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Thread: Second and Third Accusers against Kavanaugh come forward!

  1. #21

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    Brett Kavanaugh; Donald Trump (Getty/Salon)Poll: Majority of Republicans want Brett Kavanaugh confirmed even if assault accusations are true

    A new poll finds that most Republicans want Kavanaugh approved even if he did commit sexual assault




    MATTHEW ROZSA

    SEPTEMBER 27, 2018 5:59PM (UTC)

    A new poll reveals that, for a majority of Republicans, the question of whether Brett Kavanaugh committed sexual assault is unimportant in terms of whether they feel he should be appointed to the Supreme Court.
    Eighty-three percent of Republicans support Kavanaugh's nomination, according to a recent survey by NPR/PBS NewsHour/Marist Poll. More noteworthy, 54 percent of Republicans said that they would support confirming Kavanaugh even if it turned out that the sexual assault accusations against him are true. Only 32 percent of Republican voters disagreed with that sentiment.
    Notably, a separate poll found that Kavanaugh's support among Republican women has dropped considerably. While 60 percent of Republican women said that Kavanaugh should be confirmed as of last week, that number has dropped to only 49 percent as of this week, according to the

    Republican feelings do not mirror those of the rest of the American public, however.
    The NPR/PBS NewsHour/Marist Poll found that, overall, 43 percent of Americans oppose Kavanaugh serving on the Supreme Court, 38 percent support him doing so and 19 percent remain unsure of how they feel. Seventy-seven percent of Democrats oppose Kavanaugh's confirmation, as do 41 percent of independents (42 percent of independents say they would support confirming him). That said, 59 percent of Americans said that Kavanaugh should not be confirmed if the sexual assault accusations against him are true, with only 29 percent saying he should be confirmed regardless and 12 percent being unsure either way.
    By contrast, 67 percent of Americans felt that Clarence Thomas should not be confirmed to the Supreme Court if the sexual harassment accusations made against him by Anita Hill proved true. That poll was taken in 1991, and in that year 21 percent thought he should be confirmed even if they were true, with 12 percent once again remaining unsure.
    One factor that may prove decisive are the hearings on Thursday. Fifty-eight percent of Americans told the poll that they plan on paying attention to the testimony of both Christine Blasey Ford, Kavanaugh's accuser, and of Kavanaugh himself. Currently, 42 percent of Americans do not know whether Kavanaugh or Ford is telling the truth. Thirty-two percent say they believe Ford's story and only 26 percent say they believe Kavanaugh.
    "In 1991, when [Hill] came forward to share her experience, the president reopened the FBI background investigation (not a criminal investigation, but a background investigation) to get as many facts as possible for the Senate to consider. This president, to this theme of secrecy, has no interest in the FBI actually talking to people and getting relevant information for the Senate to consider," Sen. Jeff Merkley, D-Ore., told Salon on Wednesday.


    Merkley added: "In 1991 the Senate committee proceeded to allow testimony from a number of individuals who had corroborating or relevant additional insights, whether on behalf of Judge Thomas or in support of Anita Hill. So those individuals were heard. In this case, the Republicans are denying the opportunity — I call them the R-11, the eleven Republican men on this committee — are denying the opportunity for corroborating voices or others with relevant information to these experiences that are being shared, to come before the committee. And so they're turning it into a he said/she said deliberately, and then they're bringing in the equivalent of a prosecutor to essentially a criminal trial of Dr. Ford, who was brave enough to come forward. This is horrific treatment of a courageous individual and it is completely unacceptable."
    If there is no struggle there is no progress. Power concedes nothing without a demand. It never did and it never will.” - Frederick Douglass
    "Let me issue and control a nation's money and I care not who writes the laws. - Mayer Rothschild
    "Civil disobedience is not our problem. Our problem is civil obedience! People are obedient in the face of poverty, starvation, stupidity, war, and cruelty. Our problem is that grand thieves are running the country. That's our problem!" - Howard Zinn

  2. #22

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    In a fact-free and morality-free USA, the victims are villainized and the perpetrator moves up in status. My country is totally fucked up. The process and the Congress, the Judiciary Committee - and MUCH more so the Republicans are totally morally bankrupt, while claiming the opposite and the backing of their 'god'. The highest organization of lawyers in the country have called for an investigation of the allegations BEFORE any vote. Even the organization of Jesuits that ran his high-school have, as well. If he becomes a Supreme there will be riots in the street by women and some righteous men.....mark my words. As I write the Judiciary Committee is voting to move him to the Senate as a whole. Kavenaugh's sense of privileged white, rich, Ivy-League, Right-wing insider entitlement is sickening - not surprising it struck a positive chord with Trump and the Republicans on the Senate Judiciary. A spoiled Yale Frat Boy fights against his lies and misdeeds with new lies and new misdeeds.
    If there is no struggle there is no progress. Power concedes nothing without a demand. It never did and it never will.” - Frederick Douglass
    "Let me issue and control a nation's money and I care not who writes the laws. - Mayer Rothschild
    "Civil disobedience is not our problem. Our problem is civil obedience! People are obedient in the face of poverty, starvation, stupidity, war, and cruelty. Our problem is that grand thieves are running the country. That's our problem!" - Howard Zinn

  3. #23

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    Flake calls for FBI investigation into Kavanaugh before floor confirmation vote

    Flake called for the investigation after being confronted by activists Friday morning.


    ADDY BAIRDSEP 28, 2018, 2:42 PM




    SEN. JEFF FLAKE (R-AZ) CALLED FOR DELAYING BRETT KAVANAUGH'S FLOOR CONFIRMATION VOTE FRIDAY UNTIL A ONE-WEEK FBI INVESTIGATION CAN BE COMPLETED. CREDIT: CHIP SOMODEVILLA/GETTY IMAGESThe Senate should delay its floor vote on Supreme Court nominee Brett Kavanaugh until a one-week FBI investigation can take place, Sen. Jeff Flake (R-AZ) said Friday, just hours after saying he would vote in favor of Kavanaugh’s confirmation.
    “I think it would be proper to delay the floor vote for up to, but not more than, one week in order to let the FBI… do an investigation limited in time and scope to the current allegations that are there,” Flake said Friday afternoon.
    Flake suggested Friday that at least some of his Republican colleagues agree with his demand for an investigation.
    “I have spoken to a few other members on my side of the aisle that may be supportive as well,” he said. “But that’s my position. I think that we ought to do what we can to do all due diligence with a nomination this important.”
    Not long after the committee vote and Flake’s statement, Sen. Lisa Murkowski (R-AK) — considered a pivotal vote on Kavanaugh’s confirmation as one of the only pro-choice Republicans in the Senate — told reporters that she agreed with Flake’s call for a delay and investigation.
    Leigh Ann Caldwell
    @LACaldwellDC





    NEWS: Murkowski, entering the Capitol “on the way to talk to her colleagues,” said she supports @JeffFlake proposal for a one week delay and an investigation.
    8:31 PM - Sep 28, 2018



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    Sen. Joe Manchin (D-WV), the Senate’s most conservative Democrat and another pivotal vote, voiced his support for the decision as well.
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    ABC News
    @ABC





    JUST IN: Sen. Joe Manchin supports Sen. Jeff Flake's call for a delay in Kavanaugh vote for FBI background investigation.

