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Dems: We'll probe Kavanaugh allegations if we win in November

https://www.politico.com/story/2018/09/20/brett-kavanaugh-confirmation-midterms-democrats-833399

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Congressional Democrats are threatening to investigate sexual assault allegations against Brett Kavanaugh from the highest bench in the land should he be confirmed without a probe and the party reclaim Congress.

Sen. Sheldon Whitehouse (D-R.I.) said that “as soon as Democrats get gavels,” the party will vet the FBI’s handling of Ford’s claim against the Supreme Court nominee — even if Kavanaugh is already seated on the high court by that time. Rep. Eric Swallwell (D-Calif.), who sits on the House Judiciary Committee, also said in an interview that the party could probe Kavanaugh’s denials of the allegations against him.

 

 

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I tend to be pessimistic about Kavanaugh's nomination actually being blocked as well.  One thing to think about though, is there was one aspect that wasn't as prevalent in the current midterms as that of, say, 2006.  And that's a scandal-ridden Congress.  Kavanaugh in the metoo era completes that - it's much more salient than Mark Foley being the face of the page scandal.  There's literally no ingredient among recent midterm "shellackings" that is not present right now.  And most of the measurables are at record values.

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23 minutes ago, David Selig said:

If I recall correctly, this guy had been saying for a couple of days that he had some near-100%-certain development that would blow this thing wide open and clear his friend, Brett Kavanaugh.

Turns out the real rapist was that other friend of Mark Judge, Bart O'Kavanaugh.

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12 hours ago, Rippounet said:

Hang on... If I read this right you're talking of private contractors being responsible for extremely high costs on the NYC subway.
So you're saying that people distrust government because it hires shitty contractors that waste public money?

Yes. More specifically because deliberately hires contractors that waste public money because this wasted money is going to the right people.

12 hours ago, Rippounet said:

But you can't do that if the services are really provided by the private sector!

If anything, all such examples you would take from the US would end up being great arguments in favor of socialized services.

It wouldn't make any difference besides the labeling. Public sector services (e.g. police) are also more expensive and famously inferior.

Maybe this is something that you don't have to such an extent in France, but in the US, the leaders of the public and private sectors come from largely the same set of people and in fact switch places every once in a while. The New York City examples are probably not well-known, but this happens at all levels of the system under both Democrats and Republicans. Robert Rubin went from Goldman Sachs to the Treasury under Clinton, Dick Cheney went from Halliburton to be Vice-President to G.W. Bush, Larry Summers was at so many public and private places that it's hard to pick two, but let's say from D.E. Shaw to the National Economic Counsel under Obama and even if we ignore Trump himself, Rex Tillerson was CEO of Exxon-Mobil before becoming Secretary of State. And even when there isn't anyone who is obviously from a given industry in a position of power, industry always has a seat at the table when major changes are discussed.

12 hours ago, Rippounet said:

Translation; you dismiss scientific research that doesn't fit your narrative or experience. :rolleyes:

No, I dismiss "scientific" research that is unfalsifiable or otherwise fails basic tests separating science from pseudoscience. However, this has little to do with US politics to I'll make a separate thread about it.

12 hours ago, Rippounet said:

Haven't you heard? The nazis are already in power.

Not in the US. Several people in this thread have made this kind of reference to the Trump administration, but if you think about it, he has not done many things that a proper authoritarian would quite likely do. For example, he could take the Jacksonian attitude towards the courts or establish a paramilitary group loyal to him personally or arrange either accidents or arrests for particularly recalcitrant opponents or even just purge significant numbers of bureaucrats opposed to him. He has done none of these (not even the first one which has precedent in US history) and, despite talking tough, has played entirely by the rules. There are some people who might have aspirations of being authoritarians in the US and in Europe, but none have put it into practice yet.

13 hours ago, Rippounet said:

And it's not Ocasio-Cortez herself I'm talking about, it's what she represents.

Alright, what does she represent? As far as I can tell, it's a less intellectual variant of an ideology that is rejected in the US by the vast majority mixed together with identity politics, but that's probably not what you see.

