"Indelible in the hippocampus is the laughter"—Dr. Christine Blasey Ford
September 28, 2018 2:39 PM   Subscribe

After a chaotic morning of anteroom discussions, the Senate Judiciary Committee voted 11-10 along party lines to recommend Judge Kavanaugh's nomination to the Supreme Court (Roll Call). Senators Flake (R-AZ) and Murkowski (R-AK) joined Democrats in calling for a one-week delay while the FBI investigates the nominee. But would it make a difference if the FBI were to investigate Kavanaugh allegations? (NPR) What happens now? An FBI investigation lasting up to one week, but the Senate will move forward with a vote on Saturday on the Motion to Proceed. Here’s where Kavanaugh’s sworn testimony was misleading or wrong (Washington Post); every time Ford and Kavanaugh dodged a question, in one chart (Vox); every time Kavanaugh mentioned beer; the most telling moment: Kavanaugh goes after Sen. Klobuchar (Washington Post)

• Before the vote, Maria Gallagher and Ana Maria Archila confronted Sen. Flake in an elevator for five minutes: "Don’t look away from me," Gallagher told him. "Look at me and tell me that it doesn’t matter what happened to me, that you will let people like that go into the highest court of the land and tell everyone what they can do to their bodies." Gallagher has never told anyone about her assault before and never expected to be describing it to a US Senator in an elevator to be broadcast on national TV. Her mother called after seeing it on cable. (Daily Beast)

• A federal judge just ruled (pdf) (highlights) that Congressional Democrats have standing to bring their Foreign Emoluments Clause lawsuit against Trump as the result of his business with foreign governments. (Washington Post)

'It Was All Going Surprisingly OK Until the Press Conference': On Wednesday afternoon, having been laughed at by the U.N. General Assembly and chastised at the Security Council, Trump held his second solo Presidential press conference. Top 5 revelations; 5 lies; 7 memorable moments; 10 most astonishing moments; 63 most outrageous lines.

• In assorted Trump-Russia developments on Capitol Hill, the House Democrats' efforts to force a vote on the Special Counsel Independence and Integrity Act to protect Robert Mueller was defeated on the floor Thursday (The Hill); the House Intelligence Committee voted unanimously to send dozens of interview transcripts from its investigation of Russia meddling in the 2016 U.S. elections to the Office of the Director of National Intelligence for declassification before they are released to the public. (Reuters); and the House Judiciary Committee issued a subpoena Thursday for former FBI deputy director Andrew McCabe’s memos and the supporting documents the FBI used in its FISA application on former Trump campaign adviser Carter Page. (Washington Post) Fusion GPS's Glenn Simpson rejected request from House Republicans for an interview, declaring the Republican-led investigation to be a "sham, factually, substantively and procedurally." Judiciary chair Goodlatte says he intends to issue a subpoena (Politico).

In Other Headlines:

• Michael Lewis revisits where it all began with Trump's transition in an excerpt from his upcoming book, The Fifth Riskp. ‘This Guy Doesn’t Know Anything’: The inside story of Trump’s shambolic transition team. "To which Trump replied: ''Fuck the law. I don’t give a fuck about the law. I want my fucking money.'' Bannon and Christie tried to explain that Trump couldn’t have both his money and a transition. ''Shut it down'', said Trump. ''Shut down the transition''."


Embattled Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein saw his scheduled meeting with Trump postponed at the last minute. Trump now says, "My preference would be to keep him." In the interim, Rosenstein will privately meet with House Republicans who wish to question him about his comments last year about wearing a "wire" at the White House and invoking the 25th Amendment.

White House press briefings fade amid Kavanaugh crisis (Politico), in which the White House Briefing Room sits unused, with just a single briefing since August 22nd. Sanders has recently pitched the idea of eliminating the cameras that show the press asking questions, considering just a single camera shot of the podium to avoid giving journalists screen time.

28,000 Public Servants Sought Student Loan Forgiveness. 96 Got It. (NY Times) as The Department Of Education Approved A Shockingly Low Number Of Federal Student Loan Forgiveness Applications (AboveTheLaw) and a GAO report found The Education Department has not provided enough guidance on the Public Service Loan Forgiveness program to borrowers or loan servicers (Inside Higher Ed). Should We All Calm Down About Rejected SLFP Applications? (Forbes blog)

• The Interior Department’s Bureau of Safety and Environmental Enforcement has finalized a proposal (PDF) to roll back major offshore-drilling safety regulations that were put in place after the Deepwater Horizon oil rig disaster as part of the Trump administration's efforts to ease restrictions on fossil fuel companies and encourage domestic energy production. (NYT) Secretary of the Interior Ryan Zinke says in a speech to the oil and gas industry: "our government should work for you" (Vox)

• A Russian-born Houston-based oil executive who gave hundreds of thousands of dollars to support Donald Trump's run for president in 2016 offered to brief a high-ranking Russian official during the final months of the campaign. (NBC)

• Trump administration, in a National Highway Traffic Safety Administration environmental impact statement (
PDF, sees a disastrous 7-degree rise in global temperatures by 2100 (Washington Post) To justify their decision to freeze federal fuel efficiency standards for cars and light trucks built after 2020, the impact statement says, "The impacts of the
Proposed Action and alternatives [...] would be small compared to the expected changes associated
with the emissions trajectories" on their climate change model.


• The Environmental Protection Agency is considering a reorganization that would merge the Office of Science Advisor and the Office of Science Policy, a step that critics say would diminish the role of scientists at the EPA (Bloomberg). The move comes one day after the EPA placed the (head of the Office of Children's Health Protection on paid administrative leave NYT). Dr. Etzel, a 30-year career employee, writes that she appears to be the "fall guy" in their plan to "disappear" the office. (BuzzFeed)

• The Administration's proposed new "Public Charge" rule would dramatically impact legal immigration by restricting low-income immigrants, barring immigrants from green cards based on the use of SNAP or Medicaid (Vox). Immigration lawyer Greg Siskind provides a detailed summary of the rule's provisions. The rule would require public charge bonds from some immigrants, which would add additional financial barriers.

• Alexandra Petri:
It is very difficult to get the train to stop


You can contact your senators at the Capitol Hill switchboard (202) 224-3121 or via FaxZero's free service. And remember to check your voter registration.


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. Many thanks to Doktor Zed, Box, the man of twists and turns, and tautological for their collaboration on this FPP.
posted by zachlipton (2376 comments total) 143 users marked this as a favorite
 
Flake gets to provide moral cover for his post-Congress move while still voting "yes" - I have to hand it to the old troll: I didn't see it coming.
posted by ryanshepard at 2:48 PM on September 28 [4 favorites]


[Folks, four days is A Bad Score. Let's try to keep the chatter/repetitive arguments/contextless reactions way down in this one.]
posted by restless_nomad (staff) at 2:50 PM on September 28 [63 favorites]


And a reminder for survivors of assault, RAINN is here to help.
posted by SecretAgentSockpuppet at 2:50 PM on September 28 [23 favorites]


From the lived fast, died young old thread: The Senate Judiciary Committee will request that the administration instruct the FBI to conduct a supplemental FBI background investigation with respect to the nomination of Judge Brett Kavanaugh to be an Associate Justice on the Supreme Court. The supplemental FBI background investigation would be limited to the current credible allegations against the nominee and must be completed no later than one week from today.

Wait wait. All they had to do all this time was ask?
posted by notyou at 2:51 PM on September 28 [8 favorites]


Just want to put in a plug for the MeFi politics Slack; we've been using it during periods of, erm, intense political activity? to post hot takes and tweets and screams and other stuff we shouldn't be putting in here.

This link should work but if it doesn't, MeMail zachlipton with your email for an invite.
posted by lalex at 2:59 PM on September 28 [37 favorites]




ocschwar in the previous thread asked: Are FBI agents even allowed to "limit" their scope?

If they find evidence of law breaking are they allowed to just look the other way?


I think the limit is on what they can initially investigate; anything they find along that path should be fair game, but they can't, say, dig into his finances on the solid chance there's a non-sexual crime there, or just generally speculate that he committed assault five years ago or something.

Of course, this is complicated by the stuff that's already out there publicly. If the scope has been "limited" in a way that keeps Swetnick's story on the other side of the line, how do they maintain that? Literally the whole country knows her affadvit's contents, so I'm not sure whether agents can can/can't pursue it, or conversely, can/can't choose to not pursue it. (I'm assuming for sake of pessimism that the White House will try to pre-emptively call Swetnick non-credible for purposes of this investigation.)
posted by InTheYear2017 at 3:08 PM on September 28 [1 favorite]


Some other stories with some bearing on the current US & international economic and political picture that are currently somewhat eclipsed by the confirmation include the SEC filing charges against Elon Musk over the "funding secured" tweet, news of an even more invasive Fancy Bear UEFI-based malware suite, an NYT report on election insecurity (from two days ago) and a bust of a weird Russian front company with links to Fidesz (in Hungary, for access to EU markets) that was acquiring strategically important coastline property in Finland (along with decommissioned military vessels) on money laundering charges. Meanwhile Orban's government has teamed up with Italy's Salvini to continue to deepen EU conflict over immigration, and is helping Putin squeeze Ukraine.


Talk continues regarding the possibility of an intervention in Venezuela (an October surprise?). Less attention is being paid to the increasing instability of the Guatamalan government as (Trump-aligned) President Morales resists the authority of its Supreme Court, as well as outside pressure for governmental reform. (Morales was educated at the University of Texas and used to be a television comedian.) Yesterday that Supreme Court ruled that the country's former intelligence chief had comitted genocide and crimes against humanity.

I'm sure there's more but that's what I've managed to take note of, and remember, amidst the whirlwind.
posted by snuffleupagus at 3:13 PM on September 28 [21 favorites]


Just a reminder that if you want to donate to Dem house candidates in overlooked, but increasingly competitive races where a small amount of $ can go a long way, consider the Great Slate! From the page:

Each of the candidates here is a first-time candidate with a credible path to victory, an enthusiastic team of volunteers running in a winnable district that has been neglected by the Democratic Party. These are the places where our support can flip a red seat blue!

In particular, J. D. Scholten is taking on troglodyte Steve King (the most openly white supremacist member of the house) in a race once written off as impossible.
posted by tarshish bound at 3:19 PM on September 28 [48 favorites]


Brett Kavanaugh Once Said Polygraphs Are A Good Tool. Now He Says They’re Unreliable.

Christine Blasey Ford, as part of her extensive effort to convince lawmakers she is telling the truth about her allegation that Supreme Court nominee Brett Kavanaugh sexually assaulted her when she was 15, voluntarily submitted to a polygraph exam in August. The results, released publicly on Wednesday, showed her answers were “not indicative of deception.” Polygraphs are extremely unreliable indicators of truthfulness — but they also happen to be a tool that Kavanaugh vouched for in one of his opinions on the U.S. Court of Appeals for the D.C. Circuit.
posted by Brian B. at 3:20 PM on September 28 [25 favorites]


I think the limit is on what they can initially investigate; anything they find along that path should be fair game, but they can't, say, dig into his finances on the solid chance there's a non-sexual crime there, or just generally speculate that he committed assault five years ago or something.

This is kind of an ad-hoc thing open to interpretation. Presumably if they find evidence of a crime, they will report that to the US Attorney they actually report to (or whoever else winds up running it in the DOJ). The US Attorney will choose what to do with it, including whether or not it should be reported to the Senate as a part of this "supplemental investigation," considering the intended limits.

I'm not sure whether a US Attorney would be compelled to turn over evidence of state crimes to a state official, or whether it's a judgment call. Someone should ask Preet.
posted by snuffleupagus at 3:22 PM on September 28 [2 favorites]


Harry Enten: Three polls out this week with Nelson up at least 2 in FL. That race may be moving towards the fundamentals.

Justinian: yessssss
posted by Justinian at 3:24 PM on September 28 [18 favorites]


One thing's for sure - this is gonna be a long and noisy week. They're still going to do everything they can to confirm him, but a lot can happen in a few days. I honestly don't expect much from the FBI unless their hand is forced, which may happen (say, via something from Avenatti.)

The one I don't expect to hear much more from is Ford, and she has earned the rest. She's done so much in the last few days to change things with regard to society's view of sexual assault.
posted by azpenguin at 3:25 PM on September 28 [35 favorites]


The Senate just passed the Motion to Proceed on Kavanaugh's nomination by a voice vote and stands in recess until Monday.

----

@ZoeTillman: The ABA's Standing Committee on the Federal Judiciary, which reviews and rates judicial nominees, sent a letter today to Grassley and Feinstein making clear they're separate from ABA leadership (re: the letter calling for an FBI investigation).

Some conservatives think even the ABA's ratings are too liberal (Ed Whelan has a cameo in there, and guess what, he's being racist), but the ABA has fiercely tried to insist they are non-partisan in their recommendations. They're clearly worried about salvaging that.
posted by zachlipton at 3:25 PM on September 28 [4 favorites]


just another normal day, with the Senate Judiciary Committee's official Twitter account posting editorials from Fox News
posted by murphy slaw at 3:40 PM on September 28 [15 favorites]


Listen all y'all, it's GOP triage! Main House SuperPAC is cutting or ending all funding in the following seats:
NJ-02 (open)
PA-05 (open)
PA-06 (open)
CA-49 (open)
CO-06 (Coffman)
IA-01 (Blum)
PA-07 (open)
PA-17 (Rothfus)
VA-10 (Comstock)
MI-08 (Bishop)
Some of those were obviously dead (Comstock), but others like Bishop are really surprising people:
If Rs are really abandoning their own incumbents in *Trump* districts like #IA01 & #MI08, you know it's getting ugly. Likeliest Dem gain now more like 25-40 seats.

If people like #MI08 Bishop (R) & #NJ03 MacArthur (R) really are trailing well outside the MoE in Trump seats, the parties may need to take a fresh look at a whole next tier of districts.
posted by Chrysostom at 3:43 PM on September 28 [67 favorites]


Many Mainers protested today in the small plaza across the street from Senator Susan Collins' Portland office, and most of us visited her office. Her staff was outright hostile, frazzled and unhelpful, the police arrived because there were concerned constituents lining up in the hallway outside her office, attests were offered but I don't think anyone got arrested. Many people filled out comment cards and or made statements.

I feel like my hair might spontaneously ignite. If this dishonest, corrupt, predatory, country club fratboy gets approved, it could happen. Should my head asplode, Sen. Collins' office would be a fine location.
posted by theora55 at 3:44 PM on September 28 [86 favorites]


Some of those were obviously dead (Comstock)

Which is why I looked askance at this WaPo story from a few days back: "In a swingy Virginia suburb, can Republican Barbara Comstock out-hustle a blue wave?"

It's like me writing a story called "can the Cleveland Browns win the Super Bowl with grit?" The answer is no. If Comstock were to win it would mean a truly brutal night for Democrats.
posted by Justinian at 3:55 PM on September 28 [9 favorites]


Holy crap, Alexandra Petri took my breath away with this paragraph:
The presumption is that the train will not stop. The presumption is that you will be a scream thrown on the tracks. That it will require a great many of you to be thrown onto the tracks before the train will grind to a halt. It can never be just the one; it must be several at once. Someday we will know the precise conversion. We will tell them: Do not bother unless there are 20 others like you, because the train will continue, and you will be crushed.
If you didn't read it when it was posted in the last thread, and you didn't read it when it was posted at the top of this thread, go read it now.
posted by fedward at 3:55 PM on September 28 [165 favorites]


Is it officially weird yet that Kavanaugh hasn't issued a statement on the FBI investigation? Wouldn't we expect at least a perfunctory "As I said in my hearing yesterday, I welcome the chance to clear my good name" by now?
posted by gerryblog at 4:15 PM on September 28 [9 favorites]


Is it officially weird yet that Kavanaugh hasn't issued a statement on the FBI investigation? Wouldn't we expect at least a perfunctory "As I said in my hearing yesterday, I welcome the chance to clear my good name" by now?

He did a couple hours ago, though I don't think it made it to any of these threads since it wasn't that interesting: "I’ve done everything [Senators] have requested and will continue to cooperate."
posted by zachlipton at 4:21 PM on September 28 [1 favorite]


I've been seeing/reading "X senators to watch" (AP for example) that now name drop Heidi Heitkamp (D-ND), who I haven't heard a lot of discussion about or from. I get it, Red State, tough re-election bid and such, but is she really one to truly worry about (like Manchin), or is it the case of if any one of Collins/Murkowski/Flake ultimately vote No, she will too?
posted by jpolorolu at 4:27 PM on September 28


Fire the writers.
posted by Rhaomi at 4:27 PM on September 28 [41 favorites]


I don't think any Democrat, even Manchin, wants to be the deciding vote (although if anyone would do it, it would be him).

If the GOP decides to confirm, I think people have long suspected Manchin and Heitkamp would vote yes as well.
posted by thefoxgod at 4:32 PM on September 28 [3 favorites]


Yes, the idea that votes are independent variables drives me a little batty. They aren't, especially around the inflection point
posted by Bovine Love at 4:35 PM on September 28 [5 favorites]


If he's seated we continue to hound our representatives to force the investigation to finish. He can still be forced off the court.
posted by odinsdream at 4:49 PM on September 28 [18 favorites]


That, and direct action. The court should be under constant protest.
posted by odinsdream at 4:49 PM on September 28 [22 favorites]


Democrats and moderate Republicans acting as cover for each other on Yes votes should not be cover for either.
posted by Artw at 4:52 PM on September 28 [21 favorites]


Anybody who votes YES on him is voting against the interests of at least half of their constituents.
posted by rhizome at 5:04 PM on September 28 [43 favorites]


A twitter thread on Richard Ojeda's account in which Chris Hayes apparently arranges a competition of physical strength and endurance between ex-Army Major and current candidate for Congress Richard Ojeda and ex-Titan and current lawyer and candidate for congress Colin Allred.

(Both Democrats. Ojeda's district is ruby, ruby red. Allred's is solidly establishment Republican but flipped like 20 points to go for Clinton.)
posted by Justinian at 5:04 PM on September 28 [5 favorites]


From the department of crossing timelines, guess who popped up in the middle of Sen. Flake's decision-making? Rod Rosenstein, who still has a job. Sen. Coons tells us that Flake wanted to speak to the FBI Director. And then Rod Rosenstein called him up for a private chat.
posted by zachlipton at 5:06 PM on September 28 [9 favorites]


I hope this isn't categorized as contextless chatter but I want to thank you all for the past two days (and more). It has been incredibly comforting to come into Metafilter for these posts. And a thanks to zacklipton for the work on this one :)
posted by bluesky43 at 5:10 PM on September 28 [79 favorites]


This is a great video from Ojeda running in West Virginia. I was blown away.
posted by bluesky43 at 5:13 PM on September 28 [7 favorites]


Holy crap, Alexandra Petri took my breath away

Dr. Ford: Even as she testified Thursday, Christine Blasey Ford kept apologizing. (“I’m sorry,” she said. “I can read fast!” she said. She was here to be “helpful,” she said.)

Such a powerful piece. and I know exactly how she feels.
posted by bluesky43 at 5:16 PM on September 28 [18 favorites]


That Kavanaugh hasn't withdrawn at this point shows all you need to know about his character.
posted by Max Power at 5:33 PM on September 28 [76 favorites]


Huh, that's interesting. Kavanaugh specifically says he did not drink *beer* to the point of blacking out. Well, then what *did* he drink, to the point of passing out?
posted by nat at 5:34 PM on September 28 [24 favorites]


Please take the time to check here and in the last thread before posting. Duplicates waste everyone’s time.
posted by greermahoney at 5:35 PM on September 28 [6 favorites]


The National Museum of American History apologizes for its National Drink Beer Day tweet, noting that it was not "sensitively timed."
posted by jgirl at 5:41 PM on September 28 [18 favorites]


[It's been an extremely intense couple of days for the mods, please do your very best to check for doubles, and try to avoid live-blogging, riffing, look-what-this-asshole-said, rehashing old fights, etc. We're all as emotionally wrung out from the actual politics of the last couple days as you all are, but we've also been dealing with insane volume in the politics threads and a lot of difficult behavior from stressed users. Please just take a second to think twice before posting, and think about how you're impacting other users (esp. survivors of sexual assault); this has been an extremely difficult couple days for a whole lot of people.]
posted by Eyebrows McGee (staff) at 5:42 PM on September 28 [143 favorites]


I'm sure this has been mentioned above, but to reiterate: Quite apart from any evidence from anyone else, and purely on his statement to the committee on Thursday, if that was an audition for the job on the Supreme Court, then he failed. A person like that, a person who merely resembles that should not be in that position.
posted by Grangousier at 5:42 PM on September 28 [67 favorites]


That Kavanaugh hasn't withdrawn at this point shows all you need to know about his character.

He knows he’s a lock to be approved, come hell or high water. The Republicans showed us ages ago that character doesn’t mean squat so long as you do the party’s bidding.
posted by Thorzdad at 5:44 PM on September 28 [8 favorites]


The resistance to Donald Trump is not what you think (Other National Treasure Sarah Kendzior, Globe & Mail)
There is not, and has never been, a unified, hierarchical resistance in the United States – nor should there be. There are simply millions of Americans who know they deserve better. It is less a resistance than an insistence that privileged impunity will no longer stand. If there is a unifying theme, it is against corruption – a rallying cry for white-collar crime to finally be punished, a repudiation of policies that steal from the poor to line the pockets of predators. There are those who rage at senators who wish to promote a man repeatedly accused of sexual assault to the highest court in the country. That is not normal, and the resistance – regular people who ask for simple checks and balances on power – won’t stop fighting against it.

In the Trump era, fundamental American values – a government of, by and for the people; a republic with liberty and justice for all – have been redefined as radical demands. As I wrote in this newspaper in March, 2017, “What is now called resisting is often Americans simply helping others: a concept so alien to the Trump administration that it is labelled as subversive.” Little has changed since then except the scope of the problems. Questions that would have once seemed hyperbolic or absurd – is America becoming an autocracy, a theocracy, a Russian proxy state? – are now reasonable.

But the cavalcade of crises and lack of unilateral leadership has led some to label the resistance – and by extension, the Democrats – as disorganized or failing. This characterization is odd given the scale of political participation since Mr. Trump took power. Both 2017 and 2018 were marked by massive nationwide demonstrations: women’s rights in January, gun control in March, immigrant and refugee rights in June. Protesters numbered in the millions, more than during the Vietnam War, yet their efforts often did not make the front pages of American papers. The year 2018 was also marked by special elections and primaries with record-high turnout, with some districts Mr. Trump won now voting Democrat.

There is a sense that the midterms mark the end of something – maybe Mr. Trump’s unchecked domination over American political life; maybe the American experiment itself. The fact that we don’t know which imbues every day with as much heaviness as hope.
posted by Johnny Wallflower at 5:46 PM on September 28 [92 favorites]




Justinian: "Ojeda's district is ruby, ruby red."

Cook has it as Lean R, though. We've seen some contradictory polling, but Ojeda is clearly going to make it much, much closer than Hillary did.
posted by Chrysostom at 6:05 PM on September 28 [8 favorites]




This is dropped for reference because questions about this come up in hearings:

The Chair is the seniormost member of the Majority - Chuck Grassley R-IA
The Ranking Member is the seniormost member of the Minority - Dianne Feinstein D-CA

Hearings start with the Chair First, then Ranking Member
After that, questions alternate by party and ordered by seniority

The Judiciary Committee page lists all senators by seniority.
posted by fluttering hellfire at 6:14 PM on September 28 [7 favorites]


How Republicans Stole #MeToo: They're speaking the movement's language, but in defense of Brett Kavanaugh.
But it would be inaccurate to say, if Kavanaugh is confirmed, that Ford was thwarted by naked partisan interests alone. The most sinister part of yesterday’s hearing was the sight of Republicans insisting they did believe she had been assaulted, just not by Kavanaugh. (As Kavanaugh himself put it, “I’m not questioning that Dr. Ford may have been sexually assaulted by some person in some place at some time.”) One of the central premises of the #MeToo movement had been accepted and absorbed, but in such a way that its impact was neutered. Indeed, the saga of Kavanaugh saw the appropriation of several #MeToo tropes in the service of defending the accused, muddying the distinction between victim and perpetrator, the powerful and the powerless.
posted by homunculus at 6:14 PM on September 28 [16 favorites]


Speaking of sexual assault, this was agreed on in previous threads: please do not type out the most graphic and vivid details in thread. Bloodless facts like names and dates are fine.
posted by Rainbo Vagrant at 6:17 PM on September 28 [21 favorites]


NYT: Anita Hill to Christine Blasey Ford: ‘Don’t Do Anything That Will Dehumanize You’

From Professor Hill's talk in Houston today

Now a law professor at Brandeis University, Professor Hill spoke in measured terms, almost in a monotone. Dispassionately, she built a case against Judge Kavanaugh, based on the testimony Dr. Blasey had presented in Washington. She insisted that she had tried to keep an open mind while watching Dr. Blasey and Judge Kavanaugh, “but at the end of the day, I certainly believed her.”

“I was struck by the doctor’s openness to say how terrified she was to be there and talk about something that had had a profound impact, and knowing there would be hostility,” she said. “I was also impressed by how calm she was, how careful she was and how it affected her.”

As for Judge Kavanaugh, she noted that he had projected “anger, a lot of aggression.”

“No female candidate for a Supreme Court position would ever have the license” to speak with such irritation and fury, she said. “We still don’t allow women to cry or to be angry.”

posted by bluesky43 at 6:20 PM on September 28 [89 favorites]


Speaking of sexual assault, this was agreed on in previous threads: please do not type out the most graphic and vivid details in thread. Bloodless facts like names and dates are fine.

It's been a week. I should have put this in the FPP, but the LA Times has a helpful (and newly paywall-free) resource guide: If Christine Blasey Ford's testimony stirred up painful memories, here's where you can get help.

You can also help support RAINN if you're able to do so.
posted by zachlipton at 6:31 PM on September 28 [12 favorites]


The US government will keep the lights on until early December, CNBC reports: Trump Signs Spending Bill to Avoid Government Shutdown, Despite Frustrations Over Border Wall Funding
President Donald Trump on Friday signed a spending bill that will avert a government shutdown despite previously calling the measure "ridiculous" because it did not include funding for a wall along the southern border.

There had been some doubts about whether the president would sign the bill, raising the specter that funding for the government would lapse as early as Monday. But Trump tamped down on concerns from top Republicans in recent weeks, pledging that he would "keep the government open."

In a statement announcing that he signed the bill, the president said he "secured additional funding for border security" and claimed $1.6 billion would go toward building the border barrier. Trump also again made the unsubstantiated claim that Democrats "want drugs and crime to pour into our country."
Just last week, @realDonaldTrump was tweeting, "I want to know, where is the money for Border Security and the WALL in this ridiculous Spending Bill, and where will it come from after the Midterms?"
posted by Doktor Zed at 6:35 PM on September 28 [6 favorites]


It would be something if we took back the Senate and he never got to build his damn wall.
posted by Anticipation Of A New Lover's Arrival, The at 6:40 PM on September 28 [13 favorites]


The backstory (BuzzFeed) on Jeff Flake's (R-AZ) decision to ensure a week-long FBI investigation seems to involve true across-the-aisles friendship. Alan He and Ellen Uchimiya (CBS) interviewed Flake's close friend Chris Coons (D-De) about the day:
"My chief counsel [?] had written a long set of Senate remarks for me to give this morning. They were somewhat sharp. And you know, she was very, very upset by yesterday --- and I read it over and I looked at her and I said, 'Is this a speech to my friend, Jeff Flake? Or is this a speech to my caucus and history?' And we sort of looked it over and talked and she said, "Yeah, that's a speech to your caucus and to history." I said, I'm not giving up --- I'm persuading several senators."
You can watch Coons' full speech at C-span (2:24:30), and also see Flake (immediately after Coons finishes his remarks) give up his speaking slot and then leave the room, requesting Coons join him.

As the two leave the room, a barrage of camera clicks drowned out the words of the next speaker, Mike Crapo (R-ID), as he patiently explains to the Democrats why an FBI investigation would be so abnormal.
posted by pjenks at 6:43 PM on September 28 [41 favorites]


In reference to how much time and emotional labor is required to keep these threads running, may I suggest that for the couple of people wondering where money could be useful, I'm betting mefi could use some help paying for the ice surrounding the server what supports this never-ending meltdown of political mayhem.
posted by SecretAgentSockpuppet at 6:53 PM on September 28 [42 favorites]


It would be something if we took back the Senate and he never got to build his damn wall.

That’s what has to happen.
posted by AwkwardPause at 7:08 PM on September 28 [6 favorites]


ELECTIONS NEWS

** 2018 Senate:
-- FL: Florida Chamber of Commerce poll has Dem incumbent Nelson up 48-46 on GOPer Scott [MOE: +/- 4.4%].

-- MT: Benenson poll has Dem incumbent Tester up 50-43 on GOPer Rosendale [MOE: +/- 3.1%].

-- TX: Why the 538 model thinks Beto's got a shot.
** 2018 House:
-- The CLF, one of the main GOP House SuperPACs, announced it is cutting all spending in CO-06 and MI-08, as they start the process of triaging doomed districts. Election Twitter reaction was basically, "Whoa, that tier of districts is *required* if the GOP is going to hold onto the House."

-- MI-08: Public Opinion Strategies poll has GOP incumbent Bishop up 45-43 on Dem Slotkin [MOE: +/- 4.9%]. Poll was commissioned by the Bishop campaign. [Trump 51-44 | Cook: Tossup] => Bishop pushed this out today, presumably in reaction the CLF move above. There hasn't been any recent public polling - a Slotkin internal had her up a few points - but Siena is in the field right now. The DCCC recently pulled their spending, too, so the higher ups seem to be in agreement for now.

-- AZ-08: Lake Research poll has GOP incumbent Lesko up 48-44 on Dem Tipirneni [MOE: +/- 4.9%]. Poll was commissioned by the Tipirneni campaign. [Trump 58-37 | Cook: Solid R]

-- CA-22: Survey USA poll has GOP incumbent Nunes up 55-41 on Dem Janz [MOE: +/- 5.7%]. [Trump 52-43 | Cook: Solid R]

-- MT-AL: Same Benenson poll has GOP incumbent Gianforte up 46-45 on Dem Williams. [Trump 57-36 | Cook: Lean R]

-- NH-01: American Research Group poll has Dem Pappas up 55-33 on EdwardsGOP incumbent Sununu up 49-44 on Dem Kelly [MOE: +/- 5.0%]. [Trump 48-47 | Cook: Likely D]

-- NH-02: American Research Group poll has Dem Kuster up 54-27 on GOPer Negron [MOE: +/- 5.0%]. [Clinton 49-46 | Cook: Solid D]
** Odds & ends:
-- FL gov: Same FL Chamber poll has Dem Gillum up 48-42 on GOPer DeSantis. [Cook: Tossup] | Downballot: Ag Comm: Dem Fried up 42-37 on GOPer Calwell. AG: Dem Shaw up 35-33 on GOPer Moody. CFO: Dem Ring tied 38-38 with GOP incumbent Patronis.

-- AK gov: Alaska Survey Research poll has GOPer Dunleavy at 44%, Dem Begich at 29%, and independent incumbent Walker at 23% [MOE: +/- 4.4%]. [Cook: Lean R] => This is a bigger lead for Dunleavy than other polling has shown, but it sure looks like either Begich or Walker need to drop out and endorse the other.

-- MD gov: Mason-Dixon poll has GOP incumbent Hogan up 52-37 on Dem Jealous [MOE: +/- 4.0%]. [Cook: Likely R]

-- OK gov: Right Strategy Group poll has GOPer Stitt up 47-43 on Dem Edmondson [MOE: +/- 3.0%]. RSG is not a 538-rated pollster, but this is pretty consistent with other polling. [Cook: Likely R]

-- NH gov: Same American Research Group poll has GOP incumbent Sununu up 49-44 on Dem Kelly [MOE: +/- 3.5%]. [Cook: Likely R]

-- MI initiatives: EPIC/MRA poll has Initiative 1 (recreational pot) up 56-41; Initiative 2 (anti-gerrymandering) up 48-32, and Initiative 3 (various voting reforms) up 70-24 [MOE: +/- 4.0%].
posted by Chrysostom at 7:14 PM on September 28 [32 favorites]


One thing I think underappreciated about the delay is that it give Senators on the fence another week to look at polling. Kavanaugh favorables started low and have been dropping. If they crater after yesterday's hearing, that gives political cover to vote No.
posted by Chrysostom at 7:18 PM on September 28 [52 favorites]


Also, just on the 2020 front - pretty much everyone seems to think Klobuchar was fabulous yesterday and today. She's also incredibly popular in Minnesota - she won 85 or 87 counties, and will be re-elected by 25 points or so.

This observer has long been pushing Gillibrand-Klobuchar, but swapping that is fine, too.
posted by Chrysostom at 7:21 PM on September 28 [42 favorites]


In response to concerns that one week would not be enough for the FBI, Lawfare analyst Susan Hennessey tweets:
Having chatted with a few FBI current and formers, they actually seem to agree that with enough manpower this is something that can reasonably be done in a week. It seems crazy but this is what the FBI does, and does well, every single day, in far more complex situations than this one.
posted by Jpfed at 7:31 PM on September 28 [32 favorites]


-- MD gov: Mason-Dixon poll has GOP incumbent Hogan up 52-37 on Dem Jealous [MOE: +/- 4.0%]. [Cook: Likely R]

Yeah, things aren't looking good for Jealous. I put the blame partially on his campaign--he was doing a good job at drumming up enthusiasm until the primaries, after which he just sort of stopped--but mostly on the rich white men who make up the Dem establishment here, who find Jealous too "radical" (and, undoubtedly, too black) to back him. To make matters worse, Hogan has been careful throughout his incumbency not to do anything too shockingly awful. Of course, who knows what he'll do in a second term once the restraining bolts come off. He'll probably sell the entire city of Baltimore to developers.
posted by Faint of Butt at 7:34 PM on September 28 [3 favorites]


I think Klobuchar missed an opening when Kavanaugh threw her question back at her. (Easy to armchair quarterback, I know.) When she asked if he every forget even part of an evening drinking, he said, "I don't know, have you?" And I get why that was stunning, with her dad and all.

It would have been nice if she said, "You don't know if you forget things while drinking? So you forget whether you forget things while you're drinking and often vomiting?"

A lot of Dems had missed opportunities. Kamala Harris seemed to freeze there at the end, letting him filibuster and then fizzling. Durbin and Corey Booker were the only ones who seemed sufficiently sharp out of the ten. It also struck me that almost all of Kavanaugh's angry outburts were directed at the women senators.
posted by msalt at 7:37 PM on September 28 [16 favorites]


The Pernicious Double Standards Around Brett Kavanaugh’s Drinking: Thursday’s Senate hearing served as a reminder of the blithe impunity afforded to those privileged enough to have whole systems invested in their success.
There’s been a lot of talk about double standards this week—rightfully so—and here is one more: the assumption that alcohol is one thing for men and another for women. The allegations against Kavanaugh brought by Deborah Ramirez, who has been doubted on the grounds that, at the party in question, she too had been drinking. Steubenville. Amber Wyatt. “Alcohol is not an excuse,” the young woman raped by Brock Turner wrote in her victim-impact statement, responding to Turner’s claim that drinking had impaired her decision-making capabilities as well as his. (Turner received six months in prison, a meager sentence that was justified, the judge claimed, because Turner had also lost his swimming scholarship to Stanford as a consequence of his crime.) The quiet tragedy lingering near the loud one was that, in the claim, she was seen to be making an argument rather than stating the obvious.

Women cannot afford to assume that the world will keep them safe, or give them the benefit of the doubt. Nor can the many others who do not enjoy the protective embrace of a place invested in their futures: Trayvon Martin was posthumously denigrated, in the effort to defend George Zimmerman’s killing of him, for being that most common of things: a young man who experimented with weed. The Dallas Police Department, in investigating the killing of Botham Jean in his own home at the hands of an armed police officer, recently reported that marijuana had been found in Jean’s home, as if its presence had any bearing on his slaughter. Substances that alter the mind, certainly, can be just that—temporary escapes from a wearying world, offering lightness and fun and relief—but their affordances are unevenly distributed in a way that mimics so many other systemic inequalities. For those who lack the privileges enjoyed by people like Brett Kavanaugh, the escapes themselves can also be profound liabilities.

This is possibly why, for Brett Kavanaugh, alcohol seems to be not just a matter of identity, but also a point of pride. He seems to understand, on some level—and to revel in the fact—that the ability to drink to such excess is a reflection of his status. Earlier this week, Slate’s Lili Loofbourow described Kavanaugh’s now-infamous yearbook entries as suggesting a kind of Omertà: “If you deny wrongdoing as a united front,” she wrote, “you’ll get away with it.” The Beach Week Ralph Club, the Keg-City Club (“100 Kegs or Bust”), the “Rehobeth Police Fan Club” (one gathers the insinuation)—those can be read as extensions of all that. They might have been silly jokes jotted in a yearbook that no one took seriously; they are also the braggadocio of young guys who knew they were being naughty, and knew just as well that they would get away with all the naughtiness. Boundaries tested and crossed at the same time. The pride of easy impunity.
posted by homunculus at 7:38 PM on September 28 [60 favorites]


Banner f'n week at the ol' Trump White House.

[Katelyn Polantz, CNN] Judge allows Dems' lawsuit against Trump over foreign payments to his businesses to proceed
Sen. Richard Blumenthal, D-Connecticut, and the other members allege in the lawsuit that the President is violating the emoluments clause of the Constitution by not seeking their approval for his businesses to accept payments from foreign governments.

Ruling on the President's motion to dismiss the lawsuit, District Judge Emmet Sullivan held that the Democrats have standing to proceed on their complaint, holding that they properly alleged they suffered an injury for not being able to vote on the President's perceived receipt of payments from foreign governments.

The Democratic members of Congress' "well-pleaded complaint alleges that the President has accepted prohibited foreign emoluments without first seeking the consent of Congress," Judge Sullivan wrote. "The alleged injury is therefore directly traceable to the President's alleged failure to seek Congressional consent."
posted by Xyanthilous P. Harrierstick at 7:40 PM on September 28 [28 favorites]


Your daily reminder for Sunday, the 29th of September, 2018: Paul Manafort is in jail. Bill Cosby is in jail. Harvey Weinstein is under indictment. Les Moonves is out of a job, and very probably a pension. TANGO DOWN, as they say.
posted by adamgreenfield at 8:02 PM on September 28 [113 favorites]


Trump administration, in a National Highway Traffic Safety Administration environmental impact statement (PDF), sees a disastrous 7-degree rise in global temperatures by 2100 (Washington Post) To justify their decision to freeze federal fuel efficiency standards for cars and light trucks built after 2020, the impact statement says, "The impacts of the Proposed Action and alternatives [...] would be small compared to the expected changes associated with the emissions trajectories" on their climate change model.

"We're already fucked, so why bother making people's lives a bit better in the meantime? It's not like car companies are already invested in reducing emissions (CNBC) that will help cities and states meet federal air quality standards and decrease the number of people who die prematurely (Union of Concerned Scientists)." [Fake, but it's real to me.]

This is another case of the Trump administration making things "better" for businesses but apparently without consulting those businesses they claim to be helping. R&D moves slowly, slower than GOP bureaucrats who want us all rolling coal as a fuck you to the conservative enviro-hippies in their Priuses, so to freeze standards means companies could scrap their investments in improved fuel efficiencies, or keep working on their investments and roll out new models.

Oh, and it's not only Tesla who will be rolling out new electronic cars -- Audi, Jaguar, BMW, Porsche, Mercedes-Benz and Chevrolet have new models coming out soon-to-now. Oil giant Shell leads investment in startup with ‘Electric Cars for Everyone’ goal for charging tech, and Saudi Arabia Is Looking To Invest In A New Electric Car Company. Again, the Trump administration is supporting the wrong side of history that is actively being written.
posted by filthy light thief at 8:17 PM on September 28 [22 favorites]


"CNN Newsroom’s Brooke Baldwin ended her Friday afternoon program with a monologue, giving voice to survivors of sexual assault sharing their truth in the wake of Christine Blasey Ford’s testimony against Brett Kavanaugh."
Content warning: sexual assault
posted by nicebookrack at 9:04 PM on September 28 [10 favorites]


Oh, and it's not only Tesla who will be rolling out new electronic cars -- Audi, Jaguar, BMW, Porsche, Mercedes-Benz and Chevrolet have new models coming out soon-to-now. Oil giant Shell leads investment in startup with ‘Electric Cars for Everyone’ goal for charging tech, and Saudi Arabia Is Looking To Invest In A New Electric Car Company. Again, the Trump administration is supporting the wrong side of history that is actively being written.
posted by filthy light thief at 12:17 PM on September 29 [2 favorites +] [!]

Well, that is simple flt, we just make the charging stations coal powered.
posted by SecretAgentSockpuppet at 12:28 PM on September 29 [+] [!]


The more they centralize production, and the more they build out a higher-voltage grid, and the more energy demand moves from direct fossil fuel burning to electrical demand, where any input is viable input (your car can burn solar, wind, nuclear, natural gas, whatever), the easier it is to crowd out the bad fuel sources over time. The smart grid and decentralized storage are just a matter of time now.

Trump and the Republicans could so easily build a new energy aristocracy that would dwarf the coal and oil lobby in the next generation. This could have saved the Republicans from irrelevance in 20 years. They could have chosen that. Nope. Not enough foresight to look past their own nose.
posted by saysthis at 9:11 PM on September 28 [39 favorites]


@11thHour: BREAKING: The @LATimes reports FBI agents are expanding their Kavanaugh investigation beyond Blasey Ford's allegation seeking to immediately interview another woman.
posted by joedan at 9:53 PM on September 28 [124 favorites]


It is likely that they are referring to Avenatti and Swetnick.

The people I very much hope the FBI interviews are one of Ford's friends who appeared on (I think) Cuomo's show and also the other woman (girl at the time) that Ford put at the house when she was assaulted. I believe that she has publicly said, not that it didn't happen as the GOP always claims, but that she doesn't remember that particular get together. However, Ford's friend made comments live on camera implying that the woman in question does remember the event but couldn't bear the public scrutiny she would have received had she confirmed it, and that she furthermore apologized for this to Ford in either a text or email after Ford went public.

It struck me at the time that this was not information Ford's friend was supposed to reveal publicly. She made some mention of, I believe, "health problems" complicating this woman's situation. But you can't put the genie back in the bottle and while I'm sorry for whatever is going on with her the FBI has a job to do and it is a pivotal moment for the country. People always have the right not to speak to the FBI but the attempt should at least be made.
posted by Justinian at 10:16 PM on September 28 [12 favorites]


That didn’t take long.

As the nominee well knows, these things can go in unexpected directions.
posted by notyou at 10:16 PM on September 28 [10 favorites]


I hope Kavanaugh s wife and daughters are safe. That was the face of a woman who has seen that rage before. I keep replaying in my head kavs
scrunched up, red , screaming face, and I know what comes after that when nobody is watching.

No woman deserves to be the focus of that irrational rage. I mean, he went full Alex Jones in a Senate hearing on national television, and then got egged on by cruel, soulless bastards, making Kav even more secure in the righteousness of his entitlement.

If I were somewhere with friends and someone's husband behaved like that, I would pull her aside and ask if she needed an exit strategy. When men get to that spittle flecked anger, I feel they are a threat to everyone, but especially to those with no defenses. That's the kind of guy who punches down.

Kavanaugh scared me before Dr. Ford and others shared their stories, but after yesterday, he terrifies me. He is the joyful inquisitor, he relishes the suffering of others. You could see his cruelty in open session.
posted by SecretAgentSockpuppet at 11:02 PM on September 28 [147 favorites]


Avenatti is on a mission to save the Republic, a true patriot.

- He went to bat for Stormy Daniels, willing to put his reputation on the line to uncover a great crime against the Republic and prevent a grave injustice being committed on an honest sex-worker. He didn't just go to bat, he swung for the fences, and went yard! (Yes, the Bo-Sawx are having an epic year, don't judge my metaphors!)
- He is a Gen-X master-class in pure and perfect White Hat trolling. He says things calculated to make the enemies of the Republic squirm and writhe and reveal more than they should, and make them look baaaad while doing it. When called out for bullshitting, it turns out he actually does have his ducks in a row, and then he takes the opportunity to sneer at the enemies of Democracy for making him show it.
- He announced his candidacy for President as a way to shame the Democratic Party into actually encouraging their best and brightest to get up off the bench for 2020 while antagonizing the President by mocking his entry in politics. Dude's based out of LA, he knows how to put on a show.
- Is proud of his heritage as the scion of immigrants. Anyone who follows the great Italian Diaspora knows the nasty, vile slander heaped upon them for not knowing the language and wanting a better life for themselves and especially their children. Sixteen million Italians left Italy for a better life between the American Civil War and WWI, most to the United States. The entire population of Syria, today, is 18 million. Migrant crisis? #basta!
- He is up at the plate again, for an honest woman wronged by the Elite, with a runner at third, and the Republicans have terrible middle-relief.
posted by Slap*Happy at 11:02 PM on September 28 [83 favorites]


I hope Kavanaugh s wife and daughters are safe. That was the face of a woman who has seen that rage before. I keep replaying in my head kavs
scrunched up, red , screaming face, and I know what comes after that when nobody is watching.


Right?? That temper tantrum should have disqualified him right there. He clearly can't handle the public scrutiny that comes with the supreme court job. Lindsay Graham was also disgusting.

I don't think those men realize the number of people who visibly recoiled watching that testimony. We were idly chatting about it at work today and one of my co-workers who was walking by chipped in with "no way that man should be in charge of anything, he probably beats his wife. And his dog. And I bet he likes beer. Probably had some before the hearing". No-one disagreed.
posted by fshgrl at 11:22 PM on September 28 [56 favorites]




Since PSLF was mentioned, I want to once again encourage everyone who thinks they might be eligible to read the NYAG's guide to the basics of eligibility (not NY-specific). It doesn't cover every single possible scenario but it identifies many of the ways you could end up not qualifying, and explains how to get started determining how many qualifying payments you've made.

Additionally, if you've gotten bad information from your servicer in the past about your PSLF eligibility, please complain to the CFPB (it won't always be like this) and your local state AG. They can't generally fix your individual situation, but investigations depend on resident complaints.
posted by praemunire at 11:41 PM on September 28 [3 favorites]


Politico has an insider account of the Kavanaugh delay: Scenes from Jeff Flake's Supreme Court Rebellion
In Susan Collins' third-floor office in the Capitol [on Thursday night], she and her Republican colleagues Jeff Flake of Arizona, Lisa Murkowski of Alaska — joined by Democrat Joe Manchin of West Virginia — agreed they had the power to make or break Kavanaugh. And without settling on precise details, they decided to use their leverage to insist on a process that would allow them to reach a comfort level with Kavanaugh, rather than to kill his Supreme Court nomination outright, according to two people familiar with the meeting.[...]

Immediately after Flake’s public turnabout, liberals who have led the anti-Kavanaugh campaign were evidently worried that they’d fallen into a trap after some Democrats endorsed the investigation.

“The White House can define the FBI investigation,” Sen. Richard Blumenthal (D-Conn.) said. “They can control the investigation.”

But Sen. Amy Klobuchar (D-Minn.) said that Flake, Collins and Murkowski would have their own effective leverage over any FBI process that they believed was incomplete in investigating Kavanaugh.

“It’s better than where we were before,” Klobuchar said. “I’ll just leave it at that.”
Politico buries this nugget in its narrative of Flake's simmering demurral: "Republicans fear more allegations may surface in the coming days."

The NYT offers some Oval Office snippets from Thursday: A Tumultuous 24 Hours: How Jeff Flake Delayed a Vote on Kavanaugh
President Trump, aides said, believed [Christine Blasey Ford] was persuasive and informed the aides that he believed the judge’s confirmation was in jeopardy. Maybe, he said, the F.B.I. should spend a week to investigate the accusations as Democrats were demanding.

Some of the aides pushed back on Mr. Trump, including the White House counsel, Donald F. McGahn II, who saw the investigation as a delay tactic cooked up by the Democrats to give them more time to dig up dirt on Judge Kavanaugh.
Trump's West Virginia rally tonight should tell us how confident he is in the survival odds on Flake's nomination—and how much he'll use it as leverage, one way or another, in midterm campaigning.
posted by Doktor Zed at 2:34 AM on September 29 [11 favorites]


We know Trump views the world through a TV lens. He also cares about appearances a lot.

And one thing Trump is good at: distancing himself from people who (in his opinion) look like losers.

Kavanaugh was embarrassing, and I don’t think it played well for Trump, no matter what the WH leaks said. I think he’s starting to distance himself and move on. My prediction: Kavanaugh will be Lindsey Graham’s humiliation meatloaf by the end of the week.
posted by rainydayfilms at 2:59 AM on September 29 [11 favorites]


So now we read that Mark Judge is willing to cooperate with the FBI.
I can't fully get a grip on the alternatives he may be facing and the leverage the FBI would be able to apply. What would telling the truth imply for him in negative and positive outcomes? What would staying with his version ("I don't recall") mean for him?
posted by Namlit at 3:15 AM on September 29 [5 favorites]


The most face-saving thing for all involved would be for Trump to fire Bart-O and reference the fussbudget snotflinging tantrum he threw on TV the other day. He reverses himself constantly on who is or isn't a golden child, and surely there's another venal asshole he can find and toss on the court to support the notion that the president is above the law. All he has to do is say that reports that he was riveted to the testimony Thursday were inaccurate; he was briefed on the judge's remarks but he was superbusy POTUSing and didn't have a chance to really watch until later, whereupon he discovered that the man's demeanor shocked and appalled him. Or, to put it Trumpily, "I didn't like that he cried." Maybe throw in "like a dog."

I think it's entirely possible that Judge and Kavanaugh legitimately don't recall the event. It wouldn't have taken more than a few moments to play out, and it would have had no memorable effects on them. Nothing happened to them. But just in case, I hope they push and push and push on Judge to see if he's still sensitive anywhere. There's the encounter in the Safeway where he looked uncomfortable, and there's his ex-girlfriend's testimony that he confessed to feeling guilty about rapes he participated in. Maybe buried in him somewhere is some shame.
posted by Don Pepino at 3:45 AM on September 29 [24 favorites]


Mary Pflum and Brandy Zadrozny, WaPo:

Keg-parties and assaults: Women from Catholic high schools in Washington area break 'culture of silence'
A dozen women who attended Catholic and private prep schools in the Montgomery County area in the 1980s spoke to NBC News this week, seven of them on the record. The women — most of whom signed an open letter saying they believed Ford’s allegation, and all but two of whom did not know her or Kavanaugh personally — shared their memories of kegs, bonfires and unsupervised beach houses where heavy drinking fueled sexually inappropriate comments and behavior and attacks that were never spoken of afterward.
...
One woman, who graduated from an all-girls school just south of Georgetown Prep the same year as Kavanaugh graduated, said she was 15 the night she was at one of those parties and lost track of her friends. She was alone with four boys and she was raped, she said, but she didn’t call it that until many years later.


“I don’t think I walked away knowing I’d been raped,” said the woman, who asked not to be identified out of fear that sharing her story could affect her professionally. After the assault, the woman said she sneaked back into her home through the window she had left from hours earlier.

“I walked away being ashamed,” she said. “Why would you tell? Who would have listened?”"
posted by OnceUponATime at 4:11 AM on September 29 [73 favorites]


In a discussion at the end of the last thread about impeachment vs removal from office, someone noted that a total of 45 Senators had voted for Bill Clinton's removal from office. I was pretty young when that was all going down, and it occurred to me that to this day I had no idea who had actually voted for it, so I looked it up. In case anyone else is curious, here are a few of the names that came up: Mike Crapo. Chuck Grassley. Orrin Hatch. John McCain. Mitch McConnell. Jeff Sessions. All VOTED that THE PRESIDENT needed to be REMOVED FROM OFFICE for lying about sexual indiscretions.
posted by robotdevil at 4:53 AM on September 29 [129 favorites]


I am as happy as I can be about the situation, failing his nom dying in committee and given that Kavanaugh being put on a rocket and launched into space and being replaced by Merrick Garland is off the table.

Kavanaugh, I'm choosing to imagine, is right now in a hell of his own making. I'm not advocating empathy for the man; nay, on the contrary, I am enjoying the thought he feels shredded from the inside out, that he feels the walls of the lie of his life falling down and is shocked, utterly shocked that such a thing could happen to him, given his credentials. I also wish he didn't have a wife and kids around to deal with the fallout, but for me, I hope for this next week, I hope that every second feels like an hour to Kavanaugh. I hope that the nomination falls through and when it does, he feels like a failure every moment of his life from that point forward. That he knows nothing but torment until either his life ends or he becomes a different and better person.

Huh, I guess I don't really like this guy Kavanaugh.
posted by angrycat at 5:23 AM on September 29 [65 favorites]


also, anecdotally, a friend of a friend roomed with somebody at Yale as an undergrad who had gone to Georgetown Prep, who, according to this friend of a friend, was trying to repent for something that had happened in high school and whatever had happened --I mean, he could be the traumatizer or the victim, who knows--had really messed him up. The idea of a college kid trying to acknowledge his past misdeeds--that's super sympathetic. While Kavanaugh has built a life without challenging whatever fucked up shit happened in high school, or at least insisting that he doesn't need to account for it publically, all the while becoming one of the most powerful men in the country. That's super unsympathetic.
posted by angrycat at 5:30 AM on September 29 [20 favorites]


“They have been pleading for the humanity of the accused, while presiding over the most brutal carceral system in the entire world. "I'm gonna remember this," Graham told Democrats on the Committee. The sense of affront is palpable.” This Is War
posted by The Whelk at 5:31 AM on September 29 [18 favorites]


There's the encounter in the Safeway where he looked uncomfortable, and there's his ex-girlfriend's testimony that he confessed to feeling guilty about rapes he participated in. Maybe buried in him somewhere is some shame.

It's probably not a coincidence that the summer of 82 seems to be when Judge became a full on alcoholic. His shame might have pushed him over the edge.
posted by duoshao at 5:39 AM on September 29 [6 favorites]


...that he feels the walls of the lie of his life falling down and is shocked, utterly shocked that such a thing could happen to him, given his credentials.

And, as it seems 2018 apparently still hasn't quite burned every last drop of optimism from me, I do have a slight hope that if he does get nicked for this, then the investigation will also find, implicate, and jail all his friends who were involved.

Possibly even setting a precedent for other years and other schools to be similarly investigated. A blow not just to his credentials, but a nuke dropped on the credentialing system itself. Because it needs nuked.

Trump hasn't really changed the the Republican political ecosystem (they were who they were before), but he has punctuated the equilibrium, so massive change is all but inevitable. Making sure it's in the right direction will be the most significant war (indeed) in human history.
posted by Buntix at 5:45 AM on September 29 [19 favorites]


It would have been nice if she said, "You don't know if you forget things while drinking? So you forget whether you forget things while you're drinking and often vomiting?"

What drives me nuts about all that is, he's admitted to not recalling circumstances of drinking, gambling and losing his shit then he's in his 30s.

“Apologies to all for missing Friday [...] and growing aggressive after blowing still another game of dice (don’t recall). Reminders to everyone to be very, very vigilant w/r/t confidentiality on all issues and all fronts, including with spouses.”

He may not be blacked out when doing this; there are also things called brownouts and greyouts that come from heavy drinking, and they involve forgetting various percentages of what went on. There are a lot of people on Twitter diagnosing him with the disease of alcoholism, and none of us really know. But the way he throws out forgetting as a sort of convenience with that parenthetical "don't recall"? He sounds like every abusive drunk I've ever known. Forgetting is not always a negative consequence for them; it's part of their toolbox to deal with the shitty way they treat others. Use of recreational substances does not stop you from being a decent person, maybe even a good judge. But this guy is writing about hiding stuff from his spouse and he's compartmentalized his behavior even to himself. He seems to believe the bullshit he's talking. To me, those are not the thought processes of a judge.
posted by BibiRose at 6:03 AM on September 29 [43 favorites]


In the midst of this well-intentioned article, there's an idea I've seen popping up all over the place that does not sit well with me:

"What separates a pretty-good-but-flawed-dude from a Kavanaugh is owning up to one's transgressions and examining one's privilege." (GQ, Marian Bull, How to Talk to the Women in Your Life Right Now)

What separates a pretty-good-but-flawed dude from a Kavanaugh is sexual assault. You don't get to be a pretty good guy and assault women, no matter how much remorse you may later feel. The man who assaulted me has expressed remorse. Whoopdeedoo for him. It does not change the fact that I will live with PTSD for the rest of my life, or the fact that he made a choice to treat another human being as an object. A man who has committed sexual assault is not just the sum of his current choices, the ones that make him feel better about himself, but of his lifetime of choices. 
posted by ruetheday at 6:17 AM on September 29 [110 favorites]


Hope this is ok to post here. I made a metatalk post inviting our community to support survivors of sexual assault.
posted by CMcG at 6:29 AM on September 29 [21 favorites]


Kavanaugh, I'm choosing to imagine, is right now in a hell of his own making. I'm not advocating empathy for the man; nay, on the contrary, I am enjoying the thought he feels shredded from the inside out, that he feels the walls of the lie of his life falling down and is shocked, utterly shocked that such a thing could happen to him, given his credentials

This is why, after the news about the expanded scope of the supplemental investigation, I wouldn't be that surprised if Monday sees Kavanaugh withdrawing from nomination.
posted by snuffleupagus at 6:30 AM on September 29 [7 favorites]


“They have been pleading for the humanity of the accused, while presiding over the most brutal carceral system in the entire world. "I'm gonna remember this," Graham told Democrats on the Committee. The sense of affront is palpable.” This Is War
Honestly, I'm just not here for the lefty-dude "rape culture is really all about class" bullshit right now. I can't do it. Y'all deal with your own prep school rapists first, and then maybe I'll listen to you about this. Just kidding: I still probably won't want to hear it. But it's been less than a year since alleged prep-school rapist Emmett Rensin was ousted as chair of my local DSA chapter, and I am not yet convinced that the left is particularly better than the right on this one.
posted by ArbitraryAndCapricious at 6:43 AM on September 29 [51 favorites]


It’s about class but it’s also blatantly about MEN. Upper class women don’t rape in droves. Blaming class exclusively is just another way to not examine one’s own privilege, to shift the fight from sexism as a whole to classism as a whole because it’s a more comfortable fight for leftist men.

I am pretty damned done, honestly. The old boy’s club is a vile and criminal institution that is working hard to protect itself. Don’t be fooled, however, into thinking that they are the root of the problem and not just the ones that can best get away with it because of their power.
posted by lydhre at 6:55 AM on September 29 [57 favorites]


I found a clip of that Amy Klobuchar statement I thought was so great, about the stakes of this nomination in terms of the rule of law. Highly recommended, particularly the beginning. The Kavanaugh scandal is deeply related to Trump's own scandals.
posted by OnceUponATime at 7:04 AM on September 29 [12 favorites]


In case anyone else is curious, here are a few of the names that came up: Mike Crapo. Chuck Grassley. Orrin Hatch. John McCain. Mitch McConnell. Jeff Sessions. All VOTED that THE PRESIDENT needed to be REMOVED FROM OFFICE for lying about sexual indiscretions.

Here's the thing though: they didn't. Not really. They all voted that the Democratic president be removed from office for being a Democrat.

We need to stop acting like pointing out Republican hypocrisy is some sort of gotcha. They know, they know that we know, and they think it's adorable that we think they should be ashamed of it.
posted by showbiz_liz at 7:04 AM on September 29 [152 favorites]


I’m so grateful to all the women who have come before me, who made it possible for my own rape to be reported to my university, investigated properly, and for my assailant to be sanctioned. I keep seeing all the stuff going on around Kavanaugh and thinking, “if my assault hadn’t been reported, that could have been my assailant in 20 years.”

Christine Blasey didn’t have the benefit of being able to report and be taken seriously when she was 15. Last year, I did. Many, many women have contributed to the change that made that possible.
posted by ocherdraco at 7:19 AM on September 29 [147 favorites]


Buntix: "I do have a slight hope that if he does get nicked for this, then the investigation will also find, implicate, and jail all his friends who were involved.