    “I applaud Senator Jeff Flake’s decision to rise above the partisan circus on display during this entire process." https://abcn.ws/2DGhbnl
    8:51 PM - Sep 28, 2018



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    During his statement, Flake also defended the Judiciary Committee’s work up to this point.
    “This committee has acted properly. The chairman has bent over backwards to do investigations from this committee and to delay this vote in this committee for a week so that Dr. Ford could be heard,” Flake said.
    Because of that, Flake said he will vote to advance the bill to the floor, but he said he would not support a floor vote until the FBI has completed a short investigation into the sexual assault allegations that have been made against Kavanaugh in recent weeks.
    His announcement that he supports delaying the vote until an FBI investigation is completed came after he was confronted by rape survivors in an elevator Friday morning shortly after he announced he would vote yes.
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    “Senator Flake, do you think that Brett Kavanaugh is telling the truth?” one woman asked him Friday morning. “Do you think that he’s able to hold the pain of these countries and prepare it, that is the work of justice, the way that justice works is you recognize harm. You take responsibility for it and then you begin to repair it.”
    She continued, saying, “You are allowing someone unwilling to take responsibility for his own actions and willing to hold the harm he has done to one woman, actually three women and not repair it. You are allowing someone who is unwilling to take responsibility for his own actions.”
    After he was confronted by activists on his way to the committee vote, Flake left the room and talked to a number of senators on both sides of the aisle before announcing his decision.
    Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-KY) can, however, still call for a full vote, though the vote will fail should Flake and one other Republican vote no.
    Flake’s call for an investigation comes just one day after Kavanaugh and one of the women who has accused him of sexual assault testified under oath Thursday.
    Christine Blasey Ford, the first woman to come forward with allegations against Kavanaugh, says Kavanaugh attempted to rape her at a “gathering” in high school. She says Kavanaugh forced himself on her, groped her over her clothes, and tried to pull off her clothing. When she tried to scream, he then covered her mouth with his hand and turned up the music in the room to muffle her cries. She said during her testimony that she believed Kavanaugh might accidentally kill her.
    The second woman who came forward, Deborah Ramirez, told The New Yorker that, at a party in college, Kavanaugh thrust his penis to her face against her wishes. And a third woman, Julie Swetnick, says she was gang raped at a party where Kavanaugh was present.
    She did not directly implicate Kavanaugh in the attack, but she wrote in a sworn affidavit that Kavanaugh was among a group of boys with whom she associated and that he frequently spiked women’s drinks or drugged them in order to rape them.
    Kavanaugh has denied all the claims.




    If there is no struggle there is no progress. Power concedes nothing without a demand. It never did and it never will.” - Frederick Douglass
    "Let me issue and control a nation's money and I care not who writes the laws. - Mayer Rothschild
    "Civil disobedience is not our problem. Our problem is civil obedience! People are obedient in the face of poverty, starvation, stupidity, war, and cruelty. Our problem is that grand thieves are running the country. That's our problem!" - Howard Zinn

  4. #24

    Default Kavanaugh

    For my most recent conclusions, arrived at as usual when riding on my lawn mower for the last hour while mowing the lawn, it would seem that the root of the problem is that Kavanaugh was, (and probably still is) an alcoholic.

    My only knowledge of this from the "background check" point of view, is that in the heyday of McCarthy and Otto Otepka, (who was head of security background checks for the State Department) alcoholism was a deal-breaker from the perspective of security assessment, along with being gay (in the 1950's and 1960's), not to mention being a Socialist, etc.

    From his testimony, Kavanaugh protested WAY too much about the virtues of beer. From his statements, you would conclude that beer was his middle name! He couldn't estimate how many beers was too many without referring to a blood alcohol test or chart!

    Give me a break. In the case of Kavanaugh, his alcoholism apparently led to sexual aggression.

    What was not explored was the fact that underage drinking is itself a crime which meant that he was breaking the law nearly every day or week of his high school career. He should have been asked "when did the teen-age law breaker decide to start following the law as opposed to breaking it?" Back in the sixties, police raids on underage drinkers, especially in public, were a regular occurrence on campus. How did he avoid the cops if he was openly and notoriously a teen-age drunkard?

    Also, IMHO his parents were wasting their money BIG TIME if they were sending him to this religious private school to refine his character. Amazingly, I heard on one news show that Justice Neil Gorsuch attended the same high school as Kavanaugh. It seems like, at Yale, the Skull and Bones set were A SCHOOL FOR SCANDAL! to borrow from the title of the famous play.

    James Lateer

  5. #25

    Default Someone blinked.....and forced Trump's hand too



    Senate panel agrees to delay final Kavanaugh vote for FBI investigation

    The announcement comes just hours after Sen. Jeff Flake (R-AZ) said he would not support the nominee in a floor vote without an investigation.


    ADDY BAIRD SEP 28, 2018, 4:27 PM UPDATED: SEP 28, 2018, 4:57 PM




    THE SENATE JUDICIARY COMMITTEE ANNOUNCED FRIDAY AFTERNOON THAT THEY WILL ASK THE TRUMP ADMINISTRATION TO INSTRUCT THE FBI TO CONDUCT A BACKGROUND INVESTIGATION INTO THE ACCUSATIONS OF SEXUAL ASSAULT MADE AGAINST SCOTUS NOMINEE BRETT KAVANAUGH. CREDIT: CHIP SOMODEVILLA/GETTY IMAGESThe Senate Judiciary Committee will ask the Trump administration to direct the FBI to conduct an investigation into the allegations of sexual assault made against Supreme Court nominee Brett Kavanaugh, a statement from the committee released Friday said.
    “The supplemental FBI background investigation would be limited to current credible allegations against the nominee and must be completed no later than one week from today,” the release said.
    View image on Twitter


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    In the statement, the committee specifically calls the allegations against Kavanaugh “credible,” but until earlier Friday afternoon, they planned to rush his confirmation. Their position changed after Sen. Jeff Flake (R-AZ) said he would vote to advance Kavanaugh’s nomination out of committee Friday but that he would not support the nominee on a floor vote unless the FBI conducted an investigation.
    “I think it would be proper to delay the floor vote for up to, but not more than, one week in order to let the FBI… do an investigation limited in time and scope to the current allegations that are there,” Flake said Friday afternoon during the Judiciary Committee’s meeting.
    On Friday morning, Flake announced he would vote to confirm Kavanaugh, but appeared to back down somewhat after he was confronted by protesters in an elevator ahead of the vote. He also met privately with some committee Democrats before his announcement.
    “I have spoken to a few other members on my side of the aisle that may be supportive as well,” he said of the call to delay for an investigation. “But that’s my position. I think that we ought to do what we can to do all due diligence with a nomination this important.”
    Three pivotal votes, Sens. Lisa Murkowski (R-AK), Susan Collins (R-ME), and Joe Manchin (D-WV), all announced after the vote that they agreed with Flake’s decision.
    Leigh Ann Caldwell
    @LACaldwellDC





    NEWS: Murkowski, entering the Capitol “on the way to talk to her colleagues,” said she supports @JeffFlake proposal for a one week delay and an investigation.
    8:31 PM - Sep 28, 2018



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    View image on Twitter

    ABC News
    @ABC





    JUST IN: Sen. Joe Manchin supports Sen. Jeff Flake's call for a delay in Kavanaugh vote for FBI background investigation.

    “I applaud Senator Jeff Flake’s decision to rise above the partisan circus on display during this entire process." https://abcn.ws/2DGhbnl
    8:51 PM - Sep 28, 2018



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    Ed O'Keefe
    @edokeefe





    SUSAN COLLINS says she supports this idea. That’s 3 GOP moderates — Flake, Collins, Murkowski — plus Manchin. That’s a moderate bloc, “The FBI Four” — who can block Kavanaugh’s nomination from moving forward until the FBI investigation is complete.
    Ed O'Keefe
    @edokeefe


    JUST IN: There’s a deal for senators to request an FBI investigation into Dr. Christine Blasey Ford’s allegations of sexual misconduct against Judge Brett Kavanaugh.