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13 hours ago, Fragile Bird said:

Well, if the Democrats are stupid enough to nominate someone who was a well-known heavy drinker in high school, university and law school and likes to joke about it at speaking events, then if some woman speaks up being mauled by him as a student, they deserve it.

But you know what? The Republican pr machine has been rolling out tv commercial after tv commercial with women saying what a swell guy he is, and who lined up a group of teenaged girls to sit behind him at the hearings, I have a deep suspicion they've known about accusations about his behaviour since they first vetted him.

I'm still trying to figure out how heavy drinking suddenly makes accusations against you credible.  Or how being nominated by Trump does either.  Or what the Republicans have been doing to get people to support his nomination.  None of these make this accusation more or less credible, unless you want to play party politics and stereotyping.  

14 hours ago, SpaceForce Tywin et al. said:

@Rippounet

Take the L on this one. As others have pointed out, this isn’t criminal court. It’s not even civil court. This is a job interview, and if there are even whiffs of sexual assault with your potential hire, you move on to a new candidate, especially when said candidate will have a forceful say on women’s rights for the next several decades.

So from now on if the Repubs can find someone who credibly (which has been defined elsewhere in the thread as plausibly) allege sexual assault every Liberal nomination and candidate has to step aside? Because the issue here is that the standard the liberal base holds the Dems to is very different to the standard the Repub base holds them to.  A big chunk of the Repub base doesn't care about this allegation.  But if it was switched and a Dem nominee had these allegations?  Then the Dem base would certainly give a stuff.  Which means Dem Senators would feel pressured to vote no. 

I'm not saying the Dems shouldn't fight Kavanaugh's nomination.  I'm not saying that this shouldn't be investigated, and definitely used to stall the process (which is a nice side benefit).  I'm not saying I don't believe her.  If more evidence comes out to support (and the other student's knowing of it sounds promising), then hopefully nail him by his petards to the mast.  But I am saying that the Dems want to think hard on what their standards of evidence are to fight on, because you know that the Repubs will lie in the future, and that the Dem base will not accept things the Repub base will. 

One area Zorral is perfectly correct on is that the Dems should have been hammering much harder on a heap of other ares, but especially the lying, before this even came up.  

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With great reluctance, I have to say from my POV that mere accusations against Kavanaugh are inadequate without legal proof.  Folks here seem to be thinking strictly short term, not realizing that if these unsupported accusations somehow keep the republican pick off the SC, then at some future point, the republicans WILL use those tactics against a future democratic SC selection, citing this fiasco as precedent.  That the crimes in question are literally decades in the past does not help matters. 

 

Find something else, something criminal, something relatively recent, something with actual legal evidence.  Given the trends in this administration (corrupt rich guys nominated to high office) there must be a financial scandal or some such. 

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9 hours ago, maarsen said:

No longer invading other countries or trying to enforce your laws across international borders would be a good start for a left leaning administration. 

I completely agree, but any nation's foreign policy needs to be fleshed out a bit more than that, and that is even more true when trying to radically change the trajectory of the U.S.'s past and current foreign policy approach.

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2 hours ago, ThinkerX said:

With great reluctance, I have to say from my POV that mere accusations against Kavanaugh are inadequate without legal proof.  Folks here seem to be thinking strictly short term, not realizing that if these unsupported accusations somehow keep the republican pick off the SC, then at some future point, the republicans WILL use those tactics against a future democratic SC selection, citing this fiasco as precedent.  That the crimes in question are literally decades in the past does not help matters. 

 

Find something else, something criminal, something relatively recent, something with actual legal evidence.  Given the trends in this administration (corrupt rich guys nominated to high office) there must be a financial scandal or some such. 

The Merick Garland case proves that Republicans will vote against ANY Democratic Supreme Court nominee, regardless of his personal qualities and qualifications. Being nominated by Democratic president is reason enough, and they will treat every candidate the same, whether he is Harvey Weinstein or the reincarnation of Jesus Christ.

