Brett Kavanaugh’s Character Witnesses: Ken Starr, Bill Shine, and Donald Trump

Over the last week, some pretty curious character witnesses have come out to insist that Brett Kavanaugh is a nice man who would never sexually assault someone else.

First, there’s Ken Starr, who judged that Christine Blasey Ford had had her opportunity to come forward and had not done so, and so “the matter has adjourned.”

As someone who’s interested in process and fairness, obviously any allegation of this nature is an unfortunate serious allegation, but to be honest, I was outraged about the timing, as well as the process, that the letter, about something long ago, was in the hands of — you covered it very well — of the Democrats in July, and yet there is nothing done about this. I just think it’s too late for there to be any serious consideration at this stage. The matter has adjourned. You had your opportunity to come forward and you failed to do that year after year after year.

Starr was forced to resign as president of Baylor University in 2016 for his role in covering up sexual assault committed by members of the football team. The report that led to his firing specifically talked about a culture of victim-blaming on behalf of administrators.

In addition, the investigations were conducted in the context of a broader culture and belief by many administrators that sexual violence “doesn’t happen here.” Administrators engaged in conduct that could be perceived as victim-blaming, focusing on the complainant’s choices and actions, rather than robustly investigating the allegations, including the actions of the respondent.

Then, yesterday, Bill Shine said that the White House stands by Kavanaugh 100%.

“We stand behind Judge Kavanaugh 100 percent,” Bill Shine, deputy WH chief of staff for communications, told us a few minutes ago in the Rose Garden. He did not say whether Kavanaugh should testify alone on Monday.

Shine was forced to resign from Fox News in 2017 after he was accused of attacking the victims of Roger Ailes’ sexual harassment.

In a case settled in December (the dollar figure is under wraps), Shine was accused of retaliating against a woman who declined to have a sexual relationship with Ailes. In another lawsuit, a woman who complained to Shine about Ailes’ behavior said he told her that he was “a very powerful man” and that she “needed to let this one go.” A third woman, who said she was psychologically tortured by Ailes for 20 years, was, at one point sent to live in a hotel for six weeks where senior leaders at Fox could “monitor” her. She claims that Shine reviewed all of her emails, which he denies.

Finally, this morning, Donald Trump joined in, both defending Kavanaugh’s honesty and (echoing Starr’s line) suggesting that because Ford didn’t file a police report, the attack must not have happened.

This defense of an alleged abuser mirrors the ones Trump made for Rob Porter, in which he complained that mere allegations shattered his life before hailing the good job he did at the White House.

We found out about it recently, and I was surprised by it, but we certainly wish him well, and it’s a tough time for him. He did a very good job when he was in the White House, and we hope he has a wonderful career, and he will have a great career ahead of him. But it was very sad when we heard about it, and certainly he’s also very sad now. He also, as you probably know, says he’s innocent, and I think you have to remember that. He said very strongly yesterday that he’s innocent, so you have to talk to him about that, but we absolutely wish him well. He did a very good job when he was at the White House.

According to Bob Woodward’s book (which relied heavily on Porter as a source), Kavanaugh recommended Porter for his old position as Staff Secretary.

And also the defense he mounted for Roy Moore, where he emphasized Moore’s denials even while continuing to campaign for him.

“He denies it. Look, he denies it,” Trump said of Moore. “If you look at all the things that have happened over the last 48 hours. He totally denies it. He says it didn’t happen. And look, you have to look at him also.”

To be sure, with Kavanaugh there’s no hint of serial abuse, as there was when Trump took the side of both Porter and Moore. Which is why Republicans should be really cautious about who comes out in defense of Kavanaugh. Because his character witnesses damn him as much as his unconvincing denials.

76 replies
  1. oldoilfieldhand says:

    Question for the Senate aficionados:
    How many members of the Senate Judiciary Committee must be present for a quorum? If Democrats sit out the hearing, can the Republican members push Kavanaugh forward for a Senate vote with no Democrats present?
    Can the Senate vote to approve Kavanaugh if no Democrats are present in the Senate for a vote?
    Asking for a friend…

    • Peterr says:

      From the Rules of the Senate Judiciary Committee:


      1. Seven Members of the Committee, actually present, shall constitute a quorum for the purpose of discussing business. Nine Members of the Committee, including at least two Members of the minority, shall constitute a quorum for the purpose of transacting business. No bill, matter, or nomination shall be ordered reported from the Committee, however, unless a majority of the Committee is actually present at the time such action is taken and a majority of those present support the action taken.

      Since there are 11 GOP members of the committee, in theory they could meet and vote to bring this to the whole Senate with all the Democrats staying away from the meeting.