    10:16 PM - Sep 28, 2018



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    The Judiciary Committee’s move to request an FBI investigation comes in the wake of a number of allegations of sexual assault against Kavanaugh.
    Christine Blasey Ford, the first of three women to come forward with allegations against Kavanaugh, says Kavanaugh attempted to rape her at a “gathering” in high school.
    During a testimony under oath Thursday, she said Kavanaugh forced himself on her, groped her over her clothes, and tried to pull off her clothing. When she tried to scream, he then covered her mouth with his hand and turned up the music in the room to muffle her cries. She said during her testimony that she believed Kavanaugh might accidentally kill her.
    The second woman who came forward, Deborah Ramirez, told The New Yorker that, at a party in college, Kavanaugh thrust his penis into her face against her wishes. A third woman, Julie Swetnick, says she was gang raped at a party where Kavanaugh was present.
    Swetnick did not directly implicate Kavanaugh in the attack, but she wrote in a sworn affidavit that Kavanaugh was among a group of boys with whom she associated and that he frequently spiked women’s drinks or drugged them in order to rape them. Kavanaugh has denied all the claims.
    View image on Twitter

    Mike Scarcella
    @MikeScarcella





    Mark Judge's lawyer: "If the FBI or any law enforcement agency requests Mr. Judge’s cooperation, he will answer any and all questions posed to him." https://at.law.com/EFcau1?cmp=share_twitter …
    9:09 PM - Sep 28, 2018



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    Both Swetnick and Ford say that a friend of Kavanaugh’s, a man named Mark Judge, was present at the parties where they were attacked. The Judiciary Committee has refused to subpoena Judge, but his lawyer did announce Friday that if the FBI requested Judge’s cooperation, he would “answer any and all questions posed to him.”

    Update: As CNN’s Jeff Zeleny first reported, President Trump directed the FBI to complete a supplemental background investigation into the allegations against Kavanaugh.
    Sarah Sanders
    @PressSec





    Statement from President @realDonaldTrump:
    “I’ve ordered the FBI to conduct a supplemental investigation to update Judge Kavanaugh’s file. As the Senate has requested, this update must be limited in scope and completed in less than one week.”
    10:56 PM - Sep 28, 2018



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    If there is no struggle there is no progress. Power concedes nothing without a demand. It never did and it never will.” - Frederick Douglass
    "Let me issue and control a nation's money and I care not who writes the laws. - Mayer Rothschild
    "Civil disobedience is not our problem. Our problem is civil obedience! People are obedient in the face of poverty, starvation, stupidity, war, and cruelty. Our problem is that grand thieves are running the country. That's our problem!" - Howard Zinn

