to be the thing that everything else hinges on. How can he be sure that no memory loss occurred if he was too drunk to remember?
posted by Namlit at 8:16 AM on September 25 [7 favorites]


2014.

@realDonaldTrump
We need a President who isn't a laughing stock to the entire World. We need a truly great leader, a genius at strategy and winning. Respect!
posted by chris24 at 8:19 AM on September 25 [84 favorites]


Actually I think it would be hard to show an innocent paper trail there because not only are there questions of gift taxes that must be paid

This is my latest hobbyhorse.

Gift recipients do not pay tax on gifts. Gift givers have to report gifts in excess of $15k per year, and those amounts may count toward the lifetime exclusion before tax kicks in (the same exclusion as the Estate Tax, just over $11m now, around $5.5m when Kavanaugh bought the house).
posted by notyou at 8:19 AM on September 25 [7 favorites]


Video of Trump being laughed at by the general assembly

Delightful! First the assembly giggles at a laughably grandiose claim (my administration has accomplished more in two years than almost any administration in history), but it's muffled, as these are after all diplomats. Then Trump acknowledges the laughter by saying he didn't expect that reaction, complete with that succession of goofy faces he makes when he's uncomfortable, and the place erupts in laughter.
posted by Gelatin at 8:22 AM on September 25 [14 favorites]


Wait til he sees that the laughter is all anyone's talking about. He's gonna go ballistic. Like when he thought Helsinki went great until he saw the coverage.
posted by chris24 at 8:23 AM on September 25 [12 favorites]


Gift recipients do not pay tax on gifts. Gift givers have to report gifts in excess of $15k per year

Good thing to point out. I knew that but I should have been more explicit about what I was talking about there: the innocence in this case is whoever would have given the gift. If it was family they might have failed to disclose. If it wasn't family then both they and Kavanaugh could come out bad here, as it could possibly have qualified as income as well as potentially be damning as something you do for a then White House employee.
posted by phearlez at 8:25 AM on September 25 [4 favorites]


Sigh. Anyone know why Avenatti’s twitter would suddenly be protected?
posted by schadenfrau at 8:31 AM on September 25 [2 favorites]


Secretary of Homeland Security Kirstjen Nielsen: "We do not have a policy of separating families at the border. Period."

She must never, ever be allowed to eat in a public place ever again.
posted by ocschwar at 8:32 AM on September 25 [63 favorites]


schadenfrau - it's not for me. Could you have been blocked? He does have a twitchy block finger.
posted by Sophie1 at 8:33 AM on September 25 [1 favorite]


Sigh. Anyone know why Avenatti’s twitter would suddenly be protected?

He tweeted this about an hour ago:
I was just forced to make my account private because the bots and Trump trolls are out in full force due to my representation re Kavanaugh. I will change this back as soon as I am able.
posted by Roommate at 8:35 AM on September 25 [12 favorites]


schadenfrau - it's not for me. Could you have been blocked? He does have a twitchy block finger.

FYI - if you were already following him you should still be able to see his tweets. Protected accounts are hidden from people who don't follow them, and clicking "follow" on a protected account requires approval from the account holder. But going from public to protected grandfathers in everyone who was already following barring any other action from the account holder.
posted by Roommate at 8:38 AM on September 25 [6 favorites]




Avenatti also got the administrator of a private school in Arlington Texas suspended yesterday and it looks like the MAGA firehose got even stronger in his direction since then.
posted by JoeZydeco at 8:40 AM on September 25 [14 favorites]


(Maybe we don’t need a fine-toothed analysis of Michael Avenatti’s twitter settings in here?)
posted by Barack Spinoza at 8:41 AM on September 25 [16 favorites]


“The United States leads the world in foreign aid. But seldom do other countries give anything to us.”

Donald Trump does not understand charity as a concept.


Most of us don't understand foreign aid
- even though I expect the president to. Some portion of it is definitely humanitarian and in the interest of stabilizing the globe to reduce social volatilty. But another pretty big portion of it it goes to programs specifically designed to plant American-funded developments (airports, ports, energy stations, housing and office complexes) in foreign countries, or enacting big contracts for training of civilian, police, and military workers. So in the end, a lot of foreign aid is also carefully designed to benefit the US. I agree that Trump doesn't understand that, and it's weird that he is talking down aid since so many of his GOP cronies directly benefit by it, but hey, he's not too bright.
posted by Miko at 8:45 AM on September 25 [68 favorites]


[A few deleted. Friendly reminder, let's keep it focused on the national/Trump situation, and on real updates/contentful analysis rather than fed-up one-liner "ugh these fuckers" reactions or hypothetical "ugh, next I bet..." predictions.]
posted by LobsterMitten (staff) at 8:52 AM on September 25 [7 favorites]


For context, world leaders addressing the GA do not generally garner chuckles unless it’s a joke right? So this is basically that the entire GA thinks he’s a buffoon and not to be taken seriously.

I feel like this is some kind incredible change of etiquette that may not quite be understood to everyone because the laughs aren’t loud guffaws. I could be wrong though.
posted by sio42 at 8:59 AM on September 25 [27 favorites]


I feel like this is some kind incredible change of etiquette that may not quite be understood to everyone

Oh, I think people get it pretty clearly. The emperor has just been told he's standing there buck nekkid.
posted by adamgreenfield at 9:04 AM on September 25 [32 favorites]


Remember that unbelievable a-hole and calculating mega-villain John "Abolish the UN" Bolton is part of this administration. Getting laughed at may have been the goal here. What better way to get the Supreme Puppet hating a group then to get him laughed at in front of said group. Remember, 45 doesn't write these speeches, and he's too stupid to understand when he's being played.
posted by mcstayinskool at 9:10 AM on September 25 [21 favorites]


Ah yeah I meant people not here. More like, his base might see it as.... I don’t know, normal behavior and that laughing at other world leaders is normal in the GA? UK parliament is pretty boisterous for example. But that’s not typical of the UN (I didn’t think at least so I figured best to check my assumptions)


I’m up to the Steele Dossier in Russian Revolution and do not understand how this man got elected except by being such a good actor at being an idiot that no one feared him.

I agree with the comments in this or last thread about thinking he’s got no planning to be facile. He knows what he’s doing. It’s just not anything that makes sense to non-narcissistic dictators.

On preview comment above mine says it better.
posted by sio42 at 9:12 AM on September 25 [2 favorites]


Daniel Dale is reporting that when Trump started his speech at the UN and told the room that his administration has accomplished more than almost any administration in the history of our country, there was laughter. When he then said, "So true." More and louder laughter.

You know what other heads of state use that kind of hyperbole and superlatives?

Saddam Hussein comes to mind.
Robert Mugabe comes to mind.
To a lesser degree, Bashar al Assad comes to mind.
posted by ocschwar at 9:12 AM on September 25 [13 favorites]


Oh, I think people get it pretty clearly. The emperor has just been told he's standing there buck nekkid.

Trump very clearly got it. His fat orange face turned red, that cavalcade of weird expressions capered across his face & he even did that thing with his suit jacket, pulling it tight around him like he did that time he pushed himself in front of some European national leaders. It's kind of a stupid take on the Picard Maneuver; I hereby dub it the Trump Maneuver.
posted by scalefree at 9:13 AM on September 25 [31 favorites]


Remember that unbelievable a-hole and calculating mega-villain John "Abolish the UN" Bolton is part of this administration. Getting laughed at may have been the goal here.

Perhaps, but I'm not going to be quick to attribute chess, in any dimension, to this clown car of tiddly-winks players. My guess is that Trump and/or his speechwriters Dunning-Krugered himself into looking like a doofus in front of the assembled UN crowd - which hardly takes any effort on Trump's part, as doofusdom is second nature to him.

I think that the Kavanaugh revelations coming thick and fast - and potentially other high-up Republican figures as well - has the flop sweat flowing equally thick and fast, if for no other reason than this looks to be backfiring on them in the midterms.

P.S. It's National Voter Registration Day!
posted by Rosie M. Banks at 9:17 AM on September 25 [8 favorites]


Yes, they are laughing again and again at him. It makes me wonder if this was planned.

"UN General Assembly"/#UNGA is trending on Twitter right now, and it's dominated by news of the laughter.

So much of his speech was obviously intended to provoke the international community, most likely in the same way the Trump administration constantly tries to push the buttons of Democrats and American liberals. Trump loves to pick fights and piss off his opponents.

Only Trump's domestic opposition, however, is required to take him seriously in the public arena (or at least respond with seriousness, in order to maintain whatever norms the country has left). Similarly the US media is professionally obligated to cover Trump's trolling with a straight face (which is why comedians Samantha Bee, John Oliver, et al. are far more honest when addressing current events). Team Trump has miscalculated here, however, even if they will now try to riled up his base over the perceived affront. John Bolton would prefer Trump to have been booed, or at least jeered, by the UNGA rather than be snickered at.

While that General Assembly has seen its share of attempted humor—Obama drew laughter with his self-deprecation in 2012, but Trump tried to crack a joke about socialism last year and bombed—today's reaction wasn't polite chuckling, it was guffawing in disbelief at the obvious bullshit, which went on long enough that he had to pause his speech. The UNGA laughs like this at figures such as Robert Mugabe.

Everyone can now point to the video to show Trump is literally an international laughingstock. And as Maggie Haberman tweets, there's no worse reaction he can think of than being laughed at.
posted by Doktor Zed at 9:18 AM on September 25 [30 favorites]


The UN is a body based on decorum. They don’t do this. Like, this is the UN equivalent of booing and throwing tomatoes. But Trump is a performer and he can’t help but bask in the crowd reaction no matter how inappropriate it is.
posted by rikschell at 9:19 AM on September 25 [15 favorites]


You want the US out of the UN? Because this is how you get the US out of the UN.
posted by emelenjr at 9:22 AM on September 25 [3 favorites]


You want the US out of the UN? Because this is how you get the US out of the UN.

But isn't this abuser behavior? 'Unless you want a fresh one you better be quiet.' Fuck giving into that.
posted by chris24 at 9:23 AM on September 25 [44 favorites]


To me he actually looks kind of pleased after he says "I didn't expect that reaction." I mean, as long as people are paying attention to him, right?
posted by The Card Cheat at 9:27 AM on September 25 [18 favorites]


Saddam Hussein comes to mind.
Robert Mugabe comes to mind.
To a lesser degree, Bashar al Assad comes to mind.


You know what comes to mind for me? Nicolae Ceaușescu. I mean, very unfortunately, this didn't take place before a domestic audience, and in the end it was neither pronounced nor prolonged enough to matter. But nothing — nothing — lets the wind out of an authoritarian's sails like the moment they realize the spell via which they'd enraptured the people has been well and truly broken, and they stand there no longer larger than life, simply human, ridiculous.

I pray we do get to see such a moment with Trump, in such a way as to prevent him from using the apparatus of state to revenge his narcissistic injusry.
posted by adamgreenfield at 9:28 AM on September 25 [20 favorites]


Yeah, honestly the laughter turns to clapping quick enough that I don't see it as being a dunk or anything.
posted by birdheist at 9:29 AM on September 25 [10 favorites]


A friend tells me the secret society he belonged to is notorious for sleazy, drunken behavior. When she found out he was a member, she said "that's all I need to know".

He was a Deke. That's public, and that's all you need to know.
posted by praemunire at 9:29 AM on September 25 [32 favorites]


To me he actually looks kind of pleased after he says "I didn't expect that reaction." I mean, as long as people are paying attention to him, right?

Yeah the full clip shows a more nuanced event than I'm seeing reflected in the comments here. He acknowledges the reaction and kind of chuckles and then gets applause from the assembly. it's not clear to me fully what the mood in the room was at that moment, but the tension is broken by his acknowledgement and then the subsequent applause, and I'm not sure applause is the reaction of a mocking audience.
posted by wemayfreeze at 9:30 AM on September 25 [18 favorites]


Remember that PR firm behind the Ed Whelan doppelganger/frame some innocent dude theory?

They registered as a foreign agent in 2005 for the Putin backed Ukrainian politician Viktor Yanukovych.

And today, all of their twitter accounts have gone dark. Which odd for a PR firm, no?

Original thread proving Grassley's office was behind the whole thing, or at minimum had advanced knowledge in coordination with the Federalist Society. New info is still being added.
posted by T.D. Strange at 9:31 AM on September 25 [44 favorites]


It's apparent that he was at least vaguely prepared for the possibility of laughter, because his smiling "I didn't expect that" was a tad quick for him.

However, it's safe to say that, regardless of a possible (very mild) base-energizing effect -- and a possible humanizing in the general public eye from his seeming to take it gracefully -- it is not what he wanted. He doesn't believe in short-term pain for long-term gain, nor in "first they laugh at you, then you win". He believes in being showered with affection 24/7, and laughing is specifically a sore point for him (hence his constantly portraying the USA under Obama as a "laughingstock" specifically).

So there's an nontrivial chance this will put Miller into hot water for writing the speech. There's also the solid possibility of him tweeting outright that he's not mad actually, maybe you're mad but he's not even a little angry, he's laughing actually.
posted by InTheYear2017 at 9:31 AM on September 25 [2 favorites]


There was laughter far beyond that big one...it continues. He is not comfortable with it. Regardless, it cheers the heart. More, please.
posted by agregoli at 9:32 AM on September 25 [3 favorites]


There's also the solid possibility of him tweeting outright that he's not mad actually, maybe you're mad but he's not even a little angry, he's laughing actually.

This. The snide, reflexive U MAD BRO response is certainly a Miller hallmark, whether or not the Big Baby gets to it himself. 'Twas ever thus with abusers.
posted by adamgreenfield at 9:34 AM on September 25 [4 favorites]


In other Resistance news, there's a deep dive in The New Yorker about two chefs in rural Utah fighting the reduction of Grand Staircase-Escalante National Monument.

The bit that gets me is where they tried to engage with their Congressional delegation and the Dept of the Interior:
Together with all fifty-three members of the Escalante and Boulder Chamber of Commerce, they tried to tell Interior Secretary Ryan Zinke how much Grand Staircase meant to their business—first in letters, which got no response, then in person when he visited Utah for a “listening tour,” during which he met only with monument critics, and finally by sending a delegation to Washington, D.C., where he likewise refused to see them. “I called his office daily,” Spalding said, “saying, ‘I’m Blake Spalding, I’m the largest employer in the north end of this county, we pay nearly a million dollars a year in payroll, I want to talk to you about what the monument has meant for our business.’ No one ever called me back.”
It's kind of a surprise that people like Zinke even bother with the fig-leaf of a formal report, since their political intentions are so fucking obvious.
posted by suelac at 9:41 AM on September 25 [62 favorites]


This mockery is of course deserved but it still makes me flinch. This is a significant narcissistic injury.

Sure enough, Trump then gave an interview to the press in which he attacked Deborah Ramirez:
Q: Should the second accuser be allowed to testify?

Trump: The second accuser doesnt even know, she thinks maybe it could have been him, maybe not. Admits she was drunk. She admits time lapses, this is a person, and this is a series of statements that is going to take one of the most talented intellects from a judicial standpoint in our country keep him off the U.S. Supreme Court?
Another instance of Trump's Law of Misogyny: When Trump feels angry and insecure, he attacks women personally.
posted by Doktor Zed at 9:42 AM on September 25 [55 favorites]


WH Spox Twists Himself In Knots To Avoid Calling Kavanaugh Accusers Liars
“The President believes both of these women are lying because no one else will corroborate their stories,” MSNBC’s Hallie Jackson told White House principle deputy press secretary Raj Shah. “Is that accurate?”

“You’re using the word ‘lying,’” Shah responded. “What we’re saying is that we believe Judge Kavanaugh.”
Shah also claims that Kavanaugh's "entire life story demonstrates that he's promoted women, promoted equality from his female clerks to his classmates in high school."
posted by kirkaracha at 9:44 AM on September 25 [2 favorites]


Trump very clearly got it. His fat orange face turned red, that cavalcade of weird expressions capered across his face & he even did that thing with his suit jacket, pulling it tight around him like he did that time he pushed himself in front of some European national leaders.

The whole thing was very authoritarian-strongman-addresses-the-UN defiantly. Was sort of half expecting to see him take off a shoe and bang it on his lectern.
posted by octobersurprise at 9:45 AM on September 25 [8 favorites]


Worth noting, the Editor of the UN Dispatch:

That sucking sound you hear is the last bits of US soft power evaporating through the ceilings of the UN General Assembly.

This will make tomorrow's Security Council meeting all the more difficult for America to push its agenda through, as it has historically been able to do so.
posted by infini at 9:47 AM on September 25 [17 favorites]


Shah also claims that Kavanaugh's "entire life story demonstrates that he's promoted women, promoted equality from his female clerks to his classmates in high school."

Oh, was that what the yearbook entries were about.
posted by Gelatin at 9:49 AM on September 25 [18 favorites]


Donald Trump does not understand charity as a concept. Donald Trump thinks a strong, great America is one which is the beneficiary of foreign aid, presumably directed into one of his family slush funds.

....

Most of us don't understand foreign aid


Totally, and even that article misses two important points about foreign aid. First, while it alludes to the amount of funds that go to non-profits and for-profits rather than governments, it for some reason fails to point out that many/most of those are U.S.-based organizations. If you click through the link for private companies in that article, you'll see it lists the top 20 USAID contractors in 2015 - all 20 of them are headquartered in the US.

Second, it's important to look at the overall context within which foreign aid operates - a context in which overall, the US and other developed countries are beneficiaries of funds FROM developing countries, not the other way 'round.
posted by solotoro at 9:51 AM on September 25 [12 favorites]


Obviously only one poll, look at averages, etc. But for Justinian and others worried (justifiably) about Nelson, a ray of hope.

Greg Sargent
Well, here's a surprise.

Bill Nelson (D) has taken the lead over Rich Scott (R) in the Florida Senate race, 53-46 among likely voters, per new Quinnipiac poll.
posted by chris24 at 9:52 AM on September 25 [49 favorites]


Shah also claims that Kavanaugh's "entire life story demonstrates that he's promoted women, promoted equality from his female clerks to his classmates in high school."

Wow. Gold medal lazy lie. THE MOTHERFUCKER WENT TO AN ALL BOYS SCHOOL.
posted by Exceptional_Hubris at 9:52 AM on September 25 [113 favorites]


Wow, it's almost like something's happened in the past couple of weeks that would make undecided or squishy voters see Democratic control of the senate as an important issue regardless of how they feel about a particular candidate.
posted by Holy Zarquon's Singing Fish at 9:54 AM on September 25 [33 favorites]


Murkowski making more statements that Collins and the rest of the "sane Rs" should maybe start emulating.

NYT: “We are now in a place where it’s not about whether or not Judge Kavanaugh is qualified,” Ms. Murkowski, a key swing Republican vote, said in an extended interview in the Capitol Monday night. “It is about whether or not a woman who has been a victim at some point in her life is to be believed.”
posted by chris24 at 9:56 AM on September 25 [48 favorites]


Bill Nelson (D) has taken the lead over Rich Scott (R) in the Florida Senate race, 53-46 among likely voters, per new Quinnipiac poll.

I think credit for this probably goes at least partially to the red tide from lake run off and that blue green algae that’s fucking things up all over

IIRC Scott killed a clean up plan in favor of letting big agriculture do whatever it wanted, which was apparently to dump all their run off in such a way as to ruin Florida’s coasts
posted by schadenfrau at 9:57 AM on September 25 [38 favorites]


Murkowski making more statements that Collins and the rest of the "sane Rs" should maybe start emulating.

Lisa Murkowski's Vote on Brett Kavanaugh Is Looking Tougher Than Ever.
posted by homunculus at 9:59 AM on September 25 [4 favorites]


Murkowski making more statements that Collins and the rest of the "sane Rs" should maybe start emulating.


counter-point: Murkowski won the short straw in the draw. She's the one.
posted by pjenks at 9:59 AM on September 25 [18 favorites]


“It is about whether or not a woman who has been a victim at some point in her life is to be believed.”

I’m concerned about this phrasing because I can easily see Republican throwing their hands up in the air to say none of the allegations can be specifically verified and so they can’t act on them.
posted by C'est la D.C. at 10:00 AM on September 25 [4 favorites]


Bill Nelson (D) has taken the lead over Rich Scott (R) in the Florida Senate race, 53-46

The beauty of this is that, if the numbers are true, it's because Mother Nature is taking her revenge. The brutal red tide outbreak down here is killing businesses and keeping locals out of the water (we haven't been to the beach since March) and it's widely seen as Scott's fault, for gutting environmental regulations and agencies.

Nelson may be running a dog of a campaign, but activists and progressive orgs *are* doing a good job making the "Red Tide Rick" label stick, too. And this is a thing of beauty. (linked in last mega-thread, but worth another view.)

on preview: yes, schadenfrau, spot on.
posted by martin q blank at 10:03 AM on September 25 [27 favorites]


e I can easily see Republican throwing their hands up in the air to say none of the allegations can be specifically verified and so they can’t act on them

To which the response is: then of course there should be a formal investigation before confirmation, so we can verify the allegations or discredit them!
posted by Miko at 10:05 AM on September 25 [7 favorites]


Murkowski making more statements that Collins and the rest of the "sane Rs" should maybe start emulating.

Or not. Cramer Says Kavanaugh Allegations Not Disqualifying
Rep. Kevin Cramer (R-ND), who is running for Senate against Sen. Heidi Heitkamp (D-ND), told Valley News Live suggested that the sexual misconduct allegations against Supreme Court nominee Brett Kavanaugh are not disqualifying “even if it’s all true.”

Said Cramer: “Even if it’s all true, does it disqualify him? It certainly means that he did something really bad 36 years ago, but does it disqualify him from the Supreme Court?”
Signs point to yes.
posted by kirkaracha at 10:09 AM on September 25 [18 favorites]


"Per Politico: Ted Cruz was spotted on his phone on a flight back from DC looking at a photo of Beto O'Rourke."

Obligatory Kate Beaton cartoon.
posted by acb at 10:10 AM on September 25 [33 favorites]


Faint of Butt: "Ellison has to go."

At this point, he would have to die or move out of state to be removed from the ballot (plus, Minnesota has already begun early voting). The Dems could mount a write-in campaign, I suppose.
posted by Chrysostom at 10:16 AM on September 25 [2 favorites]


Immigration lawyer Greg Siskind spent a lot of time going through the new Public Charge Rule (it's 447 pages) to work out some of the implications, which are massive. He has a detailed 32-page section-by-section summary, but takes a broader look in a series of tweets (emphasis added):
The basic factors considered in determining whether a person is likely to charge are
- Age
- Health
-Family status
- Assets, resources and financial status
-Education and skills
- An affidavit of support submitted by the alien’s sponsor

Reporters out there - This is probably the big story here. The way this is being set up is a backdoor point system like the one the Trump Administration has been pushing and which requires Congress to implement. Huge implications.

Some of these factors will be considered highly controversial. For example, examiners are told that people under 18 and over 61 are to be treated more harshly than those in the middle. Disabilities and chronic health conditions are serious negative factors. DHS will also be pulling credit reports and credit scores as evidence of financial status. This is the first time the agency has ever done anything of this sort and it's outrageous in my view

Here's another story for the reporters out there. There’s a hidden English language requirement.Failure to be proficient in English is considered a negative factor. So you now need English proficiency to get a green card and not just naturalize.That's for Congress to decide.
...
Heavily weighed positive factors are related to income. Basically, if you’re over 250% of the Federal Poverty Guidelines, you should not be scrutinized. That's double what the current system considers acceptable.

The proposed rule revives the use of public charge bonds. People who fail to satisfy an examiner that they won’t become a public charge may be given the opportunity to post a bond to show they won’t become a public charge. DHS will set the amount in each case and it will not be less than $10,000 (with inflation adjustments annually). As I said yesterday, I'm guessing that the uncorruptable Administration appointees are already looking at setting up new bond companies to make a killing on this new requirement.
...
The bottom line is that this carries with it the possibility of decimating the family immigration system and wreaking havoc on the employment system as well. It's a wild overstretch and the only good news is that they've put out something that a court will very likely kill.
There will be an opportunity for public comment once the proposed rule is published in the Federal Register.
posted by zachlipton at 10:17 AM on September 25 [35 favorites]


But by all means, continue to attack Ford and Ramirez.

Gabriel Debenedetti (New York mag)
Sensing a theme in this week's Senate polls:
FL: Nelson (D) +17 over Scott (R) among women [Quinnipiac]
AZ: Sinema (D) +15 over McSally (R) among women [Marist]
MI: Stabenow (D) +24 over James (R) among women [Mitchell]
WI: Baldwin (D) +27 over Vukmir (R) among women [Marquette]
posted by chris24 at 10:23 AM on September 25 [35 favorites]


petebest: " The world's currency has at least a few ways around it. One has now been specifically created by the EU as a "fuck you" to the world's currency."

I think what's being referred to specifically here is a workaround for SWIFT, as opposed to the dollar itself. Here's something about how that might work.
posted by Chrysostom at 10:23 AM on September 25 [5 favorites]


Powerful op-ed from Padma Lakshmi in the NYT [cw: descriptions of childhood and teenage sexual assault].
posted by melissasaurus at 10:25 AM on September 25 [25 favorites]


For example, examiners are told that people under 18 and over 61 are to be treated more harshly than those in the middle. Disabilities and chronic health conditions are serious negative factors.

You know, the only person I can think of who specifically sought to punish "the elderly, the infirm, and especially little children" had a whole song about how evil he was.

Also, this is fucking fascism.
posted by J.K. Seazer at 10:29 AM on September 25 [24 favorites]


For example, examiners are told that people under 18 and over 61 are to be treated more harshly than those in the middle. Disabilities and chronic health conditions are serious negative factors.

Canada's point-based system does this also, FWIW.
posted by Slothrup at 10:33 AM on September 25 [8 favorites]


From the Siskind thread: "The rule is prospective. DHS will look to whether a person is likely to become a public charge in the future. It will examine evidence of a person’s past and present circumstances when making the determination."

Minority reports from DHS precogs should not be policy.
posted by MonkeyToes at 10:37 AM on September 25 [18 favorites]


Trump—maybe not personally, but the administration, inclusive of his advisors/handlers— presumably want to do foreign aid in the same way that China does foreign aid (or at least the way they think China does it), which is as a way to buy off various countries' elites in order to move in and exploit their resources, and sometimes to install the infrastructure that specifically enables that exploitation, e.g. roads and port facilities. A bribery slushfund and vehicle for hard-nosed CAPEX, nothing else. What they can't stand is that money might be spent for the benefit of non-Americans. They see that as irrational, because their world is absolutely zero-sum, all the time. You win by taking from others, from grinding them down; you lose when anyone else wins. Charity is, by definition, for losers.

The whole thing was very authoritarian-strongman-addresses-the-UN defiantly.

Honestly I thought he stuck to the script rather... impressively? I mean, the bar for his public speeches is so low it's practically subterranean, but there's usually a whole bunch of incoherent ad hoc chest-thumpery and recitations of patently false factoids. The section I listened to this morning on C-SPAN sounded like he was reading. each. word. from. the. teleprompter. Channeling a little of G.W., really, like he was one step away from having to sound out some of the harder words, but somehow got through it.

It suggests to me that either someone impressed upon him the importance of not being misunderstood when speaking to the UN, or he's just not as confident anymore in his ability to control the message regardless of what sort of verbal diarrhea he has in front of the mic and cameras.

Canada's point-based system does this also

IIRC Canada also has public charge bonds, although I've never dug into the system deeply enough to know whether there's a whole shady bail-bondsmen type infrastructure or if it's meant to be a pure pay-to-play cash-on-the-barrelhead thing.
posted by Kadin2048 at 10:48 AM on September 25 [1 favorite]


@ShimonPro: Senate Judiciary Chairman Chuck Grassley confirmed that the committee has hired an outside counsel to question Christine Blasey Ford and Judge Brett Kavanaugh. The individual is a woman with expertise in sex crimes prosecution, an aide told CNN.

They are refusing to identify the lawyer "for her safety," but Grassley was unable to identify any indication of threats to the attorney and said "I guess we’re just being cautious."

They're really going for hiring a mystery women because they don't have any? That's how low the Senate Judiciary Committee has gone?
posted by zachlipton at 10:48 AM on September 25 [39 favorites]


ELECTIONS NEWS

** 2018 Senate:
-- FL: Quinnipiac poll has Dem incumbent Nelson up 53-46 on GOPer Scott [MOE: +/- 4.0%].

-- AZ: Marist poll has Dem Sinema up 48-45 on GOPer McSally [MOE: +/- 4.7%].

-- MT: Gravis poll has Dem incumbent Tester up 49-45 on GOPer Rosendale [MOE: +/- 3.7%].
** 2018 House:
-- VA-07: Monmouth poll has Dem Spanberger up 47-42 on GOP incumbent Brat in their potential voters model. Tied at 47-47 in the midterm model, Spanberger up 48-45 in Dem surge model [MOE: +/- 4.9%]. [Trump 51-44 | Cook: Tossup]

-- KY-06: Pulse Opinion poll has Dem McGrath tied 47-47 with GOP incumbent Barr [MOE: +/- 4.0%]. Poll was commissioned by a group favoring House term limits. [Trump 55-39 | Cook: Tossup]

-- MT-AL: Same Gravis poll has GOP incumbent Gianforte up 51-42 on Dem Williams. [Trump 57-36 | Cook: Lean R]

-- Everytown for Gun Safety, Mike Bloomberg's gun control group, is dumping $5M in ads targeting 15 House districts.

-- If you're interested in really overthinking House races, you may want to follow Medium Buying, which reports on political ad buys and cancellations. For example, the DCCC is buying time for the first time in PA-16, which went for Trump by 20 points, so a race that hasn't been considered competitive may be becoming so.
** Odds & ends:
-- AZ gov: Same Marist poll has GOP incumbent Ducey up 51-43 on Dem Garcia. [Cook: Likely R]

-- Vox: Top state legislative battles.
posted by Chrysostom at 10:49 AM on September 25 [25 favorites]


mikelieman: "Ellison has to go.

100% Investigation and if needed, action, immediately.
"

AP: Minnesota’s Democratic Party chairman said Monday that he expects an investigation of allegations of physical abuse against Rep. Keith Ellison to be completed and released soon, well ahead of the November election.
posted by Chrysostom at 10:51 AM on September 25 [16 favorites]


The were floating former NH Sen. Kelly Ayotte for the outside counsel yesterday. She was a prosecutor and NH AG so technically I guess she has the "expertise in sex crimes prosecution".

Hard to see a reason for keeping her identity secret, she's already a high profile public figure.
posted by T.D. Strange at 10:51 AM on September 25 [1 favorite]


> Canada's point-based system does this also

I think the point is that a change to a points-based system would require legislation, at the very least. The executive can't (or shouldn't be able to) make this kind of change themselves.
posted by zrail at 10:52 AM on September 25


Meanwhile, in the great State of South Carolina
‘Southern Charm’ star [and ex-State Treasurer] Thomas Ravenel arrested on assault charge

Charleston police arrested the participant of the Bravo reality TV show, and he was booked about 10 a.m. at the Charleston County jail, records showed. Ravenel, 56, faces a count of second-degree assault and battery. He was expected to have a bond hearing Tuesday afternoon.

In May, a 43-year-old North Carolina woman told Charleston officers that Ravenel had sexually assaulted her in January 2015 at his Charlotte Street home, an incident report stated.
posted by octobersurprise at 10:53 AM on September 25 [2 favorites]


@alexanderbolton, staff writer for The Hill:
Sen. Bob Corker says GOP senators were told at lunch to expect to be in DC this weekend to process Kavanaugh nomination quickly.
posted by schadenfrau at 10:54 AM on September 25 [11 favorites]


The were floating former NH Sen. Kelly Ayotte for the outside counsel yesterday.

Things may have developed, but Ayotte said yesterday she hadn't been approached.
posted by Chrysostom at 10:54 AM on September 25 [2 favorites]


Hot take: Obviously what's happening in this case is largely an attempt to avoid the bad optics of old white dudes grilling a female assault victim, but Congressional hearings *should* be conducted primarily by outside experts. And that's often how they used to be done. Elected reps don't necessarily have the expertise to ask the right questions.
posted by Chrysostom at 10:56 AM on September 25 [12 favorites]


Should have added to my last comment, but: what the fuck do they mean by processing? Is that just whipping votes?

Like if they had the votes already, wouldn’t they just, you know, vote?
posted by schadenfrau at 10:56 AM on September 25 [3 favorites]


Should have added to my last comment, but: what the fuck do they mean by processing? Is that just whipping votes?

Bismarck's quip about "how the sausage gets made" works on multiple levels here.
posted by clawsoon at 11:00 AM on September 25 [1 favorite]


> Canada's point-based system does this also

Are you sure about this? For the skilled immigration system? I’m not aware of a disability related modifier. Age is there but relatively small. Would be interested if you have a link. (Not to derail but if the Canadian system is held up as a counterpoint it might as well be accurate.)
posted by ~ at 11:01 AM on September 25


There are a bunch of procedural steps that would have to be taken to confirm Kavanaugh. If the committee votes Friday, cloture could be filed on Saturday, which means Sunday is the "intervening day" where the petition sits around, which would allow a vote to break the filibuster on Monday morning and the final vote 30 hours later, if Democrats use all their time.

By Senate standards, showing up to work on a Friday is working over the weekend.
posted by zachlipton at 11:02 AM on September 25 [7 favorites]


Even if they have the votes right now (questionable), there's got to be some serious internal conversation about the wisdom of just doing a vote, sans hearings. Especially after they've made out hearings to be totally vital, somehow better than an FBI investigation, and treated Ford as unreasonable for having any conditions whatsoever.

I still cynically expect a majority to confirm (can someone clarify Pence's tiebreaker role in this?). But I presume they will have some sort of hearing first.
posted by InTheYear2017 at 11:06 AM on September 25


What's happening now is the hearing. If the committee approves the nomination, the next step is debate on the Senate floor, which is what the aforementioned cloture rules govern.

Also, yes, Pence would be the tiebreaking vote.
posted by Holy Zarquon's Singing Fish at 11:12 AM on September 25 [1 favorite]


Will the Democrats be required to funnel their questions through the mystery prosecutor as well?
posted by pjenks at 11:14 AM on September 25 [4 favorites]


Are you sure about this? For the skilled immigration system? I’m not aware of a disability related modifier.

Sorry, I shouldn't report anecdotal information as fact. This came from an acquaintance who was denied immigration into Canada on the basis of (she claims) having an retirement-age spouse and a school-age child with a learning disability. She may, of course, have misunderstood or been misinformed.
posted by Slothrup at 11:18 AM on September 25 [2 favorites]




Congressional hearings *should* be conducted primarily by outside experts. And that's often how they used to be done. Elected reps don't necessarily have the expertise to ask the right questions.

Elected reps have staffers. Elected reps have the ability to write and read and ask for clarification at a later time. Elected reps are the ones who vote on laws. Elected reps stand for election. If my elected reps are too dumb or don't care enough to ask their staffs to find experts to write down questions and read them to the people testifying and ask follow-ups and so on and so forth, then I want to know that too.
posted by Etrigan at 11:27 AM on September 25 [30 favorites]


For those who are curious, here's a link to Canada's points calculator. Age and health of sponsored candidates is NOT a consideration for family-class immigration -- if you already have residency or citizenship and you want to bring your spouse or child, their health status and age won't be counted against them. Age and health are considerations for those immigrating without family sponsorship, as is educational level. Language tests are also required. [Edited to add: health requirements were recently loosened for Canadian immigration, so the US would be moving in the opposite direction by tightening theirs.]
posted by halation at 11:29 AM on September 25 [8 favorites]


If my elected reps are too dumb or don't care enough to ask their staffs to find experts to write down questions and read them to the people testifying and ask follow-ups and so on and so forth, then I want to know that too.

If you've watched many Congressional hearings - like when they had Zuckerberg up - then you already *do* know that.
posted by Chrysostom at 11:34 AM on September 25 [7 favorites]


Etrigan has summarized my feeling about this. I think it should be fine for Congressfolk to sometimes have a staffer ask questions but for the most part the problem with these hearings isn't that they don't know what questions to ask. The problem is them not caring to figure out the right questions to ask, or even - I would argue in more cases than not - even having the witnesses there for the purpose of gathering information rather than to be a spectacle.

I think there's value in the person who will actually cast the vote being the questioner. They're the one who theoretically should have the understanding - at least conceptually - of what they're voting on. Having third parties gather this understanding in a hearing doesn't accomplish that, at least not in a way that couldn't be accomplished without having the hearing at all.
posted by phearlez at 11:35 AM on September 25 [2 favorites]


Or, you know, if they have a prosecutor the Dems should have their own prosecutor to cross examine the crap out of Kavanaugh without any deference to "congressional norms."
posted by Cocodrillo at 11:35 AM on September 25 [5 favorites]


Or, you know, if they have a prosecutor the Dems should have their own prosecutor

Her name is Kamala Harris.
posted by T.D. Strange at 11:37 AM on September 25 [108 favorites]


A little confused about having one lawyer question both Kavanaugh and Ford. On whose behalf is the attorney understood to be advocating? Kavanaugh? Ford? The Senate?

At least when senators are doing the questioning, there's a veneer of impartiality, in that they are supposedly looking out for the best interests of their constituents. But I have no clue whose agenda an ostensibly disinterested outside lawyer is meant to be serving. (I mean, I do have a guess...)
posted by Atom Eyes at 11:40 AM on September 25 [7 favorites]


The time to have actual experts do the questioning would have been during the fucking inane testimony of all of the silicon valley motherfuckers looking smug and correcting technical details in questions from octogenarians who barely acknowledge the existence of the technology they supposedly regulate. it was obvious from the hearing they were clueless.

treating women like shit? not listening to them? doing whatever the fuck they want to do to enrich themselves? these guys are the literal experts in that, and as such are the perfect people to do this questioning.
posted by Exceptional_Hubris at 11:40 AM on September 25 [41 favorites]


Her name is Kamala Harris.

Yes but she has limited time for a structured and thorough examination. Now if they would all cede their time to her, that would be something.
posted by Cocodrillo at 11:45 AM on September 25 [6 favorites]


Amy Klobuchar is also a former prosecutor and county attorney, so that's two.
posted by Flannery Culp at 11:48 AM on September 25 [18 favorites]


Chris Coons has discussed ceding time to Harris and Klobuchar.
...And with a Supreme Court seat in the balance, some lawmakers are considering ceding a chunk of their time to the two ex-prosecutors should both Ford and Kavanaugh agree to testify.

“We’ve got members of the committee who are far more experienced than I am in these matters,” Sen. Chris Coons (D-DE), a member of the judiciary committee, said Tuesday on CNN. “They’ve actually handled sexual-assault cases or prosecuted public crime cases, and so they’re more likely to be agile, capable, well-informed questioners in this particular topic.”
posted by Uncle Ira at 11:52 AM on September 25 [79 favorites]


Jonathan Swan was an entirely unremarkable reporter in the Canberra press gallery not that long ago. He’s somehow Forrest Gumped his way into being a Whitehouse insider/conduit. From here it seems very odd.

Axios's Jon Swan has a leaked preview of more UN chest-beating from Team Trump: In a Fire-Breathing Speech At The UN Later Today, John Bolton Will Warn Iran: "We Will Come After You"

And earlier this morning, he scored this "scoop": The DOJ's Full Rod Rosenstein Exit Statement "Trump has long been fed up with Rosenstein, and sources close to the president have told Axios for months that he would love to find a politically advantageous way to get rid of him."

N.B. In a now-deleted tweet from yesterday, Swan protested: "You have no idea about my sourcing, and everyone speculating I git spoon fed by White House should ask top White House officials whether they knew my story was coming. Ask every single one of them." (Google cache)
posted by Doktor Zed at 11:55 AM on September 25 [6 favorites]


> @matthewamiller is right here, I think—Rosenstein is a weak person desperately trying to be a strong person.

I believe, from context, this was meant as some kind of slight, but the more I think about it, the more I see that as the more admirable man, anyway.

To fight to be stronger or better than you "really" seems more admirable, and I suppose more human, to me.
posted by rokusan at 12:02 PM on September 25 [30 favorites]


Wow, this is a new thing I hadn't heard about. The GOP is beginning to use the Foreign Agents Registration Act (FARA) -- which we know about now because of Manafort and Flynn -- against US-based environmental non-profits.
It all started in June, when the House Natural Resources Committee wrote the NRDC to complain that the environmental group was ignoring pollution in China while taking actions adversarial to the U.S., including lawsuits against the Navy for threatening marine life. Committee Chairman Rob Bishop, of Utah, and Arizona Republican Bruce Westerman, who chairs the panel’s Subcommittee on Oversight and Investigations, demanded stacks of documents within a week, and suggested that the NRDC may be a Chinese agent in violation of FARA.
Bishop and Westerman also wrote two other environmental groups, the Center for Biological Diversity and the World Resources Institute, with similar allegations and demands. The committee is investigating the “manipulation of tax-exempt 501 (c) organizations by foreign entities to influence U.S. environmental and natural resources policy to the detriment of our national interests,” states a committee letter dated September 5.
posted by suelac at 12:09 PM on September 25 [40 favorites]


[Couple deleted; let's not spin up debating 4chan stuff without more to go on, and in general please just keep the thread to less noise/more signal.]
posted by LobsterMitten (staff) at 12:09 PM on September 25 [4 favorites]


And earlier this morning, he scored this "scoop": The DOJ's Full Rod Rosenstein Exit Statement

Written in the voice of Jeff Sessions.
Finally, I am confident that Noel Francisco will oversee the special counsel with a commitment to justice as Acting Attorney General for this matter. As I have said before, the American people deserve an expeditious resolution of this investigation consistent with the rule of law.
posted by kirkaracha at 12:13 PM on September 25 [2 favorites]


I'm hoping that Rosenstein makes good choices, but some comments here smack of lionizing someone who does not deserve it.

Josh Marshall, TPM
Rod Rosenstein, Republican
A brief note on Rod Rosenstein. Given all the fireworks there’s an inevitable tendency to see him as some sort of member of the anti-Trump resistance. This is not right. Rosenstein is a career Republican lawyer. He was part of the Starr investigation. He was there during Brett Kavanaugh’s testimony, sitting among his supporters and clearly a big supporter of his nomination. This is just what you’d expect in a high level Justice Department appointment under a Republican administration. One sign of his professionalism or reputation for integrity is that while he got his US Attorney appointment under Bush, he was retained under President Obama. The Obama DOJ did this more than other administrations. But if he were clearly a hack or a clear partisan he wouldn’t have been retained in 2009. When we think of Rosenstein we should think of him as someone who would really really really like to be a team player in every way possible. To his credit, he appears to have limits.
emphasis mine
posted by lazaruslong at 12:14 PM on September 25 [14 favorites]


More on foreign aid today: Trump keeps threatening to end foreign aid for disloyal countries. Here’s why it hasn’t happened.
For several weeks, a senior official at the National Security Council, Kevin Harrington, has led a review of U.S. foreign aid policy aimed at putting into practice Trump’s “America First” mantra and adjusting foreign aid priorities in the budget for fiscal year 2020.

In the process, he has faced stiff resistance from officials at the Pentagon, State Department and U.S. Agency for International Development who said his proposals were counterproductive, contradictory and could cede influence to China, according to senior U.S. administration officials familiar with the meetings.