Possibly even setting a precedent for other years and other schools to be similarly investigated. A blow not just to his credentials, but a nuke dropped on the credentialing system itself. Because it needs nuked.
"

I'm reminded of this bit in The Wire "You follow drugs, you get drug addicts and drug dealers. But you start to follow the money, and you don't know where the fuck it's gonna take you. " I really can't see the establishment giving free reign to anyone to follow the threads on this to the end or even the middle.
posted by Mitheral at 7:25 AM on September 29 [26 favorites]


This is incredibly old news in this past century of seven days, but Philip Bump (WaPost) wrote about Kavanaugh's friend "Squi" two days ago. A few key facts:
  1. Squi appears 13 times in Kavanaugh's Summer 1982 calendar, including in the infamous "skis at PJ's" July 1 entry.
  2. Squi is the dude Ed Whelan fingered as the doppelgänger/"real rapist" last week. This was confirmed by Kavanaugh's identification of him during testimony, and by his identification (as "Squee") in the yearbook.
  3. Ford testified that she knew Kavanaugh because she "went out" with Squi for about two months, in the time prior to the assault.
  4. Kavanaugh claimed in testimony: he “may” have met Ford but that they “did not travel in the same social circle” and that “she was not a friend, not someone I knew.”
As Bump writes, "[Republican prosecutor] Mitchell’s apparent role was to undercut Ford’s story. By linking Ford to Squi, she may have helped undercut Kavanaugh’s."

We did talk about Josh Marshall's take of a "clumsy coverup" in the last thread. Not only did Kavanaugh clearly lie when he said that Ford was "not someone I knew", but it seems likely, and there is pretty strong circumstantial evidence, that he is the source for Whelan's doppelgänger theory. Marshall writes that, if pursued, this could indicate "real evidence of Kavanaugh’s consciousness of guilt".

Unfortunately, I think it's unlikely the "limited" FBI investigation, which Rosenstein predicted "was unlikely to unearth much more than was already known," will address this issue.

The only discussion I could find of Squi in the prior thread was this comment by InTheYear2017.
posted by pjenks at 7:26 AM on September 29 [23 favorites]


The only difference class makes is how many women, belonging to who, a man feels entitled to.

I am not yet convinced that the left is particularly better than the right on this one.

I think the left is better in almost exact proportion to how many less men it has, and I do not think this is an accident.

There’s this thing I’ve noticed in the aftermath of every big cultural moment around rape and misogyny, and it only happens after the dust has settled and the needle has moved, if ever so slightly, in the direction of “not everything is terrible all of the time.” When the new conventional wisdom has solidified on the left, and there is broader agreement about who was right and who was wrong in the previous dust up.

It’s this particular grimace. This expression you see on lefty men when previous said dust up gets brought up in the light of the new conventional wisdom, and it’s the face of having to swallow your feelings. I swear to God you can almost see the “yeah, but” get caught in the back of their mouths at the last minute, where they’ve got no choice but to actually swallow it. And they hate it. Everyone hates it! Swallowing your feelings is the fucking worst! But they haven’t been training for it since like fucking birth so they suck at it, and they have no stamina, and so they eventually blow.

My favorite were the delayed Cat Person blow ups, but the delayed Kavanaugh blow ups are going to be...less amusing.
posted by schadenfrau at 7:27 AM on September 29 [50 favorites]


We need to stop acting like pointing out Republican hypocrisy is some sort of gotcha. They know, they know that we know, and they think it's adorable that we think they should be ashamed of it.

Absolutely agree that they don't care but absolutely think we need to keep pointing it out. I'm not pointing it out to change their behavior or shame them – they're despicable and impossible to change or shame – I point it out for the few sane Rs, independents, and perhaps uninformed Ds. Same as when I refute some RWNJ friend's false post on Facebook I'm not trying to change their mind, I'm writing for the sane audience that will see it and be informed and perhaps persuaded. Elections are won on the margins and sure a lot of it will not make a difference but we don't need huge numbers, we need small percentages to get 50.1%.
posted by chris24 at 7:33 AM on September 29 [27 favorites]


I am not yet convinced that the left is particularly better than the right on this one.

We can retread the "are liberals leftists" and "why is there rape culture" over and over again, but however much the Democrats need to get their own house in order, at least in terms of not stealing women's bodily autonomy as a matter of policy, what passes for "the left" in this country is particularly better than the right on this one, and we have daily documentary proof.

[on preview, I'd also guess that it has something to do with having a lot more women involved]
posted by aspersioncast at 7:36 AM on September 29 [22 favorites]


TPM's analysis makes more sense read alongside that Philip Bump story. Hopefully those inconsistencies are on the FBI's to-do list.

If Kavanaugh concludes the FBI will report he was "untruthful" or even "misleading" (to borrow the milquetoast language used about Trump's lies), fast forward to the next Class President mea culpa about how he was just trying to spare everyone the trouble and will now be going back to the D.C. Circuit to continue chipping away at regulation and access to the courts, thanks very much.

I am not yet convinced that the left is particularly better than the right on this one.

I think it depends how you mean that. Shitty men are everywhere, and certainly being economically left is no inoculation against misogyny. However, we are hopefully getting to the point that you can't call yourself "socially liberal" or "progressive" while dismissing violence against women, or upholding the traditionally toxic aspects of male socialization as somehow virtuous.
posted by snuffleupagus at 7:44 AM on September 29 [7 favorites]


The cruelty of Trump (and us, America) continues:
@Pass_Blue Breaking: From a UN source this AM: a message from the staff union announcing that the us mission will no longer give g4 visas to same sex unmarried couples. Possible backlash?

@pass_blue: Here is the note from #UN on new rules (AUTO-DOWNLOAD DOCX) via @StateDept & G4 visas for domestic partners:
"As of 1 Oct, same-sex domestic partners accompanying or seeking to join newly arrived UN officials must provide proof of marriage to be eligible for a G-4 visa" #UNGA
This received quite a bit of circulation yesterday when re-tweeted by Samantha Power (former UN Ambassador under Obama), but I haven't seen any articles written yet.

edit: link to UN document was broken... this Google link is from 13Sept
posted by pjenks at 7:47 AM on September 29 [13 favorites]


Brett Kavanaugh’s Former Roommate Describes Their Debauched Dorm at Yale

Posted by a high school friend who went to Yale and lived in Lawrance Hall some years earlier than Kavanaugh. I was impressed that a guy came on her thread and apologized for being a jerk back then, although it doesn't sound as though he did anything as bad as Kavanaugh is accused of doing.
posted by maggiemaggie at 7:48 AM on September 29 [16 favorites]


I’m so grateful to all the women who have come before me, who made it possible for my own rape to be reported to my university, investigated properly, and for my assailant to be sanctioned. I keep seeing all the stuff going on around Kavanaugh and thinking, “if my assault hadn’t been reported, that could have been my assailant in 20 years.”

The great irony of this is that if Kavanaugh had been prosecuted when he did the sexual assault it wouldn't be an issue now for his supreme court confirmation because he would have been a young offender.
posted by srboisvert at 7:49 AM on September 29 [3 favorites]


We can retread the "are liberals leftists" and "why is there rape culture" over and over again, but however much the Democrats need to get their own house in order, at least in terms of not stealing women's bodily autonomy as a matter of policy, what passes for "the left" in this country is particularly better than the right on this one, and we have daily documentary proof.
That link did not go to a Democrat. It went to the Patreon of the kind of leftist dude who probably still insists that he didn't vote for Hillary because the lesser of two evils is still evil and blah, blah, blah neoliberalism. The kind of dude who would be happy to explain in detail why my bodily autonomy is a side issue, a distraction from the Real Issues of Class Struggle. I am reeeeaaaaallll familiar with that kind of dude, and I had the misfortune of being the admin girl (usage intentional) for an organization full of them when I was in my early 20s. They weren't any better. They in fact shared a lot of the same entitlements and assumptions about women as assholes like Kavanaugh. Maybe they're currently being dragged into being better, which is fab. But I still don't want to hear them pontificate about how The Real Issue is Class Struggle.
posted by ArbitraryAndCapricious at 7:50 AM on September 29 [63 favorites]


Marcy Wheeler (emptywheel) lays out a compelling case that The Record Supports Christine Blasey Ford. She argues that Kavanaugh's testimony seems to corroborate Doctor Blasey Ford's version of events.

Her description of the quality of his testimony pulls no punches:
His statement was delivered shrilly, with an angry red face, just short of screaming. Coming after hours of testimony he was sometimes a violent drunk, Kavanaugh looked during his statement like the drunk you avoid in the parking lot of a bar, because it’s just not worthwhile human interaction. I don’t rule out him drinking while watching Ford’s testimony, nor did others.

In short, Kavanaugh looked like a guy who could not manage rage, just as numerous witnesses had described him being as as a drunk. [...]
Kavanaugh is just like so many other men we've all met who have next to zero emotional regulation skills. He's never had to practice that when it counts and so couldn't even hold it together for a few hours--it's disqualifying on its face.

Similarly, her recounting of Mitchell's questioning of him shows how even the most cursory question about the activities of July 1, 1982 were so damaging that Lindsey* threw a screaming tantrum rather than have Kavanaugh answer their hand-picked prosecutor's questions.
Shortly thereafter, she turned to his calendar, getting him to confirm that he wrote everything in there. In her next round, Mitchell’s first questions were about the July 1 entry. After filibustering about the earlier workout session (about which he wasn’t asked), Kavanaugh admitted that the entry showed he got together at Tim Gaudet’s — with Mark Judge and PJ Smith — and Chris Garrett, whose nickname is Squi.

In other words, Kavanaugh confirmed he was at a small gathering with the boys Ford said were there, as well as the guy who had introduced her to these boys.

Durbin’s questioning followed, after which Lindsey Graham took over questioning from Mitchell and went on a tear, calling it an unethical sham. Having gotten Kavanaugh to identify a get-together that matched Ford’s description, Mitchell was done questioning for the day.

Effectively, the GOP hired a prosecutor to question a victim, but decided the alleged perpetrator could not withstand the same prosecutor’s questions as soon as she had him identify a get-together that resembled the one described by Ford.
Seriously, check out Marcy's piece--I think she's laid out the case that needs to be investigated and made to stop this corrupt nomination.

*Lindsey Graham is one of biggest chickenshit disappointments in the history of the Republic. Hes's thrown away every intelligent and principled thing he did to stand against Trump in 2016. He's intelligent enough to know better, but does not care.
posted by Excommunicated Cardinal at 7:50 AM on September 29 [82 favorites]


We need to stop acting like pointing out Republican hypocrisy is some sort of gotcha. They know, they know that we know, and they thi

I don’t point these things out for them. I point them out for us. For me, every last bit of this shit adds fuel to my fire. It’s hard to keep up the fight and recognizing things like these galvanizes me and helps me to focus in the face of multifaceted garbage and a cloud of rage.
posted by robotdevil at 7:53 AM on September 29 [32 favorites]


As of 1 Oct, same-sex domestic partners accompanying or seeking to join newly arrived UN officials must provide proof of marriage to be eligible for a G-4 visa

What is this point of this useless cruelty? Also, the fucking UN headquarters is in New York City, why do these assholes keep trying to defund, discredit, frustrate and undermine the institution that most plainly acknowledges the (rapidly atrophying) US hegemony in international relations? (Except, of course, when we need permission for some military adventure.)

I look forward to the UN's announcement of its pilot Social Attache internship program, though its nepotism in hiring only the same-sex domestic partners of UN officials will be truly lamentable.
posted by snuffleupagus at 7:54 AM on September 29 [13 favorites]


He may not be blacked out when doing this; there are also things called brownouts and greyouts that come from heavy drinking, and they involve forgetting various percentages of what went on.

Oh, that's a fantastic point! He could be lawyering "black out" the way Clinton lawyered "is."

Also, that's exactly the way that works: you think you remember the night complete until you encounter another person with a fuller recollection. During my almost-died semester of learning to drink like a human being and not like an unhinged wild animal, I remember somebody asking me whether I remembered falling down the night before, and some ve-e-ery hazy memory of stumbling over a Purple Porpoise chair and becoming acquainted with the Purple Porpoise floor floated up. It would not have had nobody said anything. I would not have remembered falling down in front of a ton of people had nobody reminded me, so how, if two boys didn't remember 7 minutes spent chasing someone upstairs and then laughing and jumping on top of her and "horsing around" and if nobody downstairs said anything the next day, as why would they, why would they even have noticed, it's not like this took a long time or would have seemed unusual to anyone not in the room, how would either of them have remembered it? They wouldn't.

All you need is a skoash more self-confidence than I, an 18-year-old female person had upon being told something I had done but that I didn't remember doing the night before, to overlook, in the instant after somebody reminds you, "haw, you were wasted, remember you threw a six-pack of beer at the cops" that the single most important part of that utterance is the word "remember," and that you don't.

If your culture is one where being president of the keg club is a point of pride and you're meant to do epic shit while drunk to prove your epicness and you find out the next day that you, whatever, puked, fell in the bathtub while trying to take your pants off for a pissing contest, took all of your roommate's stuff out of your shared suite in the dorm and put it on the lawn threw all the pool furniture into the pool, or whatever highschoolshitfacedboy heroics you performed, you will likely remember the fact that you did the epic thing and not the fact that you forgot that you did the epic thing. Because you're 17 years old, male, white, and rich, and your peers, your parents, your school, your community, your future school, all your future employers, your country, the world, God, everybody and every institution you know all think giving you the liberty to drink like a unhinged wild animal at 17 is fine.
posted by Don Pepino at 7:59 AM on September 29 [45 favorites]


The Michael Lewis article is horrifying, almost sentence-by-sentence. The worst part for me, though, is the last paragraph on the USDA, and how Trump's appointees have no idea of its scope or mission. This is obvious every day as tariffs and immigration restrictions and food stamp cutbacks have harmed not only the intended targets (our trade partners, persecuted people and impoverished people) but inevitably to anyone who thinks about it for even a second, our farmers. And right now the Farm Bill is about to expire.

The Farm Bill is important. Every state can get money to deal with its most urgent agricultural problems. I get Farm Bill funding every year, but it's a lot of paperwork for (in my case) a negligible amount of funding, and I don't do it for that. I do it because it's given to solve important problems, and as a public servant, that's what I'm supposed to do. Also, with my regular funding, it's easy to buy equipment but hard to hire people. With Farm Bill money I can train student interns. In these nightmare times, the thing that gives me the greatest sense of accomplishment is teaching young people how to do science, and the Farm Bill allows me to let them help solve urgent agricultural problems. I hope the general public knows enough about the Farm Bill to demand its support, but I don't think they do.
posted by acrasis at 8:05 AM on September 29 [48 favorites]


the House Intelligence Committee voted unanimously to send dozens of interview transcripts from its investigation of Russia meddling in the 2016 U.S. elections to the Office of the Director of National Intelligence for declassification before they are released to the public. (Reuters)

Further to this, Daily Beast reports: House Intel GOP Withholds Rohrabacher and Wasserman Schultz’s Russia Probe Transcripts
Two sources told The Daily Beast on Friday morning that Democrats on the House Intelligence Committee wanted their GOP colleagues to disclose an account given to the panel by Dana Rohrabacher (R-CA), who is considered the Republican legislator closest to the Kremlin.

“The Republicans are trying to conceal from the voters their colleague Dana Rohrabacher’s Russia investigation testimony,” said a committee source familiar with the issue. “There were highly concerning contacts between Rohrabacher and Russians during the campaign that the public should hear about.”

As well, two sources said the Republicans denied release of an interview given to them by Florida Democrat Debbie Wasserman Schultz, who chaired the Democratic National Committee in 2016 when Russian military intelligence infiltrated the organization’s servers and exfiltrated for publication a large trove of internal communications.[...]

The Republicans also voted against releasing interviews from the Russia probe with several pivotal former intelligence officials. They include James Comey, the FBI director President Trump fired; John Brennan, the ex-CIA director whose security clearance Trump stripped; and Michael Rogers, who this year stepped down as the head of the National Security Agency. The three men presided over the January 2017 intelligence assessment that stated Russia interfered in the 2016 election.
Adam Schiff's statement is scathing: “Now, on the last day of session before the election, Republicans claim to have discovered a newfound commitment to transparency. When [Devin Nunes] was pressed on whether the timing of this sudden decision was directed by the White House or the President’s legal defense team, he refused to answer. [...] This is not transparency, only a further subterfuge.”
posted by Doktor Zed at 8:10 AM on September 29 [35 favorites]


This FPP from a few years ago links to an unflinching account of fraternity life at anther Ivy League University - Dartmouth. Both the linked article and the MeFi comments are interesting to read now, six years later, in light of more explicit discussion of toxic masculinity.
posted by Rumple at 8:26 AM on September 29 [8 favorites]


THE ATTENTION SEEKERS HAVE LOGGED ON!

@ap
BREAKING: North Korea says it will never disarm nuclear weapons first without more trust in US.
posted by Artw at 8:30 AM on September 29 [6 favorites]


Brace yourself, it seems we're about to enter Infrastructure Week.

@HouseGOP
For too long, our infrastructure has been allowed to fall into disarray, but not anymore thanks to the work we’re doing in Congress. #BetterOffNow
What Congress is doing about infrastructure
posted by chris24 at 9:23 AM on September 29 [20 favorites]


Boston Flake update: Emerson College, which owns but leases out the theater where Flake and Kasich were supposed to chat Monday morning about the future of the Republican Party, got them booted. Instead, they will be speaking in a tent on City Hall Plaza, still as part of the Forbes "30 Under 30" festival (which is currently charging $945 for a day pass). Forbes had already rented a large chunk of the plaza for its "Under 30 Village" and already planned to have tents set up.
posted by adamg at 9:28 AM on September 29 [8 favorites]


Lindsey Graham is one of biggest chickenshit disappointments in the history of the Republic. Hes's thrown away every intelligent and principled thing he did to stand against Trump in 2016. He's intelligent enough to know better, but does not care.

"If you know anything about me, I want to be relevant."

That is Graham's self-stated mantra, and it is the only thing you need to know about the man. When John McCain was alive and could prop Graham up like a broomstick, Graham was his buddy. Once McCain passed, he shifted almost instantly into President Trump Is Right mode because that was his new road to prominence. He was 100% behind Jeff Sessions until it became politically difficult for him to do so, then that disappeared. He called Tom Cotton "the Steve King of the Senate" right up until he wanted Cotton's support, then that disappeared. He went from one of Bill Clinton's trial managers to being collegial with Senator Hillary to joining the "lock her up" chorus in perfect sync with the prevailing winds. And now that he needs Trump to like him to stand any chance of reelection in 2020, and his guiding star is in a box, welp, it's back to conservative firebrand mode.

Until things shift again, which is when he'll revert to milquetoast mode and decry the excesses of Trump.

He's a self-serving jackass and has never been and will never be anything else. He's the Joe Lieberman of the right.
posted by delfin at 9:45 AM on September 29 [78 favorites]


Just had an obvious and hopeful (or perhaps hopelessly naive) thought: It's a very good thing that the FBI investigation is coming after Kavanaugh's testimony regarding the assault. He was so supremely confident that he and his outright lies would not be given any more scrutiny.

Please, FBI, please take an expansive view of your mandate here.
posted by pjenks at 9:46 AM on September 29 [13 favorites]


FBI, please take an expansive view of your mandate here.

The mandate is historic.

Keep in mind that the FBI is relatively young, having been cobbled together from parts in the early 20th century. For much of its time it was ruled as a private fiefdom. The dictatorial atmosphere led to bad decisions, infighting, and endless investigations into the private lives of Americans in the mid 20th century. The agency was often regarded as a necessary evil at best and failure at worst.

And here it stands, poised to make decisions with decades-long consequences.

It's come a long way, and J. Edgar Hoover would be aghast at its accession to a scope of power beyond his wildest imagining.
posted by Gordion Knott at 10:02 AM on September 29 [4 favorites]


So and, too, 36 years ago things were really different. Youthful binge drinking was just on the cusp of being recognized as the hellish, life-wrecking scourge that it so evidently is. It was still semi-okay, hadn't been outed as harmful as much as it would be a couple years after this, much less as much as it has been, now. And "rape" was still stranger rape; date rape was, if my experience is typical, not yet a thing. I didn't hear about it until I was in college, and I'm five years younger. In high school they split up the girls and the boys and we got "self defense class," with my in-retrospect truly fantastically kind and feminist P.E. teacher, in which was introduced the radical notion that sexual assault could be any unwanted touching, not just penetrative. None of us had heard word one about that. And that it was a crime of violence, not sex. I remember the P.E. teacher saying, "babies have been raped. grandmothers. what is sexy about a baby? what is sexy about your grandmother?" I remember this being absolutely novel information and going home and reporting it to my mother as if it were a marvel. But still, they never talked about this in the context of high school parties or people we knew, even to the girls alone. It was all still the old dark-alley, guy in a ski-mask story. We never thought about boys we knew, at least not as I remember, and in college "date rape" was debated in a "does it or does it not exist" kind of way. As in, it was a new concept.

So BK's evident frustration during his tantrum is actually understandable, if you view this from his blinkered, insanely biased point of view. Everything he did at the skis parties he attended was sanctioned and encouraged, the drinking and the sex alike. It was defined as horseplay then. Nobody criticized it. Everybody in town knew about it. It was just what you did, particularly, it was what you did if you were one of the popular boys destined for the ivies and a prestigious career. Now suddenly 36 years later they yank the rug out and start talking about beer as if there's somehow something wrong with the stuff and talking about parties with girls as if they weren't completely natural good clean American fun. It might feel somewhat like a mean trap, if you'd kept your head under a pillow for the last three decades and not followed any developments in contemporary culture.

Which is all of these assholes, none of them has paid any attention. They legit think that this is an unfair midgame rule-change and a total cheat. This is why they can say out loud before cameras "this is worse than what we did to Clarence Thomas," having not even figured out after decades to think about it that you can't legally act like General Halftrack today. This is why Lindsey got so hoppin mad and spittleflecked right along with BK. These are even older good old boys. Their drinking ages were lower, their madonna/whore complexes more generally accepted, their grayedout, brownedout, and blackedout party activities likely similar to BK's. They keep admitting this. "If he can be thrown out for that then who among us is safe?" And they legitimately think it's unfair because the rules have been changed on them and they're startled because they haven't kept up. So it's more than just their money they're worried about, for once.
posted by Don Pepino at 10:03 AM on September 29 [102 favorites]




If we are going to believe Kavanaugh is a rapist, we'd have to believe the President paid hush money to a porn star or the ex-Speaker of the House was a child rapist. It's completely ridiculous.
posted by dances_with_sneetches at 10:12 AM on September 29 [22 favorites]


Everything he did at the skis parties he attended was sanctioned and encouraged, the drinking and the sex alike. It was defined as horseplay then. Nobody criticized it.

And, y'know, if that had been their approach from the beginning, people would, if not forgiving or accepting that worldview, at least sympathize with it. If there was an acknowledgment that "this was allowed, it wasn't right, we know that now, we didn't know it then", then at least it's be clear they know how society has changed. The defiance and the continued unwillingness to accept that this was wrong I'd what makes it so very unacceptable, with the subtext that "we were right then, and we're right still".
posted by jackbishop at 10:26 AM on September 29 [49 favorites]


Gordion Knott: J. Edgar Hoover would be aghast at its accession to a scope of power beyond his wildest imagining.

He would? Really?
posted by InTheYear2017 at 10:28 AM on September 29 [28 favorites]


He was so supremely confident that he and his outright lies would not be given any more scrutiny.

He may not be worried so much about the investigation finding details of the assault - which he says doesn't remember happening, and all his reactions connect with the entitled concept of, "but that was just fooling around; nobody [important] got hurt; you can't mean to be dredging up a bit of high-school shenanigans now!"

He may be worried that a bit of digging will uncover something much more unsavory, like a pregnancy, or someone who got permanently injured, or bribes to local police, or huge amounts of property damage (like if someone burned down a house or destroyed a high-value car), and so on. He could be aware that "ohshit, that was the summer we broke into the mayor's house and threw all his curtains in the fireplace."

... Or, I suppose, he could just be aware that several of his teen- and college-age activities are now called "rape," and he really doesn't want to face them, and especially very very much doesn't want to face criminal charges.
posted by ErisLordFreedom at 10:30 AM on September 29 [6 favorites]


We need to stop acting like pointing out Republican hypocrisy is some sort of gotcha. They know, they know that we know, and they think it's adorable that we think they should be ashamed of it.

I disagree. Pointing it out won't make any difference to the hypocrites - you're right, they are unashamed. But there are a LOT of people who don't really distinguish between Democrats and Republicans, who vote on impressions of personality, who pay little attention to the details of politics but still vote. Pointing out the appalling hypocrisy of the Republicans can shift the perception of those voters, so it's worth noting the hypocrisy ourselves and pointing it out to others.
posted by kristi at 10:35 AM on September 29 [19 favorites]


Sen. Cassidy (R - LA) urges FBI to respond to Kavanaugh assault accusations by...investigating Democrats.

He accuses the Democrats of -- gasp! -- coordinating their opposition to this appointment and reveals a lot more than he probably realizes and intended when he says "“This is part of a broader Democratic strategy to coordinate, and in that coordination, to seek to delay,” Cassidy said on Fox & Friends. “How many more charges can be brought out to smear this man, to create legitimate doubts in the minds of some of the American public?” [emphasis added]

So, Senator, you're afraid that an investigation of Mr. Kavanaugh will reveal things that will legitimately give people reason to doubt his fitness for the position? You don't say?
posted by lord_wolf at 10:43 AM on September 29 [20 favorites]


Gordion Knott: J. Edgar Hoover would be aghast at its accession to a scope of power beyond his wildest imagining.

He would? Really?
.

Aghast, and secretly thrilled with.
posted by Gordion Knott at 10:50 AM on September 29 [3 favorites]


So and, too, 36 years ago things were really different.

This argument is really offensive. It isn't that they didn't know that violent sexual assault was wrong. We've know that for more than 2500 years. It's recorded in the Greek tragedies. There are plenty of boys from that time in the 1980s who knew it was wrong and never assaulted anyone.

So stop making excuses saying they didn't think it was wrong. They knew it was wrong. The difference is that they also knew they would pay no price for doing wrong because of their privilege. And they still think that today. What they are offended by is anyone challenging that privilege.
posted by JackFlash at 10:50 AM on September 29 [118 favorites]


Which is all of these assholes, none of them has paid any attention. They legit think that this is an unfair midgame rule-change and a total cheat.

Unfair, right. We tried nicely asking men not to rape us. We asked for men to not consider themselves entitled to our bodies. We asked that people teach their sons about consent and treating women like human beings. Since the ones who did these things didn't listen, didn't care to change, and continued to cover for each other, this is how it must be. Some men will suffer for the change of rules, because we know nothing will change otherwise.
posted by Miss Cellania at 10:51 AM on September 29 [25 favorites]


Insightful take on social performance and masculine loyalty from Judith Donath in the Atlantic: The Secret to Brett Kavanaugh's Specific Appeal
posted by recklessbrother at 11:03 AM on September 29 [13 favorites]


[One deleted; folks please think about whether you can make your point in a way that omits describing the specific sex acts.]
posted by LobsterMitten (staff) at 11:33 AM on September 29 [8 favorites]


Today I canvassed for the first time. It wasn't my ideal way to spend a weekend morning but it felt so good to be supporting a great candidate. I hear so much despair here (and everywhere else). I want to encourage people to get out and make positive effort alongside other people. It has made a world of difference for my mental state. There are so many things to do. For example, my candidate said he could use some data entry help in addition to canvassing and phone banking.

If you need help identifying ways to volunteer in your area, my memail is open. Tell me where you are located and I would be delighted to send you a couple of ways (with contact info/links) to get involved.
posted by mcduff at 11:42 AM on September 29 [27 favorites]


So stop [...] saying they didn't think it was wrong.
I didn't, technically, say that and probably wouldn't put it quite that way because I don't think they thought that way and I don't think they think that way, now, but since you put it that way, did they think it was wrong? That would imply they thought about it, at all, which is arguable (and please please let Judge's ex girlfriend and Ford be right that Judge did, and let the FBI force it out of him somehow). If in an odd sober moment when they weren't at football practice they thought back on some one of their "gatherings" at which they committed sexual assault, did they consider the assault "wrong" the way non-sociopaths would, the way most kids would, the ones you cite who did know it was wrong because obviously it was wrong how could it be anything but monstrously, impossibly wrong? I think that line of thought would be unnatural to them. What they would be thinking would be more like, Okay, sure, the girl was at the party and drinking with us but yes, right, had any parents or cops been in the room we wouldn't have jumped on top of her that way, true. Because it was "wrong."

If they thought about the wrongness at all, they'd've probably considered it "wrong" the way they thought smoking or drinking was "wrong." Do you think they thought what they did to Renate was wrong? They did it in print. Did whichever senator it was who said in front of the camera "this is worse than what we did to Clarence Thomas" consider what Clarence Thomas did to Anita Hill wrong? Then why is Thomas on the court, and why is that guy saying that on camera? Why is Lindsey Graham practically spitting out his own tongue he's so infuriated by the suggestion that we take a few days to find out whether somebody is a rapist before we put him on the court? Is this the way people behave if they understand that sexual assault is much, much more wrong than smoking and drinking before it's legal to smoke and drink? I submit that it is not. I do not think these people understand the concept of wrong.
posted by Don Pepino at 11:48 AM on September 29 [21 favorites]


but since you put it that way, did they think it was wrong

I recently read John Krakauer's book Missoula, which is about rape allegations and the University of Montana's handling of them. After reading the description of one incident, I was absolutely sure the young man in question had no idea he'd just committed rape.

If you think of how many of us who were girls and young women in the 80s (and not just the 80s, but this is my cohort) didn't realize we'd been assaulted, or raped, or that we hadn't actually given consent, well. It seems even less likely that the boys involved realized it.
posted by Orlop at 11:59 AM on September 29 [28 favorites]


WaPo, February 4, 1990: AREA HEADMASTERS WARN PARENTS OF STUDENT PARTIES
The headmasters at seven of the Washington area's most prestigious private schools have written a letter to the parents of all students warning them that students are regularly throwing large, unsupervised parties where "excessive drinking and sexual license are common."
...
The two-page letter was signed by the headmasters from Georgetown Preparatory, Landon, Gonzaga College High, National Cathedral, Holton-Arms, St. Albans and Sidwell Friends schools.
posted by triggerfinger at 11:59 AM on September 29 [36 favorites]


The LA Times reports the FBI is taking quick action on the supplemental background investigation:
The FBI moved immediately given the short time frame. By Friday night, agents had sought to schedule an interview with one of two other women who, after Blasey Ford went public, made accusations of their own about alleged assaults dating to Kavanaugh’s days in high school and at Yale University, according to two sources with knowledge of the investigation who asked to remain unidentified given the sensitivity of the matter.

FBI investigators contacted the attorneys for the woman and asked to interview her “as early as tonight,” according to one of the sources. Her attorneys countered with a later time, but the interview could occur this weekend, the sources said.
And @realDonaldTrump confirmed, "Just started, tonight, our 7th FBI investigation of Judge Brett Kavanaugh", without, of course, mentioning any details.
posted by Doktor Zed at 12:02 PM on September 29 [5 favorites]


Trump administration moves to block Wilbur Ross deposition, in which the administration will request a stay from the Supreme Court to prevent Ross from being deposed about the citizenship question on the census. What are they so afraid of? It's like they know his justifications were obvious lies and they're trying to run out the clock.
posted by zachlipton at 12:02 PM on September 29 [16 favorites]


The Texas Tribune is hosting "TribFest", a series of panels and podcasts. Right now you can livestream the end of a panel discussion by Steve Schmidt, Virginia Heffernan, Mark McKinnon, and others called "The Kavanaugh Download". Starting at 4:30pm is "Mulling Mueller" with Joaquin Castro, Mieke Eoyang, Evan McMullin, Adam Schiff, Michael Schmidt, Virginia Heffernan (moderator).

Full set of streaming links are here. Full schedule is here.
posted by pjenks at 12:03 PM on September 29 [6 favorites]


NYT, At Times, Kavanaugh’s Defense Misleads or Veers Off Point, which is as close as the Times is going to get to saying he lied in an A1 fact check, including rather un-Timeslike discussions of "boofed" and "Devil's Triangle."
posted by zachlipton at 12:09 PM on September 29 [7 favorites]


Philosopher Martha Nussbaum in WaPo:

The roots of male rage, on show at the Kavanaugh hearing

Anger. Envy. Disgust. All infused with fear.
posted by Barack Spinoza at 12:11 PM on September 29 [21 favorites]


I submit that it is not. I do not think these people understand the concept of wrong.

You submit! Bullshit. They knew what was wrong. He locked the door so no one could come in and stop them. He turned up the music so no one could hear. He put his hand over her mouth so she couldn't get help.

To say they didn't know what was wrong is conceding too much. They knew damn right it was wrong and that's why they are lying about it today.
posted by JackFlash at 12:11 PM on September 29 [46 favorites]


I think the wrong/not-wrong discussion is semantic and involves a lot of cognitive dissonance on the part of the men being discussed. They reveled in a sincere belief of having a right to do things that they also believed were evil for anyone, including themselves, to do. It doesn't make sense, but that's human minds for you.
posted by InTheYear2017 at 12:17 PM on September 29 [24 favorites]


All this "but what if they didn't know it was wrong" is so infuriating to me. OF COURSE they knew it was wrong. THAT'S WHY THEY DID IT. They did it because it was wrong, to prove their power, to prove they could get away with it.

Also: fixating on the thought processes in these violent criminals' minds is himpathy. Who the fuck cares what they are or were thinking? Oh no, the world has changed, wah wah wah cry me a fucking river.

Give me 2000 words of detailed analysis of rape survivors' thought processes and then we can talk.
posted by medusa at 12:19 PM on September 29 [31 favorites]


you don't have to know what is wrong in order to know what will get you in trouble.

and you don't know for a fact what other people have in their revolting heads, no matter how sure you are that you do.
posted by queenofbithynia at 12:20 PM on September 29 [12 favorites]


[Don Pepino, let's just shelve the "oh but maybe they didn't know" thing. Doesn't seem likely to take us anywhere useful, does seem likely to lead to a lot of anger and repeating graphic descriptions here to make the point about how bad this was, and how about let's just not continue down this road.]
posted by LobsterMitten (staff) at 12:22 PM on September 29 [16 favorites]


This image of the Executive, the Judiciary, and the Legislative captures everything
posted by infini at 12:25 PM on September 29 [33 favorites]


From TPM Reader TH …
It feels like eons ago, but last night I flashed on that video of the Parkland father trying to have a word with Brett Kavanaugh. The video of the women confronting Flake must have brought it to mind. What struck us at the time was how dismissive Kavanaugh was, even disdainful. When I first saw it, I didn’t want to make too much of it. In retrospect, it reveals who he really is; when he feels someone is beneath him, he treats them with contempt. He did it with the father, with girls when was younger, with U.S. senators, and he’s doing it with the American people.
posted by kirkaracha at 12:37 PM on September 29 [75 favorites]


In retrospect, it reveals who he really is; when he feels someone is beneath him, he treats them with contempt.

Besides the whole being-a-violent-rapist thing: dude had a public tantrum in front of an audience of a hundred million over a brief delay in making him a lifetime supreme court justice. That alone tells you who he is.
posted by Rust Moranis at 12:49 PM on September 29 [82 favorites]




Kavanaugh Has Become a Hero to the Incel Community

One of the most heartwrenching things about this past decade has been learning just how many flavors misogyny comes in. That's why this new affinity of incels for Kavanaugh is, frankly, surprising to me — I thought they would think of him as kind of a super-chad. But perhaps, after all, they see him as the real Supreme Gentleman.
posted by adamgreenfield at 1:23 PM on September 29 [10 favorites]


In the wake of Trump's mixed messages about Iran at the U.N., the Washington Post reports: U.S. Orders Evacuation of Diplomats From Iraqi City Of Basra, Citing Threats From Iran
Secretary of State Mike Pompeo ordered the evacuation of U.S. diplomats stationed at the U.S. Consulate in the Iraqi city of Basra on Friday, citing “threats to our personnel and facilities” from Iran and its proxies.

The closure of the consulate, one of three U.S. posts in the country, follows at least two rocket attacks apparently targeting the U.S. Embassy in Baghdad and the mission in Basra this month. While the rockets landed harmlessly, away from the facilities, they underscored heightening tensions between Washington and Tehran as Iraq tries to form a new government.

“Given the increasing and specific threats and incitement to attack our personnel and facilities in Iraq, I have directed that an appropriate temporary relocation of diplomatic personnel in Iraq take place,” Pompeo said as he held a flurry of meetings with foreign counterparts in New York on the sidelines of the U.N. General Assembly.[...]

A senior Iraqi security official, who spoke on the condition of anonymity because he was not authorized to talk publicly, said the decision to close the consulate in Basra did not appear driven by any credible threat from Iran or the militias it supports.

“We are not aware of any intention by Iran or its friends in Iraq to attack American diplomats or the consulate,” the official said. “This is another unfortunate move that is making Iraq the playground for America’s quarrel with Iran.”
Earlier this week, @realDonaldTrump tweeted, "Despite requests, I have no plans to meet Iranian President Hassan Rouhani. Maybe someday in the future. I am sure he is an absolutely lovely man!"
posted by Doktor Zed at 1:26 PM on September 29 [1 favorite]


Yeah I twigged at the Parkland father video too but even so there was a big part of me that was convinced that Kavanaugh turned from the guy and sicced security on him because Kavanaugh thought that the father was going to make a huge scene and Kavanaugh didn't have the heart to confront a grieving father. Now it's like more like well he did it because he could because he's a fucking asshole who thinks gun control activists are losers. Just as he thought he could ask senators during the hearing about their drinking habits because they had the temerity to challenge his habits.
posted by angrycat at 1:32 PM on September 29 [14 favorites]


So if, BIG IF, Kavanaugh gets in to the SCOTUS anyway, is there any mechanism to remove him from this life time appointment? Could the other members of SCOTUS do anything, other than ostracize him at the cafeteria?
posted by Pantalaimon at 1:34 PM on September 29 [2 favorites]


Don Pepino, let's just shelve the "oh but maybe they didn't know" thing. Doesn't seem likely to take us anywhere useful, does seem likely to lead to a lot of anger and repeating graphic descriptions here to make the point about how bad this was, and how about let's just not continue down this road.
Okay, will do, but I'm getting misread, probably because I'm communicating poorly which is probably because I need to go pull weeds for a while instead of looking at this nightmare steadily for days on end. I did not mean at all to excuse these fratboys or their crimes. They all of them need to be put under the jail, whether they're judges or senators or whatever.
posted by Don Pepino at 1:35 PM on September 29 [25 favorites]


Impeachment by majority of the House + removal by 2/3 of the Senate. Good luck with that.

The other option, as we've discussed in every thread since the nomination, is court-packing.
posted by tivalasvegas at 1:37 PM on September 29 [7 favorites]


Heather Havrilesky, The Cut, Mediocre White Man Falls Apart and Is Promptly Put Back Together
A woman who conducted herself in that manner couldn’t get an assistant-manager job at Forever21, let alone on the Supreme Court. A black man who behaved that way would be dragged out of the room, or worse — much, much worse. The real insult of Thursday’s Kavanaugh hearings was the contrast between Dr. Christine Blasey Ford’s calm, respectful, endlessly helpful testimony and Kavanaugh’s absolute master class in white-male privilege. Here was the accused, called to vouch for his character. We should’ve seen a solemn, cautious man indicating, with his words and his demeanor, that he takes both the accusations lodged against him and his future role as a Supreme Court Justice seriously enough that he’s more than willing to submit himself to the process at hand without becoming temperamental or defensive.

Instead, what we witnessed was a man who clearly believed that he could rage, cry, joke about beer, and parade his family’s suffering before our eyes with impunity. He believed that getting into Yale Law School somehow meant that he wasn’t capable of sexual assault. The people who get into Yale are the good people, he meant. He didn’t even deign to argue that point. He just assumed that we were all on the same page. He assumed that we’d think his demeanor was casual and likable, that drinking too much only made him relatable, that yelling only meant that he had clearly been wronged, that crying meant that he was in pain and someone should pay for that. He assumed that we would join him in feeling that someone should be held accountable for bringing a man like himself so low.
@LemieuxLGM: What if at the Benghazi hearings Hillary has just started ranting and raving about Republican conspiracies (which would, in that case, actually be accurate!) and then told a whole bunch of obvious lies on various subjects while insulting the members. My radical thesis is that people like Bret Stephens and Andrew Sullivan would not have found this very convincing.

HuffPost, What It Was Like At C-SPAN As Women Flooded The Network With Stories Of Sexual Abuse, an interview with National Treasure Steve Scully on one of the most striking things that happened Thursday: call after call during the breaks of women who spontaneously decided to pick up the phone and tell their stories. As Scully notes, many of them were in their 50s, 60s, or 70s recounting what happened when they were young teenagers, what they remember.

YouGov is out with some early numbers from post-hearing polls, and we're nowhere:
Americans said, 41 to 30 percent, that they believed Ford was telling the truth; they were split, 35 percent to 38 percent on whether Kavanaugh was similarly honest. (Those who reported having personally watched at least some of the hearings ― a majority of the country ― said, 52 to 36, that they believed Blasey. They were split 44 to 46 on whether they believed Kavanaugh.)

Results were deeply divided along partisan lines: Seventy-three percent of Democrats, and just 14 percent of Republicans, believed Blasey was telling the truth; 74 percent of Republicans, and just 11 percent of Democrats, believed Kavanaugh. Even controlling for partisanship, there were some modest differences between men and women’s reactions ― 69 percent of Republican men said they felt Blasey was not telling the truth, compared to 59 percent of Republican women who said the same.

Because YouGov’s surveys are conducted using an online panel, the pollsters were able to compare respondents’ latest opinions against what they’d actually said prior to the hearings. More than 1,000 of those surveyed in the most recent poll were also interviewed for an earlier Economist poll taken after the allegations broke. Of those, 80 percent hadn’t changed their minds on whether or not Kavanaugh should be confirmed. The rest hadn’t shifted one particular way, either ― 15 percent of those who’d supported him said they were now opposed or undecided, but 16 percent of those who’d opposed him said they were now unsure or supportive. The formerly undecided who came off the fence also split about evenly, according to YouGov, leading to “almost no net movement in one direction or the other.”
posted by zachlipton at 1:41 PM on September 29 [46 favorites]


What is this point of this useless cruelty? Also, the fucking UN headquarters is in New York City, why do these assholes keep trying to defund, discredit, frustrate and undermine the institution that most plainly acknowledges the (rapidly atrophying) US hegemony in international relations? (Except, of course, when we need permission for some military adventure.)

Cruelty is the point. There's no strategy being followed, it's purely personal. Which means it's Trump. He has no strategies, only urges he follows. He hates the UN (already did but they just laughed at him so it's a tender wound) so they get punished. He doesn't need their help asserting hegemony, he doesn't need anybody's help doing anything. He doesn't need a State Department, he'll handle all the negotiations himself & win them all over with his superior mind & winning personality. He is the Center of the Universe, it all revolves around Him.
posted by scalefree at 1:42 PM on September 29 [14 favorites]


So here's my prediction: Kavanaugh is going to withdraw from consideration. Trump will nominate Amy Coney Barrett immediately (who is arguably scarier than Kavanaugh), because she will further the wingnut agenda and because she's a woman there's no possibility of sexual harrassment accusations and will therefore stand a higher chance of being confirmed before the midterms.

Only thing I don't know is.... I am sure Trump nominated Kavanaugh because of the guarantee that Kavanaugh would not hold Trump accountable for any of his crimes. I don't know where Barrett stands on that.
posted by rabbitrabbit at 1:47 PM on September 29 [7 favorites]


The other option, as we've discussed in every thread since the nomination, is court-packing.

Break the filibuster, rewrite the 1800's law setting SCOTUS at 9 then push through some progressive Justices. It can be done but it would take a very strong willed & unified leadership to see that through against the Right screaming bloody murder all the way.
posted by scalefree at 1:49 PM on September 29 [1 favorite]


because she's a woman there's no possibility of sexual harrassment accusations

There's a much lower possibility but that's not the same as no possibility. If anybody reading this thread has been abused by a woman, I don't want them to feel like their experience of abuse is invalidated.
posted by showbiz_liz at 1:53 PM on September 29 [76 favorites]


So here's my prediction: Kavanaugh is going to withdraw from consideration.

I can't imagine this happening. He's been groomed for the Court for 30 years and, I think, strongly feels this seat is his by right. His whole adult life has been leading to this moment. If Kavanaugh was going to withdraw it would have been before the public testimony.

The only way he withdraws is if another accuser comes forward with physical as opposed to testimonial proof. Photographs or something.
posted by Justinian at 1:56 PM on September 29 [22 favorites]


Impeachment by majority of the House + removal by 2/3 of the Senate. Good luck with that. The other option, as we've discussed in every thread since the nomination, is court-packing.

There's also the option of stopping all Supreme Court proceedings by surrounding it with a literal wall of human flesh and throwing our bodies into the gears of the odious machine, etc etc etc.

An illegitimate and malevolent and unaccountable institution that openly threatens human life and wellbeing should not be allowed to function, full stop.
posted by Rust Moranis at 2:01 PM on September 29 [19 favorites]


After the tirade, I see the possibility of him withdrawing the same as the possibility of Trump resigning: essentially zero, no matter what happens. He'd sooner scream that whatever evidence comes forth is in some way faked.

Maybe Trump pulls him out, if the winds change. As it stands, the tantrum was a strategic way for getting Donald to see Brett as an extension of himself, which is the only way for him to respect anybody. So that impression on Donald's part would have to change first.

My money says this all comes down to the Senate.
posted by InTheYear2017 at 2:05 PM on September 29 [10 favorites]


Americans said, 41 to 30 percent, that they believed Ford was telling the truth; they were split, 35 percent to 38 percent on whether Kavanaugh was similarly honest.

This split is utterly unsurprising, unfortunately. The right's entrenched tribalism and instinctive deference to authority (and misogyny) give Kavanaugh a benefit of the doubt that he objectively does not deserve.

For instance, MeFi's un-favorite #neverTrumper contrarian Andrew Sullivan claims to have found both Ford's and Kavanaugh's testimony credible, to such an extent that he indulged in primo both-sidism before saying he "decided to put this accusation in a box" and oppose Kavanaugh because of his demonstrable and unworthy judicial deference to presidential power.

Sullivan does, however, warn, "But if this nomination falters, Kavanaugh will be a clarion call for Republicans to turn out. It could help them in November." Expect Trump to emphasize that at his rally tonight.
posted by Doktor Zed at 2:05 PM on September 29 [2 favorites]


There's a much lower possibility but that's not the same as no possibility. If anybody reading this thread has been abused by a woman, I don't want them to feel like their experience of abuse is invalidated.

Sorry. You are absolutely right. I was trying to say that Trump could not imagine a woman being accused of sexual abuse and I did not words properly.
posted by rabbitrabbit at 2:06 PM on September 29 [4 favorites]


NBC News, wow-this-story-has-six-bylines, White House limits scope of the FBI's investigation into the allegations against Brett Kavanaugh
The White House is limiting the scope of the FBI’s investigation into the sexual misconduct allegations against Supreme Court nominee Brett Kavanaugh, multiple people briefed on the matter told NBC News.

While the FBI will examine the allegations of Christine Blasey Ford and Deborah Ramirez, the bureau has not been permitted to investigate the claims of Julie Swetnick, who has accused Kavanaugh of engaging in sexual misconduct at parties while he was a student at Georgetown Preparatory School in the 1980s, those people familiar with the investigation told NBC News. A White House official confirmed that Swetnick's claims will not be pursued as part of the reopened background investigation into Kavanaugh.
...
Instead of investigating Swetnick's claims, the White House counsel’s office has given the FBI a list of witnesses they are permitted to interview, according to several people who discussed the parameters on the condition of anonymity. They characterized the White House instructions as a significant constraint on the FBI investigation and caution that such a limited scope, while not unusual in normal circumstances, may make it difficult to pursue additional leads in a case in which a Supreme Court nominee has been accused of sexual assault.
...
Investigators plan to meet with Mark Judge, a high school classmate and friend of Kavanaugh's whom Ford named as a witness and participant to her alleged assault.

But as of now, the FBI cannot ask the supermarket that employed Judge for records verifying when he was employed there, one of the sources was told. Ford said in congressional testimony Thursday that those records would help her narrow the time frame of the alleged incident which she recalls happening some time in the summer of 1982 in Montgomery County, Maryland.

Two sources familiar with the investigation said the FBI will also not be able to examine why Kavanaugh’s account of his drinking at Yale University differs from those of some former classmates, who have said he was known as a heavy drinker. Those details may be pertinent to investigating claims from Ramirez who described an alleged incident of sexual misconduct she said occurred while Kavanaugh was inebriated. Ramirez's lawyer said Saturday that she had been contacted by the FBI and would cooperate.
These. Fucking. Assholes.

It's just...they know how transparently awful this makes them look, how clear it is they're trying to hide things, and they don't care.
posted by zachlipton at 2:07 PM on September 29 [95 favorites]


A guy with a rumored gambling problem is the least likely person to withdraw from his nomination to the Supreme Court.
posted by klarck at 2:10 PM on September 29 [34 favorites]


On a somewhat lighter note, Samuel L. Jackson has seen the Pulp Fiction-Kavanaugh testimony mash-up: Funny as hell, but there’s nothing funny about his Lying Fratboy Ass!!!
posted by Doktor Zed at 2:12 PM on September 29 [36 favorites]


Matt Yglesias: "I am a strict textualist who believes in adhering to the original public meaning of “Ralph club,” “boof,” and “devil’s triangle."
posted by JackFlash at 2:18 PM on September 29 [38 favorites]


the bureau has not been permitted to investigate the claims of Julie Swetnick

Avenatti had better be on the airwaves all week about this.
posted by saturday_morning at 2:19 PM on September 29 [21 favorites]


Wow. Isn't there some crossing of the streams there, the executive branch interfering with a request made by the legislative branch? Is the WH just banking on well of course the senate will accept the limitations it look at them.
posted by angrycat at 2:21 PM on September 29 [2 favorites]


It's not a separation of powers issue; technically this is an entirely voluntary investigation by the executive branch, at the non-binding request of the Senate. The way to get it changed would be the same way they were forced into accepting that request in the first place - by making enough noise that the swing Republicans have to acknowledge the obvious for a moment.
posted by Holy Zarquon's Singing Fish at 2:25 PM on September 29 [6 favorites]


> The most face-saving thing for all involved would be for Trump to fire Bart-O and reference the fussbudget snotflinging tantrum he threw on TV the other day.

> Kavanaugh was embarrassing, and I don’t think it played well for Trump, no matter what the WH leaks said. I think he’s starting to distance himself and move on.

My take on Kavanaugh's performance was it was entirely for Trump. I kept thinking of that Fox news guest who looked into the camera to speak directly to Trump. I heard the same view articulated by a Political Science professor on NPR Friday morning. What other option did have? Act contrite, apologize for his youthful misconduct, acknowledge his faults?

Embarrassing doesn't disappointment Trump. Weakness does. Human decency does. If Kavanaugh had acted like a human being, very few of his critics would have changed their tune on him. I wouldn't have. He was totally unqualified in my book after his grovelling appearance at press conference announcing his nomination. And his acknowledgement of misconduct would have just strengthen the calls by those (me included) that he withdraw. I think Kavanaugh and his team calculated that if he came off as soft, Trump would dump him.

So I took this as his Hail Mary. And it looked for a while after it was tossed like the ball was in the hands of the GOP in the end zone. But with the week days and new FBI investigation, it got knocked up into the air again. And it's still up in the air in the end zone at the time of this comment.
posted by bunbury at 2:29 PM on September 29 [11 favorites]


The nominee is selected by the president and the president directs the vetting of the nominee by the FBI. Don McGahn is the White House Counsel and he is the one who pushed Trump into selecting Kavanaugh. McGahn is the one directing who the FBI can interview and who they cannot.

The Senate can request an investigation but they cannot compel one. The Senate only has the power to say the investigation is inadequate and refuse to confirm if not satisfied.

McGahn's objective is to provide the most minimal investigation to provide cover for Republicans Senators to confirm the appointment. There is nothing compelling McGahn to turn over everything the FBI finds. The Senate can only request that he do so.
posted by JackFlash at 2:30 PM on September 29 [7 favorites]


This is a test for Rosenstein.
posted by yesster at 2:31 PM on September 29


This is a test for Flake. If he and Murkowski and Collins are serious, they can simply say they won't accept this. They and their votes control this process.
posted by chris24 at 2:33 PM on September 29 [27 favorites]


Given that "limited scope" was in the original request, I have no doubt in my mind that this is precisely what Flake and the other Republicans hoped would happen -- getting the Swetnick matter to be ruled out, while ostensibly keeping their hands clean of having done so (because they never defined "limited", the White House did).

Doktor Zed: On a somewhat lighter note, Samuel L. Jackson has seen the Pulp Fiction-Kavanaugh testimony mash-up.

For the record, credit goes to a filmmaker named Oscar Boyson. I have watched it multiple times every day, it feels like a necessary punctuation mark.
posted by InTheYear2017 at 2:35 PM on September 29 [18 favorites]


Yeah, Flake's not going to show up outraged that it was limited in this way. (Actually, it almost seems more likely he will and then he'll vote 'Yes' anyway.)
posted by glhaynes at 2:37 PM on September 29 [1 favorite]


Nancy Pelosi calls Kavanaugh hysterical, says he’s not fit to serve on the Court.

I am trying to imagine how good that must have felt, and I’m afraid my imagination is not up to the task.
posted by schadenfrau at 2:37 PM on September 29 [150 favorites]


And this is not a test for anyone. This is the bad guys, being bad guys and refusing to do anything in good faith. We will not ever convince them to do the right thing. We have to force them to stumble into allowing the right thing to happen.

We keep up the pressure. The press, and Avenatti, continue their public, parallel investigations, making it impossible for a critical plurality of the public to pretend that the White House’s Potemkin investigation is real.

We keep going.

Also? Don’t forget that we just learned that gang rape was a routine feature of the culture that produced many of our current leaders. That is fucking earth shaking. There is more to come.

We have to keep fighting.
posted by schadenfrau at 2:42 PM on September 29 [30 favorites]


How We Know Kavanaugh is Lying by Nathan Robinson at Current Affairs Magazine.
posted by Jonathan Livengood at 2:44 PM on September 29 [47 favorites]


We keep up the pressure.

Exactly. Flake won't do anything until pressed as we saw. We need to raise hell about this and how it makes the investigation a sham.
posted by chris24 at 2:46 PM on September 29 [7 favorites]


> But as of now, the FBI cannot ask the supermarket that employed Judge for records verifying when he was employed there, one of the sources was told.

But anyone else can.
posted by stonepharisee at 2:47 PM on September 29 [10 favorites]


This can also be phrased, where convenient, as the White House preventing the FBI from clearing Kavanaugh. If they're so convinced that Dr. Ford is lying, surely more record evidence would help prove that.
posted by Holy Zarquon's Singing Fish at 2:50 PM on September 29 [14 favorites]


This is a test for Flake.

Absolutely. From the NBC story linked above about how the White House is tying the FBI's hands:
The conditions under which the FBI's reopened background check are occurring appears to differ from the one envisioned by Flake, who used his leverage as a swing vote to pressure the Trump administration to order the FBI investigation.

Flake said Friday he thought the FBI should decide the scope of the investigation.

“They’ll have to decide — the FBI you know, how far that goes,” he told reporters. “This is limited in time and scope and I think that it's appropriate when it's a lifetime appointment and allegations this serious and we ought to let people know that we're serious about it.”
If Flake won't call out the Trump administration on this sham, then the electorate will have to call out Flake as one.
posted by Doktor Zed at 2:51 PM on September 29 [8 favorites]


If Flake won't call out the Trump administration on this sham, then the electorate will have to call out Flake as one.

Except that Flake isn't running for re-election. So the electorate has no real power to put pressure on him.
posted by NoxAeternum at 3:00 PM on September 29 [4 favorites]


I just meant contacting Flake now. I should have said constituents.
posted by Doktor Zed at 3:04 PM on September 29 [8 favorites]


And all the Republicans retiring from congress this year need to understand in no uncertain terms that their actions will follow them for the rest of their careers and into private life.
posted by Doktor Zed at 3:06 PM on September 29 [12 favorites]




Their careers at Republican lobbying firms, think tanks and etc? Their private lives at the yacht club?
posted by snuffleupagus at 3:14 PM on September 29 [14 favorites]


NBC News, wow-this-story-has-six-bylines, White House limits scope of the FBI's investigation into the allegations against Brett Kavanaugh

No surprise the corrupt WH will hamstring this faintest of "efforts" to "get to the truth" of this scumbag. My question for the smart people is this: if The Internet found this data and reported it to the FBI investigators, could they use it?

As an example, say a former cashier had the timesheets for the grocery store from then or something. Could they, y'know, provide them? Could Josephine Internet interview Biff McWitness and provide the recordings to the investigators?
posted by petebest at 3:18 PM on September 29 [8 favorites]


Or, alternatively, could Josephine document her interview with Biff and transmit her findings to Dr. Ford or another witness who is within the scope of inquiry, who could then read them into the record during an FBI interview?
posted by contraption at 3:37 PM on September 29 [3 favorites]


Did we not previously establish that the Democratic Coalition is kinda shady and dumb?
posted by Artw at 3:45 PM on September 29 [10 favorites]


The FBI isn't going to do anything. This buys us a week to put other kinds of pressure on the Republicans (and Manchin) and get a couple of them to commit to voting no. That's all. Nobody is going to save us, and we have to save ourselves.
posted by ArbitraryAndCapricious at 3:54 PM on September 29 [28 favorites]




Didn't Avenatti claim he was going to produce corroborative witnesses by now? Sitting on this stuff is extraordinarily counter productive at this point.
posted by Justinian at 4:07 PM on September 29 [1 favorite]


At this point in time, I really don’t see what more “Avenatti’s not doing it right” comments will add to these threads.
posted by a box and a stick and a string and a bear at 4:13 PM on September 29 [20 favorites]


I am sure Avenatti is doing what he can within the limits of client protection. His first obligation is to her.
posted by SecretAgentSockpuppet at 4:13 PM on September 29 [13 favorites]


Grauniad and Boston Globe: Elizabeth Warren will 'take hard look at running for president' in 2020
“I watched powerful men helping a powerful man make it to an even more powerful position,” Warren said. “And I thought, ‘Time’s up.’ It’s time for women to go to Washington and fix our broken government and that includes a woman at the top,” she said, and the crowd of more than 500 burst into applause. Then she dropped her news.

“After November 6 I will take a hard look at running for president,” Warren said.
posted by Westringia F. at 4:16 PM on September 29 [60 favorites]


As Josh Marshall has noted, these actions are those of a clumsily, slow-motion attempt at a cover-up. The Republicans trying to install this creeper into the USSC have taken every opportunity to do the absolute minimum they think they can get away with. They are desperate to keep any serious inquiry into the circumstances from happening.

A couple of weeks ago, the situation seemed much worse, as there was no investigation of any scope. Our pressure is working, and every day counts. Immediate, continuous demands for a real non-partisan investigation may force their hand a bit.

To that end, have a Saturday letter for fax, email, or phone:
Senator [name],

I object completely and utterly to the latest White House interference in the investigation into the credible allegations of Brett Kavanaugh's sexual assaults. Their efforts to arbitrarily limit witnesses and the requisition of relevant documents is appalling, undemocratic, and clear evidence of a slow-motion attempt to cover up something major.

I believe that:

* Deborah Ramirez and Julie Swetnick should be able to testify to Congress and have their accusations investigated by a credible, non-partisan, professional investigation.
* The White House must cease any direction of the investigation immediately. It is a huge conflict of interest for the WH to control the investigation in anyway
* The means by which Ed Whalen came to know the legal name of Kavanaugh's associate "Squi" when he made a libelous Twitter post

[For Democrats: Please also pressure Senators Machin, Heitkamp, Collins, Murkowski, and Flake in particular to let them know that I will actively fund their challengers and characterize them as supporters of sexual assault should they vote to confirm Kavanaugh.]

[For Republicans: Since you are supporting the confirmation of an alleged sexual predator, while simultaneously stonewalling a non-partisan, independent investigation into the allegations against Brett Kavanaugh, I will fund your electoral challengers and characterize you as a supporter of sexual assault. I might reconsider my position should vote against confirming Brett Kavanaugh to the United States Supreme Court.]