  6. #26

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    SUPREME COURT NOMINEE Brett Kavanaugh has been accused of sexual assault by three different women, one of whom said that she witnessed his efforts to inebriate girls so they could be “gang raped.” His first accuser, Christine Ford, recalled thinking that he may “inadvertently” kill her while trying to attack her and remove her clothing. Deborah Ramirez, his second accuser, says she had felt “mortified.” Despite these allegations — and Kavanaugh’s notorious record for lying under oath at past confirmation hearings — the GOP still hasn’t withdrawn its nomination of him nor have they delayed their vote. If confirmed, Kavanaugh would would be appointed to serve on the highest court for life — and he would be the second Supreme Court justice to have a sexual assault allegation against him.
    To discuss the implications of Kavanaugh’s nomination and what this scandal says about America, Mehdi Hasan is joined by The Intercept’s Washington bureau chief Ryan Grim, whose story on Christine Ford’s letter to Sen. Feinstein opened the door to the allegations against Kavanaugh; and by senior correspondent Naomi Klein, recently appointed the Gloria Steinem Endowed Chair in Media, Culture and Feminist Studies at Rutgers University.
    Mehdi Hasan: Welcome to Deconstructed. I’m Mehdi Hasan and those were the voices of my Intercept colleagues, Ryan Grim and Naomi Klein. They’re my guests today as we discuss what’s become the biggest story in the United States right now: the Supreme Court confirmation hearings of Republican judge Brett Kavanaugh, and the growing number of sexual assault allegations against him.
    It’s a story with a new twist and turn almost every day. Just hours before we came into this recording studio, we learned of a third woman, Julie Swetnick, who has signed a sworn affidavit accusing Kavanaugh of sexually aggressive behavior at alcohol-fueled parties when he was in high school, and who basically has just stopped short of calling him a rapist.
    News Anchor: Swetnick alleges, “I also witnessed efforts by Mark Judge, Brett Kavanaugh, and others to cause girls to become inebriated and disoriented so they could be gang-raped in a side room or a bedroom by trains of numerous boys.”
    MH: Before I got into all that, I do want to say something about the Supreme Court as a whole, as someone who hasn’t lived here all my life. I’m a Brit, I’m an immigrant to your great country, but I’ll tell you what: There are a lot of weird things about living in the U.S., a lot of things I find very weird about living and working here: turning right at a red light, I find that very odd. It’s been hard to get used to that; we don’t do that in the UK. The sheer number of breakfast cereals that are on offer in the grocery stores is something that still befuddles me.
    And then, of course, there’s your gun culture — really, really weird; open-carry laws in Virginia where I live, haven’t been able to get past that.
    But one of the really weird institutions in this country is the United States Supreme Court, which is so odd and is such an aberration when it comes to supreme courts around the world. I’m sorry if I have to break this to you, in case you’re unaware of it, but most other Western liberal democracies don’t have supreme courts like the United States Supreme Court. They don’t have courts that are as powerful as the US Supreme Court, where justices are appointed for life, and they’re appointed in a partisan and politicized way, and when they’re on the Court, they rule, not in a disinterested or impartial way, but in a nakedly partisan or politicized way, so you’re able to say: “Oo, the five conservatives” or “the four liberals on the Court.”
    That’s weird! Other supreme courts don’t operate like that in France, in Canada, in the United Kingdom where I’m from. So, when I look at your Supreme Court as a whole, this ridiculously powerful institution, personally I’d scrap the whole thing and start again. It doesn’t work; it hasn’t worked certainly since 2000, when they basically stole an election for the Republican party, how we forget about that.
    Look, if I was the Democrats, as at least a fix, I’d consider adding justices. Not just blocking Kavanaugh or whoever they bring maybe to replace Kavanaugh, but if the Democrats take control of the House and the Senate and the Presidency, I’d just add justices to the Court to balance out the conservative bias.
    Now you might say: “Well, that’s court packing. That’s illegitimate.” Not true, it’s not illegitimate, you can change the numbers on the Supreme Court. And you know what? The Republicans have already packed the court. They stole a Supreme Court seat from Barack Obama. Remember Merrick Garland? Remember a guy called Neil Gorsuch, who now sits on the Supreme Court? That is court packing.
    So, personally and we’re going to talk about it in the discussion today, what can the Democrats do to take a slightly stronger line when it comes to pushing back against the Republican trampling of judicial, constitutional, political norms.
    But let’s talk specifically about the man of the moment, Brett Kavanaugh, fresh from a Fox News chat in which he denied all the allegations against him, presented himself as a bit of a choir boy, not to mention a virgin, right into university — as if that’s a defense against sexual assault.
    Look, the man is a liar. He’s a liar! He’s lied about his knowledge of torture and surveillance while working in the Bush White House. He’s lied about what he did with stolen Democratic Party memos. He’s lied about his position on abortion on Roe v. Wade. In fact, he lied the very first time he was unveiled to the nation by President Trump at the White House on July 9.
    Brett Kavanaugh: No president has ever consulted more widely or talked with more people from more backgrounds to seek input about a Supreme Court nomination.
    MH: Um … that’s a barefaced lie, obviously. So, given all his history of lying, why shouldn’t we believe these three named women — three women who have come forward with such serious accusations against him.
    There’s Christine Ford.
    News Anchor: I thought he might inadvertently kill me. He was trying to attack me and remove my clothing.
    MH: There’s Deborah Ramirez.
    News Anchor: I can still see his face, his hips coming forward like when you pull up your pants, and someone yelled down the hall, “Brett Kavanaugh just put his penis in Debbie’s face.”
    MH: And then there’s Julie Swetnick, whose story emerged today.
    News Anchor: In approximately 1982, I became the victim of one of these gang or train rapes where Mark Judge and Brett Kavanaugh were present.
    MH: Yeah. Train rape. That’s the latest accusation against the man that the Republican Party wants to put on the Supreme Court of the United States for life. For life!
    In fact, by the time this show airs, you know what? Kavanaugh’s name might already have been withdrawn from the process. The Republicans have backed him till now, and not given a shit about the seriousness of these allegations, preferring to conspiratorially blame the Democrats or to smear the women who have come forward, but this is now, forgive me, a trainwreck. This is a complete catastrophe for the Republicans — not just in terms of the electoral impact of being so anti-women and so pro-sexual assault, but also in terms of the process and what the Democrats are willing to do to try and stop them.
    Remember, there was a time when we were told that Brett Kavanaugh would be a shoo-in? Not so much now.
    The thing is that Republicans aren’t going to give up so easily. They want to control the Supreme Court. They’ve already stolen one seat and they’re not going to give up this one.
    So where do we go from here? And what can the Democrats do to fight back on an issue of such importance? As I say, this isn’t just about Brett Kavanaugh or sexual assault, important though that story is. This is about the future of the United States, about economic equality, racial equality, social justice — all of which will be severely undermined, severely challenged by a conservative-dominated Supreme Court locked in for 40 or 50 years by a president who didn’t win the popular vote and who has also, by the way, been credibly accused of sexual assault.
    [Musical interlude.]
    MH: I’m joined now in the studio by Ryan Grim, D.C. bureau chief for The Intercept. He broke the story on September 12, headlined: “Dianne Feinstein Withholding Brett Kavanaugh Document From Fellow Judiciary Committee Democrats,” which burst open the door to all of these allegations against Kavanaugh that we have today, starting with Christine Ford.
    And, from Rutgers University where she is the new Gloria Steinem Endowed Chair in Media Culture and Feminist Studies, the bestselling author and senior correspondent for The Intercept, Naomi Klein.
    Ryan, Naomi, thanks both for taking time out for Deconstructed.
    RG: Yeah!
    NK: Great to be with you.
    MH: Ryan, you — tell us about a story that you broke open, that kicked open this whole Brett Kavanaugh-is-a-sexual-assaulter chain of events that has led us to this point now where three different named women have accused him of all sorts of grotesque things.
    RG: Right. So it starts in July when Christine Blasey Ford begins telling her friends that she’s been thinking hard about a huge decision and that she was going to come forward and tell her story about being sexually assaulted by Brett Kavanaugh. At the time, she wrote to her member of Congress, Anna Eshoo, and a few weeks later she also wrote to Dianne Feinstein. Ronan Farrow and Jane Meyer reported that that Feinstein thought that the allegations were too old to make a difference — it was dated back to high school — and also that she wanted to have the fight over Kavanaugh to be a legal one rather than a “personal one.”
    And as she saw Kavanagh’s confirmation sailing through, she felt like, “what’s the point of you know destroying my own life when it looks like they’re just going to confirm this guy anyway?” So, after the hearing is completed, they’ve gone back and forth — that Friday the rumors start bubbling up a little bit more on the Hill. Over the weekend it starts to become what’s known as “Hill Public,” you know that people are just whispering to each other, you know, there’s this — there’s this allegation out there.
    MH: And you were hearing these whispers.
    RG: I heard about it Monday morning. And as I called around more, I was able to narrow it down to: OK, now Dianne Feinstein has a letter that contains some allegations and is not sharing it with members of the Judiciary Committee. Without knowing precisely what the allegations were, ’cause I heard several different versions from the one that did come out to much more mundane, I was able to report the story that Democrats on the Judiciary Committee requested access to this letter, private access, so they could review it and make their own judgment over whether it should be pursued, either by the FBI or by their own staff or that they should reach out to the victim.