Some of the proposals include revoking assistance to countries that do not vote with the United States at the United Nations and those that have developed strong financial ties to China, and providing loans to countries instead of grants, said the officials, who spoke on the condition of anonymity to discuss internal deliberations.

The disagreements culminated in a “deputies committee” meeting earlier this month in which the No. 2 officials in U.S. agencies and departments failed to reach consensus, sending the foreign aid review back down to a lower policy coordinating committee. “Everyone agrees that foreign aid should be reformed, but the tactics Kevin Harrington has laid out have very little support in the interagency,” said a senior U.S. official familiar with the meetings.
Harrington is Peter Thiel's buddy. Doesn't sound like his proposals are going over so well.
posted by zachlipton at 12:16 PM on September 25 [5 favorites]


The entire Rosenstein resignation mystery seems to hinge on what conditions he demanded to go along with it... and how the heck any conditions could ever be enforced.
posted by rokusan at 12:17 PM on September 25 [4 favorites]


chris24: And there goes the bit of doubt I had on his guilt.

HuffPo: Rep. Keith Ellison Won’t Rule Out Possibility Of Future Abuse Allegations

“I don’t know what somebody might cook up,” the Democratic nominee for Minnesota attorney general said.


Snarky reply: you can't cook without the basic ingredients.


Sophie1: Trump is being laughed at at the UN.
...
Trump is flustered and says, "Didn't expect that reaction."


It's like surrounding him with sycophants and letting him bolster his ego with campaign rallies is backfiring when he faces people who don't give a shit about pleasing the man-child.


Even If Rosenstein Stays, the Mueller Investigation Status Quo Won't Last (Garrett M. Graff for Wired, Sept. 25, 2018)

In which Wired gets into the political hype and theory game, only to ground its "This Will All End Badly" talk with the following paragraph:
Mueller’s investigation may also prove harder to shut down, both practically and politically, than it might have during previous presidential eruptions over the so-called “witch hunt.” For one thing, parts of Mueller’s investigation have been farmed out to other sets of prosecutors. The elite federal prosecutors of the Southern District of New York are overseeing both the Michael Cohen end of the investigation, as well as allegations against other lobbyists tied to Paul Manafort, like Democratic power broker Greg Craig. What's more, the indictment of GRU officers has been handed off to the Justice Department’s National Security Division.

As former Southern District of New York US attorney Preet Bharara—himself one of the many US Attorneys fired by Trump in a single swoop last year—tweeted recently: “Practice note: Trump has no effective way to shut down any investigation being conducted by SDNY. That office is more insulated, enduring and ‘sovereign’ than the Special Counsel’s Office. You can fire Mueller. You can fire the US Attorney. You can’t fire the SDNY.”
posted by filthy light thief at 12:20 PM on September 25 [7 favorites]


@rupar:
Bill Cosby's publicist, Andrew Wyatt, claims both Cosby and Brett Kavanaugh are victims of "a sex war" that is "going on in Washington today." [video]

By the way, Bill Cosby was just taken into custody today to begin serving his 3-10 year sentence for serial sexual assault.
posted by Atom Eyes at 12:20 PM on September 25 [54 favorites]


that video of Wyatt makes me sick.

Trump is flustered and says, "Didn't expect that reaction."

@Acosta (4 mins ago) "Trump on laughter at UN during speech: 'Oh it was great. Well that was meant to get some laughter, but it was great."
posted by Exceptional_Hubris at 12:22 PM on September 25 [4 favorites]


Via Jim Acosta, CNN (twitter):
Trump on laughter at UN during speech: “Oh it was great. Well that was meant to get some laughter, but it was great.”
The gaslighting continues. Trump's 'meant to get laughs' line:
“In less than two years, my administration has accomplished more than almost any administration in the history of our country.”

[Laughter]

“So true."

[More laughter]

“I didn’t expect that reaction, but that’s okay."
This doesn't really deserve analysis: he's just lying.
posted by cjelli at 12:23 PM on September 25 [77 favorites]


I'm hoping that Rosenstein makes good choices, but some comments here smack of lionizing someone who does not deserve it.


I'm all for lionizing public servants whose commitment to the country and rule of law lead them to make real professional sacrifices. We don't have to endorse him for public office or anything, but I think it's a good idea to let the people who are trying to keep the DOJ from becoming Trump's secret police that we appreciate the effort.
posted by skewed at 12:25 PM on September 25 [5 favorites]


I'm not sure these assholes want to know what "a sex war" would actually look like, given the past oh five thousand years of recorded history.

Call me back when it is women who are dominating the conversation and the sentencing and not just bravely setting our jaws in the face of men abusing their office and their status.
posted by lydhre at 12:28 PM on September 25 [39 favorites]


"Is the President saying that it is a joke to suggest that his administration has been historically successful?" would be a good question to ask at the next daily weekly semiannual press briefing.
posted by contraption at 12:31 PM on September 25 [18 favorites]


Predictions I made two hours ago (which equals several weeks in this particular timeline):
He'll say that was great, I got laughter (Check).
He'll say that the news outlets who write that he was laughed at are presenting fake news (likely tomorrow).
He'll privately stew, like, a lot (Ongoing).
He'll say see? See? You can't cooperate with these people (aka the world) who won't take us seriously.
He'll walk away from some other deals, will tweet shit about some other world leader and consider some more sanctions (timing: always when inner politics are getting too hot).

In short: nothing really new happening, but it happens very fast.
posted by Namlit at 12:31 PM on September 25 [10 favorites]


Roll Call, Senate GOP Effort to Rebuke Trump on Trade Has Died a Quiet Death
Sen. Bob Corker appears resigned to the fact that the Senate won’t be acting to rebut President Donald Trump on trade policy before voters go to the polls in November.

The Tennessee Republican had previously talked up the possibility of attaching legislation drafted with Pennsylvania GOP Sen. Patrick J. Toomey to a must-pass reauthorization of the Federal Aviation Administration.

The effort got a lot of attention when it was rolled out, but its apparent death might be much less noteworthy.

The bill would provide a process for reviewing tariff determinations under Section 232 of the Trade Expansion Act, like those the Trump administration imposed on steel and aluminum. Specifically, it would require the president to submit to Congress any proposed trade restrictions under Sec. 232 for approval within 60 days.
The extent to which Congress has willingly abdicated any pretense of caring about preserving their power is disturbing.
posted by zachlipton at 12:40 PM on September 25 [30 favorites]


"Is the President saying that it is a joke to suggest that his administration has been historically successful?" would be a good question to ask at the next daily weekly semiannual press briefing.

DDale8: Trump is holding a rare solo (or likely solo) formal press conference tomorrow at 5 p.m.

Heads up, this almost certainly means he's going to try to do something drastic, probably at the UN.
posted by Doktor Zed at 12:40 PM on September 25 [26 favorites]


They are refusing to identify the lawyer "for her safety," but Grassley was unable to identify any indication of threats to the attorney and said "I guess we’re just being cautious."

Okay, this is obviously unadulterated bullshit/lies. This is just a simple lie. Unless the questioning lawyer is going to be hidden by a screen and her voice will be altered, her identity will be fully known when she does the questioning. "I guess" is code for "well the statement I just made a moment ago obviously doesn't survive any sort of scrutiny."
posted by el io at 12:42 PM on September 25 [20 favorites]


What I don't understand is why Trump thinks the world's diplomats would even care what his administration has accomplished. They aren't his base. They aren't even voters. This administration apparently lacks even the ability to imagine what the world's diplomats do care about. That may well be what they were laughing about, as in, "Who does he think he's speaking to?"
posted by M-x shell at 12:42 PM on September 25 [13 favorites]


What I don't understand is why Trump thinks the world's diplomats would even care what his administration has accomplished.

Trump’s a salesman, not a statesman. All he knows how to do is be a huckster and pimp and talk-up the brand. And the only brand he sells is Trump.
posted by Thorzdad at 12:58 PM on September 25 [19 favorites]


The extent to which Congress has willingly abdicated any pretense of caring about preserving their power is disturbing.

I predicted early on this type of overreach would trigger Congress into impeachment. I was wrong.
posted by scalefree at 12:58 PM on September 25 [4 favorites]


What I don't understand is why Trump thinks the world's diplomats would even care what his administration has accomplished. They aren't his base. They aren't even voters. This administration apparently lacks even the ability to imagine what the world's diplomats do care about. That may well be what they were laughing about, as in, "Who does he think he's speaking to?"

Remember when he bragged about his sex boat at the Boy Scout Jamboree? His only goal when he addresses a crowd is to brag about how awesome he is so they'll clap and cheer for his awesomeness.
posted by Holy Zarquon's Singing Fish at 1:02 PM on September 25 [31 favorites]


What I don't understand is why Trump thinks the world's diplomats would even care what his administration has accomplished.

From what I've gleaned from Daniel Dale's live-tweeting of his speeches, that line comes up frequently enough that it's more or less reflexive and/or boilerplate at this point. Which, of course, exposes the lie of his "it was meant to get laughter" explanation. Also, I would suggest that including it in the UN speech wasn't some kind of 11-dimensional chess move to whip up the conservative base by getting foreign leaders to openly deride him or whatever; I think it's just that he and his staff are lazy charlatans and probably didn't even think to remove that boilerplate line from the UN speech.
posted by mhum at 1:03 PM on September 25 [12 favorites]


So I was curious how his base would see this.

They think he did great and spoke the truth, at least from what I see on Twitter.

They think he’s not going along with politics and being the outsider who is a game changer.

I am ever more terrified because nothing is ever as it should be. He never reacts in any expected way. He is that scary unpredictable gaslighting abuser.
posted by sio42 at 1:04 PM on September 25 [7 favorites]


To Trump, a sexual predator is one of the good old boys. Frank Bruni's take on it is worth reading, although at this point in time we are all exhausted by the utter vileness of it all
posted by mumimor at 1:06 PM on September 25 [4 favorites]


Yes, just talk, but at least some R is saying something. Lowest bar ever but here we are.

Manu Raju
Susan Collins, key swing vote on Kavanaugh, warns Trump on Rosenstein. "If there's any attempt to fire or force out Deputy Attorney General Rosenstein, that would be a huge red line and very problematic."
posted by chris24 at 1:08 PM on September 25 [7 favorites]


I’m honestly shocked he didn’t just come out and announce the US was pulling it’s funding for the UN. That’s been a big item for the far-right for ages. Maybe once Hannity explains to him that they were laughing at him, he’ll pull that trigger, too.
posted by Thorzdad at 1:09 PM on September 25 [5 favorites]


Of all the issues of contention with the GOP Senators that's the one I'm on record here as saying struck me as non-negotiable for Ford. I've been surprised that they seemed willing to go forward even with outside counsel grilling her. But maybe that's been a misread.

Dr. Ford has some options.

1) She could read an opening statement, then decline to answer questions by the outside investigator, or read a standard statement along these lines: "Republican Senators blocked an outside, nonpartisan investigation by the FBI. This is a hearing of the Senate Judiciary committee, and I will happily answer any questions from members of that committee. With all due respect, you are not one of those members."

This would force Grassley to be the bad cop. Is he going to hold her in contempt? Cancel the hearing? The ideal situation would be Ford stonewalling the female attorney, while Democrats use their turns to ask real questions.

2) More mildly, she could make a real point before every question of clarifying which Republican Senator is forcing her to read his questions for him. "I'm sorry, who's asking this question? Is it Senator Grassley? OK."
posted by msalt at 1:09 PM on September 25 [31 favorites]


In WSJ yesterday: Google CEO Sundar Pichai to Meet With Top GOP Lawmakers – related to a posting upthread by srboisvert, tl;dr showing an ongoing concerted attempt by GOP and conservatives to force Google to favor search results and news that conservatives favor.
posted by StrawberryPie at 1:10 PM on September 25 [5 favorites]


To fight to be stronger or better than you "really" seems more admirable, and I suppose more human, to me.

And by any reasonable account, it’s working. This whole line of “What kind of man is Rod Rosenstein?” public inquiry is such a pointlessly distracting exercise. To date, he’s done the job he needs to do. No small feat against an Executive hell bent on finding any reason to hinder or stop the investigation entirely.

I don’t care who Rod Rosenstein votes for, or who he sees in the mirror at the end of his day. I care that he continues to provide the means for a crucial criminal investigation to proceed. He’s doing that. Carry on, sir.
posted by Brak at 1:23 PM on September 25 [14 favorites]


Susan Collins, key swing vote on Kavanaugh, warns Trump on Rosenstein.

Republicans are very good at making public statements about being troubled by something or another, and then falling in line anyway.

Note that she never actually ever says "if this, then that." It's always, "if this, then it's problematic." She never, ever threatens to do anything beyond be publicly concerned.
posted by explosion at 1:24 PM on September 25 [64 favorites]


What I don't understand is why Trump thinks the world's diplomats would even care what his administration has accomplished.

I don't think the speech isn't really for them, it's for everyone who is going to watch excerpts of it on FNC later. The speech seemed to be full of fan-service stuff that's not going to change anybody's mind if they're not on board with the talking points already.

Making people he doesn't like sit politely and take it seems to be a thing he enjoys, though.

The PC scheduled for 5PM tomorrow should be interesting, though. I'd like to think it has some connection to the USSC nomination, but it could just as easily—and perhaps more likely—be something designed to distract from that. Maybe China trade, or maybe something totally out of left field related to the "sovereignty" drumbeat that was on display at UNGA..? I wouldn't put it past the administration to dump some kerosene on the "trade war" fire a day before the Kavanaugh hearing, just to give FNC something else to feed to the base.
posted by Kadin2048 at 1:24 PM on September 25


I don't think the speech isn't really for them, it's for everyone who is going to watch excerpts of it on FNC later.

Fox of course, cutting out the laughter.
posted by PenDevil at 1:27 PM on September 25 [4 favorites]


>Susan Collins, key swing vote on Kavanaugh, warns Trump on Rosenstein.

Note that she never actually ever says "if this, then that." It's always, "if this, then it's problematic." She never, ever threatens to do anything beyond be publicly concerned.


Right: one imagines that were she truly concerned about either Kavanaugh or Rosenstein, taking action on either front would be extremely productive at this point in time -- she could condition her vote on one on the other, but she isn't.
posted by cjelli at 1:28 PM on September 25 [6 favorites]


You liked the "the women are all liars" theory. You loved the doppelganger theory. Now get ready for: the "it's all a 4chan prank, bro" theory.

Was The Avenatti Bombshell Witness Claim All The Result Of A Well Executed 4Chan Prank?

In keeping with its journalistic paragon status, redstate.com made sure to spell his name as "Micahel Avanetti" in the body of the article.
posted by Rust Moranis at 1:30 PM on September 25 [10 favorites]


Avenatti:
There is a rumor being floated that I was "duped" or "pranked" by a 4Chan user re Kavanaugh. I have received multiple inquiries about it. This is completely false. It never happened; it is a total fabrication. None of it is true. The right must be very worried. They should be.
posted by prize bull octorok at 1:33 PM on September 25 [42 favorites]


A Supreme Court Case Could Liberate Trump to Pardon His Associates

A key Republican senator has quietly weighed in on an upcoming Supreme Court case that could have important consequences for Special Counsel Robert Mueller’s Russia investigation.

The Utah lawmaker Orrin Hatch, who sits on the Senate Judiciary Committee, filed a 44-page amicus brief earlier this month in Gamble v. United States, a case that will consider whether the dual-sovereignty doctrine should be put to rest. The 150-year-old exception to the Fifth Amendment’s double-jeopardy clause allows state and federal courts to prosecute the same person for the same criminal offense. According to the brief he filed on September 11, Hatch believes the doctrine should be overturned. “The extensive federalization of criminal law has rendered ineffective the federalist underpinnings of the dual sovereignty doctrine,” his brief reads. “And its persistence impairs full realization of the Double Jeopardy Clause’s liberty protections.”

Within the context of the Mueller probe, legal observers have seen the dual-sovereignty doctrine as a check on President Donald Trump’s power: It could discourage him from trying to shut down the Mueller investigation or pardon anyone caught up in the probe, because the pardon wouldn’t be applied to state charges. Under settled law, if Trump were to pardon his former campaign chairman Paul Manafort, for example—he was convicted last month in federal court on eight counts of tax and bank fraud—both New York and Virginia state prosecutors could still charge him for any crimes that violated their respective laws. (Both states have a double-jeopardy law that bars secondary state prosecutions for committing “the same act,” but there are important exceptions, as the Fordham University School of Law professor Jed Shugerman has noted.) If the dual-sovereignty doctrine were tossed, as Hatch wants, then Trump’s pardon could theoretically protect Manafort from state action.

posted by Artw at 1:37 PM on September 25 [22 favorites]


Say it loud: Orrin Hatch doesn't care about states' rights.
posted by Faint of Butt at 1:41 PM on September 25 [46 favorites]


This just popped up on my facebook feed.

Body-slammin' Greg Gianforte is doing everything he can to try and foment stochastic terrorism against his political opponent. By now I shouldn't be amazed that he can get away with it, but sure 'nuff.
posted by Rust Moranis at 1:43 PM on September 25 [7 favorites]


if manafort gets a pardon, what happens to the assets he had to forfeit as part of his conviction?
posted by murphy slaw at 1:46 PM on September 25 [4 favorites]


If the dual-sovereignty doctrine were tossed, as Hatch wants, then Trump’s pardon could theoretically protect Manafort from state action.

I'm no lawyer, but IIRC, the civil forfeiture of all of those assets of Manafort isn't affected by pardoning Manafort's criminal acts. That's a heartwarming thought for these perilous times.
posted by mikelieman at 1:48 PM on September 25 [4 favorites]


Friendly Fascism: The New Face of Power in America was a book written by Bertram Gross published in 1980.
posted by growabrain at 1:53 PM on September 25 [5 favorites]


@cspan [video]: .@SenateMajLdr: "We have hired a female assistant to go on staff and to ask these questions in a respectful and professional way. We want this hearing to be handled very professionally not a political sideshow..." #Kavanaugh

"A female assistant?" What the hell? This mystery woman is apparently an experienced lawyer, and McConnell is talking like they expanded the steno pool.
posted by zachlipton at 1:59 PM on September 25 [83 favorites]


But the important part is that he's clear that she was specifically hired for her gender.
posted by Nerd of the North at 2:02 PM on September 25 [27 favorites]


We want this hearing to be handled very professionally not a political sideshow..."

That ship sailed when Kavanaugh went on Fox News as a literal political sideshow to the Senate hearings (and long before that, really), but strangely McConnell seemed unperturbed by that turn of events.
posted by cjelli at 2:03 PM on September 25 [27 favorites]


Marist FL polls:

* Senate: Nelson [D-i] up 48-45 on Scott [R]
* Governor: Gillum [D] up 48-43 on DeSantis [R]
posted by Chrysostom at 2:04 PM on September 25 [16 favorites]


I rather like the inferrence that the questioning wouldn’t be “respectful and professional” if the Senators did it themselves.
posted by Thorzdad at 2:04 PM on September 25 [32 favorites]


Meanwhile at the U.N.
posted by growabrain at 2:05 PM on September 25 [11 favorites]


I'm still unclear as to whether they'll allow any Senators ( D included ) to ask questions.
posted by localhuman at 2:16 PM on September 25 [2 favorites]


A question that I'm sure has both a legal answer and a "yeah right, those laws don't apply to important people" answer, but given the widespread existence of civil asset forfeiture laws couldn't Manafort's properties, or even Trump's, be identified by the NYPD as the profits of a crime and seized unless the property can be found innocent in a court of law?

Cash has been seized many times from normal people often on blatantly false claims that it was intended for drug trafficking. Admittedly those people don't have the resources to defend their cash in a court of law.

Still, wouldn't seizing the paintings, and gold, and whatnot in Trump tower on the grounds that it was the illicit proceeds of Russian money laundering be just as valid as a cop claiming he thought he might have smelled marijuana and that's why he took some poor person's life savings?

And wouldn't Trump, or Manafort, or any of them, have to actually go to court and open their books to try and prove the money wasn't gained via illegal activity?
posted by sotonohito at 2:17 PM on September 25 [10 favorites]


Upon a re-watch of the moment when people start laughing at him you can see Mr. President Doesn't Have As Much Money As He Claims He Does look around for someone to yell at and realizing (far more quickly than I'd have given him credit for) that there isn't anyone and he just has to power through.

It's the most flustered I've ever seen him.
posted by East14thTaco at 2:20 PM on September 25 [7 favorites]


zachlipton: "A female assistant?" What the hell? This mystery woman is apparently an experienced lawyer, and McConnell is talking like they expanded the steno pool.

Or like she came from a binder....

The way he describes this, especially the mentioning of gender, is as if a particular Trump quirk (noted particularly by Alexandra Erin early last year) has rubbed off on McConnell. That would be the foregrounding of strategy and rhetoric whose effect only works (whether well or poorly) if kept implicit.

Like, there are a lot of Donald speeches where he does a whole routine of "This thing I'm saying is the new angle, it's good optics". He's someone who would buy Melania flowers and say "This is so you won't be mad at me."

Now we have Mr Cocaine Turtle doing something similar: "Fine, if it looks better to have a lady ask questions, that's what we'll do. Happy?"
posted by InTheYear2017 at 2:21 PM on September 25 [16 favorites]


There is a rumor being floated that I was "duped" or "pranked" by a 4Chan user re Kavanaugh. I have received multiple inquiries about it. This is completely false. It never happened; it is a total fabrication. None of it is true. The right must be very worried.

And the Kremlin's been signal-boosting this, too. In the past 48 hours, #creepypornlawyer has been trending among Russian bot/troll Twitter accounts, according to Hamilton 68. But they're also promoting #DeepStateUnmasked, #QArmyTrain, #realTCUstatetrainCA ("Turn California Red"), so it's more like piggybacking on chaos than promoting any coherent plan.

Meanwhile, Russia media monitor Julia Davis notes, Like I've been saying all along, the Russians don't like or love Trump - rather, they enjoy the internal chaos and the humiliation of the U.S. on the world stage he is causing. https://twitter.com/SputnikInt/status/1044604718734102531 and #Russia's state TV is relishing every moment of Trump's #UNGA humiliation.

More seriously, she picks up on how Russian media reacted to what Trump didn't say to the UNGA, especially since Putin didn't attend his speech:
#Russia's state TV re: Trump's UN speech omissions:
"The biggest sensation: there is no more annexation, no more aggression... no more bad, aggressive Russia."
Russian state TV host Evgeny Popov calls Trump's speech "strange, wonderful and fatal [for Ukraine]."
(Trump only cautioned Poland and Germany on becoming too dependent on Russia as a supplier of natural gas, i.e. a US energy competitor.)
posted by Doktor Zed at 2:24 PM on September 25 [14 favorites]


And the Kremlin's been signal-boosting this, too.

Remember when the Steele Dossier first came out and suddenly a lot of people claimed it was a 4chan hoax?
posted by Rust Moranis at 2:28 PM on September 25 [16 favorites]


Senators just have a basic instinct to avoid being blamed for anything. It's really as simple as that. If they could get outside counsel to cast votes for them, they would. Grilling Ford the way they have to grill her will make them look bad, and more specifically, make them generate negative ad material with their own voices.

That's probably the same reason Dems are discussing ceding their time to Harris; she'll look good doing it.

Ford's motivation (for wanting senators to ask their own questions) is a bit of a mystery to me. I didn't think she was that political. It's possible she doesn't see that dynamic, and had her own reasons for wanting this shit to stick.
posted by Rainbo Vagrant at 2:32 PM on September 25 [2 favorites]


Ford has excellent attorneys.
posted by Peach at 2:33 PM on September 25 [16 favorites]


Right: one imagines that were she truly concerned about either Kavanaugh or Rosenstein, taking action on either front would be extremely productive at this point in time -- she could condition her vote on one on the other, but she isn't.

Also if any Republican, any of them, Collins, Flake, Sasse, Corker, ANY of them, were concerned AT ALL about protecting Mueller, there's a bill in the Senate to do just that. They could tell McConnell to bring it up. They could state their support for that bill publicly. Not bullshit "that would be problematic", actual conditional statements. They don't. Because they aren't. They are all 100% invested in the coverup and counting on future support from Russia to maintain power. When Putin's "election monitors" come to Maine, Collins will be the first to welcome them, she doesn't give a shit about Rosenstein, or Mueller, or democracy, she wants to maintain power at any cost.
posted by T.D. Strange at 2:35 PM on September 25 [13 favorites]


I'm still unclear as to whether they'll allow any Senators ( D included ) to ask questions.

I believe that, while the chair could have prevented a hearing at all, he cannot prevent Democratic Senators from using their time to ask questions. So it's entirely up to them whether they ask questions themselves, cede their time to Klobuchar and Harris, or bring in someone to ask questions (which they will not do).
posted by Justinian at 2:44 PM on September 25 [5 favorites]


Pro Publica: Did You Go to a Washington Nationals Game With Supreme Court Nominee Brett Kavanaugh?
Supreme Court nominee Brett Kavanaugh accrued as much as $200,000 in debt buying tickets to Washington Nationals baseball games.

White House spokesman Raj Shah told The Washington Post that Kavanaugh would go to games with a “handful” of friends. These friends then reimbursed him for the tickets, the White House says, and the debts have been paid off.

But the White House and Kavanaugh are not answering questions about what happened. Who did Kavanaugh buy tickets for? How did they reimburse him? Was this properly disclosed? And how was all of this treated for tax purposes?
...
We’re not sure what we’ll find. But we do know that people take a lot of pictures at baseball games. Did you see Judge Kavanaugh at a game? Did you attend a game with him? Do you have any photos, and if so, will you send them our way?
...
We’d especially like to figure out where he sat, how many seats he bought and which friends attended games with him. If you’ve got information, please fill out the questions below or send us an email at supremecourt@propublica.org.
posted by OnceUponATime at 2:50 PM on September 25 [119 favorites]


Slate, Lili Loofbourow, Brett Kavanaugh and the Cruelty of Male Bonding:When being one of the guys comes at a woman’s expense. (cw:link contains descriptions of the alleged assaults, the text below does not) It's worth reading in full, but I want to highlight this portion in particular.
One thing we’ve learned about Kavanaugh, then, is that he perpetually overshoots. To put it bluntly, he lies. Rather than admit he was flawed, or made some mistakes he regrets, or simply acknowledge that different people might have seen him differently—as they demonstrably did—he’s doubling down on an unsustainable and untrue account of himself and his reputation. Under immense pressure and a bright spotlight, he claims that “the women I knew in college” and “the men I knew in college” (a large group!) will all vouch for him. This is injudicious. But it adds to an emerging profile of a man who will go to long lengths to get approval. It’s what Kavanaugh did when he accepted the nomination from Trump with a sycophantic speech that has in the months since he made it become a telling document of his exaggerated need to affirm the club he belongs to. He claimed he’d “witnessed firsthand” Trump’s “appreciation for the vital role of the American judiciary,” adding—in a burst of mendacious hyperbole—that “no president has ever consulted more widely or talked with more people from more backgrounds to seek input about a Supreme Court nomination.” And it’s what he did in that Fox interview: present himself as a friendly virgin who works on school and service projects, and little else.
...
That’s where even this dumb yearbook entry thing becomes instructive: Kavanaugh was caught being cruel to a girl, and instead of owning up, he doubled down. It shows how boys who are cruel together lie together. This is why their denials are more emphatic than they need to be; each relies on the strength and intensity of the others. “Judge Kavanaugh and Ms. Dolphin attended one high school event together and shared a brief kiss good night following that event,” read a statement from Kavanaugh’s lawyer (she denies the kiss—I’ll take her word over his). “They had no other such encounter. The language from Judge Kavanaugh’s high school yearbook refers to the fact that he and Ms. Dolphin attended that one high school event together and nothing else.” Yeah, right. Four of the other players depicted in the “Renate alumni” photo issued a statement claiming that the phrase was “intended to allude to innocent dates or dance partners and were generally known within the community of people involved for over 35 years.” Before laughing at the absurdity of this, it’s worth reiterating that Renate did not know. One might then reasonably ask who the phrase “the community of people involved” includes.

How does the yearbook help us understand the other allegations against Kavanaugh? Well, for one thing, Kavanaugh’s admitted virginity shows how empty these rumors about Renate were. Whatever stories they circulated about her sexual behavior weren’t actually about her; to them she was less a person than a token you claim to gain status with your bros. That tells us something valuable about how Kavanaugh was willing to treat women when other guys were around. It also offers a clear window into how male networks like Kavanaugh’s work. If you get caught, you deny, and if you can’t, you manufacture explanations that may sound ridiculous to an outside audience. But you never break. His yearbook buddies tried to shelter him because sheltering him sheltered them.
What Kavanaugh and his buddies put in the yearbook was gross and cruel, to such an extent it managed to be hurtful 35 years later. I also don't think that someone's high school yearbook choices are a great barometer of their lifelong character. But the way he's responded to it is by doubling down, just as he's responded to everything else by doubling down. Loofbourow points out that the common theme behind all these accusations points to "a toxic homosociality—that involves males wooing other males over the comedy of being cruel to women." To not be able to see that 35 years later says a lot about a person. And as Quinta Jurecic just pointed out (love when I don't have to figure out how to finish my thoughts because someone smart nails it), this mirrors Trump's own pattern of relishing the cruelty of male bonding over unacceptable behavior toward women: there's not much distance from Trump laughing with Billy Bush to Kavanaugh and his buddies laughing, as both women have described in their accounts.
posted by zachlipton at 2:51 PM on September 25 [105 favorites]


Okay, this is obviously unadulterated bullshit/lies. This is just a simple lie. Unless the questioning lawyer is going to be hidden by a screen and her voice will be altered, her identity will be fully known when she does the questioning. "I guess" is code for "well the statement I just made a moment ago obviously doesn't survive any sort of scrutiny."

They are just avoiding any possible advance strategy detection via knowing who the lawyer is.

Also they are avoiding the inevitable bad press that will occur when they reveal who this latest dignity wraith will be and their horrid past is surfaced. Who else other than an awful person would even want to do this job?
posted by srboisvert at 2:54 PM on September 25 [8 favorites]


I was trying to compile a list of famous law-talking-women who are horrible enough for Republicans to have recruited for this job, but have so far managed only to come up with Jeanine Pirro or Nancy Grace. (Does anyone know if Ann Coulter has a law degree?)
posted by Atom Eyes at 3:03 PM on September 25 [2 favorites]


Yahoo, Hunter Walker, Deputy press secretary Raj Shah plans to leave White House after Kavanaugh confirmation hearings

He apparently wanted to leave on a high note with a sucuessful confirmation.
posted by zachlipton at 3:04 PM on September 25 [4 favorites]


Hillary is doing a fundraiser for Bob Menendez.

It's already bad enough that the corrupt piece of shit Menendez was able to somehow make it through his primary (only 40% to Lisa McCormick, god dammit New Jersey), the upper echelons of the party are coming to his god damned rescue.

OPTICS PEOPLE. Do you even think about how god damned bad this looks? We can't choose how people vote but we can (and should) damn sure shun the people they vote for if they're pieces of shit.
posted by Definitely Not Sean Spicer at 3:10 PM on September 25 [25 favorites]


Does anyone know if Ann Coulter has a law degree?

She does, but corporate law (natch.)
posted by ChurchHatesTucker at 3:12 PM on September 25 [1 favorite]


@frankthorp: JUST IN: The Senate Judiciary Cmte has rescheduled the committee vote on Kavanaugh's nomination for 9:30am on FRIDAY -->

9 other judicial nominees too. I'm sure they'll be in a real listening mood Thursday.
posted by zachlipton at 3:14 PM on September 25 [6 favorites]


Refresh my memory: Did Merrick Garland go on a cable news show and complain loudly about how tough the Republicans were making his confirmation?

Oh, yeah, that's right - they didn't even give him the courtesy. That's right. It seems so long ago.
posted by eclectist at 3:14 PM on September 25 [32 favorites]


the upper echelons of the party are coming to his god damned rescue.

Well...yes? The Democrats really cannot afford to lose New Jersey if they want to have any shot at control of the Senate. He's corrupt, but he's the candidate, and we need to win the race.
posted by Chrysostom at 3:15 PM on September 25 [52 favorites]


JUST IN: The Senate Judiciary Cmte has rescheduled the committee vote on Kavanaugh's nomination for 9:30am on FRIDAY -->

Avenatti better get to dropping
posted by schadenfrau at 3:20 PM on September 25 [6 favorites]


Founder and former Editor-in-Chief of The Rumpus pens an sad and timely memoir: How an anonymous accusation derailed my life.

Current Managing Editor of The Rumpus pens a response:
@lyzl: Stephen Elliot, it's me, Lyz. Remember when I was an unpaid editor at your magazine and we met at AWP where you invited me up to your room to watch a movie and I declined? But you didn't take no for an answer. You hounded me. I hid under a table.

[*fire* THREAD continues]
posted by pjenks at 3:24 PM on September 25 [85 favorites]


Does anyone know if Ann Coulter has a law degree?

She does, but corporate law (natch.)


There's no such thing as a law degree in corporate law or in any other kind of law. They're just law degrees.

Coulter clerked for a federal judge, then, did corporate law work in private practice (which is still a close-to-meaningless description - I assume transaction, but don't know). After that, she was a staff attorney for the Senate Judiciary Committee working in the crime and immigration law unit at the committee. From there, Wikipedia says she became a litigator with the Center for Individual Rights, but I don't know to what extent she actually litigated, since I used to see her on the Hill during that same time period, meeting with committee folks, etc., and I had assumed at the time she was lobbying for a right-wing think tank.
posted by The World Famous at 3:26 PM on September 25 [7 favorites]


Founder and former Editor-in-Chief of The Rumpus pens an sad and timely memoir: How an anonymous accusation derailed my life.

Posted at Quillette, which seems to be a clearinghouse for the sort of "reasonable" right-wing claptrap, given that noted assholes and harassers Jordan Peterson and Richard Dawkins like it, particularly because it's obsessed with being in favor of frozen peaches, what with its contrarian stance to the whole, "maybe we don't just let Milo Y talk on campuses" thing.
posted by anem0ne at 3:29 PM on September 25 [9 favorites]


@frankthorp: JUST IN: The Senate Judiciary Cmte has rescheduled the committee vote on Kavanaugh's nomination for 9:30am on FRIDAY -->

The attached agenda doesn't specifically say words like "vote" anywhere (unless I'm having a reading comp fail?). Is this agenda standard language for "vote to confirm," or could this be about leaving time for the topic should the Grassley choose to discuss it?

I am naturally ready to expect the worst regardless but it seems worth asking.
posted by scaryblackdeath at 3:30 PM on September 25 [2 favorites]


I've been waiting for someone to write this up so I wasn't just linking to the brief. Texas Just Said In Court That A Black Girl Had To Stand For The Pledge Of Allegiance
Landry — then 17, now 18 — was attending Windfern High School in Houston last fall, where she had abstained from the Pledge of Allegiance more than 200 times without a problem, she said in a complaint against filed in federal court. But on Oct. 2, 2017, she was in Principal Martha Strother’s office when she refused to stand during the pledge. “Principal Strother upon seeing this immediately expelled India from school saying ‘Well you’re kicked outta here,’” the complaint continues, adding that a school secretary then added, “This is not the NFL.”

On Tuesday, Texas Attorney General Ken Paxton, a Republican up for reelection in November, filed a brief in US District Court for the Southern District of Texas on behalf of the state, asking a federal judge for permission to argue against the student in order to defend a state law that mandates parental permission for students who sit out the pledge.
Apart from everything else, it's an exceptionally poor use of taxpayer funds to devote the resources of an entire state to fighting this.
posted by zachlipton at 3:33 PM on September 25 [66 favorites]


Oh and the DOD has its own mini-Kavanaugh going but nobody realizes it
Mingling with the guests were attractive young women dressed as Santa’s little helpers, wearing red hats, black boots and skimpy yuletide costumes. Smiling at the center of the party was the host, Leonard Glenn Francis, a defense contractor who has since confessed to bribing scores of Navy officers in the worst corruption scandal in Navy history. Among those in attendance, records show, was Craig S. Faller, a Navy officer who has climbed the ranks at the Pentagon to become a vice admiral and the senior military assistant to Defense Secretary Jim Mattis.
Craig Faller, the nominee to run SOCOM, basically has been doing things that would look otherwise as going through the motions of being bribed to look the other way while a Malaysian businessman swindles the US Navy.
posted by Definitely Not Sean Spicer at 3:33 PM on September 25 [24 favorites]


Apart from everything else, it's an exceptionally poor use of taxpayer funds to devote the resources of an entire state to fighting this.

Is it really a pledge if someone is forcing you to do it? It kind of dilutes the solemness from the occasion.
posted by Definitely Not Sean Spicer at 3:35 PM on September 25 [15 favorites]


Is this agenda standard language for "vote to confirm," or could this be about leaving time for the topic should the Grassley choose to discuss it?

Committee rules require three day notice, so noticing it now gives them the opportunity to vote on Friday if they want to. They're now spinning that they could delay it from there if they want to, but yes, this would allow a vote to advance the nominations out of committee on Friday.
posted by zachlipton at 3:40 PM on September 25 [1 favorite]


He's corrupt, but he's the candidate, and we need to win the race.

Though it should be acknowledged that this is exactly the calculation that most Republicans in Alabama made with regard to Roy Moore. Menendez is, of course, no Roy Moore. But there's a line somewhere and it'd be nice if we didn't have to toe quite so close to it while rightly condemning Republicans for stepping over it.

"You guys crossed this line that our toes are touching!"
posted by Justinian at 3:43 PM on September 25 [11 favorites]


Devorah Blachor, McSweeney's: I'm Starting To Wonder If My Membership In This Fraternity Will Hamper My Future SCOTUS Prospects: Women! You can’t live with them, and you can’t even thrust your penis in their faces anymore without it becoming the kind of thing that hampers your career opportunities. Yes — you read that right! Penis-in-the-face thrusting is why Brett Kavanaugh’s nomination might ultimately sink. It’s crazy! I mean, it’s not like the guy hired a nanny without proper documentation.

Now every time I hand a girl a cup of jungle juice in the hopes of her getting drunk enough to rape, I have to stop and think. Is this the kind of woman who will speak out when I get my lifetime appointment? Or is she the kind to be like, whatever, it’s just rough horseplay and also I don’t want death threats.

posted by TwoStride at 3:45 PM on September 25 [39 favorites]


This is just me, but in my mind "took a bribe" is a pretty bright-line distinction from "child molester."
posted by Chrysostom at 3:49 PM on September 25 [28 favorites]


Menendez also went on trial for bribe-taking, was not convicted, and had the charges against him dropped. You can say it's bullshit that he got off, but at least he was held accountable by the justice system.
posted by prize bull octorok at 3:51 PM on September 25 [19 favorites]


Being acquitted of accepting bribes IS NOT THE SAME FUCKING THING AS MOLESTING GIRLS.

Menendez might be dirty, but he won his primary with all of this out in the open. If Menendez keeping his seat is thefifferencd between fucking Gilead and not Gilead, well. We can’t fix New Jersey, but we can work with what they give us.

Seriously, don’t you dare compare being acquitted of accepting bribes to molesting girls and then arguing it’s ok to molest girls because of the Bible.

Just fucking don’t.
posted by schadenfrau at 3:54 PM on September 25 [72 favorites]


I specifically said not Roy Moore. But "not a sexual predator" simply can't be our baseline. Menendez should have been jettisoned like a hot potato before the primary and it's a disgrace that he wasn't.
posted by Justinian at 3:58 PM on September 25 [4 favorites]


Sure. I think it was a mistake both tactically and ethically not to have jettisoned him. But here we are. What other choice do we have at this juncture, but to support him? We are literally on the brink of fascism.
posted by Chrysostom at 4:00 PM on September 25 [15 favorites]


I am cackling at my desk because TIL that some states make your mommy and daddy give you "permission" to opt out of your loyalty oath to the Freedom Textile and oh my god what.
posted by nakedmolerats at 4:01 PM on September 25 [33 favorites]


Chrysostom: "What other choice do we have at this juncture, but to support him? We are literally on the brink of fascism."

We can only rescue ourselves from fascism by committing to this party unconditionally! Which isn't even incorrect, it's just... sigh
posted by TypographicalError at 4:02 PM on September 25 [4 favorites]


I don't disagree we need to elect Menendez since "very likely corrupt" is apparently where we are now in the fight against creeping fascism. "Vote for the crook, it's important!" cf David Duke's opponent. But I was calling for us to recognize the - completely avoidable - position that the Democratic leadership and the voters of New Jersey put us in. Leadership could have jettisoned him. The voters could have jettisoned him. They didn't, so here we are.

Do better. That's all I'm saying.
posted by Justinian at 4:04 PM on September 25 [11 favorites]


@ToddRuger (CQ): Committee lays out schedule for Thursday #Kavanaugh hearing to Ford attorneys: @ChuckGrassley and @SenFeinstein openings; Ford statement no time limit; 1 round of questions, 5 minutes each senator, can give time to another senator or staff counsel. Then same for Kavanaugh.
posted by pjenks at 4:08 PM on September 25 [3 favorites]


I, for one, am wholly in favor of ejecting, with great force, every dirty, pervy, corrupt sleazeball that slithers their way to the top. We as a people deserve better than this. It's not too much to ask that the people we support be people worthy of our respect, and I don't care if that takes down people on "our team" too. Trump and decades of popular culture before him have done terrible damage to the standards politicians are held to and what we can expect from them. It is only by pushing back on this, electing genuine public servants and rejecting cronies, that we can hope to prop up some version of what America is supposed to be.
posted by Mr.Encyclopedia at 4:10 PM on September 25 [16 favorites]


This got weirder. WaPo, Rod Rosenstein’s departure was imminent. Now he likely survives until after the midterms, officials say
Rod J. Rosenstein’s departure seemed so certain earlier this week that his boss’s chief of staff told colleagues he had been tapped by the White House to take over as second-in-command of the Justice Department, while another official would supervise the special counsel probe into Russia’s interference in the 2016 election, people familiar with the matter said.

But by Monday afternoon, the succession plan had been scrapped. Rosenstein, who told the White House he was willing to quit if President Trump wouldn’t disparage him, would remain the deputy attorney general in advance of a high-stakes meeting on Thursday to discuss the future of his employment. The other officials, too, would go back to work, facing the prospect that in just days they could be leading the department through a historic crisis.

Inside the Justice Department on Wednesday, officials still struggled to understand the events that nearly produced a seismic upheaval in their leadership ranks — until it didn’t — and they braced for a potential repeat of that chaos later in the week.
...
While it remained possible that Rosenstein could still resign or be fired imminently, people inside and outside the department said it seemed increasingly more likely that Rosenstein would stay in the job until after November’s election and then depart, probably with the attorney general. Two White House officials said Wednesday that Trump is unlikely to fire Rosenstein until after the election.
posted by zachlipton at 4:12 PM on September 25 [17 favorites]


Other requirements being that hell freezes over and that pigs learn to fly?
posted by Artw at 4:15 PM on September 25 [7 favorites]


It is only by pushing back on this, electing genuine public servants and rejecting cronies, that we can hope to prop up some version of what America is supposed to be.