Sincerely,
[your name]
posted by Excommunicated Cardinal at 4:18 PM on September 29 [35 favorites]


If people here want to do something to support direct action (or participate themselves), I recommend following the Center for Popular Democracy / CPD Action for updates on what's happening next and how to get involved. Along with Ultraviolet, Women's March, Housing Works, Be A Hero, and others, they're organizing more direct confrontational action in the week ahead, and they'll have information on further actions in DC and elsewhere. No specific announcements on dates and times yet as far as I can tell, but they seem to be close to an announcement.

In particular, you can donate to this fund, which will be used to support direct action in DC this week.

The Be A Hero campaign is organizing a strategy call at 4pm ET tomorrow that should include lots of details. You should be able to use this link to register for it.
posted by duffell at 4:22 PM on September 29 [10 favorites]


Grauniad and Boston Globe: Elizabeth Warren will 'take hard look at running for president' in 2020

I'm excited about Warren for a number of reasons. I think her continued focus on anti-corruption policies are a fantastic starting place for a broader progressive agenda. Get the $ out of politics as best you can, and that will make everything else easier. And if you can mount a presidential campaign around anti-corruption, and I think in the context of Trump the issue is large enough in people's minds that that would be successful, you actually create a mandate for that reform.

I also think having the first female president after such a disgraceful man holding the office would be an enormous cathartic relief, although fortunately there's no shortage of talented female candidates.

Her voice shaking slightly with anger...

And boy I would love to watch a Warren-Trump debate. I think she could say the things all of us have been hoping someone would say about this overgrown schoolyard bully.
posted by tarshish bound at 4:35 PM on September 29 [37 favorites]


Just 11 months ago I posted this excerpt of Al Franken questioning a facebook representative in the senate. That got 122 favorites here, from all of you. I even finished that comment with 'I love you Al'. It's ok, we didn't know at the time. Now we know, and he's gone. Al Franken's behavior is unacceptable, and defending his behavior is unacceptable. That's the difference.

We know there are monsters in every group, including ours. But when they're discovered, we don't rally around and defend them. Franken was one of my favorite senators, and I was so disappointed with him because he really was a star. But unacceptable is unacceptable, and I hope we never compromise our integrity just to maintain power in the shameful way conservatives do again and again. Being hypocrites is their job.
posted by adept256 at 4:54 PM on September 29 [52 favorites]


Senate Judiciary referred the fake accusation against Kavanaugh from the Rhode Island guy with the weird twitter account to DOJ for a criminal false statements investigation.
posted by zachlipton at 5:04 PM on September 29 [6 favorites]


It's been an awful week (I want to say for any girl over the age of zero) but Harris and Klobuchar were bright spots.
posted by sophieblue at 5:06 PM on September 29 [7 favorites]


Adept256: I was sorry to learn that Al Franken harassed women, because I thought he was a good and very eloquent Senator. But, he had to go, because Democrats have ethics and principles and we put our money where our mouths are. Or so we should, anyway! (I will say, I am sick to death of "waah waah meanie Kirsten Gillibrand." She's not Cersei Lannister, she can't make Franken or anyone just walk the plank. Franken resigned, voluntarily.)

But we have a good bench - Harris, Booker, Klobuchar, and many others. We don't have to settle for "he's our SOB" anymore. I think this benefits us with otherwise apathetic voters. They can't say "well the Democrats just talk the talk, they don't walk the walk, both sides are the same, I'm just going to stay home." By and large, Democratic voters care about principles. If we act like we at least mean well and are trying and really taking action, rather than just making mouth noises, that helps us get out the vote.
posted by Rosie M. Banks at 5:08 PM on September 29 [20 favorites]


The most face-saving thing for all involved would be for Trump to fire Bart-O and reference the fussbudget snotflinging tantrum he threw on TV the other day.

There seem to be two theories about why Trump nominated Kavanaugh over the candidates recommended by the Federalist Society. One is that it was a quid-pro-quo for securing Justice Kennedy's resignation. The other is that it's because Kavanaugh (after driving an investigation into a former and a potential future President) had signalled that he wouldn't support the indictment of a future one. It's very possible that by doing so Kavanaugh was playing the long game. If so, it paid off handsomely.

I don't believe the first theory: Trump never pays his debts, on principle, and he only uses favours as leverage. If he was doing this as because of an earlier agreement he would be on TV right now talking about Kavanaugh's weak and equivocating performance. He'd be cutting him loose: not just to avoid collateral damage, but because he revels in humiliating people.

So I firmly believe that Trump, “increasingly isolated”, sees Kavanaugh as a lifeline against investigation, indictment, and impeachment. I don't know how his name came to be suggested to the President (maybe it was Kennedy!) but now he's Trump's own choice. Trump has exclusive control over nominations; he could absolutely threaten to withhold future nominations or, I don't know, nominate Ivanka instead. And what does he have to lose? A 4-4 split would be better for Trump than a possible 5-4 against him.

The Republicans are stuck with Kavanaugh because Trump is a horrible, vindictive, pool of pus; he's a giant toddler and they're threatening to take away his security blanket. He would absolutely blow up the midterms if he felt like it. He's not going to cut Kavanaugh loose unless he feels personally threatened.
posted by Joe in Australia at 5:11 PM on September 29 [13 favorites]


And boy I would love to watch a Warren-Trump debate. I think she could say the things all of us have been hoping someone would say about this overgrown schoolyard bully.

You mean like when HRC did the same?
posted by 922257033c4a0f3cecdbd819a46d626999d1af4a at 5:17 PM on September 29 [86 favorites]


Turns out Kavanaugh was approved in 2006 to his current lifetime appointment along party lines (R) and despite the ABA downgrading him to 'qualified,' from today's WaPo The Fix article by Avi Selk:
The group’s judicial investigator had recently interviewed dozens of lawyers, judges and others who had worked with Kavanaugh, the ABA announced at the time, and some of them raised red flags about “his professional experience and the question of his freedom from bias and open-mindedness.”

“One interviewee remained concerned about the nominee’s ability to be balanced and fair should he assume a federal judgeship,” the ABA committee chairman wrote to senators in 2006. “Another interviewee echoed essentially the same thoughts: ‘(He is) immovable and very stubborn and frustrating to deal with on some issues.’”

A particular judge had told the ABA that Kavanaugh had been “sanctimonious” during an oral argument in court. Several lawyers considered him inexperienced, and one said he “dissembled” in the courtroom.
They had reservations then, and I would be interested in hearing how those ABA committee members felt now about O'Kavanaugh's performance over the past twelve years. Oh also, take a wild fucking guess at which Senate Judiciary Committee member jokingly dismissed the ABA's further recommendations back then. Gold standard my ass grumble grumble grumble...

Also, is anyone else surprised that this particular WH administration is limiting the scope of an investigation to exclude one of their people's financial history? Wasn't it just two weeks ago that we were wondering about a bunch of debt he accrued suddenly disappearing?

RE onefellswoop's trumpspam (which I saw today too, ugh), it's such a joke that they're comparing big donors for Ds to many little donors to Rs....AND THEN OFFERING TO DOUBLE OR TRIPLE THE DONATION AMOUNT. The cognitive dissonance makes my head spin.
posted by carsonb at 5:23 PM on September 29 [29 favorites]


The idea that in the not-too-distant future I might have to decide whether to cast my presidential primary vote for Harris or Warren is literally giving me life today. What an incredibly welcome tough dilemma that would be.
posted by the turtle's teeth at 5:26 PM on September 29 [32 favorites]


Trump's rally has been more of the usual insanity, but, um:

@ddale8: !!! Trump on Kim Jong Un: "I was really being tough and so was he. And we would go back and forth. And then we fell in love. No really. He wrote me beautiful letters. They were great letters. And then we fell in love." Trump says the media is going to scold him for saying he fell in love with Kim Jong Un, but it's true, and it's easy to be boring and presidential, but his way is better.

This was also rather on the nose: Trump again mocks George H.W. Bush's motto "thousand points of light," saying it's boring, and it's a saying "which nobody has really figured out." It's the name of a Bush nonprofit promoting volunteerism.
posted by zachlipton at 5:30 PM on September 29 [17 favorites]


"Nobody's ever had a presidency like this," Trump says." –@ddale8

stopped clock, etc
posted by entropicamericana at 5:35 PM on September 29 [19 favorites]


..And then we fell in love." Trump says the media is going to scold him for saying he fell in love..

That added remark about the media sounds like he's intentionally baiting the media to pick up the story. Presumably to draw attention away from the Ford/Kavanaugh story dominating the news.
posted by p3t3 at 5:37 PM on September 29 [7 favorites]


Here's a PDF of the ABA's downgraded recommendation of O'Kavanaugh (from well-qualified to just qualified). ABA has investigated him 4 times now, since he was originally nominated in 2003 and re-nominated in '05 and '06, and interviewed 90+ character witnesses back then.
NYT OpEd from just before his partisan Senate approval: An Unqualified Judicial Nominee
AP report on the aftermath (via WaPo): Kavanaugh Confirmed U.S. Appellate Judge
posted by carsonb at 5:37 PM on September 29 [16 favorites]


In Forbes, Morgan Simon asks, What do big banks have to do with family detention?
Just a friendly reminder that under this administration immigrants* are criminals.

*kids; families
posted by carsonb at 5:47 PM on September 29 [9 favorites]


I still have trouble with why the Republicans are so stuck on Kavanaugh. The idea that Trump likes his views on POTUS being untouchable is somewhat compelling, but I doubt he's the only candidate they could dig up that would have these views.

When Kavanaugh was nominated for his current seat in 2006, Democrats tried to stop him and he was confirmed on a party line vote. The Republicans know that Kavanaugh is seen by Democrats as a partisan operative and they must have known Democrats would fight against him in a way that they didn't against someone like Gorsuch.

Just a theory: Republicans saw a protracted fight over a SCOTUS nomination as a good way to drive turnout. Which makes sense because what else do they have? So they picked the one guy that they knew Democrats would fight hard against.
posted by duoshao at 5:51 PM on September 29 [9 favorites]


You mean like when HRC did the same?

Exactly! I want some more of that. Trump rarely has to answer to anyone, it seems...
posted by tarshish bound at 5:53 PM on September 29 [2 favorites]


So they picked the one guy that they knew Democrats would fight hard against.

Leaving aside arguing about the feasibility or wisdom of such a reverse psychology strategy, we know it isn't the case because McConnell specifically told Trump that Kavanaugh was the least confirmable of the short list and advised him to pick someone else. I can't remember whether McConnell wanted Hardiman or Kethledge but it was one of those two.
posted by Justinian at 5:55 PM on September 29 [8 favorites]


I still have trouble with why the Republicans are so stuck on Kavanaugh.

I'm also perplexed, but I think I'd frame it as why Republicans are so stuck on defending Trump's bad ideas. I don't think anyone but Trump even wanted to nominate Kavanaugh, and yet once he did, they're all willing to die for him.
posted by p3t3 at 6:03 PM on September 29 [8 favorites]


Whose Boat Is This Boat?: Comments That Don’t Help in the Aftermath of a Hurricane (amazon)

100% of The Late Show’s proceeds will be donated to The Foundation for the Carolinas, The One SC Fund, The North Carolina Disaster Relief Fund, and World Central Kitchen.

Whose Boat Is This Boat? Comments That Don’t Help in the Aftermath of a Hurricane is a picture book made entirely of quotations from President Donald Trump in the wake of Hurricane Florence. It is the first children’s book that demonstrates what not to say after a natural disaster.


The Late Show skit the book is based on.
posted by adept256 at 6:03 PM on September 29 [9 favorites]


I still have trouble with why the Republicans are so stuck on Kavanaugh.

Because absolute power is at the very goddamned core of GOP ideology and getting an obvious monster confirmed to the supreme court despite broad opposition is a demonstration of that power. It's a dominance display that must be completed.
posted by Rust Moranis at 6:10 PM on September 29 [39 favorites]


From the Atlantic article posted by recklessbrother upthread

"Secrets and group loyalty go hand in hand. If you know that I did something wrong or illegal, but I don’t have anything similar on you, that’s a recipe for blackmail, not trust. But when the knowledge is mutual—when we’ve done something illicit together—the dynamic is radically different. Mutual misbehavior builds trusting bonds, partners in crime."

So, they are a gang. Same dynamic as a street gang but with more money, power, and privilege. But, still just a gang. What does the FBI use against gangs? RICO. But looking at them as a literal gang it all makes perfect sense.
posted by Gotanda at 6:10 PM on September 29 [46 favorites]


So as not to abuse the edit window, motivating turnout for the mid-terms, reverse psychology, ideology, views on the executive power, erc are all fine and dandy but the reason why Lindsey, Trump and the rest are fighting so hard is simple gang loyalty. They have to have his back just like in any cheesy gangster biker thug movie. That is the deal.
posted by Gotanda at 6:15 PM on September 29 [11 favorites]


I don't think it's possible for Trump to be made to see that Kavanaugh is bad news politically. Not as long as Kavanaugh is the sort of man who throws tantrums on live TV.

In Trump's mind that actually doesn't compute: anyone who is that Trumpish, and went to Yale, right out of central casting, so smart, and YELLING YELLY YELLY has to be seen by the nation as the right sort of guy, because Trump is similar to that, and people love him, right? Or, even if people kind of dislike Brett, fine, but he's not boring, right? Trump conceptualizes Americans as caring a lot about that factor, too. He'll dismiss any polling as fake because it's obvious to him that Americans want a loudmouth.
posted by InTheYear2017 at 6:24 PM on September 29 [8 favorites]


I just saw that Kavanaugh's dad is still alive, which makes his breaking into gasping, lurching sobs when talking about how his dad likes calendars way more normal.
posted by Rust Moranis at 6:25 PM on September 29 [82 favorites]


The idea that Trump likes his views on POTUS being untouchable is somewhat compelling, but I doubt he's the only candidate they could dig up that would have these views.

Well, where are they then? Apparently nobody on the Federalist-approved list has a similar record. It's probably a pretty rare position among conservative judges, particularly ones young enough to have been appointed subsequent to the investigation of Bill Clinton. Kavanaugh got a pass on his comments because he had actually been involved in Clinton's prosecution, but other critics of the attempted indictment would have looked as if they were attacking the Republican Party.
posted by Joe in Australia at 6:26 PM on September 29 [1 favorite]


I can't remember whether McConnell wanted Hardiman or Kethledge but it was one of those two.

Trump axed Hardiman because he had a background of legal aid for immigrants early in his career and speaks Spanish, even though his rulings as a judge have been anti-immigrant. But his main objection was that Hardiman didn't go to Harvard or Yale law schools. Turns out Trump the populist is an elitist snob. Who knew?
posted by JackFlash at 6:26 PM on September 29 [7 favorites]


So despite all his talk of getting into Yale because he busted his butt, it turns out good ol' Brett is a legacy. There's absolutely zero chance that Brett did not know he was a legacy and that this status substantially increased the chances that he would be admitted to Yale, of course. Yet another lie from this lying POS. I really hope Dems move to impeach him for perjury, for this and his other lies, if they ever, by some miracle, hold the requisite number of Senate seats.
posted by longdaysjourney at 6:28 PM on September 29 [80 favorites]


If Flake won't call out the Trump administration on this sham, then the electorate will have to call out Flake as one.
posted by Doktor Zed at 23:51 on September 29

Except that Flake isn't running for re-election. So the electorate has no real power to put pressure on him.
posted by NoxAeternum at 0:00 on September 30


Oh yes he is. These guys never willingly leave power. Flake figured he couldn't win a batshit MAGA primary so kept his powder dry. He's running in 2020 or 2024. Everything since the entrumpening is him trying to thread a very fine needle while also gambling on where the GOP will be in a few years. He needs to see that this will lose him Pennsylvania or Florida.
posted by Gotanda at 6:30 PM on September 29 [11 favorites]


You know what would immediately improve Supreme Court nominations? A stipulation (achieved by attrition) that at least 8 distinct law schools must be represented on the Court (that is, you can only have two who have the same alma mater), and at least 7 of those seats must be filled by public law school grads. NO MORE HARVARD OR YALE FUCKERS FOR FORTY YEARS. (Sucks to be you, Stanford! Sucks to be you, Duke! Sucks to be you, Chicago! Sucks to be you, NYU! Those two private school seats are always going to be Harvard and Yale!) Bring on some Michigan, some UNC, some Boalt Hall, some UVA, some UT-Austin, some UMinn. BRING IT. Make the top aspiring lawyers of their generation GO TO FUCKING PUBLIC SCHOOL.

Even more radical would be returning to the same number of justices as there are circuits (11 geographical circuits, plus the DC circuit and the federal circuit, for 13) and require each justice to have gone to law school in the circuit he represents and have served on that circuit's appellate court. (Although the 9th circuit should really get double representation since it's twice the size of the next largest and has twice as many judges.)
posted by Eyebrows McGee at 6:41 PM on September 29 [153 favorites]


> The idea that in the not-too-distant future I might have to decide whether to cast my presidential primary vote for Harris or Warren is literally giving me life today. What an incredibly welcome tough dilemma that would be.

I thought Gillibrand was the chosen one.

But, yes, as a Californian who voted for her, I couldn't be prouder of Harris. She's one of the few reasons I cling to for not wanting to burn this whole timeline down. But then again, this is California. She'd get elected in any timeline.
posted by bunbury at 7:02 PM on September 29 [5 favorites]


Trump axed Hardiman because he had a background of legal aid for immigrants early in his career and speaks Spanish, even though his rulings as a judge have been anti-immigrant. But his main objection was that Hardiman didn't go to Harvard or Yale law schools.

The more bits and pieces revealed about Trump like this, it becomes clear he is more than just a knee-jerk "don't like brown people" racist, and more of a full-on eugenics Nazi racist.

It fits into his whole management philosophy of pitting people against each other to reveal the "strongest," and even to his interest running Miss Universe. There's the misogynist creepy dressing room pervert angle too, but pageants totally fit into that eugenics mindset of ranked beauty and superiority.

Not to mention the rumors of his bedside Hitler speeches, the fact that a lot of his immigration policy was supported and informed by eugenicists (Maddow link), etc. He loves elites, but mainly the ones with "good dna."
posted by p3t3 at 7:13 PM on September 29 [21 favorites]


Oh yeah, Trump as eugenicist has been pretty well established.
posted by Miko at 7:31 PM on September 29 [17 favorites]


And boy I would love to watch a Warren-Trump debate. I think she could say the things all of us have been hoping someone would say about this overgrown schoolyard bully.

Trump's already shown his hand with Warren & there's only one card in it - "Pocahontas." Just like "Lock her up!" he'll hit it again & again & again. I just don't think it'll play nearly as well. First it doesn't make a very good chant & second the mood of the country is much less forgiving of overt racism & sexism of the kind Trump deals in. I don't think it's a trick that'll work nearly as well the second time around.
posted by scalefree at 7:46 PM on September 29 [2 favorites]


I think he also doesn't have the judgement or expertise to decide who's qualified for any given job, and he isn't willing to trust the people who do (and honestly, doesn't have the judgement or expertise to figure out who would be able to determine that), so he goes for the simplest, stupidest indicators of qualification: elite educational credentials, determined in the simplest, dumbest way (ie Harvard or Yale, even in instances where those aren't the best schools in a person's area of expertise); whether someone seems loyal to him; whether someone looks right for the job.
posted by ArbitraryAndCapricious at 7:47 PM on September 29 [6 favorites]


I don't want the SCOTUS to require specific law schools, or even specific categories of law schools - as much as I'd love to see a broader representation, I don't want aspiring judges to spend their time acquiring credentials from multiple schools in the hopes of being appointed, and I don't want to see the bizarre politicking I'd expect in trying to assemble a list of judges that excludes all the ones from the schools already represented on the court.

But I could definitely support "one from each circuit, who's served in that appellate court." Some judges might be qualified in two circuits, I suppose? But mostly not. It'd work nicely to make sure there's a broad range of legal theories, and that the combined court has heard cases from almost every state, and is familiar with the tricky laws and weird cases that each district is prone to getting.

It'd need to be phrased to cover the transition period before the circuits are all represented - maybe something like, "president shall choose someone who has served on the appellate court from a circuit not already represented on the SCOTUS; if all circuits are represented, president may choose any current or former circuit court judge" or whatever is appropriate. (If someone has served on 3 different circuits' appellate courts, they'd count for all three.) (Yeah, not likely, but let's not assume that "unlikely" doesn't need a contingency plan.)
posted by ErisLordFreedom at 8:00 PM on September 29 [17 favorites]


Well now I'm more confused.
@RealDonaldTrump: NBC News incorrectly reported (as usual) that I was limiting the FBI investigation of Judge Kavanaugh, and witnesses, only to certain people. Actually, I want them to interview whoever they deem appropriate, at their discretion. Please correct your reporting!
posted by Holy Zarquon's Singing Fish at 8:00 PM on September 29 [14 favorites]


Trump's already shown his hand with Warren & there's only one card in it - "Pocahontas."

In a debate, I'd love the moderator to say, "No racial slurs allowed; if you use that term, your mic will be cut off and your image will be pixelated to avoid lipreading."
posted by ErisLordFreedom at 8:02 PM on September 29 [20 favorites]


@RealDonaldTrump: NBC News incorrectly reported (as usual) that I was limiting the FBI investigation of Judge Kavanaugh, and witnesses, only to certain people. Actually, I want them to interview whoever they deem appropriate, at their discretion. Please correct your reporting!

And there's Avenetti's invitation to the party on behalf of his client! On one hand, Trump should shut up and stop digging himself deeper. On every other hand he should keep tweeting, because it makes the investigator's job much easier!
posted by mikelieman at 8:08 PM on September 29 [4 favorites]


@realDonaldTrump's fake news accusations against NBC are a classic smokescreen tactic. Since NBC has no on-record sources and won't reveal their anonymous ones, Trump can say whatever he likes about their story's veracity.

Incidentally, the Trump or Not Bot calculates only a 69% chance this was really written by him. Compare that to the 97% chance he composed this afternoon's tweet attacking Sen. Blumenthal as a "Total Phony!"
posted by Doktor Zed at 8:09 PM on September 29 [6 favorites]


But I could definitely support "one from each circuit, who's served in that appellate court."...It'd work nicely to make sure there's a broad range of legal theories,

Definitely opposed to this notion, which, geographically speaking, seems like an ideal way to produce the Handmaid's Tale even faster.
posted by Miko at 8:14 PM on September 29 [6 favorites]


Flake figured he couldn't win a batshit MAGA primary

I think he just doesn't want to piss off all the people he is going to be getting rich by lobbying in six months.

McConnell is evil, but he can work the system, and reportedly he didn't want Kavanaugh based on him being the toughest to confirm. That right there gives Trump the motivation to push him through, since as Kendzior is often pointing out, the authoritarians do the flagrant things in plain sight precisely as a performance of their power and immunity, and what could be a better demonstration of power and DGAF than ramming a highly compromised, political-operative, alcoholic rapist onto the Supreme Court?
posted by Rumple at 8:18 PM on September 29 [15 favorites]


Definitely opposed to this notion, which, geographically speaking, seems like an ideal way to produce the Handmaid's Tale even faster.

I like to keep my goals reasonable. 200 years of only women on the High Court. That'll make up for the first 205 years when it was just men*

*Don't hate my math.
posted by mikelieman at 8:18 PM on September 29 [28 favorites]


Only women would be an improvement, but it would be no guarantee in itself of reproductive freedoms or human rights. The problem's baked into our geographic crust.
posted by Miko at 8:27 PM on September 29 [10 favorites]


And there's Avenetti's invitation to the party on behalf of his client!

Former FBI special agent Frank Montoya to MSNBC's Joy Reid: "One of those things that I would absolutely state up front is if there are any folks out there that have anything to provide to this investigation, they don't need to wait to be asked. They can go knock on the FBI's door, they can go to the nearest field office, they can call that field office. They can make their voices known."
posted by Doktor Zed at 8:28 PM on September 29 [62 favorites]


The Oregonian has some reporting on Swetnick that may go beyond petty dirt-scrounging and reveal why she may not be getting much traction. Summary: her former employer sued her for lying on her resumé (about her educational credentials and work experience), and claimed she engaged in sexual misconduct herself while making "false and retaliatory allegations that other co-workers had engaged in inappropriate conduct toward her."

The suit was later dropped, and Avenatti insists it was a bogus charge to punish her for speaking out, but I can see why she's more problematic than Ford despite her security clearances.
posted by Superplin at 8:32 PM on September 29 [10 favorites]


Sociologist Ezra Zuckerman Sivan talks about Kavanaugh's lies (too long to quote it all here): "as we (@ohahl @minjaekim22) show in our research, obvious (“common knowledge”) lies can be effective tools for proclaiming deeper truths to those who are primed to hear them."
posted by Jpfed at 8:38 PM on September 29 [19 favorites]


Rebecca Traister, NYT op-ed, Fury Is a Political Weapon. And Women Need to Wield It: What the testimony of Christine Blasey Ford and Brett Kavanaugh showed us about who gets to be angry in public.

There is no pull-quote that can do this justice, just give it a read.
posted by zachlipton at 8:44 PM on September 29 [38 favorites]


@RealDonaldTrump: NBC News incorrectly reported (as usual) that I was limiting the FBI investigation of Judge Kavanaugh, and witnesses, only to certain people. Actually, I want them to interview whoever they deem appropriate, at their discretion

Former Obama associate White House counsel Ian Bassin: "Note to @FBI: whatever instructions White House staff gave you, the President’s tweet below is actually (no, really I’m not kidding) an order from the President. DOJ’s legal view is that a presidential order need not take any special form; if the president orders it, it counts."
posted by Doktor Zed at 9:15 PM on September 29 [83 favorites]


SNL Cold Open [video]: Matt Damon as Brett Kavanaugh

Which is really not so much comedy at all as a re-enactment of what happened Thursday.
posted by zachlipton at 9:19 PM on September 29 [23 favorites]


And boy I would love to watch a Warren-Trump debate. I think she could say the things all of us have been hoping someone would say about this overgrown schoolyard bully.

A debate is a circus and Donald Trump is a clown. There's everything to lose for Warren and nothing to win.

Public debate is not dialectic.
posted by klanawa at 9:25 PM on September 29 [32 favorites]




He did not, however, explain what he meant or who he blamed.
posted by scalefree at 9:47 PM on September 29 [9 favorites]


He ought to blame himself.
posted by Jonathan Livengood at 9:50 PM on September 29 [35 favorites]


"death and decline of democracy"

I agree that a Senate majority representing a mere 18% of the population voting to confirm a Supreme Court nominee whose views on issues of substance are not shared by a majority of the country represents a significant decline of democracy.
posted by Pseudonymous Cognomen at 9:52 PM on September 29 [73 favorites]


obvious (“common knowledge”) lies can be effective tools for proclaiming deeper truths to those who are primed to hear them.

Something similar seems to me to be happening when I hear Republicans say that they believe Ford was attacked but also believe Kavanaugh didn't do it. I don't think that's what they mean at all. I think they mean he did it, but it doesn't matter because they feel he's a good guy. I've even heard this from Republicans on the radio as both of their statements can true at the same time, which... no they can't.

Regardless of whether you feel that Kavanaugh could have both committed this crime as a teenager and then gone on to be a model judge, the Republican response to Ford's accusations has been unacceptable. His near constant lying about matters small and large, his unwillingness to have his previous law opinions made public, or have Ford's accusations be investigated, shows he's incapable of being honest or balanced. He has failed to show himself to be Supreme Court material.
posted by xammerboy at 10:06 PM on September 29 [19 favorites]


when trump sends his nominees, he does not send his best people.
they are bringing corruption. they are bringing crime. They are rapists. and some of them I assume are good people
posted by growabrain at 10:43 PM on September 29 [97 favorites]


I agree that a Senate majority representing a mere 18% of the population voting to confirm a Supreme Court nominee whose views on issues of substance are not shared by a majority of the country represents a significant decline of democracy.

One thing that Corey Robin, whose perspective on US history has been eye-opening across the last two years, consistently reiterates is that American fascism has never had to take the form of overthrowing the government. The United States Constitution, and our attitude towards politics in general, has made it possible to establish everything from concentration camps to systematic genocides in perfectly legal and system-approved ways. Ditto too the establishment of extremist minorities in government, who can usurp all three branches by each one's very nature (i.e. the Senate, the electoral vote, and the entire dumpster fire that is the Supreme Court).
posted by rorgy at 10:53 PM on September 29 [27 favorites]


Eoin Higgins, on Twitter: Herewith, a thread of the comments Democratic members of the Senate made on Kavanaugh's nomination to the DC District Court — comments that might seem familiar in light of the last month.

This is absolutely wild. Kavanaugh took seven months—seven months!—to respond to written questions, not replying until after the 2004 elections were over. There's more here, too, but it all revolves around this seeming pattern of the man being a slippery rodent fuck.
posted by rorgy at 11:03 PM on September 29 [41 favorites]


In a debate, I'd love the moderator to say, "No racial slurs allowed; if you use that term, your mic will be cut off and your image will be pixelated to avoid lipreading."

To make it fair, the candidate's entire sentence will be removed, and will instead be read aloud by "Lil' Sweet" the Diet Dr. Pepper CGI spokesman, with every offensive term replaced by an auto-tuned "Diet Docta!" and a clip of Lil' Sweet doing a spin move.

This is the debate format we deserve.
posted by Slap*Happy at 11:09 PM on September 29 [13 favorites]


I agree that a Senate majority representing a mere 18% of the population voting to confirm a Supreme Court nominee whose views on issues of substance are not shared by a majority of the country represents a significant decline of democracy.

Is this a reference to Kavanaugh? I don't know where the 18% figure comes from but it's not currently accurate. Texas, for example, is almost 9% of the population and both Cornyn and Cruz are Republicans. Rubio is from Florida, so take half of that population and you're at 12% just from those three senators. You pass 18% when you add in Toomey (PA), Portman (OH), Perdue (GA), and Isakson (GA). That's only 7 out 51 Republican Senators.

Yeah you start getting into some really small % on the smallest states, but it's still another 34 Senators on top the 18% from the first 7 guys. I'm sure it's a minority of the population but it isn't an 18% minority.
posted by Justinian at 11:17 PM on September 29 [6 favorites]


So, they are a gang. Same dynamic as a street gang but with more money, power, and privilege. But, still just a gang.

How about “cartel”?
posted by Autumnheart at 11:19 PM on September 29 [5 favorites]


This is a test for Flake. If he and Murkowski and Collins are serious, they can simply say they won't accept this. They and their votes control this process.

There's a lot of cynicism here about Flake, and it's totally understandable. Even after announcing they would not seek re-election, he and Corker have chickened out on nearly every opportunity to be decent human beings, with seemingly very little at stake (unless you think Russian hackers have dirt on them, which is frankly not crazy - but seems more likely with Lindsey Graham and Rand Paul.)

But here's the bottom line -- Flake changed his mind either Thursday night or Friday, either because of the shit show in the hearing or because one or more women told him about their personal traumas. However cynical you might be, there was and is no profit in him gumming up the nomination, especially after he had already announced he supported it. It was all set.

So, of course Kavanaugh may get confirmed anyway. Obviously huge pressure is being brought to bear to make sure that happens. But saying that it's all fixed and the one-week delay is a sham makes no sense. If that was the case, they just would have sailed though with the committee vote Friday, procedural vote today and final vote Monday or Tuesday.
posted by msalt at 11:21 PM on September 29 [14 favorites]


> Rebecca Traister, NYT op-ed, Fury Is a Political Weapon. And Women Need to Wield It: What the testimony of Christine Blasey Ford and Brett Kavanaugh showed us about who gets to be angry in public.

There is no pull-quote that can do this justice, just give it a read.


Rebecca Solnit wrote a book review about Traister's new book, Good and Mad: The Revolutionary Power of Women’s Anger, as well as Brittney Cooper's Eloquent Rage: A Black Feminist Discovers Her Superpower and Soraya Chemaly's Rage Becomes Her: The Power of Women’s Anger. Here's Solnit's piece:

All the Rage: What a literature that embraces female anger can achieve

I thought it merited its own thread, so I made a post about it.
posted by homunculus at 11:22 PM on September 29 [49 favorites]


The Oregonian has some reporting on Swetnick that may go beyond petty dirt-scrounging and reveal why she may not be getting much traction. Summary: her former employer sued her for lying on her resumé (about her educational credentials and work experience), and claimed she engaged in sexual misconduct herself while making "false and retaliatory allegations that other co-workers had engaged in inappropriate conduct toward her."

If you read the article, it has every hallmark of petty dirt-scrounging. More specifcally, every aspect of the lawsuit described in the article fits with the classic pattern of a meritless employer counter-suit filed as a bargaining chip after an employee claims discrimination:

1) It was dismissed with prejudice a month later, with no money exchanged and Webtrends paying court filing fees;
2) the "sexual misconduct" they claim against her was "innuendo" she spoke to two men while out for drinks. She was not a supervisor. So, she made some slightly off-color joke which they are calling "sexual misconduct";
3) this lawsuit sued her for "defamation" for her sexual harassment claim against two different employees, so it's clear who was retaliating against who;
4) on the educational credentails, who knows? No evidence presented on either side. But why did they sue over that, instead of just firing her? Sounds a lot like random dirt thrown into a hardball lawsuit. Odds are 99% they filed this to pressure her to drop her claim.

Also important context: Oregonlive.com is the website of The Oregonian, a right-wing newspaper so crippled by budget cuts that it only prints four days a week now. Clearly they did no reporting on this article and just regurgitated the legal complaint and the press release from Mitch McConnell's office.
posted by msalt at 11:41 PM on September 29 [85 favorites]


Former Supreme Court Justice Anthony Kennedy warned high schoolers, as the toxic fight over confirming Brett Kavanaugh to replace him on the court continues, that the country is seeing the "death and decline of democracy."

It's funny (not really), how as common as it is in so many trials for friends and family of the accused to claim whatever action couldn't have been done by the accused since they know he's really a good person, that the really privileged among us only think that actually means something when it's them making the claim. The rest of the time they ignore it for being so obviously biased.

This too furthers my suspicion that the accounts of Kennedy's retirement were pretty much accurate. There being little need for blackmail when one can appeal to the vanity of a self-important white man. And Judge 5-4 has given ample evidence his main concern is over his own damn legacy as "the key vote" on the court. Gorsuch and Kavenaugh were to cement that legacy, giving Kennedy two former clerks to carry on his influence. While I certainly wouldn't say blackmail is beyond Trump or an impossibility here, the very idea that he'd have material to get a Supreme Court Justice do to his bidding makes him more valuable on the court than off it. That's the key to blackmail after all, which you lose when the person no longer has power to help you.

The whole affair of investigating Kavanaugh then works entirely in Trumps favor. If the FBI finds anything Trump not only gets to pick a replacement of his choosing without worry about any deal with Kennedy, but he'll also get ammunition to raise further doubts about the FBI and justice department to his supporters to make any action against him seem all the more illegitimate to the true believers. Still, I'll be awfully pleased if that lying sack of shit doesn't reach the court, but the relief will only be a temporary one I fear.
posted by gusottertrout at 11:45 PM on September 29 [10 favorites]


last episode i offered first person anecdata concerning outrageous and commonplace drinking among not-too-dissimilar prep schools in the region but a few years later in rebuttal to some quoted character's fauxtrage (does that convey?) about teh youths & teh booze & the surely-nots. the mods didn't delete it (hi y'all; respect; keep it up). but there's been some quality monday-morning-judiciary-committeeing in here since that hearing, and there's an omission, or a missed line of impeaching questioning, that i couldn't quite pin down until, reading nathan j. robinson's excellent "how we know kavanaugh is lying"--which Jonathan Livengood linked above--it hit me: the little pas-de-deux with whitehouse about a drinking game.

i did not, before reading robinson's editorial, know that devils triangle commonly denoted something particular about group sex. but i have some passing familiarity with drinking games. (full disclosure: i have been the owner of both a "big book of farts" -- from spencer gifts, if memory serves -- and a reference book of drinking games which, alas, i no longer seem to possess. i do not recall bouf in particular from among others such as the "going-up-stairs-" or the "musical fart" in the former; nor do i recall any drinking games in the latter book. i do seem to recall reading the book and disregarding it as stupid. my milieu played "caps" mostly).

people who intend to not risk drinking "too much" do not play drinking games.
people who do not routinely so risk drinking "too much" do not immortalize their special variant of quarters in the yearbook.

now, likely whitehouse was after the sex act congruent with some of the behavior alleged by his victims, and not directly trying to impeach the careful, i'm a good guy who likes to have a manly beer with his buddies from time to time (glossing over that he was underage throughout highschool, except for the last few months of his senior year if he should be within the district rather than in maryland, when all this drinking was relevant to the charges at hand) layer of obfuscating bullshit he'd been brazening through with his patriotic beer-liking, but did not routinely drink "too much" lie. in dodging the sex-act interpretation, kavanaugh concedes the routinely-drinking-to-excess ground. whitehouse asks him how "devil's triangle" is played & he says some bullshit. whitehouse presses him a little
kav: you ever played quarters?
WH: no.
kav: OK. it's a quarters game.
the end. but what an end. who assumes that the rules of an admittedly common drinking game--quarters--are common knowledge (& allegedly celebrates an obscure variation of quarters involving three glasses in his yearbook)? someone immersed in a culture of excessive drinking.

say it again, y'all: someone immersed in a culture of excessive drinking. say it three times.

kinda wish someone would have followed up later: you have testified, your honor, that devils triangle, in your yearbook, denotes a drinking game. what is a drinking game? when was the last time you played a drinking game? &c.

glancing over the foregoing, i don't mean to impugn all those perfectly healthy binge drinkers out there. for the record, i don't think having played drinking games throughout high-school and college should necessarily disqualify anyone from any particular office. but misrepresenting them as innocent few beers with buds would be lying under oath to the senate judiciary committee, wouldn't it?
posted by 20 year lurk at 11:57 PM on September 29 [20 favorites]


golly: thinking too hard about drinking games conjured up memories of all kinds of terrifying guys that don't usually come to mind when i'm remembering my hardest about drunken excess in high-school, an unexpected trove of adolescent bullies & their henchteens. yeech.
posted by 20 year lurk at 12:07 AM on September 30 [7 favorites]


Thread by Maura Quint @behindyourback on the twitters:
I want to tell a story: Once in high school, I felt insecure, I put on a tight top too low cut and dark lipstick I didn't usually wear. I went to a party drank terrible wine coolers, too many of them. A man asked me if I wanted to leave, I slurred, said maybe. He said "maybe"?
\\
And then he said "maybe isn't yes" and I went home that night, un-assaulted, because I hadn't talked to a rapist at that party. […]
The thread continues, with lots of replies from women and men with related anecdotes, some sad (because low expectations), some sweet, some funny or surprising. I think modeling good behaviour is important and I wish there were more of it. Maybe there's an alternate universe where the Georgetown Prep yearbooks are filled with references to anecdotes like these.
[via @onlxn]
posted by Joe in Australia at 1:00 AM on September 30 [71 favorites]


@RealDonaldTrump: NBC News incorrectly reported (as usual) that I was limiting the FBI investigation of Judge Kavanaugh, and witnesses, only to certain people. Actually, I want them to interview whoever they deem appropriate, at their discretion

Former Obama associate White House counsel Ian Bassin: "Note to @FBI: whatever instructions White House staff gave you, the President’s tweet below is actually (no, really I’m not kidding) an order from the President. DOJ’s legal view is that a presidential order need not take any special form; if the president orders it, it counts."


Is the scope of an investigation like this - if there even is such a class - secret? It would seem apt to ask the FBI what scope it is actually operating under.
posted by Devonian at 3:42 AM on September 30 [3 favorites]


why the Republicans are so stuck on Kavanaugh.
It's because as I was attempting ineffectually to say yesterday, it's personal. They have skin in the game. They all came up in that exact way he did, where as long as somebody is NOKD, they're not a person the way you and I are and what you do to them isn't wrong. Look at that letter the DC preps sent out in 1990 warning parents (please. like the parents didn't know.) that kids were having 500-person open parties in the parents' absence "open to pretty much anyone" (NOKD, shudder) where there were three problematic things:
1. drinking
2. sexual license/"teenage hormones"
3. violence

Nowhere on that list do we see rape. Nobody named the actual problem in 1990, much less 1960-whenever when Lindsey Graham was in school. It was much easier to ignore the actual problem because paying attn to the actual problem would put the entire structure in danger. They'd have to prosecute the football team and god forbid kick the frats off campus and the headmasters themselves, maybe our parties were smaller, but we had beach week, too, ah, school days. Why, Princeton would lose its supper clubs!

Kavanaugh is at risk of being outed; that puts them and their whole demonic rapist-promoting machine in danger.
posted by Don Pepino at 3:59 AM on September 30 [26 favorites]


>Sociologist Ezra Zuckerman Sivan talks about Kavanaugh's lies (too long to quote it all here): "as we (@ohahl @minjaekim22) show in our research, obvious (“common knowledge”) lies can be effective tools for proclaiming deeper truths to those who are primed to hear them."

From @ewzucker:

"...as suggested by our experiments, he may also be appealing to his fellow traditionalists’ anxiety about threats to their culture. What kind of real American doesn’t like beer, amirite? And what kind of loser doesn’t have too many beers once in awhile? The larger...
... truth then is that those high school hijinks were *good* and it’s wrong for these jerks to now cast aspersions on them.


The politics of the last couple years regularly remind me of Michael Herzfeld's ideas in Cultural Intimacy: Social Poetics in the Nation-State. I wonder if these sociologists have read it.

Key concepts from the book-notes at anthropolojamz:

big question = “what advantages [do] social actors find in using, reformulating, and recastingofficial idioms in the pursuit of often highly unofficial personal goals, and how [do] these actions—so often in direct contra­vention of state authority—actually constitute the state as well as a huge range of national and other identities” (2).

KEY POINT (acc. to Herzfeld) = the idea of the polity­—nation-state, local community, or international body—succeeds to the extent that its formal ideology encapsulates (or incorpo­rates) all the inward flaws and imperfections to which it is offi­cially and ostensibly opposed” (220).

cultural intimacy—”the recog­nition of those aspects of a cultural identity that are considered a source of external embarrassment but that nevertheless provide insiders with their assurance of common sociality, the familiarity with the bases of power that may at one moment assure the disenfranchised a degree of creative irreverence and at the next moment reinforce the effectiveness of intimidation” (3)

disemia—”the formal or coded tension between official self-presentation and what goes on in the privacy of collective introspection” (14).

structural nostalgia—”the longing for an age before the state, for the primordial and self­ regulating birthright that the state continually invoke” (22)

posted by snuffleupagus at 4:17 AM on September 30 [11 favorites]


Former Supreme Court Justice Anthony Kennedy warned high schoolers, as the toxic fight over confirming Brett Kavanaugh to replace him on the court continues, that the country is seeing the "death and decline of democracy."

Odd. It couldn't be that the decisions by the Supreme Court in Citizens United allowing unlimited money as speech in elections and Shelby County vs. Holder gutting the voting rights act had anything to do with the decline in democracy, could it? No I guess it must be a white guy having problems getting what he thinks he deserves that signals democracy's decline.
posted by rdr at 4:33 AM on September 30 [98 favorites]


why the Republicans are so stuck on Kavanaugh.

This may be the answer. They're not so much "stuck on Kavanaugh" so much as they're trying to "get a Conservative guy into the court right away", because:

On next month's SCOTUS docket is Gamble vs US. No 17-646. At stake is the "separate sovereigns" exception to double jeopardy. If the separate sovereigns exception is overruled, people given presidential pardons for federal crimes cannot be tried for that crime at the state level.

Getting Kavanaugh into SCOTUS now ensures that there is a fourth Conservative judge to rule on that case, which would in turn allow Trump to pardon some people in Federal court and render them unassailable in state court as well in one fell swoop.
posted by EmpressCallipygos at 4:58 AM on September 30 [67 favorites]


Yeah, Kavanaugh’s origins could have come out of a Springsteen song and Republicans would still fight for him if they knew he was a sure bet to insulate Trump from the law. My hunch is that part of the deal for Kennedy retiring was that Kavanaugh would protect Trump. Now Kennedy doesn’t have to taint his legacy by voting for some obvious bullshit law that protects the presidency from prosecution.
posted by MisantropicPainforest at 5:11 AM on September 30 [6 favorites]


on the subject of who should be on the supreme court - i say that if we had non-repeatable terms of 10 years, many of our current problems would be reduced - no more loading up the court for a generation with conservatives

the argument that making this so would politicize the process is irrelevant - it is politicized to hell and back already
posted by pyramid termite at 5:23 AM on September 30 [18 favorites]


"I was really being tough and so was he. And we would go back and forth. And then we fell in love. No really. He wrote me beautiful letters. They were great letters. And then we fell in love." Trump says the media is going to scold him for saying he fell in love with Kim Jong Un

Trump's trolling the media and us, the same way he gave a shout-out to Kayne West when he was exaggerating his record about African-American unemployment. We're not going to take the bait (the same way we're not going to take the bait on Kayne's pro-Trump trolling on SNL).

All in all, last night's rally felt moderate by Trumpian standards, which suggests he's feeling confident about Kavanaugh's chances. Interestingly, he did take a moment to bash Corey Booker, the first time he's done so, as a Kavanaugh cross-examiner and a 2020 challenger. He also lied spectacularly: "I will always fight for and always protect patients with pre-existing conditions. You have to do it. You have to do it." Runner-up: "America is respected again. I just left the United Nations. Believe me, they respect us now again. They all respect us.", which has points deducted because of the "believe me" giveaway.
posted by Doktor Zed at 5:42 AM on September 30 [5 favorites]


why the Republicans are so stuck on Kavanaugh.

Partly, as others have mentioned, because the Republicans play dominance politics. What matters is that they win, not just because they want to enact their policies, but because they know the importance of demoralizing and depressing their enemies.

Partly because plenty of them have likely also treated women like shit, and they don't want precedent that that's a no-no.

Combining the two, I think the real story here, at least in part, is that the #MeToo movement signifies a huge cultural tipping point—and one of many. #MeToo is not the only modern movement going on today. The anti-gun movement, the anti-police racism movement, the movements in favor of various forms of gay and transgender expression, are all stronger than they've ever been. And there are other movements that are budding that threaten to be even more of a sea change, such as the general movement against trusting capitalism and markets, or against the imbalances of the system itself.

Confirming Kavanaugh serves no major technical purpose. If he doesn't get in, almost certainly the Republicans nominate an equally awful person who gets in instead. But Kavanaugh getting in would serve, in their eyes, as a major symbolic victory: a spit in the face of every single person who believes in these new movements, or who believes that America needs change now more than ever.

I think they're wrong, and I think some of them must know they're wrong. They're energizing the left, not demoralizing them. The fury they've unleashed grows every day it faces any check to its budding power. The more they fight against it, the more powerful it gets, because dominance is not the only mode of power, and is in fact a fairly limited and stupid way of treating it. Solidarity is power too, and it's a far more difficult one to fight.

But they do this anyway, for the same reason they elected Trump and sparked these initial movements in the first place. Because their options, since 2016—since 2008? Since vice president Palin?—have been to either acquiesce to slow, incremental change, or to stave it off using desperate measures that give them temporary power at the cost of accelerating their own demise. The further in they go, the more desperate they become, because all the other soul-sells they gave in to mean that the reaction against them is already howlingly strong.

They want to believe there's a breaking point, but I think they know there isn't one. They want this to be a war that they can win, a war that holds any hope of the other side surrendering. Failing that, all they can do is count the weeks and months that they have power, or hope that the Democrats do what Democrats do best, and somehow do all the demoralizing of their base on their own. But even that won't last forever, as the rage turns on the center-left and its attempts at appeasement. (It will last too long, but it won't last.)

I could be wrong, but that's what I can think to make of this. Partly they want to win, partly they want to save themselves from future allegations, but most importantly they want to do as conservatives have always done, and stand athwart history yelling "Stop!"
posted by rorgy at 5:44 AM on September 30 [31 favorites]


the argument that making this so would politicize the process is irrelevant - it is politicized to hell and back already

god forbid that we make politics of our politics
posted by rorgy at 5:47 AM on September 30 [9 favorites]




Kennedy could be concerned that his son at Deutsche Bank is also at risk of indictment from Mueller and wants to give Trump all the pardoning power to let him off the hook. I don't think indictments will spread that far on Trump's business side, but if it does play out this way, we deserve 100 new Mueller probes, SCOTUS impeachment, and investigation of the entire GOP side of the Senate Judicial Committee, hell the entire Senate.
posted by p3t3 at 5:58 AM on September 30 [11 favorites]


But seriously there is something inordinately frustrating about the seeming Democrat belief that the right way to do politics is to do as little of it as possible, finding compromise with a bunch of hellbeasts because maybe that will somehow make the Hellbeast Party stop existing. As if they will convince the electorate that they're the better party because they know how not to fight, how to be generous, how to use what power they have to try and convince the people whose vision of a perfect world is radically opposite their own that the right place to go is somewhere in the middle. I don't even think the Republicans talked the Dems into doing that; I think they just went about their perfectly reasonable strategy of "go further right than Democrats" and the Dems just kept inching rightward as if to let Republicans know, okay, you can stop now, we're willing to meet you partway there. It's like playing tug-of-war by going halfway towards your opponent and asking them to stop, they got part of what they want, isn't that enough to feel really good?

The entire political system is designed to be, on some level, radical. The United States sparked a war when it came into existence. Every Supreme Court decision, every Constitutional amendment, every transition into a new era of political power, has marked a forcible change from the status quo. Doesn't matter if the transition is rightward or leftward: all we get is this political and cultural tug-of-war, in which people get this idea in their head about what politics should look like, and then we all shift thataways as a culture as the other side tries their damnedest to pull back a little bit. Those shifts are all we get. It feels like we want the End Of Politics the way people a couple decades back wanted the End Of History, with everyone going "Okay, great, this model of the world is exactly the right one, now let's just sit back and let everything incrementally improve."

It doesn't work like that, now or ever. Politics doesn't work like the free market does. (Hell, the free market doesn't work like the free market does.) Politicians can't just sit back and let the dial on the meter slowly twitch itself one direction or the other. The nature of politics is to envision what the world should be, deliberate on steps to get us there, and then find the way of selling that vision to enough people to bring that world into being. "We can't change the way things are! That's too politicized!" Motherfucker, that line of argument is exactly what reactionaries want you to say! They're the ones who hate change in all its forms! Try and maintain things exactly as they are now, and you'll just give them room to revert years and decades of change, going back to the old way things were, since they're still pissed off that they let us bring things as far ahead as they've come.

We need politicians who understand the importance of change, and who recognize that it's their literal goddamn job to convince the American people that that change matters. It's why rhetoric was developed as an art form in the fucking first place. Yes, it's hard to make people collectively believe in a world that doesn't yet exist. That's literally why politics exists as a field in the first place. In my personal ideal world, we successfully primary out every politician on the left who doesn't see that as their explicit duty.
posted by rorgy at 6:00 AM on September 30 [60 favorites]


on the subject of who should be on the supreme court - i say that if we had non-repeatable terms of 10 years, many of our current problems would be reduced - no more loading up the court for a generation with conservatives

the argument that making this so would politicize the process is irrelevant - it is politicized to hell and back already


The problem is that without lifetime appointments they would need jobs when they are done. And as we can already see from the revolving door with the Fed, Congress, Senate and upper levels of the military that leads to all kinds of basically unprovable corruption via the implicit delayed bribe of future industry jobs.
posted by srboisvert at 6:24 AM on September 30 [21 favorites]


NYTimes confirms NBC's report that the investigation will be controlled by the White House and specifically limited to exclude key witnesses (Michael D. Shear, Sheryl Gay Stolberg, Maggie Haberman and Michael S. Schmidt)

Trumps tweet (and this morning's statements on the Sunday news shows by Huckabee-Sanders and Conway) that the White House has given the FBI "free rein," are just a smoke screen to have it both ways.
posted by pjenks at 6:28 AM on September 30 [15 favorites]


Joe in Australia: I want to tell a story: Once in high school, I felt insecure, I put on a tight top too low cut and dark lipstick I didn't usually wear. I went to a party drank terrible wine coolers, too many of them. A man asked me if I wanted to leave, I slurred, said maybe. He said "maybe"?
\\
And then he said "maybe isn't yes" and I went home that night, un-assaulted, because I hadn't talked to a rapist at that party. […]
The thread continues, with lots of replies from women and men with related anecdotes, some sad (because low expectations), some sweet, some funny or surprising. I think modeling good behaviour is important and I wish there were more of it. Maybe there's an alternate universe where the Georgetown Prep yearbooks are filled with references to anecdotes like these.


Thanks for that link/thread! I want to wave evidence like this in the faces of everyone who says that men can't be expected to treat women well, and that sexual assault is Just What Men Do, It's Biology. No. It's culture - to be specific, a culture of male privilege and disregard for the boundaries and bodily autonomy of anyone they deem "inferior beings" - women, children, and "lesser" men. As the song goes, you have to be carefully taught.

Conservatives love ev-psych and appeals to what they call human nature and biology; this was in effect all the way back in the days of Reagan and Thatcher. Men who rape? Innate male nature. Poor people? Genetic inferiority. Black lives not mattering? "Human biodiversity." It's the scientific version of the prosperity gospel. And I hope it burns to the ground in the wake of social justice movements.
posted by Rosie M. Banks at 6:32 AM on September 30 [56 favorites]


Key paragraph from the NYTimes article:
The White House has asked that the F.B.I. share its findings after investigators complete [interviews of four people --- Mark Judge, P.J. Smyth, Leland Keyser, and Deborah Ramirez], and at that point, Mr. Trump and his advisers would decide whether to have the accusations investigated further, the people said.
posted by pjenks at 6:36 AM on September 30 [18 favorites]


Notably, the NYTimes article does not mention FBI interviews with Christine Blasey Ford or Brett Kavanaugh. Has there been reporting that these interviews have taken place?
posted by pjenks at 6:46 AM on September 30 [1 favorite]


I listened to BBC News talking about Philippine President Duterte's nonchalant admission that in all his time in office, his "only sin is the extra-judicial killings".

Duterte's staff and allies are offering two different but complementary explanations in an attempt to tether their President to this plane of reality. Some are saying that the President was merely joking, indulging in a little sarcasm, and so should not be taken literally. Others are saying that the President was letting off steam, speaking out of a very reasonable frustration regarding narcotics traffickers and his political opponents, and so should not be taken literally.

Does all this remind you of anything?

Trump's crimes are not Duterte's crimes. Not yet, and hopefully never. But they are kindred spirits.
posted by East Manitoba Regional Junior Kabaddi Champion '94 at 6:53 AM on September 30 [8 favorites]


srboisvert: "The problem is that without lifetime appointments they would need jobs when they are done. And as we can already see from the revolving door with the Fed, Congress, Senate and upper levels of the military that leads to all kinds of basically unprovable corruption via the implicit delayed bribe of future industry jobs."

Easily solved: Judges sit for a limited time but get paid at that level for life even when their term ends and they are demoted to the farm leagues.
posted by Mitheral at 6:58 AM on September 30 [8 favorites]


If you need a pick me up, just remember: Democrats planning to examine Trump’s tax returns after the midterms
posted by saturday_morning at 7:18 AM on September 30 [34 favorites]


I love my congressman. Who is ranking member of the House Judiciary Committee and has the power to make this happen if Ds win the House.

@ThisWeekABC
NEW: Rep. Jerrold Nadler says if Brett Kavanaugh "is on the Supreme Court and the Senate hasn't investigated, then the House would have to" investigate "any credible allegation" of perjury and "things that haven't been properly looked into"
VIDEO
posted by chris24 at 7:19 AM on September 30 [54 favorites]


A Democratic House or Senate would have both the power and the obligation to oversee this Executive Branch by means of investigative apparatus and compelled testimony under subpoena. If such an engine brings new facts to light proving unconscionable crimes, the fall of Trump could happen sooner than people expect.
posted by East Manitoba Regional Junior Kabaddi Champion '94 at 7:23 AM on September 30 [9 favorites]


If you need a pick me up, just remember: Democrats planning to examine Trump’s tax returns after the midterms

the possibility/effectiveness is dependent on whether or not the Blue Wave happens, which is not at all for certain so let's all remember to get our butts out and volunteer (and donate if you can)
posted by schroedinger at 7:28 AM on September 30 [11 favorites]


My metaphor yesterday, "they know it's 'wrong' the way they know underage drinking or smoking is 'wrong'" was inapt. Here's a better example of something that is actually wrong, self-evidently wrong to anyone with a functioning conscience but that is not actually punished and therefore not something that a person without a conscience can understand is wrong. What many many many of them did in high school besides assault people for fun whenever they could get away with it and what was then, is now, has always been self-evidently wrong to all people with a functioning conscience was bully other people.

We know they did it then because they still do it now, in front of cameras--Kavanaugh to Klubuchar, the fucker who threw in a shoutout to Clarence Thomas to anyone who's ever been sexually harassed, Lindsey Graham to Homo sapiens from Lucy to the heat death of the universe. What NPR just called "the culture in the 80s" included sanctioned sexual assault under the rubric "what we don't do in front of parents and teachers"--so it was not like drinking and smoking, which aren't really even wrong but which are punished, it was like bullying, which is an evil but which is not punished.

Bullying sometimes kills people; in some cases, that's the bullies' avowed intent, that's why they do it, to drive the loathed person out of the world. Everybody knows that, everybody knows this hideous thing is happening in schools, but bullying has not been a punishable offense until very recently. Bullies aren't punished even now, usually, and in fact the idea that maybe they should be punished is new. At the moment, it's not illegal and bullies continue to prosper as they always have. So in the eighties and before then, we were with what we then called "date rape" where we are now with bullying. We were just figuring out that maybe it was a problem. As with all problems that don't affect the bullies who rule the world, we've done next to nothing about it, of course. But it's still better and less depressing to be alive and looking at this now than it was then, and here's why!

I was surprised that my comments yesterday got read as trying to make excuses for rapists, but I think it's so very awesome that they did get read that way because it proves that the culture really has changed since I was in school, and we're not ignoring this anymore, it's no longer the water we swim in, it's acknowledged as the insane aberration it's always been, these murderous old fuckers polluting the three branches of our current government notwithstanding.

No more bullies. No bullies in the schools, no bullies on the courts, no bullies in government, no bullies on Wall Street. The appropriate environment for bullies is prison.
posted by Don Pepino at 7:30 AM on September 30 [40 favorites]


(Prison is full of bullies who are in charge of bullying others, whether someone "deserves it" or not. In American life, it's bullies all the way up)
posted by agregoli at 7:48 AM on September 30 [5 favorites]


why the Republicans are so stuck on Kavanaugh.

I don't think personally they are, but their party acts as a machine. You're either with them or against them. If you come out against Kavanaugh, you'll lost the party's backing, you'll be vilified by Fox news and its ilk, you'll be vilified by the president.

It's also worth noting that you wouldn't have seen a judge like Kavanaugh nominated during most of the mid-twentieth century because people most people wouldn't have stood for a political hack on the court. There was a cultural norm that whoever sat on the bench should not be overly political, not to mention overtly partisan. Nothing erodes trust and the court's credibility more than the general feeling that they don't care about precedent or law.

It says a lot about where we are that no one mentioned this as a reason for him being unfit. It was never mentioned on the news. It was never mentioned by any politician. We're so deep into partisan politics that it's simply taken for granted.
posted by xammerboy at 7:51 AM on September 30 [19 favorites]


Conservatives love ev-psych

The current conservatives, like the worst of evolutionary psychologists, evolve and adapt their ideas and principles on the fly not to discover the truth but to allow themselves to survive. This is why to to defeat either you can't use logic. You have to use starvation.
posted by srboisvert at 7:53 AM on September 30 [15 favorites]


If anyone is thinking about canvassing for the first time, I can say with some confidence that this year has been the easiest canvassing I have ever done. It goes something like this:

Me: Hi! I'm from the Democrats.

Them: Thank God. Don't worry, I am planning to vote for Democrats.

Me: Are you interested in voting early? I can sign you up to vote by mail!

Them: Yes. Yes, definitely. Where's the form?