      • harpie says:

        …could be wrong, but I think that unless at least 2 members of the minority are present, they don’t have a quorum, and therefore can’t transact ANY business.

        • Bob Conyers says:

          The Democrats tried to block Scott Pruitt in committee that way, but the GOP went ahead and suspended the rules and he was referred to the floor for a vote despite a boycott.

          It’s possible Supreme Court nominees and the Judiciary Committee don’t allow for that kind of maneuver, but I would bet McConnell will force a vote through if he thinks he has the votes.

        • oldoilfieldhand says:

          Thanks for the information. If the Democrats feel as strongly as most of the women in this country do, they should walk out “en masse” from the committee hearing before the vote demanding that all business of the committee cease. All Democrats should walk out of the Senate, again “en masse”, if Mitch McConnell suspends the rules and forces a vote to put another Federalist robot on the Supreme Court. It’s not too much to ask the Democrats to comply with their constituents’ wishes.  They must do all possible to keep Kavanaugh off the Supreme Court. In November when we all vote, we can let the country know that Democracy is not for sale.

        • Anon says:

          I suspect that would depend upon how that would play in Maine and Alaska. If those two senators jump on board the creeptrain despite clear reasons not to do so then the walkout makes sense. But if even one of them plans to vote no then having them do so with the Dems en masse also sends a strong message.

          I would argue that it is risky. Not that they shouldn’t but that it is risky.

        • P J Evans says:

          I understand that Murkowski is under a lot of pressure to vote against Kavanaugh because of his views on indigenous people (such as claiming that native Hawaiians are migrants and thus not indigenous) as well as his views on VAWA and women/minorities in general.

          Collins’s term isn’t up until 2020, but she’s not as popular in Maine as she used to be.

  2. Don Utter says:

    A challenge to people commenting on this thread.

    Who are other character witnesses who come forward and make Kavanaugh’s case worse?

    And the grand prize for the one who can come up with the best worse one. But with the constraint that Trump has already won that spot, so it is the next best worst character witness.

    • Rayne says:

      Nice to see you again. Could you do yourself and us a favor and stick to a single username? You have five now, this one and four different variations of another username. It helps community members become familiar with you and it reduces administrative workload back end. Thanks.

  3. Trip says:

    Let’s not forget Kavanaugh got the important Roy Moore skeeve nod, too.

    And there’s Trump complaining about “due process” when he is the one blocking it.

  4. TheraP says:

    “Kavanaugh’s Character Witnesses” or “The three boulders tied around Kavenaugh’s neck as he’s thrown into the cesspool.”

    Last night on the PBS Newshour, there was a female who’d clerked for Kavenaugh 12 years ago. She was so obviously prepped, so ridiculously following talking points. I kept wondering about the “model” stereotype that Kavenaugh apparently prefers. But she was just not “simpatica” – it didn’t come off as genuine at all:

    She kept talking about ‘her’ experience. As if that somehow made a difference. Poor performance! (Is that the best they have?) She didn’t answer the questions posed. But robotically kept repeating the talking points. What a turn-off! Is her career now ruined too?

    • Lulymay says:

      @ TheraP

      I watched that same interview and kept thinking what a waste of  normally good journalism on PBS.  Had to keep wondering: is the cheque in the mail? or what else might have been promised.

    • Sabrina says:

      And then, of course, the false equivalence that the woman who worked for him in an esteemed professional capacity would have been privy to Kavanaugh’s “personal life” in the same way that another teenage girl at a party 3 decades ago would have been. Someone of his status would likely be very careful to maintain professionalism at all times, and so of course this law clerk hasn’t seen anything that would even “suggest” this incident had occurred. Let’s all forget that it happened while Kav was 17, with critical thinking yet to mature, deeply uninhibited due to alcohol (so much so that he has no recollection of that night so how can he categorically deny anything, but that’s a different matter), and they were together at a party where teenagers are almost expected to be as uninhibited as possible, both by in group peer pressure and alcohol.
      He would have been better off admitting he doesn’t remember anything but that if he had done that, he was deeply sorry. At least it would have shown some character, instead of this kabuki theatre of completely unrelated individuals speculating based on their own experiences with him and passing them off as authoritative statements of fact about his character. What a mess this is turning out to be, and blocking a legitimate investigation makes me worry that there is still far to go before true progress has been made in cases of abuse of any kind. Victims, especially women, are apparently still expected to suffer in silence rather than be victimized further when they speak out. It happens in academia too, and it’s almost accepted as an unfortunate circumstance, but “what can you do?”. And the answer for many victims really is “nothing”- because “doing” anything about it prolongs the pain and opens up a new type of hurt as friends and colleagues begin to drift away or side with the abuser.
      Sorry for the rant there- it’s galling, these situations where the (often powerful) abuser feels invincible since they can attack with impunity, and the system is designed to keep it that way; more so in higher paying professional careers like academia, medicine or law, which is just a depressing fact.