OK but what does this mean with regard to how you think someone in New Jersey should vote for a senator in November?
posted by Atom Eyes at 4:16 PM on September 25 [8 favorites]


I'm Starting To Wonder If My Membership In This Fraternity Will Hamper My Future SCOTUS Prospects
Let me tell you a story. Once upon a time, there was a young man who treated women like sexual objects. Everyone loved him for his womanizing because he was rich and managed to renovate an ice-skating rink. He got to be on Page Six of the New York Post and eventually got his own tv show. And do you know what happened to that man? Of course you do. He’s the President of the United States. Even though his wife accused him of raping her and 18 other women also accused him of sexual misconduct and assault.
posted by kirkaracha at 4:18 PM on September 25 [28 favorites]


I, for one, am wholly in favor of ejecting, with great force, every dirty, pervy, corrupt sleazeball that slithers their way to the top.

Let justice be done though the heavens fall.
posted by kirkaracha at 4:21 PM on September 25 [11 favorites]


[Y'all let the Menendez/Hillary thing drop already, you know this is going nowhere useful.]
posted by cortex (staff) at 4:26 PM on September 25 [24 favorites]


I'd crawl across broken glass to vote for Menendez . I hope anyone who can effectively campaign for him campaigns for him effectively. Bob Menendez is why I understand Ted Cruz voters.

> It is only by pushing back on this, electing genuine public servants and rejecting cronies, that we can hope to prop up some version of what America is supposed to be.

It is only by burning the republican party to the ground and then salting that ground so that nothing can grow there that we can avert total disaster. This practical material concern beats any theoretical concerns.

I wish the crooked fucker would have stepped down / not run again / lost in a primary, but given that he has done none of those things, I hope that every effective campaigner for Menendez campaigns as effectively as they can.
posted by Reclusive Novelist Thomas Pynchon at 4:29 PM on September 25 [30 favorites]


We can only rescue ourselves from fascism by committing to this party unconditionally! Which isn't even incorrect, it's just... sigh

Elsewhere in Democratic pay-to-play corruption headaches, the Albany Times-Union reports: Cuomo Campaign Admits Outreach by Crystal Run—Forced to correct false statement by governor to TU editorial board
In a meeting with the Times Union editorial board three weeks ago, Gov. Andrew M. Cuomo emphatically and repeatedly stated that Crystal Run Healthcare, a growing Hudson Valley company, had never warned his campaign of potential problems with its $400,000 in donations.

Moreover, the governor said that if the company had done so, Crystal Run would have effectively "admitted to a crime."

But on Tuesday, in response to the Times Union's questions about Cuomo's statement, his campaign acknowledged that what the governor said that day was not true: Crystal Run had indeed approached the campaign with concerns about its donations.

"Since the editorial board meeting, the governor has been informed that Crystal Run's counsel had been in contact with the campaign's outside counsel," campaign spokeswoman Abbey Collins said in an emailed statement.

The FBI and the U.S. attorney's office in Manhattan have been investigating whether a two-day flurry of 10 separate $25,000 checks from Crystal Run officials to Cuomo in October 2013 were actually reimbursed by the company through bonuses.

If that occurred, it could violate state election law, which bars the circumvention of donation limits through the use of so-called "straw donors."[...]

In 2016, Crystal Run landed $25.4 million in state grants for projects it was already building without taxpayer subsidies.
The Democratic Party faces a lot of house-cleaning after the elections, assuming the country's house is still standing.
posted by Doktor Zed at 4:33 PM on September 25 [12 favorites]


Fox News covers Trump's UN speech...very carefully. See if you can spot what they cut. It's very subtle.

@FoxNews .@POTUS: “In less than two years, my administration has accomplished more than almost any administration in the history of our country.” #UNGA

@FoxNews .@POTUS: “America’s economy is booming like never before.” #UNGA
posted by scalefree at 4:43 PM on September 25 [4 favorites]


I missed it too, and they're fixing the story, but this week has been so awful that the Post's reporters just wrote, "Inside the Justice Department on Wednesday," and we all just assumed that so many things have happened, Wednesday must have passed already.
posted by zachlipton at 4:48 PM on September 25 [7 favorites]




McConnell: I Believe We Have The Votes To Confirm Kavanaugh
Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-KY) indicated Tuesday that the GOP was full steam ahead in putting on the Supreme Court Judge Brett Kavanaugh, who faces allegations for sexual misconduct.

“I believe he’ll be confirmed, yes,” McConnell said at a press conference at the Capitol, when asked if he had the votes.
posted by kirkaracha at 5:13 PM on September 25 [1 favorite]


Ford's motivation (for wanting senators to ask their own questions) is a bit of a mystery to me.

I can’t speak for her but if a bunch of creepy old white men wanted to ask questions about my assault as a show trial before putting my assailant on the Supreme Court I’d damn well demand they look me in the eye while they did it.
posted by winna at 5:16 PM on September 25 [71 favorites]


The more I hear about election shenanigans, the more I want a law that boils down to, "if you are found guilty if breaking election finance laws, your campaign is scuttled. You are removed from the ballot; if it's too late to change the ballots, votes for you will not be counted. If the fraud is discovered after the election, you will be removed from office."

I don't care if this means the 4th-place candidate gets elected in a few places; I'm willing to deal with Peace & Freedom hippie wingnuts in office for a few years while the R's and D's figure out that no, you really can't ignore the parts of the law you don't like.
posted by ErisLordFreedom at 5:18 PM on September 25 [48 favorites]


scalefree: Fox News covers Trump's UN speech...very carefully. See if you can spot what they cut. It's very subtle.

The following program was filmed before a live studio audience whose reaction has been removed in post-production out of respect for the performers.
posted by InTheYear2017 at 5:18 PM on September 25 [11 favorites]


The more I hear about election shenanigans, the more I want a law that boils down to, "if you are found guilty if breaking election finance laws, your campaign is scuttled. You are removed from the ballot; if it's too late to change the ballots, votes for you will not be counted. If the fraud is discovered after the election, you will be removed from office."

I don't care if this means the 4th-place candidate gets elected in a few places..
Are you willing to give the power of enforcement over who can run effectively to the party currently in office? Because we've seen what happens in authoritarian states when autocrats use such laws against their opponents and as a general rule it does not result in less corruption.
posted by Nerd of the North at 5:22 PM on September 25 [25 favorites]


The Republicans are hiring a sex crime prosecutor to question Ms. Ford?

It's pretty clear who they think is on trial here.
posted by JackFlash at 5:26 PM on September 25 [24 favorites]


Almost every law has the issue, "but are you okay with the guys in charge now deciding how this gets implemented?" I'm not willing to accept that means we shouldn't have laws.

Throw in checks and balances ; make the accusations get confirmed by nonpartisan or bipartisan committees; put the end results up for public review so the people can see exactly how the numbers didn't add up--whatever it takes. But start making the penalties for breaking these laws severe, not on the level of "if you're a millionaire, you can ignore any fine this might trigger."
posted by ErisLordFreedom at 5:30 PM on September 25 [5 favorites]


McConnell: I Believe We Have The Votes To Confirm Kavanaugh

Maybe, if the vote was held right now. More information over the next few days is likely to change that.
posted by rhizome at 5:35 PM on September 25 [7 favorites]


Unnamed woman named.

@WaPoSean: NEWS, w/ @jdawsey1 @PostRoz: Rachel Mitchell, an AZ sex crimes prosecutor, has emerged as Senate Republicans' choice to question Kavanaugh's accuser before the Judiciary panel, per two people familiar w/the decision.

Per their story, she's the "likely candidate."
posted by zachlipton at 5:45 PM on September 25 [2 favorites]


McConnell, like Trump, works on the Theory of Infallibility. He won’t admit weakness. He wouldn’t admit he doesn’t have the votes to confirm. Doesn’t mean he had them.
posted by kerf at 5:47 PM on September 25 [5 favorites]


McConnell: I Believe We Have The Votes To Confirm Kavanaugh

“I believe he’ll be confirmed, yes,” McConnell said at a press conference at the Capitol, when asked if he had the votes.


That's a really poor paraphrase by TPM. "I believe he'll be confirmed" is absolutely not the same as "I believe we have the votes". In fact it's basically a tacit admission that he doesn't currently have the votes. (I see I disagree with rhizome on this.)

If he had the votes he'd say he had the votes. But he wouldn't say he had the votes, he simply said he believed that Kavanaugh would eventually be confirmed.
posted by Justinian at 5:47 PM on September 25 [13 favorites]


Arizona. Wonder how much of this decision was picking somebody Jeff Flake knows and likes.
posted by Holy Zarquon's Singing Fish at 5:49 PM on September 25


Nah, no disagreement. My "maybe" was sarcastic. And really, who knows, but yeah, they aren't voting today anyway.
posted by rhizome at 5:50 PM on September 25


The Republicans are hiring a sex crime prosecutor to question Ms. Ford?

It's pretty clear who they think is on trial here.


At the very least Democrats should insist she be used to question Kavanaugh as well. Out of fairness.
posted by scalefree at 5:51 PM on September 25 [4 favorites]


google-fu suggests Mitchell is indeed an experienced sex crimes attorney. She is bureau chief for Maricopa County's Sex Crimes unit. If Maricopa County sounds familiar it's because it was the place Joe Arpaio dominated for 25 years. That's... not great.
posted by Justinian at 5:53 PM on September 25 [44 favorites]


Ah, the county that let 400 child molestation incidents go uninvestigated because the kids were brown.
posted by ocschwar at 6:00 PM on September 25 [53 favorites]


google-fu suggests Mitchell is indeed an experienced sex crimes attorney. She is bureau chief for Maricopa County's Sex Crimes unit. If Maricopa County sounds familiar it's because it was the place Joe Arpaio dominated for 25 years. That's... not great.

True, but from what I've seen of Ford's lawyers, they are top notch and know what they're doing. I don' think this will throw them.
posted by bluesky43 at 6:01 PM on September 25 [2 favorites]


Reportedly, the plan is for the outside counsel to question both Kavanaugh and Blasey.
The Republicans are hiring a sex crime prosecutor to question Ms. Ford?

It's pretty clear who they think is on trial here.
Would you rather the senate hire a defense lawyer to run the hearing?
posted by mbrubeck at 6:01 PM on September 25 [3 favorites]


Ramirez's lawyer looks like a pro too. CNN interview.
posted by bluesky43 at 6:03 PM on September 25 [1 favorite]


It does make McConnell's description of her as a female assistant even more dubious. It remains to be seen if she's a partisan hack but she's been practicing law and prosecuting sex crimes for what looks to me to be about 25 years.
posted by Justinian at 6:04 PM on September 25


Here's an old article about how Mitchell got her gig. It was playing nice with Arpaios crew.
posted by SecretAgentSockpuppet at 6:04 PM on September 25 [13 favorites]


Would you rather the senate hire a defense lawyer to run the hearing?

no.

I am sure we would all secretly welcome the opportunity to send a lawyer of any variety to work for us on Thursday to do our jobs for us, so that we didn't have to fulfill our own obligations or do anything difficult on our own, but those of us who are not Republican senators wouldn't dream of actually doing that and would be ashamed to try.
posted by queenofbithynia at 6:06 PM on September 25 [7 favorites]


Also, please note the other Rachael in that story, as that's the one who is more likely to jump at an opportunity to be in the spotlight.
posted by SecretAgentSockpuppet at 6:06 PM on September 25




At the very least Democrats should insist she be used to question Kavanaugh as well. Out of fairness.

She may well on behalf of the Republicans, but she will be questioning Kavanaugh as a defense attorney, not as a prosecutor. Democrats can't make her ask hard questions. Democrats will have to ask the hard questions of Kavanaugh themselves.

The question times are allotted as 5 minutes per senator. The prosecutor will be using the 5 minutes allotted to the 11 Republican senators -- 55 minutes questioning Ms. Ford. It is not known who on the Republican side will question Kavanaugh. It could be the Republican senators themselves or they could delegate the task to the same prosecutor. But either way you can bet all of those questions will be used to rehabilitate Kavanaugh.

The Democrats with 10 members will be allotted 50 minutes questioning Ms. Ford and 50 minutes questioning Kavanaugh. It is unknown who will be doing those questions. Hopefully the Democratic members will yield their time to the best qualified members to do all of the questions.
posted by JackFlash at 6:08 PM on September 25 [7 favorites]


The standard move is for Senators to use much of their allotted time to make ridiculous and pompous speeches before sliding in one or two quick and useless questions before time expires. Given the Republican grilling of Ford will (it seems) be an hour of coordinated and unified questioning by an experienced prosecutor it would be an utter disaster if Democrats have 10 different Senators do their usual garbage job.

They better have a meeting and decide how they are going to handle this. Because Dick Durbin saying some bullshit nobody cares about for 4 minutes out of 5 and then Cory Booker railing against the injustice of it all for 4 minutes out of 5 and then Leahy putting us all to sleep with his droning incoherence for 30 minutes out of 5 is not going to serve anyone well. Not Ford, not themselves, and not the country.
posted by Justinian at 6:13 PM on September 25 [42 favorites]


Would you rather the senate hire a defense lawyer to run the hearing

I'd rather the Senate didn't outsource at all.
posted by ChurchHatesTucker at 6:17 PM on September 25 [4 favorites]


“Everyone cede their time to Kamala Harris” doesn’t seem super complicated to me
posted by schadenfrau at 6:25 PM on September 25 [73 favorites]


“Everyone cede their time to Kamala Harris” doesn’t seem super complicated to me

Have you seen a Senator who knows they're on TV?
posted by 922257033c4a0f3cecdbd819a46d626999d1af4a at 6:28 PM on September 25 [31 favorites]


I am cackling at my desk because TIL that some states make your mommy and daddy give you "permission" to opt out of your loyalty oath to the Freedom Textile and oh my god what.

It's like West Virginia State Board of Education v. Barnette never happened.
posted by mikelieman at 6:32 PM on September 25 [5 favorites]


Texas’s Unopposed Motion to Intervene
Page 3 of 6
3. Texans also recognize that a critical aspect of the liberty guaranteed by the United States Constitution — and represented by the United States flag — is a parent’s right to direct the education and upbringing of his or her children. See Washington v. Glucksberg, 521 U.S. 702, 720 (1997).
Emphasis mine, and WTF????

Washington v. Glucksberg, 521 U.S. 702 (1997)
Primary Holding

A state is permitted under the Fourteenth Amendment to pass a law prohibiting assisted suicide.

Facts

Under the Natural Death Act of 1979, the state of Washington prohibited assisted suicide. The law was challenged by Harold Glucksberg and four other doctors in conjunction with a group of terminally ill individuals and Compassion in Dying, an organization that provided guidance for people considering assisted suicide. They persuaded a federal district court that the right to die was part of the liberty interest protected by the Fourteenth Amendment. Initially disagreeing with the lower court, the Ninth Circuit ultimately affirmed its decision after an en banc review.
720 has a "In a long line of cases, we have held that, in addition to the specific freedoms protected by the Bill of Rights, the "liberty" specially protected by the Due Process Clause includes" ... "to direct the education and upbringing of one's children, Meyer v. Nebraska, 262 U. S. 390 (1923); Pierce v. Society of Sisters, 268 U. S. 510 (1925);"

But why not just reference Meyer and Pierce directly???
posted by mikelieman at 6:41 PM on September 25 [8 favorites]


Wow. What the actual WHAT is this motion about? And I’m even more confused to see this coming out of Houston, of all possible areas of the state. For comparison, I teach in one of the most conservative counties (80+% voted for Trump), and when school started last month we were explicitly instructed that we could not force our students to say the pledge or even to stand during it.
posted by Daughter of Time at 6:49 PM on September 25 [2 favorites]


Kevin Cramer (GOP candidate for ND Senate) continues to put his foot in it re: Kavanaugh. I'll be honest, I struggled for a while to do a pull quote that would do his comments justice, maybe just take two minutes to go read it.

I'm beginning to take a very keen interest in any possible incidents that Cramer may have been involved in....
posted by Chrysostom at 6:54 PM on September 25 [10 favorites]


when school started last month we were explicitly instructed that we could not force our students to say the pledge or even to stand during it.

I was always curious about whether teachers were given instruction. I was always anxious about the possibility of confrontation with a teacher, but it never happened. (I also kept having first period gym when the pledge became a thing again after 9/11, so it was basically only the first day of school when I wasn't in the locker room. But I didn't hear of anyone having issues.)
posted by hoyland at 6:56 PM on September 25 [2 favorites]


mikelieman: It's like West Virginia State Board of Education v. Barnette never happened.

I'd never heard of that case and looked it up. Apparently the West Virginia State Board of Education also felt the decision hadn't happened, even right after it was issued in 1940; they just declared that they didn't care and would stick with the lower court's opinion, thanks. And then a generation later, the plaintiff's own son was sent to the principal's office for not saluting.

The family was Jehovah's Witnesses so they naturally objected on that basis. And at the time of the original West Virginia policy, another very common objection was the similarity of the expected Bellamy salute to the Nazi salute.

The fact that this doesn't seem to go away, and people still constantly talk about criminalizing flag-burning and the desperate need to force young people into this weird ritual, is one of those things that makes you wonder if we can ever reduce the overall level of fascism to zero or thereabouts. Like is there something in the human essence that demands that we do this stuff? Blech.
posted by InTheYear2017 at 6:59 PM on September 25 [17 favorites]


InTheYear2017: "one of those things that makes you wonder if we can ever reduce the overall level of fascism to zero or thereabouts. Like is there something in the human essence that demands that we do this stuff? Blech."
It seemed to be a chronic disease. It was as if even the most intelligent person had this little blank spot in their heads where someone had written: "Kings. What a good idea." Whoever had created humanity had left in a major design flaw. It was its tendency to bend at the knees.”

― Terry Pratchett, Feet of Clay
posted by namewithoutwords at 7:05 PM on September 25 [64 favorites]


Anita Hill Says Kavanaugh Accuser Hearing 'Cannot Be Fair' - Merrit Kennedy, Bill Chappell; NPR
A fair process would start with a "real investigation," Hill tells All Things Considered, saying the absence of other witnesses raises concerns about a he-said-she-said situation.

"It's only that kind of a situation if it's set up as that kind of a situation," Hill says. "In a real hearing and a real investigation, other witnesses would be called, including witnesses who could corroborate, witnesses who could explain the context of the experiences of Dr. Blasey Ford and Judge Kavanaugh during that period in their lives, as well as experts on sexual harassment and sexual assault."

Hill, who is now a professor of social policy, law and women's and gender studies at Brandeis University, called for a "neutral body" to investigate the allegations. She says Senate members have already indicated "the presumptions they have about the claims that have been made."
posted by ZeusHumms at 7:09 PM on September 25 [50 favorites]


But why not just reference Meyer and Pierce directly???

Because there's something about Glucksburg that the conservatives really love. Kavanaugh referenced the case multiple times during his hearings, when he should by rights have been talking about Roe, Casey, or Lawrence (according to Dahlia Lithwick's Amicus podcast last week).
posted by suelac at 7:14 PM on September 25 [2 favorites]


Y'know that feeling when you walk into a room and realize you forgot what it was you were doing?

I've had that for about two years now. Only it's "Wait - what are the Republicans doing??" Like, that innately confused face that's somewhere between anger and a fart. It's friggin exhausting. Hang in there people. Only ??? more ??? to go!
posted by petebest at 7:15 PM on September 25 [15 favorites]


Renato Mariotti
Someone should ask the Arizona state prosecutor reportedly employed by Senate Republicans about the plea deal they gave to a church elder who confessed to molesting a boy. He only received six months in prison.

Phoenix New Times: A Former Jehovah's Witness Elder Who Sexually Abused a Teenager Gets Only Six Months
posted by chris24 at 7:23 PM on September 25 [22 favorites]


Oh, man, I adore Anita Hill. Showing up and pitching in again to help her country despite the fact that the last time she tried her efforts were unappreciated and they did everything they could to punish her and make her life hell.
posted by Don Pepino at 7:24 PM on September 25 [90 favorites]


Red-state Democrats refuse to come out against Kavanaugh
[...] “I’m very open. I haven’t closed any doors at all on Kavanaugh. I just want to make sure there’s a fair, open and civil hearing,” said Sen. Joe Manchin of West Virginia, perhaps the most conservative Democrat. “The man has to have a chance to clear his name, but these ladies have the complete opportunity to tell their story.”

Manchin said the allegations haven’t made him any less likely to vote against Kavanaugh than he was two weeks ago: “It hasn’t changed anything. I’m still waiting for this hearing.” [...]

“They have let us know that their states are still with Kavanaugh,” said one Democratic senator, who said the press-shy Donnelly was particularly vocal about that on Tuesday at a party meeting. [...]

Liberals say they are frustrated that a half-dozen Democrats have not been willing to take a risk and oppose Kavanaugh given his beleaguered status, even calling out Senate Minority Whip Dick Durbin (D-Ill.) for not being publicly opposed to Kavanaugh despite his obvious opposition. [...]

“A couple of them have said to me: The credibility of this exchange between Ford and Kavanaugh have a lot to do with their final vote,” Durbin said. “No one has announced 'yes.' That says something of itself. And the people who are announcing 'no' do that at some risk.” [...]

Jones has tweeted repeatedly about the importance of a thorough investigation into Ford’s allegation, and said Tuesday that he also would wait until Thursday to announce his decision. “I’m going through the process," he said.

Nelson, who's in a close reelection battle against Florida Gov. Rick Scott, said Tuesday he also wants to hear from Ford before deciding.
With friends like these...
posted by chortly at 7:29 PM on September 25 [16 favorites]


Trump at the UN: “The United States leads the world in foreign aid. But seldom do other countries give anything to us.” Donald Trump does not understand charity as a concept.

And that foreign aid is not just charity. It buys us goodwill and protects our interests. Our foreign aid is money well spent. It's not just given out of good will. It protects the world from war, famine, and violence of all kinds.
posted by xammerboy at 7:38 PM on September 25 [19 favorites]


Chrysostom: "Kevin Cramer (GOP candidate for ND Senate) continues to put his foot in it re: Kavanaugh."
" I mean, how many 15-year-olds handle a lot of alcohol, you know, 36 years ago? When it wasn't that common, by the way. ... Thirty-six years ago it wasn't that common for 15-year-olds to be at booze parties," Cramer said."
Kramer was in his twenties 36 years ago; he should know millenials didn't invent teenage drinking.
posted by Mitheral at 7:48 PM on September 25 [11 favorites]


While I'd be more than good with Senator Kamala Harris running the show, I also had the privilege of watching Michelle Obama speak at a private event today. Boy, can she still give you all the feels. And I believe she's still an attorney (even if inactive), so Mrs Obama and Senator Harris could make a most sensational good cop / bad cop combination. I'm only half joking.

Bonus: While she's there, we could ask Michelle if she woudn't mind giving each of the Republican senators a hug and ask them to tell her who hurt them so badly to make them this way. Inquiring minds want to know.
posted by inflatablekiwi at 7:51 PM on September 25 [8 favorites]


Michelle Goldberg in the NYT:
Pigs All the Way Down
Kavanaugh and our rotten ruling class.
posted by Joe in Australia at 7:59 PM on September 25 [5 favorites]


So here's a puzzle. Nobody seems to know exactly what this means but here it is.

@mkrasberg I am issuing the following statement:

First, I would like to commend Debbie Ramirez for being brave enough to share her story. I am humbled by the courage she has shown.

Second, I am not a part of some last-minute smear campaign.

Brett Kavanaugh was my neighbor freshman year of college. On Sep 17 he issued the following blanket denial regarding the high school claims of Professor Ford: "I have never done anything like what the accuser describes — to her or to anyone”. This blanket denial set in motion a chain of events, and The New Yorker article was the result.

Third, I agree with Debbie Ramirez that there should be an FBI investigation, in which everyone involved is interviewed.

I would note that some of the people who had signed onto a statement in support of Brett Kavanaugh (and against Debbie Ramirez) have since asked for their names to be removed. (The New Yorker article has been updated to reflect this).

Finally, I would like to thank Jane Mayer and Ronan Farrow of The New Yorker for tracking down multiple corroborating & contemporaneous sources. Now that the article has been published, there may be others who are debating whether or not to come forward. I hope they are encouraged by the strength that Debbie Ramirez has already shown.
posted by scalefree at 8:11 PM on September 25 [34 favorites]


Mark Krasberg
@mkrasberg

Assistant Professor of Neurosurgery, UNM
Albuquerque, NM
Joined October 2008

There are literally ONLY those 6 tweets. He says he was Kavanaugh's neighbor, so I presume he has some insight into Kavanaugh's activities.

He apparently believes Ramirez, a Yale classmate of Brett Kavanaugh’s, who described a dormitory party and a drunken incident that she wants the F.B.I. to investigate.
posted by mikelieman at 8:18 PM on September 25 [8 favorites]


It sounds to me like Mr. Krasberg knows for a fact there are others out there, is being cautious not to out them (and giving himself enough deniability, e.g., "there may be others," so that he cannot be compelled to name names of survivors), and is doing what he can to encourage them to go public.
posted by duffell at 8:18 PM on September 25 [15 favorites]


Assuming he's real, he seems to have created his account to post that tweet thread.
posted by scalefree at 8:18 PM on September 25 [2 favorites]


ELECTIONS NEWS - pt. 2

** 2018 House:
-- CA-45: Siena poll has Dem Porter up 48-45 on GOP incumbent Walters [MOE: +/- 4.5%]. [Clinton 50-44 | Cook: Tossup]

-- PA-07: Siena poll has Dem Wild up 50-42 on GOPer Nothstein [MOE: +/- 4.7%]. [Clinton 49-48 | Cook: Lean D]

-- CA-21: Survey USA poll has GOP incumbent Valdao up 50-39 on Dem Cox [MOE: +/- 5.4%]. [Clinton 55-40 | Cook: Likely R]

-- Another batch of the PPP polls sponsored by a progressive healthcare group, usual caution about survey design:
-- TX-32: Dem Allred up 47-42 on GOP incumbent Sessions [MOE: +/- 4.2%]. [Clinton 49-47 | Cook: Tossup]
-- TX-07: Dem Fletcher up 47-45 on GOP incumbent Culberson [MOE: +/- 4.1%]. [Clinton 49-47 | Cook: Tossup]
-- Cook: Signs of bad turnout for GOP, which would be disastrous for them.
** 2018 Senate:
-- MA: MassInc Polling has Dem incumbent Warren up 56-30 on GOPer Diehl [MOE: +/- 4.4%].

-- FL: Marist poll has Dem incumbent Nelson up 48-45 on GOPer Scott [MOE: +/- 4.7%].
** Odds & ends:
-- KS gov: Civiqs poll has Dem Kelly at 41, GOPer Kobach at 39, indy Orman at 9 [MOE: +/- 3.4%]. [Cool: Tossup]

-- FL gov: Same Marist poll has Dem Gillum up 48-43 on GOPer DeSantis. [Cook: Tossup]

-- Tom Steyer dumping $5M into GOTV efforts in Florida. This is specifically targeting the Gillum campaign, but a rising tide lifts all boats.
posted by Chrysostom at 8:20 PM on September 25 [18 favorites]


These NYT/Siena polls started out moderately good for Dems, went through a stretch of moderately good for the GOP, and are now have been quite good for the Dems for the last several districts. Tomorrow looks like we'll get a very good NJ poll and a not so hot NE one.
posted by Chrysostom at 8:22 PM on September 25 [4 favorites]


Krasberg is referenced in the Farrow/Mayer piece:

Mark Krasberg, an assistant professor of neurosurgery at the University of New Mexico who was also a member of Kavanaugh and Ramirez’s class at Yale, said Kavanaugh’s college behavior had become a topic of discussion among former Yale students soon after Kavanaugh’s nomination. In one e-mail that Krasberg received in September, the classmate who recalled hearing about the incident with Ramirez alluded to the allegation and wrote that it “would qualify as a sexual assault,” he speculated, “if it’s true.”
posted by neroli at 8:30 PM on September 25 [9 favorites]


“I believe he’ll be confirmed, yes,” McConnell said at a press conference at the Capitol, when asked if he had the votes.

If he's confirmed without an investigation, it will poison every decision that comes after. I honestly believe they come to rue the day. This will not be a "win" for them.
posted by xammerboy at 8:30 PM on September 25 [8 favorites]


They haven't paid a price for Clarence Thomas in 30 years. They won't pay a price for Kavanaugh either unless Democrats use it as the reason to pack the Court. And well, Chuck Schumer.
posted by T.D. Strange at 8:33 PM on September 25 [47 favorites]


Assuming he's real, he seems to have created his account to post that tweet thread.

He joined twitter 10 years ago.
posted by Ray Walston, Luck Dragon at 8:49 PM on September 25 [3 favorites]


If we're doing Kreminology, it seems that Mitchell has given only two at-length interviews in her career. One was to the local NPR station quite recently. Josh Marshall points out that the other was to "Fundamental Baptist Fellowship International" in 2012, an org closely associated with Bob Jones University and which espouses hyper-traditional gender roles, sexuality, and sexual ethics. He says the content of the interview are non-controversial, dealing with helping churches and such develop best practices for dealing with child sexual abuse.

Could be a coincidence that in her career that was one of the only two places she gave an interview. Y'all can read the entrails for yourselves.
posted by Justinian at 8:52 PM on September 25 [3 favorites]




We are fucking WINNING

Don’t let up
posted by schadenfrau at 9:03 PM on September 25 [84 favorites]


Thirty-six years ago it wasn't that common for 15-year-olds to be at booze parties," Cramer said.

while i was 15, lo, about 30 years ago, we "handled" a lot of alcohol; a party was neither required nor uncommon among two different school communities of the ilk of kavanaugh's high school... except both co-ed. (no, gentle reader, i was not expelled for being a wastrel; my family moved.) at both institutions there were wildly, dangerously decadent parties, generally held in the home of a student whose parents were away, or permissive to the point of negligence (a member of my 5th grade class had to be taken to the hospital w/ alcohol poisoning; those of us who didn't go to that one were envious). if there were no parties, alcohol could be got: i recall buying beer freely (or w/ a really obviously fake ID) in bethesda and dc (had to go to dc for the liquor), drinking it in a park not far from the zoo, any number of parking garages, or in classmates' lofts, basements, outbuildings, around campfires on "the land." oh yeah: also at various churchy youth group activities.

little-known fact: the beer bong was invented at a party by a group of fifteen-year-old sumerian youth. [FAKE, or, at least, MADE UP W/ NO REGARD FOR FACT]

six years earlier than that there were no booze parties, but i was certainly interested in learning more about alcohol. probably stole my first swig from the liquor cabinet round about that age.

um, recent (abandoned, for reasons of heightened risk of nostalgic tedium) review of HS yearbook noted 5 overt references to alcohol and 6 incantations of "beach week" among the 14 (of a class numbering 54) senior yearbook pages reviewed. to my surprise, the page representing an earlier me made reference to neither alcohol nor beach week. (this, pursuant to earlier megathread discussion of relative rarity of references to booze, fwiw).
posted by 20 year lurk at 9:22 PM on September 25 [6 favorites]


I'm still unclear as to whether they'll allow any Senators ( D included ) to ask questions.

I read somewhere that Democrats will not be forced to use the Arizona sex crimes prosecutor. I have not seen any count of how many will cede to Kamala Harris or Amy Klobuchar. Would love to see the latter get an extended go, since so many Mefites said earlier that she is funnier than Al Franken.
posted by msalt at 9:43 PM on September 25 [2 favorites]


His highschool misdeeds could've been explained. He didn't even try. He flat lied about all of it.

It's not just youthful whatever, not a product of a different time, he's lying about it today. That reflects on his character today, not in highschool. And it's entirely consistent with his actions as an adult, as the most perverted member of the Starr team, as a judge who lied in his first confirmation hearing, and who's lying now.

Brett Kavanaugh is a bad person, today. He's always been a bad person, from birth. Period. That's why Republicans like him. Period.
posted by T.D. Strange at 9:45 PM on September 25 [80 favorites]


He joined twitter 10 years ago.

@mkrasberg I don't use twitter very often - once every ten years or so - if you are concerned as to whether or not this is me please see Jane Mayer's tweet on Sep 25: https://twitter.com/janemayernyer
posted by scalefree at 10:02 PM on September 25 [1 favorite]


I'm still unclear as to whether they'll allow any Senators ( D included ) to ask questions. ... I read somewhere that Democrats will not be forced to use the Arizona sex crimes prosecutor.

Each party hires their own staff members. The Arizona prosecutor does not work for the Democrats. She was hired and paid by the Republicans and works for them as a Republican Senate staff member.

Democrats could hire their own staff member for questioning, but I think they plan to do the questioning themselves.
posted by JackFlash at 10:04 PM on September 25 [1 favorite]


Rand Paul Wants to Scrap Some U.S. Sanctions on Russia The senator will introduce a bill to lift U.S. sanctions on Russian lawmakers if the Kremlin does the same for U.S. lawmakers, The Daily Beast has learned.
Sen. Rand Paul (R-KY) is introducing an amendment that would lift U.S. sanctions on Russian lawmakers, The Daily Beast has learned.

The amendment, which will be introduced at a Senate Foreign Relations Committee meeting on Wednesday, stipulates that existing U.S. sanctions on members of the Russian Federal Assembly will be lifted if Moscow agrees to lift its own sanctions on certain American members of Congress.

Paul’s amendment is not likely to go anywhere on a foreign relations panel that is overwhelmingly skeptical of Russia and unwilling to lift sanctions in exchange for such a concession as the one Paul has outlined. At least one fellow senator—who herself is banned from traveling to Russia—is already objecting.

“Thanks, but no thanks. As a senator who has been sanctioned by the Kremlin, I see absolutely no need for this amendment and strongly believe that sanctions should continue to be enhanced for Russian leadership rather than weakened,” Sen. Jeanne Shaheen (D-NH), who was denied a Russian visa last year, told The Daily Beast. “As the Kremlin continues to attack our institutions and democracy, this amendment would be a capitulation to Putin’s aggression.”
posted by scalefree at 10:11 PM on September 25 [15 favorites]


What do the Russians have on Paul? It is just incredibly obvious that there's something.
posted by jaduncan at 10:23 PM on September 25 [41 favorites]


The amendment, which will be introduced at a Senate Foreign Relations Committee meeting on Wednesday, stipulates that existing U.S. sanctions on members of the Russian Federal Assembly will be lifted if Moscow agrees to lift its own sanctions on certain American members of Congress.

I sure do love fair exchanges! How about this one, Senator Paul: you and everyone as rich as you can give back all the wealth you stole from the rest of us. In return, we'll give back all the wealth we stole from you!
posted by J.K. Seazer at 10:26 PM on September 25 [33 favorites]


They handed a photo of Kavanaugh's 1982 June/July calendar to the press. I'm really not sure how anybody thought this would prove he was too busy for sexual assault. Folks are digging into details like the party on the 4th of July.
posted by zachlipton at 11:08 PM on September 25 [7 favorites]


- What do the Russians have on Paul? It is just incredibly obvious that there's something.

Russian stooge as a family pastime?

Speculation that Russia used the 2008 Ron Paul presidential bid as a trial balloon for election interference - But with the hindsight after the 2016 election, also a different take is possible: Ron Paul was supported by the Kremlin. The phenomena seem so familar now: An outsized Internet presence for a no-name candidate with techniques that went from the obnoxious to the fraudulent to the illegal, aggressive hordes of pre-Pepe trolls, and financial inflows that stagger belief.
posted by Iris Gambol at 11:13 PM on September 25 [21 favorites]


In contrast, USA Today is breaking news in the middle of the night that is more meaningful, Kavanaugh accuser Christine Blasey Ford offers Senate four people who corroborate her assault claims
The attorneys for Christine Blasey Ford have sworn and signed declarations from four people who corroborate her claims of sexual assault by Supreme Court nominee Brett Kavanaugh.

In documents sent to the Senate Judiciary Committee and obtained early Wednesday morning by USA TODAY, Ford’s attorneys present declarations from Ford’s husband, Russell, and three friends who support the California college professor’s accusation that Kavanaugh pinned her to a bed, groped her and attempted to pull off her clothes while both were high school students in 1982.
...
In her declaration, Adela Gildo-Mazzon said Ford told her about the alleged assault during a June 2013 meal at a restaurant in Mountain View, California, and contacted Ford’s attorneys on Sept. 16 to tell them Ford had confided in her five years ago.
...
In another declaration, Keith Koegler said Ford revealed the alleged assault to him in 2016, when the two parents were watching their children play in a public place and discussing the “light” sentencing of Stanford University student Brock Turner.
posted by zachlipton at 11:14 PM on September 25 [49 favorites]


They handed a photo of Kavanaugh's 1982 June/July calendar to the press

June 16: “Go to Grease II w/ Suzanne”

This calendar is fake as shit, lol
posted by Atom Eyes at 11:25 PM on September 25 [34 favorites]


I bet Nikki suspected something was up.
posted by rhizome at 11:33 PM on September 25 [1 favorite]


In the midst of so many Constitutional & otherwise critical crises to our nation this is small & insignificant but I feel it speaks to the zeitgeist nonetheless. As far as I can tell it appears authentic.

@indivis_Nville It's traditional for the President to send congratulatory letters to boys who have reached the rank of Eagle Scout. Parents or troop leaders request these letters. It's routine. Here is the letter my friend's son received from Donald J Trump. [image]
posted by scalefree at 11:37 PM on September 25 [75 favorites]


Two from the WaPo, Three Yale Law School classmates who endorsed Kavanaugh call for investigation into sexual misconduct claims.

Kavanaugh’s ‘choir boy’ image on Fox interview rankles former Yale classmates:
Brookes said she remembers seeing Kavanaugh outside the Sterling Memorial Library, wearing a superhero cape and an old leather football helmet and swaying, working to keep his balance.

He was ordered to hop on one foot, grab his crotch and approach her with a rhyme, Brookes said. He couldn’t keep balanced, she said, but belted out the rhyme she’s remembered to this day: “I’m a geek, I’m a geek, I’m a power tool. When I sing this song, I look like a fool.”

“It’s a funny, drunk college story that you remember — at least, I remember,” Brookes said.
posted by peeedro at 11:37 PM on September 25 [32 favorites]




LIFT, LIFT, LIFT on that farcical calendar reminded me of one of the clever codes my friends and I had in high school so we could plan verboten activities on the family telephone in the kitchen. "Weight lifting" was beer drinking. You know. Light weights, many repetitions. Weren't we clever? Especially stupid since none of would have been caught dead anywhere near a gym.

Went back and looked at my '84 suburban CT high school yearbook. Pretty horrific. There is actually a guy nicknamed "Kegger" in there. Not sure how he got that one past the censors. (Actually, I am totally sure how he got that one past the censors. He was a bully and on the football team. State champs every goddamn year.) But, looking at the coded messages my friends and I managed to cram in there, some of them are clear as yesterday and some of them make me wonder what the hell we were even talking about. And, the worst thing we were trying to conceal / celebrate was going to punk rock shows and/or underage drinking.

What was Dr Strawberry? The stupidity of putting crap like this out there is either team Kavanurgh doubling down on the audacity and privilege of expecting to get away with anything and everything, or doubling down on just plain stoopid. Shouldn't be that hard to falsify plenty of this. But I guess that's the con. Believe the lie to show solidarity and obedience.
posted by Gotanda at 1:08 AM on September 26 [6 favorites]


What was Dr Strawberry?

probably weed
they still sold those strawberry flavored JOB rolling papers in '84, IF I recall correctly
posted by thelonius at 2:18 AM on September 26 [4 favorites]


This calendar is fake as shit, lol

I'd like to know what the circled numbers are for

They're in order, but not sequential

Is this the Keg Count?
posted by Ray Walston, Luck Dragon at 2:34 AM on September 26 [2 favorites]


I think those are the beach days.

The movie thing is weird. It's like somebody said, 'what do super moral teens do in the eighties? They go see PG flicks. Yeah! What big name movies were playing that month!'

I mean, I went to the movies a lot as a kid in the eighties, also wrote down a bunch of shit in the cal, but never I WILL GO SEE GREASE WITH SUSAN because a) What if that movie stopped playing in the theater? What if Susan changed her mind? And WTF would I put a particular movie down, it would just be movie/susan or something.

Oh, I don't know, maybe he just was just weird that way. A incorrigible liar with a drinking problem, a mutliple-account sexual offender, who also liked to write down GREASE II WITH BOBBY ON SAT for some weird reason.
posted by angrycat at 2:50 AM on September 26 [9 favorites]


Oh, I don't know, maybe he just was just weird that way. A incorrigible liar with a drinking problem, a mutliple-account sexual offender, who also liked to write down GREASE II WITH BOBBY ON SAT for some weird reason.

Since it's part of the record apparently, "Where did you go, and what did you do after the movie(s)?" would be a reasonable line of questioning.
posted by mikelieman at 3:28 AM on September 26 [4 favorites]


I doubt I could even get 5/4 odds that we're about to learn that "Suzanne" is one of the unidentified women who has stepped forward to report their assault this week.

(And, really. Would anyone have written "Suzanne"? Surely "S", "Suz", or "Suzy" when scribbled on a calendar?)
posted by maxwelton at 3:43 AM on September 26 [1 favorite]


Someone I know who works at a UN agency said the media is making the laughter to be more of a deal than it really was. That it was par for course and not a big deal. Idk.
posted by sio42 at 3:56 AM on September 26 [2 favorites]


Here is the letter my friend's son received from Donald J Trump.

A letter thanking them for their thoughts and prayers at the loss of Barbara Bush.

From the most well-oiled people, and a certainly very stable, I would say genius administration. It's true, folks. It's incredible.
posted by petebest at 4:07 AM on September 26 [12 favorites]


A letter thanking them for their thoughts and prayers at the loss of Barbara Bush.

On the occasion of his becoming an Eagle Scout. This is just such deep incompetence it's laughable. It's just a farce.
posted by scalefree at 4:19 AM on September 26 [11 favorites]


Someone I know who works at a UN agency said the media is making the laughter to be more of a deal than it really was. That it was par for course and not a big deal. Idk.

Just as a fan of comedy and another hapless witness to this trainwreck of a Predisent, I have to agree it wasn't as dramatic as all that. In fact, and I say this as someone who is way disthrilled with all things Trümp, I thought it was one of the very few times he seemed genuine and in the moment. Maybe the only time. There was a real streak of humanity in his latest obvious misstep on the world stage where he kind of flinched before turning it around on some faux self-deprecation that elicited a relieved wave of laughter from most of the audience.

For a very brief half-second I sort of empathized with the guy. I mean, he's up there on the green marble stage of his hometown, leader of the free world, just waving his flappy tie and ridiculous hair around, like normal, y'know, and he gets to the part his "loyal" lickspittles have put in there just for him, it always gets a big reaction, right? And boom - there he is naked and utterly unprepared for the final exam - in front of "the world". For that tiny sliver of time that it took for his remaining healthy neurons to register and regret - I kinda felt embarrassed for him. But he mugged and shrugged and sqibbity-blabbity-doo through the power of the US Presidency, Dog help us, he turned it around and gave the audience a chance to laugh for real, and it worked for him.

Of course, he puts innocent children in cages and will certainly roil in his own grave as the monstrous fraud of a human he is, but hey I'm not made of stone y'know. I appreciate when somebody can Dangerfield themselves out of a jam.
posted by petebest at 4:29 AM on September 26 [28 favorites]


I doubt I could even get 5/4 odds that we're about to learn that "Suzanne" is one of the unidentified women who has stepped forward to report their assault this week.