Yesterday I knocked 27 doors, talked to six voters, and got five of them to sign up to vote by mail.
posted by ArbitraryAndCapricious at 7:55 AM on September 30 [94 favorites]


Photo gallery of Brett Kavanaugh's parents, wife, friends, and other supporters sitting behind him during his SJC testimony.
posted by cenoxo at 7:59 AM on September 30


[Dudes. Dudes. Rape jokes that purport to be against rape are still fucking rape jokes.. Do not post them here. At all. Even with content warnings. ]
posted by restless_nomad (staff) at 8:26 AM on September 30 [72 favorites]


NYT: Hundreds of Migrant Children Quietly Moved to a Tent Camp on the Texas Border

In shelters from Kansas to New York, hundreds of migrant children have been roused in the middle of the night in recent weeks and loaded onto buses with backpacks and snacks for a cross-country journey to their new home: a barren tent city on a sprawling patch of desert in South Texas.

Until now, most undocumented children being held by federal immigration authorities had been housed in private foster homes or shelters, sleeping two or three to a room. They received formal schooling and regular visits with legal representatives assigned to their immigration cases.

But in the rows of sand-colored tents in Tornillo, Tex., children in groups of 20, separated by gender, sleep lined up in bunks. There is no school: The children are given workbooks that they have no obligation to complete. Access to legal services is limited.

These midnight voyages are playing out across the country, as the federal government struggles to find room for more than 13,000 detained migrant children — the largest population ever — whose numbers have increased more than fivefold since last year.

posted by snuffleupagus at 8:31 AM on September 30 [50 favorites]


It says a lot about where we are that no one mentioned this as a reason for him being unfit. It was never mentioned on the news. It was never mentioned by any politician. We're so deep into partisan politics that it's simply taken for granted.

If you are in need of nightmare fuel, might I suggest that you look up newspaper headlines from the run up to the Civil War.
posted by schadenfrau at 8:44 AM on September 30 [6 favorites]




Not just Manafort, the whole Trump Org. clown show in NY.
posted by snuffleupagus at 8:49 AM on September 30 [11 favorites]


I've firmly been in the "every delay is a good thing" camp - the wheels are coming off, the bus is on fire, and the further away the finish line is, the more likely that it crashes and burns before making it across.

But at this point, even if it turns out to be a sham investigation and Bart gets confirmed, I think he'll be a tainted judge - much more so than Clarence Thomas, who must be having a terrible week. (That's another thought that makes me smile. Worry, asshole - history will not be kind to your reputation.)

And if Democrats get subpoena power, the guy could be tied up in a series of investigations into perjury and assault that would make a tawdry spectacle of him.
posted by RedOrGreen at 8:55 AM on September 30 [17 favorites]




Stopped Clock Jennifer Rubin, WaPo:

If we want to protect the Supreme Court’s legitimacy, Kavanaugh should not be on it
As he yelled at Democrats on the Senate Judiciary Committee, it was not hard to imagine that he would be less than evenhanded if they were a party in litigation. “With his unprecedented attacks on Democrats and liberals, Kavanaugh must now likely broadly recuse himself from matters including those groups,” says ethics guru Norman Eisen. “It may wipe out a substantial portion of his docket should he be confirmed. We have a rule of thumb in government ethics: When recusals are so broad that the nominee can’t do his job, then maybe he shouldn’t be confirmed to the position. It is time to consider that question here.”

With Kavanaugh the problem is dicier if he gets to the Supreme Court. […]

“It follows – not from rules that wouldn’t technically bind him but from the principles about which Norm Eisen, Judge [Timothy] Lewis and I wrote in our Brookings Report of September 4 about the substantive areas from which Kavanaugh would have to recuse under cases like Williams-Yulee (and from the importance of maintaining the Supreme Court’s credibility as a fair arbiter of core legal questions) – that Judge Kavanaugh could not credibly cast a vote or participate in any way as a Supreme Court Justice in any of the very substantial number of cases that court decides each year involving litigants, whether individuals or organizations, that Kavanaugh evidently blames for orchestrating what he sees as an outrageous attack on his integrity, his decency, and his very life as well as the life of his family.”

In other words, we would be expecting a fierce partisan to recuse himself (for excessive partisanship), so the high court wouldn’t appear to be simply a political machine. That’s a poor bet, and even if Kavanaugh recused himself from some cases, each and every Supreme Court decision would come with an asterisk. The Supreme Court’s legitimacy, already fraying, would be decimated. The more than half of the country that didn’t vote for Donald Trump understandably would think the court’s 5-to-4 decisions stemmed from political bias.
posted by Johnny Wallflower at 9:02 AM on September 30 [21 favorites]


Kellyanne Conway: ‘I’m a victim of sexual assault’ (Alex Horton, WaPo)

I'm honestly conflicted about this. My instinct to believe the victim clashes with my experience that she lies, and lies convincingly, about everything in order to defend her boss.
posted by Johnny Wallflower at 9:13 AM on September 30 [10 favorites]


I think that the test should be:
Would you believe Kellyanne Conway if she claims that today is Sunday?
posted by growabrain at 9:17 AM on September 30 [4 favorites]


It can simultaneously be true and also distasteful that they might want to use her experience to get some kind of foothold of credibility in this context that they don't deserve.
posted by Grangousier at 9:17 AM on September 30 [26 favorites]


But at this point, even if it turns out to be a sham investigation and Bart gets confirmed, I think he'll be a tainted judge - much more so than Clarence Thomas, who must be having a terrible week.

But so what? A tainted judge's decision to overturn Roe v Wade still overturns Roe v Wade. Clarence Thomas has been one of the most powerful men in the country for 26 years.
posted by Mavri at 9:18 AM on September 30 [10 favorites]


It doesn't matter. I'll believe her, because that's a good default.

But being a survivor of sexual assault doesn't give her any authority to judge the validity of other women's claims. It's a non-sequitur.
posted by murphy slaw at 9:18 AM on September 30 [92 favorites]


With his unprecedented attacks on Democrats and liberals, Kavanaugh must now likely broadly recuse himself from matters including those group.

Ha, ha, ha. No. Supreme Court judges have no rules requiring recusal. They may occasionally do it voluntarily but no one can make them do so, not even their fellow justices. Kavanaugh, if confirmed, can do anything he wants, and given his partisan record, that is exactly what I expect him to do. He will not recuse himself on any issue important to Republicans.
posted by JackFlash at 9:25 AM on September 30 [17 favorites]


And being a survivor of sexual assault and using that as a shield for a serial sex predator is pretty sick

But then, Kellyanne Conway
posted by Ray Walston, Luck Dragon at 9:27 AM on September 30 [14 favorites]


It doesn't matter. I'll believe her, because that's a good default.

Same. I hope we don't derail about Conway's character vis-a-vis her claim.
posted by Johnny Wallflower at 9:31 AM on September 30 [6 favorites]


it is spectacularly distasteful and revealing to look for reasons not to believe her, as if everything you know about the frequency of assault and the extreme rarity of mistaken or false reports becomes untrue when the victim is a bad person.

I don't believe her because it's a good default, whatever that may mean. I believe her because it's entirely plausible and common and because I would, in fact, believe her if she said it was Sunday, because it is. men who assault women aren't Santa Claus, they don't stick to a list of nice women and studiously avoid the naughty ones. whoever believes they do should learn enough shame not to imply it in public.

anyone who thinks it is necessary to disbelieve her because otherwise they would have to care about her or respect her other opinions or stop hating her (you don't have to do any of that!) has a grotesquely soap-operatic view of life and of women. sexual violence doesn't make you a better (or worse) person or give you special insight or absolve your sins outside of misogynist popular art. it's just an awful and very common thing that a lot of people, mostly men, do to a huge number of other people, especially women. you know this.
posted by queenofbithynia at 9:33 AM on September 30 [83 favorites]


In shelters from Kansas to New York, hundreds of migrant children have been roused in the middle of the night in recent weeks and loaded onto buses with backpacks and snacks for a cross-country journey to their new home: a barren tent city on a sprawling patch of desert in South Texas.

Nacht und Nebel again. And a virtual banner over the entrance to the camp: "Arbeit macht Frei".
posted by Stoneshop at 9:38 AM on September 30 [19 favorites]


by "it's a good default", i just mean that i believe women unless given a compelling reason not to.

not liking someone is not a compelling reason.

in my lifetime, i have never been presented with a compelling reason.

tl;dr: believe women.
posted by murphy slaw at 9:39 AM on September 30 [13 favorites]


A tainted judge's decision to overturn Roe v Wade still overturns Roe v Wade.

In that direction, sure -- allowing states to do stuff that they'd like to do anyway.

But there are a whole raft of issues where Roberts, at least, is almost certainly remembering that the only difference between nine deranged people yelling at a cloud and the pinnacle of judicial power in the US is that enough people accept that their legitimacy and authority.
posted by GCU Sweet and Full of Grace at 9:40 AM on September 30 [4 favorites]


You might recall that Scalia refused to recuse himself in Cheney v. U.S. which was a lawsuit over whether Cheney was required to turn over documents regarding his meetings with energy executives in the White House.

At the time the case was being decided, Scalia rode on a private jet with Cheney to Texas where the vacationed together for a duck hunt. No recusal. Scalia ruled in favor of Cheney.

By the way, remember the hoopla over Bill Clinton spending 15 minutes talking to Loretta Lynch about their grandchildren, causing Comey to accuse his boss of corruption.

Kavanaugh is never going to recuse himself on any issue.
posted by JackFlash at 9:42 AM on September 30 [85 favorites]


it is spectacularly distasteful and revealing to look for reasons not to believe her, as if everything you know about the frequency of assault and the extreme rarity of mistaken or false reports becomes untrue when the victim is a bad person.

Absolutely. There's no class of women, no characteristic that renders them immune. Even pathological liars can be sexually assaulted. This is not a thing we can entertain.
posted by scalefree at 9:47 AM on September 30 [12 favorites]


I believe Kellyanne Conway when she says obviously true things like "it is Sunday" and extremely likely to be true things like "I was sexually assaulted." A statement from a woman that she was sexually assaulted is inherently credible because all but a vanishingly small number of women have been sexually assaulted. I suspect that when she says she doesn't believe Trump's or Kavanaugh's accusers were also sexually assaulted she may be prevaricating because she very probably understands as well as I do that all but a vanishingly small number of women have been sexually assaulted.
posted by Don Pepino at 9:49 AM on September 30 [6 favorites]


NBC: Limits to FBI's Kavanaugh Investigation Have Not Changed, Despite Trump's Comments—Trump’s Saturday night tweet has not changed the limits imposed by the White House counsel’s office on the FBI's Kavanaugh investigation, sources say.
The FBI has received no new instructions from the White House about how to proceed with its weeklong investigation of sexual misconduct allegations against Supreme Court nominee Brett Kavanaugh, a senior U.S. official and another source familiar with the matter tell NBC News.

According to the sources, the president’s Saturday night tweet saying he wants the FBI to interview whoever agents deem appropriate has not changed the limits imposed by the White House counsel’s office on the FBI investigation — including a specific witness list that does not include Julie Swetnick, who has accused Kavanaugh of sexual misconduct in high school.

Also not on the list, the sources say, are former classmates who have contradicted Kavanaugh’s account of his college alcohol consumption, instead describing him as a frequent, heavy drinker. The FBI is also not authorized to interview high school classmates who could shed light on what some people have called untruths in Kavanaugh’s Senate Judiciary Committee testimony about alleged sexual references in his high school yearbook.

The sources said nothing would preclude the FBI from asking Kavanaugh's high school friend Mark Judge, who is on the witness list, about Swetnick’s allegations, but the sources stressed that this is not a top priority.

Separately, a White House official made clear that the White House is the client in this process. This is not an FBI criminal investigation — it is a background investigation in which the FBI is acting on behalf of the White House. Procedurally, the White House does not allow the FBI to investigate as it sees fit, the official acknowledged; the White House sets the parameters.
posted by Doktor Zed at 9:59 AM on September 30 [20 favorites]


[Folks, debating whether or not someone is credible about their own sexual assault is not a debate we need to have, even if everyone's just agreeing with each other. Let's move on. Thanks. ]
posted by restless_nomad (staff) at 9:59 AM on September 30 [17 favorites]


The FBI investigation is not going to prove anything. All it does is buy us a week. A week where we have to make Kavanaugh so toxic that republicans won't vote for him.

The FBI will not save us.
posted by SecretAgentSockpuppet at 10:07 AM on September 30 [44 favorites]


Here’s a little levity: Baeto O’Rourke. “It may be pronounced Beh-to, but he’s always Bae to us.” An instagram of Beto as Bae.
posted by dog food sugar at 10:08 AM on September 30 [11 favorites]


That’s weird to me the fbi can’t investigate other witnesss it may find. Or other resources it may need.

It is allowed to look into this stuff if those witnesses and resources contact the fbi proactively?
posted by sio42 at 10:22 AM on September 30


If anyone is thinking about canvassing for the first time, I can say with some confidence that this year has been the easiest canvassing I have ever done. It goes something like this:

This was also pretty much the experience I had running phone banks for Beto O' Rourke a few weeks ago. Of the maybe... twenty or thirty people I spoke to, every single one of them that let me get through my spiel was patiently waiting to tell me they were voting for Beto.

(I had a very similar hiding ratio when I went canvassing for a state House rep in the primaries earlier this year. I think really people just hide from strangers talking to them, which I also do so I can't really blame them.)
posted by sciatrix at 10:27 AM on September 30 [6 favorites]


As upsetting as this spectacle has been, and as much as I'd like him not to be confirmed, some part of me feels like even the hearing and investigation are major victories. I think that at some point in the past, this would have been wrongly dismissed as just "boys being boys" and roughousing that got out of hand. ("They were just joking around." "I'm sorry she got scared, but nobody was going to hurt her.") Instead, the trauma that she experienced got taken seriously by at least a subset of legislators. I don't agree with those dismissive arguments at all. This issue should have stopped the train and hopefully still will. But I have to admit that I'm a little surprised and glad that it's slowing the train as much as it is. And apart from the political outcome, the outpouring of people revealing assaults for the first time shows what an impact Ford's bravery has had on the public discussion and the feelings of other survivors, which is valuable in its own right. I'm really grateful to Ford and to the activists speaking directly to Senators.
posted by salvia at 10:40 AM on September 30 [28 favorites]


That’s weird to me the fbi can’t investigate other witnesss it may find. Or other resources it may need.
It is allowed to look into this stuff if those witnesses and resources contact the fbi proactively?


The FBI is not allowed to just investigate people on its own whim and you wouldn't want this anyway. The FBI can investigate federal crimes because that is its job, but that isn't the case here. This is an investigation for a political appointment. The White House is the only entity that can authorize that investigation and they get to write the rules for the investigation. If other people contact the FBI, the FBI can inform the White House and the White House gets to decide whether to pursue that contact.

Under normal circumstances, say the Obama administration, the White House is highly motivated to have a thorough investigation because they care about corruption and they don't want any embarrassment if something is uncovered later. So investigations tend to be rigorous.

But that is not true of the Trump administration. They simply don't care so they have no reason to make a thorough investigation. And no one can make them do it, unless the Senate refuses to confirm. But with a Republican majority, even that incentive is removed. The FBI is allowed to investigate only as far as the White House allows.
posted by JackFlash at 10:43 AM on September 30 [13 favorites]


But the president put out an official statement that the FBI wasn’t limited in scope in the way that’s being reported, no?
posted by a box and a stick and a string and a bear at 10:50 AM on September 30 [2 favorites]


But the president put out an official statement that the FBI wasn’t limited in scope in the way that’s being reported, no?

Yes. The president probably lied, as he frequently does, and there is not much that anyone can do about it. The public lie will not affect the scope of the investigation, although if the scope is as limited as the NYT's article suggests, I am not at all clear on what, in fact, is going to be "investigated," since it appears to be limited to information already covered in the hearing. (This perhaps is by design, so that Grassley gets to irritably complain that, just as he said, his own committee was more than capable of handling things without the involvement of the FBI.)
posted by halation at 10:55 AM on September 30 [6 favorites]


But the president put out an official statement that the FBI wasn’t limited in scope in the way that’s being reported, no?

The FBI is not going to operate based on tweets whether you call them "official" or not. The investigation is being run by White House Counsel McGahn. He is the only one the FBI is taking orders from.
posted by JackFlash at 10:58 AM on September 30 [6 favorites]


What happens if the FBI were to step outside the president's given bounds?
posted by thedward at 11:05 AM on September 30 [1 favorite]


Thanks for that explanation JackFlash. I agree I wouldn’t want them investigating for no reason, but the reasoning behind them not being able to follow up leads related to this investigation was puzzling.

Your answer cleared that up.
posted by sio42 at 11:10 AM on September 30 [1 favorite]


What happens if the FBI were to step outside the president's McGah's given bounds?

There will be a small number of nanoseconds between that happening and a predisential tweet calling the investigation tainted, partisan and invalid, after which the Repuglican senators will stampede back into the senate, falling over themselves in their haste to vote for O'Kavanaugh
posted by Stoneshop at 11:12 AM on September 30 [3 favorites]


the seeming Democrat belief

Democratic, please. Using "Democrat" as a noun like that is a long-time Republican slur.

I'm sorry, but I have zero-tolerance on this one.
posted by kirkaracha at 11:18 AM on September 30 [50 favorites]


Also note that the White House is under no obligation to provide the written results of the investigation to the Senate. They can simply say, we looked, we found nothing, that's it. Or they could release selected parts but not others.

The Senate could squawk at that, but again, the Senate is run by Republicans. They are looking for just enough cover to justify their confirmation.

Flake gave his approval in the Judiciary Committee, so the committee and hearings and further questions are all out of the picture. At this point it is just a simple up or down vote by the full Senate.
posted by JackFlash at 11:30 AM on September 30 [3 favorites]




Sen. Pat Leahy, June 6, 2006:

"In the important DC Circuit, the confirmation of Brett Kavanaugh was the culmination the Republicans’ decade-long attempt to pack the DC Circuit that began with the stalling of Merrick Garland’s nomination in 1996"

This has been coming for decades. Subversion of the judiciary has been a GOP project for as long as many (most?) of us have been alive, and they are not about to let themselves be stopped.
posted by Rust Moranis at 11:42 AM on September 30 [31 favorites]


Umm, wtf?


@PGourevitch "Blasey Ford is not on The White House approved list of four people FBI is allowed to interview, according to @nytimes"

Quoting: @SherylNYT "NEW: FBI has not responded to requests from Christine Blasey Ford to do an interview. “We have not heard from the FBI, despite repeated efforts to speak with them,” her lawyer, Debra S. Katz, told me, when asked."

{Gourevitch is: "Staff Writer at The New Yorker, author of 'The Ballad of Abu Ghraib', 'A Cold Case' & 'We Wish To Inform You That Tomorrow We Will Be Killed With Our Families'"}

[Real - I can't believe this can possibly be, but credible sources]
posted by Buntix at 11:42 AM on September 30 [59 favorites]


Discouraging, but fits the pattern, and underscores how critical November 6 is to gaining investigative tools independent of the executive.
posted by notyou at 11:54 AM on September 30 [5 favorites]


More: Details of F.B.I.’s Kavanaugh Inquiry Show Its Restricted Range [NYTimes]

Summary per Gourevitch tweets:
Times says McGahn, working with McConnell/Senate GOP, is indeed setting FBI limits: only 4 people are approved for FBI interviews: Judge, Keyser, PJ Smyth & Ramirez. FBI to ask Judge about Swetnick allegations, but not Swetnick. Question of Kav downplaying drinking are off limits

Times says—"The WH can order investigators to further examine the allegations if their findings from the 4 witness interviews open new avenues of inquiry, & Mr. Trump seemed to stress that part of the plan in a tweet late on Saturday.” i.e. all he was saying is limits may change

the two most striking omissions from WH/McConnell approved FBI interview list are Kavanaugh and Blasey Ford

Lass es brennen!
posted by Buntix at 11:54 AM on September 30 [10 favorites]


the two most striking omissions from WH/McConnell approved FBI interview list are Kavanaugh and Blasey Ford

This whole sham is to avoid Kavanaugh getting referred for perjury. They know he lied to the Senate but they'll never refer him. He pulls that shit with the FBI and he will get referred. Which is also why they won't question anyone about his drinking despite it being integral to the story because he lied about it.
posted by chris24 at 12:08 PM on September 30 [61 favorites]




warren-harris 2020, free college, single-payer, civilian infrastructure program with military style benefits, restore glass-steagull, prosecute white-collar crime, nationalize internet services, FAGSC. and keep cleaning our own house (nb ellison). ffs, dems need to stand for something.
posted by j_curiouser at 12:44 PM on September 30 [45 favorites]


@MattWalshBlog: If I was traipsed in front of the Senate on bogus charges and forced to answer deeply personal and embarrassing questions about my high school antics, maybe out of embarrassment and anger I might be less than truthful. Would that make me a liar who can't be trusted again? Come on

@HeerJeet: The emerging conservative argument is that, yes, Kavanaugh lied (or was "less than truthful") in sworn testimony but that's because he's so angry at being falsely accused. I admire the boldness of this play.

---

With regard to Conway, and I do believe her, there's a context to her statements (via Kyle Cheney), particularly why she says we treat people differently in these situations based on their politics. The day after the Access Hollywood tape came out, after the "locker room talk" debate, as Republicans were dropping Trump by the dozen, she went on Chris Matthews:
CONWAY: As somebody who knows him well and has been alone with him many times. He has been very gracious, he's a gentleman. I've never experienced that conduct.

I would talk to some of the members of congress out there, when I was younger and prettier. Them rubbing up against girls, sticking their tongues down women's throats, uninvited, who didn't like it. You're saying yeah because you know it was true.

MATTHEWS: I've heard those accounts, or course.

CONWAY: Some are on the list of people who won't support Donald Trump, because they ride around on a high horse.
In 2017, she told a Politico event she felt ignored by the press because of her politics:
Yes, of course I’ve had a ‘Me too’ moment, but nobody cared about that,” Conway said when asked by POLITICO’s Anna Palmer about her personal connection to the movement that has seen a wave of women speak out about acts of sexual impropriety by powerful men. “If we’re going to have an honest conversation everyone — you can’t pick and choose depending on somebody’s politics.”

According to Conway, a day after the release of the explosive “Access Hollywood” tape — in which then-candidate Donald Trump boasted about groping women during an off-camera conversation with host Billy Bush — she sought to denounce what she said were instances of sexual harassment by congressmen against her and other women during her time working as a Republican political operative in Washington, D.C. But she said she was ignored by the press.
I believe her, and it's particularly frustrating that, given her employment and the present situation, she's not really in a position to come forward and name names if that's something she personally wants to do. The people who did what she describes should not be in Congress, regardless of their party.

It's also frustrating that the only time she appears to bring this up is when someone she cares about politically has been accused and she's telling us not to believe the victims' stories. I don't really know what to do with that.
posted by zachlipton at 12:54 PM on September 30 [58 favorites]


James Comey: "The F.B.I. Can Do This" (NY Times)
The F.B.I. is back in the middle of it. When we were handed the Hillary Clinton email investigation in 2015, the bureau’s deputy director said to me, “You know you are totally screwed, right?” He meant that, in a viciously polarized political environment, one side was sure to be furious with the outcome. Sure enough, I saw a tweet declaring me “a political hack,” although the author added, tongue in cheek: “I just can’t figure out which side.”

And those were the good old days.
posted by standardasparagus at 12:58 PM on September 30 [4 favorites]


It's also frustrating that the only time she appears to bring this up is when someone she cares about politically has been accused and she's telling us not to believe the victims' stories. I don't really know what to do with that.

Nothing? Even if you believed her it’s basically worthless since she’s not actually saying anything, just seeking to deflect. Pretty heavy thing to use as verbal smokescreen, but that’s her choice.
posted by Artw at 1:11 PM on September 30 [2 favorites]


James Comey: "The F.B.I. Can Do This" (NY Times)

Hence the limits on the sham investigation.
Yes, the alleged incident occurred 36 years ago. But F.B.I. agents know time has very little to do with memory. They know every married person remembers the weather on their wedding day, no matter how long ago. Significance drives memory. They also know that little lies point to bigger lies. They know that obvious lies by the nominee about the meaning of words in a yearbook are a flashing signal to dig deeper.
posted by chris24 at 1:17 PM on September 30 [23 favorites]


I think there's a nontrivial set of women who have experienced sexual violence but feel that coming forward about it would be impertinent, like immigrants resentful at the idea of changing the process to be less Kafkaesque for any future would-be citizens. "I've have this happen to me... and you don't see me rocking the boat." It's the flipside of the doublethink on the part of perpetrators -- it's not that the survivor thinks nothing bad happened to them, but that adjudicating that badness in the public sphere, taking men like him to task, would break something essential about how (from their perspective) "justice" is supposed to work.
posted by InTheYear2017 at 1:22 PM on September 30 [25 favorites]


I wish, when shitty people publicly say terrible things about rape victims, we wouldn’t post their shitty quotes here. Link to them. Warn us that there are shitty viewpoints within. Give us the gist if it’s actually newsworthy. But maybe think twice before posting a whole quoted screed on how the metoo movement is taking “unhappy sexual incidents” and ruining men’s careers over them. Who is it helping for us to all read those exact words? And who is it hurting? Not everything needs a pull quote. Especially if that quote will do more harm than good.
posted by greermahoney at 1:32 PM on September 30 [32 favorites]


InTheYear2017: I also think that there are some women, especially older (60+ or so), and double-especially those who worked in male-dominated professions (from what I've observed) who say things like, "I had to put up with [various forms of harassment] and you didn't see ME complaining. These little snowflakes need to buck up and grow thicker skins." I had to put up with hazing, so should you. Uphill in the snow both ways, etc.; a petty tougher-than-thou one-upmanship.

What I don't get is why people don't say, "Hey, I had to put up with some bad stuff, and I wish I didn't have to, but I'm glad that younger people are speaking up and out. I hope things are better for my children."
posted by Rosie M. Banks at 1:35 PM on September 30 [49 favorites]


Trump administration moves to block Wilbur Ross deposition, in which the administration will request a stay from the Supreme Court to prevent Ross from being deposed about the citizenship question on the census.

Update: @KlasfeldReports: BREAKING: A federal judge denies @CommerceGov's request to stay @SecretaryRoss's deposition in the #2020census case, pending their appeal to the Supreme Court. Judge Furman calls the government's application "particularly frivolous - if not outrageous." Scorching ruling.
posted by zachlipton at 1:54 PM on September 30 [38 favorites]


On the last possible day, Gov. Jerry Brown of California signed SB 826, which requires publicly traded corporations based in California to have a representative number of women on their boards. So that's going to go to court, etc..., etc..., but note the last line of his signing message: "cc: United States Senate Committee on the Judiciary”

SB 822, California's net neutrality bill, is still sitting on his desk.
posted by zachlipton at 1:59 PM on September 30 [10 favorites]


Cheers to you, Judge Furman. Must have felt good.

Every lawyer or judge I know (and I know a few) who isn't a Federalist Society schmuckface is walking around with a chip on their shoulder over Kavanaugh and this administration's abuse of the law generally.
posted by snuffleupagus at 1:59 PM on September 30 [2 favorites]


Rosie M. Banks: What I don't get is why people don't say, "Hey, I had to put up with some bad stuff, and I wish I didn't have to, but I'm glad that younger people are speaking up and out. I hope things are better for my children."

Because then their parents' generation would resent them. I'm mostly serious -- that's one way the mindset pays itself forward.
posted by InTheYear2017 at 2:00 PM on September 30


Re: why (some of) those who suffered don't want things to get better; like so many things to do with conservatism, it's about denial.

Women who suffered terrible injustices because of sexism but stayed in a field/position did not, in fact, heal from that. They grew a scar, but the injury remained, and it's still tender. They have covered it up with denial because otherwise, they have to reopen that wound. That's also why they're upset when other women don't cover it up and deny it, because then it becomes harder for them to ignore what happened, and they want to keep ignoring it.

I honestly think this drives many actions of people voting for leaders who will act against them; sort of a combination of sunk-cost fallacy, denial, and a whole truckload of un-dealt-with issues.

It's enough to make you feel pity if those doing it didn't perpetuate so much more injustice and pain.
posted by emjaybee at 2:11 PM on September 30 [49 favorites]


A couple of weeks ago, before the hearing, one of my friends called and said we need to talk about #metoo, because (she said) she couldn't recognize it at all.

Well, I said, I get you. I haven't experienced much myself, but I have supported other women who have experienced assaults.

Oh yes, she said. I know that.

And then, I said, obviously I have experienced a rape attempt while on interrail, been raped by a significant other, and been harassed by jocks at a party where I was making out with my boyfriend.

Oh, said my friend. Do those count? Everyone's been through that.

Yeah. Those count. We don't have to let our daughters go through all that. We can stop it now.
posted by mumimor at 2:19 PM on September 30 [120 favorites]


I'm 55. I went to school with people like Brett Kavanaugh. Actually I met with one of them today. It was fine. But I couldn't stop my memories.

There are some cultural differences across the Atlantic. I don't think many people my generation were are worried about their virginity (except from getting rid of it). But the violence towards women is the same.
posted by mumimor at 2:22 PM on September 30 [4 favorites]


the combination of SNL's cold open last night with Caprio as Kavanaugh and then the ending with Kanye rambling about his hat and the sunken place and democrats putting black people on welfare was a nice little snapshot of the cultural moment we're in
posted by angrycat at 2:31 PM on September 30 [11 favorites]


Direct action plans in DC are starting to firm up. Looks like groups will be meeting up every day this week at 9am in the atrium of the Hart Senate building for a morning planning meeting, followed by hill meetings, civil disobedience, and large scale bird-dogging in the Senate (hallways, offices, elevators) and maybe at regional airports, too.

Thursday is the big one, according to current plans. All hands on deck. Looking to get more than a thousand people into the Senate buildings for mass civil disobedience at noon. Throwing our bodies onto the gears of the machine and all that.

If you live in or around DC and have a job that allows you to take time off during the work week, and especially if you have the ability to get arrested (US citizen, no outstanding warrants, & you feel up to it physically/mentally/emotionally), you are needed. More info on this signup form: bit.ly/WECANWIN
posted by duffell at 2:36 PM on September 30 [38 favorites]


the combination of SNL's cold open last night with Caprio as Kavanaugh

Matt Damon!
posted by Justinian at 2:37 PM on September 30 [5 favorites]


AP, Pentagon’s immigrant recruit program stymied
Stricter Trump administration immigration policies have stymied Pentagon plans to restart a program that allowed thousands of people with critical medical or Asian and African language skills to join the military and become American citizens, according to several U.S. officials.

The decade-old program has been on hold since 2016 amid concerns that immigrant recruits were not being screened well enough, and security threats were slipping through the system. Defense officials shored up the vetting process, and planned to relaunch the program earlier this month.

But there was an unexpected barrier when Homeland Security officials said they would not be able to protect new immigrant recruits from being deported when their temporary visas expired after they signed a contract to join the military, the U.S. officials said. They were not authorized to publicly describe internal discussions and spoke on condition of anonymity.
The program is called the Military Accessions Vital to the National Interest program, and if you want to talk about "we support our troops," paying attention to what the military describes as "vital to the national interest" and agreeing to not deport people who have signed contracts to join the military is really a baseline minimum requirement.
posted by zachlipton at 2:44 PM on September 30 [35 favorites]


SB 822, California's net neutrality bill, is still sitting on his desk.

WTF? Today is the deadline. If he doesn't sign it, it will not become law.
posted by homunculus at 2:54 PM on September 30


@davidenrich [full statement attached]: Former Yale classmate of Kavanaugh’s goes on the record to describe him as a belligerent drunk.
On many occasions, I heard Brett slur his words and saw him staggering from alcohol consumption, not all of which was beer. When Brett got drunk, he was often belligerent and aggressive. On one of the last occasions I purposefully socialized with Brett, I witnessed him respond to a semi-hostile remark, not by diffusing the situation, but by throwing his beer in the man's face and starting a fight that ended with one of our mutual friends in jail.
It's also amazing how little has been made of the story Lynnne Brooks, a different former classmate, told about Kavanaugh and a friend barging into a room "where a guy and girl had gone off together, and embarrass that woman...they thought it was funny." As CNN's Vaughn Sterling notes, "This alleged incident from Yale involves a drunk Kavanaugh at a party with another buddy, embarrassing a young woman in a sexual situation, and laughter. 🤔"
posted by zachlipton at 2:59 PM on September 30 [41 favorites]


WTF? Today is the deadline. If he doesn't sign it, it will not become law.

Ackchyually... there is no pocket veto in California. In CA if the Governor doesn't sign or veto the bill it automatically becomes law. So Brown would have to actively veto it to stop the bill.
posted by Justinian at 2:59 PM on September 30 [18 favorites]


*Phew* Thanks for explaining that.
posted by homunculus at 3:02 PM on September 30 [4 favorites]


Uh, caveat: depending on when the legislature adjourned what I said may or may not be true. I haven't been following it closely enough to know for sure. Bad Justinian, no biscuit.
posted by Justinian at 3:03 PM on September 30 [1 favorite]


Here is a summary of the process in CA:
The governor must sign or veto legislation within 12 days of the day of transmittal, or it becomes law without his/her signature. However, if the 12th day is a Sunday or a holiday, the governor has until the next working day to act. The governor has until September 30 to sign or veto legislation in his/her possession on the day the legislature adjourns (usually August 31), or it becomes law without being signed
So you be the judge. SB 822 passed on August... 30? And then the legislature adjourned. Which indicates to me that it becomes law if he doesn't sign it today.
posted by Justinian at 3:06 PM on September 30 [2 favorites]


On "false accusations" and sympathy for such, it's important to be clear: if judge Kavanaugh was a different person this would be a different situation.

If it were me in his shoes - I've never been blackout drunk. I've probably made some people uncomfortable, but I've never assaulted anyone. I can say that with 100% certainty and a lot of credibility. When Kavanaugh says that, he isn't believed because it ISN'T TRUE. There's a legal goddamn record of him apologizing for doing something stupid while blackout drunk.

Kavanaugh's denials would have more credibility if he didn't have a documented record of lying. He'd have more credibility if there wasn't a documented record of him binge drinking, and he'd have more credibility if he owned up to the publicly documented truth. He would get more leeway if he showed a fucking ounce of sympathy. Instead, he's making it look like he doesn't even think sexual assault is a bad thing, and that makes him look even more like a person who would commit sexual assault!

Men, if you're worried about ending up in kavanaugh's shoes, there are so many ways to avoid it! Don't be a smarmy lying asshole! Keep your drinking to a smart and legal level! Don't make insulting jokes about women! Even better, you could take all the morals and laws you follow in public and just keep following them in private.

I swear to God, George W. Bush would have more credibility denying sexual assault allegations. And he'd be more likely to get "forgiven" by the public.
posted by Rainbo Vagrant at 3:12 PM on September 30 [20 favorites]


I'm so old I remember when "sober as a judge" meant something.
posted by scalefree at 3:14 PM on September 30 [92 favorites]


Ford's testimony spurred a woman to name her alleged rapist: a state senator, who denies accusation - the senator is Joe Fain from Washington state, and there are descriptions of sexual assault in the article.
posted by primalux at 3:17 PM on September 30 [10 favorites]


Is Lindsay Graham being blackmailed, or is he suffering a mental breakdown?
posted by growabrain at 3:24 PM on September 30 [3 favorites]


Is Lindsay Graham being blackmailed, or is he suffering a mental breakdown?

Or is he just a horrible human being who sees this as a way to keep his seat, avoid being swarmed by the MAGA crew, and get through the occasional pork-barrel bill or pet project? I believe the words "GOP Congressperson" may furnish the answer.
posted by kewb at 3:28 PM on September 30 [51 favorites]


Is Lindsay Graham being blackmailed, or is he suffering a mental breakdown?

Please don't take this as an attempt to excuse the heinous shit these guys are doing, but - they spend all day every day immersed in what may as well be a parallel universe. Everyone they talk to, the media they consume, the advice they are given, etc is so far outside the realm of the shit we hear and think and know that trying to use our frameworks to interpret their motives will never work.
posted by showbiz_liz at 3:31 PM on September 30 [21 favorites]


Axios is reporting that if the Kavanaugh confirmation fails and the Dems take the Senate and the GOP runs out of time for someone else during the lame duck Congress, rather than name a compromise candidate, Trump will just not name one. Indefinitely.

Which, you know, I'm kind of ok with. Except for when the question of Trump's own immunity gets to the court, possibly. But even then a 4-4 decision might be ok.
posted by suelac at 3:47 PM on September 30 [36 favorites]


Eh, I think the Democrats should compromise and accept any reasonable nominee, so long as that nominee is Merrick Garland.
posted by Justinian at 3:49 PM on September 30 [68 favorites]


Lindsey Graham is not doing what he's doing because he being misled by media. He's only been a Trumpist for a year or so. I'll agree that senators probably have a bunch of people telling them that whatever they say is right but Lindsey Graham is very good politician and what he's doing is a political performance. If you don't think he's a good to great politician, ask yourself how someone who presents like Graham keeps getting elected in South Carolina.
posted by rdr at 3:51 PM on September 30 [9 favorites]


Eh, I think the Democrats should compromise and accept any reasonable nominee, so long as that nominee is Merrick Garland.

heh. But I do believe that Trump's lunatic enough to just not ever name a nominee under those circumstances.
posted by suelac at 4:03 PM on September 30


Or is [Lindsey Graham] just a horrible human being who sees this as a way to keep his seat, avoid being swarmed by the MAGA crew

Is this really a thing? Who is his most likely to succeed primary challenger from the right? Or is the idea that the MAGAs are going to Doug Jones him from the left? I'm honestly curious to know what electoral vulnerability he has at all; he won his last re-election 55-38.

Just noticed that he's a year younger than Jerry Seinfeld.
posted by rhizome at 4:04 PM on September 30 [3 favorites]


he'd have more credibility if he owned up to the publicly documented truth
That’s the part I can’t get past: he’s very vocal about his faith and it’s one which is especially compatible with forgiveness and repentance. A simple “I had a problem which I dealt with. My church helped me…” spiel, if less than completely insincere, would seem to get a lot more sympathy than making such blatant lies and attempts to mislead — and would be far more compatible with being a judge.

Once again we’re left with a lot hanging on them not being competent crooks.
posted by adamsc at 4:07 PM on September 30 [7 favorites]


Axios is reporting that if the Kavanaugh confirmation fails and the Dems take the Senate and the GOP runs out of time for someone else during the lame duck Congress, rather than name a compromise candidate, Trump will just not name one.

Don't get my hopes up! Is there any realistic chance of this actually happening?
posted by salvia at 4:09 PM on September 30 [2 favorites]


It's 2018. There's a realistic chance of pretty much anything happening if it's ridiculous enough.
posted by Grangousier at 4:10 PM on September 30 [18 favorites]


Is there any realistic chance of this actually happening?

Normally I'd say no. If Kavanaugh fails, and if he does it should be in the next two weeks, there would be plenty of time to nominate a new person and confirm them before mid-late January. It would require a massive fuckup on the scale of the Kavanaugh nomination to fail. Possibly even a bigger one because the Republicans would know that it was their last chance for a conservative majority for several years and possibly ever.

But this administration is so incompetent that who knows. tl;dr - in a sane world, no, no reastic chance. Is this world sane though?
posted by Justinian at 4:14 PM on September 30 [4 favorites]


Don't get my hopes up! Is there any realistic chance of this actually happening?
It's not likely. Right now, I think the most likely scenario is that Kavanaugh will be confirmed. Let's try to stop that, and then we'll deal with the next thing.

And meanwhile, it's not super likely that the Democrats take back the Senate, so if you want that to happen, maybe think about what you can do to help. Can you donate money? Make some phone calls? If you're in a competitive state, can you knock some doors?
posted by ArbitraryAndCapricious at 4:15 PM on September 30 [18 favorites]


he’s very vocal about his faith and it’s one which is especially compatible with forgiveness and repentance. A simple “I had a problem which I dealt with. My church helped me…” spiel, if

problem is, that train already left the station. Kavanaugh lied and it's on the record, which effectively makes it perjury, which if nothing else disqualifies him from supreme court suitability.
posted by philip-random at 4:16 PM on September 30 [3 favorites]


The problem with the reformed sinner narrative is that he hasn't reformed. Specifically, I don't think he has quit drinking, and an awful lot of this stuff involves bad behavior when he was drunk. I think it would open up a whole new line of questioning about his behavior around alcohol, and my hunch is that he really doesn't want to go there.
posted by ArbitraryAndCapricious at 4:19 PM on September 30 [6 favorites]


If Kavanaugh isn't confirmed and if they don't rush a nominee through before the midterms and if Dems take the Senate in the midterms (those are all a lot of ifs), I don't see how McConnell doesn't move heaven and earth to confirm someone in the lame duck session, as Swan acknowledged after people (including a US Senator) asked him WTF he was talking about. Trump's people are signaling he won't nominate a "compromise" candidate if it somehow comes down to a situation where the only way he's getting a nominee through is with the consent of a Democratic majority—he's sticking to his Federalist Society-written list—, but he'll desperately try to install whoever Leo and McGahn tell him to pick as long as that's a possibility.

Anyway, as ArbitraryAndCapricious says, keep working on creating the conditions that make those ifs possible.
posted by zachlipton at 4:19 PM on September 30 [3 favorites]


But I do believe that Trump's lunatic enough to just not ever name a nominee under those circumstances.

Whereas I believe that he's lunatic enough to do what Obama should have done when the GOP prevented Garland's confirmation: Wait until the first instant of recess and appoint someone as an "interim emergency appointment", then dare anyone to come after him for it.

Remember the level of infancy and entitlement we're dealing with: if there's no law preventing him from taking a shit on the Great Seal in the Oval Office, he will unfailingly take a shit on the Great Seal.
posted by The Pluto Gangsta at 4:22 PM on September 30 [8 favorites]


He'll name a nominee, because he can't resist the idea of declaring who's most in his pocket right now, and because he couldn't tolerate the heat of the MAGA crowd saying "SCOTUS is missing a conservative judge; why haven't you nominated someone?"

Of course, he may nominate someone even more wildly unqualified than Kavanaugh, and have that get slammed down before the session turnover.

I consider it fairly likely that he'll appoint one in the recess, and congress will have to go through the process of throwing that one out. He may even appoint Kavanaugh after he's been turned away. The only thing that would prevent this, is his close team not telling him how to do it, because it's not like he can research the procedure himself, or even draw up the order without help. But I don't have a lot of hope for them stopping him.
posted by ErisLordFreedom at 4:33 PM on September 30 [3 favorites]


About two years ago I decided I would never again pay attention to anything that Kellyanne Conway says. It's been a good quality-of-life decision, and I plan to continue with it.
posted by nnethercote at 4:40 PM on September 30 [19 favorites]




Radio New Zealand this morning—Peter Temin: why the middle class is vanishing in the US (~24min audio)
Professor Peter Temin applies a well-known economic model to outline a two track economy - one that is educated with good jobs, and another much larger sector where people are burdened with debt and anxious about their job, if they have one. And in between, the middle class - which he says is disappearing. His latest book is The Vanishing Middle Class - Prejudice and Power in a Dual Economy. Peter Temin is the Gray Professor Emeritus of Economics at MIT, Cambridge, Massachusetts.
The book was written before the 2016 election and published in 2017 (previously), so it's essentially referring to the Clinton-45 alternate timeline, but in the interview the author elaborates on how under Trump everything is even worse. A really fascinating conversation in which he directly relates many aspects of inequality in the 21st-century US to the country's history in the 19th and 20th centuries.

Deutsche Welle's Inside Europe from Friday (55min audio, in English) begins with an interview with Gordon Sondland, the US ambassador to the EU, in which he absurdly claims that Trump would be willing to make a trade agreement containing no tariffs or subsidies if the EU was only willing to. Riiiiight, the guy who just gave 12 trillion dollars or whatever to the agricultural industry and uses wartime emergency powers to direct money to the coal and oil industries is going to stop all of that.

The latter interview is followed by a discussion of measures being taken to allow European companies to continue doing business with Iran as long as it continues complying with the nuclear agreement, which the interviewer summarizes as a "barter system" allowing companies to exchange non-cash credits which won't fall within the reach of US financial controls and sanctions. But the largest European companies with the most extensive ties to the US have already completely pulled out of Iran.
posted by XMLicious at 4:48 PM on September 30 [7 favorites]


there would be plenty of time to nominate a new person and confirm them before mid-late January.

By the 20th Amendment, the new Senate session with new senators begins on January 3, unless a new law is passed changing the date.
posted by JackFlash at 4:53 PM on September 30 [1 favorite]


Huh, thanks, for some reason I thought it was later than that.

There would still be enough time but those 2 weeks do make it dicier. They would have to move quickly, both to wrap up Kavanaugh one way or the other and to get the new nominee confirmed.
posted by Justinian at 4:56 PM on September 30


Former Yale classmate of Kavanaugh’s goes on the record to describe him as a belligerent drunk.

Charles Lane (WaPo)
You can't make this up. Chad Ludington, the history prof who is now coming forward to say #Kavanaugh drank like a fish at Yale, is the author of: ‘Politics and the Taste for Wine in England and Scotland, 1660-1860’ (Columbia University, 2003)
posted by chris24 at 5:07 PM on September 30 [38 favorites]


SB 822, California's net neutrality bill, is still sitting on his desk.

Update, which should calm the Justinian Current California Legislative Procedure Uncertainty Level: NET NEUTRALITY IS NOW THE LAW IN CALIFORNIA!
posted by zachlipton at 5:14 PM on September 30 [69 favorites]




Update, which should calm the Justinian Current California Legislative Procedure Uncertainty Level: NET NEUTRALITY IS NOW THE LAW IN CALIFORNIA!

Sweet! Now I can hit the refresh button Metafilter even faster with no fear of my ISP throttling me.

It will not surprise you to know I went on a mass googling and legislative procedure investigation spree after my comment and did come to the conclusion that it would surely become law as long as Brown didn't veto the thing, so I wasn't sweating it too much. But having him sign it is symbolically important. The executive and legislature are now both on the net neutrality train.
posted by Justinian at 5:21 PM on September 30 [5 favorites]


NET NEUTRALITY IS NOW THE LAW IN CALIFORNIA!

Finally some good news! Woot!
posted by homunculus at 5:22 PM on September 30 [5 favorites]


Former Yale classmate of Kavanaugh’s goes on the record to describe him as a belligerent drunk.

Also on this, he's not just talking to the Times and Post on this, he's going into the FBI office tomorrow in Raleigh to make a sworn statement to them. And there should be an arrest record for the friend to confirm that element of the account.
posted by chris24 at 5:22 PM on September 30 [49 favorites]


NET NEUTRALITY IS NOW THE LAW IN CALIFORNIA!

Most new laws take place on Jan 1 of the next year; that's probably the case unless the law itself says otherwise, and this one doesn't.
posted by ErisLordFreedom at 5:25 PM on September 30 [2 favorites]


Followup thought: He may have been waiting as late as possible to sign it, to reduce the amount of time available to kick off lawsuits against it.
posted by ErisLordFreedom at 5:26 PM on September 30 [9 favorites]




Justinian: "Eh, I think the Democrats should compromise and accept any reasonable nominee, so long as that nominee is Merrick Garland."

You know what, fuck that. Democrats should insist on not confirming anyone who isn't a lefty wet dream until the new president is elected under the McConnell custom.
posted by Mitheral at 5:34 PM on September 30 [25 favorites]


Esquire, Ryan Lizza (*sigh*), Devin Nunes’s Family Farm Is Hiding a Politically Explosive Secret. This thing is, well, it's a read. I'm not entirely convinced it should even be a story, given that the major theme underneath it is fear that the reporting will trigger a retaliatory ICE raid. It starts with an explanation that Rep. Nunes has built his career around the story of his family's California farm (he has no financial stake in it; it's owned by his parents and other relatives), but they very quietly sold the place in 2006 and moved the whole operation to Iowa, Sibley to be precise, in Osceola County, one of the most Trump-voting counties in 2016 and represented by Steve King.

What Sibley does have is a dairy industry entirely built on undocumented immigrant labor, and the common refrain when Trump's immigration policy is mentioned is "Well, we don’t agree with him on that!" What follows is a tale of largely terrified people worried about Lizza poking around asking questions, Nunes family members tailing him all over the place, and a much broader story about who produces our food and who their bosses vote for.
posted by zachlipton at 5:45 PM on September 30 [42 favorites]


Beto O’Rourke Draws Huge Crowd As Willie Nelson Sings “Vote ‘Em Out”.

Willie wrote a new song for the rally:

“If you don’t like who’s in there vote ’em out.
That’s what election day is all about.
And the biggest gun we got is called the ballot box.
If you don’t like who’s is there vote ’em out.”

posted by Capt. Renault at 5:53 PM on September 30 [77 favorites]


Democrats should insist on not confirming anyone who isn't a lefty wet dream until the new president is elected under the McConnell custom.

By the McConnell rule, the reason for the 2016 stonewalling was for the voice of the people to be heard in the nomination process. As his reasoning apparently doesn't apply to midterms, we can deduce that he believes the people should be heard particularly in their choice of POTUS, not congress, i.e. in the initial selection of the nominee.

And yet since 2016, we have seen a growing body of evidence that, whether by collusion or independent action, Russia had interfered in the '16 election to an extent that our current POTUS may not even accurately reflect the voice of the people (Gasp!). So how in good conscience can we continue with this procedure of such importance when our whole reason for waiting a year may be undermined by electoral interference. We should, nay must, delay the nomination vote until Robert Mueller has concluded his investigation. I'm sure Mitch McConnell will agree.
posted by p3t3 at 6:00 PM on September 30 [14 favorites]


Well, that was fast.

The Trump administration is suing California to quash its new net neutrality law (WaPo)
Mere hours after California’s proposal became law, however, senior Justice Department officials told The Washington Post they would take the state to court on grounds that the federal government, not state leaders, has the exclusive power to regulate net neutrality. DOJ officials stressed the FCC had been granted such authority from Congress to ensure that all 50 states don’t seek to write their own, potentially conflicting, rules governing the web. The U.S. government anticipates filing its lawsuit Monday morning.
posted by greermahoney at 6:02 PM on September 30 [15 favorites]


Elizabeth Warren, Mayor Marty Walsh and City Councilor (and soon to be US Rep) Ayanna Pressley will be at the Kavanaugh protest outside Jeff Flake's talk with John Kasich on City Hall Plaza in Boston tomorrow (the protest starts at 10 a.m.) Walsh tweets tonight:
This moment in time will mark how we, as a country, respond to the call for action from women & individuals who have bravely spoken out about sexual assault. Join us in standing up for survivors because they are powerful, they give voice to others & they should not be dismissed.
posted by adamg at 6:02 PM on September 30 [9 favorites]


I thought that Ryan Lizza piece was maybe a little naive. I'm sure that Nunes and his family worry that he'd be embarrassed by revelations that their farm hires undocumented immigrants, but I don't think anyone really believes that ICE would be dumb enough to raid Devin Nunes's family's farm. I would be surprised if ICE raided any dairy farm in Osceola County. Trump's (and Steve King's) immigration rhetoric is good for appealing to racism, and the fear of ICE is probably good for keeping a vulnerable workforce from getting any ideas about labor organizing. But ICE is a wing of the Trump administration, and they're not going to target Trump's most loyal voters.
posted by ArbitraryAndCapricious at 6:04 PM on September 30 [13 favorites]


Willie Nelson's VOTE 'EM OUT is the anthem of this election!
posted by growabrain at 6:09 PM on September 30 [21 favorites]


ArbitraryAndCapricious, for better or worse you're explicitly stating that the rule of law should no longer be taken to apply. I don't disagree, but that's bigger than you are painting it as if it's your base assumption.
posted by jaduncan at 6:09 PM on September 30


And yes, even as I say that I'm aware the rule of law has never been entirely applicable to ethnic minorities or women. I just think that it, in the end, is the fight that makes any other gains possible.
posted by jaduncan at 6:16 PM on September 30


I swear to God, George W. Bush would have more credibility denying sexual assault allegations. And he'd be more likely to get "forgiven" by the public.

He did, and he was.

the woman who accused him of rape told a story that did not seem credible to most people, including to me. I'm not sure anyone at all ever believed her. Not because it seemed like a malicious invention, but rather because her story seemed like a sincerely held delusion. Delusional people can of course be attacked, and when they are, they have almost no chance of convincing anybody that something really happened.

she's dead now, and nobody remembers.
posted by queenofbithynia at 6:21 PM on September 30 [12 favorites]


ArbitraryAndCapricious, for better or worse you're explicitly stating that the rule of law should no longer be taken to apply.
Right. Yes. That.

Like I said, I think all the "oh, but that would be like fascism" white guys are hopelessly naive.
posted by ArbitraryAndCapricious at 6:23 PM on September 30 [8 favorites]


Any thoughts on the most effective campaigns/organizations to donate to that will have the biggest effect on the midterm elections at this point?
posted by medusa at 6:27 PM on September 30


Another point of weird naiveté in Lizza's piece is all the pontificating on paradoxes like, "In the heart of Steve King’s district, a place that is more pro-Trump than almost any other patch of America, the economy is powered by workers that King and Trump have threatened to arrest and deport." This apparent hypocrisy in supporting the continuing criminalization of their workforce isn't a mystery. The sectors dependent on undocumented labor require a very specific level of enforcement: high enough that their workers are terrified into accepting substandard conditions and pay, but low enough that nobody they don't want deported ever gets deported. They support policies and representatives who will perpetuate that state of affairs.
posted by jackbishop at 6:29 PM on September 30 [48 favorites]


We can broaden that to enforcement that ensures they are kept under the jackboot of a white supremacist system. Suddenly it looks like there's no social disconnect either.
posted by jaduncan at 6:33 PM on September 30 [2 favorites]


Any thoughts on the most effective campaigns/organizations to donate to that will have the biggest effect on the midterm elections at this point?

You've literally got a day: campaigns are required to report their fundraising up to September 30th, and it's this reporting that will determine who is beating expectations when it comes to fundraising, and thus who will be national priorities for the Democratic machine. The advice I've heard is to take a look at close races that are leaning R, say on 538, and donate to the Democrat.

If no races grab you, or you're reading this in October: if you have friends or family in a district that's not going to be runaway Democrat, call them, and ask them to vote for the Democrat in that district. Personal connection is far more effective than canvassing from strangers - it's basically the only thing the Republicans have going for them, other than the racism.
posted by Merus at 6:38 PM on September 30 [7 favorites]


Any thoughts on the most effective campaigns/organizations to donate to that will have the biggest effect on the midterm elections at this point?

Can't beat The Great Slate IMO.
posted by scalefree at 6:38 PM on September 30 [3 favorites]


Any thoughts on the most effective campaigns/organizations to donate to that will have the biggest effect on the midterm elections at this point?

I recommend The Swing Left Immediate Impact fund, though fair warning you may have to unsubscribe from emails from 17 different campaigns if you donate to that. But as far as I have heard, those 17 are all ones that fulfill your criteria. You could just pick one or two and donate to those, instead of to the fund which is split between all of them.
posted by OnceUponATime at 6:46 PM on September 30 [5 favorites]


Upthread: 55% of Republicans thinking sexual assault is not disqualifying for the Supreme Court

Thoughts:

Is that that, roughly, the gender breakdown of the Republican Party?

And you know how they’ve been saying the quiet parts out loud about their racism? I have a feeling some of them have been waiting to say the quiet parts out loud about their misogyny. They’re getting close. They want it.
posted by schadenfrau at 7:06 PM on September 30 [27 favorites]


Is that that, roughly, the gender breakdown of the Republican Party?

It may be, but that statistic doesn't break on gender lines, although more men than women think Kavanaugh should be appointed.

And yes, they absolutely want permission to say, "women exist for the purpose of making men happy; anything a man does to a woman is acceptable, as long as he's not bothering another man; anything a woman does to a man that makes him unhappy is forbidden."
posted by ErisLordFreedom at 7:25 PM on September 30 [18 favorites]


ErisLordFreedom, that's recognisably the incel code...and is pretty much also Jim Crow. Thanks for the snappy synopsis.
posted by jaduncan at 7:31 PM on September 30 [5 favorites]




Chuck Grassley probably doesn't know how twitter works.

obligatory pantsburnlegwound
posted by Rust Moranis at 7:46 PM on September 30 [18 favorites]


@sungminkim: NEW--> in memo to all Senate Rs obtained by WaPo, Rachel Mitchell argues re Ford case: "A 'he said, she said' case is incredibly difficult to prove. But this case is even weaker than that." Story TK

The memo is in the tweet. It’s...ugh.
posted by zachlipton at 8:08 PM on September 30 [9 favorites]


Oh, said my friend. Do those count? Everyone's been through that.

When #metoo was really taking off my wife said "I guess I've been lucky to not have to deal with any of that". I said "What the hell do you mean? You told me about x, y and z happening to you".

She said "Oh right. I'd forgotten about that."

I think mostly it was just that her experiences were on less severe side of things (as far as I know) and she had 'moved on' but I did think it was fascinating that #metoo didn't surface those memories. I remembered because I never forget when other men make moves on my partner because lizard brain kicks in but I also have no need to repress the discomfort, deny powerlessness or avoid the professional complications.
posted by srboisvert at 8:22 PM on September 30 [14 favorites]


tl;dr: paid bullshiter repeats the bullshit she was paid to say back to the people who paid her. Let’s hope this leak is assigned exactly the weight it has, which is none.

/warily eyes various dumb as fuck both-siding media talking heads.
posted by Artw at 8:25 PM on September 30 [4 favorites]


The memo is in the tweet. It’s...ugh.

Mitchell doesn't address Kavnaugh's credibility whatsoever. This is a political hack job.

They literally hired a prosecutor to discredit a sexual assault victim.
posted by T.D. Strange at 8:31 PM on September 30 [66 favorites]


Apologies if I’m mistaken, but my search didn’t turn up this Buzzfeed News article in any of these posts: How Michael Avenatti Got His Start In Political Dark Arts Under Rahm Emanuel. Until reading it I didn’t think of him as more than just a canny attention-grabbing attorney.

And an Avenatti impact statement from Friday's Dallas Morning News: Head of Arlington private school resigns over tweet targeting Michael Avenatti.
posted by kgander at 8:40 PM on September 30 [4 favorites]


Canada, U.S. reach tentative NAFTA deal.

Details are just coming out, but the deal largely seems to preserve the status quo and limit the US's ability to randomly impose tariffs. An unspecified amount of American Dairy will be let into Canada in exchange (probably around the 3.25% of the market that was allowed in under the new TPP).
posted by Orange Pamplemousse at 8:42 PM on September 30 [1 favorite]


The memo is in the tweet. It’s...ugh.

It's not an ugh, it's a joke. The big gotchas:

1) She supposedly struggled to name Kavanaugh since she didn't tell her husband or therapist his name. OR she elected to keep a name she clearly knew to herself given the circumstances.

2) She changed her description of the assault from "physical abuse" on one occasion to "sexual assault." OR she considers pushing someone into room and then pinning her down and covering her mouth and trying to rape her a physical in addition to sexual assault or tried to minimize it to her husband.

3) She can't remember the exact date or location. As I've posted before, I'd love Rachel Mitchell to tell me the address of her best friend when she was 15. Or her phone number. She undoubtedly went there and called hundreds of times, so it should be easy, right?

4) The 4 friends don't corroborate it. ACTUALLY, 2 friends say they don't remember, one says she doesn't remember but believes her, and one is fucking Mark Judge, who also is saying he doesn't remember.

5) She said Judge and Kavanaugh were talking to people downstairs, but then said she couldn't hear what they were saying. OR she heard them talking as they went down the stairs, saw them talking with people as she left, and assumed they were talking to people in the time when she couldn't clearly hear. Yes, that bullshit aborted line of questioning is a big gotcha here.

6) She claims to have PTSD, claustrophobia and other issues stemming from the attack, but somehow manages to fly. Yes, that other bullshit line of questioning is another big gotcha.

Republican hack provides hackery to the Republicans who paid for her hackery.
posted by chris24 at 8:43 PM on September 30 [46 favorites]


I told y'all she was part of Arpios crew, if course she's a partisan hack. But let us still not forget, she's a paid beard, and the republicans want you pissed at her, not them. Don't be fooled.
posted by SecretAgentSockpuppet at 8:48 PM on September 30 [26 favorites]


NYT, Democrats Denounce Limits on F.B.I.’s Kavanaugh Inquiry as a ‘Farce’, scrolling down...:
In a call to Senator Mitch McConnell, the majority leader, nine days ago from his Bedminster, N.J., country club, Mr. Trump unleashed an expletive-filled tirade, telling Mr. McConnell that he had let the process get away from him.