    MH: Do you believe that if you hadn’t broken this story, that Feinstein would have sat on it and we would never have heard of Christine Blasey Ford?
    RG: So, I’ve wondered that — because the answer to that question is: “Well, would another news outlet eventually have gotten to it.” And I haven’t had any reporters come up to me yet, and say: I was just about to break that story. A lot of reporters were chasing the allegations themselves — like, they knew that they were allegations out there —
    MH: But not a specific person and a specific letter.
    RG: I think Farrow appears to have spoken to her in July, and then at some point she decided she didn’t want to go on the record, and so when reporters couldn’t confirm the underlying allegations, they didn’t report the story of the letter.
    MH: Which is so interesting, because of course the Republican narrative of the Senate Judiciary Committee members: This is all a Democratic plot to bring down our Golden Boy, these are last minute allegations late in the day, and yet, as your reporting shows, a. the politicians, the Democrats, were not trying to push her out into the open, Feinstein was possibly sitting on this. And journalists, as usual investigative reporters were doing scrupulous reporting and finding — you know, not just throwing these women out there and saying, “Hey, we found someone who may or may not have been assaulted.”
    RG: Right, and I think Feinstein did not have plans to release this.
    MH: I do want to come back to Feinstein and the Democrats in just a moment — just bringing in Naomi: What do you make of all this craziness that you have witnessed over the past couple of weeks?
    NK: Well, I mean, every woman I talk to is in, you know, slightly, just a dazed state, because a lot of this, I don’t know any women for whom this doesn’t bring up some kind of memories of behavior in high school and university and — you know, one of the things that I think is really interesting that’s going on now is the willingness of women to come forward, without, you know, a perfect memory.
    And this is the thing about the intersection of alcohol and drugs and sexual assault it’s that, you know, the whole thing is rigged to prevent women from coming forward, because we have been told that, you know, if there are any holes in our memory they were completely un-credible, you know, witnesses. And so I think it’s been interesting to see these women come forward in this incredibly high-stakes arena and admit to the holes in their memory, admit to their own feelings of shame.
    You know I think the most important thing is that we’re that we have these precedents in such a high-stakes arena for women coming forward who are not this sort of perfect victim but still saying, “That doesn’t justify being sexually assaulted.” So I think that’s really important.
    And the other thing, I think, it’s just kind of amazing watching Kavanaugh in all of this is. You know, he seems sort of genuinely surprised that the people he has encountered through his, you know, climb to these heights of power continue to exist as human beings, despite his having, you know, no longer having any use for them —
    MH: I mean he seems to be a genuinely shitty person, and I’ve thought that from before the sexual assault allegations, when he wouldn’t shake the hand of the father of the Parkland victim, which seemed to me to be a pretty shitty thing to do.
    NK: Well, he is an absolute hack. I mean, Ryan can speak on this better than me, but, I mean he is just the essence of a partisan hack who will take diametrically opposite legal positions depending on whether there’s a Republican or a Democrat in power, right?
    MH: Which makes him a perfect Republican nominee.
    NK: Exactly.
    MH: Just before we get — I do want to move onto the Republicans and the amorality and hypocrisy of all this — but just to hear what you mentioned about the women coming forward, do you think that Brett Kavanaugh’s nomination would be on the line, and by the time this show comes out, maybe his nomination is already withdrawn, who knows, at this rate, the way events are moving, do you think his job, his nomination would be on the line were it not for the Me Too movement, the Me Too phenomenon and what it has achieved in recent years?
    NK: It isn’t only about Me Too. It’s also about Anita Hill; I mean it goes back much further than that. You know, Me Too is the latest chapter in a very long story of women coming forward and challenging these norms and saying, “This is not normal.”
    Look, it’s a little bit hard to say because this story is not over. As you say, he may withdraw his nomination. But the other thing that may happen is these women may get destroyed on the stand. So we don’t know what’s going to happen.
    MH: Ryan, just very quickly on the technical side of this: If his nomination is withdrawn this week, and we’re speaking on Wednesday afternoon, if it is withdrawn, can the Republicans jam through someone else before the midterms or even in the lame-duck period before January?
    RG: They certainly could, I mean just from a technical, legal, kind of parliamentary perspective, they could. And, if they can, then I think you have to believe that Mitch McConnell is going to do everything, you know, that he can to get that done, which, at this point would require going directly to Susan Collins and Lisa Murkowski and saying, “Here are the people we’d like to nominate.”
    MH: These Republican senators who pretend to be dissidents.
    RG: “Tell us which of these you’re going to vote for.”
    MH: Would it be a woman? Surely it has to be a woman, Ryan. It has to be a Republican. Can they find a Republican woman, to?
    RG: Trump wants somebody from central casting, he always talks about how he wants somebody from central casting; in his mind, there are no women in central casting when it comes to the Supreme Court. Amy Barrett, who everybody floats as the person that they suspect will be thrown in for all of the obvious reasons that you and I and Naomi would understand, is not somebody who’s liked by Trump. She was not nice to him; she didn’t flatter him in their meeting.
    MH: But she would be the logical choice, I don’t know very much about her, but —
    RG: Yes and no, she is —
    MH: She is the logical choice because you won’t have to immediately go and look for a high school yearbook for her, to get dirt on her, like you would for any other male appointee.
    RG: However, a. Trump doesn’t like her, b. She’s much more stridently anti-Roe, and it would — make?
    NK: Right, so you don’t get Collins, right?
    RG: Exactly.
    MH: So, interesting — I’m just turning the issue to the Republicans and how they’ve handled it. And they’ve, I mean there’s a lot of talk about have they harmed themselves with suburban women voters, et cetera. I’m not sure I buy into all that, to be honest, I mean a majority of white women sadly voted for Trump at the last election despite the tape.
    RG: Yeah, but their numbers are crashing in the polls.
    MH: That is true. So let’s hope it helps. But there is a bigger point here about the Republicans for me which is that whether or not they believe the women, and you hear Orrin Hatch smearing Deborah Ramirez who’s the second woman from The New Yorker, and I hear him smearing these women and I think: I don’t even know if they do or don’t believe the women, but the point is they don’t seem to care. Because fundamentally, for them, that’s not what the Supreme Court is about. It’s not about getting an honorable person on the Court; it’s not even about protecting your school friends. It’s about keeping that conservative majority before the Democrats get in. They stole the seat from Obama for Gorsuch and now they don’t want to let this seat go because this is their moment to change United States for 40, 50, 60, 70 years. It’s a momentous, lifetime appointment — I find that bizarre as well. I’m from a country that doesn’t have lifetime appointments on the Supreme Court, nor is Naomi. Most Western democracies don’t have this bizarre supreme court system, Ryan, that you do where you put someone on, and that’s it. They’re virtually untouchable.
    RG: Which makes it entirely rational to say, “I would rather have an axe murderer who’s going to vote my way —”
    MH: For 40 years.
    RG: “than have a Boy Scout who’s going to vote against me.” So, everything relies on the Supreme Court, and so everything gets thrown out for the utility of it.
    MH: Naomi, you’re famous for writing about how the Right has ruthlessly exploited crises and disasters to push its economic and social agendas. Do you see a bit of that phenomenon playing out right now with the Supreme Court nomination, because it’s all about just cementing that majority by any means necessary?
    NK: Well, in the sense that Trump is just a rolling disaster, I suppose. No, I mean, I think this is it just exactly what you said Mehdi, which is that they would rather risk the credibility of the entire Court in front of the entire world than run the risk of losing this one seat.
    And they wouldn’t even necessarily lose that one seat, but you know, the stakes are that high. Yeah, I think they probably will ditch him and I think it is worth remembering that the stakes are not — they are about women’s right to control our bodies. It’s also about the fact that this is an incredibly pro-corporate court and the stakes, here, I think have to do with protecting a plutocracy more than anything else.
    MH: I think you’re spot on there. I just want to read out a line from a recent New York Magazine piece by Eric Levitz where he points out that over the past decade, the Supreme Court’s conservative majority has cleared the way for unlimited corporate spending in American elections; vetoed laws aimed at limiting the influence of such spending; gutted the Voting Rights Act; immunized prosecutors who withhold evidence from legal accountability restricted the capacity of consumers and workers to sue corporations; hobbled public sector unions and came within a single vote of vetoing the most significant expansion of the American welfare state, Obamacare, on a flimsy pretense. So, yes, this is about ideology, isn’t it Ryan. This is not just about, as important as the issues of sexual assault and character and holding men accountable are, this is also about the big picture of — this is another step in the Republican Party’s and the corporate takeover of the United States public space.
    RG: Yes, and the Federalist Society ideology is such a manufactured, unnatural way of viewing the world.