    • Anon says:

      Well those have to be taken with a grain of salt because they are about what some people (former students) say that other people (Chua and husband) say they think he wants. Even if they said that, it is easy for Kavanaugh to brush off as being not him but them. And the intermediaries have their own PR problems which makes it easier for him to throw them under a bus.

  5. gedouttahear says:

    My dog can conduct a better interview than judy woofwoof.
    And check out the law clerk’s last name “Mascott.”
    Can’t make this shit up!

  6. Peterr says:

    Marcy’s list, expanded:

    1. Ken “Football Boys will be Football Boys” Starr
    2. Bill “Roger Ailes and Bill O’Reilly were framed” Shine
    3. Donald “Grab ’em by the pussy” Trump
    4. Rob “My wife had it coming, and so did my other wife” Porter
    5. Roy “I just like hanging out at the Mall” Moore

    Two thoughts on Marcy’s list:

    1. “Only the best people . . .” and
    2. “With friends like these . . .”
  7. Avattoir says:

    In the comment section of the last post here on this subject (and indeed this one, with help from Tom Waits), I went kinda dark on Kavanaugh and that “certain look” he favors.

    Now over at LG&M, apparently Paul Campos wants it darker.

    Campos has a post up today that expressed wonder at the Miracle of Whelan, by which some Magical Seership, Divine Inspiration or Leo-nine Intervention caused Whelan to conveniently somehow just ‘know’ that 35 years ago Kavanaugh’s classmate Garrett looked sufficiently similar to Kavanaugh to doppel his gang.

    Whelan, tho, denies material contact with Kavanaugh, co-conspirator McGahn, TOADUS, or anyone “in” the White House – including of course Garrett (hoo boy, THAT meet-up should be some cringe-worthy).

    Not so with Leo, th. No Whelan regret-waling on that front. Of course, since wee Leonard’s practically got his own cubicle in the West Wing, maybe Ed figures ‘Nor Leo’ is IMPLIED – even tho, clearly not.

    • Frank Probst says:

      FWIW, I was never sure if Garrett had agreed to be a part of this nonsense (presumably for a substantial fee) or if he was someone that Whelan just pulled out of the yearbook (with some assistance of someone who was a classmate of Kavanaugh’s, just to make sure Garrett and Ford actually knew each other).  Based on Ford’s comments, I tend to doubt that Garrett was in any way involved.  If he and Ford were close enough friends for her to visit him in the hospital, I think that Garrett would have told the rest of the players that this scheme was never going to work.  And since he currently works as a teacher, I don’t think he’d be willing to take the rap for sexually assaulting a 15 year-old girl.

      • Tracy says:

        You don’t think Kavanaughsuggested his doppelgänger? Seems to me that would have been the most direct way to get the result.

  8. Peterr says:

    Via the twitter feed of bmaz comes this thought from Tbogg:

    Announce Christine Ford on 60 Minutes this Sunday night with Oprah interviewing and they’ll pull Kavanaugh as a nominee by Friday lunchtime

    That’s a helluva negotiating position, and an absolute nightmare for the GOP. It doesn’t even have to be this Sunday night. If the Kavanaugh nomination gets pushed through next week, the following Sunday would be right before the first Monday in October, making Kavanaugh’s first day at SCOTUS rather awkward.

    And then there’s always November 4th . . .

    • maybe ryan says:

      Well, yeah, I’ve been thinking that she could miss the committee and do the shows if she wanted.  The issue is to convince voters, and that need not happen in front of 11 GOP senators.  Of course it may be that much more convincing if she speaks forcefully in hostile territory.

      • Anon says:

        I believe that her skipping out would only cement the belief among some that this is a plot or at least a sideshow. While the senate is preparing to lynch Dr. Ford, showing up and speaking truth to power is the one thing that she can do most to prove her case.

        As to the electorate, being interviewed by Oprah will only really help with people who are already on her side. I suspect the rest, just don’t watch Oprah.

        • Tracy says:

          Now, however, her lawyers have written a scathing rebuttal to the TOTAL intolerance to her requests the GOP JC has shown, and it would appear that she did EVERYTHING HUMANLY POSSIBLE to be treated fairly. She was absolutely 100% turned down on that. Therefore, in the end, it’s her story, she should feel empowered to tell it where and when she wants, and if these guys won’t tolerate her, she can speak her truth elsewhere than a place that’s going to bully her and slant the proceedings, anyway.

  9. Charles says:

    Oddly, Ben WIttes has chosen to say nothing further about Brett Kavanaugh.