Mr. Trump later told associates that the Republicans and Mr. McGahn had erred by not quickly holding a full Senate vote on Judge Kavanaugh’s nomination on Friday, after the Judiciary Committee advanced it along party lines, the people said. The president said senators like Mr. Flake who were wavering about the nomination should have been forced to vote against Judge Kavanaugh and suffer the political consequences, the people said.
This is fine.

Mayer and Farrow, New Yorker, The Confusion Surrounding the F.B.I.’s Renewed Investigation of Brett Kavanaugh, in which witnesses are finding that the FBI is hard to reach:
With a one-week deadline looming over the investigation, some who say they have information relevant to the F.B.I.’s probe are suspicious that the investigation will amount to what one of Kavanaugh’s former Yale classmates called a “whitewash.” Roberta Kaplan, an attorney representing one potential witness, Elizabeth Rasor, a former girlfriend of Kavanaugh’s high-school friend Mark Judge, said her client “has repeatedly made clear to the Senate Judiciary Committee and to the F.B.I. that she would like the opportunity to speak to them.” But, Kaplan said, “We’ve received no substantive response.”
...
A Yale classmate attempting to corroborate Deborah Ramirez’s account that, during her freshman year at Yale, [I'm going to edit out the description of Ramirez's allegation here, while it's not exceptionally graphic, so that everyone has a choice about what to read], said that he, too, has struggled unsuccessfully to reach the F.B.I. The classmate, who asked to remain anonymous, recalled hearing about Ramirez’s allegation either the night it happened or during the following two days. The classmate said that he was “one-hundred-per-cent certain” that he had heard an account that was practically identical to Ramirez’s, thirty-five years ago, but the two had never spoken about it. He had hoped to convey this to the F.B.I., but, when he reached out to a Bureau official in Washington, D.C., he was told to contact the F.B.I. field office nearest his home. When he tried that, he was referred to a recording. After several attempts to reach a live person at the field office, he finally reached an official who he said had no idea what he was talking about. At this point, he went back to the official at the F.B.I.’s D.C. headquarters, who then referred him, too, to an 800-number tip line. (He eventually left a tip through an online portal.)

“I thought it was going to be an investigation,” the Yale classmate said, “but instead it seems it’s just an alibi for Republicans to vote for Kavanaugh.” He said that he had been in touch with other classmates who also wanted to provide information corroborating Ramirez’s account, but that they had not done so.
The thing with the Mitchell memo is that she publicly criticized the format, and as we all saw, was prohibited from asking Kavanaugh questions for more than 10 minutes. Why did she come to any kind of conclusion at all, let alone one full of absurd nitpicking like whether she used the words "sexual assault" or "physical abuse" at certain times or exactly how afraid of flying she is? She signed up to do a partisan job, was prevented from even doing that, and yet came to the conclusion she was hired to provide anyway. It does expose Mitchell's overall strategy though, which was to be gentle and not push much on Ford as she testified, then criticize her for stuff she was never asked about.

Finally, please witness the great courage of Sen. Flake, who doesn't even bother to pretend he's not an unprincipled hack: Flake: "Not a chance" I would have called for Kavanaugh investigation if I was running for reelection
posted by zachlipton at 8:50 PM on September 30 [52 favorites]


I am interested to know what will be Avenatti's next move: He just said on MSNBC that he can't go to the FBI on his own (Starts at 10:00). So can he do a full hour on Primetime TV with Julie Swetnick & her witnesses? or just wait?
posted by growabrain at 8:52 PM on September 30 [1 favorite]


1) She supposedly struggled to name Kavanaugh since she didn't tell her husband or therapist his name. OR she elected to keep a name she clearly knew to herself given the circumstances.

OR the therapist didn't put the name in their notes, because they're trained not to.
posted by xammerboy at 8:58 PM on September 30 [53 favorites]


growabrain: He just said on MSNBC that he can't go to the FBI on his own (Starts at 10:00). So can he do a full hour on Primetime TV with his client & her witnesses?

That's up to her; if she chooses not to I absolutely don't blame her. It's not even a question of "greater good" per se (although doing it would be extremely brave) because there's no guarentee (only a possibility) that a TV interview would change Senate votes.

A thing about the FBI's limited scope is that it makes sense that, in general, they don't have some sweeping mandate to investigate everyone, everywhere, for everything (although in practice that's precisely how they've behaved in years past). I wouldn't normally want arbitrary citizens to have the power to "make" the FBI do this or that. The problem here is that accounts like Swetnick's are extremely credible leads, and hence intentionally ignoring them is a deliberate act of malpractice.
posted by InTheYear2017 at 9:00 PM on September 30 [3 favorites]


Republican hack provides hackery to the Republicans who paid for her hackery.

That's all talking points for them. It's not meant to reflect objective reality. The BIGGEST issue I have all of this is that they've successfully redefined the standard for a seat on the US Supreme Court from "Above the appearance of impropriety" to "not able to be prosecuted based on the available evidence"
posted by mikelieman at 9:02 PM on September 30 [57 favorites]


You can't make this up. Chad Ludington, the history prof who is now coming forward to say #Kavanaugh drank like a fish at Yale, is the author of: ‘Politics and the Taste for Wine in England and Scotland, 1660-1860’ (Columbia University, 2003)

Brett is like an asshole Gump, going through life making extremely negative impressions on everyone he meets, shaping their lives
posted by Ray Walston, Luck Dragon at 9:15 PM on September 30 [47 favorites]


they've successfully redefined the standard for a seat on the US Supreme Court from "Above the appearance of impropriety" to "not able to be prosecuted based on the available evidence"

And to the extent possible, suppressing all the "bad evidence" from even entering the picture. Democratic senators were unable to question Mark Judge, nobody had access to the therapist, the polygraph witness, any other witnesses. This would be more than just a "he said, she said" if they'd bother trying to get to the actual truth. I have no faith that they will allow anything meaningful to come out of the FBI follow-up.
posted by p3t3 at 9:19 PM on September 30 [8 favorites]


The strange thing to me is that Kavanaugh is tainted to the point that it makes no sense to confirm him. It will engender lifelong hatred of the Republican party, become a flashpoint issue every time the court makes a decision, engender ongoing investigations, possibly lead to impeachment, provide a rationale for packing the court, etc. Confirming him could easily end up being one of the worst decisions they ever make.
posted by xammerboy at 9:41 PM on September 30 [13 favorites]


When is he going to be impeached though? After the pardons most likely. Also I'd like to know so I can write IMPEACH WEEK in my calender in biro.
posted by adept256 at 9:46 PM on September 30 [12 favorites]


Alright, this is rather explosive I think. Sen. Harris has released a transcript of a call from her office to Kavanaugh made Wed. evening. It regards what I think is accuser #6, Jane Doe from Oceanside, CA. She claims Kavanaugh & another boy gave her a ride home from a party & both raped her in the car. I think we've heard about this claim before but only in vague terms. This is the actual text. It's quite graphic, explicit & disturbing. It is also uncorroborated.

Here's the link to the transcript from Wed. evening [PDF], on the Senate Judiciary Committee website. The letter itself starts on page 13.
posted by scalefree at 9:59 PM on September 30 [14 favorites]


The whole thing is not only uncorroborated, it's essentially uncorroboratable - no identifying information, no return address, no location, no date. But it was released by Sen. Harris & it was read to Kavanaugh, so it's at least notable for that.
posted by scalefree at 10:07 PM on September 30 [3 favorites]


It seems strange to release this. Was it done on purpose? I don't see anything on Harris' internet presence related to it. Is it part of a normal process? It's an anonymous and, as you say, not only uncorroborated but uncorroboratable allegation that nobody on the committee, including the Democrats, are going to be inclined to consider.
posted by Justinian at 10:12 PM on September 30 [3 favorites]


I have to wonder if there's ever been a known case of the same person getting credibly accused of assault by many, many people and somehow being wholly vindicated (as in, the accusers eventually admit, unpressured, that they'd all been lying for some reason). Maybe there's a black man that's happened to, but a white man?

Even the one big case that rape culture's defendants are obsessed with, the Duke lacrosse incident, had (I think) a single accuser (but multiple accused). So it's true that sometimes an individual spins a tale (and it's typically more lurid than banal). But Kavanaugh not being guilty here would literally take a conspiracy, or at least a lot of people individually willing to risk a serious defamation lawsuit against them (in the laughable scenario that he wouldn't mind the discovery process) and compound that with federal perjury charges.
posted by InTheYear2017 at 10:14 PM on September 30 [7 favorites]


I was actually directed to it by a third party on Twitter. Have no idea on intent except it was apparently prepared for release by redacting all sensitive info within it.
posted by scalefree at 10:15 PM on September 30


The strange thing to me is that Kavanaugh is tainted to the point that it makes no sense to confirm him. It will engender lifelong hatred of the Republican party, become a flashpoint issue every time the court makes a decision, engender ongoing investigations, possibly lead to impeachment, provide a rationale for packing the court, etc. Confirming him could easily end up being one of the worst decisions they ever make.
posted by xammerboy at 1:41 PM on October 1 [3 favorites +] [!]


Somehow I'm completely at peace with that. I'm not at peace with the damage they'll do in the meantime, but by all means, Republicans, keep going.

I, an expat, used to know a guy who was impressively reckless. Like he would do this stuff where you're like "that can't possibly be a good idea" and he'd answer "nah it'll be fine! Look, I did it regardless of the risks, I'm awesome!" People called him a lot of things, but never stupid. They just stood by and watched. I...almost did a business thing with him, but after observing him for a time, his originally-current-later-former friends started to whisper secrets in my ear about damage he'd done to their lives, and he started to ask favors from me, so I abruptly cut ties.

Last I heard he skipped town after ripping off two businesses. He wouldn't have skipped town if jail wasn't an imminent certainty, if I know the guy, and so yeah, now someone who could have had a secure career as a superstar consultant gets to live as an international fugitive forever in fear that Facebook will dig him up in the next country. I always had niggling doubt until I heard that. His victims are still recovering, and many haven't learned their lesson, but many more have, and I doubt his brand of American swagger and handshake dealing will be welcome in my city's expat community for a long time to come.

If you look at it and go "how could they possibly be that stupid? how is this a good idea?" you're right. Their one trick is recklessness and disregard for consequences. Maybe that's a good quality if you're trying to kill a boar with a spear. Otherwise it's exactly as stupid as you think it is. Even if you are trying to kill a boar with a spear, why are you doing that? Did you weigh your options here?

'Cause people who pursue power for power's sake pretty much didn't stop to weigh their options. How much better is it to live in a just, equal world where everyone gets what they need and the government is democratic and people don't have to live in fear? Recklessness is a tool for the desperate and the greedy, and the Republicans have zero cause to be desperate. Sure, demographics are eating away at their dominance, but if you're gerrymandered in and comfy for the next 20 years, why not call it good? When you look at banana republics and failed states and think, "Yeah, that's the power structure I want," there's some nerves ain't firing right. These guys ARE that stupid. EXACTLY that stupid. Never forget it.
posted by saysthis at 10:24 PM on September 30 [38 favorites]


Previous Judiciary Committee transcripts of calls with Kavanaugh, including others that involved asking him about anonymous, unverifiable, and apparently an outright false accusation, came out of the majority's office and were posted on the committee website, just like this one was. As far as I can tell, the anonymous letter was sent to Sen. Harris's office, but the transcript of the call was released by the majority, not her office.

It being entirely anonymous and basically uncorroboratable, I'm not really sure what can be done with it unless the sender comes forward.
posted by zachlipton at 10:25 PM on September 30 [1 favorite]


I'm fascinated that the transcript which scalefree links to has an index at the end with redacted words in it. So, you can see where in the alphabet all of the redacted words fall relative to the non-redacted ones. It seems like you ought to be able to mash that up with autocorrect or something to un-redact the document.
posted by XMLicious at 10:31 PM on September 30 [9 favorites]


The whole thing is not only uncorroborated, it's essentially uncorroboratable - no identifying information, no return address, no location, no date. But it was released by Sen. Harris & it was read to Kavanaugh, so it's at least notable for that.

Yeah, it's 100% .... in character with everything we've learned about Brett Kavanaugh. By itself it's not a lot, but considered in the totality of the record, it's consistent with other testimony.

Again, the very fact that we're having this discussion shows how broken things are, and that the idea of another nominee, without this baggage, shows it's all a big "Fuck you, you can't stop us." I wish Howard Zinn was still with us to keep us all in perspective.
posted by mikelieman at 11:24 PM on September 30 [4 favorites]


I'm fascinated that the transcript which scalefree links to has an index at the end with redacted words in it. So, you can see where in the alphabet all of the redacted words fall relative to the non-redacted ones. It seems like you ought to be able to mash that up with autocorrect or something to un-redact the document.

I'm appalled that the attendees were redacted. Again, another "F.U., because we can" Performative Cruelty. May I never get used to it, because then they'll have won.
posted by mikelieman at 11:25 PM on September 30


The strange thing to me is that Kavanaugh is tainted to the point that it makes no sense to confirm him. It will engender lifelong hatred of the Republican party, become a flashpoint issue every time the court makes a decision, engender ongoing investigations, possibly lead to impeachment, provide a rationale for packing the court, etc. Confirming him could easily end up being one of the worst decisions they ever make.

You assume that the goal is actually to take over the Supreme Court in the most subtle way possible and turn it conservative. If that was the case we would have had Gorsuch v2 nominated.
If Trump is getting marching orders from Putin, this may be part of the "destroy all credible institutions" directive that included shitting on NATO and the WTO despite few Trump supporters having strong feelings about these. Attacking NAFTA at least made sense from a populist standpoint. Appointing a naked partisan with a mean streak to a lifetime appointment is a good way to end up with decades of disruption.
posted by benzenedream at 11:54 PM on September 30 [19 favorites]


Meet the new NAFTA, almost the same as the old NAFTA. So Canada's big concession was to allow the US access to 3.6% of its dairy market. Except they'd already agreed to allow access to 3.25% in TPP, so it's really a 0.35% concession. In return the US allows a bunch of other minor stuff.

So it's essentially NAFTA with some cosmetic tweaks and then renamed so that Trump can claim he's the greatest dealmaker in all of human history. I hate my life.
posted by Justinian at 11:55 PM on September 30 [59 favorites]


The transcript references six accusers in addition to Dr. Blasey. That’s more than I knew about, even counting the man in Maine who made and withdrew an accusation that Kavanaugh abused his wife. This is not normal. Nor is his dismissiveness. Not one word of empathy, it’s just bitter beer-swilling bro all the way down.

My theory about why Republicans are so hell-bent on confirming this particular rapist is that there is a straight line from his brand of casual rape to his brand of enslaving women to the consequences of owning vaginas and wombs. Republicans think they are *so close* to the Handmaid’s Tale prize that they can afford some gratuitous dunking on the rest of us.
posted by SakuraK at 11:55 PM on September 30 [18 favorites]


After nearly 2 years, South Africa is finally getting a US ambassador - (SA born) handbag designer Lana Marks.
posted by PenDevil at 12:49 AM on October 1 [3 favorites]


You law-talkin' people, does this idea, tweeted by @HowardA_Esq, have any legs?
rather than hanging your hopes on the FBI investigation-which most GOP already said won't change their mind-call the US attorney for [DC] and have them charge Kavanaugh with perjury. That is automatically disqualifying and is easily proved that he lied under oath. The US Attorney for DC is Jessie Liu. If she charges Kavanaugh with perjury (they have 5 proved lies so far) the vote cannot go forward. Don't waste time with Flake or FBI. Call her, write, be heard and save us!
Yes she was appointed by Trump, but maybe public pressure can get some media coverage ...?
posted by cybercoitus interruptus at 1:29 AM on October 1 [12 favorites]


I can't think of many things less likely to be productive than badgering a US Attorney with phone calls instructing her to prosecute someone for perjury.
posted by Justinian at 1:39 AM on October 1 [33 favorites]


This may be an obvious point, but is the majority now releasing the transcripts to bolster their argument that there has already been a full "investigation" of Kavanaugh, so there's no need for further FBI interviews?
posted by Cocodrillo at 2:49 AM on October 1 [2 favorites]


The strange thing to me is that Kavanaugh is tainted to the point that it makes no sense to confirm him. It will engender lifelong hatred of the Republican party, become a flashpoint issue every time the court makes a decision, engender ongoing investigations, possibly lead to impeachment, provide a rationale for packing the court, etc. Confirming him could easily end up being one of the worst decisions they ever make.

You don't understand. Look at the completely false rationales the GOP puts up for voter ID laws. Look at the endless gerrymandering and interfering with the ability of people other than well-off white people to get ID documents. Look at the recurring floating of trial balloons for, for example, splitting Democratic-dominated states' (and only Democratic-dominated states') electoral votes based on the popular vote outcome. Look at how they regard every electoral outcome that does not elect a Republican as illegitimate. Look at how the gerrymandered, illegitimately GOP-dominated North Carolina legislature stripped the governor's office of many of its powers when a Democrat won.

The Republicans rejected democracy decades ago. They are a totalitarian party operating in an increasingly weakened democratic state, paying whatever lip service is necessary and working around its restraints and simply ignoring them when they understand those restraints as more theoretical than actual. They do not care to preserve democratic institutions or to be seen positively by the public because they do not intend for those to be factors in their ability to maintain power.
posted by Pope Guilty at 3:59 AM on October 1 [88 favorites]


So it's essentially NAFTA with some cosmetic tweaks and then renamed so that Trump can claim he's the greatest dealmaker in all of human history.

There's some other things, the big one is we forced Canada and Mexico to adopt the US copyright protections for life+70 years.

So we took the worst part of the TPP, plus milk, and gave them back some assurances Trump can't impose unilateral sanctions.
posted by T.D. Strange at 4:04 AM on October 1 [9 favorites]


You know, it's funny. I've been following #metoo and of course this thread for quite some time, and for the first time today, it occurred to me that even to my dearest friends in the world, I've only ever talked about one of the two men and two boys who molested me when I was a little girl.

I don't think I've ever actually said any of their names out loud to anyone. It's partly because I have only hazy memories of my childhood, and because that haziness has insulated me from any real sense of trauma over it. I'm sad and angry about it, but I haven't relived any of it; I haven't been triggered by it. I'm only sharing it here, now, because of how amazed I am -- when I think about it objectively -- that I've never really felt compelled to share it before, not even the few times I've talked to therapists.

And yet if I learned any of those men were about to be nominated to the Supreme Court, I'd absolutely want to tell someone and have it stopped. Whether or not I'd be brave enough to actually do it is another question. But I can absolutely guarantee you that I would not be able to provide exact dates/times/places or physical evidence of any kind. And the only people I told about any of it when it happened -- I told my my mom and dad who/what/when about the scariest time -- are now dead.

What I've been thinking about most lately is how hard it is for anyone to prove something like this. Even if my parents had gone to the police right away with what I told them and the police had investigated thoroughly, there wouldn't have been physical evidence or corroborating witnesses. Nothing would have happened. And my parents didn't do that -- maybe because they knew nothing would happen, and that it would just be another horrible experience for me on top of the actual assault. (What they did do was ensure that I was never again alone with the man who attacked me.)

I think the thing I'm saddest and angriest about is how many of me there are out there, and how impossible it would be to prove any of it in a court of law. I don't know how we deal with that as a society (though #metoo is a great step toward dealing with it as a community). How do we make the most vulnerable less vulnerable? How do we make men and boys less likely to become rapists and abusers? How do we make reporting these things feel as safe and natural and important as reporting a mugging or any other kind of assault? These are systemic problems and so far, none of our systemic approaches seem to be working.
posted by invincible summer at 4:12 AM on October 1 [87 favorites]


Feminists won’t back down: What’s next for #MeToo after the Kavanaugh vote? - Amanda Marcotte, Salon
The election of Trump and now the advancement of Kavanaugh to a floor vote were a stark reminder of the power of reaction in politics. Anti-feminists have been stewing with fury at the way that feminism, pro-choice politics, and anti-rape activism have become a rising force over the past decade. Now they are rather blatantly trying to slap back by putting men credibly accused of sexual violence into positions of power.

But that kind of thing works both ways: The more aggressive conservatives get about entrenching the power of alleged sexual assailants and other apparent misogynists, the bigger a reaction they can expect from feminists, who are fed up and furious. ...
posted by ZeusHumms at 4:34 AM on October 1 [12 favorites]


Lindsey Graham and Brett Kavanaugh: Welcome to the smoldering ruins of American democracy - Andrew O'Hehir, Salon
Lindsey Graham is a massive hypocrite. But his outburst during the Kavanaugh hearings point hinted at deeper truth.
...
What struck me on Thursday is that guys like Graham and Kavanaugh, who have pretty much had things exactly the way they wanted them for their entire lives, have finally been forced to notice that American politics fundamentally does not work. Whether or not you read Graham’s tirade as a man-in-the-mirror moment, where he unintentionally revealed himself, he has a point. From any possible point of view, this confirmation — and indeed the entire political ecosystem around it — has become a sham, a circus, an embarrassing scandal and a national disgrace. In an environment where Americans agree about nothing, we can probably agree about that.
posted by ZeusHumms at 4:40 AM on October 1 [8 favorites]


NYT, Democrats Denounce Limits on F.B.I.’s Kavanaugh Inquiry as a ‘Farce’,

The NYT's heavily revised update of their article from late last night includes this piece of information: "Officials said the F.B.I.’s “limited” supplemental background check of Judge Kavanaugh could be finished by Monday morning."

I need more coffee.
posted by Doktor Zed at 4:45 AM on October 1 [6 favorites]


I have to wonder if there's ever been a known case of the same person getting credibly accused of assault by many, many people and somehow being wholly vindicated (as in, the accusers eventually admit, unpressured, that they'd all been lying for some reason).

The figure for the number of sexual assault reports that turn out to be false, or are suspected to be so, is 4%. The odds are ~1 in 240 million that 6 independent* reports would be.

Not that the math is really needed to know Kavanaugh is a lying sack of shit, but it does highlight how absurdly out of touch with reality the Republican position is.


* I realise that in a highly public/politicised case then the assumption of independence doesn't necessarily hold, but there is corroboration that pre-dates the accusation being made public in at least 3 of the cases that I know of.
posted by Buntix at 4:56 AM on October 1 [19 favorites]


"I had no connections to Yale" + his grandfather went to Yale, he's a legacy student = he perjured himself, vote no, nomination fails, move on.

I understand there may be more disqualifying matters for the judge. But how is this not getting the simple traction it deserves? I assume Republicans will suddenly feel lying under oath is okey-dokey, but still. Y'know. Print it in the paper. Say it on the recap. Something.
posted by petebest at 5:19 AM on October 1 [51 favorites]


I think their answer to that one is that he specifically said that he had no connections to Yale Law School, and grandpa only went there for undergrad. Of course, Kavanaugh also went to Yale for undergrad, which definitely was helped by his legacy status, and going to an Ivy for undergrad puts you at an advantage for admission to Yale Law School. But that's much too nuanced a trail of privilege for this crowd. If you take that into account, next thing you know you might have to consider that the wealth gap between black and white people might have something to do with the fact that only white people were able to buy homes with the GI Bill.
posted by ArbitraryAndCapricious at 5:52 AM on October 1 [21 favorites]


Buntix I realise that in a highly public/politicised case then the assumption of independence doesn't necessarily hold, but there is corroboration that pre-dates the accusation being made public in at least 3 of the cases that I know of.

Oh wow, I thought that only held true of Ford, with the therapist's notes.
posted by InTheYear2017 at 5:53 AM on October 1 [2 favorites]


Axios's Jonathan Swan served up fresh Trump White House leaks last night: Brett Kavanaugh Is "Too Big to Fail"
"He's too big to fail now," said a senior source involved in the confirmation process. "Our base, our voters, our side, people are so mad," the source continued. "There's nowhere to go. We're gonna make them f---ing vote. [Joe] Manchin in West Virginia, in those red states. Joe Donnelly? He said he's a no? Fine, we'll see how that goes. There will be a vote on him [Kavanaugh]. ... It will be a slugfest of a week."

"There's no time before the [midterm] election to put up a new person," a White House official close to the process told me.[...]

Sources close to the White House legal operation complained that even if they did want to rush through a new nominee, they couldn’t be sure any male nominee wouldn’t have what one called a “Kavanaugh problem.” "You nominate any man and how do you guarantee ... How do you vet for that?" said that source. "For an accusation that's 36 years old? You can't."

There's been plenty of speculation that, after the elections, Trump could put up a female judge such as Amy Coney Barrett, who was on his shortlist last time. But two sources involved at a senior level in Kavanaugh's confirmation told me they worry Barrett might end up being "too conservative" for the pro-choice Republican senators Susan Collins and Lisa Murkowski.
Is this a bluff, leveraging the shadow of the future? This situation has come to feel a lot like the GOP's 2017 tax cut—a godawful mess the Republicans had to push through because they have little else to show for controlling all three branches of government in the face of an increasingly restive base.
posted by Doktor Zed at 6:17 AM on October 1 [21 favorites]


Jay Nordlinger, last of the NeverTrumpers, reminds us how immoral and repugnant it is that Trump says he "fell in love" with Kim Jong-un.
posted by clawsoon at 6:17 AM on October 1 [9 favorites]


I assume Republicans will suddenly feel lying under oath is okey-dokey, but still.

They've always seemed to believe that their ends justify the means.
posted by ZeusHumms at 6:34 AM on October 1 [4 favorites]


Kavanaugh promises he'll practice an "original intent" interpretation of the constitution when he can't even engage in an honest "original intent" interpretation of his own yearbook.

On top of that, some of the original intent of the Constitution was to preserve a slaveholding oligarchy in half the nation. "Original intent" as a doctrine is worthless, to say nothing of morally bankrupt in the ways conservative judges deploy the phrase.
posted by Gelatin at 6:36 AM on October 1 [31 favorites]


I hate to say this, but I think we've been focusing too much on angry women in the electorate and maybe no enough on angry men. I am not entirely sure that the Kavanaugh situation is going to be a net gain for Democrats in the midterms.
posted by ArbitraryAndCapricious at 6:37 AM on October 1 [4 favorites]


Kavanaugh promises he'll practice an "original intent" interpretation of the constitution...

Cool, so he'll rule the 2nd Amendment only applies to barrel-loading black powder musket rifles.
posted by PenDevil at 6:38 AM on October 1 [31 favorites]


People trying to get through to the FBI are having to settle for leaving anonymous tips. I'm imagining what kind of information is being left on the table.
posted by BibiRose at 6:40 AM on October 1 [25 favorites]


Meet the new NAFTA, almost the same as the old NAFTA. So Canada's big concession was to allow the US access to 3.6% of its dairy market. Except they'd already agreed to allow access to 3.25% in TPP, so it's really a 0.35% concession. In return the US allows a bunch of other minor stuff.

Details are still coming out, but this Canadian sees what we've given up and what we've managed to keep, but doesn't see any gains for us. And the steel and aluminum tariffs are still in place with no assurances. So 'a good day for Canada' means we weren't beaten up too badly? Canada went into this thing merely wanting to update and refresh, and put in lots of good language about workers' rights and gender parity and the environment. If that was the aim, we haven't achieved it.

My old man said that the sign of a good deal is where no-one is happy, as it means everyone gave up something, and that's true, but I'm not seeing what the States gave up.
posted by Capt. Renault at 6:43 AM on October 1 [4 favorites]


I hate to say this, but I think we've been focusing too much on angry women in the electorate and maybe no enough on angry men. I am not entirely sure that the Kavanaugh situation is going to be a net gain for Democrats in the midterms.

My sense is that there haven't been significant electoral shifts in terms of party identification. The shift is in voter motivation and enthusiasm. So I think the real question is: will the anger of entitled men motivate those men to actually vote in the midterms in larger numbers than they ordinarily do? If yes, how will that compare with the shift in motivation and voting behavior among women?
posted by duffell at 6:45 AM on October 1 [6 favorites]


Pre-work Letter/Call script:
Senator [name],

The process of the investigation into the credible allegations of sexual assault against Brett Kavanaugh is falling far short of my expectations for a non-partisan, independent investigations into the facts of the situations.

First, witnesses and victims with relevant information, including Doctor Blasey Ford, have been unable to get into contact with FBI investigators. This state of affairs is wholly unacceptable.

Second, the apparent White House interference in the scope of the investigation must stop, as it is clear conflict of interest. There must be interviews with more than four witnesses to gauge Kavanaugh's history and character.

Finally, during this pivotal moment in the history of the Republic, Senator Grassley has neglected to have Judiciary Committee staff answering phones or clearing the voice mail. In effect, these actions, prevent voters from sharing their opinions and desires on this most important of circumstances. Please demand from him that he actually take calls from all voters.

[For Democrats: Please use all means possible to get the majority party to commit to a thorough, non-partisan investigation into these accusations, including the denial of unanimous consent. Please also warn Murkowski, Collins, Manchin, Heitkamp, and Flake that failure to enforce these expectations will result in outraged women voting, campaigning, and donating for and to their opponents.]

[For Republicans: I demand a full non-partisan, independent FBI investigation into Kavanaugh's conduct. Failure to support such an investigation will cause me to describe you as a supporter of sexual assault and donate actively to your electoral opponents.]

Sincerely,
[your name]
Let's give 'em hell.
posted by Excommunicated Cardinal at 6:54 AM on October 1 [45 favorites]


I think scrapping Chapter 11 (allows corporations to sue governments at special tribunals for interfering in their business) is seen as a win for Canada. We are usually on the receiving end of those suits.
posted by fimbulvetr at 7:03 AM on October 1 [7 favorites]


Sources close to the White House legal operation complained that even if they did want to rush through a new nominee, they couldn’t be sure any male nominee wouldn’t have what one called a “Kavanaugh problem.”

Bullshit. They didn't vet Kavanaugh. Even a cursory background check would've showed he was a raging drunk. It's probably in the FBI backgrounds. They didn't read them or didn't care.

And Gorsuch didn't have this shit, presumably because he wasn't getting blackout every night from age 16 - 27(?).

This isn't actually hard.
posted by T.D. Strange at 7:04 AM on October 1 [47 favorites]


Yeah it's bullshit, but it also sustains their narrative. ANY guy could be a blackout drunk gang rapist because a) horseplay and b) Democratic lies.

It's like you scratch off one layer of shit and there's another, smellier layer of shit underneath
posted by angrycat at 7:10 AM on October 1 [9 favorites]


Chapter 11 was costly for Canada, where Canada ended up paying American companies big settlements for government decisions like banning fracking, stopping a quarry that could damage groundwater, banning MMT in gasoline (a suspected neurotoxin), and banning export of toxic chemicals.
posted by fimbulvetr at 7:11 AM on October 1 [11 favorites]


Excommunicated Cardinal, thanks for the script. Just sent my senators a copy via resistbot. (By the way, it meets resistbot's test for a letter to the editor)
posted by mabelstreet at 7:16 AM on October 1 [2 favorites]


I liked this by John Oliver:
“It is worth taking a moment now to note the norm that has just been shattered, because I know that we’re all basically callous to people talking that way now, but we are supposed to have at least nine people left in America who do not talk that way, and yet Kavanaugh just all but came out and said that he’s going to approach his entire tenure as one giant case of ’me vs. the fucking libtard cucks.”

The list is long, but it's enough that Kavanaugh unprecedentedly attacked Democrats in a partisan manner during questioning. The whole point of the vetting process is to ensure Kavanaugh has sound judgment. I don't even understand why he did it. That's what the Republican Senators are for.
posted by xammerboy at 7:20 AM on October 1 [94 favorites]


He did it to impress Trump, which is what animates all GOP politicians and operatives now

Next Week Rand Paul is going to show up with high-cut slicked back hair and a Mao jacket
posted by Ray Walston, Luck Dragon at 7:23 AM on October 1 [12 favorites]


clawsoon: Jay Nordlinger, last of the NeverTrumpers, reminds us how immoral and repugnant it is that Trump says he "fell in love" with Kim Jong-un.

zachlipton: @ddale8: !!! Trump on Kim Jong Un: "I was really being tough and so was he. And we would go back and forth. And then we fell in love. No really. He wrote me beautiful letters. They were great letters. And then we fell in love." Trump says the media is going to scold him for saying he fell in love with Kim Jong Un, but it's true, and it's easy to be boring and presidential, but his way is better.

This was another example of the trademark Donald Trump "Ignore that garbage fire (of my own making), look at this shiny new thing!" attempt at re-direction. He wants "the media" to scold him, because that means they're talking about him, not about his unstable, alcoholic, serial rapist judicial nominee. He really is the Reality TV president, trying to concoct a new bit of drama to replace the old story line.
posted by filthy light thief at 7:39 AM on October 1 [9 favorites]


HuffPo: Millionaire Sen. Chuck Grassley Applying For Trump’s Farm Bailout Funds

Sen. Chuck Grassley (R-Iowa) supported President Donald Trump’s $12 billion bailout for U.S. farmers to mitigate the damaging effects of the trade war. Now the senator is applying for those same bailout funds for his own 750-acre Iowa farm, The Washington Post reports.

Sen. Jon Tester (D-Mont.) is also applying for payments.


While the bailout program has been pitched as aid to struggling farmers, Grassley’s net worth was listed in 2015 as $3.3 million, and Tester’s was $3.9 million that year, according to the Center for Responsive Politics.

These people have no shame.
posted by bluesky43 at 7:48 AM on October 1 [54 favorites]




Thanks Excommunicated Cardinal, I sent my senators a version of your script too.

And thanks mabelstreet, I did it via resistbot which I hadn't used before! Super handy.
posted by alleycat01 at 7:49 AM on October 1 [2 favorites]


This was another example of the trademark Donald Trump "Ignore that garbage fire (of my own making), look at this shiny new thing!" attempt at re-direction. He wants "the media" to scold him, because that means they're talking about him, not about his unstable, alcoholic, serial rapist judicial nominee. He really is the Reality TV president, trying to concoct a new bit of drama to replace the old story line.

Yes, completely. And the media falls for it every.damn.time.
posted by bluesky43 at 7:50 AM on October 1 [1 favorite]


NAFTAv2 (please let call it that so Trump doesn't get its petty victory over the name) is probably going to cost Justin its reelection, it's going to be widely impopular in Qc because of dairy and the fact that aluminum tarifs are still in place and lumber still isn't settled. Although there really was no way to win since the auto sector is crucial to Ontario and he needs both of those provinces to vote liberal to expect a victory.

It also increase the duty exemption for personal purchases to 150$ which might end up being catastrophic for Canadian retailers and also exempt the first 40$ from federal taxes.

The less benevolent part of me hopes that someday we'll be able to answer in kind. But that's very unlikely.
posted by WaterAndPixels at 7:53 AM on October 1 [5 favorites]


Before we move on from September news, last week a superior court judge has ordered Indiana Governor Eric Holcomb to turn over any emails about the meetings between Pence, Trump, and Carrier about saving jobs in the state (AP). (And naturally, Carrier later laid off Indiana workers in droves, despite Trump's bragging about his deal.)
posted by Doktor Zed at 8:05 AM on October 1 [17 favorites]


The list is long, but it's enough that Kavanaugh unprecedentedly attacked Democrats in a partisan manner during questioning. The whole point of the vetting process is to ensure Kavanaugh has sound judgment. I don't even understand why he did it. That's what the Republican Senators are for.

Well, now he has an army of Republican social media users firmly identifying with and supporting him, POTUS being chiefly among them. It's not clear to me if he's shrewd enough to be consciously manipulating that or more if he's just used to it and leaning in a bit.
posted by Burhanistan at 8:08 AM on October 1 [3 favorites]


Isn't it... interesting that Clinton got impeached and I believe disbarred over almost exactly the type and tenor of perjury that Kavanaugh is suspected of with Kavanaugh's help? I'd like to hear more Republicans get asked about why that's okay.
posted by Selena777 at 8:15 AM on October 1 [34 favorites]


"You nominate any man and how do you guarantee ... How do you vet for that?" said that source. "For an accusation that's 36 years old? You can't."

That's a fascinating claim - the idea that every single male judge in the US is likely to have a history of assaulting women, so there's no way to find the ones who don't. Men who haven't molested women should reply to the article and point out that their unnamed source is declaring that all men are wannabe rapists, or at least, that politicians are incapable of identifying the rapists in their midst.

Of course, he's trying to pretend it's one accusation, not several, and that they're totally unrelated to the man's history of being a raging drunk, which is hardly a secret.
posted by ErisLordFreedom at 8:15 AM on October 1 [43 favorites]


"You nominate any man"
There's a solution to that particular problem
posted by Green With You at 8:21 AM on October 1 [112 favorites]


Selena777: Isn't it... interesting that Clinton got impeached and I believe disbarred over almost exactly the type and tenor of perjury that Kavanaugh is suspected of with Kavanaugh's help? I'd like to hear more Republicans get asked about why that's okay.

For Republicans, the "other side" doing something similar amounts to infinite license to do the same even if that other person faced some degree of consequence for it. In response to these points about Kavanaugh, you still hear them rant about Al Franken and Eric Schneiderman, and Harvey Weinstein, all men who lost their jobs over it.

From their perspective (and unfortunately that of too many fence-sitting Americans who "don't pay much attention to politics"), saying "We have to give Kavanaugh this seat because Bill Clinton lied about serious sexual misconduct" makes total sense.
posted by InTheYear2017 at 8:30 AM on October 1 [8 favorites]


That's a fascinating claim - the idea that every single male judge in the US is likely to have a history of assaulting women, so there's no way to find the ones who don't.

I'm so old that I remember when talking about how male ideals get wrapped up in bad behavior like drinking, like starting fights, like downgrading sexual assault and bullying into 'horseplay,' all the things embodied in "toxic masculinity" got the response of "So you think ALL MASCULINITY is TOXIC!?!?!"

I'm so old that I remember when talking about how structures of social power allow certain classes of people to do things, and how even though any individual man may not himself engage in that behavior, he benefits from it being done, because it enforces a certain way of being, all the things embodied in "rape culture," got met with "Surely you don't mean ALL MEN?!?! #NotAll Men"

Just as I did not anticipate that the American war hawk party1 would decided to abandon2 American imperial ambitions, I did not anticipate the American social conservative party1 to engage in such a forthright and radical critique of the nature of gendered power structures.

1: they sell themselves3 as this, you know what I mean, don't @ me.
2: they're not going to, but "Iraq was a mistake" is a selling point
3: Yes, yes, a cartoon of a pyramid in the clouds with two legs labeled "left-wing" and "right-wing" whose filename is neoliberalism.jpeg

posted by the man of twists and turns at 8:36 AM on October 1 [14 favorites]


it might not hurt to adopt background investigation and candidate vetting mechanisms open to finding reports of sexual assault. i am assuming, without having researched the question, that methods at present reflect institutional values prior to this #metoo inflection point and are revealed as inadequate in light of the many "vetted" men in positions of civil trust who turn out to be subject to credible charges along those lines. would welcome more knowledgeable views. in my few experiences serving as a reference related to a friend or associate's security clearance, the investigator has asked about drug use, membership in certain groups & antigovernment activities or statements. i do not believe there has ever been any question about violence, continence or sexual assault. of course, in those cases, the person whose clearance was at issue selected me to be the reference; if that person had thought that i knew of (or was likely to report) any such assaults, they almost certainly would have chosen someone else, who did not know or was unlikely to report, as a reference. N.B. in no such cases did i actually have such information.
posted by 20 year lurk at 8:37 AM on October 1 [4 favorites]


New CBS News/YouGov Poll (conducted September 28-30):
Americans are divided and somewhat more opposed to Brett Kavanaugh's Supreme Court nomination than in favor of it after hearing Thursday from both Kavanaugh and the woman who has accused him of sexual assault, Christine Blasey Ford, but strong partisanship increasingly defines the public's views. Republicans have grown more in favor of his confirmation compared to last week, and nearly half say they'd be angry if Kavanaugh isn't eventually confirmed. Democrats are increasingly opposed after the hearings, with nearly half expressing anger at the idea of Kavanaugh eventually being seated on the court.

The net shift in sentiment over the week has been toward opposition. Today 37 percent of Americans do not think the Senate should confirm (up from 30 percent opposed last week) and 35 percent think the Senate should confirm (up from 32 percent last week) as partisan sentiments have hardened. Democratic opposition has gone from 60 percent to 68 percent, and Republican support has gone from 69 percent to 75 percent. Independents are more closely divided and slightly more in favor of confirmation than opposed.

Partisanship appears much more closely connected to overall views than does gender. Among Republican women, 70 percent feel Kavanaugh should be confirmed, while 80 percent of Republican men do. Among Democratic women, 65 percent oppose it, and 73 percent of Democratic men oppose. Overall, 41 percent of men feel Kavanaugh should be confirmed, and 29 percent of women nationwide do, with relatively more women saying it is still too soon to say.
Here's a link to a PDF of the full results.
posted by Doktor Zed at 8:40 AM on October 1 [8 favorites]


Republicans have grown more in favor of his confirmation compared to last week

This is who they are. There is no bottom.

9% of self-described Republicans do not want Kavanaugh confirmed. More Americans approve of Communism than Republicans disapprove of Kavanaugh.
posted by Rust Moranis at 8:58 AM on October 1 [26 favorites]


I have seen Slate, Newsweek, and Intercept stories cited to claim that Kavanaugh was a legacy admission at Yale. But the only evidence in any of the stories I have clicked through to read is a copy of his grandfather's Yale yearbook.

I am told by a high school teacher I know that having alumni grandparents don't generally qualify a student for "legacy" admissions status... So it can be perfectly true that Kavanaugh's grandfather went there, and also true that he was not admitted as a "legacy."

Does anyone know for sure or know how find out? I am going to be mad at Slate and Newsweek and the Intercept for making this a thing if it's not a thing. After all, he's lied about so much OTHER stuff.
posted by OnceUponATime at 9:00 AM on October 1 [5 favorites]


Doktor Zed: Americans are divided and somewhat more opposed to Brett Kavanaugh's Supreme Court nomination than in favor of it after hearing Thursday from both Kavanaugh and the woman who has accused him of sexual assault, Christine Blasey Ford, but strong partisanship increasingly defines the public's views

Hot take from Fox: Dems to pay in November for overplaying Kavanaugh hand (Bryan Dean Wright's opinion, Oct. 1, 2018), which opens with a summary of Trump's West Virginia rally, where he "slammed Democrats for obstructing Kavanaugh's nomination [MERRICK GARLAND, MUVVAFUNKA! - ed.] and the general treatment of him, and their shift toward socialism, politically [YES, PLEASE. -ed.] -- subtitle "Will Kavanaugh hearing spur a red wave in the midterms?"

Top Fox Pick (in Opinion): "So, Democrats: What are you hiding from the FBI?" (Smug Manikin, Ben Shapiro) -- subtitle: "Shapiro: FBI probe won't satisfy Kavanaugh's opposition" [You don't say -ed.] And Shapiro says that Dems, if they regain control want to "stymie Donald Trump's Supreme Court Nominees" -- plural? "For weeks, Democrats have blocked Kavanaugh...." [MERRRRICK GARLLLLLLAAAANDDDD!!]
Sen. Dianne Feinstein, why aren’t you calling for a more complete FBI investigation into the alleged Chinese spy in your San Francisco office who served as your driver as well as a liaison to the Asian-American community in California? You say the FBI never informed you of any compromise of national security information, and that the staffer “never had access” to classified or sensitive information. But how could they know that without interviewing you and all the members of your staff? YOu have yet to call for an investigation into your own behavior, so obviously, you're guilty.
YOu don't have a copy editor, it seems.

I'm sorry to everyone who sits somewhere that Fox News is the default station. I didn't have the patience to sit through more than seconds of each clip.
posted by filthy light thief at 9:00 AM on October 1 [5 favorites]


More Americans approve of Communism than Republicans disapprove of Kavanaugh.

And half of them post here! :p



How the Kavanaugh Protests Reached the National Stage (Emily Witt | New Yorker)
... Suddenly word came that voting had begun. Several of the activists began streaming the coverage on their phones, which produced a warped, echoing effect, because different phones streamed at slightly different paces. They stood silent as this haphazard speaker system delivered the news that Flake had voted with the Republican majority to recommend Kavanaugh’s confirmation to the Senate, but that he thought it would be “proper” to reopen Kavanaugh’s F.B.I. background check before the full Senate vote. A couple of women began to cry. The phones played the “ayes” of the judiciary committee.

Jennifer Flynn Walker, from the Center for Popular Democracy, gave an announcement: “O.K., everybody, it’s been voted out of committee, eleven to ten,” she said. “They might have delayed it for a week, but we’re not sure.”

Flynn Walker listed the names of senators who had not announced how they would vote: on the Republican side, Flake, Murkowski, and Collins; on the Democratic side, Heidi Heitkamp, of North Dakota, and Joe Manchin, of West Virginia. “This afternoon, let’s just go make ourselves comfortable in their offices,” she said. “Look them in the eye, and make yourself heard.”
posted by Barack Spinoza at 9:02 AM on October 1 [11 favorites]


I've been compulsively checking Avenatti's Twitter feed. Within the past hour he posted (without explanation, just some hashtags) a photograph of a TV studio in which Julie Swetnick being interviewed by somebody that commenters identify as NBC's Kate Snow. No word on when it will air.
posted by InTheYear2017 at 9:09 AM on October 1 [6 favorites]


"You nominate any man and how do you guarantee ... How do you vet for that?" said that source. "For an accusation that's 36 years old? You can't."

Um, the post-nomination advice and consent process is supposed to be part of the vetting process. We're vetting Kavanaugh right now, and it's working great unless the Republicans decide vetting doesn't matter (spoiler: they will).
posted by The World Famous at 9:11 AM on October 1 [21 favorites]


Top Fox Pick (in Opinion): "So, Democrats: What are you hiding from the FBI?" (Smug Manikin, Ben Shapiro)

Ben Shapiro is supposed to be the new William Buckley. The one guy all conservatives agree is the serious public intellectual of the conservative movement. The counter example they all cite when we say there's no honest conservatives or that conservatism is intellectually bankrupt. They always cite Ben Shapiro as the model of how liberals have them all wrong.

And his entire intellectual framework is nothing more than whataboutism.
posted by T.D. Strange at 9:12 AM on October 1 [12 favorites]


WaterAndPixels: NAFTAv2 (please let call it that so Trump doesn't get its petty victory over the name...

Oh, I thought that "NAF2" would be the obvious choice.
posted by wenestvedt at 9:20 AM on October 1 [15 favorites]


Daniel Dale has been live-blogging/fact-checking Trump's NAFTA 1.1 Rose Garden press conference, and it's an ongoing shitshow. Here are some of his lies:
—Trump repeats an egregious lie: "Japan would never negotiate with the United States...they told the previous administration, we're not going to negotiate." Japan negotiated the whole TPP with the Obama administration.
—Trump repeats his lie about U.S. farmers selling to the European Union: "Our farmers aren't allowed to sell over there...most of them." The EU is the fifth-largest market for US agriculture, purchasing more than $11 billion last year.
—Trump repeats his false claim that U.S. officials had claimed 250,000 jobs would be created in the U.S. with the trade deal with South Korea. Obama had said KORUS would "support at least 70,000 American jobs."
—Trump repeats his regular false claim that Asian-American unemployment is at a record low. (Was in May, then went back up.) Trump repeats his regular false claim that the trade deficit was $800 billion last year. (It was $566 billion counting services trade too.)
—Trump promotes his U.S. Steel lie to "eight or nine plants." It started at "six plants," then went to "seven plants," then "eight plants," then Saturday "minimum of eight plants," and this was the first "nine."
—For the 23rd time, Trump falsely claims, "Almost every country in the world we have trade deficits. We lose with everybody." The U.S. had surpluses with more than half of all countries last year.
And his behavior gets only weirder and ruder:
—OMG this Trump History. "You know, tariffs ended in 1913. They then went to a different system in 1918, totally unrelated. And then in 1928, you had the Great Depression. For a lot of different reasons...and then in the 1930s, they said we'd better start charging some tariffs."
—Trump tries to stop a reporter from asking about him limiting the FBI investigation. He asks what this has to do with trade. He suggests that someone else ask a question. He doesn't usually do that - loves talking about multiple subjects at once.
—Told that reporters now want to ask about Kavanaugh, since he's taken many questions on trade, Trump says, "Don't do that. Don't do that. Excuse me? Do you have a question on trade. Don't do that. That's not nice."
—Trump has the microphone taken away from a reporter who tried to ask him about Kavanaugh.
Dale's a veteran of covering Rob Ford in Toronto, but Trump never ceases to astonish him.
posted by Doktor Zed at 9:24 AM on October 1 [55 favorites]


wenestvedt: I thought that "NAF2" would be the obvious choice.

NAFTB.
posted by Too-Ticky at 9:26 AM on October 1 [27 favorites]


I am told by a high school teacher I know that having alumni grandparents don't generally qualify a student for "legacy" admissions status... So it can be perfectly true that Kavanaugh's grandfather went there, and also true that he was not admitted as a "legacy."

It's called a secondary legacy (grandparent, sibling, aunt, etc attended), it confers some advantage but not nearly as much as a primary legacy (parent attended). There was a 2011 study on the legacy effect at the top 30 schools, from the Chronicle of Higher Education: "Secondary legacy status at those top-tier colleges conferred an estimated advantage of 8.7 percentage points, while primary legacy gave a 51.6-point advantage." This summary quantifies this secondary legacy advantage as doubling your chances of admission while a primary legacy provides a 5 to 15x increase in your chances of admission.
posted by peeedro at 9:27 AM on October 1 [32 favorites]


I work in higher education/alumni relations at a school that is a peer of Yale. I can confirm that Yale legacy status is given to the children and grandchildren of Yale graduates.
posted by all about eevee at 9:28 AM on October 1 [61 favorites]


Ben Shapiro is supposed to be the new William Buckley.

dude replies to a maria shriver tweet with a Chappaquiddick "joke". he is not so much intellectually bankrupt as completely outside the economy.
posted by murphy slaw at 9:29 AM on October 1 [37 favorites]


Trump is just freakin' out, live on tv

Abby D Phillip, of CNN, via twitter: (!!) Trump implying he's caught a Dem senator in compromising conditions: "I happen to know some US senators. One who is on the other side, who's pretty aggressive. Ive seen that person in very very bad situations. Somewhat compromising."
10/1/18 12:21 pm

initial thoughts:
1. did he forget Al Franken isnt a Senator?
2. how much of a tell is doubling the use of very? probably indicates hes making it up out of whole cloth.
3. will anyone follow up?
posted by Exceptional_Hubris at 9:39 AM on October 1 [22 favorites]


If Trump doesn't report this person's identity to the Senate and the FBI, he's complicit in the abuse. It's that simple.

2NAFT 2NAFTurious
posted by Faint of Butt at 9:43 AM on October 1 [43 favorites]


Isn’t Ben Shapiro also the little shit who got caught routinely plagiarizing his shitty little opinions when he was an even littler shit? Like he was the bright young college-aged conservative prodigy who got busted, lost his job, and then was apparently rehabilitated through the wingnut welfare network only to be repackaged as their “serious” “intellectual”?
posted by schadenfrau at 9:45 AM on October 1 [8 favorites]


I was under the impression that Ben Shapiro was Milo Light.
posted by Selena777 at 9:47 AM on October 1 [4 favorites]


What a fucking moron. He thinks he’s calling the left’s bluff. Women aren’t bluffing.

Yes, please tell us about any Democratic Senators who abuse women, you doddering cancer! We want to know so we can burn them right along with you.
posted by schadenfrau at 9:47 AM on October 1 [121 favorites]


This Rose Garden exchange is appalling, even by Trump's standards of disrespecting the press and denigrating women.

ABC's Evan McMurry:
Testy exchange with @CeciliaVega, in which Pres. Trump declines to answer question on Kavanaugh.

"She's shocked that I picked on her. She's like in a state of shock."

"I'm not, thank you," @CeciliaVega responds. https://abcn.ws/2NbbNIh
Trump retorts, “That’s okay, I know you’re not thinking. You never do.”

It's impossible to tell where the border between his trolling and his cognitive impairment lies. (Growing loss of impulse-control and resultant inappropriate behavior is one sign of developing Alzheimers, for instance.)
posted by Doktor Zed at 9:49 AM on October 1 [55 favorites]


I feel like reporters are going to have to start negging him in their questions if they want to break through his sarcasm.

Perhaps other PUA strategies and techniques could work, too.

NAFTER
posted by rhizome at 9:53 AM on October 1 [17 favorites]


BoingBoing just posted a [fake] Wikipedia-looking page for a movie by the Coen Brothers about the whole Brett Kavanaugh kerfuffle:
https://boingboing.net/2018/10/01/beach-week-2018-a-film-by-t.html
From Boing Boing, the free encyclopedia

Beach Week is a 2018 black comedy film written, produced, edited, and directed by Joel and Ethan Coen.[1] The film stars George Clooney, Frances McDormand, Brad Pitt, Gary Oldman, Tilda Swinton, Steve Buscemi, Stephen Root, Josh Brolin and J. K. Simmons with William Zabka as Jeff Flake.[2] It was released in the United States on September 28, 2018, and in the United Kingdom on October 17, 2018.
Stephen Root plays Trump which is a thing I would like to watch, especially with the Coens at the wheel.
posted by wenestvedt at 9:55 AM on October 1 [14 favorites]


Yes, please tell us about any Democratic Senators who abuse women, you doddering cancer! We want to know so we can burn them right along with you.

Let's start with Tom Carper.
posted by dilaudid at 9:56 AM on October 1 [3 favorites]


Where did Trump get this info on Democratic senators? Putin? Yeah, definitely Putin.
posted by M-x shell at 10:01 AM on October 1 [4 favorites]


None of the myriad ways Ben Shapiro is a shit makes me actually think William Buckley is somehow unworthy of the comparison. Peas in a pod, honestly.

Regarding Trump's implication about some Democratic senator, it's very possible he's inventing it out of whole cloth. But it also wouldn't be the first time he's considered an "enemy scandal" as something to keep (barely concealed, apparently) under his stupid red hat. He once made a cryptic tweet about Eric Schneiderman. When the awful revelation about him became public, Don Jr proudly quoted the tweet as an indicator of his father's prescience or whatever, never mind that dark implication that he knew and didn't tell anyone.

As I said back then, they regard keeping such things secret as praiseworthy clean politics because you're generously "letting the other guy off the hook" -- never mind the current and possible future victims. After all, in patriarchy, women aren't regarded as the other team, but as the ball.
posted by InTheYear2017 at 10:02 AM on October 1 [15 favorites]


Trump retorts, “That’s okay, I know you’re not thinking. You never do.”

I know I keep coming back to this, but our Founding Fathers would have said that this is the moment where Cecilia Vega challenged President Trump to a duel upon the field of honor.

Because that shit was just unacceptably rude.
posted by mikelieman at 10:05 AM on October 1 [27 favorites]




None of the myriad ways Ben Shapiro is a shit makes me actually think William Buckley is somehow unworthy of the comparison. Peas in a pod, honestly.

say what you will about bill buckley, but he at least occasionally rose to the level of sophistry.
posted by murphy slaw at 10:09 AM on October 1 [16 favorites]


President Donald Trump broke from the GOP refrain Monday, saying that Supreme Court nominee Brett Kavanaugh had “difficulty” with “drink” as a “young man,” an accusation that Kavanaugh and his supporters have vociferously denied in the last couple weeks.

Which means they knew, because of course they did, about Kavanaugh's drinking even before he perjured himself before the Senate. Trump wouldn't have gotten that information from the non-conservative media and wouldn't have believed it if he had.
posted by Gelatin at 10:09 AM on October 1 [29 favorites]


Regarding Trump's implication about some Democratic senator, it's very possible he's inventing it out of whole cloth. But it also wouldn't be the first time he's considered an "enemy scandal" as something to keep (barely concealed, apparently) under his stupid red hat.

Eh, I'm sure you can't swing a pearl necklace in the Senate without hitting someone who's been in a compromising position. He's just floating bullshit, but if someone investigates they'll probably find something Trump can take credit for. This would be James O'Keefe's wheelhouse if he ever did any reporting.
posted by rhizome at 10:11 AM on October 1 [5 favorites]


Trump admitting Kavanaugh's "difficulty with drink" seems significant, given that Trump's notably teetotal in reaction to his brother Fred's alcoholism. This may be a weakness he's finding it more difficult to overlook.
posted by We had a deal, Kyle at 10:12 AM on October 1 [11 favorites]


WaterAndPixels: NAFTAv2 (please let call it that so Trump doesn't get its petty victory over the name)

wenestvedt: Oh, I thought that "NAF2" would be the obvious choice.

Via Doktor Zed, I like Daniel Dale's take: Trump's NAFTA 1.1 -- it's not a new version, it's a tweak on the old one.

Back to the Supreme Court: Amid Kavanaugh Drama, Supreme Court Is Back In Session (NPR, Sept. 30, 2018)
NPR legal affairs correspondent Nina Totenberg: ... there are quite a few very important cases pending in front of the court that it has not yet decided to hear. And, interestingly, the court has already put off any decision on whether they will hear those cases. Those are the kinds of cases that are big five to four cases very often - whether it's illegal or unconstitutional to discriminate against gay people in employment, for instance. That's on the potential docket, but it has not yet been granted by the court.

What has been granted are a bunch of cases that are - could be very important, or they could be very tiny procedural steps one way or the other. This week, the most interesting one - to me, anyway - involves whether it's cruel and unusual punishment in violation of the Constitution to execute somebody who's committed a murder, but he doesn't remember it anymore. And it's an interesting case.
It's pretty vague, most likely because this is radio segment transcript that ran at 3 minutes 25 seconds, so there's not enough time for real summaries of cases. With that, does anyone know if there's a nice, clean list of upcoming cases with hearing dates, and a note on which have been punted until there's a 9th justice? Because if Kavanaugh is blocked and no one moves ahead before (if) Dems regain some control of this process and Trump throws a fit and refuses to suggest anyone, it would be interesting to know which cases are in limbo.
posted by filthy light thief at 10:13 AM on October 1 [2 favorites]


Okay so as per Trump Kavanaugh perjured himself w/r/t drinking. Are we done? Can we go home now?
posted by angrycat at 10:13 AM on October 1 [31 favorites]


ABC's Evan McMurry:
Testy exchange with @CeciliaVega, in which Pres. Trump declines to answer question on Kavanaugh.
"She's shocked that I picked on her. She's like in a state of shock."
"I'm not, thank you," @CeciliaVega responds. https://abcn.ws/2NbbNIh
Trump retorts, “That’s okay, I know you’re not thinking. You never do.”


Thing is ... even while we know what this represents is mental illness and all ...

..... millions of people are observing and learning that this is an acceptable way to treat journalists, and more specifically, any and every woman. This is the new normal for many, many people.

We're moving backwards at warp speed. Even when Rump is outta here, it's going to take the rest of our lives just to get back to where we were in 2015.
posted by Dashy at 10:14 AM on October 1 [69 favorites]


Trump admitting Kavanaugh's "difficulty with drink" seems significant, given that Trump's notably teetotal in reaction to his brother Fred's alcoholism. This may be a weakness he's finding it more difficult to overlook.

This could be leveraged along with Trump's low impulse-control and tendency to parrot the last thing said to him live or on TV.
posted by ZeusHumms at 10:16 AM on October 1 [4 favorites]


it's going to take the rest of our lives just to get back to where we were in 2015

We will never get back to 2015 and we will never get back to when it felt normal. It is impossible to predict what is coming or how soon, but we have to have a vision for something different and better. Not "like it was before."
posted by Rust Moranis at 10:19 AM on October 1 [93 favorites]


Testy exchange with @CeciliaVega, in which Pres. Trump declines to answer question on Kavanaugh.
"She's shocked that I picked on her. She's like in a state of shock."
"I'm not, thank you," @CeciliaVega responds. https://abcn.ws/2NbbNIh
Trump retorts, “That’s okay, I know you’re not thinking. You never do.”


Wouldn’t it make s great deal more sense if he said, “That’s okay. I know you’re not thanking. You never do.”? He is responding to her saying, “Thank you,” so it makes way more sense. It also goes along with his desire to be praised/thanked.
posted by flarbuse at 10:25 AM on October 1 [2 favorites]


Trade deal? DAFTA

We need a media strategy for bad-faith arguments and actors instead of exhaust research and discussion as if they are in good faith and logical and evebtually concluding that their propositions are "controversial" and " not supported" propoganda

Trump: " blah blah blah democrats"
Us: Pics or GTFO

Also the idea of moral liscence should be burned at the state: somebody on the orher team did a bad thing therefore we can do a bad-thing.... this argument should be considered a criminal confession.
posted by Anchorite_of_Palgrave at 10:27 AM on October 1 [8 favorites]


Here's a list of Granted and Noted Cases for the October 2018 term for the US Supreme Court.
posted by ZeusHumms at 10:28 AM on October 1 [2 favorites]


Yeah, I would caution any promotion of MAGA-in-advance, I think the better future is more toward "continual improvement" (not in the Facebook way though) rather than "an agreeable status quo." History is full of well-meaning dipshits who were really going to fix it this time.