    MH: This is the right-wing legal group that nominates, that suggests these names Donald Trump.
    RG: That you have to produce it in this kind of platonic commune where you’ve got these prep school kids that are swaddled with this ideology from birth. You know, Kavanaugh’s mother was a, you know, top Republican in the Reagan administration. You can’t go out to Oklahoma and find people who just naturally, stumble upon a Federalist Society ideology.
    NK: Same with Gorsuch, by the way.
    RG: Precisely, precisely. That’s why they can only go to this this prep school world.
    MH: Gorsuch also, by the way — Georgetown Prep.
    RG: Georgetown Prep. Roberts, I don’t know exactly which one, but that milieu. And that’s Barrett’s problem, too — she’s from Indiana or something like that. So, you can be a wacko right-winger, but you won’t have the precise aristocratic element of it that is needed to produce the full Federal Society ideology.
    MH: And given you have this powerful ideology, you have these powerful interests, we know what we’re up against. What I find so frustrating and I want to ask both of you about this is: What does the left, if you can call the Democrats the left or the opposition to Republicans the Democrats, what do they do when confronted with these odds, with these obstacles with Republicans like Grassley and Hatch who were willing to, and McConnell who are willing to trample on any norm to get their people in power, to get ahead?
    I often use this phrase, I know a lot of other people do: The Democrats bring a knife to a gunfight; the Republicans bring a rocket launcher. Is that fair, Naomi?
    NK: Well, I mean coming back to where we started this conversation and the fact that it was a powerful Democrat that was sitting on this information, right? But, thankfully, the opposition to these forces isn’t only elected Democrats, it’s also social movements that have been in the streets and — I don’t think they, you know, I think they’re here to fight. We are here to fight.
    MH: That’s such an important point, because I seem to remember — we have such short memories now, we can’t keep track because the news changes every day — when Kavanaugh was nominated, or when Kennedy said he was standing down, we were told this was a shoo-in for the Republicans, that there’s nothing the Democrats can do, this guy’s going to breeze through, you might as well pick a fight somewhere else and use your energy elsewhere Ryan.
    RG: Right, and Democratic leaders in the Senate were telling activists to stand down, stop making us look bad, we’re powerless to stop this, why are you hurting us in the midterms. And they did not stand down to Naomi’s point. The movement continued. There were many more arrests just this week, and there will be more arrests coming.
    MH: The powerlessness, Ryan, is self-inflicted. That’s what’s so painful. OK, you don’t have a majority. Fine. That’s an election issue, which we get into the reasons why you lose elections all the time. But just even when you — so, for example, you’re on the verge of power now, Dick Durbin one of the most supposedly progressive senators on the Judiciary Committee, is saying on Sunday that, you know what, we were mistaken in 2013 to get rid of the filibuster for lower-level judge appointments, and we will bring back the filibuster as a show of good faith when we’re in control, which is madness!
    Because the Republicans don’t give a shit whether the Democrats follow the rules. They are going to do whatever they want regardless.
    RG: And not just that — Democrats have been saying publicly that they are actually afraid of winning this fight. Their biggest fear was that Kavanaugh would be voted down, Democrats would win — that’s called a win — and it would anger the Tea Party Republican base who would then come out in the midterms and vote against their people like Heitkamp and Tester and Donnelly.
    MH: So this is unilateral disarmament.
    RG: So they were literally afraid of winning.
    MH: The Democrats on the Senate Judiciary Committee have today written to Trump saying: You need to withdraw Kavanaugh. And some of them have done a lot of good work: Cory Booker, Kamala Harris, Richard Blumenthal made a lot of noise.
    RG: Imagine that, though. Imagine where we are, and what it took, for them to say, “This man should be withdrawn.”
    MH: That’s true. The third woman, Judy Swetnick, I think her name is.
    RG: Right, like you said, they had this information in July, and it took not just the slut-shaming of Renate Schroeder, not just Christine Blasey Ford, not just Ramirez, it took the gang rape allegation.
    MH: Now, that we’ve learned of today.
    RG: That we’ve learned of today.
    MH: For people finally to say — there were I believe four: Merkley, Gillibrand, Markey, and Hirono had already before today called for him to be withdrawn, but now the full party is coming forward and finally saying: “It’s time to withdraw.” And if they win this now, just to take Ryan’s idea of being afraid of winning, Naomi, if they do win this in some shape or form, does that then embolden the social movements that you talked about? Does that then put a spine in some of the spineless backs of some of the Democrat leadership?
    NK: Well I, I think it will have an impact and I think it will embolden social movements and I think it will encourage more activists to run for office, because we’re seeing, you know, we’re seeing many more examples of that. And Ryan’s been covering this so closely.
    You know, there isn’t as neat a split as there used to be between grassroots social movements in the streets and the people willing to stand for office and primary powerful Democrats.
    MH: Ryan, my own view, and I plan to write about this soon, and it’s an unpopular view among some liberals, is that the Democrats not only need to fight much more — if the word is dirty, I don’t if you want to use, but with much less concern for norms at a time when the other side doesn’t give a shit about norms.
    But, for example, on the Supreme Court: if the Democrats win the Senate and the House, if they win the presidency, should they change the Supreme Court radically, should they add more justices, take it to 11 in order to balance it out. People say: You can’t pack the courts because that sets a bad precedent — the Republicans will do it, too! The Republicans are already doing it! They stole a Supreme Court seat!
    RG: Right, and to your point. I do have some news on that as related to what Naomi was saying, I interviewed Ady Barkan an activist who led a lot of these protests and also who raised a $1.5 million to pressure Collins to vote “No.” He told me his next step in this is to pressure Schumer and raise money in the same way, that if Schumer doesn’t stand up to the next Supreme Court nominee in a way that’s considered sufficient, then they’re going to run a primary against Schumer.
    To your question about the Supreme Court, one way of thinking about it would be this: Democrats don’t have the votes to impeach Clarence Thomas who perjured himself through his confirmation process, setting aside the rest of everything else.
    So what they could say is, “OK, we’re going to add two justices to the court. We can do that with a, with a simple majority. You don’t need a two-thirds majority. You need two-thirds to impeach.”
    MH: It’s not magic number, 9 —
    RG: And you can say, “Hey, look, if Clarence Thomas will not resign, we’re going to add two justices to the court to balance out the one who’s illegitimately there.” And then if he resigns and they can withdraw the bill.
    So they have — there are power moves that they could play and maybe they’re — and maybe they’ll find out that winning isn’t so bad.
    MH: Let me ask you this before we have to wrap up. I mean, when you look at U.S. democracy right now. You’ve just moved here, I moved a few years ago, we’ve both been writing about the United States for many, many years and democracy in the U.S.: When you look at the Supreme Court, which is a weird institution in the whole U.S. constitutional set-up, with the lifetime appointments, et cetera, and the power it has of striking down laws, you look at a Supreme Court now where if Kavanaugh is confirmed or a Kavanaugh replacement is confirmed, you will have four Supreme Court justices out of nine who were appointed by a President who lost the popular vote.
    NK: Yeah.
    MH: If Kavanaugh’s appointed, you’ll have two of the nine justices who are accused of sexual assault. I mean, when we talk about crisis of democracy and legitimacy of institutions and the rise of populism, surely the Supreme Court and the way it’s being politicized has to be somewhere near the top of that list.
    NK: Absolutely, and it’s all interconnected, as you say. It’s connected with the fact that this isn’t an actual democracy by most countries’ definition. And so you — and one thing that does give me hope is that more than at any point that I’ve been watching U.S. politics, there is an interest and a fervor, really, for exposing the rigged nature of the system, right? From the Electoral College to the super delegates to gerrymandering to what is happening on the Supreme Court right now, and many more examples, right? Including, you know, the financial dark money and so on.
    So I think the more we have a progressive movement that is focused on the systems, broken systems and how to fix them, as opposed to just you know individuals who we happen to, you know, loathe everything about them, the more, you know the stronger position I think we’re in.
    MH: I completely agree with you, and I’m personally hoping that the silver lining of this, you know, we’ve been waiting for that—what was that Newtonian law?
    Every action has an equal opposite reaction; that hasn’t been the case in U.S. politics. The Republicans have been able to do some crazy shit without any kind of equal opposite reaction from the Democrats, from the Left, from social movements. I do hope this Kavanaugh
    shit show provokes — emboldens — activists on the Left to do that. Ryan, last word, do you think I’m being overly optimistic?
    RG: No. And I also think that if he goes down, the way he’s going down kind of obviates a lot of Schumer’s irrational fears anyway. Like, at this point how do you hold it against Heidi Heitkamp for voting —so now you have a huge unified Democratic base from the center to the left, you know, ready to take this into November.
    MH: Well, we could be on the cusp of a rich, right-wing white man being held to account: a rarity in the U.S. in 2018.
    Ryan, Naomi, thanks so much for joining me to chat about this. Who knows how many other women have come forward to accuse him of sexual assault while we’ve been having this conversation.
    NK: Great talking with you guys.
    MH: Thank you both.