Since the Republicans have no space to escalate things further, Democrats have no reason to fear their retaliation.

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4 hours ago, ants said:

So from now on if the Repubs can find someone who credibly (which has been defined elsewhere in the thread as plausibly) allege sexual assault every Liberal nomination and candidate has to step aside?

:lol: 'From now on'. That's a good one. Ask Al Franken about that. 

The idea that somehow it's a strategic mistake to insist on a standard here is pernicious rubbish. Why?

- Because the standard that ought to apply, ought to damn well apply. Allowing Kavanaugh to be appointed despite the fact that there's good reason to believe he not only sexually assaulted someone, but is now dishonestly calling his victim a liar in public to save his own career, cannot be justified on the basis that somehow it might make the path for future liberal candidates less difficult. That is an appalling, horrific bit of moral calculus. 

- Because cases can be treated on their merits. If a liberal candidate faces an accusation that is without merit, then it is without merit. If a liberal candidate faces a plausible accusation, damn right he should step aside. Are you actually in favour of appointing SC justices who are plausibly accused of sexual assault to the bench just because they're liberal? Think about that for a minute.

- Because Republicans don't and won't give a damn what Democrats do about this. It won't influence Republican behaviour in any way. If they decide to gin up a false accusation against a future Dem SC nominee, they were going to do that anyway. When you cannot influence your opponent's behaviour, you are a fool to try. 

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11 hours ago, Kalbear said:

Richard Spencer, by all accounts, called civilly for the peaceful ethnic cleansing of the US. His tone was polite, he did not attack any people directly, and he was promoting an idea. 

There are some ideas that are simply uncivil at their core, and they do not deserve to be challenged in any way other than to be attacked, beaten, castigated, ostracized and mocked. They do not deserve a civil debate, because the very nature of that debate makes those ideas seem legitimate and reasonable. 

Dude, like you swiped my example.

Or it was more like it was your example and I wasn't quick enough on the draw to steal it.
 

Anyway, this point in a nutshell illustrates very well the rebuttal I was going to make towards @The Anti-Targ.

Some people just don't deserve civility. Nor do they deserve people maintaining a respectful attitude towards them. And Richard Spencer certainly fits in this category.
People might say to themselves, "golly Spencer looks like such a nice clean cut young man. And he is so civil, polished, and well spoken and he didn't drop one f-bomb nor say one goddammit."

But the truth is Spencer is an effing monster. He is what one of my old drill instructors used to call a funk faker. And he is hiding his funkiness behind a veneer of "civility". It's all bullshit and he deserves neither civility, nor respect. In fact, people ought just go ahead just light his sorry ass right on up.

If I were to meet a clown like Spencer. I'd be real uncivil and disrespectful, not only because of being outraged by his sorry ass horseshit, but also because I'd want to rattle his ass and penetrate his veneer of "civility" which he uses to hide his bullshit. I'd intentionally escalate the situation in order, hopefully, to get him to commit what he is really about and stop trying to tap dance around it with a horseshit veneer of "civility".

The example of Spencer is of course a simple example that I do in fact feel is an effective rebuttal to @The Anti-Targ general assertion that a respectful attitude towards others should be made at all times. There are, however, other certain sorts of people, who may not be at a level of Spencer nastiness, that I don't really feel are deserving of that much respect or civility. People like Alex Jones deserve ridicule. People that run around promoting Pizza Gate theories and other assorted nuttery aren't deserving of that much respect or at least their ideas deserve both ridicule, contempt, and disdain. Ghouls that mindlessly chant "lock her up" could use a little uncivility and disrespect. So could ghouls that clap and cheer at hearing about examples of insured people dying for want of healthcare. People that are on the verge of creaming their shorts upon the widespread use of torture could use a little uncivility and disrespect too. Orange buffoon clowns that continue to make racially charged claims that been proven to be false, time and time again, could use a little uncivility and disrespect. People like Ted Nugent that run around talking about shooting people are in bad need of some uncivility and disrespect.