I feel like the prelapsarian project is a dead end here.
posted by rhizome at 10:29 AM on October 1


... they regard keeping such things secret as praiseworthy clean politics because you're generously "letting the other guy off the hook"

Huh? They keep them secret because when they are announced They no longer have blackmail material.

c.f.: Russian hacks of RNC.
posted by M-x shell at 10:30 AM on October 1 [1 favorite]


I don’t care that Kavanaugh drank underage or drank heavily in college. I care that he lied about it, repeatedly, under oath, in the context of accusations of attempted rape, while trying to deny hundreds of other more qualified people a lifetime appointment as one of the most powerful people in the country. That shouldn’t be a partisan issue, but it is, because one of the parties is dedicated to the appeasement of bigots.
posted by East Manitoba Regional Junior Kabaddi Champion '94 at 10:30 AM on October 1 [95 favorites]


Us: Pics or GTFO

If only the press had said "prove it", even *once*, to candidate Trump in 2016...sigh...
posted by JoeZydeco at 10:31 AM on October 1 [6 favorites]


Some press conference video clips, via ThinkProgress:

Trump characterizes critics of his trade war as "babies"
WHOA: Trump mockingly criticizes a female reporter [Cecilia Vega, ABC News] who tries to ask him a question for not thinking -- "you never do," he tells her -- then refuses to answer her question about Kavanaugh
Trump shouts down @kaitlancollins as she tries to ask him a question about Kavanaugh!!! She asks it anyway. He won't answer.
Trump suggests Dem senators have done worse than Kavanaugh's two alleged sexual assaults: "I watch those senators on the Democrat side and I thought it was a disgrace. Partially because I know them. I know them too well. You know what? They are not angels."
Trump alludes to an unnamed Democratic senator who has a drinking problem, says he thinks it's "unfair" to scrutinize Kavanaugh's drinking and sexual misconduct when he was in high school

The way he says "they are not angels" in that clip is deeply disturbing.

Stephen Root plays Trump which is a thing I would like to watch

This is basically a description of Newsradio's "President" episode (1996), though the episode is much less racist than reality turned out to be.
posted by zachlipton at 10:32 AM on October 1 [20 favorites]


> We're moving backwards at warp speed. Even when Rump is outta here, it's going to take the rest of our lives just to get back to where we were in 2015.

There is no going back. The political constellation that we had in 2015 will never, ever, ever exist again. It was broken and we'll never put it back together. However, this is not necessarily a bad thing.

No, really, it's not necessarily a bad thing. And, like, I'm saying this as someone who thinks that 2015 was in fact the least bad that human civilization has been since we made the mistake of inventing agriculture.

Sometimes when we get all freaked out in this thread Frowner comes in to point out (way more eloquently than I'm about to) that we're in a moment of unprecedented political flux wherein titanic societal forces that had been frozen solid like glaciers since at least the 1940s are now shifting, and that we have no idea what the world is going to look like when those forces stabilize again. We might end up saddled with 40 years of fascism. Or we might finally smash the fucking patriarchy once and for all. We might end up with high-tech anarchosyndicalism or grinding grey corporate cyberpunk forever. We might end up with something even weirder than those things. One thing we know for sure, though, is that 2015 is never coming back. The old order, wherein everyone with power pretended to agree that liberal capitalism is the end of history, is gone, gone, gone.

We are in the most dynamic political moment since 1989 — we are in fact in large part dealing with the long slow aftermath of all the terrible blunders our idiot rulers made in 1989 — and it is awful and terrifying, because all the things we pretended were certain have been revealed as uncertain. They are not taking us "backwards at warp speed" because history never runs backwards, no matter how much conservatives or liberals or revolution-larping bolsheviks might want it to.
posted by Reclusive Novelist Thomas Pynchon at 10:37 AM on October 1 [109 favorites]


I found out the other day that Mara Wilson is Shapiro's cousin. I feel terrible for her every time I read his name.
posted by urbanwhaleshark at 10:38 AM on October 1 [5 favorites]


We will never get back to 2015 and we will never get back to when it felt normal.

I’m sure as shit not going to forget they’re all actually Nazis underneath, no.
posted by schadenfrau at 10:39 AM on October 1 [60 favorites]


Back in April, Trump demanded an immediate withdrawl of troops from Syria. After military officials discussed that with him, he changed his demand to insist they be out in a matter of months.

A series of new statements by administration officials indicate a new goal, and it's deeply disturbing:
In Syria, Trump administration takes on new goal: Iranian retreat
The Trump administration has opened a new chapter in American involvement in Syria, vowing to remain until the civil war’s conclusion in a bid to halt Iran’s expansion across the Middle East.

The vision articulated last week by senior U.S. officials marks a dramatic reversal six months after President Trump said he would pull American troops out of Syria and end U.S. involvement in a conflict that has killed at least half a million people and confounded two administrations.

James Jeffrey, the State Department’s special representative for Syria, said the United States would maintain a presence in the country, possibly including an extended military mission, until Iran withdraws the soldiers and militia forces it commands. U.S. officials expect that possible outcome only after world powers broker a deal ending the war. “The president wants us in Syria until that and the other conditions are met,” Jeffrey told reporters Thursday, saying the U.S. withdrawal was also linked to achieving a lasting defeat of Islamic State militants.

Jeffrey spoke days after national security adviser John Bolton announced that the United States would not withdraw “as long as Iranian troops are outside Iranian borders,” for the first time tying the U.S. trajectory in Syria to challenging Iran.
posted by zachlipton at 10:41 AM on October 1 [4 favorites]


A Supreme Court Case Could Liberate Trump to Pardon His Associates
- Natasha Bertrand, The Atlantic
Gamble v. United States isn’t related to the Russia investigation. But the outcome—which one senior Republican senator [Orrin Hatch] has tried to influence—could still have consequences for the probe.

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. …

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.

If Trump were to shut down the investigation or pardon his associates, “the escape hatch, then, is for cases to be farmed out or picked up by state-level attorneys general, who cannot be shut down by Trump and who generally—but with some existing limits—can charge state crimes even after a federal pardon,” explained Elie Honig, a former assistant U.S. attorney in New Jersey. “If Hatch gets his way, however, a federal pardon would essentially block a subsequent state-level prosecution.”
And the timing is not at all suspicious.
posted by ZeusHumms at 10:43 AM on October 1 [39 favorites]


Trump retorts, “That’s okay, I know you’re not thinking. You never do.”

I know I keep coming back to this, but our Founding Fathers would have said that this is the moment where Cecilia Vega challenged President Trump to a duel upon the field of honor.

Because that shit was just unacceptably rude.


But it wouldn't be, it would be the moment Cecilia Vega's husband/brother/father/friend/protector challenged him to a duel on the field of honor. Women didn't get the opportunity to defend themselves, they needed a man to make that choice.

I get what you're saying but that system did not have direct recourse for women and it certainly didn't have recourse for people of color or virtually anyone marginalized along basically any axis. This system was built by and for the benefit of white men and that's something with which we need to reckon as we figure out how we got here and where we're going.
posted by Mrs. Pterodactyl at 10:50 AM on October 1 [29 favorites]


esty exchange with @CeciliaVega, in which Pres. Trump declines to answer question on Kavanaugh.
"She's shocked that I picked on her. She's like in a state of shock."
"I'm not, thank you," @CeciliaVega responds. https://abcn.ws/2NbbNIh
Trump retorts, “That’s okay, I know you’re not thinking. You never do.”

Wouldn’t it make s great deal more sense if he said, “That’s okay. I know you’re not thanking. You never do.”? He is responding to her saying, “Thank you,” so it makes way more sense. It also goes along with his desire to be praised/thanked.


So that reading was definitely wrong. I just listened to it. I will say this, though. She said, “I’m not, thank you” very quickly. I am quite certain he heard it as “I’m not thinking.” He had just said how shocked she was that he called on her. So then he hears that as “I’m not thinking” and makes his response.

This is no defense of what he said. I just like to understand exactly what people say, what they mean, and why they might have said it.
posted by flarbuse at 11:10 AM on October 1 [18 favorites]


why they might have said it

A woman contradicted him, so he responded with insults. That seems perfectly in line with everything we know about Trump, I don't think his response is so bizarre that we have to give Trump the benefit of the doubt that maybe he responded the way he did because he misheard something.
posted by 23skidoo at 11:15 AM on October 1 [42 favorites]


NYT, White House Tells F.B.I. to Interview Anyone Necessary for Kavanaugh Inquiry
The White House has authorized the F.B.I. to expand its abbreviated investigation into sexual misconduct allegations against Judge Brett M. Kavanaugh by interviewing anyone it deems necessary as long the review is finished by the end of the week, two people briefed on the matter said on Monday.

The new directive came in the past 24 hours after a backlash from Democrats, who criticized the White House for limiting the scope of the bureau’s investigation into President Trump’s nominee for the Supreme Court. The F.B.I. has already completed interviews with the four witnesses its agents were originally asked to talk to, the people said.
*sets timer for how long it takes until we learn the definition of "anyone necessary" has been twisted to all hell*
posted by zachlipton at 11:19 AM on October 1 [35 favorites]


I think not enough people are getting that when trump said "you never do" he wasn't talking about *that one reporter*... .he was talking about *all women*
posted by odinsdream at 11:19 AM on October 1 [50 favorites]


A woman contradicted him, so he responded with insults.

Emphasis on "woman," because while he attacks male reporters, he never insults them. Because face-to-face with those of his own gender, he is a coward, plain and simple. That's testament to his belief that women are inferior. So it will be infinitely satisfying when it is women that take him down.
posted by martin q blank at 11:21 AM on October 1 [28 favorites]


That's testament to his belief that women are inferior. So it will be infinitely satisfying when it is women that take him down.

Sure, but it would be great if men could, like, help. Because we're exhausted.
posted by melissasaurus at 11:26 AM on October 1 [94 favorites]


WSJ: Mattis Trip to China Canceled—Pentagon had been working on possibility defense secretary would attend diplomatic and security dialogue in Beijing
The Pentagon never officially announced a trip to China, but had been working on the possibility that Mr. Mattis would attend talks in Beijing this month known as the diplomatic and security dialogue, U.S. officials said.

The U.S.-China diplomatic and security dialogue was held for the first time in June last year in Washington and was supposed to occur annually.

The trip is now off, a senior U.S. defense official said late Sunday. China couldn't make Mr. Mattis’s counterpart, Gen. Wei Fenghe, available for the planned meeting, souring the Pentagon on the idea, U.S. officials said. The cancellation was first reported by the New York Times.
This comes in the wake of Trump's rude comments at UN about China interfering in the midterm elections and his general bloviation about trade and tariffs, recent US military patrols in the South China Sea, and some undiplomatic and gratuitous remarks by an NCS aide at the Chinese Embassy in D.C. Since none of either the Journal's or the Times's sources are willing to be named, however, there's also an element of undermining Mattis.
posted by Doktor Zed at 11:31 AM on October 1 [6 favorites]


AP, Attorney: Ellison abuse claim unsubstantiated
An ex-girlfriend’s allegation that Minnesota Rep. Keith Ellison once physically abused her could not be substantiated because she refused to provide video she said she had of the incident, an attorney hired to investigate the claims concluded in a draft report obtained Monday by The Associated Press.

The report was compiled by Susan Ellingstad, a lawyer hired by Minnesota’s Democratic-Farmer-Labor Party to investigate the allegation against Ellison. The Democratic congressman has denied the allegations.
...
A draft report obtained by the AP notes Monahan’s shifting rationale for refusing to produce the video footage, including that it was lost, was on a USB drive in storage and that it would be too embarrassing and traumatic to release it. Ellingstad also wrote in her report that Monahan would not allow her to view the footage privately.

“An allegation standing alone is not necessarily sufficient to conclude that conduct occurred, particularly where the accusing party declines to produce supporting evidence that she herself asserts exists,” Ellingstad wrote. “She has thus repeatedly placed the existence of the video front and center to her allegations, but then has refused to disclose it.
I'd personally feel more comfortable with an investigation not run by the state party. Ellison has requested the House Ethics Committee investigate, which has its own issues, but seems like a reasonable step.
posted by zachlipton at 11:32 AM on October 1 [27 favorites]


...millions of people are observing and learning that this is an acceptable way to treat journalists, and more specifically, any and every woman. This is the new normal for many, many people.

One of the sadder things I recall reading about Berlusconi's impact on Italian life was the comparison of a pair of opinion surveys put to high school students that, in effect, asked them what they wanted to be when they grew up.

In the first, dating to the early 1990s — i.e, prior to Berlusconi's first term as Prime Minister — there really wasn't much observable difference between the career paths foreseen by young women and young men: they both wanted to be doctors and veterinarians, lawyers and designers. By the time of the second, after several years of Berlusconi in power, with his relentless influence on the national mores, girls had peeled away from boys. Now they wanted, mostly, to be supermodels and TV presenters, flight attendants and beauty-pageant winners.

The implications of this divergence for attitudinal modeling from on high are left as an exercise for the reader.
posted by adamgreenfield at 11:54 AM on October 1 [42 favorites]


Texas governor says 'bathroom bill' no longer on his agenda

Keep yanking the wheel towards progress folks, it's working. Thank you all for your hard work across the United States and the world. Our voices are being heard and efforts are having an effect.

This is *huge* y'all. Thank you. Thank you. Now let's vote the bastards out in November.
posted by nikaspark at 11:56 AM on October 1 [133 favorites]


I think it's important at this point to recognize and emphasize that the investigation was/is potentially meaningless only insofar as it looked like it wouldn't yield any real new information. Supposing something damning does come from it (somewhat likelier if this new mandate is genuine), a lot of conservatives will say "Aha! You liberals can't point to that because you already called the whole thing a sham!"

But this isn't a matter of Kavanaugh-resistant people having it both ways, because in addition to the difference between new information and the lack of it, there's confirmatory versus non-confirmatory evidence. Multiple Democratic senators pointed this out at the hearing -- more investigation could in principle help exculpate Kavanaugh. Hypothetically, they could find an alibi, or a serious hole in a survivor's sworn testimony, or even a "real" perpetrator. Of course everybody already knows how unlikely that is.

If they find something, they find something, whatever that may be. (I'm making the probably-not-justified assumption that nothing will be outright fabricated.) But if they find nothing, then there's nothing to conclude beyond what we've already heard.
posted by InTheYear2017 at 12:01 PM on October 1




they couldn’t be sure any male nominee wouldn’t have what one called a “Kavanaugh problem.” "You nominate any man and how do you guarantee ... How do you vet for that?" said that source. "For an accusation that's 36 years old? You can't."

Well...of course you can. And presenting this as a problem is a signal about how widespread, and how accepted, sexual abuse is. They know it's a problem to "nominate any man" because they all know men who did this ...or are men who did this.

I've been reflecting sadly on the fact that, as many great men as I know, I don't think I would ever write a letter stating that there is no way they could do this to someone because I somehow see deep into their soul and know they couldn't. The truth is that I don't know that they couldn't or didn't. What I do know is that some of the most trusted men in society have abused the people who trusted them most. Just because I wasn't a victim, how could I be sure that somebody in my social circle never victimized anyone? I wouldn't go out that far on the limb, because I know how common it is.

It's impossible to tell where the border between his trolling and his cognitive impairment lies. (Growing loss of impulse-control and resultant inappropriate behavior is one sign of developing Alzheimers, for instance.)

I've said it before and I'll say it again: as comforting as it might be to think that Trump is insulting, evil, and incoherent for some biological reason, there's no evidence for it - and I am tired of providing it as an excuse. This is who he is, who he has always been, just more emboldened by the social sickness surrounding us.
posted by Miko at 12:46 PM on October 1 [54 favorites]


[We have been around and around the armchair-diagnosis merry-go-round and it is not going anywhere. Let's get off.]
posted by restless_nomad (staff) at 12:59 PM on October 1 [24 favorites]


Rachel Mitchell says her Kavanaugh report is what a ‘reasonable prosecutor’ would say. It’s not. (Deanna Paul | WaPo)
A prosecutor would never rely on an affidavit to “refute” criminal accusations. A piece of paper — submitted for a hearing, when the individual believes he need not appear in person — cannot be cross-examined. It’s different from interviewing a person face to face, which is what any reasonable prosecutor would want to do.

She would examine the dates, places and people that the committee did not permit before Thursday’s hearing. Law enforcement would work with the accuser to track down every possible witness and piece of evidence to either underscore Ford’s narrative or give weight to Kavanaugh’s.

Mitchell was not brought in to do that.
posted by Barack Spinoza at 1:08 PM on October 1 [35 favorites]


This whole "prosecutable" thing is meant to distract you. It doesn't matter. If he used the n-word freely for black people, and the c-word for women, he also could not be prosecuted, but sure as hell wouldn't be Supreme Court material (even now). It is character at stake here, not law. Law is a separate issue altogether.
posted by Bovine Love at 1:24 PM on October 1 [84 favorites]


Rachel Mitchell is presenting herself as an expert witness for the defense. Expert witness has a formal legal definition. It is a person who testifies as to the facts of a case based on their experience and expertise that goes beyond a layman's understanding. In a real trial, no expert witness would be permitted to state their opinion in a trial without cross-examination by the other side.

And the very first question, as a matter of formality, is to ask the expert witness exactly how much they are being paid and who is paying for it. That is just routine.

Then, continuing the cross-examination, they would ask how she arrived at her conclusions, were the procedures used typical for reaching a conclusion, would she have an investigation of possible witnesses, would investigators take formal statements, etc.

A cross-examination would reveal that Mitchell's conclusions were completely contrary to her normal practice. There was no investigation as to the credibility of the complaint before issuing a conclusion.
posted by JackFlash at 1:30 PM on October 1 [20 favorites]


Lindsey Graham, 2016: My party has gone batshit crazy.
Lindsey Graham, 2017: I’m tired of media portraying Trump as a kook.
Lindsey Graham, 2018: If you don't like me working with President Trump to make the world a better place, I don't give a shit.

2 year metamorphosis from #nevertrump to full Pepe.
posted by Rust Moranis at 1:33 PM on October 1 [80 favorites]


Rachel Mitchell’s Former Colleague Slams Her Kavanaugh Memo as “Absolutely Disingenuous”
A former colleague of Rachel Mitchell, the sex crimes prosecutor hired by Senate Republicans to question Christine Blasey Ford, blasted Mitchell for writing a memo casting doubt on Ford’s allegations against Supreme Court nominee Brett Kavanaugh. Matthew Long, a former sex crimes prosecutor who was trained by Mitchell in the Maricopa County, Arizona, attorney’s office, told Mother Jones the memo was “disingenuous” and inconsistent with Mitchell’s own practices as a prosecutor. “I’m very disappointed in my former boss and mentor,” Long said.
...
The memo rankled Long, beginning with how Mitchell framed it. “I find her willingness to author this absolutely disingenuous. She knows better,” Long said. “She should only be applying this standard when there’s an adequate investigation.” Rather than jump to conclusions, Mitchell should have laid out the steps that needed to be taken in order to gather enough information to make a determination about the case. “Mitchell doesn’t have sufficient information to even draw these conclusions,” he said.
...
Long, who now works partly as a defense attorney, said he is currently defending a former police officer charged with a 30-year-old crime by Mitchell’s office, which has given a broad time range in which the crime is alleged to have taken place. “They apparently have no problem with expanding the timeline when it comes to the people they charge, but she wants to apply a different standard to Kavanaugh,” he said.
posted by kirkaracha at 1:34 PM on October 1 [43 favorites]


Lindsey Graham, 2017: I’m tired of media portraying Trump as a kook.

Lindsey Graham, 2016: I think he's a kook. I think he's crazy. I think he's unfit for office.
posted by kirkaracha at 1:38 PM on October 1 [21 favorites]


@yjtorbati (Reuters):
Final numbers just provided to me by @StateDept show that 51 Iraqi refugees with US affiliations (e.g. former military interpreters) were allowed into US in FY 2018.

FY 2017: 3051
FY2016: 5129
FY 2015: 7122
Some background, including the extent to which refusing to give visas to refugees who helped US troops hurts national security by discouraging others from working with us in combat zomes.
posted by zachlipton at 1:48 PM on October 1 [24 favorites]


*sets timer for how long it takes until we learn the definition of "anyone necessary" has been twisted to all hell*

It was twisted by the very next two paragraphs of that article (my emphasis):
Mr. Trump said on Monday that he favored a “comprehensive” F.B.I. investigation and had no problem if the bureau wanted to question Judge Kavanaugh or even a third accuser who was left off the initial witness list if she seemed credible. His only concerns he said, were that the investigation be wrapped up quickly and that it take direction from the Senate Republicans who will determine whether Judge Kavanaugh is confirmed.

“The F.B.I. should interview anybody that they want within reason, but you have to say within reason,” Mr. Trump told reporters in the Rose Garden after an event celebrating a new trade deal with Canada and Mexico. “But they should also be guided, and I’m being guided, by what the senators are looking for.”
[…]
I want them to do a very comprehensive investigation, whatever that means, according to the senators and the Republicans and the Republican majority,” Mr. Trump said.
I mean, we already know that senate Republicans want cover more than they want an actual investigation. It's a bit of an open secret. Over to you, Jeff Flake:
Mr. Flake expressed concern on Monday that the inquiry not be limited and said he had pressed to make sure that happens. “It does no good to have an investigation that gives us more cover, for example,” he said in a public appearance in Boston. “We actually have to find out what we can find out.”
Flake saying it does them no good just to have more cover is precisely the sort of denial they'll rely on when they (and he) use it for cover.
posted by fedward at 1:54 PM on October 1 [11 favorites]


If you don't like me working with President Trump to make the world a better place, I don't give a shit.

I know what we think around here, and correctly so, about the patsy-like futility of pointing out Republican hypocrisy. But let's be crystal-clear, shall we, that Graham must never again be allowed to play the "cheapening of the national discourse" card.

Sheeeeeit,I have better sense and consideration than to speak that way on national TV, and obscenity is more or less my native tongue.
posted by adamgreenfield at 2:00 PM on October 1 [16 favorites]


Anyone writing or calling your representatives should consider including a reference to the Land and Water Conservation Fund. The reauthorization of funding for the LWCF expired yesterday. It's been around for 50 years and is an important funding source for conservation and local parks projects. Money from the LWCF has purchased private land for conservation purposes, improved millions of acres of public and private land, and been awarded as grants to 42,000 state and local parks projects. The LWCF Coalition has once a week for the past year published a flyer (scroll down) highlighting projects from all 50 states, D.C., and the U.S. Virgin Islands if you want an idea of the kinds of projects the LWCF funds.
posted by edeezy at 2:02 PM on October 1 [13 favorites]


This video of women getting in Mitch McConnell’s face at an airport is incredible.
posted by mostly vowels at 2:10 PM on October 1 [75 favorites]


Re Gamble v. United States, the only way that case helps trump is if the supreme court reverses it. The court below upheld the separate sovereigns doctrine. If SCOTUS splits 4-4, that ruling will stand (as will earlier supreme court precedent upholding the doctrine).

So trump needs to have someone appointed before the court hears oral argument on the case, or the case is unlikely to help him. The court has set dates for oral argument on 22 cases between today and November 7, but has not yet set dates for oral argument on the remaining 20 cases, including Gamble.
posted by mabelstreet at 2:19 PM on October 1 [7 favorites]


Wait, the case everything is riding on, is Gamble vs US?
posted by inpHilltr8r at 2:22 PM on October 1 [57 favorites]


Of course it is
posted by mabelstreet at 2:23 PM on October 1 [47 favorites]


Reclusive Novelist Thomas Pynchon we're in a moment of unprecedented political flux wherein titanic societal forces that had been frozen solid like glaciers since at least the 1940s are now shifting, and that we have no idea what the world is going to look like when those forces stabilize again

I think, as much as the sheer pants on the head bonkers fact of Trump's presidency, that's what has given these past two years such a manic, almost unreal or perhaps surreal, feel. Intellectually everyone knows that history doesn't stop and that the social/world order they were born into isn't guaranteed to last for long.

But we have had, as you noted, a fairly stable world order since 1945. The Pax Americana wasn't exactly great for a lot of people, but it did provide a degree of stability and a lack of world wars. And it was crumbling before Trump came to office. The combination of dollar and American military was weakening and other players on the world stage were looking for an expanded role in world affairs.

That said, Trump is taking a wrecking ball to a process that was winding down to an uncertain future, and has made that future a lot more uncertain. And made it clear that as the tide of Fascism rises again worldwide, America will not be a bulwark against it. Instead and unlike in the 1940's, we Americans will be busy fighting our own Fascist uprising and seeing if it breaks into full blown civil war or can be kept within the bounds of politics.

My parents were fairly sure that I'd grow up in a world managed by the Pax Americana. It wasn't really a world they liked much, but it was something they knew and I imagine it gave them at least a degree of stability even if it wasn't really great stability.

My son will grow up in a world transitioning to a post-American future, and I have no idea whether he will be living a fairly peaceful life, or die in riots, civil wars, and maybe even atomic devastation. And that's really unsettling to me.

We're at the end of an era, and it remains to be seen what the next era will be like. I do know that we'll have to struggle to get a good, or even mildly tolerable, future out of the change. The forces of wealth, bigotry, and authoritarianism are working overtime these days, and winning quite a few of the contests. So far that's been sub-world war level, and often not war at all. Trump, Duterte, Orbán, and the rest all won elections rather than civil wars. And that's kind of better I suppose.

Adding to that is the end of capitalism as we transition to a post-automation society and economy, and that'd be a huge world shift even without the addition of the fall of the Pax Americana and the threatened rise of a new Fascist order.

It's going to be a lot of work ahead, that's about all anyone can say with any degree of certainty.
posted by sotonohito at 2:23 PM on October 1 [58 favorites]


Ben Shapiro is supposed to be the new William Buckley.

dude replies to a maria shriver tweet with a Chappaquiddick "joke". he is not so much intellectually bankrupt as completely outside the economy.

posted by murphy slaw at 9:29 AM on October 1 [27 favorites −] [!]


To be bankrupt, one has to have some bank to 'rupt. I don't believe Ben ever did.
posted by Mental Wimp at 2:28 PM on October 1 [7 favorites]


Today's Democracy Now! interviewed Ana María Archila, one of the people who confronted Senator Flake in the elevator mentioned in the OP. (interview starts at around 23:20 in the full show .mp4, alt link, .torrent—Of course, most of the rest of the episode also relates to the Kavanaugh nomination, finishing up with an interview with Kimberlé Crenshaw, a law professor at UCLA and Columbia and founder of the African American Policy Forum, who was a consultant to Anita Hill's legal team.)
posted by XMLicious at 2:30 PM on October 1 [6 favorites]


Lindsey Graham, 2017: I’m tired of media portraying Trump as a kook.

Lindsey Graham, 2016: I think he's a kook. I think he's crazy. I think he's unfit for office.


Lindsey Graham, always: "The truth is, I have no discernible, firm character, moral or otherwise. For whatever reasons, I'm clearly an amoral opportunist, looking for the best outcomes for myself and my power-tribe." [fake, but only the actual text; the sub-text has been clear for years.]

The thing about having a mind open and empathic enough to care about other people, but especially one that seeks to learn about, understand and know people different from oneself, is that these wonderful qualities are indiscriminate: the way that you see people is the way that you see all people. This is great when proceeding from an empathic, compassionate perspective, but I think is also a source of fundamental miscalculations and mistakes in judgment that Democrats (and politically liberal voters) consistently make. Open-mindedness proceeds from (or leads one to) a framing about people that is very egalitarian, but it's important to understand that some people really are nothing like you, don't want any of the good things for you, or other people, or the world, that you do, and do not strive for any sort of internal consistency about it.

I haven't seen Lindsey Graham say anything in his Senatorial service inconsistent with his character and values as displayed by his actions. I was not surprised at what he said about Trump in 2016, nor am I surprised that he says what he does now--he has always been venal, selfish, angry and power-hungry. Graham has done nothing in his public service work but enrich the few and impoverish the rest of us, and will not behave any differently in any circumstance.
posted by LooseFilter at 2:34 PM on October 1 [22 favorites]


Ben Shapiro’s whole claim to fame was writing about how post-secondary education is the great commie pinko lesbian satan...when he was seventeen. Have grapes ever been so sour?
posted by Sys Rq at 2:37 PM on October 1 [3 favorites]


Good afternoon, I'm petebest with your MegaThread Cake Report. The earlier release of a general chocolate advisory due to the additional FBI scrutiny of O'Kavanaugh was elevated by a call for cookies this afternoon following reports of an expanded scope for said inquiry.

Muellercake futures rose on this 499th day without significant leaks. Local bakeries are awaiting the latest election report from Chrysostom, and The Office of Pastry Throwdowns issued a reminder to Americans to beware of banana pants on heads.

More cake, as events warrant. And now this.

(Seriously though, times are insidiously difficult for this demographic: please take care of you.)
posted by petebest at 2:39 PM on October 1 [59 favorites]


Kimberlé Crenshaw, a law professor at UCLA and Columbia and founder of the African American Policy Forum, who was a consultant to Anita Hill's legal team.

In addition to her many credentials, Kimberlé Crenshaw is also notable for inventing the term "intersectionality" and writing the pioneering works on that subject.
posted by Errant at 2:54 PM on October 1 [52 favorites]


MSNBC is reporting that NBC has obtained text messages sent directly by Kavanaugh pressuring friends to refute Debbie Ramirez' claims.
posted by Justinian at 2:56 PM on October 1 [78 favorites]


And here's that story. NBC News, Heidi Przybyla and Leigh Ann Caldwell, Mutual friend of Ramirez and Kavanaugh anxious to come forward with evidence: A former classmate of the Supreme Court nominee has reached out to the FBI but hasn't received a response.
The texts between Berchem and Karen Yarasavage, both friends of Kavanaugh, suggest that the nominee was personally talking with former classmates about Ramirez’s story in advance of the New Yorker article that made her allegation public. In one message, Yarasavage said Kavanaugh asked her to go on the record in his defense. Two other messages show communication between Kavanaugh's team and former classmates in advance of the story.

The texts also demonstrate that Kavanaugh and Ramirez were more socially connected than previously understood and that Ramirez was uncomfortable around Kavanaugh when they saw each other at a wedding 10 years after they graduated. Berchem's efforts also show that some potential witnesses have been unable to get important information through to the FBI.
...
In a series of texts prior to the publication of the New Yorker story, Yarasavage wrote that she had been in contact with “Brett's guy,” and also with “Brett,” who wanted her to go on the record to refute Ramirez. According to Berchem, Yarasavage also told her friend that she turned over a copy of the wedding party photo to Kavanaugh, writing in a text message: “I had to send it to Brett’s team too.”

Bob Bauer, former White House counsel for President Barack Obama, said "It would be surprising, and it would certainly be highly imprudent, if at any point Judge Kavanaugh directly contacted an individual believed to have information about allegations like this. A nominee would normally have been counseled to leave to his legal and nominations team the job of following up on any questions arising from press reports or otherwise, and doing so appropriately."
...
The wedding took place 10 years after Ramirez and Kavanaugh graduated. According to the information Berchem provided, Ramirez tried to avoid Kavanaugh at that wedding of their two friends, Yarasavage and Kevin Genda.
In particular, this seems extremely WTF-worthy:
Further, the texts show Kavanaugh may need to be questioned about how far back he anticipated Ramirez would air allegations against him. Berchem says, in her memo, that Kavanaugh “and/or” his friends “may have initiated an anticipatory narrative” as early as July to “conceal or discredit” Ramirez.

Kavanaugh told the Senate Judiciary Committee under oath that the first time he heard of his former Yale classmate Deborah Ramirez’s allegation that he exposed himself to her in college was in a Sept. 23 article in The New Yorker.
If Kavanaugh was personally involved in contacting former classmates and/or this started back in July, that puts everything in a new light.
posted by zachlipton at 2:57 PM on October 1 [134 favorites]


From CNN: New Jersey Senate: Incumbent Democrat Menendez appears vulnerable in new poll.

Menendez (D) 45%, Hugin (R) 43%.

Wouldn't it be funny if Texas went blue and New Jersey went red? And by funny I mean not funny.
posted by Justinian at 2:59 PM on October 1 [13 favorites]


Graham has done nothing in his public service work but enrich the few and impoverish the rest of us, and will not behave any differently in any circumstance.

In addition, last year it came to light that Graham's caught up in the dark money web that ties the GOP to the Russian oligarchy (Dallas News). From 2015 to 2016, Russian-born GOP megadonor Len Blavatnik funnelled $6.35 million into GOP PACs benefitting the campaigns of top Republican senators. Graham's affiliate "Security Through Strength" PAC received $800,000 from Blavatnik via his multinational industrial group Access Industries. No wonder he started sucking up to Trump and changing his tune on Mueller once the Special Counsel started interviewing oligarchs.
posted by Doktor Zed at 3:01 PM on October 1 [14 favorites]


Ben Shapiro’s whole claim to fame was writing about how post-secondary education is the great commie pinko lesbian satan...when he was seventeen. Have grapes ever been so sour?

Remember that William F. Buckley, Jr. got his start defending Joe McCarthy.
posted by clawsoon at 3:03 PM on October 1 [6 favorites]


We're at the end of an era, and it remains to be seen what the next era will be like. I do know that we'll have to struggle to get a good, or even mildly tolerable, future out of the change. The forces of wealth, bigotry, and authoritarianism are working overtime these days, and winning quite a few of the contests.

The most horrific experiments in authoritarianism are happening in Xinjiang right now, if you want to get a sense of what we all need to be prepared to fight against.
posted by clawsoon at 3:07 PM on October 1 [22 favorites]


Menendez (D) 45%, Hugin (R) 43%.

Patrick Murray (Monmouth polling) has some thoughts on this poll: it seems to be assuming astonishing turnout, and the unweighted sample doesn't really match what would be expected from a history of conducting polls in NJ.

The 538 model keeps adjusting these polls to be substantially better for Democrats, but I can't say that's particularly helping me sooth my current panic level.
posted by zachlipton at 3:07 PM on October 1 [6 favorites]


Thanks for that Monmouth link zach.

On a different note, I have seen the following study making the rounds on twitter. On the one hand it validates my pre-existing bias so that's a warning sign. On the other hand that doesn't mean it's wrong.

Attitudes Toward Presidential Candidates in the 2012 and 2016 American Elections.

The last line of the abstract: "In general, these results suggest that the 2016 U.S. presidential election had less to do with party affiliation, income, or education and more to do with basic cognitive ability."
posted by Justinian at 3:12 PM on October 1 [42 favorites]


if you want to get a sense of what we all need to be prepared to fight against.

Other than what we’re currently fighting against, I guess you mean. And at that, you’re not wrong. The twenty-first century’s bag of unpleasant tricks has plenty of room in it for Xi’s flavor of fascism, Duterte’s, Orban’s and Trump’s.
posted by adamgreenfield at 3:13 PM on October 1 [3 favorites]


Ben Shapiro’s whole claim to fame was writing about how post-secondary education is the great commie pinko lesbian satan...when he was seventeen. Have grapes ever been so sour?

dude replies to a maria shriver tweet with a Chappaquiddick "joke".

Chappaquiddick was 49 years ago.
posted by kirkaracha at 3:13 PM on October 1 [5 favorites]


the great commie pinko lesbian satan

Hello new sockpuppet account name.
posted by delfin at 3:13 PM on October 1 [42 favorites]


In one message, Yarasavage said Kavanaugh asked her to go on the record in his defense. Two other messages show communication between Kavanaugh's team and former classmates in advance of the story.

This sounds very much like the witness tampering that Paul Manafort was convicted/plead guilty to. With rational actors, they would have already nominated someone without the baggage, but here in the worst possible timeline, the GOP's official stance is, "Fuck you, you can't stop us."
posted by mikelieman at 3:15 PM on October 1 [19 favorites]


I mean, yeah it's similar... but unlike a criminal trial it's not a crime to tamper with witnesses in a job interview. It just means you shouldn't get the job.
posted by Justinian at 3:17 PM on October 1 [21 favorites]


If Kavanaugh was personally involved in contacting former classmates and/or this started back in July, that puts everything in a new light.

And the Republican spin machine will dutifully churn out its "Light? There's not more light on in here. Must be your eyes, and hoo boy look at the time, we need to get this witch hunt wrapped up by our imaginary deadline " talking points in lockstep.
posted by Rykey at 3:19 PM on October 1 [5 favorites]


my god trump sounds like Joe Pesci in Goodfellas in today's presser
posted by mazola at 3:23 PM on October 1 [4 favorites]


In other news...
Paul Manafort met Monday with special counsel Robert Mueller’s office as part of his cooperation agreement in the special counsel’s investigation into Russia interference in the 2016 presidential election.

The sit-down at the special counsel’s downtown Washington D.C. office stems from Manafort’s guilty plea last month, which requires the former Trump campaign chairman to cooperate “fully, truthfully, completely, and forthrightly…in any and all matters as to which the government deems the cooperation relevant.”
posted by chris24 at 3:40 PM on October 1 [20 favorites]


Via NBC, a photo of Kavanaugh with Ramirez, who he had denied ever knowing during the hearing.
posted by Rust Moranis at 3:41 PM on October 1 [49 favorites]


I mean, yeah it's similar... but unlike a criminal trial it's not a crime to tamper with witnesses in a job interview. It just means you shouldn't get the job.

The article buries the lede. The texts, especially the stuff about "Brett" personally reaching out, strongly indicate that Kavanugh lied his smug, punchable face off when he specifically claimed under oath he'd never heard of Ramirez's allegations before the New Yorker article.

I am, for the record, also choking a little at the idea of not just a fellow lawyer and Yalie, but the fucking head of the corporate practice group at one of the biggest, most fancy fucking pants law firms in the entire fucking world basically turning Kavanaugh and her fellow Yalies in, because they weren't stepping up to do the right thing. Look at the list of transactions she's run. Look at those professional awards.

SHE HAD RELEVANT INFO. SO SHE WROTE A FUCKING MEMO. AND SHE-MAILED IT TO THE FBI. AND THEN WHEN SHE DIDN'T HEAR BACK IN 24 HOURS, SHE FOLLOWED UP WITH SCREENSHOTS.

That's some grade A using your lawyer-ly asshole skills for good, and I love it, along with her bland little statement, very, very much.
posted by joyceanmachine at 3:41 PM on October 1 [161 favorites]


Not to mention that she tried another path first: (emphasis mine)

“We heard from Kerry late on Thursday and submitted her summary to the Judiciary Committee early Friday,” a spokeswoman for Blumenthal said in a statement to NBC News. “After we were made to jump through several hoops that delayed our moving forward, it became clear that the majority Committee staff had not turned this summary over to the FBI and, in fact, had no intention of turning it over to the FBI. With our assistance, Kerry submitted her summary to the FBI herself.”

The hell you say.
posted by delfin at 3:50 PM on October 1 [50 favorites]


It's a huge firm, but joyceanmachine's Wikipedia link also shows that another lawyer at Berchem's firm is representing Manafort, which is fun.
posted by ITheCosmos at 3:50 PM on October 1 [2 favorites]


@Rust Moranis -- did Kavanaugh deny knowing Ramirez during the hearing? WaPo has it as:
Kavanaugh acknowledged that he knew Ramirez in college but flatly denied the allegation of sexual misconduct. “That did not happen,” he said. He said he had had no sexual or romantic encounters with Ramirez and did not recall being at the gathering she described, where a small group of students sat in a circle playing a drinking game.
Would be super interested if/where Kavanaugh denied knowing Ramirez, obviously given that photo.
posted by cybertaur1 at 4:00 PM on October 1 [4 favorites]


Berchem hired a lawyer on Sunday to help her get her information into the right hands. She has twice sent her memo to the FBI and has yet to hear a response, according to her lawyer, who spoke on condition of anonymity.

Berchem's so pissed off, her lawyer is the one maintaining anonymity.

Berchem tweet, March 7, 2016: It is never too early to ask yourself: what is your legacy? #diversity #corpgov #empower #lifeisshort
posted by Iris Gambol at 4:01 PM on October 1 [17 favorites]


Would be super interested if/where Kavanaugh denied knowing Ramirez, obviously given that photo.

My understanding is the issue isn't that Kavanaugh denied knowing Ramirez but rather that he said he learned of her allegations from the New Yorker article, which was published after the texts in question.
posted by Justinian at 4:03 PM on October 1 [17 favorites]


Speak of the devil, Heidi Przybyla is live on MSNBC confirming that this is the issue. She is one of the two on the byline of the text message article stuff.
posted by Justinian at 4:04 PM on October 1 [1 favorite]



Chappaquiddick was 49 years ago.


technically true but a very roundabout way of saying that Maria Shriver has nothing to do with Mary Jo Kopechne, because she is not Ted Kennedy and is not answerable for any of the really disgusting or criminal things her uncle did. she isn't responsible for anything done by any Kennedy men, because she's not them. how long ago they did those things makes no difference to that.

"it was 49 years ago" isn't all that different from "it was 36 years ago." the reason to let it go isn't because it was a long time ago, it's because Ted's dead. that's all.
posted by queenofbithynia at 4:04 PM on October 1 [33 favorites]


Would be super interested if/where Kavanaugh denied knowing Ramirez, obviously given that photo.

I just heard it somewhere and assumed it to be true because so far my worst suspicions regarding him had always proved accurate. Guess I was wrong. Sorry Brett!
posted by Rust Moranis at 4:06 PM on October 1


On a whim I looked up The Code of Conduct for U.S. Judges:
Canon 1: A Judge Should Uphold the Integrity and Independence of the Judiciary
Canon 2: A Judge Should Avoid Impropriety and the Appearance of Impropriety in All Activities
[...]
Canon 2A. An appearance of impropriety occurs when reasonable minds, with knowledge of all the relevant circumstances disclosed by a reasonable inquiry, would conclude that the judge’s honesty, integrity, impartiality, temperament, or fitness to serve as a judge is impaired.
So that's a good drum to bang - the norms he's violating are actually written in black-and-white this time. The "character and temperament" arguments are, IMO, the strongest arguments at this point. In part because you don't sound partisan when you make them.

Something that's amazing in retrospect: you couldn't make that argument a few weeks ago. I mean, people were writing about what a good soccer dad he was. Ford's accomplished something very, very big, in getting them to drop the mask. Nobody would have dug up his high school yearbook. No one would have brought up his fucking calendars.

(speaking of masks, my favorite scalding hot take is Matt Yglesias saying that Kavanaugh is perfect for the supreme court because it's always been a partisan actor and maybe now we can stop pretending it isn't)
posted by Rainbo Vagrant at 4:06 PM on October 1 [27 favorites]


Can we change the Democratic narrative from "Vote No on Kavanaugh" to "Arrest and disbar Kavanaugh for the crime of perjury" yet?
posted by mmoncur at 4:07 PM on October 1 [23 favorites]


I've gone into the US Code to look up witness tampering since the "job interview" thing is an analogy rather than a fact. It isn't a crime to tamper with a witness in a job interview. However, this isn't just a job interview. It is, I think, properly considered an "official proceeding." Here is 18 USC 1512 - Tampering with a witness, victim, or an informant.
(b) Whoever knowingly uses intimidation, threatens, or corruptly persuades another person, or attempts to do so, or engages in misleading conduct toward another person, with intent to—
(1) influence, delay, or prevent the testimony of any person in an official proceeding;
(2) cause or induce any person to—
(A) withhold testimony, or withhold a record, document, or other object, from an official proceeding
So, yeah, the job interview analogy maybe breaks down here. If Kavanaugh had corrupt intent (difficult but not impossible to prove) then witness tampering might apply since his confirmation before the Senate is an "official proceeding" even if not a trial or a job interview.
posted by Justinian at 4:11 PM on October 1 [31 favorites]


@NBCPolitics, 1:52 PM - 1 Oct 2018
JUST IN: A senior US official tells @NBCNews that Kavanaugh’s high school friend Mark Judge has been interviewed by the FBI. - @PeterAlexander
posted by kirkaracha at 4:11 PM on October 1 [29 favorites]


nb - consult an attorney rather than metafilter if considering tampering with any witnesses before Senate testimony.
posted by Justinian at 4:12 PM on October 1 [35 favorites]


Does anyone know for sure or know how find out? I am going to be mad at Slate and Newsweek and the Intercept for making this a thing if it's not a thing. After all, he's lied about so much OTHER stuff.

posted by OnceUponATime at 9:00 AM on October 1 [5 favorites +] [!]


Kavanaugh didn't say "I wasn't a legacy," he said, "I had no connections." That's not plausible if his grandfather attended.
posted by Mental Wimp at 4:16 PM on October 1 [20 favorites]




Brett Kavanaugh’s Fox News Interview Is Now Testimony Under Oath
...that Fox News interview that Kavanaugh conducted with Martha MacCallum has been entered into evidence as testimony by Kavanaugh — under “penalty of felony,” as the judge might put it. This means that the credibility-straining claims Kavanaugh made on the network could now place him in legal jeopardy.

In the Judiciary Committee transcript, the Fox News interview is placed retroactively under oath. A staffer, whose name is redacted, asks Kavanaugh: “Everything that you said on that interview, do you — do you affirm that today? Do you adopt that as your testimony today?” Kavanaugh replies, “Yes.” The SCOTUS nominee also responds in the affirmative when the questioner asks if Kavanaugh understands that entering his answers to Fox News as testimony means that he is “subject to felony prosecution if you’re lying.”
posted by kirkaracha at 4:19 PM on October 1 [67 favorites]


Emily Bazelon, Ben Protess, NYT: Kavanaugh Was Questioned by Police After Bar Fight in 1985
As an undergraduate student at Yale, Brett M. Kavanaugh was involved in an altercation at a local bar during which he was accused of throwing ice on another patron, according to a police report.

“On one of the last occasions I purposely socialized with Brett, I witnessed him respond to a semi-hostile remark, not by defusing the situation, but by throwing his beer in the man’s face,” Mr. Ludington said in the statement. Mr. Ludington, a college professor at North Carolina State, said he came forward because he believed Judge Kavanaugh had mischaracterized the extent of his drinking at Yale.

Mr. Ludington said that he had been in touch with the F.B.I.

He said that the altercation happened after a UB40 concert, when he and a group of people went to Demery’s and were drinking pints. At one point, they were sitting near a man who, they thought, resembled Ali Campbell, the lead singer of UB40.

“We’re trying to figure out if it’s him,” he said.

When the man noticed Mr. Ludington, Mr. Kavanaugh and the others looking at him, he objected and aggressively asked them to stop, Mr. Ludington said.

It was then, he said, that Mr. Kavanaugh “threw his beer at the guy.”
The kicker, of course, is the final paragraph:
Several Yale classmates, including a former roommate and Mr. Ludington, have described Judge Kavanaugh as sometimes aggressive when he was drinking.
posted by cybertaur1 at 4:19 PM on October 1 [30 favorites]


Mr. Dudley denied the accusation, according to the report. For his part, speaking to the officers, Mr. Kavanaugh did not want “to say if he threw the ice or not,” the police report said.
His approach to answering questions does not appear to have evolved significantly since 1985.
posted by zachlipton at 4:26 PM on October 1 [29 favorites]


Would be super interested if/where Kavanaugh denied knowing Ramirez, obviously given that photo.

In his September 25, 2018 interview with the Senate Judiciary Committee, he said he and Ramirez were at a wedding around 1997:
Do you know Deborah Ramirez?
Judge Kavanaugh. I do.
When did you meet her?
Judge Kavanaugh. I knew her in college.
And when did you last talk to her?
Judge Kavanaugh. Many, many years ago.
Would you say that was post college?
Judge Kavanaugh. I'm pretty sure we were at a wedding together. and wedding, which I believe was in 1997 in the Baltimore area. And I don't think I've seen her since then.
I believe the photo is from the rehearsal dinner for the same wedding.
posted by kirkaracha at 4:29 PM on October 1 [5 favorites]


There seems to be another discrepancy: beer (which is the only intoxicant that the judge imbibes, as all America knows) is not typically served iced.
posted by Scram at 4:30 PM on October 1 [31 favorites]


Hmm. This is being played as "threw some ice at the guy" which kind of sounds like wacky hijinks, but according to the NYT story he also hit the guy with a glass, which required treatment at a hospital. It doesn't sound like it was a very serious injury, but still. That's assault.

I want to know if Kavanaugh still drinks. I assume he does. Have there been any more-recent incidents of him being violent while wasted?
posted by ArbitraryAndCapricious at 4:47 PM on October 1 [14 favorites]


It doesn't sound like it was a very serious injury, but still. That's assault.

one imagines that the police in new haven reserve the assault charges for the townies.
posted by murphy slaw at 4:52 PM on October 1 [20 favorites]


Unless we're looking at different NYT stories it was Chris Dudley who hit the same ice-throwing-target guy with a glass. Dudley is also someone who has disputed reports that [Kavanaugh] drank excessively.
posted by XMLicious at 4:52 PM on October 1 [6 favorites]


I want to know if Kavanaugh still drinks. I assume he does. Have there been any more-recent incidents of him being violent while wasted?

Other than his testimony in front of the senate?

He was clearly drunk, IMO. He was belligerent, forgot facts, forgot what he was talking about, obfuscated, prevaricated, evidenced emotions inappropriate to the situation, pretended to be answering questions when he's lost track of what was being talked about, lost track of the fact that he had said the word 'beer' eleventy seven times and that would be weird to the room, aggressively punched back at questioners in a professional environment out of nowhere......It's a missed opportunity that nobody asked him, have you had a drink today? Because that dude was drunk, and aggressively (also, somehow 'tediously') so. I'm sure it was presented as 'Jeez, I need a drink before this' but I think it was more like four.
posted by A Terrible Llama at 4:56 PM on October 1 [38 favorites]


I like the part where Brett held the guy in a bear hug while Brett's buddy clocked the guy in the head with a beer glass. Bros got to stick together, eh?

Once again we have Brett and his loyal wingman.
posted by JackFlash at 5:00 PM on October 1 [9 favorites]


[Trigger warning] In Julie Swetnick's statement, she says, "I have a firm recollection of seeing boys lined up outside rooms at many of these parties waiting for their 'turn' with a girl inside the room. Those boys included Mark Judge and Brett Kavanaugh."

Kavanaugh has denied participating in a gang rape or being in "a threesome or more than a threesome." That doesn't contradict Swetnick's statement; the boy and girl could have been the only people in the room.
posted by kirkaracha at 5:07 PM on October 1 [19 favorites]


Rachel Mitchell equals the new Katherine Harris.
posted by dances_with_sneetches at 5:10 PM on October 1


Running scared in Va-07, Dave Brat has backed out of his only televised debate with Democratic challenger Abigail Spanberger. Brat has been hiding from his constituents since the beginning of 2017 when he stopped doing town halls because, in his words, "women are in my grill no matter where I go."
posted by peeedro at 5:12 PM on October 1 [52 favorites]


I want to know if Kavanaugh still drinks. I assume he does.

In last Thursday's testimony he affirmed that he "still likes beer," and this soft-focus WaPo piece from back in July confirms that he's a "longstanding patron" of the Chevy Chase Lounge with Budweiser as his usual order. Doesn't seem to have started any fights there, and even binge-drinkers can become moderate or light drinkers with the passage of time, but certainly his inability during testimony to even offer a reply (much less a polite one) to the question of "how many beers is 'too many'?" doesn't inspire much confidence.

Other than his testimony in front of the senate?
He was clearly drunk, IMO.


The timeline would make this surprising; I believe he was being prepped all morning, or at the very least was not alone. Nothing suggests to me that Kavanaugh needs drink to become an arrogant, aggressive, prevaricating, chauvinistic boor. He already is one. Assume he was sober -- and then consider how much more belligerent he must be when drunk.
posted by halation at 5:13 PM on October 1 [52 favorites]


Man, Kavanaugh is lies all the way down. What a scumbag. And the arrogance suggests that he's living in a world where he has no accountability - how dare they ask me questions?
posted by bluesky43 at 5:14 PM on October 1 [2 favorites]


"I have a firm recollection of seeing boys lined up outside rooms at many of these parties waiting for their 'turn' with a girl inside the room. Those boys included Mark Judge and Brett Kavanaugh."


She doesn't claim she knows they went into the room and raped the girl. All she says is that she saw them in the line.

I doubt we'll ever get direct evidence of a gang rape, unless Judge himself confesses to it...
posted by suelac at 5:15 PM on October 1


From the NBC piece on Berchem:

“We heard from Kerry late on Thursday and submitted her summary to the Judiciary Committee early Friday,” a spokeswoman for Blumenthal said in a statement to NBC News. “After we were made to jump through several hoops that delayed our moving forward, it became clear that the majority Committee staff had not turned this summary over to the FBI and, in fact, had no intention of turning it over to the FBI. With our assistance, Kerry submitted her summary to the FBI herself.”

The Republicans on the Judiciary are also lies all the way down.
posted by bluesky43 at 5:17 PM on October 1 [20 favorites]


Bad poll out in ND-SEN, with Cramer leading Heitkamp 51-41 and a large plurality of voters naming the Kavanaugh nomination their top issue, with voters supporting him 60-27.

Caveats: though commissioned by a state NBC affiliate, the pollster (Strategic Research Associates) is not graded on FiveThirtyEight. Also, Heitkamp was likewise down by a 10-point margin in an October poll back in her 2012 race, and she ended up narrowly winning in a weakly Democratic year.
posted by Rhaomi at 5:20 PM on October 1 [2 favorites]


NYT: Kavanaugh Was Questioned by Police After Bar Fight in 1985

posted by guiseroom at 4:19 PM on October 1 [10 favorites +] [!]


It's becoming apparent that all the people vouching for Kavanaugh NOT being a heavy drinker are people he drank heavily with.
posted by Mental Wimp at 5:23 PM on October 1 [49 favorites]


I believe he was being prepped all morning, or at the very least was not alone.

If you've ever known an alcoholic (and I'm not asserting that he's an alcoholic, though I think he might be) this is no barrier to getting drunk.
posted by Miko at 5:23 PM on October 1 [28 favorites]


Maybe I led a sheltered damn teenage existence, but isn't your presence at such a party as described (as a "boy", anyway) implying tacit approval? "Yeah, it was a killer party, dude--aside from the usual rapey stuff, gosh, not my gig" doesn't seem all that compelling from any (male) attendee, especially regular attendees, but what the fuck do I know.

If you're a boy and you know (and especially if you go)--you're part of it.
posted by maxwelton at 5:24 PM on October 1 [3 favorites]


Obama Endorses More Democratic Midterm Candidates - From Congress To State Houses. Miles Parks, NPR

@BarackObama
Today, I’m proud to endorse even more Democratic candidates who aren’t just running against something, but for something—to expand opportunity for all of us and to restore dignity, honor, and compassion to public service. They deserve your vote:
He tweeted out a list of over 260 candidates in federal and state elections, in addition to 40 candidates mentioned in August, focusing on 'races that are "redistricting priorities" and "close races in which his support would make a meaningful difference."'
posted by ZeusHumms at 5:24 PM on October 1 [17 favorites]


Obama Endorses More Democratic Midterm Candidates - From Congress To State Houses. Miles Parks, NPR

Included in this wave of endorsements is a host of candidates who are breaking boundaries. Among them:

• Rep. Kyrsten Sinema, who is running a competitive race against GOP Rep. Martha McSally to become Arizona's first woman elected to the U.S. Senate.
• Jahana Hayes, who is likely to be Connecticut's first black woman – along with the state's first black Democrat – elected to Congress.
• Tallahassee Mayor Andrew Gillum, the first African-American major party nominee for governor in Florida.
• Boston City Councilor Ayanna Pressley, who is poised to become the first black woman elected to Congress from Massachusetts.
• New York activist Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, who at 28 could be the youngest woman elected to Congress.
• Vermont Democrat Christine Hallquist, the nation’s first openly transgender candidate nominated for governor by a major party.
posted by peeedro at 5:28 PM on October 1 [23 favorites]


WaPo, Nick Miroff and Maria Sacchetti, Trump’s family separation policy was flawed from the start, watchdog review says
The Trump administration’s “zero tolerance” crackdown at the border this spring was troubled from the outset by planning shortfalls, widespread communication failures and administrative indifference to the separation of small children from their parents, according to an unpublished report by the Department of Homeland Security’s internal watchdog.

The report, a copy of which was obtained by The Washington Post, is the government’s first attempt to autopsy the chaos produced between May 5 and June 20, when President Trump abruptly halted the separations under mounting pressure from his party and members of his family.

The DHS Office of Inspector General’s review found at least 860 migrant children were left in Border Patrol holding cells longer than the 72-hour limit mandated by U.S. courts, with one minor confined for 12 days and another for 25.
...
Based on observations conducted by DHS inspectors at multiple facilities along the border in late June, agents separated children too young to talk from their parents in a way that courted disaster, the report says.

“Border Patrol does not provide pre-verbal children with wrist bracelets or other means of identification, nor does Border Patrol fingerprint or photograph most children during processing to ensure that they can be easily linked with the proper file,” the report said.
...
The inspector general’s report also found that U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP) restricted the flow of asylum seekers at legal ports of entry and may have inadvertently prompted them to cross illegally. One woman said an officer had turned her away three times, so she crossed illegally.
posted by zachlipton at 5:29 PM on October 1 [40 favorites]


The timeline would make this surprising; I believe he was being prepped all morning, or at the very least was not alone. Nothing suggests to me that Kavanaugh needs drink to become an arrogant, aggressive, prevaricating, chauvinistic boor.

Being prepped or not alone could just mean he got multiple drinks at multiple times from people who would do it discreetly, lovingly, professionally. A bourbon from his wife, attorney 1, attorney 2...they might not coordinate but a bunch of people could discreetly hook him up thinking they were on his side.

Shiny, sweaty, red, dry mouth, goodness knows what with that blood sugar.

I think it’s plausible that he was drunk.
posted by A Terrible Llama at 5:29 PM on October 1 [7 favorites]


From Swetnick's interview with Kate Snow (video via twitter)
posted by bluesky43 at 5:33 PM on October 1 [4 favorites]




I want to know if Kavanaugh still drinks. I assume he does. Have there been any more-recent incidents of him being violent while wasted?

From his 2001 email sent after a fishing trip
Great work, [redacted], and thanks for hooking everything up for your weak crew. Check will be in the mail once I get your new address. Excellent time. Apologies to all for missing Friday (good excuse), arriving late Saturday (weak excuse), and growing aggressive after blowing still another game of dice (don't recall).

Reminders to everyone to be very, very, vigilant w/r/t confidentiality on all issues and all fronts, including with spouses.
posted by scalefree at 5:39 PM on October 1 [11 favorites]


I think it’s plausible and irrelevant, honestly. He could have failed a sobriety test during the hearing and the Republicans would have clutched at their pearls and accused the Dems of wanting to criminalize beer.

He’s a shit candidate and they don’t care.
posted by lydhre at 5:40 PM on October 1 [15 favorites]


[Barring any new info, please, let's let it rest on 'was he drunk', 'is he an alcoholic', etc.]
posted by LobsterMitten (staff) at 5:43 PM on October 1 [20 favorites]


kirkaracha, that RS article is amazing. The entire point of the Fox interview was so he could talk to the public while not under oath and shore up his image with the base. The quality of the lawyering we've been exposed to on the national stage for the past two years is way lower than I thought it would be.
posted by Selena777 at 5:48 PM on October 1 [8 favorites]


So there's something I haven't on the Web seen nearly as much as I would expect, but it comports enough with Julie Swetnick's story that I think it has to be shared.

Among the many cryptic phrases in Georgetown Prep yearbook pages are at least three references to "Killer Q's". In one case (the page of Don Urgo Jr, who Kavanaugh has talked about as a drinking buddy in one of his speeches) it's "Killer Q's and 151's".