    If there is no struggle there is no progress. Power concedes nothing without a demand. It never did and it never will.” - Frederick Douglass
    "Let me issue and control a nation's money and I care not who writes the laws. - Mayer Rothschild
    "Civil disobedience is not our problem. Our problem is civil obedience! People are obedient in the face of poverty, starvation, stupidity, war, and cruelty. Our problem is that grand thieves are running the country. That's our problem!" - Howard Zinn

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    I am surprised that more people are not commenting here. It has been all over facebook. I have posted a lot myself. I had a postponment of a trial so I was free on Thursday to watch the entire nine hour hearing. I completely believed Dr Ford and was stunned by the outrageous behavior of Kavanaugh. Not only did he evade most questions, when he did answer he lied, was so arrogant and so angry that I thought he'd burst a blood vessel. Since then many have stepped forward to challenge his smaller lies- about his year book, about his true drunken self ..etc. I now think he may not survive this and may even lose his seat at the Federal court. He deserves to. Peter too bad you don't have a fb page...

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    Quote Originally Posted by Dawn Meredith View Post
    I am surprised that more people are not commenting here. It has been all over facebook. I have posted a lot myself. I had a postponment of a trial so I was free on Thursday to watch the entire nine hour hearing. I completely believed Dr Ford and was stunned by the outrageous behavior of Kavanaugh. Not only did he evade most questions, when he did answer he lied, was so arrogant and so angry that I thought he'd burst a blood vessel. Since then many have stepped forward to challenge his smaller lies- about his year book, about his true drunken self ..etc. I now think he may not survive this and may even lose his seat at the Federal court. He deserves to. Peter too bad you don't have a fb page...
    Not only did he lie about all sorts of things big, medium and large, he showed he has absolutely the WRONG temperament for a Judge at any level. Further, he showed his cards of being a bigoted, biased, spiteful, arrogant, political hack - willing to do the bidding for the ultra-right and against minorities, women and the left in society. Would any sane person let him watch your child when you were away even for a few hours - let alone being on the most important decision-making legal body in the USA [which by the way needs to get rid of life-time appointments!!!]? I agree, he has likely lost any chance to get on the Supreme Court AND likely will soon loose his current position. He can join his friend Judge in fighting an alcohol problem and being bitter. I'm inclined to believe all three women accusers. ...and more and more people are stepping forward from the shadows with damning character witness. And he lied in his testimony before any sexual assault allegations - throw the bum out!! The problem is the Republicans on the Judiciary committee minus Flake will simply appoint an even more right-wing white male with a sense of self-entitlement unless this can be pushed to past the elections. This mid-term election is more important than any Presidential election folks! The electoral system in the USA sucks entirely, but vote AND demonstrate or do something other to change our entirely broken system. That we could have a President that states after that mad-man screed Kavanaugh gave 'that is why I appointed him' - they both must be stopped from having any power over others. I'm NO fan of the FBI [understatement!], but I hope they do a very good job in the stupid limited week they were given and sink Kavanaugh and send him to where he belongs - drinking his lovely beer in some bar rather than being behind the bar of some Court. I hope they strip him of his ABA accreditation. He was not repentant for his past and is not a nice person even now. He is a right out of some movie like Animal House and auditioning for the Supreme Court?! It only shows how low the USA has sunk - a would be dictator-idiot as President, and they put up angry misogynist, racist, ultra-right-wing bigots for the Supreme Court. The USA is sick, sick, sick...... Time to fix the USA drastically - or loose it very soon and forever IMHO.
    If there is no struggle there is no progress. Power concedes nothing without a demand. It never did and it never will.” - Frederick Douglass
    "Let me issue and control a nation's money and I care not who writes the laws. - Mayer Rothschild
    "Civil disobedience is not our problem. Our problem is civil obedience! People are obedient in the face of poverty, starvation, stupidity, war, and cruelty. Our problem is that grand thieves are running the country. That's our problem!" - Howard Zinn

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    MANY OF US who watched Thursday’s Senate hearing spent much of the time cataloguing Supreme Court nominee Brett Kavanaugh’s lies. After hours of testimony, during which Dr. Christine Blasey Ford answered questions about her alleged sexual assault, the financing behind her lie-detector test, and whether she was really afraid of flying, viewers were treated to more hours of testimony from Kavanaugh, a federal judge who struggled to give a single straight answer.
    Kavanaugh strained credulity when he argued before the Senate Judiciary Committee that the “Devil’s Triangle” — a phrase that appeared on his high school yearbook page — referred to a drinking game, a definition which, before Thursday, you’d have a hard time finding anywhere. (It actually refers to a sex act involving two men and a woman). He also unabashedly claimed that the term “boof” is a reference to “flatulence,” rather than other butt stuff, and that “ralph,” which means to vomit —implicitly from the overconsumption of alcohol — was a reference to Kavanaugh’s weak stomach.
    Kavanaugh claimed references to “Renate Alumnius” in his yearbook were allusions to his friendship with classmate Renate Schroeder Dolphin, and not, as many understood, a sexist smear about her promiscuity. (Dolphin told the New York Times days before the hearing: “I can’t begin to comprehend what goes through the minds of 17-year-old boys who write such things, but the insinuation is horrible, hurtful and simply untrue.”) Kavanaugh even claimed to not really know Ford at all, despite her testimony that she “went out with” one of his close friends — someone whose name appeared in his now notorious calendar 13 times.

    Kavanaugh’s choice to lie about things that are easily disproved speaks to a kind of hubris that’s fitting to someone of his pedigree.
    Kavanaugh’s choice to lie about things that are easily disproved speaks to a kind of hubris, or entitlement, that befits someone of his pedigree. He insinuated that he was of drinking age during the summer of 1982 because, back then, in Maryland, 18 year olds could legally imbibe. With artful wording, he testified that drinking was “legal for seniors,” even though it was decidedly illegal for him — a rising senior who wouldn’t turn 18 until the following year. At other moments, he claimed ignorance about the consequence of plainly relevant evidence — railing against the suggestion that his high school yearbook, a totem to debauchery and sexual frustration, could be relevant to the issue of whether he committed blacked-out sexual assault in high school. “Have at it, if you want to go through my yearbook,” he told Sen. Sheldon Whitehouse, D-R.I., with disdain. As though the inquiry itself was made in bad faith.
    In fact, Kavanaugh dissembled about whether he ever drank to excess at all — an incredible claim given the contents of his yearbook; his friend Mark Judge’s damning memoir, which is titled “Wasted: Tales of a GenX Drunk;” and the sheer number of times Kavanaugh mentioned “beer” during Thursday’s hearing. Although he admitted in his opening statement that “sometimes I had too many beers,” when pressed on how much was too much, he was evasive again: “I don’t know. You know, we — whatever the chart says, a blood-alcohol chart.”
    Perhaps most gallingly, when Sen. Amy Klobuchar, D-Minn., asked Kavanaugh whether he had ever blacked out — just after she empathetically offered that her own father had struggled with alcoholism — he turned on her and shot back: “I don’t know, have you?” (Kavanaugh later apologized to Klobuchar.)
    He even tried to play off Judge’s memoir as “fictionalized” — this despite the book’s title page, which reads: “This book is based on actual experiences.” No lie, it seems, is too small for Kavanaugh.
    Christine Blasey Ford takes a break from testifying at a U.S. Senate Judiciary Committee hearing on Sept. 27, 2018.
    Photo: Erin Schaff, Pool/Getty Images