And well placed mockery and ridicule can be highly effective. Sometimes it's more effective getting a point across, than resorting some kind of dry and academic style of writing or speech. Just think back to Joe Biden pretty much destroying Paul Ryan, "the well spoken and very polished conservative big thinker you should take seriously", with his snark and ridicule.

And of course there are some ideas, while not exactly on the same level as Spencer nastiness, deserve a little bit of snark and ridicule. When I see people like David Brooks and others writing nonsense like Trump isn't doing the real and true conservatism, and hence the conservatism is absolved of all responsibility for creating the rise of Trump, just why in the hell shouldn't I roll my eyes a little and make a very smart ass comment under my breath. Because you know, just how many iterations of this insane nonsense should we be expected to endure?

None of this means that I believe we should be in prick mode all the time or even in the majority of time. In fact I do strongly believe in having compassion for others and being kind most of the time. I'm, after all, an old school "bleeding heart liberal" (I think that used to be the term before the newer Social Justice Warrior thing appeared) and damn proud of it.

There is the old joke that liberal is someone that can't take their own side in an argument. Like most jokes it probably isn't exactly true, but does contain grain of truth in it, and seemingly because many on the left started to run away from it and started to call themselves "progressive", as if that would somehow deflect conservative attacks on people that lean to the left. It's okay liberals to take a strong position once awhile. And it's even okay, when the occasion demands it, to be hard ass or go into hell raiser mode once awhile, particularly when dealing with this Trump bunch or people like Spencer.

12 hours ago, The Anti-Targ said:

 I equate civility with keeping your head and your rationality, attacking the issues not the personalities, not escalating the emotion of a situation, being assertive not aggressive.

 

Can I ask why do you think uncivility necessarily  means making irrational and completely ridiculous arguments. I think I'm capable, like others, of making a rational, but uncivil and disrespectful, argument or point. Not saying it should be one's default style of argument. But every once awhile, it's appropriate.

I have no qualms about calling somebody like Alex Jones a flamin' nut job or calling people like Richard Spencer one sorry ass individual.
 

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7 hours ago, Altherion said:

snip

I have just one simple question for you. Just what in the hell do you want done?

You keep complaining about "elites", but are never very specific about what you want done about it.

Are you just mainly pissed off about "identity politics" or do you have something else in mind? And please get to the point and don't try to do the Texas Two step around the issue.

 

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12 hours ago, DanteGabriel said:

If I recall correctly, this guy had been saying for a couple of days that he had some near-100%-certain development that would blow this thing wide open and clear his friend, Brett Kavanaugh.

Turns out the real rapist was that other friend of Mark Judge, Bart O'Kavanaugh.

Yeah, that's the guy. He is also the President of the Ethics and Public Policy Centre, so in true Republican fashion that means he is a completely unethical scumbag even by their extremely low standards. Also a clear moron, apparently, his Twitter explosion yesterday was mindbogglingly stupid and should hurt his buddy Kavanaugh's case. Here is a hilarious breakdown of the whole mess - https://www.pastemagazine.com/articles/2018/09/kavanaugh-defender-ed-whelan-just-distinguished-hi.html

I know being smart isn't all that common among Republican elite, but I just can't believe this guy though that his amateur sleuthing would actually work.

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14 hours ago, The Anti-Targ said:

But why, when you can easily expose the bad faith of the other AND stay on your high horse at the same time? There are very few situations where it's necessary to climb down into the muck to defeat the muck raker. People often only do that because they like getting dirty, but that doesn't make it the best tactic. 

I guess it all comes down to where you draw the lines of varying levels of civility. If someone, for example, is a birther, I will call them an idiot and question whether or not they are a racist. If someone, OTOH, express a libertarian viewpoint while otherwise being respectful, I’ll calmly walk them through why it’s such a horrifically flawed idea.