The number 151 probably has to do with Bacardi 151 (or another beverage that is 151 proof). So what are Killer Qs? The only hypothesis I've encountered is: quaaludes. This doesn't mean that 17-year-old Brett was involved (they aren't listed on his page). But it's a plausible point of origin for that drug being part of the lives of his social circle.
posted by InTheYear2017 at 5:58 PM on October 1 [8 favorites]


Come on.
Ethics complaints have been filed against Kavanaugh in the DC Circuit, including at least one claiming he lied about the sexual assault allegations against him. For now, they're under the purview of DC Circuit Chief Judge — Merrick Garland.
posted by schadenfrau at 6:08 PM on October 1 [155 favorites]


Meanwhile, Daniel Dale live-tweeted/fact-checked Trump's Tennessee rally earlier this evening. It wasn't as batshit as his Rose Garden press conference, but he was lying like a Persian rug store:
—Trump repeats his lies about Richard Blumenthal's Vietnam lies. This time calls him Da Nang Blumenthal. Earlier today it was Da Nang Richard.
—Trump repeats his regular lie about the U.S. having a trade deficit with China as high as $500 billion, which has never happened once. Trump has now said this more than 70 times. I am bored of tweeting about it.
—Trump lies that his $716 billion military budget is a record. Obama did $725 billion in 2011. That's the 18th time he's said this.
Trump then lies that he provided the biggest troop pay raise in "over a decade." It's the biggest in nine years.
These needless ones are the Trumpiest lies. He could just boast that he's given the troops the biggest raise in nine years, or "in a decade," and nobody would say anything, but he must make it "over a decade" because the truth is never good enough.
—Tears Alert! Trump says he was approached tonight by a "strong, tough cookie, I wouldn't want to fight him," and the man was crying, and the man told him, "Thank you for saving our country."
This tears tale was especially-obviously invented. He began by talking about how strong, tough cookies sometimes approach him tearfully, then suddenly added that it actually happened tonight.
At one point when Trump's bragging about his presidency, he tells the crowd, "Look at what we've done. Nobody believes it."
posted by Doktor Zed at 6:09 PM on October 1 [10 favorites]


So what are Killer Qs? The only hypothesis I've encountered is: quaaludes.

I'd be skeptical that it stands for Quaaludes, which were more or less taken off the market in the 70s for most people who would have gotten them otherwise. Sure, they could have been snobs using vintage dope, but...skeptical.
posted by rhizome at 6:10 PM on October 1 [11 favorites]


Don Q? (a rum)
posted by dances_with_sneetches at 6:10 PM on October 1 [2 favorites]


I'd be skeptical that it stands for Quaaludes, which were more or less taken off the market in the 70s for most people who would have gotten them otherwise. Sure, they could have been snobs using vintage dope, but...skeptical.

Well, I believe there was a trend towards illicitly manufactured counterfeit quaaludes in the 80's to make up for the loss of the original, not that I have detailed personal knowledge.
posted by cultcargo at 6:21 PM on October 1 [7 favorites]


> So we took the worst part of the TPP, plus milk, and gave them back some assurances Trump can't impose unilateral sanctions.

He's Got His Trade Deal—and His Same Nasty Attitude Towards Anyone Who Dares Ask Him a Question. President* Trump celebrates his un-NAFTA deal with Mexico and Canada.
John Harwood of CNBC, bless him, pointed out that much of this new deal was sitting right there on the Resolute desk when its improbable new squatter showed up in January of 2017. Appearing on MSNBC, Harwood said:
Most of the improvements on the deal were on the president's desk the day he walked into office. They were negotiated by President Obama and his counterparts in Canada and Mexico as part of the Transpacific Partnership which President Trump quickly threw in the trash can...Mostly this is re-labeling. So, mostly the president who is a master marketer is putting his name on a deal that was already in place, and it's better than not having a deal.
posted by homunculus at 6:22 PM on October 1 [7 favorites]


Avenatti: CuomoPrimeTime on Swetnick
posted by bluesky43 at 6:35 PM on October 1 [2 favorites]


Dan Murphy (CSMonitor)
Kavanaugh starting a fight when backed up by a 6'11" goon is very on brand.
posted by chris24 at 6:39 PM on October 1 [25 favorites]


This time calls him Da Nang Blumenthal. Earlier today it was Da Nang Richard.

Using "Blumenthal" makes it an antisemitic slur too. Double trouble.
posted by kirkaracha at 6:59 PM on October 1 [4 favorites]


illicitly manufactured counterfeit quaaludes in the 80's

I remember one of the wasters in my high school explaining to me, about 1982, that taking a 'lude was just like having another beer, so that, after washing it down, instead of your say 5 beer buzz, you were now at 6. I knew enough even then to know that was insane. They were still a thing for sure.
posted by thelonius at 7:08 PM on October 1 [6 favorites]


among those decadent youth at the prep school that was not in g'town prep's region, i recall a brother and sister (she was my classmate & he a year older) who explained their access to quaaludes, circa '85-'87, with the assertion that their father was a psychiatrist & the implication that they took them from his supply. wikipedia notes that while methaqualone was rescheduled in 1979, use in the US was discontinued in 1985. i'd have been too scared or careful to try pills at that time (though a precocious drinker, like many among my peers), not that they were offered to me. that is my only recollection of quaaludes' availability in real life. years later, some college neighbors, enjoying access to what they described as their medical-professional-parents' free-sample boxes, sometimes hosted a "downer sunday"patient football-explaining event. painkillers, beer & tv. i bet they're all deans of medicine by now.
posted by 20 year lurk at 7:11 PM on October 1 [7 favorites]


Kavanaugh will not be teaching at Harvard this coming January.
posted by chris24 at 7:12 PM on October 1 [72 favorites]


Harry Enten of CNN and previously 538 sums up my feelings on Senate polling: We've had more polls of Electoral Jesus (Beto) in the last 5 minutes than we've had in North Dakota all year.
posted by Justinian at 7:15 PM on October 1 [18 favorites]


I thought ND had some anti-robocall law that makes it difficult to poll accurately?
posted by Holy Zarquon's Singing Fish at 7:17 PM on October 1 [2 favorites]


So what are Killer Qs? The only hypothesis I've encountered is: quaaludes. This doesn't mean that 17-year-old Brett was involved (they aren't listed on his page). But it's a plausible point of origin for that drug being part of the lives of his social circle.

The call transcript linked to by scalefree, released by the Judiciary Committee majority per zachlipton, contains this exchange on page 8:
██████████ Did you attempt to add drugs, including Quaaludes, to punch at house parties in an effort to take advantage of women?
Judge Kavanaugh. No.
██████████ Have you ever given Quaaludes to a woman?
Judge Kavanaugh. No.
I'm noticing that in the last US politics thread it was pointed out that no questions about Quaaludes were asked during the hearing.
posted by XMLicious at 7:48 PM on October 1 [11 favorites]


In the mid-to-late 80s, I was on a Rocky Horror cast; I knew of people who used Quaaludes. I have no idea if they were real or counterfeit, but the term was definitely part of the "rebel" party scene. Killer Q's could easily be Quaaludes; that's definitely what I would've thought then if I saw "Killer Q & 151" in a yearbook.
posted by ErisLordFreedom at 7:50 PM on October 1 [10 favorites]


Also, once they really did become hard to find various concoctions of barbituates were sold as "ludes." According to various rock-n-roll memoirs etc.
posted by snuffleupagus at 8:12 PM on October 1 [3 favorites]


John Oliver: Kavanaugh’s Senate hearing was a “fuck you” to women. Karen Han, Vox.
The Last Week Tonight host summarized the Senate Judiciary Committee’s message as, “We believe you — we just don’t care.”
Links to video of segment, which took up most of the 9/30 episode.
posted by ZeusHumms at 8:16 PM on October 1 [22 favorites]


If Kavanaugh hadn't heard of the Ramirez allegations before the NYT article was he shoring up support beforehand because he already knew he was guilty?
posted by fullerine at 8:34 PM on October 1 [7 favorites]


For those without the patience, Oliver characterizes Kavanaugh as such;

Oliver, knowing that the supreme court is a rather dry subject for comedy, has his own version of adorable doggos to represent the justices. There's Woof Bader-Ginsburg, for example, represented by a small white terrier. Gorsuch is represented by a lobster, because it just doesn't belong on a panel of dogs, and no-one can explain how it got there.

In this visual analogy, Kavanaugh is represented by Gritty, the maligned PA Flyers new mascot.
posted by adept256 at 8:49 PM on October 1 [25 favorites]


Methaqualone was removed from the US market in 1985.
posted by Mental Wimp at 9:14 PM on October 1 [3 favorites]


Politico: Roger Stone Associate to Plead 5th Before Senate Panel

Comedian/radio talk show host Randy Credico—and intermediary between Stone and Julian Assange—told the Senate Intelligence Committee's Russia investigators on Monday that he plans to plead the Fifth Amendment in response to its subpoena for testimony and documents.

This wouldn't be the first time, as Credico had asserted his Fifth Amendment rights just before an interview with the House Intelligence Committee last December (Mother Jones).
posted by Doktor Zed at 9:29 PM on October 1 [2 favorites]






FT, US considered ban on student visas for Chinese nationals
White House hawks earlier this year encouraged President Donald Trump to stop providing student visas to Chinese nationals, but the proposal was shelved over concerns about its economic and diplomatic impact.

As the administration debated ways to tackle Chinese meddling in US politics, Stephen Miller, a White House aide who has been pivotal in developing the administration’s hardline immigration policies, pushed the president and other officials to make it impossible for Chinese citizens to study in the US, according to three people familiar with the situation.
...
While the debate was largely focused on spying, Mr Miller argued that his plan would also hurt elite universities whose staff and students had slammed Mr Trump, according to three people. After his idea sparked intense debate, the issue came to a head in an Oval Office meeting in the spring during which he squared off with opponents, including Terry Branstad, the former Iowa governor who is US ambassador to China.

According to three people familiar with the situation, ahead of the Oval Office meeting Mr Branstad argued that Mr Miller’s plan would take a much bigger toll on smaller colleges, including in Iowa, than on wealthy Ivy League universities. US embassy officials in Beijing also made a broader economic argument that most American states enjoy service-sector trade surpluses with China, in part because of spending by Chinese students.
This is utterly ludicrous.
posted by zachlipton at 9:55 PM on October 1 [46 favorites]


This may be a derail, feel free to delete if necessary. I tried to watch the hearings on Thursday, but after two minutes of watching Professor Ford I was crying and needed to stop. I had not seen anymore of them, though I have read about them and followed this thread. I just watched the John Oliver link above and saw parts of Kavanaugh's testimony for the first time, and parts of Lindsey Graham's outburst. My initial reaction was that Kavanaugh was drunk. I experienced that personality/slow motion cognitive capacity coupled with the trying to gauge and calculate how to respond/how to act appropriately and the outbursts and nonsensical responses nearly every day when I was growing up as my father went from starting to drink to various levels of severe intoxication. Kavanaugh's tongue going into his left cheek so frequently was reminiscent of my father's repeated motion when he was drunk, a motion he used regularly when drunk to keep his mind present. Lindsey Graham's outburst and Orin Hatch's erratic statements struck a chord with me as well. Reminded me of family members who were not drunk trying to cover up/deflect from the drunken behavior of my father by acting more outrageous or more loud (enablers). I believe that Brett Kavanaugh was drunk during his testimony and using tools to come off as not drunk that he is very, very familiar with, and Lindsey Graham was his enabler. I have a lot of experience with drunks and sober people and their behaviors, growing up in an alcoholic house, getting sober at age 23, and over the years working directly with hundreds of people who wanted to get sober, too. I have finely tuned radar in this area.
posted by W Grant at 10:07 PM on October 1 [90 favorites]


Foot, let me introduce you to my shotgun.

Just today I had a representative from a large state school in the US come to give their pitch recruiting students from Japan to come and subsidize the in-state tuition by paying well over 50,000 a year tuition (plus fees, insurance, etc., plus buying cars and meals etc.). She's getting huge pressure from her administration to boost numbers and particularly since they may have to offset decreases in enrollment from China. The massive cash influx into the local economy in smaller western and mid-western cities is what keeps these universities alive and the towns budgets out of the red. She said one of the things she sees these days is the the wealthier students have their sports cars purchased ahead of time and delivered so they are waiting for them on arrival. On the other hand, one of my students wanted to do an internship in the US and she said that was getting harder to plan for because they just do not know what the visa situation is going to be.

So, higher tuition, lower local employment, reduced state excise taxes, and a generation of young Chinese who will go elsewhere but resent the US for the rest of their lives--especially in 20-30 years when they start running things. It's win, win, win, win, winning!
posted by Gotanda at 10:07 PM on October 1 [32 favorites]


holy shit though. banning like a fifth of the population of the world from american schools. that is a brilliant way to guarantee that american research universities suck for at least a generation.
posted by Reclusive Novelist Thomas Pynchon at 10:10 PM on October 1 [42 favorites]


ELECTIONS NEWS

** 2018 House:
-- AZ-02: Siena poll has Dem Kirkpatrick up 50-39 on GOPer Marquez Peterson [MOE: +/- 4.5%]. [Clinton 50-45 | Cook: Lean D]

-- VA-02: Siena poll has GOP incumbent Taylor up 49-41 on Dem Luria [MOE: +/- 4.5%]. [Trump 49-45 | Cook: Tossup] => This one is a bit of a surprise, given the recent Taylor scandal.

-- IA-03: Siena poll has Dem Axne up 44-43 on GOP incumbent Young [MOE: +/- 4.6%]. [Trump 49-45 | Cook: Tossup]

-- OH-01: Siena poll has GOP incumbent Chabot up 50-41 on Dem Pureval [MOE: +/- 4.6%]. [Trump 51-45 | Cook: Tossup] => A theory that's emerging about some polling results we're seeing is that Dems are doing a fantastic job mobilizing college-educated whites, but not such a hot job with African-American voters. This district's Dems are mostly AAs, which might explain the seeming underperformance.

-- CA-45: GBA Strategies poll has Dem Porter up 48-47 on GOP incumbent Walters [MOE: +/- 4.9%]. Poll was commissioned by an anti-Citizens United PAC. [Clinton 50-44 | Cook: Tossup]

-- FL-15: Bold Blue Campaigns poll has GOPer Spano up 49-46 on Dem Carlson [MOE: +/- 4.5%]. BBC is not a 538-rated pollster. Poll appears to be commissioned by the DCCC. [Trump 53-43 | Cook: Lean R]

-- Emerson polls of KS districts:
- KS-01: GOP incumbent Marshall up 44-17 on Dem LaPolice [MOE: +/- 6.8%]. [Trump 69-24 | Cook: Solid R]
- KS-02: Dem Davis up 35-31 on GOPer Watkins [MOE: +/- 6.4%]. [Trump 56-37 | Cook: Tossup]
- KS-03: Dem Davids up 47-41 on GOP incumbent Yoder [MOE: +/- 6.4%]. [Clinton 47-46 | Cook: Tossup] => NRCC apparently triaging this district, as they cancel major ad buys.
- KS-04: GOP incumbent Estes up 50-26 on Dem Thompson [MOE: +/- 6.4%]. [Trump 60-33 | Cook: Solid R]
-- CO-06: Tarrance Group poll has Dem Crow up 42-40 on GOP incumbent Coffman [MOE: +/- 4.9%]. Poll was commissioned by the Coffman campaign. [Clinton 50-41 | Cook: Lean D]

-- NJ-11: National Research poll has Dem Sherrill up 46-43 on GOPer Webber [MOE: +/- 4.9%]. Poll was commissioned by the Webber campaign. [Trump 49-48 | Cook: Lean D]

-- WA-05: FM3 poll has GOP incumbent McMorris Rodgers up 49-46 on Dem Brown [MOE: +/- 4.3%]. Poll was commissioned by the Brown campaign. [Trump 52-39 | Cook: Lean R]

-- MN-08: Victoria Research poll has Dem Radinovich up 45-44 on GOPer Stauber [MOE: +/- 4.9%]. Poll was commissioned by the Brown campaign. [Trump 54-39 | Cook: Tossup] => This isn't super-great for Radinovich in such a Trump district, but the RGA appears to be cutting GOP gov candidate Johnson loose, which may help Radinovich.

-- OK-05: Sooner Poll has GOP incumbent Russell up 47-37 on Dem Horn [MOE: +/- 5.63%]. [Trump 53-40 | Cook: Solid R] => Russell isn't in any serious danger, but this is a pretty narrow margin for this district, which might have implications for the (pretty close) governor's race.

-- CA-22: Esquire investigation finds that GOP incumbent Nunes secretly moved his farm holdings out of California to Iowa and is employing undocumented workers. Metafilter FPP. [Trump 52-42 | Cook: Solid R]

-- CA-39: Dem candidate Cisneros had been hurt by sexual harassment charges but today his accuser totally repudiated those charges, and denounced GOP Super PAC ads highlighting the allegations. [Clinton 52-43 | Cook: Tossup]

-- FL-17: FL Dems have chosen think tanker Allen Ellison to replace former candidate April Freeman, who passed away suddenly. [Trump 62-35 | Cook: Solid R]

-- Dem 3Q fundraising totals are starting to come in, and are just crazy high. That said, you need a certain amount of money to be a serious candidate, but it's definitely not a case where the biggest fundraiser is the winner.

-- Weekly look at the 538 generic ballot average shows D+8.4 (49.4/41.0).
** 2018 Senate:
-- NV: SSRS poll has Dem Rosen up 47-43 on GOP incumbent Heller [MOE: +/- 4.6%].

-- MO: SSRS poll has Dem incumbent McCaskill up 47-43 on GOPer Hawley [MOE: +/- 4.3%]. || Remington Research poll has Hawley up 48-46 [MOE: +/- 2.5%].

-- NJ: Stockton U poll has Dem incumbent Menendez up 45-43 on GOPer Hugin [MOE: +/- 4.25%]. => There have been some serious questions raised about the methodology used in this poll.

-- FL: PPP poll has Dem incumbent Nelson up 48-44 on GOPer Scott [MOE: +/- 3.5%]. | St Pete Polls has Nelson tied 47-47 (Nelson leads before rounding) [MOE: +/- 2.0%]. | Nelson (and Gillum) endorsed by Puerto Rico's mayor.

-- ND: SRA poll has GOPer Cramer up 51-41 on Dem incumbent Heitkamp [no MOE listed]. SRA is not a 538-rated pollster. => I don't normally like to include pollsters not on 538 and with no crosstabs or even an MOE provided, but this is one of the very rare ND polls, so it seemed best. Internals from both campaigns reportedly have Cramer with a couple of point lead. Also worth noting that Heitkamp was down 10 points at this same point in 2012.

-- MT: PPP poll has Dem incumbent Tester up 49-45 on GOPer Rosendale [MOE: +/- 4.02%].

-- WV: SRA poll has Dem incumbent Manchin up 46-38 on GOPer Morrisey [MOE: +/- 3.84%]. SRA is not a 538-rated pollster.

-- NY: Siena poll has Dem incumbent Gillibrand up 61-29 on GOPer Farley [MOE: +/- 3.9%].

-- Enten: FL race seems to be moving towards "fundamentals". If this happens elsewhere, could really help the Dems.
** Odds & ends:
-- NV gov: Same SSRS poll has Dem Sisolak up 45-41 on GOPer Laxalt. [Cook: Tossup]

-- KS gov: Same Emerson poll has GOPer Kobach at 37, Dem Kelly at 36, indy Orman at 9 [MOE: +/- 3.5%]. [Cook: Tossup]

-- FL gov: Same PPP poll has Dem Gillum up 48-44 on GOPer DeSantis. | Same St Pete Polls survey has Gillum up 47-45. [Cook: Tossup]

-- NY gov: Same Siena poll has Dem incumbent Cuomo at 50, GOPer Molinaro at 28, and WFPer Nixon at 10. [Cook: Solid D] => Sounds like Nixon may still be trying to get off the ballot, but I'm not sure of where that effort stands. | AG race: Dem James up 50-33 on GOPer Wofford.

-- VT gov: Tulchin Research poll has GOP incumbent Scott up 50-42 on Dem Hallquist [MOE: +/- 4.9%]. [Cook: Solid R]

-- GA gov: Garin-Hart-Yang poll has Dem Abrams up 48-42 on GOPer Kemp [MOE: +/- 4.1%]. Poll was commissioned by the Abrams campaign. | Landmark poll has Kemp up 48-46 [MOE: +/- 3.2%]. Georgia requires a majority; either of the above would mean a runoff. [Cook: Tossup]

-- EMC Research poll shows Florida Amendment 4 (felon re-enfranchisement) at 74 YES to 23 NO. 60% approval is required to pass [MOE: +/- 3.1%]. | Florida Chamber of Commerce poll shows it as 42 YES, 20 NO [MOE: +/- 4.4%].

-- MN AG: The investigation requested by the DFL has found that accusations against AG candidate Ellison can't be substantiated, because his accuser is not willing to provide the video she says proves her case. This will likely be enough for Ellison to eke out a win.

-- AG Jim Hood to run for MS governor in 2019. Hood is the only statewide elected Dem in Mississippi, and is quite popular. This is still a tall order, but he's surely the best shot Dems have here.

-- Nifty new election site from Daily Kos lets you look at all polling for any seat up this year, plus lots of other stuff.
posted by Chrysostom at 10:18 PM on October 1 [45 favorites]


petebest: "Muellercake futures rose on this 499th day without significant leaks. Local bakeries are awaiting the latest election report from Chrysostom, and The Office of Pastry Throwdowns issued a reminder to Americans to beware of banana pants on heads. "

Sorry, I had a really busy day. Several pages of details above; short version is give Heidi Heitkamp money.
posted by Chrysostom at 10:21 PM on October 1 [13 favorites]


a generation of young Chinese who will go elsewhere but resent the US for the rest of their lives--especially in 20-30 years when they start running things

China's rising inequality and pace of resource extraction is, if anything, even less sustainable than the US' -- but it's still a really dumb policy, even as a proposal.

I refuse to believe Miller doesn't have shit out there that would make him a liability in a public role (as vs. some shitty policy org on K street). While I regret these are our politics now, rather than being able to just discredit someone for their odious ideas, for as long as they are I wish someone would go find it. He is the worst and he keeps getting Trump's ear.
posted by snuffleupagus at 10:23 PM on October 1 [10 favorites]


The DOJ's New Net Neutrality Lawsuit Is A Giant Middle Finger To State Rights, Consumers, Competition & The Democratic Process

Unfortunately, this is one of the rare administration lawsuits that might have some merit. Telecommunications policy is one of those areas (like immigration enforcement) that are properly federal, because state borders don't have any real significance in these sectors. Electronic signals don't stop at borders.

That's why the state of Oregon took a more defensible approach. Instead of mandating net neutrality -- a direct refutation of federal law -- the legislature simply told the state government that it could only use net-neutral ISPs for its own offices. Since it's easily a top 3 customer in the state, with Nike and Intel, and has offices in every significant city, that creates a massive incentive for companies to comply. But no one is forced to.

It doesn't sound as impressive to partisan supporters, but it gets the job done in a lawsuit-proof way.
posted by msalt at 10:32 PM on October 1 [44 favorites]


Some good news: Robinson Meyer, The Atlantic: A Setback for Trump's Plan To Slash Public Lands:
. . . The victories, though procedural, may ultimately prove crucial in the case. The groundbreaking decision is particularly key: It ensures that advocates will learn of any prospecting or oil-drilling activities before they occur. Heidi McIntosh, an attorney at the environmental group Earthjustice and a lead counsel in the case, told me that litigants could now ask the court to issue an injunction to stop environmentally destructive activities before they occur. Under normal circumstances, the Bureau of Land Management would not need to notify the public (or environmental groups) before approving some types of exploratory oil drilling or uranium mining.

. . . Judge [Tanya] Chutkan’s decision to keep the case in Washington may turn out to be equally important. . . . In D.C., courts have a particular expertise in reining in the power of the president. “Not surprisingly, the District of Utah does not,” McIntosh said. Keeping the trial in D.C. means that environmentalists can draw upon that far larger body of precedent.

Switching jurisdictions might have also undermined tribal claims in the case. The land called Bears Ears is sacred to six different indigenous nations. And though Bears Ears National Monument is located entirely within Utah’s borders, the same is not true of all six of those nations, as some have reservations located only in Arizona or New Mexico. Indigenous nations may therefore have lacked standing to sue Trump in Utah; they have a better case in Washington.
posted by cybercoitus interruptus at 11:23 PM on October 1 [14 favorites]


Stephen Miller, a White House aide who has been pivotal in developing the administration’s hardline immigration policies, pushed the president and other officials to make it impossible for Chinese citizens to study in the US,

This guy and his fucking racist fantasies! Instead of being immediately fired for being a giant fuckwit, they need to talk sense to Trump so he doesn't get his way. This fucking administration. JFC
posted by adept256 at 12:08 AM on October 2 [5 favorites]


Hey, look at that:
Trump Administration to Deny Visas to Same-Sex Partners of Diplomats, U.N. Officials
The new policy will insist they be married—even if they're from countries that criminalize gay marriage.
Samantha Power, a former U.S. ambassador to the United Nations, denounced the new policy on Twitter as “needlessly cruel & bigoted.”

“State Dept. will no longer let same-sex domestic partners of UN employees get visas unless they are married,” she tweeted, noting that “only 12% of UN member states allow same-sex marriage.”
It is going to take you decades to attempt to undo the harm this administration is doing on all sides.
posted by PontifexPrimus at 12:10 AM on October 2 [74 favorites]


The Chinese student issue is legitimately complicated, in that there really is a problem of the Chinese state using Chinese students and institutions to promote their political ends (including academic censorship) abroad. That said, a blanket denial of visas to all Chinese students is the stupidest imaginable solution to that problem.
posted by Aravis76 at 1:30 AM on October 2 [17 favorites]


on the subject of stopping the income from overseas students....sigh, foot...shot....major owie!


In a weird twist of careers I once had to set up an office for the Irish Tourist Board called MEI, Marketing English in Ireland.

This was on foot of a study which literally blew people's minds, even through we were dealing with an industry that was largely made up of your Spanish and Italian 1 months summer course "swallows" the Visiting Friends and relatives VFR for the tiny number of University and High-school foreigners was 2:5. So the original investment of the student in course, accommodation and expenses was magnified 2 & ½ times by the spend of VFR, as in particular the wealthy Japanese and Brazilian spend of sometimes up to 10 times what they spent in sending their child for a high-school year as Mum and Dad came and shopped for Louis Vuitton on Grafton St Dublin at Christmas was simply staggering.

The study showed that the tiny number of long-stay students obviously massively increased foreign earnings so much so that in total the English as a Foreign Language industry in Ireland was responsible for 10% of TOTAL tourism revenue. (A lot of the rest is of course Plastic Paddy's but hey, we don't judge!) This was way back in 2005 so I left in 2010 and haven't kept up with the industry. Malta jumped on the bandwagon and have replicated the Irish result according to a recent Deloitte report


Obviously this is easier for small countries but the UK and USA had the most diversified market take meaning your industry was the standard setter. Even the crumbs from the recent changes of Brexit and Trump and what they mean for the EFL sector will literally lift the Irish, Aussie and NZ industries to greater income. The UK and USA haven't yet identified the costs of their scary-immigration stances but no doubt they will have confidential data and the providers must be screaming the impact to the powers that be, just no one cares. So like, sexual abuse survivors.

One soft power people underestimate and I've come across it again and again all over the world is the potential impact when your Taoiseach meets with other world leaders who learned their English in Ireland.
posted by Wilder at 1:58 AM on October 2 [29 favorites]


Wouldn’t it make s great deal more sense if he said, “That’s okay. I know you’re not thanking. You never do.”? He is responding to her saying, “Thank you,” so it makes way more sense. It also goes along with his desire to be praised/thanked.

The White House is going with "I know you're not thanking. You never do."

Steve Herman from VOA News: Official @WhiteHouse transcripts misquotes @POTUS today chiding @CeciliaVega (compare video to text). I was sitting just behind her in the Rose Garden and we all clearly heard him say: "I know you're not thinking. You never do.”
posted by peeedro at 2:34 AM on October 2 [21 favorites]


Texas breaks voter registration record ahead of midterm election

And along the same lines...

TIME: A Record 800,000 People Registered to Vote on National Voter Registration Day

They had hoped to get 300,000. In the last midterm in 2014, they registered 150,000.
posted by chris24 at 4:27 AM on October 2 [83 favorites]


The White Supremacy Hour on FOX is going great.

Andrew Lawrence (MMFA)
Tucker Carlson just warned his viewers about liberals advocating for white "genocide"
VIDEO
posted by chris24 at 4:31 AM on October 2 [14 favorites]


Alex Trebek moderated a gubernatorial debate in Pennsylvania. It didn’t go well (WaPo). He joked that he was drunk when he accepted the job, he opened with a trivia question about the Eagles, he was booed for comparing the popularity of the PA legislature to the Catholic church, interjected with his own opinions on pension obligations, argued with the audience about natural gas taxes, and asked long-winded questions that took up a significant part of the 45 minute debate.
posted by peeedro at 4:34 AM on October 2 [7 favorites]


I'm old enough to remember Trump telling the American people he knew nothing about the payments to Stormy.

WSJ: Trump Directed Legal Action to Enforce Stormy Daniels’s Hush Agreement
President Trump personally directed an effort in February to stop Stormy Daniels from publicly describing an alleged sexual encounter with Mr. Trump, people familiar with the events say.

In a phone call, Mr. Trump instructed his then-lawyer Michael Cohen to seek a restraining order against the former adult-film actress, whose real name is Stephanie Clifford, through a confidential arbitration proceeding, one of the people said. Messrs. Trump and Cohen had learned shortly before that Ms. Clifford was considering giving a media interview about her alleged relationship with Mr. Trump, despite having signed an October 2016 nondisclosure agreement.

Mr. Trump told Mr. Cohen to coordinate the legal response with Eric Trump, one of the president’s sons, and another outside lawyer who had represented Mr. Trump and the Trump Organization in other matters, the people said. Eric Trump, who is running the company with his brother in Mr. Trump’s absence, then tasked a Trump Organization staff attorney in California with signing off on the arbitration paperwork, these people said.

Direct involvement of the president and his son in the effort to silence Ms. Clifford hasn’t previously been reported. The accounts of that effort recently provided to The Wall Street Journal suggest that the president’s ties to his company continued into this year and contradict public statements made at the time by the Trump Organization, the White House and Mr. Cohen.
posted by chris24 at 4:54 AM on October 2 [52 favorites]


White House hawks earlier this year encouraged President Donald Trump to stop providing student visas to Chinese nationals, but the proposal was shelved over concerns about its economic and diplomatic impact.


That they would even talk about it is so stupid. A policy like that would devastate universities in the US, especially graduate departments. Not to mention the fact that so many foreign students end up staying here and working in tech and medicine.
posted by octothorpe at 5:05 AM on October 2 [11 favorites]




@ElectProject
A Georgia #earlyvote update: 2018 early voting (mail & in-person) is slightly more than double 2014 at the same number of days prior to the election. While all races are seeing higher turnout, African-Americans are 4x their 2014 numbers. We'll have to see if this persists. CHART
• The @staceyabrams campaign is encouraging her supporters to vote-by-mail, so it is difficult to know how much of the heightened voting is due to mobilization by the campaign or motivation by the voters
posted by chris24 at 5:12 AM on October 2 [29 favorites]


Mark Judge was a Gamergater.

Never forget that the FBI investigated Gamergate, found plenty of evidence of crimes including outright confessions, and went “yeah, but harassing and stalking women with the intent to terrorize them isn’t REALLY a big deal” and declined to pursue it.
posted by schadenfrau at 5:30 AM on October 2 [135 favorites]


Hey now, let's just remember that it's only terrorism when the target is the business interests of rich white men.
posted by tocts at 5:37 AM on October 2 [31 favorites]


Tucker Carlson just warned his viewers about liberals advocating for white "genocide"

That's just silly. As a liberal, I do not advocate for white "genocide." I may or may not be able to get behind white "take it down a notch."
posted by delfin at 6:08 AM on October 2 [45 favorites]


welp.

link is to a tweet with the a headline from The Federalist which clarifies exactly where we stand now
posted by murphy slaw at 6:09 AM on October 2 [13 favorites]


I skimmed that Federalist article, just out of curiosity of what their argument could possibly be. They narrow the scope to just the sexual assault accusations, not the lying and tendencies toward rage. And then they just make a very broad application of the presumption of innocence and the aphorism that it is better to let 10 guilty men go free than to persecute 1 innocent man. And they assume that there can be no knowing the truth of what happened.

I reiterate it here just to save you all a click.
posted by He Is Only The Imposter at 6:20 AM on October 2 [66 favorites]


So basically, bad analogies all around. Yeah, in the case of a legal matter, we'd rather let 10 guilty men go free than persecute 1 innocent man. But, when appointing people to positions of power, the public good is served by literally the opposite -- we'd rather 10 good candidates be denied than ensconce 1 bad candidate for life.
posted by tocts at 6:22 AM on October 2 [82 favorites]


persecute <> not let join the SOTUS

If only those types were so worried about one innocent when it comes to any actual law with prison time behind it.
posted by bootlegpop at 6:26 AM on October 2 [32 favorites]


Holy shit, if that thread is to be believed Judge’s deleted YouTube channel was apparently a bunch of creepy short videos of women in swimsuits or underwear passed out or sleeping on top of beds with weird conspiracy references interwoven.

I mean.....what?
posted by snuffleupagus at 6:28 AM on October 2 [27 favorites]


Yes on Judge's YouTube. See also his pool party scouting trip.
posted by armacy at 6:35 AM on October 2 [4 favorites]


I sincerely hope the people in Judge's videos were full-grown women. In the stills I saw, a lot of them looked lije they were in their mid-teens.
posted by palmcorder_yajna at 6:38 AM on October 2 [2 favorites]


Reminder that “white genocide” is a white nationalist term for mixed race relationships, people from other races having jobs they want and in general anything not going the way white nationalists want it to. It’s basucally the 2 word version of the 14 words.
posted by Artw at 6:42 AM on October 2 [73 favorites]


Reddit has a screenshot of Mark Judge's channel videos page. It looks like a creepy old guy's collection of videos of models. And ... Alec Baldwin. ?

"Ok, so what is the problem? Am I missing some background knowledge about Mark Judge? Because the tweet only shows three still images of women passed out/sleeping. If that alone without context is enough for you to condemn someone, that's a big yikes."

Yes, only three were passed out or sleeping. I mean, pfft.
posted by petebest at 6:52 AM on October 2 [9 favorites]


New Pew Research Poll: Trump’s International Ratings Remain Low, Especially Among Key Allies—Most still want U.S. as top global power, but see China on the rise (PDF of complete report)

"America’s global image plummeted following the election of President Donald Trump, amid widespread opposition to his administration’s policies and a widely shared lack of confidence in his leadership. Now, as the second anniversary of Trump’s election approaches, a new 25-nation Pew Research Center survey finds that Trump’s international image remains poor, while ratings for the United States are much lower than during Barack Obama’s presidency."

Sample findings include confidence/no confidence in Trump at 27/70% and favorable/unfavorable view of US at 50/43%. Also, Trump, Putin, and Xi receive no confidence scores of 70%, 62%, and 56% (the inverse of the surveyed opinions on Merkel and Macron).
posted by Doktor Zed at 7:04 AM on October 2 [5 favorites]


I guess Alec Baldwin is still cranky about the time everyone condemned him for being verbally abusive to his daughter without knowing "the whole story" (i.e. why his rage was excusable and/or she deserved it)
posted by the turtle's teeth at 7:12 AM on October 2 [2 favorites]


Why conservatives don’t care that Brett Kavanaugh is a liar - Zack Beauchamp, Vox
So why don’t Republicans care?
...
I couldn’t get a good handle on this until I read a paper by three scholars — Carnegie Mellon’s Oliver Hahl, Northwestern’s Minjae Kim, and MIT’s Ezra Zuckerman-Sivan — on how voters could recognize that a politician is lying but consider them authentic and appealing.

Using both a large-scale survey and a lab experiment, Hahl and his colleagues demonstrate that people are shockingly willing to look past lies from someone that they feel represents their group. Instead, the lies are seen in the broader context of what supporters see as a “deeper truth” — in this case, that Kavanaugh is an innocent target of a Democratic smear campaign.

“As with Trump, the deeper truth is that a particular group is treated unfairly by the establishment (recall Kavanaugh’s opening),” Zuckerman-Sivan wrote in a Twitter thread. “So long as the obvious lies can be framed as serving that larger truth, the liar can present himself as the group’s ‘authentic champion.’”
The larger truths here seem to be:
  1. Conservatives are the real victims in America
  2. Kavanaugh deserves a seat on the Supreme Court
The application of this study to the Kavanaugh case is quite clear. Here, conservatives are lining up to defend their nominee to be the fifth vote on the Supreme Court against allegations of sexual assault. It’s a defense of social group and status hierarchy against an upstart challenger, just like in the study. This is what made his fiery opening testimony so effective, at least for conservatives: It appealed to their sense of in-group threat and partisan identity.
posted by ZeusHumms at 7:20 AM on October 2 [39 favorites]


> Why conservatives don’t care that Brett Kavanaugh is a liar - Zack Beauchamp, Vox

Fucking Fuck XV Thread here.
posted by klarck at 7:35 AM on October 2 [9 favorites]


I'm being petty, but I really enjoy the fact that Kavanaugh's belligerent supreme court nomination hearing has produced a TON of pissy and angry Brett faces, producing a ton of great article header material, like this one from Rolling Stone for their re-posting of the NYT story that Brett Kavanaugh Instigated Bar Fight After UB40 Concert, Police Report Reveals.

chris24: Kavanaugh will not be teaching at Harvard this coming January.
“Today, Judge Kavanaugh indicated that he can no longer commit to teaching his course in January Term 2019, so the course will not be offered,” Associate Dean and Dean for Academic and Faculty Affairs Catherine Claypoole wrote in the email, which she sent on behalf of the Law School's Curriculum Committee.
From CNN's reporting:
Kavanaugh was scheduled to teach a class in the winter term, according to a source familiar with the matter. However, the source could not confirm the reason Kavanaugh would not be teaching at the school in 2019 beyond the statement sent out by school officials that he could "no longer commit to teaching his course." It was not immediately clear if Kavanaugh dropped out due to anticipation that he would be serving on the Supreme Court.
It would be hi-larious if Brett had submitted his letter stating he couldn't teach in January some time last month, assuming that he'd be serving on the Supreme Court by then, only to find himself down one (very prestigious) job.

He really must be pressed for beer and gambling money if he's working more than one job. {/hamburger}

Then he'd have more time to volunteer to coach girl's basketball, which he is allowed to do, unless people cause too much of a ruckus at games that it becomes a distraction. He passed his volunteer coach background check, he's good by us! Said Edward McFadden, spokesperson for the Archdiocese of Washington. [real, at least as of Sept. 28, 2018]
posted by filthy light thief at 7:36 AM on October 2 [9 favorites]


I downloaded two of Judge's videos before he took his site offline. The videos are creepy AF.
posted by Yowser at 7:38 AM on October 2 [4 favorites]




PontifexPrimus: It is going to take you decades to attempt to undo the harm this administration is doing on all sides.

A reminder of how good Obama and his administration were compared to this shit-show, and how much we can (probably) still rely on that earlier work: 'A Kind Of Vague Hostility': Michael Lewis On How Trump Loyalists Run Agencies (NPR, Oct. 1, 2018)
"Before the election, the Obama administration had spent the better part of a year and a thousand people's time creating essentially the best course ever created on how the federal government works, and what the problems are in each of these departments," Lewis tells All Things Considered, "with the idea that the day after the election, hundreds of people from the new administration would roll in, and get the briefings, and learn what the problems were and how they dealt with them.

"And the Trump administration just didn't show. I mean, across the government, parking spaces were empty, and nice little finger sandwiches that had been laid out went uneaten, and briefing books went unopened — to the point where, when I roll in a few months later, I'm the first person who's heard the briefing that the Trump administration was supposed to get."
I'm expecting the next administration could roll in, sweep out the empty beer bottles, McDonalds wrappers, Chinese take-out, and other detritus left by this administration, dig out those still un-opened "How To Govern Better" books and get going. Unless Trump and Co literally set it all on fire on their way out.
posted by filthy light thief at 7:42 AM on October 2 [58 favorites]


Former Starbucks chairman and CEO Howard Schultz plans to travel the country beginning early next year, including stops in states that could help in a possible Democratic presidential run.

LOL no, sorry, no more white male capitalists 2020
posted by Mrs. Pterodactyl at 7:46 AM on October 2 [121 favorites]


And NPR had an interesting summary of the current SCOTUS (Oct. 1, 2018):
While all these machinations were taking place, the Supreme Court opened a new term and began hearing arguments. Once again, as in 2016, the court has only eight justices. Back then, Senate Republican Leader McConnell blocked any hearing for President Obama's nominee to the court for almost a year. But back then, Justice Anthony Kennedy, a conservative who sometimes sided with the court's liberals, was still on the court. Now he has retired.

So today, for the first time in well over 30 years, there was no justice like Kennedy or Sandra Day O'Connor - both appointed by President Reagan - who sits ideologically at the center of the court. And today, the liberal-conservative split was apparent in the first case to be argued, a challenge to a regulation under the Endangered Species Act. The central player in the case is the dusky gopher frog, which sounds a bit like this.
...
A 4-to-4 tie would mean the lower court ruling stays in place, meaning [major timber company] Weyerhaeuser loses [and the dusky gopher frog, as well as biodiversity in general, wins -- ed.]. How fast the court gets a ninth justice depends on how quickly the Senate can hop along.
That's right, let's end with a frog joke, when we're talking about the fate of an endangered species. Har har!
posted by filthy light thief at 7:47 AM on October 2 [15 favorites]


I'm expecting the next administration could roll in, sweep out the empty beer bottles, McDonalds wrappers, Chinese take-out, and other detritus left by this administration, dig out those still un-opened "How To Govern Better" books and get going.

Unfortunately, no. Some of the residual shit left over from the Bush years was finally getting cleaned up around the time Obama was leaving office. Unbreaking things takes time. Parts of the government will be hurting for at least a decade after Trump and Co are gone.
posted by C'est la D.C. at 7:50 AM on October 2 [15 favorites]


From the Vox article:
In their research, Hahl et al. surveyed 402 Americans about one of Trump’s most notoriously false statements: that global warming is a hoax invented by China to hurt the US economy. Interestingly, only a handful of Trump supporters in the sample (5.8 percent) described the statement as “highly true.” Most (68.8) described it as “highly false.”

But this didn’t cause them to conclude that Trump was a liar. Instead, they justified the lying as part of Trump’s populist appeal.

“Trump voters were significantly more likely to justify the lie as a form of symbolic protest,” the researchers wrote. They were “much more likely to think the statement ‘was his way of challenging the elite establishment’ than to see the statement as true.”
This is generally unsurprising, except for the part where respondants admit the claim was false. I would have thought that insisting "No, it's really totally true" would be part of the lying-is-a-protest mindset. But apparently there are contexts in which the kayfabe is temporarily dropped. (Or this poll/study was done after Trump had lied about saying it.)

Now we're seeing that again, with the more ~sophisticated~ conservatives arguing that Kavanaugh committed a kind of justifiable perjury. One could almost buy a perjury-trap agurment for his more emotional and evasive I'm-rubber-you're-glue responses (they still disqualify him from the Court). But so many of his false or extremely-questionable claims were clearly rehearsed lies.
posted by InTheYear2017 at 7:50 AM on October 2 [13 favorites]


I'd like to think that the frog is (probably) safe, but something occurred to me.

Is the act (non-act?) of a Justice not participating in the decision of a case for which they weren't present for the hearing based on a rule, or simply tradition? Because if there's no hard and fast rule, I don't think we can assume Kavanaugh will follow the tradition.
posted by Tabitha Someday at 7:53 AM on October 2 [1 favorite]


It's just tradition, although I'm not certain to what extent it's up to the individual Justice or if it's ultimately controlled by the Chief Justice.
posted by jedicus at 7:55 AM on October 2 [2 favorites]


The DOJ's New Net Neutrality Lawsuit Is A Giant Middle Finger To State Rights, Consumers, Competition & The Democratic Process

msalt: Unfortunately, this is one of the rare administration lawsuits that might have some merit. Telecommunications policy is one of those areas (like immigration enforcement) that are properly federal, because state borders don't have any real significance in these sectors. Electronic signals don't stop at borders.

Except, as noted in Jon Brodkin's round-up for on the topic for Ars Technica,
"The legal argument for preemption is fatally flawed: the FCC claims that it has no authority to regulate broadband Internet service," attorney Andrew Schwartzman, who represents the Benton Foundation in the case against the FCC, said in a statement responding to the DOJ lawsuit. "Courts have consistently held that when the federal government lacks authority to regulate, it cannot preempt states from regulating."
Emphasis mine, because this is a glorious self-goal. Under Ajit Pai and Trump, FCC their hands up and say "we don't regulate ISPs!" You can't have your cake and eat it, too.

Also, I'm looking forward to hearing how DOJ's arguement plays out in court:
"Because its regulatory approach directly conflicts with the FCC's, SB-822 inflicts irreparable harm on both the United States as well as the public interest more generally," the DOJ told the court. "As this Court recently noted, '[t]he United States suffers injury when its valid laws in a domain of federal authority are undermined by impermissible state regulations,' and '[f]rustration of federal statutes and prerogatives are not in the public interest.'"
Emphasis mine, because the harm is from ... enforcing net neutrality in a way that would by default enforce the same regulations for most of the country. Which would actually be a good thing, for consumers at least.

Again, Trump's team is defending the poor, helpless international business interests, instead of the people.
posted by filthy light thief at 7:58 AM on October 2 [41 favorites]


The Republican, pro-sexual assault, party infuriating whining about "moving the goalposts" has already driven me up the wall this morning. The point of a credible investigation is in part to see whether the goal posts need to be moved. Every piece of this puzzle that has been revealed suggests a larger and larger valid field of inquiry in Kavanaugh's characterization of his drinking and past behavior.
Senator,

Brett Kavanaugh's college associate Chad Ludington, who has shared his recollection of an incident involving Brett Kavanaugh and Chris Dudley allegedly assaulting a man in a bar with drinks. Although no arests were made, We the People deserve a full accounting of why Kavanaugh mischaracterized his college drinking habits during his sworn Senate testimony.

We the People also deserve a full accounting of why there are credible reports that Brett Kavanaugh was attempting to contact Deborah Ramirez's friends before the Meyer and Farrow New Yorker story was published. He gave sworn testimony that he had not heard of the allegation until the New Yorker story.

I insist on:

* A full investigation into the drunken bar fight from 1985
* A full investigation into Kavanaugh's communications with Deborah Ramirez's friends and associates
* A delay on a confirmation vote on Kavanaugh until a complete, thorough, non-partisan, independent investigation can establish the facts of the situation

[For Democracts: Brett Kavanaugh's tantrum in front of the Judiciary Committee, as well as his seemingly deliberately inaccurate testimony are an automatic disqualifier as for a judge on any US federal court, much less the Supreme Court. Kavanaugh must be fully investigated and likely impeached from his current life-time appointment. He lacks the character and temperment of a qualified federal judge.]

[For Republicans: Failure to enforce the requirements of a thorough, independent and non-partisan investigation will mean that I will donate to your opponents, campaign against you, and forever characterize you a supporter of sexual assault, not a supporter of sexual assault victims.]

Sincerely,
[your name]
posted by Excommunicated Cardinal at 8:16 AM on October 2 [24 favorites]


peeedro: "Alex Trebek moderated a gubernatorial debate in Pennsylvania. It didn’t go well "

What is, "A poorly thought out stunt?"
posted by Chrysostom at 8:17 AM on October 2 [51 favorites]


Emphasis mine, because this is a glorious self-goal.

Back when we operated under the rule of law this would have been an own-goal. We don't operate under the rule of law anymore. We operate under Republican rule. SCOTUS will side with the FCC here.
posted by dirigibleman at 8:28 AM on October 2 [7 favorites]


SCOTUS needs a majority, and currently they're split down the middle.

But the FCC is definitely partisan (hacks): Cities Are Teaming Up to Offer Broadband, and the FCC Is Mad (Susan Crawford for Wired, Sept. 27, 2018)
Earlier this year, the South Bay Cities Council of Governments decided that addressing the region's internet access problems, starting with city buildings and moving out from there to businesses, was a shared economic development priority. The SBCCOG asked for bids for a regional fiber-optic loop that would connect all the city halls in the region to one another as well as to two major internet points of presence (POPs). Having all the cities' traffic aggregated together would give the region bargaining power and potentially wholesale prices through those redundant POPs. (Having redundant POPs is also important; you want to make sure that no one provider can hold your traffic ransom when it's on its way out of town.)

Every one of the 16 city councils involved is supportive; they understand that building a huge regional backbone will eventually lead to cascading effects on consumer prices, and that being able to plow city cost savings into business connections—as Santa Monica did years ago—will attract new industries to their cities. And that will help them keep their citizens well employed.

[Former CIO of the City of Santa Monica, Jory] Wolf says the RFP offered by the region has attracted a slew of strong bidders, and that it's likely the region will end up with several providers operating the regional fiber loop. He also says the cities in the region are working together in a new way, bringing their public works teams together for monthly meetings. But, he says, for regions hoping to follow this playbook, "the FCC is going to put a sponge" on all that activity, "soak it all up, and take it away."

He’s right. Step by step, the FCC is working to undermine cities' abilities to create municipal fiber networks of any size, while doing everything it can to keep the status quo in place. One of the goals of the FCC’s reversal of net neutrality earlier this year (PDF) was to broadly block local government from having anything to do with internet access. The commission effectively said it was blocking in advance any local regulatory efforts that could be viewed as in conflict with the FCC’s hands-off approach.
One nation, under new corporate ownership, at least until January 2019 or 2021.
posted by filthy light thief at 8:40 AM on October 2 [24 favorites]


Holy shit, if that thread is to be believed Judge’s deleted YouTube channel was apparently a bunch of creepy short videos of women in swimsuits or underwear passed out or sleeping on top of beds with weird conspiracy references interwoven.

I saw this a few days ago along with I think an Instagram account, but it wasn't clear to me it was real & not a stunt page put together to smear him so I left it alone. It's not exclusively a tactic of the Right, you know.
posted by scalefree at 8:45 AM on October 2 [2 favorites]


Scale free, one of the videos I downloaded, from the YouTube page called mark judge, has mark judge in frame for the entire video.
posted by Yowser at 8:49 AM on October 2 [24 favorites]


By Cristian Farias for New York magazine:
Rachel Mitchell's Kavanaugh Report Just Tells Republicans What They Want to Hear

I braved the comments and found this gem:
Did you not expect Aunt Lydia to take the Commanders' side?
posted by virago at 8:49 AM on October 2 [65 favorites]


Multiple GOP senators refuse to acknowledge or shake hands with sexual assault survivors. I particularly like the bit where Mitch McConnell ignores the women to shake hands with another man. That's lovely.
posted by suelac at 9:02 AM on October 2 [67 favorites]


its even worse, the headline to the article suelac linked:

Republican Senator Hides in Men’s Bathroom When Confronted by Sexual-Assault Survivors
posted by Exceptional_Hubris at 9:16 AM on October 2 [31 favorites]


Republican Senator Hides in Men’s Bathroom When Confronted by Sexual-Assault Survivors

I hope they followed him in there.
posted by elsietheeel at 9:18 AM on October 2 [29 favorites]


The last paragraph of that article is deep anger-inducing:
When two sexual-assault survivors confronted Republican senator Bob Corker of Tennessee, he said, “I know this is enjoyable to y’all.” “It is not enjoyable,” Tracey Corder, the director of Racial Justice at the Center for Popular Democracy, responded. “It is not fun for us to tell our stories.”
posted by erisfree at 9:19 AM on October 2 [96 favorites]




One of the wild things about just how MUCH news there is is how many things slip between the cracks. I caught the Mark Judge thing before the original account was deleted, and it kills me that we're only just catching up to that story as a country.

It looks like the archive that somebody set up post-deletion has been taken down, or at least hasn't been indexed well by Google. Here's a snippet, for the curious. They were all like this. And yes, Alec Baldwin apparently tweeted Judge asking to appear in one of them(???).
posted by rorgy at 9:23 AM on October 2 [4 favorites]


And here's a bunch more.

It's really creepy shit.
posted by rorgy at 9:25 AM on October 2 [9 favorites]


One of the more brazen comments about survivors confronting legislators was from Rich Lowry, who said that this sort of angry bullying reminds him of what's going on at Yale with all the angry bullying by left-wing students, and it is a dangerous way for political decisions to be made.

I was struck by the lack of self-reflection required to not realize how well his comment applied to Kavanaugh.
posted by clawsoon at 9:26 AM on October 2 [5 favorites]


One of the wild things about just how MUCH news there is is how many things slip between the cracks.

Which is true even if you're relatively selective about what news sources you're exposed to and trust. In conservative media world, it's even wackier. My sister is close to a lot of Fox News watchers and she just asked me (in good faith, so that she can respond when it comes up in conversation) why nobody is pursuing assault charges against Cory Booker, and how liberals can justify breaking into Kavanaugh's home and threatening his family. These are stories, apparently????? There so much nonsense gumming up the works, and so many real stories that don't get any attention at all.
posted by witchen at 9:26 AM on October 2 [16 favorites]


witchen: and how liberals can justify breaking into Kavanaugh's home and threatening his family.

I don't know if this is true, but I wouldn't be surprised. We have plenty of idiots on our side, too, whether we like it our not. Our media focuses on their idiots, and their media focuses on our idiots. It's easy to tell which media bubble a person is in by which idiots they know about.
posted by clawsoon at 9:30 AM on October 2 [12 favorites]


Eliot Cohen writing in The Atlantic: The Republican Party Abandons Conservatism

Includes these laffs:
"The conservative is warier than her liberal counterpart about the darker impulses and desires that lurk in men and women, more doubtful of their perfectibility, skeptical of and opposed to the engineering of individual souls, and more inclined to celebrate freedom moderated by law, custom, education, and culture. She knows that power tends to corrupt, and likes to see it checked and divided.*"

*=Unless you're a corporation, Christian church, employer, massive multinational media conglomerate, polluter, wealthy white male, property-owner, fossil fuel company, anti-democratic lobbying organization and so on and so on. This is pure kayfabe, right?

"There has always been a dark side to American conservatism, much of it originating in the antebellum curse of a society, large parts of which favored slavery and the extermination of America’s native population, the exclusion of immigrants from American life, and discrimination against Catholics and Jews. Many of us had hoped that the civil-rights achievements of the mid-20th century (in which Republicans were indispensable partners), changing social norms regarding women, and rising levels of education had eliminated the germs that produced secession, lynching, and Indian massacres. Instead, those microbes simply went into dormancy, and now, in the presence of Trump, erupt again like plague buboes—bitter, potent, and vile."

That's some incredible whitewashing. No, dude, the calls are coming from inside the house. They have been since the 60s.

The TL;DR is that his main beef with Republicans now is that they want Blackout Brett to allow the Executive Branch to seize more power for itself, which is like, bad because liberals use the government to do stuff (like limit the power of wealthy individuals, business interests, and the politicians they've bought off).
posted by Kitty Stardust at 9:32 AM on October 2 [13 favorites]


Paul Manafort met Monday with special counsel Robert Mueller’s office as part of his cooperation agreement in the special counsel’s investigation into Russia interference in the 2016 presidential election.

In other Special Counsel news, the FT reports, Money Laundering Expert to Leave Robert Mueller Team—departure comes after Paul Manafort avoided second trial with guilty plea

"Kyle Freeny, a trial attorney seconded to Mr Mueller’s investigation last year, will rejoin the justice department’s money laundering and asset recovery section after concluding her detail to the special counsel’s office in mid-October, said Peter Carr, a spokesperson for Mr Mueller."
posted by Doktor Zed at 9:37 AM on October 2 [14 favorites]


Here's the first mention of threats against Kavanaugh's family I could find upon a cursory search. It, uh, might bear noting that the article also cites many abusive phone calls and death threats against Ford, including note of her being forced out of her house; by contrast, Kavanaugh's wife reports open investigations for the family's safety (according to CNN) and possibly an exhortation for Kavanaugh to commit suicide (via WSJ in a link I can't currently read). All of these are posted c. 9/20, so they've been around for a couple of weeks. Note that Ford is mentioned in at least two of the three articles as being in hiding and that Senator Collins has also reported receiving a number of graphic threats, including one that promised to rape a young female staffer.

I am certainly in favor of investigating all of these threats, but I note that every single one of them appear to be directed primarily at women--no one, for example, seems to be tracking down Ford's husband to send her hateful mail in the same way that Kavanaugh's wife reports.
posted by sciatrix at 9:40 AM on October 2 [26 favorites]


Interesting gem in this WaPo story, Experts question GOP prosecutor’s memo on Christine Blasey Ford:
The [Senate Judiciary Committee] staff interviewed about 20 potential counsels for Mitchell’s position, according to a Republican official briefed on the hiring process, before settling on the Maricopa County prosecutor.
They had time to interview twenty "independent" counsels for their hatchet job against Blasey Ford, but no time to call any other witnesses. Strange, that. Also, a Judiciary Committee spokesperson confirmed that Mitchell was paid for her work but declined to say how much.
posted by peeedro at 9:46 AM on October 2 [42 favorites]


So you know how in the wake of Pizzagate, we knew — we *knew* — that it was an act of overt projection on the part of the right, we just didn't know the specifics? This contextually nauseating Mark Judge...material feels like further confirmation of that supposition.

These guys are just obsessed with dominance, with expressing their physical power and control over someone rendered helpless to resist, and for whatever reason are unable to express it as a consensual kink like anyone normal would. They're profoundly broken human beings, but because they've simultaneously been encouraged to see themselves as the elite, surrounded themselves with others comparably broken, and finally enmeshed themselves with those others in a deeply sick hierarchical society, they think their brokenness is the default condition of humanity and they see it everywhere.

Well, I've got news for them: It is not everywhere. You have to be pretty fractured to take genuine pleasure in the actual suffering of another. And although that is certainly a mode of being that our normative childrearing practices and family dynamics and all the other microfascisms we tolerate conduce to, thank all the gods below it is by no means where all of us wind up.

Measured against the long sweep of history, in fact, I have to believe that we've done better these past few decades. We clearly have a long, long, too long a way to go, but I don't think it's ridiculous to believe in the dawning of a day that children learn something other than dominance and cruelty and hierarchy from their environment, that none of them ever again grows up to be a Brett Kavanaugh or a Mark Judge or a Donald Trump.
posted by adamgreenfield at 9:51 AM on October 2 [57 favorites]


adamgreenfield: So you know how in the wake of Pizzagate, we knew — we *knew* — that it was an act of overt projection on the part of the right, we just didn't know the specifics? This contextually nauseating Mark Judge...material feels like further confirmation of that supposition.

Of course, I've seen it argued (I think on the Reddit page linked above) that calling these videos evidence of Judge being a serial sexual assaulter is a kind of lefty pizzagate, in the sense that it's wholly about implications and symbolism. In other words, yes Mark Judge seems like a horrible human, but these videos shouldn't prompt any assumptions, or else we're as bad as the other side.

The obvious difference is that you need a hell of a lot less twine and fewer thumbtacks. Pizzagate relies on a demented translation of "pizza" to "children", whereas perceiving the Mark Judge videos as damning means just viewing them for what they appear to be.

(Also, if you really wanted to make the Clintons look sketchy when it comes to child sex abuse, it would way make more sense to harp on Bill's past friendship with Jeffrey Epstein. If I wanted to wear a tinfoil hat over my tinfoil hat, I'd call that the real purpose of pizzagate.)
posted by InTheYear2017 at 10:08 AM on October 2 [4 favorites]


Michael Lewis is on Fresh Air today, on The Fifth Risk, Trump transition narrative.
posted by Harry Caul at 10:09 AM on October 2 [4 favorites]


And here's a bunch more.

Looks like it all got DMCA'd.
posted by snuffleupagus at 10:10 AM on October 2 [3 favorites]


Unbreaking things takes time.

So, the sooner you can actually start after taking office and the more prepared you are for the task ahead, the better.

It will still take time, but it'll help if you have a Haynes Manual On How To Government that tells you where to put the oil in and which bolts hold what part to the frame.
posted by Stoneshop at 10:12 AM on October 2 [3 favorites]


Michael Lewis is on Fresh Air today, on The Fifth Risk, Trump transition narrative.

I've been reading this book as he published excerpts over the last year, about the transition at Dept of Ag, and the Dept of Energy. So I grabbed it as this month's Audible purchase.