A Suzanne Matan has been making the rounds attempting to defend him:
[NYT]“These guys weren’t any different than other boys high schools across the country,” said Suzanne Matan, a friend of Judge Kavanaugh’s from their high school days. “And I chose to hang out with those boys and many other girls did, too, because they were fun, and they were safe, and they were respectful.”
posted by melissasaurus at 4:29 AM on September 26


Thirty-six years ago it wasn't that common for 15-year-olds to be at booze parties," Cramer said.

Thirty-six years ago it was the 1980s, and every god-damn teen movie i saw in the 1980s had a scene at a party that was being held at someone's house because their parents were out of town so they could break into the liquor cabinet and get trashed. In several movies such a party was a major plot point that lead to popularity for our leads. Hell, in Fast Times at Ridgemont High the fact that there was drinking was accepted as a given; the real newsmaking element was that Spicoli had managed to hire Van Halen.

Some people are trying very, very hard to forget their teen years and it's making me wonder why.
posted by EmpressCallipygos at 4:43 AM on September 26 [82 favorites]


A lot of talk about "back in the day, 15-year-olds didn't drink"... I think it can be legitimately explained by having a different life experience, not watching those movies, whatever. But regardless, it's nothing compared to the rest of the interview. Here are my OMG moments:
"My point was that there was no type of intercourse or anything like that," Cramer said. "That was my point, that nothing happened in terms of a sexual event beyond, obviously, the attack."
Except, obviously, the attack. He still calls it an "attack" while minimizing it! Does the Onion write his talking points? And this:
"Even if it's all true, does it disqualify him? It certainly means that he did something really bad 36 years ago. But does it disqualify him from the Supreme Court?"

The interviewer then pointed out that, if the allegations are true, Kavanaugh would have lied under oath.

"I think that disqualifies him," Cramer responded. "If it's found that he knew -- that he recalls it, and knew it happened and lies about it, that's -- then I think that would disqualify him. Because that's what he's doing today, not 36 years ago."
How often has an interviewer managed to make a politician pull a 180 simply by pointing out a basic truth?
posted by InTheYear2017 at 5:05 AM on September 26 [37 favorites]


Yard sign report:

Every year in September-ish, our church holds a weekend retreat near Great Falls, VA. And every year I drive past bungalows and mcmansions alike with lots of YUGE yard signs in support of Republican candidates, with no Democrats' names to be seen.

Great Falls is in Virginia's 10th Congressional district, a northern Virginia swing district represented by Republican Barbara Comstock. When we drove through last weekend, I'd say the yard sign ratio was 5:2 in favor of her Democratic opponent, Jennifer Wexton. And this is in what I imagine is a more conservative stretch of VA-10.
posted by duffell at 5:07 AM on September 26 [20 favorites]


The thing is, I wouldn't be surprised if Kavanaugh were a perfect gentleman with Suzanne. He bonded with other guys by sexually humiliating women whom they thought didn't deserve respect. Suzanne was probably a "nice girl," the kind of girl whom you date and marry. Christine Blasey went to a non-Catholic school and wasn't part of upper-class D.C. Catholic society, so she was a slut. (When I was 14, I dated a guy who went to St. Anselm's, another elite D.C. Catholic boy's school. He literally assumed that he was going to lose his virginity immediately, because I wasn't Catholic, and having sex wouldn't be a big deal to me. To be fair, he didn't push it at all when I told him that I was not going to have sex with him anytime soon. He was genuinely a good guy who had been given some weird messages.) Deborah Ramirez was working-class and half Puerto Rican, so she was absolutely fair game. And if you're the moral equivalent of Kavanaugh and his friends but you're a woman, what you do is look the other way, because their behavior doesn't affect you or anyone you care about.

The idea that there's no room on that calendar for drunken parties is kind of hilarious.
posted by ArbitraryAndCapricious at 5:09 AM on September 26 [81 favorites]


I’m not sure idly speculating about his calendar is a good use of thread space.
posted by lazaruslong at 5:11 AM on September 26 [11 favorites]


I'm not sure it's a good use of the national discourse.
posted by adamgreenfield at 5:15 AM on September 26 [53 favorites]


To clarify that although I gave the "booze parties" bit of the disgusting Cramer interview some benefit of the doubt, I don't think it really deserves it: a portrayal of Christine Blasey Ford as having some kind of serious alcohol problem is a major right-wing talking point at the moment.

I can't find any info on whether there's some basis in reality -- I presume that if there is, it's something she's addressed. But it's also possible it comes entirely from "admits to having had a drink once when 15". In any case, the double standard compared to men like Kavanaugh, who remains in denial to this day, is so incredibly misogynist.
posted by InTheYear2017 at 5:15 AM on September 26 [1 favorite]


NPR continues their tongue bath of republicans by having Jonah Goldberg, editor of National Review, come on the air to tell us how ridiculous democrats are for listening to a woman, and making a supreme court nomination take two weeks.
posted by SecretAgentSockpuppet at 5:17 AM on September 26 [15 favorites]


and making a supreme court nomination take two weeks.

From now on, any time someone dares complain about the left stalling a SC nomination, I'm going to point at them and screech, ala that scene from Invasion of the Body Snatchers. Only my screech will be the words "Merrick Garland".
posted by Twain Device at 5:19 AM on September 26 [43 favorites]


ArbitraryAndCapricious: I think you are right, and it goes a long way towards explaining why some women still cape for Kavanaugh (and other abusers and harassers, for that matter). Many rapists and abusers divide women into categories - "nice" girls who you might marry, and who merit respect and decent treatment, and "unworthy" girls, who are Other, and who don't. Women who have always been in Category One might not get that there is a Category Two, or may think that "those" girls deserve it out of racism or classism. (Deborah Ramirez is Puerto Rican, after all...) The reaction of some people - both men and women - to Leann Tweeden was not just that she was supposedly employed by right-wing radio, she was an underwear model and thus deserved her harassment.

So yes, I can believe that Kavanaugh treated "Suzanne" well while abusing Blasey and Ramirez because they were outsiders and therefore deserved what they got. It's an ugly and unfortunately prevalent mentality.

And I would love to see a Klobuchar/Harris tag-team questioning.
posted by Rosie M. Banks at 5:23 AM on September 26 [21 favorites]


To clarify: That calendar has zero probative value — none whatsoever. I can't believe it's being taken seriously by anyone, even those who wish to see Kavanaugh confirmed. But then, two years and counting of this national catastrophe has taught me more than I'd ever hoped to learn about the willingness of a corrupt and decaying elite to conform themselves around the Big Lie, bodily if need be.

For some reason, it was Michelle Goldberg's most recent column in the Times that really did me in on this. I remember the utterly casual misogyny and the serene entitlement of this caste from my high school years (roughly 1980-1984, as I didn't actually go to high school myself), and it was heartsickening and gorge-raising then. I never doubted the privileged ones would stop at nothing to maintain and extend their clutch on power, but it's another thing entirely to see it play out in the national media, complete with bad-faith readings like this calendar horseshit.

My sense, thankfully, is that only the true believers find it at all convincing, and that it plays poorly with just about everyone else, as it deserves to. Hopefully the blatant bad faith of this and the attempts at character assassination will prove to be enough to sink Kavanaugh in the end. It is starting to feel that way.
posted by adamgreenfield at 5:27 AM on September 26 [18 favorites]


I'm not sure it's a good use of the national discourse.

Yes, its beginning to overshadow the United Nations, the planet, and the US State Dept's repeating Trump words to OPEC on twitter. Surely, at some point, America must stop navel gazing long enough to consider saying hello to the rest of the world?
posted by infini at 5:34 AM on September 26 [5 favorites]


It's beyond stupid, but it's also the only specific thing/record he's put forward for that time period. I have no doubt that if he goes down some other evil thing will take his place, but this guy is a shit sandwich about to ascend to a position where he's going to bunch of bad things to the country and the planet.

I mean, there's nothing else to talk about but for the fact that he's an evil lying liar who has hurt people and never admitted it.
posted by angrycat at 5:37 AM on September 26 [8 favorites]


So here's the thing, infini. The Supreme Court is really, really, really important. The Supreme Court determines pretty much everything that happens in the US. In 1905, the Supreme Court decided that it was unconstitutional to have laws that protected workers from abuse, and there basically wasn't any protective labor legislation in the US for the next 30 years. And that could happen again. Kavanaugh is a reactionary: his behavior towards (some) women is not a mistake or an aberration. It's part of who he is. It's part of his overarching philosophy. If he's confirmed to the Supreme Court, he will be in a position to impose that philosophy on everyone who sets foot in the US, and it will reverberate in the rest of the world. This is not navel gazing. Our lives are at stake.
posted by ArbitraryAndCapricious at 5:46 AM on September 26 [111 favorites]


“And I chose to hang out with those boys and many other girls did, too, because they were fun, and they were safe, and they were respectful.”

How could she know? Maybe "Maureen -- Tainted Whack" thought they were perfectly respectful, too. At least if she never saw the year book.
posted by Ray Walston, Luck Dragon at 5:47 AM on September 26 [10 favorites]


"Even if it's all true, does it disqualify him? It certainly means that he did something really bad 36 years ago. But does it disqualify him from the Supreme Court?"

After thinking about this for a while, I think it does. I don't believe that a crime you committed when you were an adolescent should prevent you from having a successful career, or that it stops you from becoming a good person. But this job requires you represent justice and can hand down decisions on, say abortion or juvenile crime without a good portion of the population flinching in disgust or being reminded of violent episodes in their past. Kavanaugh will likely be the deciding vote on overturning Roe v. Wade. Given what we know about his past, fairly or not, that event is going to be more traumatic, more divisive, just plain uglier, with him involved.
posted by xammerboy at 6:29 AM on September 26 [17 favorites]


To extend your line of reasoning, xammerboy, I'd say at the very least, all other things being equal, given a choice you'd want to go with the candidate who did *not* commit a crime as a teenager. And that points up one of the (many) infuriating things about this whole affair: there's no pressure from Rs in Congress to get Trump to give them a different choice. They're happy to let him stick with the candidate so clearly compromised by his connection to Justice Kennedy and his stance on holding a president legally accountable for his crimes.
posted by Rykey at 6:48 AM on September 26 [18 favorites]


So as not to abuse Edit:

Not to mention being compromised by his own fucked-up views and behavior toward women, of course.
posted by Rykey at 6:50 AM on September 26 [6 favorites]


"Even if it's all true, does it disqualify him? It certainly means that he did something really bad 36 years ago. But does it disqualify him from the Supreme Court?"

For practical purposes, yes, it should, for several reasons:

First, we already accept that a lot of things that happen in late adolescence shape your life. If he'd committed a felony, he wouldn't be up for the Supreme Court. If he'd crashed and burned academically, his wealth and privilege would have smoothed his later life, but he wouldn't be up for the Supreme Court. Honestly, everything that was done for/happened to him in terms of wealth and coddling brought him to this nomination. His life was very much shaped by his late adolescence, and as long as that's the case, there's no reason that a sexual assault shouldn't count.

Second, not all young men assault women. It's not just "whoops I'm a great person I just assaulted this woman one time". Holding a woman down and physically attacking her requires a level of commitment to harming women. Intentionally harming another person shows your character. We can all look back at our adolescences and remember that there were good guys and okay guys and guys who weren't that great but weren't rapists - this is absolutely a case of #NotAllMen.

Third, as evidence has shown over and over again, the type of man who intentionally assaults women isn't okay. It's an indicator, as when a small child tortures animals. And just as you'd predict, Kavanaugh's willingness to assault a woman predicted further abuse of women and predicted a hardened ideology of woman-hating.

Now, in theory, Kavanaugh could have done this and then totally changed - but we'd see evidence of total change. There'd be this one report and nothing; perhaps disgust at his own behavior would have turned him into an advocate for women, and at the very least he'd have a typical track record.

But in general, yeah, I think that to be on the safe side committing sexual assault should keep you off the judiciary. It's a consequence. We have no hesitation in dealing out extremely brutal, heavy duty consequences to less privileged teens, so I have no hesitation in proposing this one for the type of men who become judges.

Underlying all this excuse-making are two ideas - the idea that rape is natural, so the same boys who understand full well what they need to do to get into Harvard can't be expected to understand that in order to get into the judiciary they need not to rape; and the idea that hatred of women is not ideological, just some kind of opinion. But "women shouldn't have birth control" is an ideological position, not just a difference of opinion, and it stems from an ugly set of woman-hating beliefs that inform all other aspects of the belief-holder's life. If someone says, "women shouldn't have birth control", they're not likely to say "but women should have comprehensive sex education, rape should be prosecuted, the state should provide day care, wages must be equal in all industries and being gay is A-okay"...and that's because "women should not have birth control" is an ideological position that's part of a bigger worldview.

Kavanaugh hates women, and it's apparent in both his behavior and his ideology. His behavior predicts his ideology, and that's precisely why it should keep him off the court.
posted by Frowner at 6:54 AM on September 26 [136 favorites]


How Brett Kavanaugh Erases Inconvenient Women (Dahlia Lithwick, Slate)
If we have learned anything from this process, it is that he has shown himself time and again to be someone who doesn’t have a good deal of empathy or solicitude for women not in his immediate orbit.
posted by ZeusHumms at 6:55 AM on September 26 [17 favorites]


Holding a woman down and physically attacking her requires a level of commitment to harming women.

Even more than a commitment to harming women, it shows a commitment to performative masculinity for other men. Once again dropping in Lili Loofbourow's article, Brett Kavanaugh and the Cruelty of Male Bonding.
posted by Sophie1 at 7:04 AM on September 26 [27 favorites]


Some people are trying very, very hard to forget their teen years and it's making me wonder why.

Case in point, Brian Kilmeade is VERY upset that high school actions could derail someone's life. Like seriously watch this because whoa, are there any unsolved crimes from where/when he grew up?

Bobby Lewis (MMFA)
After Brian Kilmeade diminishes Ford/Ramirez's allegations as "when in doubt, go back to high school and college" his co-hosts try to do damage control, but he yells over them about how unfair it is that we “go back to high school to stop you from moving forward.”

VIDEO
posted by chris24 at 7:06 AM on September 26 [19 favorites]


Felony Disenfranchisement (YT): Last Week Tonight with John Oliver

The Future Of 1.4 Million Floridians With Felony Convictions Is On The Ballot In November - Allegra Kirkland, Talking Points Memo
Any Floridian convicted of a felony must now wait at least five years after completing their sentences — including parole or probation and paying off any fines — to apply for the opportunity to come before the [state clemency board, led by Florida's governor] and make a “pitch” to get their voting rights back. Roughly 3,000 people have had their rights restored in the past eight years, and the state has a backlog of over 10,000 cases.

The Scott administration claims that this case-by-case approach is necessary to prevent the swift restoration of voting rights to those undeserving of that privilege.

Both the FRRC campaign [Florida Rights Restoration Commission] and the plaintiffs in Hand v. Scott, a federal lawsuit currently winding its way through the courts, disagree. Though these efforts are separate, their arguments are similar: rights restoration should be an automatic, evenly applied process not left up to the whim of four elected officials or a change in administration. Formerly incarcerated people don’t want a free pass, they want to be able to participate in the political system that has indelibly shaped their lives.

The 11th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals will likely not issue a final decision in the federal lawsuit until after the November midterms. But in just a few weeks, when voters go to the polls, they could pass an amendment with the potential to transform the state’s politics.

Amendment 4 would have a dramatic impact on the lives of hundreds of thousands of disenfranchised Floridians, and on who gets voted into office in a state with razor-thin electoral margins.

A wide spectrum of interests support a swifter path to rights restoration in Florida: civil rights groups like the Brennan Center and American Civil Liberties Union, the sheriff of conservative Dixie County, a handful of Florida Republican lawmakers, church leaders, and the American Probation and Parole Association, a trade group representing people who work on parole-related issues. And while opposition to changing the law exists, that, too, doesn’t fall perfectly along partisan lines: The Koch brothers’ Freedom Partners recently threw its support behind Amendment 4, saying it “will make our society safer, our system more just.”
posted by ZeusHumms at 7:07 AM on September 26 [14 favorites]


How Brett Kavanaugh Erases Inconvenient Women (Dahlia Lithwick, Slate)

And what he's been doing, particularly with the Fox interview is straight-up, shameless, gaslighting. That and things like his cutting his wife off in the interview when she was asked her opinion as to whether there should be an FBI investigation show with absolute clarity that he hasn't changed or reformed one iota. He's still every last little bit the sociopathic predatory abuser he was 36 years ago.

Regarding the women he knew who still support him,

@ztsamudzi: I'm lukewarm about BoJack Horseman, but it's kind of a perfect show for this #MeToo moment in a lot of ways. This quote's been sitting in the pit of my stomach: "You know, it's funny; when you look at someone through rose-colored glasses, all the red flags just look like flags."
posted by Buntix at 7:11 AM on September 26 [78 favorites]


After Brian Kilmeade diminishes Ford/Ramirez's allegations as "when in doubt, go back to high school and college" his co-hosts try to do damage control, but he yells over them about how unfair it is that we “go back to high school to stop you from moving forward.”

It's funny because Kilmeade used to be really concerned over where Obama went to school.
posted by peeedro at 7:13 AM on September 26 [13 favorites]


I think if we don’t hear from Avenatti soon, we’re not going to. Honestly I was expecting it this morning, to give maximum time for journalists to dig in and make it a thing before the hearings.

Any word from the Democrats about a game plan?
posted by schadenfrau at 7:19 AM on September 26 [2 favorites]


Red-state Democrats refuse to come out against Kavanaugh
[...] “I’m very open. I haven’t closed any doors at all on Kavanaugh. I just want to make sure there’s a fair, open and civil hearing,” said Sen. Joe Manchin of West Virginia


My suggestion here is that we all go on outside and play a game of hide and who fucking gives a shit? Holy fuck this makes me angry. Manchin isn't on the judiciary committee so his short-term reaction is fucking meaningless. Further, we've spent the last 700 days talking endlessly about how totally empty and meaningless these Republican expressions of concern are when followed by voting to let the Trump administration get its way. But we're going to turn around and say it matters what Manchin says here?

Let the motherfucker go on tv and draw little JM + BK inside pretty hearts if that's what keeps a Democrat in a Senatorial seat. What matters is the vote and limiting the bleeding and maybe even taking the majority. Being angry if he supported Kavanaugh's confirmation would be one thing, but refusing to go on tv and maybe energize Republican votes against him in November by taking a line now? It's the smart move because it does nothing. It doesn't accelerate the vote to confirm. It doesn't provide any cover because it's just a big we'll see, it doesn't harm efforts to investigate because it doesn't say we shouldn't investigate.

Fucking circular firing squads every day.
posted by phearlez at 7:20 AM on September 26 [20 favorites]


I think if we don’t hear from Avenatti soon, we’re not going to.

It's only 7:20 a.m. on the West Coast. We've got some time.
posted by Sophie1 at 7:23 AM on September 26 [6 favorites]


From the Post, about Blasey Ford's family. This kind of makes me cry for her. https://www.washingtonpost.com/local/christine-blasey-fords-own-family-has-been-nearly-silent-amid-outpouring-of-support/2018/09/26/
posted by Cocodrillo at 7:24 AM on September 26 [4 favorites]


Any Democrat who dares to vote for this fucking rapist needs to be primaried with extreme prejudice. "But then we'll lose the state." So what? If a Democrat is indistinguishable from a raving Trumpy woman-hating loon Republican, what's the difference?
posted by FelliniBlank at 7:25 AM on September 26 [23 favorites]


"Even if it's all true, does it disqualify him?"

The word "disqualify" has pretty much lost all meaning ever since Trump was elected POTUS.
posted by sour cream at 7:28 AM on September 26 [12 favorites]


FelliniBlank, I used to have this attitude when I had a blue dog Dem US Rep. Here's the difference: if your party has majority (even with idiots who vote wrong), you get control of the committees, the floor, the agenda.
posted by rikschell at 7:29 AM on September 26 [35 favorites]


NPR continues their tongue bath of republicans by having Jonah Goldberg, editor of National Review, come on the air to tell us how ridiculous democrats are for listening to a woman, and making a supreme court nomination take two weeks.

Yesterday afternoon NPR ran a teaser that went something to the effect of "Brett Kavanaugh denies allegations of sexual misconduct," complete with a quote denying everything cribbed from Fox News. Not "Two women have now accused him of sexual assault amidst a growing body of evidence of a privileged, hard-partying lifestyle."

Being fair is one thing, and "balanced" another, but there's no reason for NPR to push the framing of Kavanaugh's innocence -- especially when his claims are highly dubious, and denying being accused of sexual assault is not news -- other than craven (and futile) appeal to the hordes of "liberal media" accusers.
posted by Gelatin at 7:31 AM on September 26 [12 favorites]


Mr. Machine and I were puttering around the kitchen this morning, doing our morning thing -- he was making toast, and I was shepherding our toddler through the very hard realities of weekday mornings where you have someone to gently wake you up, carry you out of your bed, wash and dress you, make your breakfast for you, and turn on Dinosaur Train for half an hour.

And out of the blue, at least to me, Mr. Machine says, "You know, those pages at Kavanaugh's yearbook looked exactly like the ones from my yearbooks."

And I said, "The ones from [fancy elite mid-atlantic prep school that your grandparents paid to send you to, almost twenty years after Kavanugh]?"

And he said, "Yeah. The activities were basically the same."

It was really quiet downstairs for a while, except for Dinosaur Train.
posted by joyceanmachine at 7:31 AM on September 26 [47 favorites]


[Hello friends, we've literally gone around the circuit of "Manchin and other red state Dems who sometimes vote with Repubs, worst or worst?" (checks clipboard) one hundred millions times. There's a bare patch in the lawn there where we've worn away the soil. How about let's not go again.]
posted by LobsterMitten (staff) at 7:32 AM on September 26 [65 favorites]


Thirty-six years ago it was the 1980s, and every god-damn teen movie i saw in the 1980s had a scene at a party that was being held at someone's house because their parents were out of town so they could break into the liquor cabinet and get trashed.

I know, right? I was in high school and college in the 1980's. The first time I was ever really drunk was at someone's house when their parents were out of town (It was on sloe gin, for the record. I don't recommend it.) The devotion to that cultural mythology was practically religious—especially I'd say, if you were raised in a white American social class at all similar to Kavanaugh's.

Anyway, here's your daily Rudes—"Rudy Giuliani Photographed With White Nationalist Mayoral Candidate." (Via Will Sommer @ The Daily Beast)
posted by octobersurprise at 7:44 AM on September 26 [9 favorites]


Avenatti just tweeted a photo and name of his client. So, this is happening.
posted by Sophie1 at 7:46 AM on September 26 [13 favorites]


HAHAHAHHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHHAHAHAHAHA im DYING:

Nikki Haley says the laughter Trump got at the U.N. was because world leaders "loved his honesty." [FoxNews video via aaron blakes twitter]

. . . and its Avenatti Time (tm)
posted by Exceptional_Hubris at 7:49 AM on September 26 [13 favorites]


While we’re waiting to see if Avenatti has the goods on Kavenaugh the gang rapist, here is Cory Booker’s DC office number if you feel inclined to call him and ask that he cede his time to Kamala Harris:

tel:(202) 224-3224

Jumping around Twitter my sense is that Booker might be a hold out, because he doesn’t want to give Harris the limelight ahead of the 2020 primaries.

I’m going to call and inform his staff that there’s no way in hell I’ll support a man who won’t make way for a more qualified woman for fucking President.
posted by schadenfrau at 7:49 AM on September 26 [31 favorites]


Natasha Bertrand: Avenatti has released a sworn declaration from a third Kavanaugh accuser, Julie Swetnick. She says she was a victim of a gang rape after being drugged at a party in 1982, and alleges that Kavanaugh and Mark Judge were "present."
posted by FelliniBlank at 7:51 AM on September 26 [40 favorites]


ArbitraryandCapricious, thank you for contextualizing the concern for me. I do appreciate the importance now.

However, I suspect that this week's UNGA coverage will nullify the following statement of yours:

and it will reverberate in the rest of the world.

Today is Trump's chairmanship of the UN Security Council and it will set teh tone for many more things than just what is being said.
posted by infini at 7:52 AM on September 26 [2 favorites]


Her statement also refers to beach week, on the calendar they released. that statement is really something.

Brett Kavanaugh is a credibly accused rapist and the entirety* of the GOP is fine with it as long as he rules their way once hes on the court.

[* i mean i guess well see but im not feeling good about any of their moral courage/basic decency here]
posted by Exceptional_Hubris at 7:55 AM on September 26 [7 favorites]


Swetnick's sworn declaration includes some trigger-y material, so summary: she was present at 10 or more parties where Kavanaugh and Judge were aggressive, abusive, and demeaning to girls and touched them without consent. She was aware of them spiking the punch at parties to get girls drunk. She herself was gang raped at one of these parties and believes she was drugged.
posted by FelliniBlank at 7:57 AM on September 26 [54 favorites]


Democrats represent more people -- vastly more people -- than do Republicans. If and when Democrats gain power in the White House and/or Congress, they need to stop pretending we live in a bygone era of compromise and comity and take power -- and that includes acting to reduce, whenever possible, the power of Republicans, just as Republicans constantly attack unions, teachers, and trial lawyers.

A punitive, confiscatory tax on excessive wealth would be a start, as would expanding the SCOTUS and the House of Representatives.
posted by Gelatin at 7:58 AM on September 26 [45 favorites]


She alleges that Kavanaugh routinely participated in gang rapes.
posted by schadenfrau at 7:58 AM on September 26 [39 favorites]


That should be the fucking headline, everywhere.
posted by schadenfrau at 8:00 AM on September 26 [28 favorites]


> Swetnick's sworn declaration includes some trigger-y material, so summary: she was present at 10 or more parties where Kavanaugh and Judge were aggressive, abusive, and demeaning to girls and touched them without consent. She was aware of them spiking the punch at parties to get girls drunk. She herself was gang raped at one of these parties and believes she was drugged.

> She alleges that Kavanaugh routinely participated in gang rapes.


This - this is astounding. It is inconceivable that this didn't come up in a background check. How could they nominate this monster to the Supreme Court? How is he an Appeals Court judge? In all of the US, in all of the GOP, in all of even the Federalist Society, they couldn't find a better person to nominate?

Burn it all down.
posted by RedOrGreen at 8:02 AM on September 26 [63 favorites]


Yeah, I think the most important things in the statement are that she was aware of Kavanaugh and Judge adding drugs as well as alcohol to the punch, targeting specific girls with said, and that she repeatedly saw Kavanaugh and Judge waiting their turn in line outside rooms in which incapacitated girls were being raped.

The statement is significantly more troubling than "they got touchy feely" (not that that's not bad in its own right).
posted by telepanda at 8:02 AM on September 26 [19 favorites]


Oh: and she has multiple security clearances. Because that is apparently the standard a woman must meet if she is to be believed.

Well, we hope, anyway.
posted by schadenfrau at 8:02 AM on September 26 [49 favorites]


This - this is astounding. It is inconceivable that this didn't come up in a background check. How could they nominate this monster to the Supreme Court? In all of the US, in all of the GOP, in all of even the Federalist Society, they couldn't find a better person to nominate?

All of the other candidates that have been groomed as Kavanaugh was probably come from similar environments
posted by Ray Walston, Luck Dragon at 8:04 AM on September 26 [23 favorites]


she was present at 10 or more parties where Kavanaugh and Judge were aggressive, abusive, and demeaning to girls and touched them without consent. She was aware of them spiking the punch at parties to get girls drunk.

Much like Kavanaugh's dubious denials were of behavior that others witnessed, and have since contradicted, Swetnick's claims are of actions that occurred in a group. The only other witness to Ford's story is Mark Judge -- whom the Senate Republicans didn't summon to testify, of course -- but there are many people out there reading this story and remembering. Someone may well step forward and corroborate these points.
posted by Gelatin at 8:05 AM on September 26 [10 favorites]


It is, indeed, pitchfork time.
posted by Sophie1 at 8:05 AM on September 26 [108 favorites]


I argue similarly. They can't find clean backgrounds on people who will bend a knee to Trump because no one with any kind of moral fibre would so much as enter the throne room.
posted by seanmpuckett at 8:05 AM on September 26 [25 favorites]


And these all appear to have taken place in Maryland, where we all just learned that there is no statute of limitations for sexual assault.

And this account has already been corroborated by Mark Judge’s college girlfriend in the New Yorker story.

That this didn’t come up on a background check is itself a massive indictment of the FBI. That the GOP knew about this, and nominated him anyway, is not so much an indictment as a manifestation of pure fucking evil.
posted by schadenfrau at 8:06 AM on September 26 [48 favorites]


Incredibly brave and resilient women are putting their lives on the line for us. And they always have. Many of our most important employment harassment cases involved women of color who were brave enough to come forward: ex, Mechelle Vison. As a reminder, here are the support hotlines you or those you love can reach out to. It's hard for many people to breathe these days.
posted by anya32 at 8:06 AM on September 26 [38 favorites]


It is inconceivable that this didn't come up in a background check.

Our society massively underestimates how much bad shit happens to women and girls. And how much we've kept silent.

@HeidiPrzybyla: In the past 2 days, I've been contacted by complete strangers who say they were sexually assaulted over 20 years ago -- not because they want me to tell their stories or get media exposure -- but because they just want to tell someone, put it on the record. This is a moment.
posted by melissasaurus at 8:07 AM on September 26 [96 favorites]


For what this is worth, this account also completely overthrows the already-preposterous "4chan hoax" claim that had quite a few prominent conservative voices going "Aha!"

The 4chan post (at least in screenshots I've seen) gives an account of someone telling Avenatti she went to Holton-Arms, the prep school attended by Christine Blasey Ford. But this new accuser Julie Swetnick was at Gaithersburg High School; obviously the wannabe prankster was hoping to make a lucky guess and failed.
posted by InTheYear2017 at 8:11 AM on September 26 [14 favorites]


It is inconceivable that this didn't come up in a background check.

I find it entirely conceivable. Who are they going to contact for a background check? His high school buddies, or girls from other schools that he interacted with at parties?

What is being described was and is such common behavior, think of all the teen movies (especially from the 80s) that this is literally the plot of*. Why would any of the dudes he was friends with even bring it up as remarkable or worthy of further investigation?
posted by soren_lorensen at 8:12 AM on September 26 [28 favorites]


This - this is astounding. It is inconceivable that this didn't come up in a background check. How could they nominate this monster to the Supreme Court? In all of the US, in all of the GOP, in all of even the Federalist Society, they couldn't find a better person to nominate?

I'm certain that they could have found better nominees, including women nominees, that meet their Conservatism Criterion. The problem is that they didn't want to nominate these other nominees. They wanted a political hack they could rely on, someone they understood very deeply was one of them to his core. They know Kavanaugh. His pedigree is impeccable: from the rapey Yale days to the the Starr report, and Bush Jr's white house, Kavanaugh is their guy. When they look at him it's as if they're looking in a mirror. It's not just that they can trust him when it comes to how he will vote on every issue of importance, from corporate power to roe v wade to presidential immunity, they trust him on a deeper, gut level, because it's as if they're nominating themselves to the court.
posted by dis_integration at 8:15 AM on September 26 [80 favorites]


I find it entirely conceivable. Who are they going to contact for a background check? His high school buddies, or girls from other schools that he interacted with at parties?

And even if they did, how many of those people would report any of this? For some of them, it was normalized, "boys will be boys," nothing out of the ordinary, nothing to report. For others (the "good girls," the future wives), it may have been hidden. For the victims, reporting means being brutalized all over again by an entire political party.
posted by Mavri at 8:15 AM on September 26 [8 favorites]


Oh: and she has multiple security clearances. Because that is apparently the standard a woman must meet if she is to be believed.

How long before this gets used as evidence of her connections to the Deep State Conspiracy?
posted by contraption at 8:16 AM on September 26 [9 favorites]


Yeah, I N not sure what the kinds of background checks he has been through have been but I suspect it’s not much more than criminal records, confirming his resume and a credit check*. This could easily fall outside of them.

It probably shouldn’t.

* not too close a credit check either since there’s obviously something lurking there too.
posted by Artw at 8:17 AM on September 26 [10 favorites]


If Bill Cosby had experienced an FBI background check in the early 2000's, would that have necessarily turned up anything? No. It all comes down to survivors speaking out. It wouldn't even be clear to investigators that they should contact them in the first place -- which of Kavanaugh's acquaintances would have said "Be sure to talk to Julie Swetnick"?

Of course, depressingly, when victims do speak out it's rarely enough. In both cases there was an additional wildcard factor, with Cosby's crimes getting signal-boosted by a comedian, and Kavanaugh getting this nomination.
posted by InTheYear2017 at 8:20 AM on September 26 [14 favorites]


It's also interesting how much the media is tiptoeing around the class issues inherent in Kavanaugh's story. That he was from a privileged family and went to an elite school at which they knew their behavior wouldn't have consequences (put that in your "moral hazard" pipe and smoke it, David Brooks). That he was respectful toward women of his own social rank and treated those he considered inferior with contempt. We've been seeing that movie for decades now, so it's bizarre and shameful that the media so steadfastly pretends it isn't even a thing.
posted by Gelatin at 8:22 AM on September 26 [60 favorites]


It all comes down to survivors speaking out

No. They speak out. It’s just that men don’t believe them until other men start talking about it. This is not survivors’ fault for “not speaking out.” Not even fucking close.
posted by schadenfrau at 8:23 AM on September 26 [104 favorites]


I never thought I'd live to see the day I'd get to watch the patriarchy unpeeling and falling to shreds at our feet. And frankly, I still don't — but this gives me the narrowest gossamer ghost of a hope that I'm wrong about that. Burn it all down.
posted by adamgreenfield at 8:23 AM on September 26 [50 favorites]


A big part of what's going on here is that ramming through a candidate who is manifestly a monster on every level is a show of power: We can do whatever we want and rub your faces in our crapulence and there's nothing you can do about it. At this point yanking him and replacing him with a similar candidate who isn't a shitbird would be letting their enemies and lesser beings dictate to them, which would be a massive interruption to the high they're getting from exerting their power to hurt people.
posted by Pope Guilty at 8:25 AM on September 26 [76 favorites]




That is what I keep thinking about, Gelatin. That he was upper-class enough to get away with being passing-out-drunk through high school and college, that he was upper-class enough to get away with rape. That a million people who could have been great judges both in terms of intellect and in terms of moral character never got within hoping distance of Yale Law because that wasn't the privilege they were born to. We can talk seriously about "should something you did 35 years ago disqualify you from the Supreme Court" without thinking about how many people never had a snowball's chance in hell of getting onto the Supreme Court because they shoplifted a pair of sneakers 35 years ago.
posted by Jeanne at 8:28 AM on September 26 [94 favorites]


A big part of what's going on here is that ramming through a candidate who is manifestly a monster on every level is a show of power

Which is why, if Democrats take Congress an the White House in 2020 (TTTCS), they should immediately expand SCOTUS to 15 seats, making the 40-year Republican project to impose minority rule from the bench a mere footnote.

Democrats represent more people, and the system is already tilted against them. On behalf of the majority of loyal americans who do not want the foulness that Trump and his minions espouse, Democrats need to screw their courage to the sticking point and take their power back from the oligarchs who would seize it.
posted by Gelatin at 8:29 AM on September 26 [55 favorites]


Is it scarier if Kavanaugh is lying, or is it scarier if he really believes he never drank that much in high school, in spite of the universe of credible witnesses? My point is that if you believe he's being honest in his denials, they almost take the character of delusions. Is that someone that should sit on the highest court in the land? At this point, for me to take him seriously, I also have to see him as potentially pathological.
posted by xammerboy at 8:31 AM on September 26 [8 favorites]


We can talk seriously about "should something you did 35 years ago disqualify you from the Supreme Court" without thinking about how many people never had a snowball's chance in hell of getting onto the Supreme Court because they shoplifted a pair of sneakers 35 years ago.

Or simply not being a legacy admission to Yale 35 years ago. It's that simple. Our system pretends to be a meritocracy, but constantly confuses class and merit, and not accidentally.
posted by Gelatin at 8:31 AM on September 26 [75 favorites]


> Do you want to learn more about the Skripal poisonings, a pattern of assassinations, and nerve agents?

That's like asking whether you want to learn more about how Puerto Rico became the latest tax haven for the super rich - there's just no more oxygen in the room with the latest Kavanaugh stuff, and that's before Trump gets going at the UN later today.

posted by RedOrGreen at 8:35 AM on September 26 [7 favorites]


schadenfrau: This is not survivors’ fault for “not speaking out.” Not even fucking close.

"All" was a poor word choice. I meant to convey that it's generally a necessary condition (without being a sufficient one). And also that it really shouldn't have to be necessary. My point (though I don't know how this would work in practice) is that there should have been a way to catch 17-year-old Brett and Mark right away -- or even now, decades later -- without any of the women having to come forward at all.
posted by InTheYear2017 at 8:36 AM on September 26 [2 favorites]


My point is that if you believe he's being honest in his denials, they almost take the character of delusions. Is that someone that should sit on the highest court in the land?

Republicans on the Court ruled that money equals speech and that flooding politics with anonymous, unaccountable campaign cash wouldn't be perceived as corrupt by the American people.

They've accepted any number of restrictions to abortion, to the point that many American women have no access to legal abortion at all, on the pretense that said restrictions do not impose an "undue burden."

Accepting these delusions is part of adhering to a political philosophy that is not popular and does not conform to reality. But it's also a demonstration of loyalty and political reliability, as Orwell pointed out. Kavanaugh's willing accepting of delusion (much like Collins' claiming to believe he will let Roe v Wade stand) is no accident; it's part of the design.
posted by Gelatin at 8:37 AM on September 26 [8 favorites]


This - this is astounding.

My guiding heuristic for the last two years has been "However bad it looks, it's probably worse" and it hasn't failed me yet.
posted by octobersurprise at 8:37 AM on September 26 [59 favorites]


This morning's Democracy Now! interviewed David S. Glosser, Stephen Miller's uncle and retired Boston University School of Medicine and Jefferson Medical College faculty member who now works with refugees , (starts at around 29min in the full show .mp4, alt link, .torrent) who published an article in Politico last month “Stephen Miller Is an Immigration Hypocrite. I Know Because I’m His Uncle.”:
If my nephew’s ideas on immigration had been in force a century ago, our family would have been wiped out.
Followed by a discussion of recent specific anti-immigrant actions by the Trump Administration with Marielena Hincapié, Executive Director of the National Immigration Law Center.
posted by XMLicious at 8:38 AM on September 26 [15 favorites]


This Is a Very Weird and Suspect Choice
...there are some real questions worth asking about the political views of Rachel Mitchell, the Arizona prosecutor chosen by Judiciary Committee Republicans to do their questioning of Brett Kavanaugh and Christine Blasey Ford. But judged entirely on its own, this is a truly bizarre decision, quite apart from all the obvious optics about hiring an outside person to avoid having the Committee Republican men question an alleged victim of sexual assault.

Mitchell is a prosecutor who specializes in child sexual abuse cases. Those cases require all sorts of specific knowledge and experience. That experience is at best ill-suited to this assignment. Blasey Ford is a fifty-something college professor. And in any case, this isn’t a trial.
...
The Majority has approached this whole question with what I think we can only call maximal bad faith. So I really don’t know what their angle is or why they picked Mitchell. But even as bizarre and, I would argue, inappropriate a choice as this is, I’m not sure it will come off well. Blasey Ford isn’t a child and she’s not an unsophisticated person. She’s a respected psychology professor. It’s a weird choice and I’m not sure it will work to the Majority’s benefit.
posted by kirkaracha at 8:39 AM on September 26 [25 favorites]


Holy crap, he might've actually put the damn thing on his calendar
posted by Ray Walston, Luck Dragon at 8:40 AM on September 26 [34 favorites]


Gleaned from Reddit, but: this is a sworn declaration, so this accusations are made under penalty of perjury.

Kavanaugh is in direct legal jeopardy now. I truly, truly fail to see how they can possibly confirm him. Especially since at some point they’ll realize that having the seat remain open is probably the only thing that can turn out their base for the midterms.

But we’re not living in a reality that makes sense, so.
posted by schadenfrau at 8:41 AM on September 26 [36 favorites]


Only half joking, but at this point forget Judge, Kavanaugh might take the 5th.
posted by chris24 at 8:45 AM on September 26 [3 favorites]


Not only are the accusations made under penalty of perjury, but she has multiple security clearances. If she is found to have committed perjury, her career in government is over. The stakes are extremely high which makes it vanishingly unlikely that she is lying.
posted by marshmallow peep at 8:46 AM on September 26 [56 favorites]




"Even if it's all true, does it disqualify him? It certainly means that he did something really bad 36 years ago. But does it disqualify him from the Supreme Court?"

Even before the allegations of Kavanaugh participating multiple times in gang rape came out, this question seems disingenuous. With the new allegations it seems like a near platonic example of rape culture in action.

As others have noted, plenty of people pay a lifelong price for vastly lesser offenses committed when they were teenagers. A black 17 year old found with a joint would most likely have been tried as an adult, been on the convicted felon list forever, and been disqualified from all federal college aid forever as a result of a drug conviction.

To say nothing of the women who have sex as teenagers and who the Republicans want to punish with children.

And, of course, while people can and do change, theoretically the Justices on the Supreme Court should be held to a higher standard. Just as there were multiple Cardinals who weren't once in the Hitler Youth, and yet the Church chose Ratzinger, so too there were multiple candidates for the Supreme Court and yet the Republicans chose Kavanaugh.

That isn't so much a statement of a belief in redemption as it is a statement in the belief that some people are just, by virtue of being rich, powerful, and white, above such petty things as needing redemption.

Which, I'd argue, is the real crux of the matter and why Rep Cramer's question was the wrong question entirely. The question is not "did this person lead a blameless life as a teenager". The question is "has that person tried to make amends, change, and deserve redemption?"

Again, I argue that there are plenty of qualified nominees who didn't attempt rape or participate in multiple gang rapes.

But assuming that redemption is possible in this case look at Kavanaugh from a redemptive standpoint. Is this a man who has done wrong, recognized that he did wrong, and tried however futility to make up for his past wrongs?

And the answer to that question is a resounding no. He's not only still denying that he ever did wrong, but his entire career and life trajectory shows that he considers women (or at least the women he doesn't like) to be fair game for predatory men and exploitation in general. He argued that women who want abortions should be prevented from getting them, and also that women who didn't want abortions should be forced to get them. His entire career is built on the premise that women exist to be controlled, abused, and exploited by men. He has done the exact opposite of seeking redemption and even if he stopped committing rape at some point in his life (unlikely, most rapists are repeat offenders and never stop) he still has the mindset of a rapist.

Redemption is a rare and difficult thing, and you can make an excellent case that even a rapist who seeks redemption shouldn't be on the Supreme Court. But Kavanaugh has not even tried, and that is the question that Cramer studiously avoided considering.
posted by sotonohito at 8:47 AM on September 26 [47 favorites]


This picture makes Trump looks like he got a timeout at the UN. (From this Esquire article.)
posted by kirkaracha at 8:48 AM on September 26 [13 favorites]


If she is found to have committed perjury, her career in government is over.