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9 minutes ago, David Selig said:

Yeah, that's the guy. He is also the President of the Ethics and Public Policy Centre, so in true Republican fashion that means he is a completely unethical scumbag even by their extremely low standards. Also a clear moron, apparently, his Twitter explosion yesterday was mindbogglingly stupid and should hurt his buddy Kavanaugh's case. Here is a hilarious breakdown of the whole mess - https://www.pastemagazine.com/articles/2018/09/kavanaugh-defender-ed-whelan-just-distinguished-hi.html

I know being smart isn't all that common among Republican elite, but I just can't believe this guy though that his amateur sleuthing would actually work.

It seems Whelan has deleted his libelous Zillow detective work, but I hope he gets sued into the ground by Garrett (who, funnily enough, had signed one of the letters of support for Kavanaugh that circulated around).

Josh Marshall at TPM makes a decent case that Kavanaugh and his team knew what Whelan was up to (excerpted because it's behind a paywall):

https://talkingpointsmemo.com/prime-beta/my-take-on-where-we-are-with-kavanaugh-5-a-very-bad-night-for-kavanaugh

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The Post doesn’t say it in so many words. But there are several key pieces of information which tell a story. Whelan is close friends with Kavanaugh and Leo. Whelan is part of the team advising and assisting Kavanaugh through the confirmation process. We also learn that “Kavanaugh and his allies” have been working on a defense that sounds very much like the one Whelan rolled out on Twitter tonight: an explanation that both exonerates Kavanaugh but does so without attacking Blasey Ford’s good faith. ‘She was a victim. She deserves our sympathy. But it wasn’t Brett Kavanaugh. That part was a misunderstanding.’

Put these facts together and it is very, very hard to believe that Kavanaugh and his top advisors did not at least know the outlines of Whelan’s theory. If that’s true, it’s big, big trouble and shows a level of recklessness and irresponsibility that shouldn’t have Kavanaugh sitting as a judge on any court let alone the Supreme Court. Whether Kavanaugh and Leo knew just what Whelan was going to do tonight is much less clear. But again, put those facts above together and it’s a real stretch to think Whelan hadn’t at least discussed his theory with Kavanaugh’s team.

Again, put the facts together. Whelan is part of Kavanaugh’s confirmtion advisor team at the highest levels. Kavanaugh and his advisors have been working on a defense theory like the one Whelan tweeted about. Conservative political and legal circles have been buzzing about the goods Whelan was about to unload for the last couple days. Are we really supposed to believe Whelan never mentioned any of this to Kavanaugh or Leo? That this was the first they ever heard of it?

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I like that so many people who are putting forward the idea that if this works against KAVANAUGH any dem nominee can be hit by this ignore one small thing. 

 

Judges aren't all men. 

And while it certainly is possible for women to sexually assault others, it is significantly less likely, and even less likelier to have any credibility. 

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5 hours ago, mormont said:

:lol: 'From now on'. That's a good one. Ask Al Franken about that. 

The idea that somehow it's a strategic mistake to insist on a standard here is pernicious rubbish. Why?

- Because the standard that ought to apply, ought to damn well apply. Allowing Kavanaugh to be appointed despite the fact that there's good reason to believe he not only sexually assaulted someone, but is now dishonestly calling his victim a liar in public to save his own career, cannot be justified on the basis that somehow it might make the path for future liberal candidates less difficult. That is an appalling, horrific bit of moral calculus. 

- Because cases can be treated on their merits. If a liberal candidate faces an accusation that is without merit, then it is without merit. If a liberal candidate faces a plausible accusation, damn right he should step aside. Are you actually in favour of appointing SC justices who are plausibly accused of sexual assault to the bench just because they're liberal? Think about that for a minute.

- Because Republicans don't and won't give a damn what Democrats do about this. It won't influence Republican behaviour in any way. If they decide to gin up a false accusation against a future Dem SC nominee, they were going to do that anyway. When you cannot influence your opponent's behaviour, you are a fool to try. 

Even better, look how Republicans treated Bill Clinton verses how they’re treating Trump. Clinton was impeached by the House on charges of perjury and obstruction of justice over getting head from a White House intern. But facing the same charges over potentially allying with a hostile foreign government to win an election and lying about it, no biggie. Republicans will never treat their own the way Democrats will, so discussing the precedent this will cause is pointless.

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