I also grabbed Rebecca Traister's Good and Mad, which was also released today. FYI, Chris Hayes has a long interview with Traister today on his podcast Why Is This Happening, and it's pretty great.

Another podcast rec: Dahlia Lithwick's Amicus podcast had a special panel last weekend at the Texas Tribune festival in Austin. A bunch of SCOTUS geeks got on stage and talked about the Court, and the balance on the Court, and the Kavanaugh hearings, and all that. It was really good and I recommend it. It even has a few tiny spots of optimism (although John Roberts' fear of letting the Court fall into disrepute is a thin twig indeed).
posted by suelac at 10:14 AM on October 2 [10 favorites]


In other words, yes Mark Judge seems like a horrible human, but these videos shouldn't prompt any assumptions, or else we're as bad as the other side.

Not that I think you are either, but I'm 100% not here for the bothsidesism.

The videos, in context, are merely probative, and not properly dispositive, yes. In that context, however, they sure do suggest something about what makes Mark Judge tick. And I think most reasonable people would construe his sudden deletion thereof as an acknowledgment of that on his part.
posted by adamgreenfield at 10:15 AM on October 2 [37 favorites]


Multiple GOP senators refuse to acknowledge or shake hands with sexual assault survivors. I particularly like the bit where Mitch McConnell ignores the women to shake hands with another man. That's lovely.

I LOVE THESE WOMEN who are confronting these senators. Their willingness to be so incredibly brave forces these privileged isolated arrogant men to deal with what their decisions do to real people. Thank you so much to these incredible women. You are doing a service for all of us.
posted by bluesky43 at 10:16 AM on October 2 [90 favorites]


And while discussing threats against Ford/Kavanaugh, remember Trump's 'Be Careful' Tweet Prompts Calls of Security for Maxine Waters.

(also, is anyone looking out for Chad? his presser seemed a little revealing, home-wise)
posted by armacy at 10:22 AM on October 2 [3 favorites]


In a survey of various Trump properties' bottom lines, Forbes examines how Trump is trying—and failing—to get rich off his presidency
By refusing to divest, Trump raised an unprecedented question: How would the most divisive presidency in modern American history affect a company built on the president’s persona? Forbes has been working to answer that question since the moment Trump got elected, interviewing nearly 200 colleagues, partners and industry observers. While the experiment continues to unfold, in real time, the early results are in. Much as he’s trying—and he’s definitely trying—Donald Trump is not getting richer off the presidency. Just the opposite. His net worth, by our calculation, has dropped from $4.5 billion in 2015 to $3.1 billion the last two years, knocking the president 138 spots lower on the latest The Forbes 400 (which will be published in full tomorrow).

[...]Trump’s mixture of politics and business has proved to be a net loser for him so far. In further polarizing the country, he has also further polarized his business—to the tune of an estimated $200 million hit against his net worth.[...]

Trump’s business has some bright spots. A few blocks from the White House, at the Trump International Hotel, Trump fans hobnob with cable news stars and Cabinet secretaries. The place turned a $2 million profit in the first four months of 2017, far exceeding the Trump Organization’s expectations. A chunk of that money comes from various GOP organizations, which have pumped more than $1.3 million into the hotel since it opened in fall 2016, according to Federal Election Commission data. Despite what seems a violation of the Constitution’s emoluments clause, designed to keep presidents free from foreign financial interest, the governments of other nations are welcome too. Everyone from Kuwaiti officials to the prime minister of Malaysia has reportedly spent money there. And lobbyists working for Saudi Arabia disclosed that they ran up a $270,000 tab in just six months.
Trump has obviously benefited from the GOP's tax breaks for the wealthy, but the Forbes reporters also point out indirect benefits from his administration's policies:
Other policies, which went into effect with far less fanfare, may also bolster his fortune. Take tariffs. Higher steel and aluminum prices make it more expensive for developers to build. For someone like Trump, who owns buildings but hasn’t done much construction recently, that ­raises the barrier to entry for competitors. His immigration policies, which appear to be raising the cost of construction labor, could have a similar effect. Those two factors are “very favorable to a guy who owns hard assets,” says Dave Rodgers, a real estate analyst at financial firm Baird.
The emoluments lawsuit can't go to trial soon enough, but that's just the most obvious case of Trump's corrupt self-enrichment.
posted by Doktor Zed at 10:29 AM on October 2 [48 favorites]


An order to divest over emoluments seems likely to spark a real "let him enforce his order" moment from Trump, even if coming from SCOTUS.
posted by T.D. Strange at 10:33 AM on October 2 [18 favorites]


On September 25, Republican staffers interviewed Kavanaugh under oath about his reaction to the New Yorker story about the accusations from Ramirez. Kavanaugh says:

"They couldn't - the New York Times couldn't corroborate this story and found that she was calling around to classmates trying to see if they remembered it. And I, at least -- and I, myself, heard about that, that she was doing that. And you know, that just strikes me as, you know, what is going on here? When someone is calling around to try to refresh other people, is that what's going on? What's going on with that? That doesn't sound -- that doesn't sound good to me. It doesn't sound fair. It doesn't sound proper. It sounds like an orchestrated hit to take me out. That's what it sounds like.

This is serious stuff, and they're -- you know, they’re calling around to other people either to refresh them, or I don't know what's going on in those conversations

It's not appropriate for people to be dredging up uncorroborated stories and trying to refresh other people's recollections."


According to NBC News, it was Kavanaugh himself and his lawyers who were calling friends regarding Ramirez even before the allegation became public. It was Kavanaugh who was trying to "refresh their memories" which according to Kavanaugh "doesn't sound fair", "doesn't sound proper", "is not appropriate".

Keep in mind that this is Kavanaugh's interview under oath, lying once again.

With all Republicans, it's Trump's mirror. You just have to listen to what they accuse others of and that's a clue to what they themselves are doing in secret.
posted by JackFlash at 10:37 AM on October 2 [85 favorites]


I'm having a rough work day anyway, and can somebody help me parse this fucktastic marriage announcement? So UN diplomats can't bring their domestic partners here unless they're married? Is it possible for them to get married in the US? Or is this really "you have to be married and if your home country doesn't allow that I guess you're fucked?"
posted by nakedmolerats at 10:44 AM on October 2 [1 favorite]


In the cloud of toxic dust thrown up by the Kavanaugh hearings last week, two new Trump initiatives slipped by with less notice than they deserve. Both are ugly, stupid – and they are linked, though in ways not immediately apparent.
The Trump administration knows the planet is going to boil. It doesn't care.
posted by adamvasco at 10:45 AM on October 2 [12 favorites]


Is it possible for them to get married in the US? Or is this really "you have to be married and if your home country doesn't allow that I guess you're fucked?"

It is possible for them to get married in the US, but it's still "if marrying your same-gender partner in the US would totally fuck up your life in your home country, sucks to be you."
posted by Faint of Butt at 10:49 AM on October 2 [6 favorites]


h/t Josh's place:
I've been losing sleep over this appointment, and the more I think about it, the more unsettled I become. It's not whether he assaulted the woman...I can't divine the truth, no matter how sympathetic the story. What's bothering me is privilege. When I was a kid, I didn't know I was poor, or that there was limitless opportunity out there. Which was good, because many doors were already closed to me. But these kids drank their way through high school, partied, and spent weeks on the beach. Yet they're "top" students at exclusive schools, went to Ivy League colleges, graduated with honors, and now this choice example is interviewing for the Supreme Court. Not merely interviewing, but "winning" by delivering a wicked tongue lashing to the very senators who are questioning him. Nobody is so smart that they can burn so many candles and still end up whole, without a lot of help from daddy, important friends and a culture of privilege. As I rerun my life in my mind, there are no possible changes I could have ever made which would have landed me in a similar situation. And no way my humble status would ever allow me to publicly address a Senator with so much contempt (and not be charged with contempt). It's not envy keeping me awake: I wouldn't change places in a thousand thousand lifetimes. It's that the injustice of these dissolutes being in a position to exert great influence on our lives is humiliating in an unexpectedly personal way.
I went to my local version of Georgetown Prep (Jesuit high school). I was one of the poor kids that had to do work-study (janitorial work after school and on weekends) to pay a significant part of my tuition. I saw these Kavanaugh types. They were in my classes but, almost to a one, they were immiscible with us squares.

(recently I decided to forego my reunion, having realized i really didn't have anything to say to most of the people that would be there. Partly in light of seeing this entitled prick sliding down the greased chute to a lifetime appointment.)
posted by notsnot at 10:58 AM on October 2 [66 favorites]


These guys are just obsessed with dominance, with expressing their physical power and control over someone rendered helpless to resist, and for whatever reason are unable to express it as a consensual kink like anyone normal would. They're profoundly broken human beings ...

If Mark Judge was poorer and less connected, he'd be a twitter troll; and if he was richer and more connected, he'd be Steve Bannon. It's a spectrum.

As Judge's brother, Michael described him in 1997:
"And that’s it, that’s the real problem—not alcoholism or a lousy childhood or an abusive father. Mark is a solipsist: spoiled as a child, gazing always inward, unable to recognize any pain but his own. That is why he could not come to understand or forgive my father, in the way that all adult sons must eventually understand and forgive. Mark never left home long enough to see my father not as the ogre snoring in the other room but as a human being."
This Mediamatters collection of links to pieces by and about Judge demonstrates that he is such a head-shakingly stereotypical fedora-tipper, that I'd be surprised to learn that he wasn't a gamergater. He seems to have spent his career, in part, at least, as a pen-for-hire for the right-wing outrage industry.
posted by octobersurprise at 10:59 AM on October 2 [34 favorites]


> "The conservative is warier than her liberal counterpart about the darker impulses and desires that lurk in men and women, more doubtful of their perfectibility, skeptical of and opposed to the engineering of individual souls, and more inclined to celebrate freedom moderated by law, custom, education, and culture.

I mean, that is literally a self-refuting sentence.
posted by klarck at 11:01 AM on October 2 [14 favorites]


No, dude, the calls are coming from inside the house. They have been since the 60s.

More like the 1780s. Ever since the Articles of Confederation there's been a tension between the desire/need for a strong, functional federal government and the idea that states should be sovereign with the power to pass their own laws that accede to no higher authority. There were compromises made to get the Constitution ratified, and subsequently a number of states (mostly southern) have chafed at the idea that the federal government and United States Supreme Court apply to them. The Nullification Crisis was ostensibly over tariffs, but its primary instigator was John C. Calhoun, whose U.S. Senate biography says:
A staunch defender of the institution of slavery, Calhoun was the Senate's most prominent states' rights advocate, and his doctrine of nullification professed that individual states had a right to reject federal policies that they deemed unconstitutional.
Slavery (and associated racism) is inseparable from the other arguments for nullification.

There is a similar tension over land use going back to the creation of the U.S. Forest Service under the leadership of Gifford Pinchot. He's credited as there as "the 'father' of American conservation" but that's necessarily in conflict with his philosophy of the "greatest good for the greatest number." In practice what that philosophy meant was that he was often biased towards resource extraction, and he supported projects that other environmentalists opposed:
Pinchot clashed with other leaders of the environmental movement, including John Muir, in the debate over the damming of the Hetch Hetchy Valley in Yosemite National Park. Although the Hetch Hetchy was a place of great beauty, Pinchot’s personal priorities lay in providing resources to a growing citizenry. Consequently, he disagreed with Muir about the ethics of damming the valley and supported the creation of a water reservoir.
Both these tensions are alive and (un)well in the 21st century, with Republican efforts to weaken the courts' ability to overturn unconstitutional laws continuing the same shit that goes back to the fight over "states' rights" that was part of the original battle over the nature of a federal government. Racist legislators in multiple states who are doing everything they can to disenfranchise black voters are relegislating laws they don't like that go back to the Civil War. In some ways I don't think the Civil War ever ended. It just became a cold war.

And on the land use side, arguments about, say, the best use of the Arctic National Wildlife Reserve, the size and land use restrictions on Bears Ears National Monument, or the Trump administration's numerous assaults on clean air and water represent the "profit over all others" motives of those who favor resource extraction. That gets some buy-in from various state lawmakers in the west who think they stand to gain if federal lands are deaccessioned or if use restrictions are lifted, so there's another coalition that broadly supports the idea of nullifying federal law or control if they don't like it or can't profit from it.

These fights go back a lot further than 50 years. They're foundational.
posted by fedward at 11:02 AM on October 2 [29 favorites]


I've been losing sleep over this appointment, and the more I think about it, the more unsettled I become. It's not whether he assaulted the woman...I can't divine the truth, no matter how sympathetic the story.

FUCK THIS GUY AND EVERYONE LIKE HIM.

These men are not allies. We’ll take their help if it keeps Kavanaugh off the court. But they’re not friends, and they’re not allies, and we know they don’t have our backs. They’re the next enemy.
posted by schadenfrau at 11:04 AM on October 2 [53 favorites]


This morning we were talking about the Trump nominating Kavanaugh and why the nom’ hasn’t been withdrawn. Why Kav in the first place? There are plenty of reasonable suppositions floating around the most plausible I’ve heard being Kennedy made it a ‘condition’ of his retiring, that Kav (who clerked for him) would get the nod.
Seems legit, but why would Kennedy offer up a guy he had to know was going to cause such a hullabaloo?

If you go back to basics you remember that Trump ruins everything - and in a ‘deal’ he has to ruin the other side. So, he makes a deal with the evangelicals, “you vote for me, I’ll get you your supremes.” They vote for him and Kennedy retires (is eased out) and Trump is provided with a list of twenty odd, totally acceptable to the federalist society (read:Right-as-all-getout) jurists and he gets a little background on them and smells, in Kavanaugh, his chance. He meets Kavanaugh and can tell this is his guy. A fellow pussy-grabber. Trump thinks to himself, “They want me to pick one of their judges? You betcha, this is the guy - this guy who is going to fuck it all up for them, this one guy who has the potential to poop the bed like a black-out drunk frat boy in the wee wee hours? Oh baby is he the one and fuck those pushy, sanctimonious jerks.”

Because Trump ruins everything. It’s what he does best. He picked the worst jurist they presented him with and he’s letting him dangle and everyone who backs him, dangle with him. And he’s not doing a thing, “he’s your guy, I said give me a list, you gave me a list. Not my fault.”

Sadly, im not enjoying it all half as much as I thought I would, watching Trump compulsively fuck his ‘partners.’ He’s ruined even that.
posted by From Bklyn at 11:08 AM on October 2 [12 favorites]


Because Trump ruins everything. It’s what he does best. He picked the worst jurist they presented him with

I totally agree with that assessment and preamble to it because I have thought all along:

Trump picked the worst jurist they presented him with because Kavanaugh is exactly like Trump and Trump can spot himself a mile away.
posted by bluesky43 at 11:14 AM on October 2 [34 favorites]


Republican senator Bob Corker of Tennessee, he said, “I know this is enjoyable to y’all.”

Once again, Republicans let us know exactly who they are, unintentionally, but clearly. He assumes that because he is deeply uncomfortable, the women must be enjoying themselves. Let that sink in.
posted by Mental Wimp at 11:16 AM on October 2 [105 favorites]


Memo to Howard Schultz, Mark Zuckerberg, Michael Avenatti, Tom Steyer, Mark Cuban et al:

If you've been watching Trump's performance and have come to the conclusion that what America needs in the Oval Office is another wealthy white man with no experience in government or civic engagement, I don't know what to say to you other than please sit the fuck down, you clueless privileged solipsistic assholes.
posted by Two unicycles and some duct tape at 11:16 AM on October 2 [128 favorites]


Because Trump ruins everything. It’s what he does best. He picked the worst jurist they presented him with

This is a very common corporate tactic for corporations that are skirting the law in some way. You hire the least qualified person you can find, because then you can control them and they are just so grateful for the job. You rule everything and the hiree is just a proxy.
posted by nanook at 11:21 AM on October 2 [15 favorites]


They vote for him and Kennedy retires (is eased out) and Trump is provided with a list of twenty odd, totally acceptable to the federalist society (read:Right-as-all-getout) jurists and he gets a little background on them and smells, in Kavanaugh, his chance.

Kavanaugh wasn't on Trump's original list, so nominating him is another broken campaign promise. Trump almost certainly picked Kavanaugh because of his devotion to presidential power
posted by kirkaracha at 11:24 AM on October 2 [28 favorites]


Picking Kavanaugh isn't necessarily screwing over the evangelical base in any way whatsoever. The misogyny is a bonus. For them, a jurist overturning Roe who probably assaulted a lot of women is preferable to one who probably didn't. Gorsuch was okay; Kavanaugh is now a saint in their ersatz relgion.
posted by InTheYear2017 at 11:25 AM on October 2 [4 favorites]


Once again, Republicans let us know exactly who they are, unintentionally, but clearly. He assumes that because he is deeply uncomfortable, the women must be enjoying themselves. Let that sink in.

I think he's not as much uncomfortable, but in his view these women harassing him are nothing more than political actors. The idea that their concerns might be sincere and heartfelt just isn't even on the table.

Because that's how he acts. As nothing more than a political actor. Without sincerity or heartfelt beliefs.

Granny Weatherwax used to say, "sin ... is when you treat people as things." Corker is a sinner.
posted by mikelieman at 11:26 AM on October 2 [24 favorites]


Also, in reference to my thesis (These fights go back a lot further than 50 years. They're foundational.) I want to go back to something sotonohito said yesterday:

We're at the end of an era, and it remains to be seen what the next era will be like. I do know that we'll have to struggle to get a good, or even mildly tolerable, future out of the change. The forces of wealth, bigotry, and authoritarianism are working overtime these days, and winning quite a few of the contests. So far that's been sub-world war level, and often not war at all.

What's been bouncing around my head since 2016 is the question of whether the union can and should be saved. Trump's electoral victory showed the emerging strength of "fuck you, I've got mine" as a political platform. It's particularly interesting and worrisome because of how much the "fuck you" is explicit (and Kavanaugh is certainly an example of that), and because so much of the support for it comes from people who are only going to get fucked by it. When people only understand government as a thing that keeps them from doing what they want to the most extreme limit possible, that's about as anti-federal as you can get.

The cynicism of, say, Mitch McConnell is in using the strength of the federal system to weaken it from the inside. The anti-federalists may have already weakened the union to the point it's not doing its job anyway, and the Democratic Party hasn't really been very effective at stopping that. It's not really good at being an opposition party, and nothing else has risen up into that position. If the union can't be saved, and I'm not sure it can, I worry about the ability of, well, effete intellectuals (such as myself) to take the necessary steps to create a new, more functional one.
posted by fedward at 11:32 AM on October 2 [8 favorites]


Jason Kander just dropped out of the Kansas City mayoral election citing a need to focus on treatment for his PTSD.
posted by cmfletcher at 11:32 AM on October 2 [22 favorites]


Military Times, Defense Secretary Mattis and the Navy’s top officer targeted in suspected ricin mail attack at Pentagon
At least two packages mailed to the Pentagon this week are believed to contain the poison ricin, and the FBI is now investigating them, the Pentagon said Tuesday.

The packages were addressed to Defense Secretary Jim Mattis and Chief of Naval Operations Adm. John Richardson, a defense official said on the condition of not being named. The packages triggered alarms Monday as they were undergoing security screening at an off-site mail processing center.

“It’s suspected to be ricin,” said Pentagon spokesman Chris Sherwood.
WHAT THE EVERLOVING FUCK?

In addition, Sen. Cruz's campaign office was evacuated after they received mail with a "white powdery substance." The fire department said tests for hazardous materials were negative.
posted by zachlipton at 11:34 AM on October 2 [12 favorites]


mikelieman Exactly. It goes with the way the people on the right keep talking about "virtue signaling".

To them there's no such thing as virtue. Not really. So anyone who appears virtuous, or makes an argument from virtue must in their minds be doing it for no reason but to display virtue for some nefarious end. It is impossible for them to conceive of a white man who actually thinks that white privilege, and male privilege, are things. Thus any white man who discusses or acknowledges those things must be desperately trying to garner favor from some group by "virtue signaling".

It's like how, after some white male celebrity or other is caught in some moment of distress and screaming bigoted insults and some other white male celebrity or commentator feels moved to observe that we need to be understanding because "we've all" said or done similar things ourselves, and thus its hypocritical to come down on Mel Gibson, or Michael Richards, or whoever for being caught on tape saying what "we've all" said in private. The idea of a white man who doesn't privately express racism in the most awful terms possible is just alien to their way of thinking. It's literally inconceivable.

So here's Corker, a man who is mostly motivated by political calculation blithely assuming that the women confronting him over Kavanaugh are, like him, just cold bloodedly calculating that they have an advantage over him and can exploit it. Therefore they must be enjoying themselves, because exercising advantage over others is pleasurable to him.
posted by sotonohito at 11:35 AM on October 2 [42 favorites]


[Folks, let's not go down the well-trod roads of "probably civil war is inevitable" or "ugh these fuckers, let's look deep into their souls" - let's try to keep the signal high in here, focusing on updates on actual current events,]
posted by LobsterMitten (staff) at 11:37 AM on October 2 [16 favorites]


cmfletcher: "Jason Kander just dropped out of the Kansas City mayoral election citing a need to focus on treatment for his PTSD."

Shit, that's really disappointing. I hope he's able to get himself in a good place.
posted by Chrysostom at 11:46 AM on October 2 [37 favorites]


"4 members of an alt-right “fight club” charged with inciting a riot in Charlottesville"

The arrestees were Cole Evan White, Benjamin Drake Daley, Michael Paul Miselis, and Thomas Walter Gillen, all from Southern California. According to the charging documents, the four were members of the “Rise Above Movement,” an alt-right “fight club” of sorts, and had taken part in violent attacks on counterprotesters at Charlottesville. The government asserts that the four traveled from California to Virginia “with intent to incite a riot.”
Cole White was the "demonstrator" referred to in this, the greatest of all WaPo headlines:
"Charlottesville white nationalist demonstrator loses job at libertarian hot dog shop"
posted by octobersurprise at 11:51 AM on October 2 [61 favorites]


McConnell tweaks strategy for Kavanaugh confirmation
The Kentucky Republican is currently planning a move to end debate on the nomination by midweek, forcing a critical procedural vote as early as Friday, which would set up a final vote on Kavanaugh early next week. But that timetable means the FBI investigation must be complete by Wednesday, and that’s where the situation becomes dicey for McConnell. The Senate will not want to vote until the FBI report is completed, according to an agreement reached by undecided senators and GOP leaders.

If the FBI doesn’t meet that Wednesday deadline, McConnell and Senate GOP leaders are likely to wait until the FBI report arrives before moving to end debate and starting the countdown clock on Kavanaugh, if only to avoid alienating the Collins-Murkowski-Flake group, according to GOP senators. That could delay the confirmation since Democrats are likely to use their procedural leverage to string out any Kavanaugh vote as long as they can.
posted by kirkaracha at 11:52 AM on October 2 [5 favorites]


Broader FBI Probe Into Kavanaugh Still Faces Some Limits, Source Says
...the White House hasn’t asked the FBI to do a full-throttle probe of Kavanaugh’s use of alcohol or whether he intentionally gave false testimony to the Senate committee, the person said. The FBI has also been told to finish the probe by Friday, meaning there are time limits on what agents can do.
posted by kirkaracha at 11:55 AM on October 2 [4 favorites]


Grassley: FBI report on Kavanaugh likely won't be released
Senate Judiciary Chairman Chuck Grassley (R-Iowa) said Tuesday that he doesn’t anticipate the FBI’s final report from its inquiry into Brett Kavanaugh would be made public, adding that such a break from protocol “might actually hurt” the bureau’s ability to conduct such probes.

All 100 senators will have access to the report in a secure setting, but Republicans are worried about breaking precedent by releasing such information, which will be made available before the Senate votes this week on Kavanaugh's Supreme Court nomination, according to GOP leaders.
posted by kirkaracha at 12:00 PM on October 2 [7 favorites]


Rise Above Movement is just a group of assholes who travel to protests for the opportunity to assault people. Hope they're off the streets awhile.
posted by Pope Guilty at 12:02 PM on October 2 [1 favorite]


Republicans are worried about breaking precedent...

Is there a Pulitzer for comedy in journalism?
posted by Behemoth at 12:05 PM on October 2 [72 favorites]


> All 100 senators will have access to the report in a secure setting, but Republicans are worried about breaking precedent by releasing such information, which will be made available before the Senate votes this week on Kavanaugh's Supreme Court nomination, according to GOP leaders.

Presumably in this case one of the democratic senators will either leak it or read it into the record pentagon papers style?
posted by Reclusive Novelist Thomas Pynchon at 12:06 PM on October 2 [12 favorites]


In other Special Counsel news, the FT reports, Money Laundering Expert to Leave Robert Mueller Team—departure comes after Paul Manafort avoided second trial with guilty plea

This worries me a lot. I've been assuming that the Mangled Apricot Hellbeast was up to his wattled neck in the money-laundering business. If Mueller hasn't charged him with that yet, this signals he won't be. I was hoping that that charge would be the easiest, most criminal, and highly disqualifying of all of them and lead to his immediate resignation. Now, I'm hoping he has DJT on even more solid charges, like tax evasion, bribery, and colluding with a foreign state to disrupt the US 2016 election.
posted by Mental Wimp at 12:09 PM on October 2 [6 favorites]


@PeterAlexander: NEW: While Dr. Ford’s legal team has repeatedly reached out to the FBI, the FBI does not currently have plans to interview her.
A source familiar with the matter says the White House feels her testimony last Thursday was sufficient. @GeoffRBennett @JuliaEAinsley

"The White House feels," as if this should be up to them. This is so incredibly pathetic.
posted by zachlipton at 12:10 PM on October 2 [54 favorites]


Presumably in this case one of the democratic senators will either leak it or read it into the record pentagon papers style?

Sounds more like they will be allowed to look at it in the secure room, but not take it out or take photos.
posted by M-x shell at 12:13 PM on October 2 [5 favorites]


So, we know McConnell filed an amicus brief in a case pending before the Supreme court. How is it not possible for us to stop any nomination until that case is heard and decided. McConnell shouldn't be able to pick judges for a case where he has an interest, no? At the very least, he should be recused.

Edit to say, wait it's Grassley who filed? I'm sorry, I should have looked that up first.
posted by SecretAgentSockpuppet at 12:14 PM on October 2 [4 favorites]


This worries me a lot. I've been assuming that the Mangled Apricot Hellbeast was up to his wattled neck in the money-laundering business.

we go a little overboard with the speculating and the armchair diagnoses in here.
posted by prize bull octorok at 12:15 PM on October 2 [8 favorites]


Said Trump: “It is a scary time for young men in America. You can be accused before you prove your innocence.”

Asked if he had a message for young women, Trump said: “Women are doing great.”


I must conclude that there is no god because this buffoon isn't struck with lightning every day, repeatedly.
posted by petebest at 12:17 PM on October 2 [79 favorites]




This worries me a lot. I've been assuming that the Mangled Apricot Hellbeast was up to his wattled neck in the money-laundering business.

I thought it suggested more the opposite: that Mueller's got what he needs to indict Trump for money laundering (including what he got from Manafort) and doesn't need a specialist to look into it.
posted by kirkaracha at 12:19 PM on October 2 [16 favorites]


I must conclude that there is no god because this buffoon isn't struck with lightning every day, repeatedly.

per the bible, terrible ungodly world leaders are basically God's favorite thing to drop into the sandbox.
posted by prize bull octorok at 12:20 PM on October 2 [25 favorites]


Sounds more like they will be allowed to look at it in the secure room, but not take it out or take photos.

No doubt as with the intel the GWB WH shared with the Senate in the runup to the Iraq War, nobody will bother to make a visit the room.
posted by notyou at 12:21 PM on October 2


NYT with a big major feature, Trump Engaged in Suspect Tax Schemes as He Reaped Riches From His Father: The president has long sold himself as a self-made billionaire, but a Times investigation found that he received at least $413 million in today’s dollars from his father’s real estate empire, much of it through tax dodges in the 1990s.
President Trump participated in dubious tax schemes during the 1990s, including instances of outright fraud, that greatly increased the fortune he received from his parents, an investigation by The New York Times has found.
...
These maneuvers met with little resistance from the Internal Revenue Service, The Times found. The president’s parents, Fred and Mary Trump, transferred well over $1 billion in wealth to their children, which could have produced a tax bill of at least $550 million under the 55 percent tax rate then imposed on gifts and inheritances.

The Trumps paid a total of $52.2 million, or about 5 percent, tax records show.
...
By age 3, Mr. Trump was earning $200,000 a year in today’s dollars from his father’s empire. He was a millionaire by age 8. By the time he was 17, his father had given him part ownership of a 52-unit apartment building. Soon after Mr. Trump graduated from college, he was receiving the equivalent of $1 million a year from his father. The money increased with the years, to more than $5 million annually in his 40s and 50s.
This is a fascinatingly detailed piece of reporting, and I can't help but wonder, not that anything would have mattered, why we're reading it several years into his Presidency rather than during the campaign.

The broader question is that this seems to be based on a giant trove of Fred Trump's financial and tax documents—hundreds of returns and over 100,000 pages of documents—and I'm fascinated to know how that came to be.

This seems like the perfect place to also mention ProPublica's story yesterday on the extent to which we don't enforce the tax laws against rich people anymore: After Budget Cuts, the IRS’ Work Against Tax Cheats Is Facing “Collapse”: After Budget Cuts, the IRS’ Work Against Tax Cheats Is Facing “Collapse.”
posted by zachlipton at 12:21 PM on October 2 [92 favorites]


In 2016, McConnell Threatened to Frame Pre-Election Intelligence About Russians as a Partisan Attack, New Book Reveals - Matthew Zeitlin, Slate

The book is The Apprentice: Trump, Russia, and the Subversion of American Democracy, by Greg Miller (Wapo Review)
While the broad outlines of this story have been known for a long time, Miller’s account adds a new level of detail to McConnell’s political machinations in the run-up to the election. In a Frontline documentary from November, Miller said that the Obama administration was “so concerned about politicizing intelligence” that aides didn’t want Obama himself to publicly denounce the Russians without the support and buy-in of leaders in Congress—including Republicans.
posted by ZeusHumms at 12:26 PM on October 2 [27 favorites]


The broader question is that this seems to be based on a giant trove of Fred Trump's financial and tax documents—hundreds of returns and over 100,000 pages of documents—and I'm fascinated to know how that came to be.

Trump Org CFO Allen Weisselberg?
posted by notyou at 12:26 PM on October 2 [12 favorites]


If you'd like the carpool lane version (which is itself nearly 2,500 words) of the long story (13,000 words), the Times did that too because they know people don't read and 'tis better to aggregate thyself than be aggregated: 11 Takeaways From The Times’s Investigation Into Trump’s Wealth
posted by zachlipton at 12:28 PM on October 2 [27 favorites]


Trump Engaged in Suspect Tax Schemes as He Reaped Riches From His Father

Well, I'd like to see ol Donny Trump wriggle his way out of THIS jam!
*Trump wriggles his way out of the jam easily*
Ah! Well. Nevertheless,

In a Frontline documentary from November, Miller said that the Obama administration was “so concerned about politicizing intelligence” that aides didn’t want Obama himself to publicly denounce the Russians without the support and buy-in of leaders in Congress—including Republicans.

Boy am I relieved that US intelligence agencies haven't been politicized. Legacy: secured.
posted by Rust Moranis at 12:29 PM on October 2 [29 favorites]


I thought it suggested more the opposite: that Mueller's got what he needs to indict Trump for money laundering (including what he got from Manafort) and doesn't need a specialist to look into it.

I would also observe that the discovery and analysis of the accounting is a pretty mechanical thing, and there's a non-zero chance that their work for Mueller's team is simply done, and there's nothing else for them unless they're called to testify. No point in revising the report AGAIN...
posted by mikelieman at 12:33 PM on October 2 [9 favorites]


While the broad outlines of this story have been known for a long time, Miller’s account adds a new level of detail to McConnell’s political machinations in the run-up to the election.

"Political machinations"?! Obama had McConnell briefed on what the Russians were up to, and McConnell not only refused to denounce Russia's attack on our electoral system, but he also threatened to claim publicly that the intelligence he'd just been briefed on didn't exist, and claim any public warning by Obama was just political grandstanding.

I've said it before, but McConnell committed treason on that day.
posted by Gelatin at 12:35 PM on October 2 [142 favorites]


11 Takeaways From The Times’s Investigation Into Trump’s Wealth

Among the Trumps' numerous highly suspect business practices, here's the deal that clearly involves actual, undeniable fraud:
The Trumps created a company that siphoned cash from the empire

The first major component was creating a company called All County Building Supply & Maintenance. On paper, All County was Fred Trump’s purchasing agent, buying everything from boilers to cleaning supplies. But All County was, in fact, a company only on paper, records and interviews show — a vehicle to siphon cash from Fred Trump’s empire by simply marking up purchases already made by his employees. Those millions in markups, effectively untaxed gifts, then flowed to All County’s owners — Donald Trump, his siblings and a cousin.

Lee-Ford Tritt, a leading expert in gift and estate tax law at the University in Florida, said the Trumps’ use of All County was “highly suspicious” and could constitute criminal tax fraud. “It certainly looks like a disguised gift,” he said.
n.b. "According to tax experts, it is unlikely that Mr. Trump would be vulnerable to criminal prosecution for helping his parents evade taxes, because the acts happened too long ago and are past the statute of limitations. There is no time limit, however, on civil fines for tax fraud."
posted by Doktor Zed at 12:43 PM on October 2 [21 favorites]


Nancy Pelosi Not On Board With Impeaching Brett Kavanaugh

“That would not be my plan,” she added, saying Democrats are “not about dividing the country. We’re about ‘E pluribus unum.’”

That feeling when you realize institutions comprised of people over the age of 70 will not save you
posted by Rust Moranis at 12:44 PM on October 2 [115 favorites]


President Trump participated in dubious tax schemes during the 1990s, including instances of outright fraud, that greatly increased the fortune he received from his parents, an investigation by The New York Times has found.

No reason to be preemptively pessimistic about whether this reporting amounts to anything. At the very least, it gives the Democrats of the incoming House Majority (T, T, T, C, S, vote, and donate) something new and juicy to work with when they subpoena the president’s tax returns.
posted by saturday_morning at 12:45 PM on October 2 [3 favorites]


11 Takeaways From The Times’s Investigation Into Trump’s Wealth
In all, the president’s parents transferred well over $1 billion in wealth to their children, which could have produced a tax bill of at least $550 million under the 55 percent tax rate on gifts and inheritances that was in place at the time. Helped by a variety of tax dodges, the Trumps paid $52.2 million, or about 5 percent, tax returns show.
So he started of by cheating the US out of half a billion dollars and has been stealing from us ever since.
posted by kirkaracha at 12:45 PM on October 2 [54 favorites]


“That would not be my plan,” she added, saying Democrats are “not about dividing the country. We’re about ‘E pluribus unum.’”

That feeling when you realize institutions comprised of people over the age of 70 will not save you


It could just be here saying it's not her plan today. Plans can change and they often do!
posted by M-x shell at 12:55 PM on October 2 [13 favorites]


“That would not be my plan,” she added, saying Democrats are “not about dividing the country. We’re about ‘E pluribus unum.’”

I remember being furious with Pelosi on inauguration day, when she couldn't have looked happier to welcome Trump into his new position, even literally giving him the pen to sign his papers.

Now I read her comment as a preview into what we can expect even if the Dems were to retake the House and the Senate. We'll always have our "Look forward, not at obvious crimes and attempts to destroy democracy backward" contingency, and they'll fight any moves to impeach Trump, Kavanaugh, and whomever else. It's about uniting with the hostage-taker, not breaking free and punishing him, you see.
posted by Rykey at 1:00 PM on October 2 [11 favorites]


Every single Dem should start to refer to him as "Tax-dodge Donnie" from now on, especially Elizabeth Warren. Hammer him with it relentlessly. he hasn't released his tax returns, he isn't really a billionaire, he's not self-made. In fact the press corps should do it too. Every time he insults a female reporter the next person called upon should re-ask the question he dodged while saying "you've earned the title as a tax dodger, but you can't dodge this question...."
posted by OHenryPacey at 1:00 PM on October 2 [32 favorites]


> and they'll fight any moves to impeach Trump, Kavanaugh, and whomever else. It's about uniting with the hostage-taker, not breaking free and punishing him, you see.

That’s why we gotta bully the democrats into groveling to us instead of to the republicans.
posted by Reclusive Novelist Thomas Pynchon at 1:02 PM on October 2 [15 favorites]


yes let’s all focus our efforts on criticizing our true enemy, the democrats
posted by Huffy Puffy at 1:03 PM on October 2 [42 favorites]


11 Takeaways From The Times’s Investigation Into Trump’s Wealth

The most amusing part about that article is the picture of the cover of The Art of the Deal with this caption: In Mr. Trump’s version of how he got rich, he was the master dealmaker who parlayed a $1 million loan from his father into a $10 billion empire.

The second most amusing part is this quote, which really needs a [sic] for that grocer's apostrophe: Mr. Harder, the president’s lawyer, said: “All estate matters were handled by licensed attorneys, licensed C.P.A.’s and licensed real estate appraisers who followed all laws and rules strictly.”

Third most amusing: But as it turned out, banks at the time valued the empire at hundreds of millions more than the sale price. Donald Trump, master dealmaker, had sold low.

*sad trombone*
posted by elsietheeel at 1:03 PM on October 2 [5 favorites]


Whats the point of impeachment? Get the Republicans on record a second time as supporting him, when they just voted for him?

It's not like its possible to remove him from office (if you cant get any Republicans to defect from confirming him, a weaker move, there's no chance you get 15 or so to vote to remove even if Dems end up with 51 or 52 seats)
posted by thefoxgod at 1:04 PM on October 2 [1 favorite]


Well, we've heard what the Democratic House leader has to say.

Let's hope the Democratic Senate leader is at least willing to make a somewhat stronger statem—

SCHUMER: if Dems take over the Senate, we will have to look at setting the SCOTUS nominee requirement back up to 60 votes
posted by Atom Eyes at 1:05 PM on October 2 [30 favorites]


What was that old joke? The GOP is the opposition but the Senate is the enemy?

Except for the unwilling-to-learn-the-new-game leaders of the party.
posted by Slackermagee at 1:08 PM on October 2 [4 favorites]


Now I read her comment as a preview into what we can expect even if the Dems were to retake the House and the Senate. We'll always have our "Look forward, not at obvious crimes and attempts to destroy democracy backward" contingency, and they'll fight any moves to impeach Trump, Kavanaugh, and whomever else. It's about uniting with the hostage-taker, not breaking free and punishing him, you see.

Exactly. Why wasn't W. held to account for war crimes? Why didn't anyone go to jail for the financial crisis? It's degrading to the national wellbeing to have Democrats forgiving and forgetting when their rich buddies commit crimes.

But it's ever thus. It's not a surprise. With occasional exceptions, wealthy Democrats have more in common with wealthy Republicans than they will ever have with the likes of us. Their class interests lie in making nice, not rocking the boat, dishing out sweet patronage dollars and going on the lecture circuit after they leave office. They don't have to worry about tuition for their kids or healthcare as they age - they're rich.

That's why we have to elect the leftmost available candidates and we have to join and fund mass organizations, whether that's unions, DSA or local orgs. We need to be able to vote the bums out, and we need people who share our values in Congress so that they can create a wedge to move the rest of them.
posted by Frowner at 1:09 PM on October 2 [62 favorites]


> yes let’s all focus our efforts on criticizing our true enemy, the democrats

Elected democrats aren’t enemies. they’re tools.
posted by Reclusive Novelist Thomas Pynchon at 1:11 PM on October 2 [18 favorites]


Every single Dem should start to refer to him as "Tax-dodge Donnie" from now on, especially Elizabeth Warren. Hammer him with it relentlessly. he hasn't released his tax returns, he isn't really a billionaire, he's not self-made.

This rhetoric does not reach any Trump voters or even really anybody but a narrow demographic that already votes D. Republicans don't care that he's a criminal because all of them, down to every last voter, have put their stamp of approval on criminality. Him being a not-actually-really-rich person doesn't matter to the base (and many non-voters as well) because he gets all the toys and treats of a rich person and acts the way they would act if they scammed and conned their way into money anyway, so why care if he's actually a millionaire and not a billionaire? For potential future D-voting current non-voters, realizing that only a rich cheater and not a mega-rich oligarch might make them more likely to vote for him in 2020, not less. It makes him an antihero, and Americans love a rule-breaking bad-boy.
posted by Rust Moranis at 1:11 PM on October 2 [12 favorites]


yes let’s all focus our efforts on criticizing our true enemy, the democrats

1. It's not "the Democrats" so much as "the most influential Democrats in Congress"
2. They're not "true enemies" so much as "really shitty friends sometimes"

(On preview: what Reclusive Novelist Thomas Pynchon said.)
posted by Rykey at 1:13 PM on October 2 [4 favorites]


I think many/most Republicans/libertarians view not paying taxes as almost a sacred duty, not a problem.
posted by thefoxgod at 1:14 PM on October 2 [28 favorites]


Hoo boy, let's let Pelosi take the gavel before we decide she's a groveling sellout.

Any conciliatory noises she makes now are probably meant for the press and the wobbly middle, who both want to see responsible leadership to counter Trump and positioning for some really tough battles ahead.

There will still be a government to run in January 2019 and Pelosi likely will have a weak hand (only the House majority), and maybe a middling to good one (a slim Senate majority) to play against the strong hand the WH gives Trump. Some comments today about ending division can help her claim that territory so the inevitable logjam gets blamed on Trump's inability to lead rather than the Democrats' determination to obstruct.
posted by notyou at 1:17 PM on October 2 [24 favorites]


That feeling when you realize institutions comprised of people over the age of 70 will not save you

TFW your ideological cohorts sometimes drop shitty garbage agism into their reasonable objections.
posted by phearlez at 1:20 PM on October 2 [32 favorites]


On taking the stage at the electrical contractors convention, Pres is presented with a contractors hardhat. At first he hesitates to put it on. "I'm afraid I'll mess up my hair." But then he puts it on for a few seconds, asking if his hair still looked okay when he took it off
posted by growabrain at 1:20 PM on October 2 [2 favorites]


SCHUMER: if Dems take over the Senate, we will have to look at setting the SCOTUS nominee requirement back up to 60 votes

As a strategy this isn't bad. While Trump is president, even if we take the Senate we're not appointing judges, just approving them. So why have Jones or whatever red state D having to hang in and be the one vote that stops a Trump judge when with a 60 vote margin, the Rs are nowhere close to what they need so no single D takes the hit.

And then you dump the 60 vote requirement if we win in 2020 the first time Rs hold somebody up with it.
posted by chris24 at 1:21 PM on October 2 [19 favorites]


[Let's not go around the "mainsteam Dems are lamestream Dems" vs "they're the best we can do" vs whatever thing again. And psychology of repub's. You all know we've done this dance plenty of times, it's like reciting a catechism at this point. Aiming for actual updates in here. Venting thread is there for emotions. If you're just bored go check out funny memes; or hand tools; or Indian hitchhiker in America; or best science journalism; or first impressions of Bohemian Rhapsody; or Wrath of Khan the musical; or help a Mefite find the right potatoes.]
posted by LobsterMitten (staff) at 1:21 PM on October 2 [44 favorites]


You folks every play the game Papers Please? You're a passport inspector for a totalitarian regime, and every day, you receive a memo stating some new absurdity: only people with these permits are allowed in, detain anybody with those stamps. Anyway, I feel like that pattern, a constant barrage of absurdities coming down from the government, has become our lives. As a case in point:

APNewsBreak: Trump’s EPA moving to loosen radiation limits
The Trump administration is quietly moving to weaken U.S. radiation regulations, turning to scientific outliers who argue that a bit of radiation damage is actually good for you — like a little bit of sunlight.

The government’s current, decades-old guidance says that any exposure to harmful radiation is a cancer risk. And critics say the proposed change could lead to higher levels of exposure for workers at nuclear installations and oil and gas drilling sites, medical workers doing X-rays and CT scans, people living next to Superfund sites and any members of the public who one day might find themselves exposed to a radiation release.
...
The proposed rule would require regulators to consider “various threshold models across the exposure range” when it comes to dangerous substances.

While it does not specify that it’s addressing radiation and chemicals, an EPA news release on the rule quotes Calabrese as saying it would: “The proposal represents a major scientific step forward by recognizing the widespread occurrence of non-linear dose responses in toxicology and epidemiology for chemicals and radiation and the need to incorporate such data in the risk assessment process.”
posted by zachlipton at 1:22 PM on October 2 [26 favorites]


people living next to Superfund sites and any members of the public who one day might find themselves exposed to a radiation release.

Right in time for the excavation of the Westlake Landfill.
posted by fluttering hellfire at 1:27 PM on October 2 [3 favorites]


One of the important lessons from the Kavanaugh debacle is the concept of open secrets. Kavanaugh was sailing along in the confirmation, the Republican narrative being the dominant one, even though I suppose, that some news outlets and interest groups were looking into his past. Hell, I was convinced that he was a right-wing nut with a choirboy past. While the Ford (et al.) accusations may have required specific people to have come forward, a lot of these other matters could have come up with some good research. The fact that he was a belligerent, hard partying teen/young adult should have been easy to uncover. I know that it would not have been enough to derail him (hell, sexual assault may not be enough), it was there.

Stormy Daniels told of her affair in a small magazine back in 2010 (? exact year, uncertain). It did not come up pre-election even though there was a lot of scouring of Trump's past.

One of Trump's federal judges ran a ghost exorcism business -- which came out after he was confirmed.

The information is there, waiting to be exposed. There has to be some coordinated way of finding it for future nominees.
posted by dances_with_sneetches at 1:30 PM on October 2 [22 favorites]


It’s not (just) to ratchet up the involuted, higher-dimensional Kafkafuckery, it’s because you know one of their cronies somewhere down the line was taking a .001% haircut on profits because they had to comply with existing regs, and that kind of interference with the Affairs of Self-Made Men is simply intolerable.
posted by adamgreenfield at 1:32 PM on October 2 [3 favorites]


- It makes him an anti-hero, and Americans love a rule-breaking bad-boy.

Americans are idiots, and I long for the day we're annexed by Canada.

Mother Jones: The Craziest Conspiracy Theories to Emerge From the Kavanaugh Hearings featuring hypnosis, Coca-Cola sponsorship, and Amy Schumer.

Also MoJo: Amazon announced today it would raise the minimum wage for all its warehouse workers to $15 an hour starting next month. The raise in wages will effect its 250,000 full and part-time warehouse workers as well as over 100,000 seasonal employees to be hired in upcoming months.
posted by Iris Gambol at 1:37 PM on October 2 [9 favorites]


The information is there, waiting to be exposed. There has to be some coordinated way of finding it for future nominees.

But the information is already found? I'm sure people in these very threads were talking about it. "Finding" really means "getting the mainstream media to make a fuss about it".
posted by dilaudid at 1:37 PM on October 2 [2 favorites]


> Americans are idiots, and I long for the day we're annexed by Canada.

We've got our own problems up here.
posted by The Card Cheat at 1:46 PM on October 2 [11 favorites]


Oceanside Woman Accuses Kavanaugh Of Rape In Anonymous Letter
Except I'm reading about this on patch.com, which makes me think this might not be super popular.
posted by jenfullmoon at 1:47 PM on October 2 [2 favorites]


But the information is already found? I'm sure people in these very threads were talking about it. "Finding" really means "getting the mainstream media to make a fuss about it".

There is some of that. But there are also things that don't come to light even though they are hidden in plain sight.
posted by dances_with_sneetches at 1:50 PM on October 2


Benjamin Wittes (Lawfare): If I were a senator, I would not vote to confirm Brett Kavanaugh.

These are words I write with no pleasure, but with deep sadness. Unlike many people who will read them with glee—as validating preexisting political, philosophical, or jurisprudential opposition to Kavanaugh’s nomination—I have no hostility to or particular fear of conservative jurisprudence. I have a long relationship with Kavanaugh, and I have always liked him. I have admired his career on the D.C. Circuit. I have spoken warmly of him. I have published him. I have vouched publicly for his character—more than once—and taken a fair bit of heat for doing so.
posted by growabrain at 1:52 PM on October 2 [38 favorites]


Oceanside Woman Accuses Kavanaugh Of Rape In Anonymous Letter

That's the accusation referred to in the transcript released by Feinstein's office from this comment. Basically an anonymous letter with no date, no location, nothing. Not going anywhere.
posted by Justinian at 1:52 PM on October 2




MeFites manage to curate a very very wide variety of data sources, including many not-even-remotely-mainstream outlets. Lots of information remained hidden. So in this case I don't think it is "mainstream" media that was missing it, everyone did.
posted by Bovine Love at 1:54 PM on October 2 [2 favorites]




The Wittes piece that growabrain links to is probably one of the better, more honest conservative takes I've seen. But even it has this paragraph:
Over the weekend, I listened to a number of podcasts in which liberals mocked Kavanaugh as an entitled white male refusing to face accountability for what he had done. I find the tone of these discussions nauseating—undetained by the possibility of error. I, like Jeff Flake, am haunted by doubt, by the certainty of uncertainty and the consequent possibility of injustice. I spent a lot of time this weekend thinking about Oliver Cromwell’s famous letter to the Church of Scotland in which he implored, “I beseech you, in the bowels of Christ, think it possible you may be mistaken.” I also spent some time with Learned Hand’s similar maxim, “The spirit of liberty is the spirit which is not too sure that it is right.” We all need to think it possible that we may be mistaken; we all need to be not too sure that we are right.
Excuse me while I go stand in the hallway and scream an endless column of shrieking bats from my mouth-hole.
posted by joyceanmachine at 2:05 PM on October 2 [48 favorites]


I'm not sure I'm on board detailed body language analysis by someone whose qualifications, so far as I can tell, are an arts degree? But that doesn't matter. You know how I know Kavanaugh was lying? I listened to what he said and then I compared it to reality and those two things were not the same.
posted by Justinian at 2:05 PM on October 2 [83 favorites]


Joe Manchin is a total patronizing tool. WV teacher strike leader Emily Comer is awesome. He says he called for the investigation into Kavanaugh. oh really?
posted by bluesky43 at 2:06 PM on October 2 [8 favorites]


"I studied the body language of power and comfort for my master's thesis..."

And I'm an amateur phrenologist. Have you people seen the skull-shape on this guy Kavanaugh?
posted by Atom Eyes at 2:07 PM on October 2 [20 favorites]


The Senate Judiciary Majority released a letter they received from a man who says he briefly dated Swetnick in 1993, which I will not link, that makes claims about her sexual preferences as it relates to multiple partners at once. That they would release this letter is appalling.

@qjurecic: I'm not going to link to it it, but the Senate Judiciary Committee majority's decision to release that letter is deeply gross. And I say this as someone who has been skeptical of Swetnick.

To give you a sense of the tone of this letter, @CharlesPPierce: That this letter doesn't begin "Dear Forum -- I never thought this could happen to me, but..." is the upset of the decade.

In other letter news, Dr. Ford's attorneys wrote the FBI Director : "It is inconceivable that the FBI could conduct a thorough investigation of Dr. Ford's allegations without interviewing her, Judge Kavanaugh, or the witnesses we have identified in our letters to you"
posted by zachlipton at 2:10 PM on October 2 [29 favorites]


Wow, the NYT has some saucy pdf paperwork to accompany the Trump finances article.
posted by bluesky43 at 2:12 PM on October 2 [2 favorites]


So in this case I don't think it is "mainstream" media that was missing it, everyone did.

OK, I know this doesn't do any good (and I can't cite a place where I mentioned it online because I didn't), but as soon as I saw the revelation that, despite Donald Trump being widely understood to control the Trump Organization since the early '80s, Fred Trump actually continued to own it until his death in 1999, I thought, "The Trump Organization wasn't in great shape then—I wonder how they came up with the money to pay the inheritance tax. In fact, I wonder if they even paid the inheritance tax. IN FACT, I wonder if the Organization's woes in the '90s were manufactured to depress the value of the company so they could dodge the inheritance tax..."
posted by The Tensor at 2:13 PM on October 2 [9 favorites]


oh boy bringing up the sexual history of the accuser do I have it on my board yes indeed I won rape bingo
posted by angrycat at 2:14 PM on October 2 [101 favorites]


On taking the stage at the electrical contractors convention, Pres is presented with a contractors hardhat. At first he hesitates to put it on. "I'm afraid I'll mess up my hair." But then he puts it on for a few seconds, asking if his hair still looked okay when he took it off

He's been workshopping jokes about his hair for two decades, Trump Makes a Return to Improv:
Go ahead and call it a comeback. Donald Trump has been here for years, sure, but at two press conferences over the past week, the nation has gotten a glimpse of an older edition of Trump—the freewheeling, improvisatory man who ran for president in 2016, rather than the comparatively cloistered, sclerotic one who has lived in the Oval Office.
...
It used to be like this every week. Starting in June 2015, Trump was an unusually accessible presidential candidate, giving many interviews and frequent—and often bonkers—press conferences. But from late summer 2016, shortly after the Republican National Convention and coinciding with the ascension of Steve Bannon and Kellyanne Conway on his campaign, Trump pulled back drastically.
...
Watching Trump both on Thursday and again on Monday felt like a flashback to the wild, weird days of early 2016, and it showed both his weaknesses as a leader and his strengths as a campaigner. Because his presidency has so often seemed like a joyless slog, both performances were a reminder of what Trump was like before he was president. During the two recent appearances, the president once again seemed to be enjoying himself. Returning to the old format, Trump has been funny, condescending, demagogic, and full of untruth—and once again, it’s been nearly impossible to look away.
He's back into full-on campaign mode and he desperately needs to chum the news cycle so they don't cover Kavanaugh, so funny things are coming out of his mouth again. Despite myself I got a laugh at his seemingly self-aware bit about not drinking.
posted by peeedro at 2:14 PM on October 2 [2 favorites]


The letter (it's easy to Google up if you're curious) is unbelievably gross. It also completely fails to refute anything she's claiming.
posted by prize bull octorok at 2:15 PM on October 2 [6 favorites]


I just got to the bit in the NY Times story about the kids (Robert, Donald, and Maryanne) manipulating the valuation of Fred Sr.'s estate to avoid estate taxes.

Maryanne is a federal judge. And these are serious claims about financial fraud. Even if the President cannot be penalized, I wonder if Maryanne is now at risk.
posted by suelac at 2:15 PM on October 2 [47 favorites]


@markberman: In the proud tradition of Roy Moore and Breitbart, here's a friendly outlet trying to preempt a forthcoming Kavanaugh story by laundering criticisms of that story before it publishes

@jonswaine: In 80s letter preemptively leaked to Federalist, Kavanaugh reportedly suggested to Beach Week friends that they "warn the neighbors that we’re loud, obnoxious drunks with prolific pukers among us"

I will not link The Federalist either (follow the above link and you'll get there if you want to), but it claims the Times is calling former classmates about the letter, which also says "I think we are unanimous that any girls we can beg to stay there are welcomed with open …" and "the danger of eviction is great and that would suck because of the money and because this week has big potential." It's signed "FFFFF, Bart," which matches his yearbook page (Kavanaugh testified that it was making fun of a friend's speech impediment)
posted by zachlipton at 2:27 PM on October 2 [15 favorites]


For publication day of The Fifth Risk, Michael Lewis sits down with NYMagazine in advance of his new book. This exchange stuck out from his previous interviews:
NYMag: You seem to have had no interest in the usual coverage of this administration — Who was yelling at who—

Lewis: No, no, no. I did care — the one thing I really did care about was exactly how the transition went down. To this day, there’s the question: Why? The unsatisfying answer, the answer that’s offered, is that Jared [Kushner] just had it in for Christie. But why did Trump say “We have to fire them”? Yeah, he’s ignorant, but I think there was probably a positive reason for what he did. And that is, he wanted the chaos, because among other things it let him put people in positions that the transition would never have. They vetted [Michael] Flynn out. They didn’t let him get into trouble that he wanted to get into. And I suspect Russia has something to do with it. If you had managed the government normally there would have been a lot more due diligence, a lot more windows into Trump’s relations with the Russians. So partly to cover it up, partly to muddy the water. And an instinct toward total commotion. Two weeks ago you were obsessing about the Mueller investigation. In the last four days you haven’t thought about it at all.
While Team Trump has shown a pattern of underestimating how badly upcoming books about the administration will damage them, they seem to be utterly unaware of Lewis's. He's a multiple-title bestselling author with talents for presenting complex situations as compelling, accessible narratives and laying bare enormous scandals without resorting to sensationalism. And his new work cataloging the Trump administration's fundamental government-wide incompetence is coming out in the final stretch of the midterm election campaign…
posted by Doktor Zed at 2:33 PM on October 2 [39 favorites]


zachlipton: Has someone explained why the Federalist was given this letter, or what its point is? It seems to comport with everything we know, but not be particularly damning (or vindicating either).
posted by InTheYear2017 at 2:44 PM on October 2


“That would not be my plan,” she added, saying Democrats are “not about dividing the country. We’re about ‘E pluribus unum.’”

Yeah well
Come senators, congressmen
Please heed the call
Don’t stand in the doorway
Don’t block up the hall
For [s]he that gets hurt
Will be [s]he who has stalled
There’s a battle outside and it is ragin’
It’ll soon shake your windows and rattle your walls
For the times they are a-changin’
Justinian and The MeFites: Piece 'n Love b/w Burn That Shit Down
posted by petebest at 2:45 PM on October 2 [27 favorites]


The letter (it's easy to Google up if you're curious) is unbelievably gross. It also completely fails to refute anything she's claiming.

posted by prize bull octorok at 2:15 PM on October 2 [3 favorites +] [!]


For years, criminal justice of sexual assault had an unwritten official rule: if the woman was sexually active and especially if she had had more than one partner, she was fair game and couldn't be raped. That, in this day and age, anyone thought that rule still held is a sign of how deeply out of sync with mainstream America this GOP is.
posted by Mental Wimp at 2:46 PM on October 2 [10 favorites]


That, in this day and age, anyone thought that rule still held

It very much does still hold with the people they care about
posted by schadenfrau at 2:51 PM on October 2 [17 favorites]


zachlipton: Has someone explained why the Federalist was given this letter, or what its point is? It seems to comport with everything we know, but not be particularly damning (or vindicating either)

We've only seen the Federalist's least damaging presentation, which is intended to prebut the Times' reporting, so it's not clear what all is in there. But I would say that a contemporary letter from Kavanaugh describing himself and his friends as "loud, obnoxious drunks with prolific pukers among us," to the extent he's worried about warning neighbors and eviction, is fairly damning.

It was presumably leaked to the Federalist to undercut the Times and to attempt to dismiss their story in advance of publication.
posted by zachlipton at 2:55 PM on October 2 [5 favorites]


loud, obnoxious drunks with prolific pukers among us

But Kavanaugh claims he became Beach Week Ralph Club's Biggest Contributor because he had a weak stomach, not because he drank too much.
posted by kirkaracha at 3:03 PM on October 2 [5 favorites]


Nate Silver on Schumer's 60 vote judges thing: Yeah, people are getting this wrong. Schumer restoring the 60-vote SCOTUS filibuster would likely be a cynical, tactical ploy to give cover to centrist Democrats in 2019/20 if Dems win the Senate in Nov. Probably doesn't mean a lot if Dems were to win back the presidency in '20.

The initial reaction online was very negative but this seems to be coming around as the conventional wisdom.
posted by Justinian at 3:10 PM on October 2 [17 favorites]


NBC's report DHS Not Prepared For Family Separations Under Trump Zero Tolerance Policy, Watchdog Finds has further, appalling information:
In a separate DHS inspector general report dated September 27, the Adelanto ICE Processing Center, a detention center housing up to 1,940 ICE detainees in California, was cited for serious violations including nooses found hanging in detainee cells, “improper and overly restrictive segregation,” and “untimely and inadequate medical care.”

"I've seen a few attempted suicides using the braided sheets by the vents and then the guards laugh at them and call them 'suicide failures' once they are back from medical," a detainee said, according to the report.

Adelanto has housed multiple fathers separated from their children, NBC News has previously reported. Attorneys for the detained fathers say many were coerced into signing away the right to be reunited with their children.

On a tour inside the Adelanto facility, NBC News witnessed a detainee in isolation under what ICE said was medical supervision laying on the floor, curled up by the door of a cell.[...]

The report noted that ICE and the Geo Grou