It is extremely likely her career is over no matter what the outcome. She is literally sacrificing her career for the good of the country.
posted by 1970s Antihero at 8:48 AM on September 26 [142 favorites]


One thing that is coming out of the last few years is the absolute worthlessness of elite credentialing. From Eton and Oxbridge to Georgetown Prep and Yale it is becoming increasingly apparent that these institutions completely fail to install even the most basic of values in their much lauded top graduates. Yale in particular seems to be developing a pretty powerful negative reputational stench.
posted by srboisvert at 8:50 AM on September 26 [101 favorites]


Sen. Jeff Merkley (D-Ore.) on Wednesday will announce that he's seeking an injunction in federal court designed to stop a final vote on Brett Kavanaugh, asserting an obstruction of his constitutional duty to advise and consent on nominees.

I admire his fortitude for exhausting every possible way of stopping this appointment, but holy shit, if you wanted to name the turning point for the constitutional crisis that burned this republic to the ground, you just found it.
posted by Mayor West at 8:51 AM on September 26 [30 favorites]


So, I'm putting in my tin foil hat, rather than storming the Bastille, for the moment, and I want to say that if I wanted a supreme court justice under my thumb, these allegations would have been perfect ammunition. There is no doubt in my mind that the Federalist Society not only knew, it was one of the very reasons he was picked.

Also, I am personally so shaken right now I don't even know what to do. My bestie, who is like my sister, we've been friends since high school and have witnessed up close what it is to be the exotic girls, the not quite our class girls, the bronze skinned girls in a field of blonde, sent me a picture of a needlepoint of half a dozen knives, and the words, No More Spoons, Only Knives. I am out of evens, I am out of spoons, and by gods, if they push this rapist through, I will be out for blood.

(Actually, I'm going To take a palette knife to a whole lot of paint and hope that painting my frenzied rage gets it out of my system before anyone else gets home. To my fellow sisters and suffefers, I hear you, I believe you, and I stand with you.
posted by SecretAgentSockpuppet at 8:53 AM on September 26 [114 favorites]


> Sen. Jeff Merkley (D-Ore.) on Wednesday will announce that he's seeking an injunction in federal court designed to stop a final vote on Brett Kavanaugh, asserting an obstruction of his constitutional duty to advise and consent on nominees.

This is a good effort, and I've very much in favor of more efforts by Democrats to use every possible lever at their disposal to affect public opinion, but legally, no court will touch this with a ten-foot pole. Getting involved in an internal Senate matter, where that matter bears directly on the Judicial branch itself? No.

But please, keep trying.
posted by RedOrGreen at 8:55 AM on September 26 [11 favorites]


We didn't call it rape.
Here's another account from an alumna of National Cathedral School (all-girls DC area prep school) from 1988, the same year I graduated. She details Beach Week, "trains" and other sexual assaults happening in empty cavernous homes, devoid of parents during this time.
I attended these parties knowing there was always a chance of this happening to me, were I not careful. I saw older boys who didn’t participate seem more angry at the girls who had “let” themselves get into bad situations. Our boyfriends had been able to stop that lineup only because they were seniors. But it was often like this: a solitary girl who found herself helpless against the power of a group of boys. It’s why Ford’s description of her alleged attack sounded so plausible to me—two drunk boys who had cornered her and were egging each other on. We went through years of parties like this intimidated, afraid, and horrified. And yet it was also just the way things were.
I want to clarify though, lest anyone think this was common only in private prep schools. I was drunk (not unusual) at one of these frequent parentless parties in 1987 when I was raped. I was attending public school and so were all of my friends, though my perpetrator was an outsider.
posted by Sophie1 at 8:55 AM on September 26 [72 favorites]


Republicans on the Court ruled that money equals speech and that flooding politics with anonymous, unaccountable campaign cash wouldn't be perceived as corrupt by the American people.

I think if America wants to truly look in their heart and see what the problem is, this statement embodies a lot of it. America has come to rely on the supreme court far too much to intervene when novel and new situations come up. The court ruled on the constitutionality of a law and found it was not. That decision is almost certainly bad for the country, but that isn't their job, is it? That is the job of legislators. They need to either craft a better law or amend the constitution. The political system in America is so broken that they are largely incapable of doing this anymore, meaning the system is stagnating because the constitution isn't changing and, at some point, even a very liberal court has to uphold the laws as written even if the law is a bad idea.

America has a much more fundamental problem then the make-up of the supreme court.
posted by Bovine Love at 8:56 AM on September 26 [13 favorites]


I know that a frat on the other side of the country doesn't necessarily reflect on its brothers on the East Coast, but I lived on the top floor of the DKE house in Berkeley oh about 20 years ago (summer housing).

During July and the beginning of August the residents were actually fine - we played chess, there was some partying and some silliness but nothing crazy.

Then the prep boys started coming back from their rich kid vacations, and things got just absolutely stupid. Like, keggers, strippers, alcohol poisoning, date rapes - all in the course of about two weeks. I remember some drunk jackhole getting punched in the face for literally just drunkenly standing on the front lawn screaming the N-word.

The guys I'd been friendly with were clearly the fringe of nerds and poor kids.
I moved out as soon as I could.
posted by aspersioncast at 8:56 AM on September 26 [22 favorites]


From Eton and Oxbridge to Georgetown Prep and Yale it is becoming increasingly apparent that these institutions completely fail to install even the most basic of values in their much lauded top graduates.

There was a point made in some of the reporting of the paedophile cases with the UK upper crust. The shared crime brings with it a mutually assured destruction type loyalty. It's the price of entry to the old boys' club.

It seems that a lot of the hazing and shared crimes among the US aristocracy, particularly with the frats and secret societies plays a similar role.

The latest accusation is of gang rape. Judge and Kavanaugh were far from the only ones involved or who knew about it. It seems likely various people in the Republican party must have also know as they're from the same diseased cloth. It could even be why they were so insistent on Kavanaugh; he had paid his entry fee, proved his loyalty, and with the leverage they had on him they knew they could rely absolutely on him following any order given, no matter how it made him look. Because they could make him look worse.
posted by Buntix at 9:00 AM on September 26 [30 favorites]


Merkley's injunction is a dead letter and he must know it, but since our lazy media loves reporting on filed injunctions -- they're public records, and one can't get sued for reporting the details they contain, no matter how salacious, and they're judged to be newsworthy even if the case is thrown out 24 hours later -- he's taking a step that guarantees the Republicans' malfeasance is reported on, and in the way he chooses to frame it, not the media's traditional he-said, she-said style ("Democratic critics say the Republicans are abandoning their Constitutional responsibility to advise and consent and otherwise act as a check on the President, while Republicans contend that Democratic complaints are just political*...")

*Of course they are, as if that's a valid criticism. Politics is refusing to consent to being governed by a bunch of misogynist frat boys from Yale, crooked real estate dealers, yahoo preachers, and Russian tycoons.
posted by Gelatin at 9:00 AM on September 26 [18 favorites]


no court will touch this with a ten-foot pole

I dunno, maybe they get a woman who’s out of fucks and only has knives left.
posted by schadenfrau at 9:05 AM on September 26 [65 favorites]


The court ruled on the constitutionality of a law and found it was not. That decision is almost certainly bad for the country, but that isn't their job, is it?

Except that the unbelievable claim that a flood of unaccountable money not being perceived as corruption was language specifically designed to circumvent an earlier ruling that protecting the legitimacy of the electoral process and preventing a public perception that it's corrupt was earlier cited as a Constitutionally permissible reason to limit First Amendment freedom of speech in the form of unlimited, anonymous campaign cash. The Citizens United ruling was in no way made in good faith; it was judicial sophistry designed -- and, indeed, necessary -- to achieve a desired political outcome.

Much like Bush v Gore, in which Republicans on the Supreme Curt intervene to pick a Republican President who would nominate other Republicans to the Court. As we all saw how well that turned out for the country.
posted by Gelatin at 9:06 AM on September 26 [12 favorites]


Right, he's accepting an inevitable loss as the price of adding another ring to the circus, in one of the few areas where Democrats can exercise some control over a legal process. There's a reason it's not one of the Dems with presidential ambitions filing this, as the ruling denying an injunction would be a bigger problem for them than for a safe senator who's not likely to rise any higher.
posted by Holy Zarquon's Singing Fish at 9:06 AM on September 26 [4 favorites]


America has a much more fundamental problem then the make-up of the supreme court.

One of our two party’s entire platform consists of destroying the institutions of American government and transferring all wealth to the smallest number of people possible, while never compromising on any other issue. That makes it pretty difficult to enact any improvements.
posted by T.D. Strange at 9:07 AM on September 26 [20 favorites]


I want to talk about the word monster.

I am not responding to any specific person who has used it in writing to talk about someone who has perpetrated sexual violence or domestic violence. I fully get the impulse and instinct. And, the reality is that most sexual violence is not perpetrated by "monsters," Ariel Castro's who lock you in the basement, or people who jump out of the bushes. It is perpetrated by people we may love or trust or admire, like friends, fathers, uncles, cousins, brothers (and yes, mothers, sisters, aunts, too), the people we are dating, the people we are married to, the people we work with, or walk past on the street, or who we pay to drive us places or fix our sink. In 8/10 cases, survivors knew the person who sexually assaulted them (this fact sheet has other helpful statistics).

But it's the mythology that "good guys/people" could never do this that gets us into so much difficulty, victim blaming, normalizing of behavior. It literally brings me to tears to think about young kids hearing Trump say: "Judge Brett Kavanaugh is a fine man, with an impeccable reputation..." and then, "I have no doubt that, if the attack on Dr. Ford was as bad as she says, charges would have been immediately filed with local Law Enforcement Authorities by either her or her loving parents." Because Kavanaugh is a "good guy" in so many ways - and yes, race and class privilege are often used as proxies of good/bad in our society, too. He is a successful judge, father, husband, Christian. He is no monster, so this simply cannot be true. And if it were, she would have actually reported it. Either it was your fault, or you are lying, or the person who did this must be a monster in every facet of their life for this to be credible.

Sexual violence is about power. Sometimes for sexual gratification. Sometimes not. I think we need to move away from the language of monsters (although I understand the strong impulse) because that language protects perpetrators, and it also fails to hold people, more broadly, accountable. People who perpetuate rape culture, patriarchy, homo-bi-transphobia, racism, xenophobia, ableism, islamophobia, and all of the tools of power and oppression that contribute to a world in which some people are turned into objects, instead of subjects. And, although hard to say it, "monstering" let's us as individuals off the hook. How many of us have done things that were not consensual? I think a lot of people are grappling with that now and pushing it away in discomfort.

The history of the development of rape laws in this country was about protecting white, male, Christian property. What was the property? White women: wives and daughters. Women were considered to be chattel. But to be clear, only white women were worthy of protection. You could rape women of color/enslaved women/sex workers. Hence the legally developed history of victim blaming/evaluating a survivor's character.

It also wasn't until way too close in time to today that the last marital rape exemption was taken off the books. Chattel continued. Biblical verses protected abuse. Monsters not husbands are to be feared.

The monster myth has been used for ages to protect abusers. I say we move away from it. As uncomfortable as that may be.
posted by anya32 at 9:07 AM on September 26 [82 favorites]


Al Jazeera English is showing a clip of Trump speaking at the UN in which he claims that China is attempting to interfere with the 2018 US mid-term elections, followed by the Ambassador from China categorically denying the assertion.
posted by XMLicious at 9:11 AM on September 26 [6 favorites]


From Vox by Jennifer Pahlka: How computer software can make policy, explained by family separation at the border (emphasis below mine).

...The podcast detailed how border agents process people coming across the border. They use a computer program that allows them to categorize people in one of three ways: as an “unaccompanied minor,” an “individual adult,” or an “adult with children,” which refers to the whole family unit. Each case gets assigned an identification number, and families (”adults with children”) shared one ID number.

This seemed to work fine, until the Trump administration ordered these agents to separate these same families. In order to do that, border agents reprocessed members of families as either individual adults or unaccompanied minors, and gave everyone new identification numbers, thus losing the one piece of data that connected the members of the family in the system. So, when the court ordered that agents reunite families, those same processing center records no longer reflected which children belonged to which parents.

As Caitlin Dickerson and Annie Correal, who reported this story, put it, “When people hear this, they immediately picture something sinister. They think border agents carrying out this policy were essentially trying to cover their tracks, to intentionally make it impossible to link parents and kids after they were separated.” Instead, as Dickerson and Correal stated, “They can’t change their computer systems in a way that would separate families but still hold on to that identification number, for example. They just don’t have that much power on an individual level.”

...The fact that front-line workers couldn’t change the software they use to enable reunification of these families is both depressing and entirely unsurprising to those of us who work in government technology. And for most of us, the characterization of these front-line workers as more disempowered than sinister likely resonates. Knowing that this chaos could have been remedied — if not by software changes, then at least by some sort of hack, had someone with the right skills been allowed to help — is truly maddening.

But there are two larger lessons here that echo what we’ve learned at Code for America in eight years of working with government technology. The first is that implementation is policy. Whatever gets decided at various times by leadership (in this case, first to separate families, then to reunite them), what happens in real life is often determined less by policy than by software. And until the government starts to think of technology as a dynamic service, imperfect but ever-evolving, not just a static tool you buy from a vendor, that won’t change.
posted by Bella Donna at 9:11 AM on September 26 [30 favorites]


Al Jazeera English is showing a clip of Trump speaking at the UN in which he claims that China is attempting to interfere with the 2018 US mid-term elections, followed by the Ambassador from China categorically denying the assertion.

That's not the even the low-light of Trump's chairing today's UN Security Council meeting on the non-proliferation of weapons of mass destruction. He started by calling Iran's "regime" "the world's leading sponsor of terror", then switching to attack China… for 2018 election interference—"They do not want me or us to win because I am the first president ever to challenge China on trade [at last looking up from his prepared remarks] and we are winning on trade, we are winning at every level"—and then describing Kim Jong-un as "a man I have gotten to know and like".

The collective response from other world leaders was to chastise him on his quitting the Iran deal, per the LA Times's Eli Stokols:
Bolivia’s president, seated two chairs away from Trump, “categorically condemns” the U.S. for reneging on it’s obligations under JCPOA and for doing so based on “false pretenses.”
My word, he is just torching Trump—criticizing “contempt for multilateralism” and alleging US foreign policy is driven by greed.
Trump, when he’s finished, simply says “Thank you, Mr. President.”
Peru’s president, less pointedly, is following suit.
Trump is chairing this meeting to show toughness toward Iran and is getting scolded by leader after leader for withdrawing from the JCPOA.
British PM Theresa May says JCPOA “remains the best measure” to prevent a nuclear Iran, will continue to abide by it as long as Iran does.
Netherlands PM Mark Rutte says Iran is “abiding by its obligations” under the JCPOA.
Trump’s isolation on this issue has been brought into ever sharper relief by this meeting, a chorus of leaders undermining their commitments to multilateralism.
This is what Eric Trump described as "Game Time" on Twitter.
posted by Doktor Zed at 9:15 AM on September 26 [35 favorites]


For a hopeful look at one of the many benefits we could get from retaking the House: Maxine Waters is one of Trump's fiercest critics. She'll get a powerful new platform if Democrats take the House (Jim Puzzanghera, LA Tiimes)

For me, specifics about what could happen with a Democratic House do a lot to boost my hope and determination to keep resisting.
posted by kristi at 9:15 AM on September 26 [22 favorites]


Al Jazeera English is showing a clip of Trump speaking at the UN in which he claims that China is attempting to interfere with the 2018 US mid-term elections, followed by the Ambassador from China categorically denying the assertion.

I dont think we need to belabor the point here, or really expend too much effort to try to get inside the mind of a man so disconnected from reality, but i saw his point here summarized online as: by instituting retaliatory tarrifs (against trumps moves) china is trying to influence the election by getting trump-loving farmers who hate tarrifs to love trump less. (im reminded of yesterdays discussion about their fundamental misunderstanding of how foreign aid functions and its impossible to avoid the fact that the "logic" is completely reversed here).
posted by Exceptional_Hubris at 9:21 AM on September 26 [2 favorites]


[A couple deleted - folks, if you're reporting this morning's Avenatti thing, it's been reported and discussed a good deal upthread, read back a bit.]
posted by LobsterMitten (staff) at 9:25 AM on September 26 [2 favorites]


Grassley just released Kavanaugh’s written testimony for tomorrow. He now admits drinking and “sometimes had too many” in highschool, which he categorically denied in the FOX interview.
posted by T.D. Strange at 9:29 AM on September 26 [69 favorites]


Five Cook ratings moves, all left:

CO-06 (Coffman) | Tossup => Lean D
NY-02 (P King) | Solid R => Likely R
NC-13 (Budd) | Lean R => Tossup
PA-01 (Fitzpatrick) | Lean R => Tossup
TX-31 (Carter) | Likely R => Lean R

Current totals:

Solid D: 182
Likely D: 12 (9D, 3R)
Lean D: 11 (1D, 10R)
Tossup: 31 (2D, 29R)
Lean R: 26 (0D, 26R)
Likely R: 26 (1D, 25R)
Solid R: 147
posted by Chrysostom at 9:33 AM on September 26 [29 favorites]


Another thought.

It seems that the sort of behaviour Kavanaugh engaged in wasn't unusual in the prep-schools and ivy-leagues among the children of the rich. It's fairly damning that the FBI's background checks didn't turn it up.

But did the FSB's?

It could partially explain why a lot of the Republican party are so clearly compromised.
posted by Buntix at 9:34 AM on September 26 [34 favorites]


I hope Democrats on the committee take the opportunity to remind the American people (because Fox won't) that so-called choirboy Brett Kavanaugh flatly lied to them. And that it wasn't some long-ago high school transgression; it was just the other day.

If he lied about drinking, what else is he lying about?
posted by Gelatin at 9:34 AM on September 26 [51 favorites]


There's a reason it's not one of the Dems with presidential ambitions filing this, as the ruling denying an injunction would be a bigger problem for them than for a safe senator who's not likely to rise any higher.

Just a quick note that Merkley isn't just some middle-of-the-road guy; he's specifically an outlier among Democrats. These threads give a lot of attention to Warren and Manchin as sort of mythic prototypes that capture the range of variation among Democrats, but that really only reflects some aspects of policy. As judged by DW-Nominate scores, Merkley is by quite a margin the most liberal Senator in the social/racial dimension; he was also the first Senator to attempt to visit a child detention facility, which helped bring the child separation crisis onto the front page.
posted by Jpfed at 9:35 AM on September 26 [81 favorites]


Bolivia’s president, seated two chairs away from Trump, “categorically condemns” the U.S. for reneging on it’s obligations under JCPOA and for doing so based on “false pretenses.”
My word, he is just torching Trump—criticizing “contempt for multilateralism” and alleging US foreign policy is driven by greed.


This was not unexpected, nor was the isolation. The press has been talking about this for a few days now.

Speaking to the American media outlet Politico last week, a senior German diplomat said preserving the Iran nuclear deal had become a “question of principle”, concerning the need to maintain international norms, treaties and agreements.
[...]
The leaders of China, Russia and India will not be in New York this week. While Trump acts out and plays the fool, they will be busy taking responsibility for global leadership off America’s hands.


Most of this is due to Trump being kept wrapped up in cotton wool and Fox News and getting only good press in his daily briefings. What is of concern is whether he will lash out with the bomb.
posted by infini at 9:35 AM on September 26 [8 favorites]


Cards Against Humanity is hacking the election with a targeted GOTV campaign in CA-25, IA-01, IL-06, IL-14, KS-04 and TX-26. If you refer a friend in one of those districts, both you and they will get a free CAH midterm booster pack, or you can just buy it for $5.
posted by Faint of Butt at 9:37 AM on September 26 [20 favorites]


i saw his point here summarized online as: by instituting retaliatory tarrifs (against trumps moves) china is trying to influence the election by getting trump-loving farmers who hate tarrifs to love trump less.

This is undoubtedly true. Canada also has carefully targeted products that achieve the maximum political effect. Characterizing this as some kind of election meddling is trying to repurpose a term (much like "fake news" has been successfully repurposed), and is definitely misleading, but those tariffs are without question politically targeted.
posted by Bovine Love at 9:37 AM on September 26 [8 favorites]


[One deleted. This is a shitty and intense time especially for sexual assault survivors. Please don't repost shitty things people are saying about it elsewhere, bringing that stuff over to Mefi and imposing it on your fellow site members. We know shitty people will say the usual broken-record shitty things that always get said about survivors; please think twice about what you're bringing here.]
posted by LobsterMitten (staff) at 9:38 AM on September 26 [46 favorites]


Some more analysis from WaPo about the VA-10 race: In a swingy Virginia suburb, can Republican Barbara Comstock out-hustle a blue wave?

My favorite part: “My husband jokes, it could be a bologna sandwich — if it’s a Democrat he’s going to vote for it,” she said.

That line brought some much-needed chuckles into my day.
posted by jet_pack_in_a_can at 9:41 AM on September 26 [10 favorites]


Yeah, I N not sure what the kinds of background checks he has been through have been but I suspect it’s not much more than criminal records, confirming his resume and a credit check*. This could easily fall outside of them.

It probably shouldn’t.


IDK what folks' experiences with background checks are here on the blue, but fwiw: I had a nice, friendly phone call with a Coast Guard Intelligence chief once for a top secret background check for a high school classmate. He jokingly congratulated me for getting a call rather than a visit, because I was in a super isolated station where you get one cargo plane every two weeks if the weather wasn't shitty. He'd never made a call rather than a personal visit before.

It was for a lowly enlisted telecommunications spot. He did hundreds of these every year. He was used to traveling all over for these checks. And even over the phone, he got me to talk about things I didn't want to talk about, because he knew how to do his job. (She got the clearance, because those issues weren't really about her and he had the good judgment to see that.)

I keep thinking about that, because Kavanaugh's high school and college record is clearly stuffed with sexual predatory behavior along with a whole lot of incidental ugly garbage. And then there's his recent financial stuff. This dude's up for a Supreme Court spot. I'm having a hard time believing they were less thorough with him than the Guard was for my random high school friend and her telecom job. I'm more inclined to believe the investigators found it and decided it wasn't a problem.
posted by scaryblackdeath at 9:43 AM on September 26 [52 favorites]


But did the FSB's?

The FSB is almost certainly too sophisticated to believe that evidence of any of the discussed behavior would constitute kompromat given the context of rape culture.
posted by adamgreenfield at 9:46 AM on September 26 [3 favorites]


Yep. I got a call from someone with Team USA when my friend from study abroad in college was preparing for Olympic trials. They asked follow-ups to every follow-up, i.e. "What would you do for fun, outside of class?" --> "Going out... you mean going out to bars?" --> "Did [friend] drink alcohol at bars?" --> "How often?" on and on for a while with these questions. And she didn't even qualify for the Olympics after all, but was subjected to this level of scrutiny.
posted by witchen at 9:49 AM on September 26 [9 favorites]


This dude's up for a Supreme Court spot. I'm having a hard time believing they were less thorough with him than the Guard was for my random high school friend and her telecom job.

Even now we suffer from the phony premise that SCOTUS nominations are about qualifications. The dog-and-pony show of committee hearings likes to pretend they are, sure, but Kavanaugh wasn't appointed for his law degree or experience, and certainly not for his squeaky-clean ethics record.

He was appointed as a vote against Roe v Wade (and, later, Griswold) and also to backstop the investigation into Trump's criminal conduct.

That's why he's up for the highest court in the land; it's all Republicans care about. Whatever the background check may or may not have uncovered is irrelevant, except inasmuch as it prepared them for his past assaults surfacing.

(Which it seems to have done at least to an extent -- remember how quick they were to release a letter attesting to his character?)
posted by Gelatin at 9:51 AM on September 26 [9 favorites]


Yes, but now I think the question is: how did any of these DC elite predatory fucks pass any background check, ever?
posted by schadenfrau at 9:52 AM on September 26 [15 favorites]


And yet it was also just the way things were.

The power of normalization is huge. I look back on my junior high and high school experience - the things that happened to me and the things that I knew happened to others - and it was so bad. My life was absolutely shaped for the worse on every valence by what happened to me.

I was in school in the late eighties/early nineties in a nice suburb - not Georgetown Prep nice, but above the median. Everyone knew what was happening in terms of rape, violence and harassment. Everyone. People who say they didn't know - in general if not in specific - are lying. We all took for granted that there was nothing to be done about it, but we knew. It was "against the rules" to smoke in school, for instance, but there wasn't a rule about rape any more than there was a rule about what newspaper you could read at home. Ditto for harassment and the kinds of violence that weren't fighting - there was a rule against talking when the teacher said to be quiet, but there wasn't a rule against following someone around and creeping on them between classes, or whispering disgusting or terrifying stuff in the hall. You wouldn't expect a teacher to do anything, because there wasn't a rule about it. And how could you possibly use the words you'd need to use to report it in front of an adult, anyway?

There was never a problem getting alcohol or soft drugs - maybe not the very second that someone wanted them, but certainly quickly enough. Again, anyone who says this wasn't the case is lying.

The ideology of patriarchy is totalitarian - the part where you're supposed to say you believe something that's obviously false in order to demonstrate loyalty. We're all supposed to say - and we did say, in my youth! - that none of this stuff was widespread and that people didn't know. Kavanaugh and them are relying on brute power to force people to agree to mouth this lie, knowing it to be a lie. I don't believe Kavanaugh on even one point. I don't believe he was a virgin - I think that's a far right Christian dog whistle. I certainly don't believe him about anything else he says. He's lying, everyone knows he's lying, and they are assuming that the same brutal inequality which forced us to normalize this stuff in high school is still operating. We know it's a lie, they know it's a lie, but they force us not to say anything.

Both the eighties and high school were absolutely as bad as they appear in eighties teen movies.
posted by Frowner at 9:53 AM on September 26 [95 favorites]


Yes, but now I think the question is: how did any of these DC elite predatory fucks pass any background check, ever?

Who do you think is doing the background checks?
posted by Faint of Butt at 9:53 AM on September 26 [38 favorites]


Well, now another vector to once again prove he's a liar; any evidence they knew each other.

Jake Tapper
Supreme Court nominee Brett Kavanaugh calls new allegation “ridiculous and from the Twilight Zone. I don’t know who this is and this never happened.”
posted by chris24 at 9:56 AM on September 26 [14 favorites]


If he lied about drinking, what else is he lying about?

At that point, what does it even matter? Democrats should simply pound him on the one lie.

"You lied. Less than 72 hours ago, you went on television with a categorically unambiguous, bald-faced lie, that you then 'corrected' in official testimony. Why did you lie? How would you respond to such lying from a counsellor in front of your bench? How do you consider yourself qualified for the highest court in the land, when you can't be counted upon to not lie when it suits you?"

I'm finding it increasingly difficult to imagine how this guy is going to survive cross examination in front of the Senate Judiciary Committee Democrats.
posted by Brak at 9:56 AM on September 26 [82 favorites]


Yes, but now I think the question is: how did any of these DC elite predatory fucks pass any background check, ever?

Who do you think is doing the background checks?


Pretty much this.
Maybe the investigators hear the rumors and see the yearbooks and figure, "Meh, whatever, pass."
Or maybe the investigators really did do their jobs, but once they handed their reports over, the people reviewing it all (cough cough Republicans) decided it wasn't a problem and redacted it.

Do Democrats get to see that material at the same time? Is this another norm that has gone by the wayside? I'm inclined to think several of the Democrats on Judiciary would've spoken up if they'd seen it in the first place.
posted by scaryblackdeath at 9:59 AM on September 26 [5 favorites]


Yes, but now I think the question is: how did any of these DC elite predatory fucks pass any background check, ever?

Remember when Trump asked Comey to let Flynn off because he was such a good guy? Yeah, well, that. After all, Brunt or Trunch or Chaps or whatever was a great guy when you played college lacrosse together, and isn't his daughter in your daughter's class at Rich Elitism School? All kinds of malfeasance has been condoned in the halls of power by the privileged letting each other slide.
posted by Kitty Stardust at 10:02 AM on September 26 [21 favorites]


Pretty sure Avenatti's claims against you were proven anything but false.

@realDonaldTrump
Avenatti is a third rate lawyer who is good at making false accusations, like he did on me and like he is now doing on Judge Brett Kavanaugh. He is just looking for attention and doesn’t want people to look at his past record and relationships - a total low-life!
posted by chris24 at 10:03 AM on September 26 [4 favorites]


I certainly don't believe him about anything else he says. He's lying, everyone knows he's lying, and they are assuming that the same brutal inequality which forced us to normalize this stuff in high school is still operating. We know it's a lie, they know it's a lie, but they force us not to say anything.

One way they do so is to act like accusing them of lying is some kind of terrible affront, instead of stating the obvious. "Are you calling me a liar?!" The very pretense changes the subject.

Even the so-called "liberal media" play along with their lazy "he-said, she-said" construction. Sometimes there are two legitimately differing points of view -- disagreeing on the ideal level of taxation, for example -- but sometimes they will present contradictory facts in which one side is obviously lying -- for example, when one side says x number of civilians were killed in an airstrike, and the other side denies conducting an airstrike. And yet they rarely do anything to assess the credibility of the statements (for example, by pointing out one side has lied about the topic in the past).
posted by Gelatin at 10:03 AM on September 26 [3 favorites]


@benkesslen A good day to remember that 76% of U.S. senators and congressmen and 85% of Supreme Court justices have been in fraternities, while only 2% of America's population have been fraternity members. [via a retweet from The_Whelk]

---

From elsewhere in the conspiracy news, Skripal Suspect Boshirov Identified as GRU Colonel Anatoliy Chepiga [bellingcat]

Also bellingcat should be hired to do all background checks from now on, because holy-mother-of-moly are they good at it.
posted by Buntix at 10:04 AM on September 26 [61 favorites]


Sounds like Grassley may be backpedaling on the Friday vote. Chuck Grassley leaves door open to postpone Brett Kavanaugh vote

"It could take place Friday, or it could not. That kind of depends upon what happens tommorrow," Grassley said.

Keep calling!
posted by scottatdrake at 10:04 AM on September 26 [36 favorites]


All I can say right now is. If they actually manage to push this nomination through and seat this serial rapist on the Supreme Court, the court will be just as illegitimate as the presidency is already, and government will cease to mean anything. And I hope the combined rage of women is finally powerful enough to burn down the world, because just thinking about continuing to live under the rule of rapists is so intolerable to me I can barely stand the idea of participating in society at all.
posted by the turtle's teeth at 10:05 AM on September 26 [64 favorites]


All I can say right now is. If they actually manage to push this nomination through and seat this serial rapist on the Supreme Court, the court will be just as illegitimate as the presidency is already

It was already illegitimate when they seated Gorsuch. This? This would be an abomination.
posted by Lentrohamsanin at 10:08 AM on September 26 [40 favorites]


Who do you think is doing the background checks?

The other point of failure is the people reviewing the background checks.

I mean, you can put whatever you want in the report, but what's the sound of a one-handed bear shitting in the woods? It's 100000% plausible to me that Mitch McConnell saw background checks with general rumors of heavy drinking and wrongdoing, and maybe a flag that this is something that should be nailed down and investigated further, and that this was part of why McConnell wanted to take a pass on Kavanaugh, because McConnell is smart enough to not want to take the chance of the absolute shitshow this has become in, like, two months before the midterms.

Whereas the fuckers at the White House would probably be like RENATE ALUMNI LOLOLOL WHAT A BONUS!!!!! OUR NO. 1 OPTION TO OBSTRUCT SUBPOENAS ALSO HAS A GREAT SENSE OF HUMOR!!!!!!
posted by joyceanmachine at 10:08 AM on September 26 [23 favorites]


Phil Mattingly (CNN)
Sen. Orrin Hatch, senior GOP member of Judiciary, says the Committee should move forward and questions the new allegations against Kavanaugh:
It's amazing to me that these type of things have come up way after the fact, way after the end of the committee hearings and everything else. It shows that there are people who would stop at nothing. I don't think it's fair to Brett Kavanaugh, I don't think it's fair to our system, I don't think it's fair to the process. I don't think we should put up with it to be honest with you.
posted by chris24 at 10:08 AM on September 26 [4 favorites]


I already knew McConnell and Grassley were garbage, but wow is Orrin Hatch really making a name for himself in the Misogynist Olympics.
posted by Holy Zarquon's Singing Fish at 10:12 AM on September 26 [36 favorites]


> It's amazing to me that these type of things have come up way after the fact, way after the end of the committee hearings and everything else.

So we should give him a lifetime appointment on the highest court because to do otherwise would be to disrespect the process?

WHERE WAS YOUR CONCERN FOR PROCESS WITH MERRICK GARLAND, YOU UNMITIGATED SHITSTAIN?
posted by RedOrGreen at 10:12 AM on September 26 [85 favorites]


We've always lived under the rule of rapists. That's what this patriarchy is all about. What's different right now is that some folks are making a big deal about it, and all the old white heads are sitting around looking at each other in bafflement: "why is this a problem? I don't understand?"

The rules are changing, ever so slightly. We have to keep pushing. Keep making it a big deal. Even if they don't understand the morality of it or why Things are Different now, they can understand the consequences of supporting it: being unelectable.
posted by seanmpuckett at 10:12 AM on September 26 [80 favorites]


@realDonaldTrump Avenatti is a third rate lawyer who is good at making false accusations, like he did on me

Can someone explain this to me? I thought Avenatti alleged Trump paid $130k for Stormy Daniels to keep quiet about their sexual encounter... which turned to be 100% true. Were there any other allegations, or are we at "millions of illegal voters in California" level denial of reality on this too?
posted by bluecore at 10:13 AM on September 26 [29 favorites]


This is your regular reminder that there's no deadline on confirming a SCOTUS judge (ask Merrick Garland) and the hasty dog-and-pony show the Judiciary committee conducted -- which, remember, Democrats already complained didn't allow enough scrutiny of Kavanaugh's record -- only goes to show how badly Republican Senators take their Constitutional responsibility to advise and consent.

Again -- they knew he was a Federalist Society stooge who would vote how they wanted, and that was all they needed or wanted to know.
posted by Gelatin at 10:13 AM on September 26 [22 favorites]


IDK what folks' experiences with background checks are here on the blue, but fwiw: I had a nice, friendly phone call with a Coast Guard Intelligence chief once for a top secret background check for a high school classmate.

I was called by the Metro Toronto Police Force as a reference for a friend. All of the key questions were about whether or not he was loyal.
posted by srboisvert at 10:14 AM on September 26 [4 favorites]


I don't think you can make the court _more_ illegitimate. The handling of Garland already did that.

Which doesn't mean it doesn't matter who gets on the court now, but its already way beyond broken (and no likelihood it can be fixed anytime soon).
posted by thefoxgod at 10:14 AM on September 26 [4 favorites]


or are we at "millions of illegal voters in California" level denial of reality on this too?

Yes, total gaslighting.

And Avenatti responds.

Michael Avenatti
“False accusations?” Like those crimes your fixer Cohen pled to? You are an habitual liar and complete narcissist who also is a disgrace as a president and an embarrassment to our nation. You are so inept that your “best and brightest” are Cohen and Giuliani. Let’s go.
posted by chris24 at 10:15 AM on September 26 [114 favorites]



But there are two larger lessons here that echo what we’ve learned at Code for America in eight years of working with government technology. The first is that implementation is policy. Whatever gets decided at various times by leadership (in this case, first to separate families, then to reunite them), what happens in real life is often determined less by policy than by software.


THERE IS NO DIFFERENCE. CODE IS LAW.

Software IS policy, and policy is software.

If you can't grasp the implications of how implementing policy in software requires encoding ALL your intentions into the software, you have no business doign software or policy.
posted by ocschwar at 10:15 AM on September 26 [42 favorites]


I already knew McConnell and Grassley were garbage, but wow is Orrin Hatch really making a name for himself in the Misogynist Olympics.

Hatch was, bear in mind, also on the Judiciary Committee during the Clarence Thomas confirmation; he repeatedly alleged, then, that Hill had been put up to making accusations by some nebulous conspiracy, and that was among the least of his statements. Hatch made a name for himself then, and this is simply him reminding us of that fact.
posted by cjelli at 10:16 AM on September 26 [35 favorites]


We've always lived under the rule of rapists. That's what this patriarchy is all about. What's different right now is that some folks are making a big deal about it, and all the old white heads are sitting around looking at each other in bafflement: "why is this a problem? I don't understand?"

I think a lot about how we have a literal memorial to Thomas Jefferson, a man who spent years raping an enslaved teenage girl, and how much of this shit is just built into the system. I'm much more a "dismantle the patriarchy" than "smash the patriarchy" person in general because I am aware that smashing usually affects the most vulnerable first but I have to say some smashing sounds pretty good right now.
posted by Mrs. Pterodactyl at 10:17 AM on September 26 [71 favorites]


With regards to Kavanaugh, background checks, and procedure, I'm reminded of words of wisdom from the webcomic Order of the Stick on the topic of cons:
A con man doesn't choose to play the shell game with you if there is any possibility of him actually losing. The con isn't in getting you to pick the wrong shell. The con is in getting you to accept that the basic premise of the game is still being followed.
The con was not and never was about Kavanaugh's papers, or his background check, or anything else we'd like to think is important.

The con was in getting us to accept that the basic premise of going through a nomination normally was being followed. It wasn't, it isn't, and it won't be now or in the future. The Republicans didn't run a real background check on Kavanaugh because they weren't playing the game of going through the real process of nominating a Supreme Court Justice.

In this particular case it may have backfired on them, like when a mark flips over all the shells and shows that there isn't a pea under any of them. But the con from the very beginning was in getting the American people, the media, and the Democrats, to accept the basic premise of following normal procedure was being followed. It wasn't. It isn't. It won't be.

If we manage to derail Kavanaugh, and it's looking likelier than I'd ever have thought possible, they'll pull the exact same con with the next nominee. They are not following normal procedure, any pretense of a background check, or examination of documents, or whatever will be pure pretense with no reality.

They aren't, yet, to the point where they can openly skip all that boring stuff and just let Trump appoint whoever he wants without even the Senate giving it a rubber stamp, but that's the end game. The object is to make the process irrelevant, and then once it's irrelevant point out how irrelevant it is and end it.
posted by sotonohito at 10:19 AM on September 26 [121 favorites]


Harvard Law School Refuses to Say Whether Kavanaugh Will Return to Teach in January
The school’s silence comes as students on campus are increasingly calling for decisive action to address allegations that Kavanaugh sexually assaulted at least two women.

Last week, four Law School students demanded in a Harvard Law Record article that the school bar Kavanaugh from teaching until “a full and fair investigation is conducted” into the allegations of sexual misconduct. On Monday, several hundred Harvard affiliates walked out of class to rally in support of the two women who have accused Kavanaugh of misbehavior.
posted by cjelli at 10:21 AM on September 26 [48 favorites]


This has them on the ropes a bit.

Daniel Dale
Asked if Kavanaugh should still be confirmed, the chief counsel for the Judicial Crisis Network, which is spending $1.5 million on "confirm Kavanaugh" ads defending his character, doesn't answer directly, says "think we have to look into this further."
posted by chris24 at 10:22 AM on September 26 [27 favorites]


Trump ‘Genuinely Conflicted,’ Considering Keeping Rosenstein - WSJ via Nicole Lafond/TPM
President Donald Trump is unsure if he should believe a recent New York Times report that claimed Rod Rosenstein tried to orchestrate Trump’s removal and he is considering keeping the deputy attorney general, the Wall Street Journal reported.

According to a WSJ source who’s spoken to the President about the matter, Trump has “an open mind about whether Rod really tried to orchestrate this” and is “genuinely conflicted” about it. Trump has reportedly told close aides that he wants to speak directly to Rosenstein about the reports that the deputy attorney general suggested wearing a wire and invoking the 25th Amendment to oust Trump from office.
posted by ZeusHumms at 10:22 AM on September 26 [1 favorite]


> It's amazing to me that these type of things have come up way after the fact, way after the end of the committee hearings and everything else. It shows that there are people who would stop at nothing. I don't think it's fair to Brett Kavanaugh, I don't think it's fair to our system, I don't think it's fair to the process. I don't think we should put up with it to be honest with you.

By "our" Hatch means the Republican Party, and by "it" he means any restrictions others would attempt to place on their actions.
posted by The Card Cheat at 10:23 AM on September 26 [7 favorites]


ELECTIONS NEWS

** 2018 Senate:
-- OH: Marist poll has Dem incumbent Brown up 52-39 on GOPer Renacci [MOE: +/- 5.0%] || Ipsos poll has Brown up 50-39 [MOE: +/- 3.4%].

-- IN: Ipsos poll has Dem incumbent Donnelly up 46-43 on GOPer Braun [MOE: +/- 3.3%].

-- MI: Ipsos poll has Dem incumbent Stabenow up 55-35 on GOPer James [MOE: +/- 3.3%].

-- PA: Ipsos poll has Dem incumbent Casey up 53-37 on GOPer Barletta [MOE: +/- 3.4%].

-- WI: Ipsos poll has Dem incumbent Baldwin up 52-39 on GOPer Vukmir [MOE: +/- 3.4%].

-- DE: UofD poll has Dem incumbent Carper up 61-24 on GOPer Arlett [MOE: +/- 3.7%].
** 2018 House:
-- MN-02: Survey USA poll has Dem Craig up 48-45 on GOP incumbent Lewis [MOE: +/- 4.5%] [Trump 47-45 | Cook: Lean D]

-- VA-02: Garin-Hart-Yang poll has Dem Luria up 51-43 on GOP incumbent Taylor [MOE: +/- 5.0%] Poll was commissioned by the Luria campaign. [Trump 49-45 | Cook: Tossup]

-- DE-AL: Same UofD poll has Dem incumbent Blunt Rochester up 58-28 on GOPer Walker. [Clinton: 53-42 | Cook: Solid D]
** Odds & ends:
-- OH gov: Same Marist poll has Dem Cordray tied 47-47 with GOPer DeWine [Cook: Tossup] || Same Ipsos poll has DeWine up 45-44.

-- FL gov: Quinnipiac poll has Dem Gillum up 54-45 on GOPer DeSantis [MOE: +/- 4.0%] [Cook: Tossup] | GOP worried DeSantis isn't taking the race seriously.

-- MA gov: MassInc Polling has GOP incumbent Baker up 68-24 on Dem Gonzalez [MOE: +/- 4.4%] [Cook: Solid R]

-- MI gov: Same Ipsos poll has Dem Whitmer up 52-39 on GOPer Schuette. [Cook: Lean D]

-- PA gov: Same Ipsos poll has Dem incumbent Wolf up 55-38 on GOPer Wagner. [Cook: Likely D]

-- WI gov: Same Ipsos poll has Dem Evers up 50-43 on GOP incumbent Walker. [Cook: Tossup]
posted by Chrysostom at 10:24 AM on September 26 [36 favorites]


Trump on twitter:
Avenatti is a third rate lawyer who is good at making false accusations, like he did on me and like he is now doing on Judge Brett Kavanaugh. He is just looking for attention and doesn’t want people to look at his past record and relationships - a total low-life!

Avenatti fires back:
“False accusations?” Like those crimes your fixer Cohen pled to? You are an habitual liar and complete narcissist who also is a disgrace as a president and an embarrassment to our nation. You are so inept that your “best and brightest” are Cohen and Giuliani. Let’s go.

it is AMAZING how hard trump is trying to erase women here - Avenatti isnt accusing Kavanaugh of shit.
posted by Exceptional_Hubris at 10:33 AM on September 26 [62 favorites]


wow is Orrin Hatch really making a name for himself in the Misogynist Olympics

Hatch has been in office since nineteen-seventy-damn-seven. He had a lot to do with conservative Christians and Mormons getting politically active, he's been anti-choice his whole life, Reagan was too liberal for his taste.