    AMONG THE MOST consequential of Kavanaugh’s false claims, and the one Senate Democrats pushed back against the least, was his assertion that all of the witnesses who could corroborate Ford’s testimony denied it ever happened.
    In true Kavanaugh fashion, that’s not quite right.
    Ford testified that in addition to Kavanaugh, at least four other people were in the house on the night of the alleged assault: Mark Judge, who Ford alleges witnessed the assault; and P.J. Smyth, Leland Ingraham Keyser, and an unnamed boy — all of whom Ford said were downstairs when the alleged assault occurred.
    Nine times during Thursday’s hearing, Kavanaugh claimed that four of the teenagers, including himself, made statements affirming that Ford’s version of events didn’t happen.
    In an exchange with Sen. Richard Blumenthal, D-Conn., Kavanaugh argued, “But the core of why we’re here is an allegation for which the four witnesses present have all said it didn’t happen.” Later, in an change with Sen. Cory Booker, D-N.J., the nominee claimed, “The witnesses who were there say it didn’t happen.”
    But, apart from Kavanaugh, who denied the allegations, none of the named witnesses said the allegations didn’t happen. Rather, they stated that they did not recall the house party, or have personal knowledge of the alleged sexual assault.
    Having “no recollection” of the night in question, or no “knowledge” of the alleged events, is not the same as saying it didn’t happen.
    Kavanaugh specifically argued that Judge had “provided sworn statement saying this didn’t happen.” But in Judge’s letter to the Judiciary Committee, sent on September 18, he wrote that he has “no memory of this alleged incident,” does “not recall the party described,” and “never saw Brett act in the manner Dr. Ford describes.” (On Thursday, after the conclusion of Kavanaugh’s testimony, Judge followed up with a second letter, stating that he did “never saw Brett act in the manner Dr. Ford describes.”)
    Moreover, Keyser’s statement, issued by her lawyer over the weekend, says only that she “does not know Mr. Kavanaugh, and she has no recollection of ever being at a party or gathering where he was present, with, or without, Dr. Ford.” Not that the event “didn’t happen.”
    Further complicating matters, Ford testified that after Keyser submitted her September 19 statement, she texted Ford “with an apology and good wishes.” And last weekend, the Washington Post reported that Keyser believes Ford’s allegations — hardly the refutation Kavanaugh claimed.
    Smyth’s letter to the Senate Judiciary Committee stated only he has no personal knowledge of what’s alleged to have occurred between Kavanaugh and Ford. “I am issuing this statement,” he wrote, “to make it clear to all involved that I have no knowledge of the party in question; nor do I have any knowledge of the allegations of improper conduct [Ford] has leveled against Brett Kavanaugh.”
    Importantly, having “no recollection” of the night in question, or no “knowledge” of the alleged events is not the same as saying it didn’t happen — especially since Ford never alleged that anyone but Kavanaugh and Judge witnessed the assault. So why would a judge, someone presumably familiar with the implications of what it often means when a witness avers they “do not recall,” so grossly mischaracterize the nature of those statements?
    KAVANAUGH’S APPARENT WILLINGNESS to perjure himself over accusations of underage drinking or sexual innuendo — which, alone, don’t necessarily bear on his suitability for the bench — is troubling both because of what it implies about his integrity, and because of what it suggests about his reasoning as an adjudicator.
    How should we judge someone who, during his testimony, repeatedly misrepresented facts and dissembled when pressed for detail? Should we understand these moments as lies, or as misinterpretations rooted in substandard analytical rigor? And given the importance of the position at hand, which is worse?
    The law, in large part, is parsing hairs.
    Some of this may seem like parsing hairs, but the law, in large part, isparsing hairs. Easy questions don’t make it to the Supreme Court. Slam dunk cases settle out. Outside of constitutional issues, the Supreme Court only agrees to hear cases that are so subject to interpretation, they’ve been inconsistently decided between states or federal circuits. Analytical precision, therefore, is a big part of the job.
    That being the case, it was concerning to hear a federal judge clamor for “due process” as he sidestepped an opportunity to call witnesses, hear evidence, or have his name cleared by a federal investigation. How should we view a federal judge who seems not to understand, or who for political reasons ignores, that he is not, in fact, on trial, but at a job interview? Who, either due to a lack of understanding or a surfeit of political ambition, emotes as though the stakes were that of a criminal proceeding where the high burden of proof would militate in his favor? Do we want a justice who artfully aims for what’s “technically” true (and misses often), or one whose integrity is, well, unimpeachable?
    Senator Ted Cruz, center left, Senate Majority Whip John Cornyn, center, and Senator Lindsey Graham, center right, gather during the Senate Judiciary Committee hearing in Washington, D.C., on Sept. 27, 2018.
    Photo: Matt McClain, Pool/Bloomberg/Getty Images

    “DUE PROCESS” MEANS fair treatment under the law — that an accused person has notice of the proceedings being brought against them and an opportunity to be heard before the government takes away their life, liberty, or property. The fundamental goal of due process is to prevent the state from depriving people of their most precious freedoms. But Kavanaugh isn’t threatened with any of those deprivations. He’s not facing jail time, a fine, or any confiscation of personal goods. The stakes are these: whether he will go from sitting on the bench of the second most prestigious court in the land, to the first.
    What matters, then, is whether Kavanaugh is of sufficiently fit character to fairly and ethically interpret the law. Thursday’s hearing, perhaps as much as the allegations against him, has thrown that into serious doubt.
    A primary question here, and one that has largely been skipped over by the general public, is why, precisely, Kavanaugh’s past behavior, up to and including Thursday’s hearing, has any bearing on his ability to serve on the Supreme Court. What behavior would we consider disqualifying as a matter of principle? What qualities are non-negotiable in the nation’s top jurists — women and men whose decisions directly affect the lives of over 300 million citizens, and billions across the world who are often beholden to the toxic effects of domestic policy?
    We would argue that honesty is key to administering justice.
    A Supreme Court judgeship is a lifetime appointment. And as Sen. Kirsten Gillibrand, D-N.Y., recently pointed out, members of the Supreme Court are asked to make dozens of decisions every year directly relating to the life, liberty, and happiness of Americans — half of whom are women, and all of whom deserve jurists who possess a baseline level of integrity.
    As Blumenthal, the Connecticut senator, said at the Senate Judiciary Committee’s Friday meeting, Kavanaugh’s character and fitness give ample reason to vote “no.”
    Update: September 29, 2018
    Kavanaugh even lied about having no connections to Yale. “I have no connections there. I got there by busting my tail,” Kavanaugh said under oath about getting into Yale Law School after attending Yale as an undergrad. In fact, he was a legacy: His grandfather, Everett Edward Kavanaugh, also went to Yale for undergrad, as this yearbook shows.
    1928 Yearbook





    If there is no struggle there is no progress. Power concedes nothing without a demand. It never did and it never will.” - Frederick Douglass
    "Let me issue and control a nation's money and I care not who writes the laws. - Mayer Rothschild
    "Civil disobedience is not our problem. Our problem is civil obedience! People are obedient in the face of poverty, starvation, stupidity, war, and cruelty. Our problem is that grand thieves are running the country. That's our problem!" - Howard Zinn

  10. #30

    Default Kavanaugh and Ford

    It seems too obvious to me that instead of being "refined" or "finished" by their high school experience, that Dr. Christine Ford and Judge Kavanaugh were left all the worse due to their high school experience.

    Sadly, if Judge Kavanaugh is put on the Supreme Court, he will be voting to us MY TAX DOLLARS to fund the very sort of Parochial and/or private schools that left both him and his accuser Dr. Christine Ford as psychological basket cases for life. (I'm just relying on what I saw and heard with my own eyes and ears at the hearings).

    If Judge Kavanaugh was a participant in sexual assault, how could his sexual development as a teen-ager be guided by priests who can't even police their own ranks on the issue of sexual assault?

    Historian Michael Beschloss on a TV show described Kavanaugh's reaction as "psychiatric" in responding to questions. That's my take also.

    I attended all public schools and I can say for sure that my friends and I never tasted a drop of liquor until going to college. The fact that these "elite" teenagers were living such a life of drinking and debauchery that a guy can write a best-selling book JUST ABOUT THE DEBAUCHERY in that High School is appalling.

    Can't we see this sad situation as proof positive that PRIVATE SCHOOLS FOR KIDS DON'T WORK! In fairness, I have seen good results from parochial education displayed by co-workers in the workplace who attended private parochial school. BUT WHY TAKE A CHANCE ON THIS TYPE OF ACTIVITY IN A PRIVATE SCHOOL? This stuff is, sadly, all too common there (IMHO). And it should not be subsidized by tax money where the performance is not under the supervision and control OF AN ELECTED SCHOOL BOARD!

    Dr. Ford went to an all-girl's school. So in her (apparent) first encounter with a young man, she assumed the worst and believed he was out to rape her. Maybe he was, but (IMHO) he was most likely making a little too aggressive sexual advances and (being a phobic and fearful personality), Dr. Ford assumed the worst. Not that hitting on a 15-year old girl is a good idea. I heard them (back in the day) be described as "jail bait" and this looks like the case in the Kavanaugh encounter.

    It is possible that Dr. Ford is refusing to say how she got to this party because she might have been driven there by her parents or the parents of a good friend. At the very least, her activities were not being monitored either by her parents OR BY STAFF AT HER EXPENSIVE PRIVATE "RELIGIOUS" GIRL'S SCHOOL.

    IMHO competent public school counselors would have intervened along with parents to minimize this incredible drinking, gang-rape type debauchery amongst the students. I'm not sure whether these private schools have psychologists, trained counselors or social workers on staff. As far as I have ever heard, they do not.

    The moral of this story is IF YOU DON'T GIVE A DAMN ABOUT YOUR KIDS, THEN SEND THEM TO THESE KIND OF SCHOOLS.

    What else can I say?

    James Lateer

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