He's the head coach, cheerleader, and water boy for the Misogynist Olympic Team.
posted by soundguy99 at 10:37 AM on September 26 [52 favorites]


I take a generally positive view of Avenatti serving as a lightning rod to draw some of the toxic abuse that would otherwise fall directly on the accusers.
posted by prize bull octorok at 10:43 AM on September 26 [86 favorites]


It's also interesting how much the media is tiptoeing around the class issues inherent in Kavanaugh's story. That he was from a privileged family and went to an elite school at which they knew their behavior wouldn't have consequences

I just went through my (poor, rural) 1989 high school yearbook and counted precisely zero references to sex and one to booze ("What! Barkley had how many?") It's not because we didn't drink and have sex. The only thing I can figure is that as poor kids we weren't going to shout about it in the yearbook, because we knew we could get in trouble for it.
posted by Daily Alice at 10:43 AM on September 26 [50 favorites]


Brett Kavanaugh, Donald Trump, and the Things Men Do for Other Men
Jia Tolentino | New Yorker
Part of the reason the Kavanaugh news cycle has been such a flashpoint—part of the reason that so many conservatives have fanatically defended his right to have hypothetically committed the crime he’s been accused of, and that so many women have been spending the last two weeks in a haze of resurfaced trauma—is that it illuminates the centrality of sexual assault in the matrix of male power in America. In high schools, in colleges, at law schools, and in the halls of Washington, men perform for one another and ascend to positions of power. Watching it happen is a deadening reminder, for victims of sexual assault and harassment, that, in many cases, you were about as meaningful as a chess piece, one of a long procession of objects in the lifelong game that men play with other men.
posted by Barack Spinoza at 10:44 AM on September 26 [70 favorites]


Hatch has been in office since nineteen-seventy-damn-seven.
For me it's less that I expect Senator Hatch to do the right thing than that I expect someone who has been in the senate for more than 40 years to (1) be able to read which way the wind is blowing, and (2) be at least somewhat canny about the preservation of their own reputation. Whether he deserves them or not (in case you were wondering: not) Hatch has invested many years into buffing up his "elder statesman of the senate" and "serious person of probity and judgement" credentials and I, at least, am mildly surprised to see him ready to throw them on this particular garbage fire. Not shocked, just mildly surprised.
posted by Nerd of the North at 10:47 AM on September 26 [8 favorites]


From Matt Shuham, TPM, in re Judicial Crisis Network’s chief counsel, Carrie Severino, interviewed by MSNBC’s Craig Melvin:“They could always have more information from this additional accuser,” Severino said, referring to Swetnick, while criticizing Avenatti for “breaking this on Twitter.”

These pro-Kavanaugh folks have abandoned all shame and lie reflexively. As Avenatti made clear as he was "breaking this on Twitter," he broke it to the Judiciary Committee initially, but they chose to ignore it. This whole pro-Kavanaugh cabal is full of bleeding, bloated assholes.
posted by Mental Wimp at 10:47 AM on September 26 [28 favorites]


> Hatch has invested many years into buffing up his "elder statesman of the senate" and "serious person of probity and judgement" credentials and I, at least, am mildly surprised to see him ready to throw them on this particular garbage fire.

That image is just a mask. If they get Kavanaugh on the SC they'll be able to enact every shitty, repressive anti-female, anti-labour, anti-human policy they've feverishly dreamed about for decades. After that there won't be any need for masks.
posted by The Card Cheat at 10:53 AM on September 26 [13 favorites]


For me it's less that I expect Senator Hatch to do the right thing than that I expect someone who has been in the senate for more than 40 years to (1) be able to read which way the wind is blowing, and (2) be at least somewhat canny about the preservation of their own reputation.

They're way past the appearance of being genteel and equally human as the opposing party, but with different policies. The party is now a house of cards propped up by being rotten all the way down, and supported by voters who are rubes or otherwise want to "own the libs."

The whole thing is a massive suicide pact, and if he attempts to leave the crab bucket by being the one Republican of morals, they'll either air all his dirt, or guarantee he's primaried out. The only way out is in a coffin, as they say.
posted by explosion at 10:54 AM on September 26 [15 favorites]


while criticizing Avenatti for “breaking this on Twitter"

Even if that retort were true, which it isn't, it's the responsibility of a competent journalist to say "so what if he did?"

The "he said, she said" model of the lazy media only demands a response, not any kind of cogent, logical, topical, or even honest retort. But MSNBC got someone they knew would criticize Kavanaugh's accusers to criticize Kavanaugh's accusers, so high fives all around, never mind that the criticism doesn't actually rebut their story.
posted by Gelatin at 10:56 AM on September 26 [9 favorites]


Graham on Avenatti allegations: Why would any reasonable person continue to hang around people like this? Why would any person continue to put their friends and themselves in danger? Isn’t there some duty to warn others?

Says the guy recommending Kavanaugh be put on the Supreme Court without an investigation...
posted by xammerboy at 10:58 AM on September 26 [23 favorites]


Why would any person continue to put their friends and themselves in danger? Isn’t there some duty to warn others?

THAT'S WHAT THE WHISPER NETWORK IS FOR YOU FUCKING TURD
posted by joyceanmachine at 11:02 AM on September 26 [38 favorites]


There's a plane flying around Boulder, Colorado, with a banner that reads THANK YOU DEBORAH WE HAVE YOUR BACK.

A fucking PLANE.
posted by medusa at 11:03 AM on September 26 [137 favorites]




I guess I've already said this, but I wanna say again that Avenatti's Twitter feed has earned some credibility, I think, from the fact that it was the original source of reports that Michael Cohen had taken millions of dollars in "consulting fees" (AKA bribes) from AT&T, Novartis... oh yeah, and indirectly from Russian oligarch Viktor Vekselberg.

I think Avenatti has to get a lot of credit for the fact that Cohen eventually pled guilty to exactly the same campaign finance related crimes Avenatti was accusing him of. And started talking to Mueller. That "talking to Mueller" part could prove critical to the course of history, and I am not sure it would have happened without Avenatti and Stormy Daniels.

I would NOT want to date Avenatti, or even have a beer with him --- too much ego and need for attention. I certainly would not vote for him for president if he were running against someone with real qualifications. I wish he would turn his immigration cases over to actual immigration lawyers.

But I believe what he posts on his Twitter feed. He's been proved right every time so far.
posted by OnceUponATime at 11:08 AM on September 26 [64 favorites]


More on Trump's China claim from From David Nakamura and Ellen Nakashima Without offering evidence, Trump accuses China of interfering in U.S. midterm elections
“Regrettably, we found that China has been attempting to interfere in our upcoming 2018 election, coming up in November, against my administration,” Trump said during remarks at a U.N. Security Council meeting on nonproliferation.

“They do not want me or us to win because I am the first president to ever challenge China on trade, and we are winning on trade — we are winning on every level,” the president said. “We don’t want to them to meddle or interfere in our upcoming election.”

Trump presented no evidence for his claims, and his top national security advisers told reporters in August they had not found specific examples of interference ahead of the midterms from countries other than Russia, though they warned it remained a possibility. In his remarks at the Security Council meeting, Trump made no mention of Russian interference.
...
Trump’s remarks appear consistent with a White House strategy, devised in the immediate aftermath of his Helsinki summit with Russia President Vladimir Putin, to spread blame for election interference beyond Russia to include other countries such as China. At the July summit, Trump appeared to give more credence to Putin’s denials of 2016 election interference than to U.S. spy agencies’ assessment to the contrary.
Based on his tweet, Trump appears to be upset about the China Daily advertising supplement in the Des Moines Register, which....I have problems with advertorials, but the thing says at the top of it that it's written and paid for by the Chinese government, and countries placing these ads is far from a new practice. I realize there are a lot of five-alarm fires right now, but I think this qualifies: expanding the definition of "interfere" to attack China, and give cover to Russia, is deeply damaging.
posted by zachlipton at 11:08 AM on September 26 [15 favorites]


@DavidNakamura: Trump responds to reporter question about new allegations against Kavanaugh. Trump calls it a "con game. People are wise to it. [Democrats] are bringing people out of the woods. They could do that to anybody -- except Prime Minister Abe, because he's so pure."

Um, ok then. I don't think Abe wants to be a part of this narrative.

@sarahposner: REPORTER: "Are all three women lying?" TRUMP: "What's your next question?" (turns to male reporter)

Then he ranted some more about how the Des Moines Register advertorials look like real news and that upsets him.
posted by zachlipton at 11:13 AM on September 26 [22 favorites]


Taken aback by the strength of Bloomberg's language:

Bolivia's Morales Slams Trump to His Face at UN Security Council
Trump was forced to sit through a lengthy tongue-lashing from Morales on Wednesday at a meeting of the UN Security Council that the U.S. president hosted. It’s likely the harshest any foreign leader has ever spoken to Trump in public.
[...]
“The United States could not care less about human rights or justice,’’ Morales said. “If this were the case, it would have signed the international conventions and treaties that have protected human rights. It would not have threatened the investigation mechanism of the International Criminal Court, nor would it promote the use of torture, nor would it have walked away from the Human Rights Council. And nor would it have separated migrant children from their families, nor put them in cages.’’

Its a pitchfork.

President Donald Trump has taken an absence from the panel, and his spot has been taken over by US Ambassador to the UN Nikki Haley.
posted by infini at 11:19 AM on September 26 [62 favorites]


They could do that to anybody -- except Prime Minister Abe, because he's so pure.

Or Obama, I guess!

CNN, October 2016, (auto-play) Video - Trump: Why doesn't some woman accuse Obama?
posted by Nonsteroidal Anti-Inflammatory Drug at 11:20 AM on September 26 [10 favorites]


Then he ranted some more about how the Des Moines Register advertorials look like real news and that upsets him.
Ads that look too much like content? Gee, that must be so upsetting.
posted by mbrubeck at 11:23 AM on September 26 [16 favorites]


Daily Beast, Betsy Woodruff and Erin Banco (who I'm super happy for, because she got a new job, but it was objectively hilarious that the best reporting about the Seychelles meeting was coming out of the The Star-Ledger of New Jersey and I'm sad that no longer is the case), Revealed: What Erik Prince and Moscow’s Money Man Discussed in That Infamous Seychelles Meeting
Joint U.S.-Russian raids to kill top terrorists. Teamwork between an American government agency and a sanctioned Russian fund. Moscow pouring money into the Midwest.

These are just a few of the ideas the head of a Russian sovereign wealth fund touched on during his meeting with former Blackwater head Erik Prince in the Seychelles, just weeks before President Donald Trump’s inauguration, according to a memo exclusively reviewed by The Daily Beast.
...
Still, the exact details of the conversation between Prince and Dmitriev in the Seychelles have remained murky. But a memo Dmitriev sent after the meeting—described here for the first time—sheds new light on the conversation and indicates it addressed some of the thorniest diplomatic challenges facing the United States and Russia. The memo is characterized as a summary of some of the ideas discussed in the Seychelles. It’s not clear if Dmitriev, the Russian Direct Investment Fund CEO, drafted the actual document himself or merely sent it. Although RDIF is sanctioned, it was and still is legal for U.S. persons to meet with him and, in some circumstances, do business with the fund.
...
Third, the memo proposes ways the U.S. and Russia can develop “win-win economic investment initiatives that will be supported by both electorates.” “Understanding U.S. production by foreign companies is a focus of the new administration,” the memo says. It goes on to note that Russian companies would “make investments with RDIF financing to serve the U.S. market in the Midwest, creating real jobs for hard hit area with high employment.”

Trump spent his presidential campaign pledging to bring back jobs to blighted Rust Belt towns, notching wins in Midwestern Democratic strongholds like Wisconsin and Michigan—and even making Minnesota competitive. The memo is evidence that Russia was listening and proposing a way to help make Trump’s central campaign promise come true.
...
Evelyn Farkas, an Obama administration Pentagon official who focused on Eastern Europe and Russia, said the proposals in the memo aren’t unusual; in fact, they mirror proposals that Moscow makes regularly. “It’s nothing new,” she told The Daily Beast. “What is new is that they’re trying to do this through this weird backchannel.”
posted by zachlipton at 11:26 AM on September 26 [24 favorites]


I keep thinking about that, because Kavanaugh's high school and college record is clearly stuffed with sexual predatory behavior along with a whole lot of incidental ugly garbage. And then there's his recent financial stuff. This dude's up for a Supreme Court spot. I'm having a hard time believing they were less thorough with him than the Guard was for my random high school friend and her telecom job. I'm more inclined to believe the investigators found it and decided it wasn't a problem.

Natl Security twitter tells us that the FBI's job is to gather the info and provide it to decision makers to make the fitness determination. Certainly these would include people at the White House and perhaps some Judiciary Committee members and staff. The FBI's investigators do not decide what's relevant and what isn't -- their bosses do.
posted by notyou at 11:28 AM on September 26 [13 favorites]


Kavanaugh’s support drops 18 points among Republican women, with 49% thinking he should be confirmed and 15% in opposition.

When it comes to Trump, support among the same group fell 19 points, with 68% approving and 26% disapproving.

A new Morning Consult/Politico poll, conducted Sept. 20-23, found support for Kavanaugh’s confirmation is underwater among registered voters for the first time since his nomination, with 37 percent opposing the Senate confirming him and 34 percent supporting it.

The new finding marks a 5-percentage-point drop in net support since a poll conducted last week, after Christine Blasey Ford detailed her allegation that Kavanaugh sexually assaulted her while the two were in high school, a charge he has repeatedly denied. [all text pulled from the linked poll]
posted by Exceptional_Hubris at 11:32 AM on September 26 [10 favorites]


I don't think you can make the court _more_ illegitimate. The handling of Garland already did that.

I really don't think this is true at all... I think we've got a long, long way to fall. I mean, there are places where the other institutions of society simply ignore the court system, or where there's a complete absence of “rule of law” over systems of patronage and courts are merely another tool for the exercise of power by those at the apex of society and openly rubber-stamp whatever they're ordered to. The early-21st-century U.S. has lots of deficiencies in those areas but as with so many other things I think many Americans are underestimating how bad it can possibly get while our civilization as a whole continues to lurch along.

For the poli sci or international law people in the room, or maybe it's some other discipline that would be concerned with this in a big-picture sense, is there a term or field of study for basically how much traction a legal system has as a genuine method of seeking and enforcing justice, even if only in a Magna-Carta-like way for upper classes? Or for study of the type of events that delegitimize and consequently disempower a legal system, and the aftermath of such events? I've been considering trying to read about the topic but I'm not sure where to start.
posted by XMLicious at 11:34 AM on September 26 [9 favorites]


I suppose it depends on what you really mean by "illegitimate". I meant it in the sense that the court does not reflect democracy or the will of the people.

If you mean "do people basically follow court rulings or ignore them", then I suppose it has room to fall. But the court is now semi-permanently (potentially decades) balanced away from how it should be if the rule of law had prevailed.

There's no real path to fixing it anytime soon.
posted by thefoxgod at 11:42 AM on September 26 [2 favorites]


the fact that kavanaugh keeps blatantly, obviously, egregiously lying while accusing his accusers of being the real liars seems crazy to people who don't have a lot of experience with white guys who have huge amounts of generational privilege, but it's absolutely in character for men like him. god, i bet this is the first time in kavanaugh's entire fucking life that he's been openly taken to task for lying, and the first time he's said "that woman is lying" and had people do anything other than immediately believe him and agree with him.
posted by poffin boffin at 11:43 AM on September 26 [121 favorites]


Sen. Orrin Hatch, senior GOP member of Judiciary, says the Committee should move forward and questions the new allegations against Kavanaugh:

It's amazing to me that these type of things have come up way after the fact, way after the end of the committee hearings and everything else. It shows that there are people who would stop at nothing. I don't think it's fair to Brett Kavanaugh, I don't think it's fair to our system, I don't think it's fair to the process. I don't think we should put up with it to be honest with you.


Stock response to this kind of bullshit deflecting:

"Gee, that *is* some crafty maneuvering. You know what's even worse than that? COMMITTING SERIAL SEXUAL ASSAULT, LYING ABOUT IT, AND STILL TRYING TO SERVE ON THE HIGHEST COURT IN THE LAND."
posted by Rykey at 11:47 AM on September 26 [11 favorites]


Harvard Law School Refuses to Say Whether Kavanaugh Will Return to Teach in January

I'd like to think the leadership of the Harvard goddamn School of Law is a little smarter than that, but that's the sort of thinking that begets legacy admissions raping undergraduates, I guess. Regardless of what happens in the confirmation hearings, I think I speak for all of us when I say: enjoy the unharried walk to your classroom, through the not-at-all-politically-active streets of Cambridge, MA, Professor Kavanaugh.
posted by Mayor West at 11:48 AM on September 26 [15 favorites]


With the Supreme Court basically obviated as a source of justice, I've been thinking this afternoon about the rule-of-law in this country, such as it is. It begins down at your local courthouse. It's worth noting that the the people who work there — judges, prosecutors, sheriffs, clerks, commissioners, etc. — are at least as big a part of the reactionary-authoritarian problem in this country as the legislators, magistrates, and noblemen making national news. They, too, should all be forced to look for new jobs at our earliest opportunity.
posted by ob1quixote at 11:50 AM on September 26 [4 favorites]


I do not want to live in a country whose government would sit this man on the Supreme Court. I do not.

Do not talk of Avenatti or Trump. Say her name: Julie Swetnick. She is on the front lines and we owe her the damn recognition.
posted by lydhre at 11:50 AM on September 26 [85 favorites]


"I take a generally positive view of Avenatti serving as a lightning rod to draw some of the toxic abuse that would otherwise fall directly on the accusers."

Plus I can't deny part of me loves that for once we're all talking about the life, virtue, and virginity of a man. I hope Kavanaugh hates that his private life is now being cross-examined.
posted by Tarumba at 11:52 AM on September 26 [32 favorites]


A woman who grew up in Bethesda spoke anonymously to The Sentinel Newspapers: Bethesda resident describes “Culture of Privilege” leading to exploitation and abuse (cw: description of attempted sexual assault by another boy from a local Catholic high school, which I will not include below):
Elizabeth said she infrequently saw Brett Kavanaugh during this time – often at house parties. “He was cute. He was always nice,” she said. One night she ran across an apparently inebriated Brett Kavanaugh and things went differently then. Previously, he had always been nice to her. “ But not that night. He was drunk. He was obnoxious and crude. I had a friend with me and we left. His football buddies were laughing at us. Maybe they were laughing at him, but I didn’t take it that way and they didn’t do anything to keep him from being a jerk.”

From that point on Elizabeth said she steered clear of Kavanaugh and didn’t see any more sexually explicit behavior because, “I didn’t want to be around those guys.” She was not present at the party described by Ford – or doesn’t believe she was. She also said she never saw Kavanaugh assault anyone. But, from her experience, she said she has no problem believing Dr. Ford’s allegations and said Ford should be heard without politics being involved.
Once again, as Loofbourow pointed out, the common theme is the laughing. Men laughing at women because it's supposed to be funny to be an asshole. It's Trump and Billy Bush. It's Trump laughing with Howard Stern about sexualizing his daughter. It's Trump bragging that he got to "inspect" his pageant by walking in on the contestants while they were changing. It's an entire sick culture that thinks extremely not funny things are jokes.

----

BuzzFeed, Rep. Keith Ellison Is Asking The House Ethics Committee To Investigate Abuse Allegations Made Against Him. Good. This needs to be investigated by someone besides the DNC.

Bonus link: @TheDailyShow [photo]: Introducing the Jeff Flake Comfort Blanket™ — Warm yourself in the soft embrace of Senator Flake's meaningless tweets.
posted by zachlipton at 11:54 AM on September 26 [51 favorites]


With the Supreme Court basically obviated as a source of justice, I've been thinking this afternoon about the rule-of-law in this country, such as it is. It begins down at your local courthouse. It's worth noting that the the people who work there — judges, prosecutors, sheriffs, clerks, commissioners, etc. — are at least as big a part of the reactionary-authoritarian problem in this country as the legislators, magistrates, and noblemen making national news. They, too, should all be forced to look for new jobs at our earliest opportunity.

Huh what? This took a different direction than I was expecting. Most county courthouses in the United States are staffed by working-class people, more representative of the county’s voting population than at the state (much less federal) legislature. People who are just trying to do their best. There are Arpaios out there, for sure, but I take a lot of encouragement from my interactions with people who work at the courthouse. They’re public servants.
posted by witchen at 11:56 AM on September 26 [19 favorites]


I have an active security clearance. So does my ex-spouse. Every few years, I am called up by a clearance investigator and asked whether there's anything I know about my ex that might disqualify them from holding a security clearance. Sometimes, they even come to my house to interview me in person. And every few years, I say "No."

Because I still hold an active clearance, I believe that every few years, my ex is called up by a clearance investigator and asked whether there's anything they know about me that might disqualify me from holding a security clearance. Sometimes, I suspect they even come to their house and interview them in person. And every few years, they say "No."

Each of us is lying. We have never discussed this, not during our marriage, nor during the fairly acrimonious divorce, but I am very familiar with what exactly might disqualify a person, and I know for a fact that my ex and I have each done more than one of these things, and that either of us could expose them without damaging ourself. We cannot prove any of them, but we could each make the other's life difficult by telling that investigator.

But we don't. Partially because, as much as we dislike each other now, we don't want to go that far -- we each have a job that requires some form of security clearance -- but I think mostly because, despite these technically disqualifying things, we each think that the other deserves to retain their job despite having done some low-level dumb stuff in their past and does not pose a real risk.

Entirely separate from that, there are other people who could -- and likely would, if they had the chance -- torpedo my clearance. But the investigators have far better things to do than track down every person I've ever met in my life, and I'm sure as hell not going to put those people down as references (I'm sure I don't even remember some of them).

So yeah, I don't doubt that Kavanaugh has had at least as thorough a background investigation as I have. And I don't doubt that the investigators didn't find women that he'd been to parties with 35 years ago who have never told anyone in Kavanaugh's circle about the things he did. And I'm sure that even if those investigators talked to Mark Judge, he just lied, and dudes like that are good at lying, especially when it's something that they don't think was "all that wrong" either, because... well, to coin a phrase, because he probably thinks that Kavanaugh deserves to retain his job despite having done some low-level dumb stuff in his past and does not pose a real risk.

"It must have come up in the background investigation!" assumes a level of competence that, frankly, is not really there.
posted by Etrigan at 11:56 AM on September 26 [84 favorites]


Here is a shot of the plane over Boulder
posted by growabrain at 12:03 PM on September 26 [33 favorites]


Avenatti told MSNBC that "My client has been issued a number of security clearances by the federal government over the years. She has been fully vetted time and time again, and she is an honest and courageous woman."

"And I'm going to caution Donald Trump, Brett Kavanagh, [Senate Judiciary] Chairman [Chuck] Grassley and others, if they try to come after my client or engage in some smear campaign, they better pack a lunch because we're going to respond twofold," Avenatti said.

"We are going to respond double as it relates to force. So they better be very careful before they start spewing nonsense and trying to call my client a liar."


I mean, I'll take it because shitshow, but could we have some Democratic Senators talk like that? That some random Twitter lawyer is landing punches and Chuck is tap dancing - The gloves were off three years ago, Chuck.
posted by petebest at 12:06 PM on September 26 [53 favorites]


Pete, we're supposed to find Avenatti's effectiveness declasse and gauche
posted by Ray Walston, Luck Dragon at 12:10 PM on September 26 [43 favorites]


No, no, no. Are you all unaware? My (lifetime progressive voting) friend just informed me over lunch that this is all a Democratic smear campaign and K is innocent until proven otherwise.... I have rarely been so baffled.

Lunch was short.
posted by Cosine at 12:13 PM on September 26 [24 favorites]


Avenatti definitely comes off as somebody who is in this for the fame more than anything, but from a particular standpoint he’s also the only one willing to talk shit to these assholes, and I wish the Dems would do that.
posted by gucci mane at 12:16 PM on September 26 [22 favorites]


CN: Chait being Chait-y, but I hope he's not wrong.

Julie Swetnick’s Allegations Likely to Finish Off Brett Kavanaugh

posted by witchen at 12:18 PM on September 26 [1 favorite]


For me it's less that I expect Senator Hatch to do the right thing than that I expect someone who has been in the senate for more than 40 years to (1) be able to read which way the wind is blowing, and (2) be at least somewhat canny about the preservation of their own reputation.

But, of course, we're talking about someone who may be in such cognitive decline that he's unable to tell whether he's wearing glasses or not.*

*Not sure if this is true, as I've done equally stupid things, and I'm not...er, at least I think I'm not in cognitive decline. If I am, don't tell me, okay?
posted by Mental Wimp at 12:20 PM on September 26 [2 favorites]


Julie Swetnick statement (cw: all of the above)

She says "... Mark Judge has significant information concerning the conduct of Brett Kavanaugh during the 1980s, especially as it relates to his actions towards women."

Also that Bretty Boy is "a 'mean drunk'". (Which, not that it's the top question, but how has his obvious alcoholism not been ... discussed?)

That is straight up courage there. No one in the WH has that.

* and Mark Judge is the SCOTUS nominee's wing/hit man? C'mon writers.
posted by petebest at 12:20 PM on September 26 [27 favorites]


petebest:
"We are going to respond double as it relates to force. So they better be very careful before they start spewing nonsense and trying to call my client a liar."

I mean, I'll take it because shitshow, but could we have some Democratic Senators talk like that? That some random Twitter lawyer is landing punches and Chuck is tap dancing - The gloves were off three years ago, Chuck.
Chuck != Democratic Senators. In the official hierarchy he leads them, but when it comes to resistance of any kind, they tend to run circles around him (barring the moderate fringey ones like Manchin).

Well before Christine Ford's name was public, the questioning from Kamala Harris and Patrick Leahy was rock-solid, and you can always see remarks equally firey as Avenatti's from the likes of Cory Booker, Mazie Hirono, etc. My own senator Bob Casey has gone from milquetoast to someone I can be at least a bit proud of.

Of course, they could be better. At least one of them ought to start being not just the bad cop but the Super Outrageous Cop. But I can't say I'm dissatisfied with the party as a class, because they've turned up the heat a lot of notches in this era.
posted by InTheYear2017 at 12:21 PM on September 26 [18 favorites]


Because today isn't bonkers enough, for tea this afternoon we're having a solo president press conference at 4pm CST (CSPAN link)
posted by fluttering hellfire at 12:21 PM on September 26 [5 favorites]


innocent until proven otherwise

I fully support this burden of proof in criminal trials, but this is not a criminal trial. It's a job interview.
posted by rocket88 at 12:25 PM on September 26 [11 favorites]


I can't deny part of me loves that for once we're all talking about the life, virtue, and virginity of a man.

and so many women have been spending the last two weeks in a haze of resurfaced trauma

Totally this. I went to the Nashville Tennessee version of Holton Arms and graduated the year before Kavanaugh. We had a boys school we were basically matched with. There were always drunken parties. We had toga parties for f*cks sake. There were trains that everyone heard about. There was all kinds of pretty horrible conduct. And the sexism and misogyny and double standard was all pretty much sanctioned. The headmaster of the boys school basically called me a slut in a schoolwide assembly ("[nice boy] is so lame he couldn't even get to third base with Cocodrillo"). My little brother, then a freshman, was there.

Absolutely plausible, all of this.
posted by Cocodrillo at 12:27 PM on September 26 [71 favorites]


I wish we were having national howling fantods over baseball tickets and dice and Pat Leahy's emails instead :(
posted by fluttering hellfire at 12:28 PM on September 26 [17 favorites]


Chuck != Democratic Senators. In the official hierarchy he leads them, but when it comes to resistance of any kind, they tend to run circles around him (barring the moderate fringey ones like Manchin).

Well before Christine Ford's name was public, the questioning from Kamala Harris and Patrick Leahy was rock-solid, and you can always see remarks equally firey as Avenatti's from the likes of Cory Booker, Mazie Hirono, etc. My own senator Bob Casey has gone from milquetoast to someone I can be at least a bit proud of.

Of course, they could be better. At least one of them ought to start being not just the bad cop but the Super Outrageous Cop. But I can't say I'm dissatisfied with the party as a class, because they've turned up the heat a lot of notches in this era.


And it's not a coincidence that so many of these spineful Democratic Senators are women and/or POC: Harris, Booker, Gillibrand, Hirono, to name four.

If we want more spine from our Democratic Senators we're going to have to elect more of them. There's only so much they can do when they're the minority party. If we can save the embattled red-state Democrats and get Jacky Rosen, Kyrsten Sinema, Phil Breseden, and, at a stretch, Beto O'Rourke, elected, we'll be in a better place, and then, then, we can put the pressure on. (Though I will say Chuck Schumer is no Nancy Pelosi. She is a Congressional lioness.)

While I'm glad Avenatti is on our side and all, I'm very much side-eyeing how many people want to swoon into his manly arms. For my money, Kamala Harris, Mazie Hirono, and Kirsten Gillibrand are every bit as tough and fighters as he is.
posted by Rosie M. Banks at 12:32 PM on September 26 [53 favorites]


I fully support this burden of proof in criminal trials, but this is not a criminal trial. It's a job interview.

Not only that, this construction discounts the fact that we are seeing more and more evidence of his guilt.

Testimony as to someone's wrongdoing is evidence. Circumstantial evidence is evidence. A clear pattern of behavior is evidence. This "innocent until proven guilty" fallacy wants to say "they haven't been proven guilty in a court of law, so we aren't allow to draw conclusions from the information in the public domain."

Hogwash. We are allowed to conclude that OJ did it, even though he was acquitted. We are allowed to conclude that Cosby assaulted dozens of women, though he was only convicted for one (and, indeed, to have concluded so even before his conviction). And we're allowed to weigh the stories of these brave women, Kavanaugh's denials (and outright lies about his drinking), and what each of them stand to gain or lose by telling their story, and conclude that he's guilty, guilty, guilty.
posted by Gelatin at 12:33 PM on September 26 [31 favorites]




Nate Silver: Avenatti might be literally the last person I'd tell you to hire as your attorney in a case like this. But he's also a figure who friends with a casual interest in politics often have a different (less cynical) impression of than people like me who cover politics for a living.

That's what I've been saying! But apparently optics are everything now.
posted by Justinian at 12:34 PM on September 26 [4 favorites]


It's an entire sick culture that thinks extremely not funny things are jokes.

I've always struggled with how to describe what happened to me in high school. What I refer to it as in my head is "sexual bullying." Harassment in most peoples' minds seems to conjure up non-touching things like catcalling or pestering about going on a date. Assault seems to imply violence. Abuse implies a preexisting romantic relationship. Dudes picking a girl in their social group to be a target for sexually-tinged humiliation for purposes of homosocial bonding or just their own singular jollies is common as dirt. The thing that made me a choice target for sexual bullying was the same thing that made me a target for the regular kind: I'm sensitive, I was fairly sheltered, I get visibly flustered, I'm not cool. Catnip, unfortunately.

Anyway, this all goes back to my Grand Unifying Theory of Trumpism which is that Trump's base is a coalition of bullies and abusers. They see people just like them attaining power and using it to bully and abuse others and they are all in. It doesn't matter what the politics are, they have finally found someone who gives them complete permission to bully and abuse without spending all that extra energy denying it. Bullying is the openly desired behavior. Being an abuser means you're tough and strong and a winner and they are never going to willingly walk away from that feeling.
posted by soren_lorensen at 12:34 PM on September 26 [121 favorites]


"Now, I want to be clear: my heart breaks for the victims of assault and abuse. It's an issue that must never be taken lightly. That is why unproven accusations are so very unjust."

So the only way for survivors to accuse someone is to prove it first. But they have to prove it without using the FBI to investigate, without contemporary witnesses, without corroborating stories, and without their own goddamn testimony.

Sure sounds like an impossible task, proving accusations against powerful men, huh?
posted by lydhre at 12:39 PM on September 26 [57 favorites]


Not to mention that Republicans routinely dismiss evidence that does not fit their preconceived notions. Reality has a liberal bias, so anything that proves reality is suspect too. No amount of proof would actually convince Republican politicians to believe a victim if they didn't want to.
posted by Gelatin at 12:48 PM on September 26 [4 favorites]


Gelatin:
Not only that, this construction discounts the fact that we are seeing more and more evidence of his guilt.

Yes! This new usage of "due process" and "innocent until proven guilty" is cut from the same cloth as "What's wrong with just having a reasoned debate with the alt-right? What you are afraid of?". Both interlocutors pretend an old state of affairs can be continually revived no matter what else has changed. (In the case of the alt-right, society more or less decided the ideas were bunk, like geocentrism, so we don't need continuous "debate".) Like necromancers reviving dead soldiers (the video game trope of Nazi zombies turns out to be symbolically potent) and repeating some canard about the war not being over until the soldiers are dead or something.

As I've said before, people are basically going "You're arresting me? Trying me before peers? Giving me a defense lawyer and the other side a prosecutor? Sentencing me... to prison? What?! How the hell can you send anyone to prison without due process?"

Or a more succinct phrasing I saw in the comments on a news article: "You can't force anyone to suffer the pain of due process without first giving them due process". Lawyers Guns Money calls it dude process.
posted by InTheYear2017 at 12:48 PM on September 26 [26 favorites]


Exactly how does Hyde-Smith think this would work, practically? Instead of yelling "Rape!" we all learned in high school that you're supposed to yell "Fire!" because people don't consider rape worth their rescuing time. So per this new Hyde-Smith rule, when you yell "fire" to stop someone from raping you and people show up with buckets of water, what do you then say? "I'm not able to offer any proof, but I think that gentleman you see running away there may have been responsible for something bad that just happened to me; I wouldn't want to make an unproven accusation, so could someone please place a quick call to the FBI and ask them to investigate?"
posted by Don Pepino at 12:51 PM on September 26 [5 favorites]


Representative Ted Lieu's call for Kavanaugh impeachment proceedings to begin is strangely missing from this thread. Behold!
Based on the numerous allegations of sexual assault against Judge Brett Kavanaugh, including these new criminal allegations by Julie Swetnick, the @HouseJudiciary Committee must immediately start an investigation into Judge Kavanaugh to see if he should be impeached.
posted by duffell at 12:52 PM on September 26 [97 favorites]


Anyway, this all goes back to my Grand Unifying Theory of Trumpism which is that Trump's base is a coalition of bullies and abusers.

This is genius! I would also add every abusers' enablers and a whole bunch of people with codependency issues (see every woman who has defended Kavanaugh's behavior, or Trump's for that matter). In recovery circles these people are sometimes known as "flying monkeys", since they do the abuser's bidding to seek their approval and are in charge of making the abused fall in line. If you add them up you get more less half of our adult population, which would explain how they won the election.
posted by Tarumba at 12:54 PM on September 26 [22 favorites]


My county just held elections for judges at primary time. There were 2 seats open, with 2 candidates for each seat. The election was technically "non-partisan," but Every. Single. Judicial. Candidate. was a registered Republican who worked with local Republican orgs, often fundraising for other state-level Republican politicians. There may be working class people filing papers at the courthouse, but they're not among the real decision-makers.
posted by Kitty Stardust at 12:59 PM on September 26 [4 favorites]


medusa: There's a plane flying around Boulder with a banner that reads THANK YOU DEBORAH WE HAVE YOUR BACK.

A fucking PLANE.


Apparently, there was a plane with pro-Trump messages flying around (very conservative) Huntington Beach, California, pretty frequently, in that when I pointed it out to a relative last summer they pretty much shrugged it off and said "they've been doing that for a while."


SecretAgentSockpuppet: So, I'm putting in my tin foil hat, rather than storming the Bastille, for the moment, and I want to say that if I wanted a supreme court justice under my thumb, these allegations would have been perfect ammunition. There is no doubt in my mind that the Federalist Society not only knew, it was one of the very reasons he was picked.

One point of clarification, FWIW: the Federalist Society didn't originally pick Kavanaugh, it came from Trump.

As posted in the prior thread by scalefree, and reposted here for ease of review:
Maddow: Overlap In Brett Kavanaugh Nomination, Trump Russia Probe Becomes Clear (video clip via Real Clear Politics)

2016: Candidate Trump releases list of potential Supreme Court nominees given to him by the Federalist Society & promises to only select from it. Gorsuch is on the list, Kavanaugh is not.
February 1, 2017: Trump nominates Gorsuch.
May 1, 2017: As rumors of Kennedy's immanent retirement surface, Trump again promises to select only from the same list.
May 17, 2017: Robert Mueller is appointed Special Counsel.
Late 2017: Trump's "final" Supreme Court list adds 5 new names including Kavanaugh, over Mitch McConnell's objection due to extensive paper trail & views on executive power.
June 27, 2018: Justice Kennedy retires.
July 9, 2018: Trump nominates Kavanaugh.
Summer 2018: Senate Republicans outsource Kavanaugh document curation to private attorney William Burke, who represents Mueller witnesses Steve Bannon, Reince Priebus, Don McGahn among others.
Even McConnell objected to Kavanaugh initially, and that was before we learned Kavanaugh is a serial rapist.
posted by filthy light thief at 1:01 PM on September 26 [64 favorites]


[A couple comments deleted. This whole "local government is corrupt, local courts are corrupt", thing is a tangent; we've already got plenty going on in here without opening up this as a line of conversation. If you want to pursue it, please make a separate thread.]
posted by LobsterMitten (staff) at 1:17 PM on September 26 [2 favorites]


Apparently, there was a plane with pro-Trump messages flying around (very conservative) Huntington Beach, California, pretty frequently, in that when I pointed it out to a relative last summer they pretty much shrugged it off and said "they've been doing that for a while."

And this is why I wince when I have to tell people I grew up there, because they say things like "Oh, that must have been nice!"

No, it was actually horrible and it's been horrible since the post Watts riots and white flight. There's a reason why the phrase "behind the Orange curtain" exists.

I remember growing up utterly terrified of the HBPD because I'd known so many people that had been beaten up or hassled by them. A friend had his arm shattered by a night stick during one of the many different 4th of July cop riots. He was a photographer. Taking pictures. They chased him down an alley and smashing his body and his camera with clubs, exposing the film and intentionally pulling it out of the camera. He ended up hospitalized for like a week from the assault, sustained multiple fractures in his skull and arm and hands and had to go to physical therapy for years to restore just a fraction of function to that arm and hand.

HB was so horrible I ended up running with and being a wannabe SHARP and ska Rude Boy because there were actual Nazi punks all over the place, and they liked to show up at ska, reggae and other PoC-friendly music events and stomp (or even knife) people.

Yeah I'm talking peaceful, bucolic, white, suburban Huntington Beach. That place was just seething beneath the surface with violence, and it won that dumb "Safest City in America" award a couple of times.

HB is the birthplace of Dana Rohrabacher. OC was the birthplace and home of Trinity Broadcasting Network, Crystal Cathedral and Robert Schuller, and I think it might even be the birthplace or main foothold of Calvary Chapel.

HB and OC is basically one of the birthplaces of megachurches and hyperchurches, modern conservative politics and has long been a hotbed of racists and actual Neo-Nazis. You can trace a whole lot of today's zeitgeist right back to OC and HB in the 80s and 90s.

And my parents wonder why I don't want to visit the area.
posted by loquacious at 1:19 PM on September 26 [64 favorites]


Peter Sullivan, staff writer at the hill:
Feinstein just ran into Murkowski in the hall and they hugged and then Feinstein said “this is just between us” and then they started whispering
Wasn’t she also the one who lobbied McCain on the ACA?

I get all the arguments against Feinstein. But some things can’t be replaced, like relationships that go back 30 years. Right now I’m glad we have her in the Senate, even if I’ll still yell at her to move left.
posted by schadenfrau at 1:24 PM on September 26 [73 favorites]


Mark Judge’s girlfriend is ready to talk to FBI and Judiciary Committee, her lawyer says, Greg Sargent Wapo

Judge's girlfriend sent a letter to the Senate Judiciary which was leaked to or described to GS by a Dem staffer, from the article:

The letter from Rasor’s attorney confirms that this account faithfully reflects what she recalls — and, now, what she is prepared to tell the FBI. The letter says:

Ms. Rasor’s recollection of what occurred is stated accurately in the New Yorker piece and she would welcome the opportunity to share this information with agents of the FBI as part of a re-opened background investigation.
posted by Exceptional_Hubris at 1:25 PM on September 26 [40 favorites]


Feinstein just ran into Murkowski in the hall and they hugged and then Feinstein said “this is just between us” and then they started whispering

The photo is a work of art.
posted by zachlipton at 1:27 PM on September 26 [29 favorites]


Tech Won't Save Us From Tech / Just Don’t Call It Privacy -- Amazon, Google and Twitter executives are heading to Congress. Should legislators give consumers control over the data companies have on them? (Natasha Singer, Technology Reporter for New York Times, Sept. 22, 2018)

Congress Challenges Google on China. Google Falls Short (Issie Lapowsky for Wired, Sept. 26, 2018)
Google’s first public attempt to explain its reported interest in entering the Chinese market failed to appease critical members of Congress at a Senate Commerce Committee hearing on Wednesday.

The hearing, which was attended by Google, AT&T, Amazon, Apple, and Charter Communications, began as a broad discussion of possible privacy legislation. But it concluded as a pointed condemnation of Google over recent reports that the company is building a censored search engine for China. According to The Intercept, the plans, dubbed Project Firefly internally, would require Chinese users to log-in to search and would feed crucial data to a Chinese company.

Google’s chief privacy officer, Keith Enright, came to the hearing prepared to give a carefully scripted explanation of these reports that would neither confirm nor deny their accuracy. “My understanding is we are not, in fact, close to launching a search product in China, and whether we would or could at some point in the future remains unclear,” Enright said when asked by Senator Maggie Hassan (D-New Hampshire). If Google did choose to pursue any interests in China, Enright said, “My team would be actively engaged. Our privacy and security controls would be followed.”

Enright repeated the term "not close to launching" several more times throughout the hearing, before Senator Ted Cruz (R-Texas) finally stopped him short. “You’re saying you’re not close to launching. I’m asking [...] is [Project Dragonfly] a project to develop a search engine in China? I didn’t ask timing of launch. I asked what it is,” Cruz said.

Enright only went so far as to confirm that Project Dragonfly does, in fact, exists. But he declined to expound upon its purpose, insisting he was “not clear on the contours of what is in scope or out of scope for that project."
Meanwhile, Ajit Pai slams cities and towns as FCC erases $2 billion in local fees -- FCC orders cities and towns to slash permit fees for 5G equipment. (Jon Brodkin for Ars Technica, Sept. 26, 2018)
The Federal Communications Commission today finalized an order that will prevent city and town governments from charging wireless carriers about $2 billion dollars' worth of fees related to deployment of wireless equipment such as small cells.

The decision has angered both large and small municipalities, as we reported last week.

The FCC's Republican majority says that limiting local fees will cause carriers to build 5G networks in rural and sparsely populated areas where it would otherwise be financially unfeasible. But the order doesn't require carriers to deploy any more broadband than they otherwise would have, and carriers already promised nationwide 5G networks before the FCC made its proposal.

"Comb through the text of this decision—you will not find a single commitment made to providing more service in remote communities," FCC Commissioner Jessica Rosenworcel, the FCC's only Democrat, said before today's vote. "Look for any statements made to Wall Street—not one wireless carrier has said that this action will result in a change in its capital expenditures in rural areas."

The $2 billion savings is less than 1 percent of the estimated $275 billion that carriers will have to spend to deploy 5G small cells throughout the US. That level of savings won't spur extra deployment "because the hard economics of rural deployment do not change with this decision," Rosenworcel said.
Emphasis mine, because Mignon Clyburn, the awesome, Star Trek-quoting telecom regulator left the Federal Communications Commission late May 2018, four months ago. In early June, Trump nominated Geoffrey Starks as FCC Commissioner, but *surprise*! That's the last news coverage of the FCC trying to fill it's other non-Republican seat (per Federal regulations, there can be no more than three people from the President's political party on the FCC's five-seat commission).
posted by filthy light thief at 1:32 PM on September 26 [14 favorites]


Here is the latest from Susan Collins from HuffPo, when asked a question about Kavanaugh's yearbook:

"I don't know what to make of it. There are rumors -- so many rumors -- that there are issues with Christine Ford's yearbook as well. I don't know if that is accurate or inaccurate. l don't know what to make of someone's high school yearbook."

Ford's yearbook? Huh, what? Where the heck did that come from?

Well, they traced it down to Alex Jones' InfoWars. He has posted a picture from Ford's yearbook of a girl, not even Ford, in a mini-skirt with a bunch of disgusting commentary which I won't repeat here, implying that these girls were asking for it.

Cripes, Susan Collins has lowered herself to slut shaming the victim based on conspiracist sweaty toad Alex Jones. And her "people are saying" plausible deniability is right out of the Donald Trump playbook.

If I ever again hear a reference to the "moderate Republican" Susan Collins ...
posted by JackFlash at 1:35 PM on September 26 [92 favorites]


Judge's girlfriend sent a letter to the Senate Judiciary which was leaked to or described to GS by a Dem staffer

Just to be clear, that's Judge's ex-girlfriend, who was apparently told about Judge's participation in these gang rapes of inebriated high school girls. If she's willing to testify that could be the nail in the coffin. That's a huge burden to take on for her, she's another hero in this story.
posted by skewed at 1:38 PM on September 26 [39 favorites]


I want fucking action figures of these women. And Anita Hill.
posted by schadenfrau at 1:48 PM on September 26 [57 favorites]


If the background check on Kavanaugh was incomplete, falsified, or simply disregarded, what's the likelihood Gorsuch's check was done properly?
posted by Iris Gambol at 1:50 PM on September 26 [16 favorites]


I guess we should expect at least one more Kavanaugh bombshell this evening to reclaim the narrative after Trump’s rare solo presser, which is coming up next.
posted by notyou at 1:50 PM on September 26 [1 favorite]


The press conference is an obvious response to Trump narcissistic injury from being humiliated in front of world leaders at the UN. I don't think there's any reason to assume it's to cover for a new bombshell.
posted by Justinian at 1:52 PM on September 26 [6 favorites]


[Preemptive reminder that the sheer spectacle of Trump being an ass on live TV is not new or novel at this point and to please avoid liveblogging it as one-liners. Sum up whatever's worth summing up.]
posted by cortex (staff) at 1:54 PM on September 26 [13 favorites]


The photo is a work of art.

Close talking, LBJ-style.
posted by kirkaracha at 1:56 PM on September 26 [4 favorites]


Sam Stein (Daily Beast/MSNBC)
True story:

Republican Senators argued that Sotomayor was not qualified for the court because, they insisted, she believed in judicial "empathy"
posted by chris24 at 1:56 PM on September 26 [36 favorites]


[Also remember Venting thread is here if people need to just express emotions.]
posted by LobsterMitten (staff) at 1:58 PM on September 26 [4 favorites]


Daniel Dale is tweeting the press conference.
posted by MonkeyToes at 2:02 PM on September 26 [8 favorites]


Trump is doing a weird Carrie (mom jeering "they're all going to laugh at you")/ projecting from his UN experience thing of saying that all the democrats are all laughing at the big con job they're doing on Bart O'K.
posted by angrycat at 2:12 PM on September 26 [2 favorites]


If the background check on Kavanaugh was incomplete, falsified, or simply disregarded, what's the likelihood Gorsuch's check was done properly?

Apparently, lying on your SF-86 isn't a disqualifier anymore either ( See: Trump Crime Family )
posted by mikelieman at 2:15 PM on September 26 [4 favorites]


Written Testimony of Dr. Christine Blasey Ford (pdf), for tomorrow: "I am here today not because I want to be. I am terrified. I am here because I believe it is my civic duty to tell you what happened to me while Brett Kavanaugh and I were in high school."

This is also a really interesting bit:
At least one of Kavanagh’s classmates scoffed at the notion that Swetnick would have been a regular at parties with Georgetown Prep students.

“Never heard of her,” said the person, who declined to be named because members of the class have agreed not to speak on the record to reporters. “I don’t remember anyone from Prep hanging out with public school girls, especially from Gaithersburg.”
Setting aside the elitism, "members of the class have agreed not to speak on the record to reporters." What? They've literally agreed on a code of silence? That seems like a story in and of itself.
posted by zachlipton at 2:16 PM on September 26 [113 favorites]


What? They've literally agreed on a code of silence?

I imagine that if people start talking there will be more than enough stories for the whole class.
posted by wemayfreeze at 2:26 PM on September 26 [13 favorites]


This press conference. A male jour I asked if a female reporter could ask about Kavanaugh. Trump blusters and says what does that even mean, sure why not.

Then he interrupts the female reporter by going about a NYT article about his own mistreatment of women from 2016 during the election. When she says she didn’t ask about that he tells her to sit down.

https://twitter.com/ddale8/status/1045061398630404096?s=21

Hope this doesn’t count as live blogging because I’m rather shocked this just happened.
posted by sio42 at 2:29 PM on September 26 [34 favorites]


There's only one tweet from Daniel Dale that you need to read, it sums this whole thing up: "This is like one of those private Trump performances you read about from 17 anonymous Washington Post sources, except he's doing it at a press conference."
posted by zombieflanders at 2:32 PM on September 26 [59 favorites]


Sum up whatever's worth summing up

This place is not a place of honor. No highly esteemed deed is commemorated here. Nothing valued is here.

There has been a lot of nonsense, but [video] Trump telling a female reporter to sit down while gaslighting the nation about the allegations against him from the women who came forward during the campaign rather sums it up.

In terms of substantive news, he indicated he could delay tomorrow's Rosenstein meeting because of the Kavanaugh hearing.
posted by zachlipton at 2:35 PM on September 26 [36 favorites]


The Trumpspam in my one email box was strangely silent on the Kavenaugh matter... until today...
Authorized By Trump Headquarters
Judge Kavanaugh has become the victim of a televised witch hunt playing out in front of his own family.
Democrats only want to smear this man because he was nominated by President Trump.
We’ve heard from every liberal senator. They’ve even told us to “SHUT UP.” Now it’s time for these Senate obstructionists to hear from the American people.
From NOW until Thursday morning at 9 AM, we need to send a NON-STOP flow of petitions signed by the American people to Senate Democrats to STOP THE WITCH HUNT AGAINST JUDGE KAVANAUGH. (emphasis mine: Trump HQ forwarding petitions to Democrats? Sounds semi-legit.)
STAND WITH JUDGE KAVANAUGH
Please add your name by 9 AM Thursday morning to join the list of supporters who want to stand up to Senate Democrats and stop the witch hunt against Judge Kavanaugh
Judge Kavanaugh has HEARTFULLY denied these allegations and WANTS to clear his name from this witch hunt.
President Trump told you back in July that Democrats would get nasty to sabotage our Supreme Court nominee. They did it to Justice Clarence Thomas. They did it to Judge Robert Bork. (emphasis mine; interesting choice of past examples) Now it’s happening again.
But this time, the American people must fight back, or it will only get worse…
Please stand up in the face of injustice before Thursday morning at 9 AM and STAND WITH JUDGE KAVANAUGH.
Thank you,
Trump Headquarters
posted by oneswellfoop at 2:35 PM on September 26 [2 favorites]


Bruce Arthur (Toronto Star Sports Columnist): Its like if the National Enquirer wrote King Lear
posted by Exceptional_Hubris at 2:37 PM on September 26 [53 favorites]


The "male reporter" who asked if Trump was going to take questions from his female colleagues (after the first 3 questions were all to dudes) was, based on his voice, Jim Acosta. The fact that I could identify the reporter by his voice while the Washington correspondent for the largest newspaper in Canada didn't know who it was should make me rethink my priorities. But no.
posted by Justinian at 2:40 PM on September 26 [48 favorites]


He's repeatedly interrupted every single female reporter to the point that it feels like a deeply unfunny joke that will never end
posted by theodolite at 2:42 PM on September 26 [30 favorites]


Bruce Arthur (Toronto Star Sports Columnist): Its like if the National Enquirer wrote King Lear

I'm seeing David Lynch's Titus Andronicus but YMMV
posted by Rust Moranis at 2:42 PM on September 26 [19 favorites]


Diplomats Say They Were Definitely Laughing At Trump At The UN (Buzzfeed)

Because Trump reacts so well to being laughed at. Remember when Obama made fun of him at the White House Correspondants’ Dinner? And... well... here we are.
posted by Weeping_angel at 2:43 PM on September 26 [23 favorites]


Sam Stein (Daily Beast/MSNBC)
True story:

Republican Senators argued that Sotomayor was not qualified for the court because, they insisted, she believed in judicial "empathy"


I mean, sort of? Several Senators argued with each other about it through their comments and questions, but here's a key exchange about it, from the transcript:
SEN. KYL: Let me ask you about what the president said -- and I talked
about it in my opening statement -- whether you agree with him. He used two different
analogies. He talked once about the 25 miles -- the first 25 miles of a 26-mile marathon.
And then he also said, in 95% of the cases, the law will give you the answer, and the last
5 percent legal process will not lead you to the rule of decision. The critical ingredient in
those cases is supplied by what is in the judge's heart. Do you agree with him that the law
only takes you the first 25 miles of the marathon and that that last mile has to be decided
by what's in the judge's heart?

J. SOTOMAYOR: No, sir. That's -- I don't -- I wouldn't approach the issue of judging in the
way the president does. He has to explain what he meant by judging. I can only explain
what I think judges should do, which is judges can't rely on what's in their heart. They
don't determine the law. Congress makes the laws. The job of a judge is to apply the law. And so it's not the heart that compels conclusions in cases. It's the law. The judge applies the law to the facts before that judge.
posted by The World Famous at 2:43 PM on September 26 [5 favorites]


I'm seeing David Lynch's Titus Andronicus but YMMV

I don't think David Lynch did a version of Titus Andronicus. You may be thinking of Titus by the fantastic Julie Taymor.
posted by contraption at 2:50 PM on September 26 [8 favorites]


> "Now, I want to be clear: my heart breaks for the victims of assault and abuse. It's an issue that must never be taken lightly. That is why unproven accusations are so very unjust."

W ... TF? "It is important to listen to victims of assault. That is why we should not listen to these victims of assault."
posted by kyrademon at 2:52 PM on September 26 [22 favorites]


At least one of Kavanagh’s classmates scoffed at the notion that Swetnick would have been a regular at parties with Georgetown Prep students.

“Never heard of her,” said the person, who declined to be named because members of the class have agreed not to speak on the record to reporters. “I don’t remember anyone from Prep hanging out with public school girls, especially from Gaithersburg.”


They were down at Ocean City on beach week. Basically Spring Break.
posted by leotrotsky at 2:55 PM on September 26 [5 favorites]




>my heart breaks for the victims of assault and abuse. It's an issue that must never be taken lightly. That is why unproven accusations are so very unjust.

What she means is "That is why false accusations are so very unjust." With the implication that these are, indeed, false accusations.

But of course she can't really say that out loud quite yet, so she replaces it with something that sounds better but still signals 100% what she really means.
posted by flug at 3:00 PM on September 26 [4 favorites]


If he'd committed a felony, he wouldn't be up for the Supreme Court.

No, if he were convicted of a felony, he wouldn't be up for the Supreme Court. Current evidence says there's a pretty strong chance he's committed several felonies.
posted by ErisLordFreedom at 3:01 PM on September 26 [22 favorites]


Update from IA-04, Incumbent Steve King (R, Lunatic):

I mentioned a couple megathreads ago that I was really hopeful for JD Scholten running against King, because he was running a rather Wellstonian campaign. This email just went to my father, who is in the district:

I told people at the start of this campaign that you won’t find a candidate that works harder than me, and you won’t find a candidate that has more fun than me. Last night, the hard work we’ve been putting in really paid off, and that’s when the fun really starts! Check out this picture from last night’s town hall:

*pic of Scholten at a town hall in Dickinson County, deep in the heart of Steve King country*

This picture is inspiring to me. It’s energizing to feel the momentum that comes with almost 200 people showing up to hear you speak on a Tuesday night.

As we’ve pointed out before, Steve King doesn’t do public events, he doesn't hold town halls, and he won't debate me. Since Steve King won’t hold even one town hall, I’m holding 39 of them on a tour called, “You Can’t Fake Showing Up.” This is my THIRD 39-county tour of the district and I’m doing this because you can’t have a government of the people, by the people, and for the people, if you don’t include the people.


FiveThirtyEight has Scholten's chances at about 12%, but I really think this is not one to give up on.
posted by mcstayinskool at 3:04 PM on September 26 [36 favorites]


> What? They've literally agreed on a code of silence?

Yes - as part of their upbringing a very long time ago.

I went to a rich privileged high school. I was generally on the fringe, but there were some larger parties that I somehow ended up at - not many. The binge drinking and drug use was certainly very open, and while I was never witness to any sort of sexual abuse, it would not have surprised me from that crowd.

I certainly witnessed (and was occasionally the target of) plenty of assholish behavior and plenty of cruel bullying, and it was made very clear that if you told ANYONE about their behavior, they would all conspire to get you in worse trouble, spread rumors about you, etc - and who are the others going to believe? A bunch of "good, upstanding, school-involved kids" or the guy on the fringe? You're clearly just jealous of them, after all, and are just trying to smear them. Figuring out how this would play out first hand would be how I nearly got expelled, and how I ended up being a large target of physical violence for the remainder of my time there.

More important than taking down any outsider who snitched would have been their group loyalty - they knew that if they all swore innocence together, they would be believed.... and if anyone snitched, they either had enough dirt themselves that they'd be in deep trouble, or it'd be easy enough to fabricate it and let guilt by association do its job. They would get their stories together in advance because they knew that if shit went down, they'd be questioned independently, and they wanted to make sure they all had the same story.

It was a fucking mob code, and I seriously doubt that they ever grew out of this. It's an insidious form of Omerta that is instilled in the privileged elite early on as a lifestyle and value system. I've seen this behavior extend to adults in corporate settings, and I've not only witnessed how little has changed for some, I've had to deal with the fallout from it after exposing serious fraud a couple of times. I've learned to assume that if I do expose something that I should only do so if I am willing to step out of my own position at best, and put myself in personal danger at worst.

This code of silence is integral to maintaining this sort of power and privilege, it is loyalty before all else, and this is reinforced with fear - disproportional retribution for breaking it is a major feature contributing towards its perseverance. These people are being quiet not just because they put this blind loyalty first, but also because they are afraid... either of having their own prior horrible actions exposed, or of making themselves targets.
posted by MysticMCJ at 3:05 PM on September 26 [87 favorites]


Dale's Twitter thread broke, presumably under the strain of all this nonsense. It picks up here.

The reactions on the trending #TrumpPressConference are nuts.

(Seriously, though, this is worse than his previous solo press conference in early 2017. His cognitive impairment has only increased since then, but it's shocking to see it on open display like this. I have no idea what his handlers were thinking when they let him do this. Perhaps he simply wouldn't stop hectoring them, and they gave in, the way all his advisors and aides seem to.)
posted by Doktor Zed at 3:07 PM on September 26 [14 favorites]


CNBC, Dozens of Kavanaugh supporters call new allegations of sexual misconduct 'nonsense'
The 64 signatories of the White House's letter agreed, saying in the letter, "We never witnessed any behavior that even approaches what is described in this allegation. It is reprehensible."

The letter goes even further, adding that "in the extensive amount of time we collectively spent with Brett, we do not recall having ever met someone named Julie Swetnick."
Where do they keep finding these people, and what the hell is wrong with the signatories that would possess them to sign a document like this as more accusations come out every other day? Who even knew 64 people in high school well enough to spend "extensive" amounts of time with them?
posted by zachlipton at 3:15 PM on September 26 [10 favorites]


“Never heard of her,” said the person, who declined to be named because members of the class have agreed not to speak on the record to reporters. “I don’t remember anyone from Prep hanging out with public school girls, especially from Gaithersburg.”

This is a very succinct indictment of the odious moral rot at Elite Independents and as such is of course serious and appalling but did anyone else...laugh out loud? "A POOR? At one of MY high school beach house bacchanals? UNTHINKABLE."

This grown ass adult man demanded anonymity to claim in a national newspaper that a woman couldn't have been raped because she was NOKD. That level of fragility belongs in a fucking M Night Shyamalan movie. These people are such cowardly snobs that they can't hide it even when the Supreme Court is on the line. I don't have any sympathy for any of them, but can you think of a better argument for progressive taxation than that no one should be cursed to the interior lives of these assholes?
posted by Snarl Furillo at 3:22 PM on September 26 [69 favorites]


can you think of a better argument for progressive taxation than that no one should be cursed to the interior lives of these assholes?

100% estate tax. If your spawn is worth a damn, let them earn their own fucking fortunes.
posted by mikelieman at 3:29 PM on September 26 [31 favorites]


"... we do not recall having ever met someone named Julie Swetnick."

Is it even known if Swetnick is her birth name, or a married name? And Julie can be a nickname. These odious people may have met a Julia/Juliana/Juliet/Julie ____ in the 1980s.
posted by Iris Gambol at 3:30 PM on September 26 [3 favorites]


Holy Zarquon's Singing Fish: "There's a reason it's not one of the Dems with presidential ambitions filing this"

FWIW, Merkley HAS been making the moves preparatory to running. Doesn't mean he will, but it's on his mind.
posted by Chrysostom at 3:34 PM on September 26 [3 favorites]


David Brock: Kavanaugh had what one could only be called an unhealthy obsession with the Clintons, especially Hillary
posted by growabrain at 3:35 PM on September 26 [13 favorites]


Let's get this straight:

Kavanaugh wouldn't answer as to whether he had discussed the Mueller investigation with anyone from Kasowitz' law firm because, he said, unless first provided with a list of every single partner and employee of the firm, it would be impossible for him to know whether he had discussed it with any of them, including the people at the firm who are his close friends.

But now he's got a letter from 64 "friends" to support the premise that, because they don't recall someone named Julie Swetnick, there's no way she was at any of the high school parties that these 64 people may or may not have attended in the early '80s.

The foundational contentions, then, are as follows:
(1) When you're a federal judge, you don't bother finding out who people are before you discuss weighty legal and political matters with them.

(2) But when you're in high school in the 80s, you're very careful to commit to memory the names of all the attendees at every raging kegger.
I'm just one data point, but I was in high school in the 80s and every party I ever attended included plenty of people whose names I didn't know then and wouldn't remember now even if I had. And I'm a lawyer now and have discussed current events with federal judges on many occasions over the years, and they always knew who I worked for at the time, because they're careful to find out.
posted by The World Famous at 3:36 PM on September 26 [78 favorites]


Swetnick is her birth name, and it might be a bit unusual for kids from Gaithersburg High to be at Prep parties or vice versa, because private and public schools in Maryland are in different sports conferences and don't necessarily have intersecting social circles for that reason. But Prep and Gaithersburg High are less than half an hour apart by car, and it's certainly possible that kids from the two schools would know each other socially just due to that proximity, or growing up together or attending elementary school together or meeting via other extracurriculars or at a concert or Beach Week or drinking in DC or any number of ways.

And it's not like "Julie" is that uncommon a name, or like you're necessarily going to learn the last names of every single person at a huge drunken teen house party.
posted by halation at 3:40 PM on September 26 [5 favorites]


HB is the birthplace of Dana Rohrabacher. OC was the birthplace and home of Trinity Broadcasting Network, Crystal Cathedral and Robert Schuller, and I think it might even be the birthplace or main foothold of Calvary Chapel.

I mean, not that HB isn't full of white power dudes in raised trucks, or not that I've never just considered everything south of Bakersfield to Mexico to just be Greater Los Angeles, but literally none of those things are in Huntington Beach. Rohrabacher was born in SD, TBN is from all over the place but their main HQ (the one full of gold, that they don't even own anymore) was in Costa Mesa and now they are based in Tustin, Crystal Cathedral is in Garden Grove (although owned by the Catholics these days), and Calvary was formed in Costa Mesa.
posted by sideshow at 3:41 PM on September 26 [9 favorites]


It's like Ken Russell directed Yertle the Turtle.
posted by dances_with_sneetches at 3:41 PM on September 26 [7 favorites]


Don't forget, Hillary was part of the Watergate investigation team, and as the uterus carrier of the young attorneys on the team, naturally these people focused on her to destroy.
posted by SecretAgentSockpuppet at 3:45 PM on September 26 [22 favorites]


!!! NBC News, Kasie Hunt, Leigh Ann Caldwell and Heidi Przybyla, Senate probing new allegation of misconduct against Kavanaugh
According to an anonymous complaint sent to Republican Sen. Cory Gardner of Colorado, Kavanaugh physically assaulted a woman he socialized with in the Washington, D.C. area in 1998 while he was inebriated.

The sender of the complaint described an evening involving her own daughter, Kavanaugh and several friends in 1998.

“When they left the bar (under the influence of alcohol) they were all shocked when Brett Kavanaugh, shoved her friend up against the wall very aggressively and sexually.”

“There were at least four witnesses including my daughter.” The writer of the letter provided no names but said the alleged victim was still traumatized and had decide to remain anonymous herself.
posted by zachlipton at 3:48 PM on September 26 [64 favorites]


This code of silence is integral to maintaining this sort of power and privilege, it is loyalty before all else, and this is reinforced with fear - disproportional retribution for breaking it is a major feature contributing towards its perseverance. These people are being quiet not just because they put this blind loyalty first, but also because they are afraid... either of having their own prior horrible actions exposed, or of making themselves targets.

The astonishing thing is that he said it out loud, at a public speech in Washington DC when he knew he was a leading candidate for a seat on the Supreme Court.

"What happened at Georgetown Prep, stays at Georgetown Prep." Hyuck hyuck hyuck wink nudge know what I mean? Know what I mean?
posted by msalt at 3:50 PM on September 26 [10 favorites]


@NoahShachtman, Editor in Chief, Daily Beast: If your newsroom is like our newsroom, you currently have more Kavanaugh tips than you can possibly follow up on.
posted by scaryblackdeath at 3:51 PM on September 26 [83 favorites]


According to an anonymous complaint sent to Republican Sen. Cory Gardner of Colorado, Kavanaugh physically assaulted a woman he socialized with in the Washington, D.C. area in 1998 while he was inebriated.

Gardner's brow is gonna be at Maximum Furrow when he votes for Kavanaugh.
posted by Rust Moranis at 3:52 PM on September 26 [16 favorites]


Pro tip, Noah: It's totally legitimate to report "Our newsroom has 7 other additional accusations against Kavanaugh that we have not yet had time to corroborate."
posted by msalt at 3:52 PM on September 26 [18 favorites]


Mr. Trump predicted that when Democratic senators are behind closed doors, “I guarantee you, they laugh like hell [about the accusations against Kavanaugh]

You know, it’s not as if we need further insight into his disordered psyche, but the essence of what he’s confessing here – i.e. his projecting onto his political opponents his own inability to see this as the matter of gravity it is, or anything but another petty partisan pissing contest, with real people as pawns – well, it’s monstrous.
posted by adamgreenfield at 3:54 PM on September 26 [38 favorites]


1998, Kavanaugh was a lawyer and working on the Starr investigation.

But probably just a "kid", right Susan Collins?

Also, that's four.
posted by T.D. Strange at 3:54 PM on September 26 [21 favorites]


it is 100% plausible that these guys would never have known, or would have forgotten if they did, the name of some girl they gang raped. of course they wouldn't know or care. WOMEN AREN'T HUMAN TO THEM.
posted by poffin boffin at 3:56 PM on September 26 [78 favorites]


it might be a bit unusual for kids from Gaithersburg High to be at Prep parties or vice versa, because private and public schools in Maryland are in different sports conferences and don't necessarily have intersecting social circles for that reason

There was a lot of discussion here...last week? About the particular social conventions of DC prep schools and how well students at various schools tend to know each other. That's perfectly sensible. What's bizarre to me is that this dude (anonymously! because bro code!) couldn't even bring himself to sound like LESS of an arrogant shit stain about it. "Most of our friends were from [other specific prep schools]. I'm not sure I knew anyone from [public school.]" That quote signals exactly the same status markers without making you look like a climber.

Part of what seems genuinely torturous to me is that people like this man and his classmates must say much worse in private, about the vast chasm that they believe exists between the 64 people that they personally know and everyone else in the world, while attempting to hide it (probably badly!) in public. How can you ever resolve the cognitive dissonance of being alive in the world while also believing that everyone else in it is inferior to you? You can't. It's impossible. Just attempting it leads to 50-something-year-old men who want it written down in a fucking newspaper that while they certainly didn't socialize with public school girls, they knew exactly which public schools were theoretically acceptable, and the lady in question attended none of them.
posted by Snarl Furillo at 4:05 PM on September 26 [10 favorites]


AP, Zimbabwe’s leader says he offers Trump land for golf course
Mnangagwa said he made the offer to Trump staffers earlier this year at the World Economic Forum in Switzerland, pitching land in the tourist town of Victoria Falls. Trump is a keen golfer.

“I had offered President Trump ground to build a state-of-the-art golf course so that as he plays he can be able to see the big five,” Zimbabwe’s president said. The “big five” refers to big game: lion, rhino, elephant, buffalo and leopard.
I am concerned about the safety aspects of a golf course that incorporates buffalo into the design, but at this point, the fact that he approached government employees to offer Trump land for his private business rather says a lot.
posted by zachlipton at 4:06 PM on September 26 [22 favorites]


if anything, not being from one of the usual private schools would probably make a party attendee a more appealing target, since the minimal chance of getting in trouble for the attack would be that much lower given the separation between the schools and the remote likelihood of the administrators knowing each other -- a lot of them do -- and pursuing discipline if a woman did report a crime (quite aside from the points made previously regarding catholic boys attitudes about 'slutty' girls from non-catholic schools).

and, not being a regular part of the circle, women from non-private schools might not be in the whisper network and might not know which people at the party (like judge and kavanaugh) to avoid.
posted by halation at 4:06 PM on September 26 [27 favorites]


Interrupting today's omnishambles for continuing coverage of different shambles: Watch the second Senate debate between Tim Kaine, Corey Stewart tonight, live now.

10 Lies You Will Hear Corey Stewart Say at Tonight’s Senate Debate
posted by T.D. Strange at 4:07 PM on September 26


WaPo has an annotated transcript of Trump's presser (in progress, because..well if you watched/listened you know why). Here's a taste:
China now, put on $250 billion, and they’re paying 25 percent on that. They’re paying billions and billions -- this has never happened to China, and I like China and I like President Xi a lot. I think he’s a friend of mine, he may not be a friend of mine anymore, but I think he probably respects -- from what I hear, if you look at Mr. Pillsbury, the leading authority on China. He was on a good show, I won’t mention the name of the show, recently, and he was saying that China has total respect for Donald Trump and for Donald Trump’s very, very large brain.
posted by zakur at 4:09 PM on September 26 [15 favorites]




oh my god if he was devoured by a lion live on camera at the ceremonial opening of a new golf course my entire body would enter into a state of eternal climax soaring through the galaxy forever
posted by poffin boffin at 4:12 PM on September 26 [118 favorites]


I grew up in northern Virginia and graduated from a public high school in 1983. I didn't drink in high school, but everyone knew there were tons of parties with drinking.

Movies about getting laid were a huge part of pop culture. Animal House came out in 1978 and there were a whole wave of movies: Valley Girl, The Last American Virgin, Screwballs, Porky's, Private School...for Girls, Sixteen Candles, Losin' It, Hot Movies, Goin' All the Way!, and so on.

I was 18 when Virginia raised the drinking age to 19, so I was grandfathered, and then I was 19 when they raised it to 21, so I was grandfathered twice.
posted by kirkaracha at 4:13 PM on September 26 [7 favorites]


it has to be sharks for the irony though
posted by prize bull octorok at 4:13 PM on September 26 [15 favorites]


Grassley's office released transcripts of two interviews with Kavanaugh: September 17th and September 25th.
posted by zachlipton at 4:13 PM on September 26 [1 favorite]


Because Trump reacts so well to being laughed at. Remember when Obama made fun of him at the White House Correspondants’ Dinner? And... well... here we are.

I think everyone in the world would be much happier if Trump were only in charge of the UN. We should encourage this progression!
posted by srboisvert at 4:17 PM on September 26 [1 favorite]


!!! NBC News, Kasie Hunt, Leigh Ann Caldwell and Heidi Przybyla, Senate probing new allegation of misconduct against Kavanaugh.

Dateline: about five minutes after the presser ended.
posted by notyou at 4:18 PM on September 26 [6 favorites]


From Ford written testimony: "In my freshman and sophomore school years, when I was 14 and 15 years old, my group of friends intersected with Brett and his friends for a short period of time... We did not know each other well, but I knew him and he knew me."

So Brent, do you recognize or remember your accuser Dr Blasey Ford? Think it over, Mr Yale Law, because you're just as fucked saying yes as you are going with no.
posted by klarck at 4:19 PM on September 26 [1 favorite]


In a perfect world at this point what I'd like to see is a joint statement by Kagan, Sotomayer, and Ginsburg that they cannot and will not serve along side Brett Kavanaugh. Of course this isn't a perfect world and so that would harden support. Hell, probably a plus since maybe you can get to a 9-0 Republican supreme court if you nominate somebody odious enough. "Justice Hitler's Corpse" has a nice ring to it.

Also, Chief Justice Roberts is partisan but he also cares about the view of the court. I imagine he is not happy though of course his mild discomfort is nothing compared to how rape survivors are thinking.
posted by Justinian at 4:24 PM on September 26 [5 favorites]


So when Avenatti started teasing bits of info, I was a little irritated by how quickly people on here got mad, assumed it was all showmanship and wouldn't be real, talked a lot of shit about him, etc. Now we know that in fact he did have some really seriously important shit to back it up. I didn't really doubt it. I feel that thus far, he has delivered. So why all the skepticism and hate?

I can't help but think it feels a little gross and condescending, like, do we think we're too good for attention-seeking behavior on our own side? We're fighting against the fucking reality show President and Friends here for chrissakes. These are not normal times, and the way many Americans consume and understand media right now is totally warped. There must be a gray area of people who actually probably don't like racism, sexism, corruption, etc and WOULD support the things we support if they knew more about it and were more interested and properly motivated, but they have the attention span of a goldfish. I mean, come on- people on Metafilter complain about their Senators lacking spines, being boring, even to us. So like . . . what do you WANT in order to get more people on board with the cause? In my opinion Avenatti (and Stormy Daniels) occupy a very specific and very IMPORTANT niche in this fight. They whip up maximum attention. They hit where it hurts. They have receipts. They're fearless, thick-skinned and can dish it right back out to those that pile on to them. They're on our side of the fight. The shamelessness, the honesty, the love of attention- right now, in this timeline, these things are features, not bugs. it pisses me off when people write off these two just because they seem to think they're better than them. but they have been, and i think will continue to be, key players in the takedown. i really think Democrats are shooting themselves in the foot by being assholes about them. you want the senators to do the same thing, but they occupy fundamentally different niches- they can't do the same thing in the same way with the same effectiveness for millions of reasons. anyway, i would bet money that you can find people who don't care what Senators say because "politics is boring" but to them this seems interesting and important and if it moves the needle then i'll take it.

on preview, i see a few other people saying positive stuff about avenatti. what prize bull octorok nails another aspect of what i'm trying to get at here: I take a generally positive view of Avenatti serving as a lightning rod to draw some of the toxic abuse that would otherwise fall directly on the accusers.

tl;dr let's stop being condescending about Avenatti and Daniels and maybe appreciate the work they're doing here because it seems to be working
posted by robotdevil at 4:25 PM on September 26 [108 favorites]


Also, Chief Justice Roberts is partisan but he also cares about the view of the court.

He said nothing about Garland or Gorsuch. The court's legitimacy is utterly shattered already and he said nothing. Roberts won't save us, this is as much his triumph as McConnell's.
posted by T.D. Strange at 4:34 PM on September 26 [25 favorites]


A thing about Stormy Daniels and Avenatti: They're some of the very, very few people who are not dependent on the goodwill of the center-right and whose professions mean they can't be taken down. If you're a successful porn star, people may insult you or think less of you for doing porn but they can't blackmail you or do some kind of big reveal of the "did you hear about Stormy Daniels, she does porn" variety. You don't have to do all that "ooh, I'm a nice girl and I really think men are so wonderful, please listen to me" stuff that many women have to do to get over. And frankly, sex always sells - Trump can't get you fired. Avenatti, as a loud, brassy lawyer type, is in a bit of the same position - Trump can't make him unemployable because being a loud brassy lawyer will always bring in business. A lot of other people, from professors to writers to celebrities, can't speak that kind of high-publicity truth to power because they're dependent on universities, think tanks, mass markets, sports team owners, etc etc.

It's like peasants - when the peasants have the commons to fall back on, they're strong because they always have a last resort. Daniels and Avenatti have professions that can't be taken away from them this side of the grave, and that means that they can say what others can't.
posted by Frowner at 4:38 PM on September 26 [123 favorites]


"Even if it's all true, does it disqualify him? It certainly means that he did something really bad 36 years ago. But does it disqualify him from the Supreme Court?"

I know this was heavily discussed 2,000 years ago (or maybe just this morning) and there have been excellent points brought up by just about everyone who focused in on this quote/why republicans are not punting and confirming someone else, etc. and I believe each thing mentioned (it's a vote on aristocracy, roe v wade overturned, etc.) plays some role in why they keep defending Kavanaugh and pushing his nomination through so quickly. For some repubs, I could see it being a one-issue deal, but for most I imagine these all aspects covered have played to their choice.

It seems like I have only seen sotonohito and one or two others mention how the above quote is disingenuous. But, that's only the start of it. It is purposely disingenuous to distract us from the question Cramer is afraid we will ask.

That question is:

"Let us say it is not disqualifying. Is Kavanaugh the most qualified candidate for the SC?"

They don't want to have that question asked because they would have to say no and logic would say choose someone else. But, and they are not saying it out loud, the answer to them is yes.

REPUBLICANS BELIEVE BRETT KAVANAUGH IS THE BEST CANDIDATE FOR SC NOM. THE MOST QUALIFIED.

Which, on it's face sounds absurd. But, it pulls all those puzzle pieces together on the different reasons we have been noting and why they just won't give up.

1. Pre-Meuller, Kavanaugh couldn't even make the list of candidates for SC nom. Now, Kavanaugh is practically yelling with a bullhorn, "Pres is free to commit crime until out of office." That's a huge win for Rs. It's not about Trump at all. It's about an R pres being indicted. I am guessing they would also think Ds just won't put someone in office that would come close to being indicted.

2.It is consistent with this Watergate scar that Rs just can't seem to get over. Couldn't get Bork on the bench, even though it was promised to him for his part in Watergate. Let's do the next best thing and appoint the judge who was instrumental in getting a D impeached, just like they tried to do to Nixon. Oh, also the D impeached was Clinton so it's a little dig at the last D pres candidate as well. That's a nice little bow on that present. (Point 1 also fits into this. They will never have to feel the shame of a trial if R pres is indicted... very close to the shame they felt during Watergate.)

3. As has been suspected, one reason to push through so quickly is that the Rs do know Kav has skeletons in his closet and they could potentially use those as blackmail, but I don't think that will be necessary since:

4. All signs point to Kavanaugh being 100% in the bag already: His work for Bush, his work on the Starr investigation, the specific questions he crafted for the impeachment hearing and now him flat out saying, "Pres gonna do what a pres gonna do."

(4a. and 1a. If a Dem pres were indicted, his opinions on sitting presidents being indicted would change in a heartbeat with a quote along the lines of "my experience gained listening to cases in the highest court in the land has helped me evolve my judgement on crucial matters" which would evolve right back if an R pres was indicted.)
posted by a non mouse, a cow herd at 4:45 PM on September 26 [25 favorites]


from the 9/25 interview, his first response to the question of whether he was ever involved in or present for a gang rape is that he never even had so much as a threesome. it is amazing. nobody follows up on why this non sequitur is relevant, in his mind.

he also says "twilight zone" approximately fifty thousand times. he is extremely determined to make "twilight zone" happen.
posted by queenofbithynia at 4:46 PM on September 26 [17 favorites]


I absolutely think Judge should be subpoenad... but do people really think this guy is going to admit to raping people? Or is the theory that he'll plead the 5th and that will sink the nomination?
posted by Justinian at 4:47 PM on September 26 [2 favorites]


@jeneps [citing the interview transcript] Another accusation against Kavanaugh that he was asked about by Senate staffers this week: an alleged rape on a boat in Rhode Island in 1985. Kavanaugh denies.

@eschor: Senior Senate Dem aide tells me there's a concern the GOP is "now releasing anonymous allegations in an effort to make all allegations look frivolous. We’re focusing on the ones that have names attached."

It's rather strange that "release more accusations against Kavanaugh to try to water down the most credible ones" is a not utterly ridiculous plan, but it does seem to be happening. Their argument is somehow that more people coming forward makes them all liars, and it entirely discounts the focused and detailed reporting of Ford's allegations by comparing them to unvetted anonymous letters and phone calls.
posted by zachlipton at 4:50 PM on September 26 [29 favorites]


he also says "twilight zone" approximately fifty thousand times. he is extremely determined to make "twilight zone" happen.

The Get Out guy got there first.

Jordan Peele’s Twilight Zone reboot is coming to CBS All Access next year
posted by Artw at 4:53 PM on September 26 [16 favorites]


Kavanaugh is the pick precisely because he is thoroughly compromised. Does anyone really think there were not implicit assurances given to Trump? Kavanaugh is the pick because he is dirty enough to kiss Trump's ring.
posted by benzenedream at 4:56 PM on September 26 [18 favorites]


The oddest thing about the Rhode Island rumor is that Brett Kavanaugh actually prompts the Republicans to ask about it. It definitely seems like they've found evidence of a provably false accusation from someone with political motives, and hoping to use it to cast doubt on all the other allegations.
posted by politikitty at 4:56 PM on September 26 [5 favorites]


Can't some reporter just put an end to this, already?
"Mr. President, do you have any response to the alleged allegations that in 2007, Kavanaugh described Trump Tower as, quote, 'not very impressive' and 'kind of tacky'? A lot of people are talking about it."
posted by uosuaq at 4:59 PM on September 26 [55 favorites]


I'm with robotdevil about Avenatti. He and Mueller are the best things going for us now. And I also wish that everybody will stop use euphemisms: They are not sexual assaulters - they are rapists - they do not use deceptive techniques - they lie - they don't show fraudulent conduct - they are corrupt. etc.
posted by growabrain at 5:00 PM on September 26 [14 favorites]


It's rather strange that "release more accusations against Kavanaugh to try to water down the most credible ones" is a not utterly ridiculous plan, but it does seem to be happening. Their argument is somehow that more people coming forward makes them all liars, and it entirely discounts the focused and detailed reporting of Ford's allegations by comparing them to unvetted anonymous letters and phone calls.

Republicans: "I'm Spartacus! ...but for rape."
posted by T.D. Strange at 5:01 PM on September 26 [13 favorites]


House Resolution Directs Trump to End U.S. Support for Yemen War
In Congress, frustration with the U.S. role in Yemen is nearing a breaking point. Sen. Bob Menendez — the top Democrat on the Senate Foreign Relations Committee — is holding up a $2 billion arms sale to Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates over concerns that the two countries routinely bomb civilian targets. Meanwhile, in the House, U.S. assistance to the Saudi- and UAE-led coalition is about to face another major hurdle.
posted by homunculus at 5:06 PM on September 26 [10 favorites]


I can't help but think it feels a little gross and condescending, like, do we think we're too good for attention-seeking behavior on our own side? We're fighting against the fucking reality show President and Friends here for chrissakes.

Daniels rocks, has been brave throughout this entire process, and I do appreciate her. Nothing I'm about to say applies to Daniels. Avenatti, on the other hand, likes to talk about how he might run for President.

I feel like this is the same line of thinking that, along with a hell of a lot of racism and hate, caused Trump to be the Republican nominee. He's tough, he's a fighter, he gets attention. And we're desperate for people who can cut through the noise and get attention, because what we have right now isn't working. Avenatti is not Trump, by any means, but we need people who can get attention without being assholes. And he fails that test. Miserably.

As an example, here's an exchange between Avenatti and Jon Favreau from a couple weeks ago. Avenatti boldly declares that Democrats should use "ALL tools!" to ensure Kavanaugh isn't confirmed until all his documents are released. Great, good idea, what tools do you advocate using? Asking that apparently gets you declared a "hater," and the whole thing, to my eye, approaches the Democratic equivalent of a Republican getting called a "cuck" in 2015/2016 for supposedly not being tough enough.

Avenatti has done work I appreciate, and he will continue to do so. But shamelessness and assholery are never features, and certainly aren't now. We need politicians, of both parties, to have a hell of a lot more shame, and we need people in politics that parents aren't ashamed to have their kids see on the news. We're not too good for attention-seeking, but we are too good to condone jerks, even when those jerks are on our side. We need people who can be fighters without bringing out the worst in us; we need to separate our ideas of what leadership looks like from what gets good ratings on cable news. That doesn't mean he isn't useful at what he does, but the idea that he's fit to run a homeowner's association, let alone President, needs to end now, because we don't have time for this once an extraordinarily painful primary season starts not long after the midterms.
posted by zachlipton at 5:09 PM on September 26 [27 favorites]


Avenatti's earned some credibility, but big claims require big proof. And honestly his tone sounded like a breathless email forward about teenage sex parties. If some malevolent idiot wanted to make up a story to get media attention, it would sound very much like Avenatti's initial tweets sounded.

(That's not to say that any of the public accusations are made up, or that victims are rewarded in any way, but a lot of people DONT KNOW about the death threats that accusers often get, a lot of people think it's just a 15 minutes of fame thing, like a Kardashian's sex video. If someone misguidedly wanted their 15 minutes, they would make up a story pretty much like Avenatti's - something too horrible to ignore,
with visual and emotional details that prompt the imagination. I mean, tabloids and email forwards are effective.)

It's right to be skeptical about big claims, and it's reasonable to be annoyed by this guy seeming to play around with something so serious.
posted by Rainbo Vagrant at 5:14 PM on September 26 [1 favorite]


I absolutely think Judge should be subpoenad... but do people really think this guy is going to admit to raping people? Or is the theory that he'll plead the 5th and that will sink the nomination?

Regardless of if he has memory of the Ford incident, he can testify as to Kavanaugh's other numerous drinking incidents to impeach Kavanaugh's denial of heavy drinking. He can also testify as to the Bart O'Kavanaugh in his biography which describes him barfing and passing out in the back of the car. Kavanaugh has now denied under oath ever passing out while drinking.

So even if Mark Judge refuses to confirm the assault, he can lend credibility to Ms. Ford's account of a frequently heavily inebriated Kavanaugh in contrast to Kavanaugh's choir-boy characterization of himself.
posted by JackFlash at 5:16 PM on September 26 [10 favorites]


They are not sexual assaulters - they are rapists

Sexual assault is a legal term (in some states; it is called different things in different jurisdictions), and is a more expansive crime that includes more types of behavior. "Rape," while it is a word incorporated into certain statutes, describes an old common law offense that was often interpreted as more or less a property crime against the husband or father of the victim.

Frankly I wish we could move away from the word "rape" rather than elevating it as the actual bad thing because it has a much more problematic history, conceptually. It's also the thing that all the dude bros say they are against while they're beating their chests about how tough they are (and then go off to do some misogynistic shit anyway).
posted by Joey Buttafoucault at 5:17 PM on September 26 [13 favorites]


Mark Judge can show Kavanaugh lied under oath. About his drinking and possibly other behavior as well.

Which is why I expect Judge to plead the 5th if he ever gets subpoena'd.
posted by suelac at 5:19 PM on September 26 [1 favorite]


That doesn't mean he isn't useful at what he does, but the idea that he's fit to run a homeowner's association, let alone President, needs to end now, because we don't have time for this once an extraordinarily painful primary season starts not long after the midterms.

The one thing that gives me hope about an Avenatti 2020 run is money. Who the fuck is funding him? Trump was basically self/Russia funded for the entire primary cycle until winning. There's going to be 10-15+ well funded Democrats for 2020 (which is it's own issue, recall Republicans 2012 and 2016...) but Avenatti won't be one of them, he has no support, and Democrats aren't as prone to sheep mentality or the appeals to authoritarianism that allowed a Trump to exist on the right. Backstabbing and infighting and self-defeating moralism, yes, but not fall in line behind the loudest strongman in the room.

It takes real money to run a modern primary campaign, even an insurgent outsider one based on twitter and the internet. Trump had it. Avenatti won't. ...you know unless Russia realizes they can fund him too, and then let's just elect Putin and stop pretending.
posted by T.D. Strange at 5:20 PM on September 26 [2 favorites]


I don't even really think that the desperate clinging to Kavanaugh is necessarily about Kavanaugh. I don't think that the Republicans are weirdly fixated on this one obviously unfit candidate when they could easily put someone else up who wouldn't have this trouble. Their refusal to drop Kavanaugh makes a lot more sense when you think about the fact that nothing Kavanaugh is accused of is specific to him. It's not "Brett Kavanaugh, the terrifying rape monster that nobody could figure out how to contain", it's "Brett Kavanaugh, a guy who was basically doing what everybody else in his circle was doing". The lineup phenomenon is so common at their parties that they had to come up with a term for it. Beach week is something they're all into. He didn't come up with this Renate thing, and he certainly wasn't the only one in on the joke.

The problem isn't that the Republicans are weirdly fixated on the one guy who can't pass muster, but rather that if the kind of thing that might bring down Kavanaugh is actually able to bring their guy down then they don't have ANYONE who can pass muster. They're even saying this out loud, complaining that if Kavanaugh's confirmation is stopped then nobody (on their side) is safe. Every one of their potential court nominees is from the same kind of background and ran in the same kind of circles. They all did this stuff. If suddenly drugging and/or assaulting women means you can't be on the Supreme Court, then nobody on their little internal lists can be on the Supreme Court. That's the problem. That's why they can't let this go.
posted by IAmUnaware at 5:23 PM on September 26 [72 favorites]


I was killing time on Westlaw today, searching for Kavanaugh-authored opinions with the words "credibility" or "lied" in them, and came across the following gem:
[the petitioner's] willingness to adopt and repeat a false cover story constitutes strong evidence of guilt. See Al–Adahi, 613 F.3d at 1107 (“false exculpatory statements are evidence—often strong evidence—of guilt”); see Hussain, 718 F.3d at 969 (same); Latif, 677 F.3d at 1195 (same); Almerfedi, 654 F.3d at 7 (same); Al–Madhwani, 642 F.3d at 1076 (same); Esmail, 639 F.3d at 1076–77 (same); Uthman, 637 F.3d at 407 (same).

Ali v. Obama, 736 F.3d 542, 549 (D.C. Cir. 2013) (Kavanaugh, J.).

Here's hoping a senator asks him about it.
posted by mabelstreet at 5:23 PM on September 26 [38 favorites]


[Guys when Avenatti starts actually running we can talk about Avenatti running but I feel like we have PLENTY OF NEWS FOR NOW to deal with without pre-litigating the 2020 primaries.]
posted by Eyebrows McGee (staff) at 5:24 PM on September 26 [47 favorites]


Which is why I expect Judge to plead the 5th if he ever gets subpoena'd

What criminal exposure does he personally have? I'm pretty sure you can't invoke the 5th for someone else's crimes.
posted by rhizome at 5:27 PM on September 26


What criminal exposure does he personally have?

According to his college ex, plenty.
posted by ChurchHatesTucker at 5:28 PM on September 26 [7 favorites]


The anonymous Rhode Island accusation appears to be sourced to an anonymous twitter account with 17 followers, operated by someone who just recanted (and by releasing that transcript, they effectively released the name of the person associated with the account).

They are absolutely flooding the zone tonight with anonymous accusations that lack credibility in order to say "see, look how false accusations happen all the time" and discredit Ford's allegations in advance of her testimony.
posted by zachlipton at 5:28 PM on September 26 [23 favorites]


In a perfect world at this point what I'd like to see is a joint statement by Kagan, Sotomayer, and Ginsburg that they cannot and will not serve along side Brett Kavanaugh.

In that case, their only recourse if he were confirmed would be to quit, which is the absolute worst thing that could possibly happen to us. Nothing would make the senate confirm Kavanaugh faster than a statement like that.
posted by greermahoney at 5:29 PM on September 26 [11 favorites]


Feinstein: Kavanaugh misled about grand jury secrecy in Vince Foster probe
Sen. Dianne Feinstein told POLITICO that she has now identified another area in which she believes Kavanaugh was not truthful in communications with senators. She said that by directing officials to speak to reporters during the investigation of President Bill Clinton, Kavanaugh may have violated grand jury secrecy laws — even though he told her and Sen. Sheldon Whitehouse (D-R.I.) he never broke those rules.
You Can Expect to Hear the Phrase 'There's No Definitive Proof' a Lot Over the Next Few Days. Brett Kavanaugh's nomination is taking on water fast, but Republicans won't easily abandon ship.
posted by homunculus at 5:31 PM on September 26 [33 favorites]


What criminal exposure does he [Mark Judge] personally have? I'm pretty sure you can't invoke the 5th for someone else's crimes.

Well, he was an accomplice in the Ford assault, being in the same locked bedroom. But if the committee really wants his testimony they could give him immunity for any testimony covering, for example, the years 1980 to 1984. Then he could be compelled to testify. As in the Ollie North case, it would be difficult for any other jurisdiction to prosecute him using immunized testimony.
posted by JackFlash at 5:39 PM on September 26


Just watched some of the press conference, which I think we can all agree everyone wanted to take the heat off Bart O'Kavanaugh.

Starts out strong. Boring. Rehearsed. Diction is working. Y'know.
First question - about Kavanaugh, why didn't the FBI investigate - planned, Trump recites his answer, no problem. Starting to get a little loose, but not even at campaign rally levels yet. Subdued, even.
Fast-forward, thirteen minutes in, WOW that got away from him. He knew, she, he doesn't they, its Democrats that, you know, everybody, it's we're gonna see, JUDGE BRENT KAVANAUGH, I wanna see, it's very, look, who - if we, I don't know, here
Twenty-three minutes in (see China quote above), jeeeeezus christ he's unraveling.
Thirty one minutes in, we're mugging, there's funny voices now, Obama, so bad, eyebrows jumping
Forty minutes, another woman gets talked over - the voices are getting weirder, the pantomime is getting more exaggerated He's selling Real Estate.
Fifty three minutes, he's tired, he's angry, he needs a juice box. "Yes?! Yes!" He scowls and points at the next reporter.
One hour ten minutes, he's whispering, he's using a tiny voice to let us in on these global secrets. He sees the finish line. He's not Predisenting for you, by the way. He's impaired, but he never wanted the job anyway. Elton John story. So vote Kavanaugh.

Ugh. I need a wet-nap™.
posted by petebest at 5:44 PM on September 26 [43 favorites]


I think at least 60% of the anti-Avenatti sentiment before today was risk aversion. The things he implied were so horrific that if there was any serious reason to doubt them (and it turns out there is not and they are entirely credible) then, unfortunately, it could have blown up enough to be perceived as "discrediting" everything else. It's absurd that's how the world works, and if there's a way we can fight that perception I'm for it. But in the meantime, it makes sense to proceed with bigger caution the bigger the accusation. And this factor is totally independent of AVenatti's credibility or personality -- there is literally no one alive who could hint at this kind of stuff without a significant number of us responding with "Make no assumptions, wait for more evidence, wait for more."

And now it looks like people might be trying the "discrediting" ratfuckery now, with this new story about someone claiming to have beaten up Kavanaugh and Judge in retaliation for a rape the two of them committed (against a fourth person) in their thirties. This person remains anonymous and grains of salt are advised.

Regarding Avenatti again, I think it was strategically smart for him to open with explicit references to the nature of the crimes, but without any other details, even though that's what a lot of people naturally grumbled about as artificial suspense-building. Aside from the lightning-rod aspect people have discussed, pushing something like this into public consciousness can require piecemeal introduction rather than dumping it all at once -- hence the concept of "drip, drip, drip". You tell people the gist of it and their brains work out whether it sounds about right, then you follow up with the name and face of the woman whose account they're already half-prepared to accept.

queenofbithynia: he also says "twilight zone" approximately fifty thousand times. he is extremely determined to make "twilight zone" happen.

A Twitter respond from Mike Drucker: You mean the television show in which characters get an ironic bad ending created by their own hubris?
posted by InTheYear2017 at 6:28 PM on September 26 [40 favorites]


[not a criminal lawyer] the mean drunk & demeaning behavior, in and around washington, d.c. & in maryland, is not criminal or beyond the statute of limitations ("inappropriate contact" is probably potentially criminal, depending, but subject to sol); spiking the punch is probably a crime for which the statute of limitations has elapsed. spiking the punch as part of a conspiracy to commit gang rape... gets closer. the gang rape itself, in maryland, would include crimes for which there is no statute of limitation. (have been focused on MD this whole time, haven't waded into DC sex crimes' statutes of limitations). ms. swetnick's statement was not particular as to where she witnessed United States Supreme Court nominee Brett Kavanaugh waiting in line to, presumably, rape an unconscious girl, nor about the jurisdiction in which she was raped.

i read there being real potential criminal liability for the men who spiked the punch and stood in those lines. in maryland. some investigatory interviews, at least, would seem to be called for. much more likely should a maryland victim swear out a complaint.

pleading the fifth as to, say, any sex crimes, shouldn't prevent mr. judge from attesting to the drinking & gambling & demeaning behavior, though. unless... there are more, as yet undisclosed, crimes there, too.
posted by 20 year lurk at 6:30 PM on September 26


WaPo: The GOP is buying the House. Literally.
(open in incognito tab to avoid paywall)

If Republicans succeed in keeping the House in November, it will have been bought for them by corporations and the rich — quite literally.
...
Records show House Republican incumbents in seats targeted by Democrats are getting almost all their campaign funds from large contributors (often those who donate $2,700 or $5,400) and political action committees. Only a tiny fraction comes from those who give $200 or less.

For example, Reps. Carlos Curbelo (Fla.), Kevin Yoder (Kan.), Ann Wagner (Mo.), Tom MacArthur (N.J.), Vern Buchanan (Fla.), Mario Diaz-Balart (Fla.) and Trey Hollingsworth (Ind.) all get less than 1 percent of their campaign cash from small donations.

The Center for Responsive Politics looked at all competitive contests and found that Republicans in House races receive 10 percent of contributions in small donations, compared with 21 percent for Democrats. The Senate is nearly identical, at 11 percent and 21 percent.

posted by saysthis at 6:31 PM on September 26 [20 favorites]


In that case, their only recourse if he were confirmed would be to quit, which is the absolute worst thing that could possibly happen to us. Nothing would make the senate confirm Kavanaugh faster than a statement like that.

The most effective thing they could do (and it still wouldn't be very effective, but it would be something) would be to refuse to join any opinion he signs. Any decision that doesn't have at least 5 of the men would be rendered useless as precedent. Obviously this wouldn't block partisan 5- 4 decisions, but nothing the court's left wing does can block those. This would at least kneecap decisions where Thomas goes off on his own about how the Post Office violates the magna carta or something.
posted by Holy Zarquon's Singing Fish at 6:33 PM on September 26 [6 favorites]


Yale Law School’s Reckoning Over Brett Kavanaugh - Jacob Stern & David Yaffe-Bellany, The Atlantic
Students and faculty staged a sit-in Monday in protest against President Trump’s nomination of the conservative appellate-court judge, a 1990 Yale Law graduate, to the Supreme Court.
posted by ZeusHumms at 6:41 PM on September 26 [4 favorites]


He says what we're all thinking!

@thedailyangle Did you all see Jared Kushner after the #TrumpPressConference ?
posted by scalefree at 6:50 PM on September 26 [35 favorites]


CNN:
Sen. Susan Collins, who could determine whether Brett Kavanaugh gets a lifetime seat on the Supreme Court, raised serious concerns at a private meeting about the newest allegations of inappropriate behavior against the nominee -- and questioned why the Senate Judiciary Committee had not subpoenaed a close friend of the federal judge.

Multiple sources familiar with the private Wednesday meeting told CNN that Collins appeared unnerved by the latest allegation, citing in particular that it was a sworn statement sent to the panel, which carries with it the possibility of perjury for lying to Congress.
(please, no need for an auto-response about how useless Collins is)
posted by Chrysostom at 7:24 PM on September 26 [33 favorites]


and questioned why the Senate Judiciary Committee had not subpoenaed a close friend of the federal judge.

Not a surprise, but the article confirms that the friend she's referring is Yellow King worshipper Mark Judge.
posted by Rust Moranis at 7:30 PM on September 26


Oy.

Politico: Ex-boyfriend filed restraining order against third Kavanaugh accuser

(That’s Swetnick, for those scoring at home.)

Avenatti says he knows nothing about this, rails at press for prying into an assault victim’s past.
posted by notyou at 7:30 PM on September 26


You always investigate people's pasts. The problem is when you start attacking them for irrelevant things. Like saying someone wasn't assaulted because they've had a bunch of consensual encounters with people in the past. Irrelevant. Restraining order may or may not be relevant depending on the circumstances.

... I will refrain from repeating my previous comments about Michael Avenatti.
posted by Justinian at 7:34 PM on September 26 [3 favorites]


> Al Jazeera English is showing a clip of Trump speaking at the UN in which he claims that China is attempting to interfere with the 2018 US mid-term elections, followed by the Ambassador from China categorically denying the assertion.
Hell yes China is interfering with the mid-term elections: I'm posting in MetaFilter #potus45 threads!
posted by runcifex at 7:37 PM on September 26 [12 favorites]


Pew survey:

June:
Men: R+6
Women: D+16
September:
Men: R+3
Women: D+23
A 26 point gender gap is just enormous.
posted by Chrysostom at 7:38 PM on September 26 [60 favorites]


Orrin Hatch should be called out every time he opens his mouth regarding Kavanaugh. He's simultaneously supporting the overturn of dual-sovereignty in an upcoming SCOTUS case, and even went as far as to put this in writing, 44 pages worth, in that amicus brief. This flies in the face of his precious states rights federalism, and would allow Trump to pardon without fear of being retried at the state level. They are openly supporting Kavanaugh as a political tool to help Trump kill the Mueller probe, assault accusations be damned.
posted by p3t3 at 7:38 PM on September 26 [14 favorites]


McConnell’s staff are going scorched earth on Swetnick’s background too. These claims are, of course, entirely irrelevant to these accusations.

It’s...I’ll say this without casting any aspersions on Avenatti more broadly, but there’s a reason why the “work with a reporter to responsibly investigate and present these stories” model has advantages over tweeting it out in pieces. Because any reporter working this story would understand the acuser’s background and address that in the reporting, rather than having it come out later as a gotcha. Irrelevant restraining orders can be looked into and dismissed from the start instead of being used to dismiss accusations after they come out.
posted by zachlipton at 7:45 PM on September 26 [7 favorites]


Yes, please stay away from the Rhode Island (5th) accusation and cull it from the herd whenever someone raises it. It may very well be the 4 chan hoax that was talked about.

A very young egg account by a self-described hippie who literally urged the military to depose Trump in a coup? It's clueless even by alt-right standards.
posted by msalt at 7:47 PM on September 26 [3 favorites]


@zoetillman: [docs attached] The Senate Judiciary Committee just sent out a timeline describing how they responded to the allegations against #SCOTUS nominee Brett Kavanaugh. It appears to indicate they've been in touch with two men who believe they had the "encounter" with Christine Blasey Ford

What the hell?
posted by zachlipton at 7:56 PM on September 26 [17 favorites]


(1) Senate Judiciary Committee misspells "Kavanaugh"
(2) Referring to attempted gang rape as "the encounter"
(3) Falsely admitting to an attempted gang rape to own the libs
posted by Rust Moranis at 8:13 PM on September 26 [15 favorites]


What the hell?

Rape culture Spartacus.
posted by flabdablet at 8:13 PM on September 26 [10 favorites]


@zoetillman: [docs attached] The Senate Judiciary Committee just sent out a timeline describing how they responded to the allegations against #SCOTUS nominee Brett Kavanaugh. It appears to indicate they've been in touch with two men who believe they had the "encounter" with Christine Blasey Ford

What the hell?


Oh, you know how it goes. Eyewitness victim testimony unequivocally identifies the person who committed the crime and requests an investigation, so you falsely tell everybody that the police are not allowed to investigate and then secretly take it upon yourself to investigate without any oversight and without telling anyone how you're investigating, and then you get super lucky and happen upon someone who confesses to the whole thing because they really just want to clear up this case of mistaken identity and expose themselves as the real perpetrator. Totally normal.
posted by The World Famous at 8:13 PM on September 26 [40 favorites]


The bullshit to some of this seems obvious, but the end result is no less crazy: They're seriously going to try to confirm him because there are too many allegations against him.
posted by scaryblackdeath at 8:15 PM on September 26 [15 favorites]


McConnell’s staff are going scorched earth on Swetnick’s background too

Here is all they could find to attack her with:
- "Sexual harassment lawsuit" - yeah, but filed by her against an employer. Your point?

- "Restraining Order Filed Against Her By Her Ex-Boyfriend In FL" - yeah, but "Thirteen days later, the case was dismissed, not long after an affidavit of non-ability to advance fees was filed." Notice the sleazy wording -- it says he filed for a restraining order, but not that it was granted. Also, the only sources running this story are Politico, Daily Caller, Washington Examiner and National Review. Jonathan Swan pumped it on Twitter.

- "Defamation Suit Filed Against Her In OR" yeah by Webtrends after she left work there, but it was dismissed a month later, with prejudice and no settlement or fees. Webtrends paid court costs. Sounds like a typical meritless countersuit for negotiation purposes.

- "2 tax liens." OK. Your point?

- "6 Court Cases In MD" Obviously not significant or more details would have been given. Parking tickets? Small claims court? Appealed a zoning regulation? She filed a claim in a car accident?

Bottom line: she has passed several security clearance screenings during the time covered. Nothing here but a desperate personal attack, and an answer to why women often don't want to press charges.
posted by msalt at 8:17 PM on September 26 [88 favorites]


They can't back down. Their base will tolerate embrace racism, sexism, homophobia, pedophilia, rape, and treason... but not losing to the libs. And they will see withdrawing Kavanaugh as "establishment" Republicans caving in to the libs and will punish them for it.

It's insane but it's how they think.
posted by Justinian at 8:23 PM on September 26 [21 favorites]


Anyone in Vancouver next week should come to see Ruth Ben Ghiat at UBC, talking about Trump authoritarianism in a historical context at GC on Tuesday (her expertise is in Italian Fascism) and on Visualizing Fascism on Wednesday.

If you come on Tuesday we can chat over wine and cheese at the reception.

She's in the media often (as per her website). All previous mentions on MeFi have been courtesy of the same megathread superstar, so she comes well recommended.
posted by ipsative at 8:29 PM on September 26 [10 favorites]


The World Famous: Oh, you know how it goes. Eyewitness victim testimony unequivocally identifies the person who committed the crime and requests an investigation, so you falsely tell everybody that the police are not allowed to investigate and then secretly take it upon yourself to investigate without any oversight and without telling anyone how you're investigating, and then you get super lucky and happen upon someone who confesses to the whole thing because they really just want to clear up this case of mistaken identity and expose themselves as the real perpetrator. Totally normal.

It's easy to miss when you live in reality and already know they're bullshit artists, but yeah, it's fractally nonsensical. Exactly why wouldn't the "real" perpetrator just let Kavanaugh, who already looks incredibly guilty on a dozen other fronts, just take the blame for this? Plus: these are attackers plural, so that means Mike Judge also happens to have an evil twin, unless he himself makes a surprise trip to DC?

I guess the set of people paying attention is mostly the same as non-Trump-supporters, because they long-ago learned to tune out the news. But Jesus, this gambit has to induce massive cognitive dissonance in anyone trying to remain loyal to the Republican Party.

Not to mention that this overshadows that weird smear they had going about three years ago in these hearings, where they called Cory Booker "Spartacus"( for supposedly being over-eager to martyr himself for publicizing documents that had been de-classified or whatever since the early hours that day).
posted by InTheYear2017 at 8:35 PM on September 26 [3 favorites]


(SL Huffington Post) New York City Councilman Rory Lancman announced his bid for Queens district attorney Wednesday, making him the leading candidate to replace a seven-term incumbent who’s gone unchallenged since the governor appointed him in 1991.

Nearly two months after floating his candidacy, Lancman launched his campaign with a video railing against racial and class disparities in the justice system critics in New York’s geographically largest and most diverse borough say District Attorney Richard Brown, 86, inflamed with a heavy-handed prosecutorial approach. In the video, Lancman vows to “make it a priority to protect working people and immigrants preyed upon for their vulnerability.”
posted by Bella Donna at 8:58 PM on September 26 [6 favorites]


This is from way back in the thread, but I wanted to repeat for emphasis:

Our society massively underestimates how much bad shit happens to women and girls. And how much we've kept silent.

This, 100%. What Frowner, soren_lorenson and others have reported about their time in high school, the We Didn't Call It Rape article, all of it mirrors my experiences at a public, suburban, affluent, all-white school. The way boys treated me and others was deeply traumatic for me and made me wary of and resentful towards white high school and college aged boys for years. Even when I was still in high school and college. I no longer harbor those feelings about young men in their teens and twenties, mostly because I tend to think that younger men have generally gotten a little better with each new generation. However, I remain deeply distrustful of the Gen X men in my own age group, as it seems like so many of them are not much different from the people they were in high school - they've just learned how to hide it better.

Also, re: Avenatti, this reply to the Nate Silver tweet, which says (in part):

What people underrate about Avenatti is that he has a trust factor with women because of how hard he went to bat for Stormy Daniels...

There haven't been many other men who has been quite as loud, as aggressive, and as forceful an advocate as Michael Avenatti. Republicans have gone gloves off with their fight against women and the response from most Democratic men has been...underwhelming. It's the Democratic women who have had to step in the ring to fight for our rights. When I see a man who's willing to consistently and reliably step in there with us, I don't really care if he's doing it for self-promotion or whatever else. I'm just happy to find allies who seem as willing and ready to get in the ring and fight for women as they are to fight for a $15 minimum wage or universal healthcare.
posted by triggerfinger at 9:01 PM on September 26 [126 favorites]


Yeah, if Avenatti's loud or self-promoting or whatever, that is vastly outweighed for me by the fact that he's a) pretty damn truthful-- I have yet to see him make a factual claim he can't back up-- and b) he goes to bat hard for the women he represents.
posted by nonasuch at 9:21 PM on September 26 [24 favorites]


So let me see if I have this straight. Two men called up the Senate Judiciary Committee and admitted to, I guess, committing crimes (it's not clear what they said they did exactly) in a series of repeated interviews and written statements, crimes for which there may be no statute of limitations. The Republicans did not tell the Democratic staff, will not say who these people are, but released these anonymous claims on the eve of Ford's testimony.

Did they call the FBI or the police or something? Subpoena them to testify? Otherwise do anything remotely resembling dealing with this in a responsible way? Or did they just drop this tonight and not do anything as part of their effort to confuse the difference between well-vetted, researched accusations and people who are not credible?
posted by zachlipton at 9:24 PM on September 26 [36 favorites]


witchen: "Yep. I got a call from someone with Team USA when my friend from study abroad in college was preparing for Olympic trials. They asked follow-ups to every follow-up, i.e. "What would you do for fun, outside of class?" --> "Going out... you mean going out to bars?" --> "Did [friend] drink alcohol at bars?" --> "How often?" on and on for a while with these questions. And she didn't even qualify for the Olympics after all, but was subjected to this level of scrutiny."

Wait, I though the Olympics are strictly about higher, faster, farther when it comes to selecting athletes. Can the competitors be barred for "moral" or discretionary reasons?

oneswellfoop: "From NOW until Thursday morning at 9 AM, we need to send a NON-STOP flow of petitions signed by the American people to Senate Democrats to STOP THE WITCH HUNT AGAINST JUDGE KAVANAUGH"

The Cheeto and his minions are going to end up completely redefining the term "Witch Hunt".

ErisLordFreedom: "Current evidence says there's a pretty strong chance he's committed several felonies."

A whole rainbow of assorted felonies spanning several decades. A Bifröst of felonies if you will.


halation: "it might be a bit unusual for kids from Gaithersburg High to be at Prep parties or vice versa, because private and public schools in Maryland are in different sports conferences and don't necessarily have intersecting social circles for that reason. But Prep and Gaithersburg High are less than half an hour apart by car, and it's certainly possible that kids from the two schools would know each other socially just due to that proximity, or growing up together or attending elementary school together or meeting via other extracurriculars or at a concert or Beach Week or drinking in DC or any number of ways."

Or more pessimistically these girls were recruited/invited to these parties for the explicit purpose of being prey that predators wouldn't encounter socially.
posted by Mitheral at 9:26 PM on September 26 [32 favorites]


It appears to indicate they've been in touch with two men who believe they had the "encounter" with Christine Blasey Ford

It's the "Renate Alumni" thing all over again. Guys telling each other and you that they slept with you even though you say they didn't is, was, and always has been an act of aggression, dominance, and humiliation. this is that but one step further: guys telling you and the whole world they assaulted you and you don't even know it isn't just a transparent attempt at clearing Kavanaugh, it's symbolic violation. a highly particular attack on Ford in a way that is consistent with everything known about Kavanaugh and his friends.

part of the thrill of incapacitating and attacking women in groups is that you know who was there and what you did to her, but she doesn't know. they want to rewrite her history into that story, because it is their favorite story and they like to tell it nearly as much as they like to act it out. they are so furious, not just that she speaks, but that she knows. they really think they can take that away.
posted by queenofbithynia at 9:29 PM on September 26 [51 favorites]


ELECTIONS NEWS - pt. 2

** 2018 Senate:
-- WV: DSCC starting to cancel ad time here. Presumably they think this one is done.
** 2018 House:
-- NJ-03: Siena poll has Dem Kim up 49-39 on GOP incumbent MacArthur [MOE: +/- 4.8%]. [Trump 51-45 | Cook: Tossup]

-- NE-02: Siena poll has GOP incumbent Bacon up 51-42 on Dem Eastman [MOE: +/- 4.5%]. [Trump 48-46 | Cook: Lean R]

-- WA-08: Siena poll has Dem Schrier up 46-45 on GOPer Rossi [MOE: +/- 4.6%]. [Clinton 48-45 | Cook: Tossup]

-- MI-08: GQRR poll has Dem Slotkin up 47-43 on GOP incumbent Bishop [MOE: +/- 4.9%]. Poll was commissioned by the Slotkin campaign. [Trump 51-44 | Cook: Tossup]

-- VA-07: Normington Petts poll has Dem Spanberger tied 47-47 with GOP incumbent Brat [MOE: +/- 4.9%]. Poll was commissioned by the Spanberger campaign. [Trump 51-44 | Cook: Tossup]
posted by Chrysostom at 9:44 PM on September 26 [18 favorites]


This is what the economic and political elite in this country is like. They're showing us very clearly and publicly who and what they are, what they're like, and their complete and utter contempt for all the rest of us.

We have a referendum on these assholes coming up. Please vote!
posted by nangar at 9:49 PM on September 26 [25 favorites]


Brett Kavanaugh was a model youngster. Bart O’Kavanaugh was not. (Alexandra Petri, WaPo:)
Brett Kavanaugh did not go out much. He was a quiet, respectful lad. His only hobby — more of a passion than a hobby — was to update a meticulous calendar of all of his social outings in case he needed to consult it in 30 or more years. Sometimes, for fun, he would pay a respectful visit to one of 65 girls his own age, although this was but seldom, as he had a lot of homework and volunteer work and future leadership to do. For fun, he enjoyed reading only the Gallant sections of Goofus and Gallant comic strips and saying, “Golly, gee whiz!” in moments of heightened stress. He was a model youngster.

It is too bad that his live-in doppelganger, Bart O’Kavanaugh, was not. But perhaps that was the only way things could have been. Brett was so complete in his purity that he once healed a junior’s hangover with merely a touch of his hand. On the single occasion he attended a party, Brett turned the keg to water and gave everyone fish-and-loaf snacks.

Bart, meanwhile, seemed possessed of a more than human strength. There were certain odd facets to him that his friends tried not to call notice to: He only had a shadow sometimes. No one had ever seen his feet. When the class dove was confided to his care, it died immediately. Sometimes you would be startled to find him in the locker room, because the echoes of his voice there did not carry.

Bart was on the football team and the basketball team. It was nice having a doppelganger, because that way Bart could play football on Brett’s behalf and Brett did not have to worry about getting head injuries. It had been a good idea to summon him. Only having a shadow sometimes was a small price to pay.
It gets better.
posted by Johnny Wallflower at 10:05 PM on September 26 [50 favorites]


Silver:
Despite all the political news, our House and Senate forecasts have been very, very (frankly a bit boringly) steady for several weeks, with Dems continuing to hover at a ~80% chance of taking the House but the GOP with a ~70% chance of keeping the Senate.

Behind the scenes, there's a bit more going on. Democrats have generally gotten very good district-by-district polls for the past couple weeks. But the generic ballot has tightened just a teensy bit and Trump approval has improved a tick. Those changes have roughly cancelled out.
posted by Chrysostom at 10:11 PM on September 26 [8 favorites]


Or more pessimistically these girls were recruited/invited to these parties for the explicit purpose of being prey that predators wouldn't encounter socially.

Yep, this is a phenomenon. There's a word for the way such girls ar viewed: townies. I found a link that illustrates the dynamic, but it is too disturbing and triggering to post.
posted by Miko at 10:20 PM on September 26 [50 favorites]


That Petri article is very Goofus and Gallant.
posted by jenfullmoon at 10:31 PM on September 26 [5 favorites]


Plus: these are attackers plural, so that means Mike Judge also happens to have an evil twin, unless he himself makes a surprise trip to DC

I know their names are similar, so it's an easy mistake to make, but I'm gonna go ahead and presume that Mike Judge would extra, extra appreciate our not confusing him with Mark Judge.
posted by Rykey at 11:34 PM on September 26 [28 favorites]


In Trump's press conference line about #metoo, “I know friends that have had false charges. People want fame. They want money. They want whatever," reminds me about his "blood coming out of her wherever" slur. Which reinforces to me that when he says "people," he means "women." Women want fame, money, whatever. To him, women are all about taking things from his friends, rich men.
posted by xigxag at 12:24 AM on September 27 [17 favorites]


Dear young people, "Don't Vote" [YT]
posted by PenDevil at 1:23 AM on September 27 [11 favorites]


Relevant:

Eric Blankenstein, a senior Trump appointee responsible for enforcing laws against financial discrimination, once questioned in blog posts written under a pen name if using the n-word was inherently racist and claimed that the great majority of hate crimes were hoaxes, the Washington Post reports.

I dunno, who rolled these characters? Check the dice.
posted by petebest at 2:15 AM on September 27 [13 favorites]


So let me see if I have this straight. Two men called up the Senate Judiciary Committee and admitted to, I guess, committing crimes (it's not clear what they said they did exactly) in a series of repeated interviews and written statements, crimes for which there may be no statute of limitations.

It's better. Both men claim to be the one mistaken for Brett Kavanaugh. Neither wanted to be Mark Judge, I guess. The Republican staffers who "spoke by phone" with Bart number two, presumably breathless from sprinting back to Chuck Grassley with the good news, were also not named.

It's literally Spartacus-but-for-attempted-rape.
posted by petebest at 2:38 AM on September 27 [35 favorites]


After the midterms I'd like to start setting aside money for the eventual opponent of Mitch McConnell (R - Wolfram and Hart), who's up for reelection in 2020. Yeah, yeah, I know he's in a deep-red state, but he's not exactly a beloved figure there.
posted by duffell at 3:03 AM on September 27 [16 favorites]


Trump Gets 100 Countries to Sign On to His U.N. Drug War Plan, Ignoring Changing Thinking on Human Rights and Legalization

Why some U.S. allies didn’t sign up for Trump’s pledge to fight drugs


Ctrl+F Australia reveals nothing; New Zealand and most of Europe rejected it, though.
I'm wondering if Australia is one of the 100 countries. Under the current leadership and with its persistent Murdochian hard-right culture of governance, my guess would be yes.
posted by acb at 3:29 AM on September 27 [2 favorites]


I am sick to my stomach and also terrified of what's going to happen this morning.

We had to know all along that the Repubs wouldn't allow this to happen unless they could control the outcome. The fix has been in from the start, and they're wrapping this up on their terms with the bullshit veneer of transparency. (Of course everyone here knows FULL TRANSPARENCY means an investigation, dozen witnesses, not a show hearing but whatever.)

I can't believe the ace in these guys pockets is "no this guy(s) assaulted you instead! and he's admitting to it so clearly it was him." And the terrifying thing is...it might work. It might give the swing votes that super thin layer of "oh my goodness, how can we be sure she's not mistaking his identity?" How a sexual assault survivor could ever mistake anyone, ever, is just........!!!!!!

Also word association with Kavanaugh now just makes me think of barfing. Is there a way more people can associate this guy with Barf? I would like that.
posted by andruwjones26 at 4:20 AM on September 27 [5 favorites]


'This guy doesn’t know anything’: Michael Lewis, author of Moneyball and The Big Short, reveals how Trump’s bungled presidential transition set the template for his time in the White House (Guardian, longread.)

relevant pull quote "Seeing that Trump wasn’t listening to Christie, Bannon said: “What do you think Morning Joe will say if you shut down your transition?”
posted by The Whelk at 4:20 AM on September 27 [41 favorites]


That Lewis piece is something else. We knew it all already, of course, but it's always sobering to realize the absolute contempt Trump and his coterie hold for complex processes with complex and at-best satisficing options for responding to them on the table.

It's dispiriting, deflating, but in a way a goad to all of us who wish for our processes of self-determination to operate on higher and finer and wiser principles. We can do (much) better, we have in the past, and we must hope that we are able to do so again.
posted by adamgreenfield at 4:37 AM on September 27 [8 favorites]


From The Whelk's link:

Chris Christie was sitting on a sofa beside Trump when Pennsylvania was finally called. It was 1.35am, but that wasn’t the only reason the feeling in the room was odd. Mike Pence went to kiss his wife, Karen, and she turned away from him. “You got what you wanted, Mike,” she said. “Now leave me alone.” She wouldn’t so much as say hello to Trump.
posted by PenDevil at 4:37 AM on September 27 [84 favorites]


Yes. When you've lost Mother...
posted by adamgreenfield at 4:38 AM on September 27 [46 favorites]


There's a word for the way such girls are viewed: townies. I found a link that illustrates the dynamic, but it is too disturbing and triggering to post.

It may be my mind filling in the blanks, but I can remember first learning about the word, and dynamic, in a children's book set at a public (US: private) boarding school. May have been one of the Jennings (1950's), or Just William (1920's) ones. But even older than that it is essentially the continuation of droit du seigneur.
posted by Buntix at 4:41 AM on September 27 [13 favorites]


the thought that Mother thinks that she and Mikey are hell-bound is providing me some solace
posted by angrycat at 4:48 AM on September 27 [47 favorites]


From the Guardian article: This is an edited extract from The Fifth Risk by Michael Lewis, published by Penguin on 2 October.

Another book to add to your reading list.
posted by TWinbrook8 at 4:53 AM on September 27 [7 favorites]


Here's a delightful anecdote from the Lewis piece about Trump taking phone calls from foreign heads of state to congratulate him on the election:

... the president of Egypt called in to the switchboard at Trump Tower and somehow got the operator to put him straight through to Trump. “Trump was like ... I love the Bangles! You know that song Walk Like an Egyptian?” recalled one of his advisers on the scene.

[Apparently real.]
posted by sour cream at 4:58 AM on September 27 [52 favorites]


oh. way oh.
posted by mrjohnmuller at 5:07 AM on September 27 [44 favorites]


"The party boys call the Kremlin
And the Chinese know (oh way oh)"


The Bangles were hip to Huawei in 1986. Someone alert QAnon.
posted by snuffleupagus at 5:32 AM on September 27 [19 favorites]


How the Kavanaugh Nomination Has Intensified the Feminist Protest Movement
Emily Witt | New Yorker
We found a side exit and climbed some steps, and soon we were back beneath the Calder sculpture, where the remaining demonstrators had discovered that the Capitol Police would tolerate them standing silently with raised fists. I asked Flynn Walker if there would be protests on Thursday, when Blasey Ford and Kavanaugh are scheduled to testify to the Senate Judiciary Committee.

“We will be here en masse,” Flynn Walker said. “There will be thousands of people lining the halls, being quiet. It will be so quiet that a pin can drop. We’ll be surrounding the hearing room in a sign of support for Dr. Christine Blasey Ford, and we’re not going to protest. We’re going to let her words and his words stand. Until Friday. And then we’ll do something else.”
posted by Barack Spinoza at 5:40 AM on September 27 [63 favorites]


There's a word for the way such girls are viewed: townies. I found a link that illustrates the dynamic, but it is too disturbing and triggering to post.

It may be my mind filling in the blanks, but I can remember first learning about the word, and dynamic, in a children's book set at a public (US: private) boarding school. May have been one of the Jennings (1950's), or Just William (1920's) ones. But even older than that it is essentially the continuation of droit du seigneur.

I know this has been covered to death in the thread already, but I was a part of such a culture as a child. The rage I feel at the constant lies is... difficult. I went to a school similar to Kavanaugh's, in Virginia. My paternal family is descended from both Jeb Stuart and Robert E Lee. Country clubs, men's-only clubs, housekeepers, debutantes, cotillion, "does she come from a good family?", all of it. "New money" was a phrase I often heard used as an epithet during childhood. It's hard to convey the sense of "I have the absolute right to do x" that prep school kids of that milieu have. At least two of my fellow school alums killed people while driving drunk, as teens, and never served a day of jail time. At least one other alum raped a woman, in college, and was convicted of it. His punishment? He had to go to his second choice medical school. (He's now pioneering medical science for humans to live on other planets. I hope he's the first to go.)

I also went to beach week in the 1980s, but in Virginia Beach. I just wrote a whole bunch of stuff and edited it down to this ,because no matter the level of disgust I feel when I look at Kavanaugh and see every prep school frat boy rapist I have ever known, this is not my diary: 1) I never knowingly witnessed a train rape or a date rape, but I would be surprised if it WASN'T happening nearby. 2) The usual cliques and social rules were blown up at beach week. Prep school kids who wouldn't consider dating outside the federation of prep school assholes during the school year would certainly be f---ing everyone at beach week, no questions asked. Or names, often.
posted by ImproviseOrDie at 5:41 AM on September 27 [56 favorites]


Up north it was Senior Week, not Beach Week, but the same principle applied. I didn't get to witness criminal levels of sexual debauchery, nor can I substantiate many of the rumors of sexual promiscuity therein (though there were MANY), but I do know that one of my high school's collections of fine young men (the football star, the court holders, the usual big men on their little campus) managed to get their rental house busted for underage drinking five times in two days. The fourth bust in 48 hours is nature's way of telling you to slow down.

As for today's hearing, I fully expect Orrin Hatch to state that, yes, HE was actually the one who assaulted Ford and thus Kavanaugh's nomination should proceed without further delay.
posted by delfin at 5:52 AM on September 27 [4 favorites]


I think my initial unease about Avenatti's approach stemmed from thinking about this in terms of narrative. He's been a really strong voice against Trump and it's not just because he's an asshole, it's also because he's a storyteller, and that's powerful.

My fear was that the story he was telling about his Kavanaugh client would render her a nameless, faceless avatar of female exploitation and pain, using the shocking details to advance the plot of this story while exploiting her suffering as some kind of next-season cliffhanger.

It's a tired trope in fiction: The good guy is good because he stops the bad guy, who is bad because he hurts and exploits women in ways that are disgusting and unspeakable, except not really because they're going to be described (maybe a bit too enthusiastically?) in every obscene and explicit detail.

In real life, women's suffering is at the center of all of this. I was afraid that Avenatti's narrative would render women collateral damage in a fight between men, and I'm tired of that.

But I've changed my mind, really because of the comments of people here, about how his antics serve as a lightning rod to draw some of the abuse away from his clients. Of course, Julie Swetnick is no longer nameless and faceless, but in this climate it's understandable that she might want to remain such for as long as she could.

And though I hate tired tropes, they remain effective; they became tired tropes for a reason. What he's doing is effective. If Julie Swetnick is happy with his representation, then so am I.
posted by the turtle's teeth at 5:55 AM on September 27 [19 favorites]


“We will be here en masse,” Flynn Walker said. “There will be thousands of people lining the halls, being quiet. It will be so quiet that a pin can drop. We’ll be surrounding the hearing room in a sign of support for Dr. Christine Blasey Ford, and we’re not going to protest. We’re going to let her words and his words stand. Until Friday. And then we’ll do something else.”

Late yesterday afternoon I got an email that there were buses leaving from Portland ME at about 8 pm - three busses - and they knew it was short notice, but if anyone wanted to go to DC, the ride was free. Sleep on the bus, protest all day, sleep on the bus Thursday night, get home.

When I clicked the link, the buses were already full. 13 hours in on a bus each way. Five hours notice to leave. 216 women were willing to drop everything and stand up.

I really, really hope I get to see some photos today of tens of thousands of women standing on the steps of the capitol. I don't think anyone will take those photos. But I know, in my heart, that the women will be there. I would be there, had I opened my email a few minutes earlier.
posted by anastasiav at 5:5