    Oddly, a search on Lawfareblog for “Blasey” returns no results.

    Not oddly: Quinta has not been at all silent:

    “Here’s another question: What level of certainty about the nominee’s guilt should drive a senator to vote against that nominee? The standard to convict a defendant in criminal court is often understood as requiring anywhere from 95 to 100 percent certainty of the defendant’s guilt. In civil court, the ‘preponderance of the evidence’ standard requires 51 percent certainty. As the economist Justin Wolfers asked on Twitter, ‘Would you appoint someone to the Supreme Court if you think there were a 25 percent chance they’ve done bad things? A 10 percent chance? A 5 percent chance? A 1 percent chance?'”

    Wonder if what she’s writing will percolate through the “My friend Brett would never lie” cocoon he’s been living in.

    • SpaceLifeForm says:

      @benjaminwittes is trying to distance himself from @EdWhelanEPPC


      And Whelan goimg cya.

      “made an appalling and inexcusable mistake of judgment in posting the tweet thread in a way that identified Kavanaugh’s Georgetown Prep classmate. I take full responsibility for that mistake, and I deeply apologize for it. I realize that does not undo the mistake.”

      • SpaceLifeForm says:

        PR firm helped Whelan stoke half-baked Kavanaugh alibi

        After suggesting on Twitter on Tuesday that he had obtained information that would exculpate Kavanaugh from the sexual assault allegation made by Christine Blasey Ford, Whelan worked over the next 48 hours with CRC and its president, Greg Mueller, to stoke the anticipation. A longtime friend of Kavanaugh’s, Whelan teased his reveal — even as he refused to discuss it with other colleagues and close friends, a half dozen of them said. At the same time, he told them he was absolutely confident the information he had obtained would exculpate the judge.

        Best known for its work with the Swift Boat Veterans in 2004, CRC bills itself as a full-service communications firm “specializing in media relations, social media and issues management,” according to its website. It has long been the go-to communications firm for conservative organizations in Washington and across the country. Its current clients include the Federalist Society and the Judicial Crisis Network, the chief outside groups working to help confirm Kavanaugh.

      • Charles says:

        Nigel, Wittes apparently published the Atlantic article after my post: ”

        “first_published_time”: “14:55”, “last_updated_datetime”: “2018-09-21T19:35:46-04:00”,

        Be that as it may, as welcome as his call for Kavanaugh to step aside is, as for whether this reflects good faith, I have my doubts. He says:

         I don’t believe he [Kavanaugh] lied in his Senate testimony.

        Wittes had to abandon Twitter when the outcry over that claim became loud, when he could no longer defend the claim. It is like Kavanaugh’s original claim that he wasn’t even at the party. When he couldn’t defend that, he retreated to different ground.

        Now Wittes wants Kavanaugh to withdraw, because if he can’t refute the charge definitively, he can’t sit on the Court. This is an absurd standard, opening the door to any loon making a charge that can’t be refuted against any nominee. I don’t want Kavanaugh to withdraw because he can’t prove his innocence because I don’t want the Republicans to hold Democratic nominees to that standard.

        No, I want Kavanaugh to withdraw and resign the bench because he’s a liar. Whether he lied with respect to Blasey Ford may never be provable to the standard required in a law court. I’m not even sure I want crimes committed by a juvenile to become part of later evaluation; the precedent so set would undermine important principles we have enunciated about juveniles and the law. But no one can or should trust Kavanaugh after his testimony about the stolen e-mails and he’s almost certainly lying about Blasey Ford. The lying is not 35 years ago. It’s today.

        The standards for our courts have fallen so low that we routinely don’t let poor defendants have effective counsel. We have clowns like Judge Thomas Selby Ellis pretending that they’re even-handed. We have a man on the Supreme Court who lied to the Senate under oath… and until quite recently, we had another. And the Court is the main reason that foreign powers, corporations, and billionaires have corrupted our elections.

        Kavanaugh is the last straw. If this man gets on the court, every citizen should refuse to serve as a juror, because the system is not a justice system but only a machine to imprison people of color and dissidents.

        As for Wittes, increasingly he looks like part of that machine.

  10. Charles says:

    Now here is something truly bizarre.  In a column dated September 4, 2018, Harvard Law Professor and Souter clerk Noah Feldman wrote in Bloomberg:

    But make no mistake: The outcome of this confirmation process is forgone. It was over a long time ago; maybe as early as 1982, when Kavanaugh was only 17.

    That may be true. However, he wrote that on September 4th. Blasey Ford came forward on September 16th.

    Am I missing something, or is this truly creepy?

    • Rayne says:

      It’s annoyingly defeatist. It’s also a cis-het white man’s opinion of which I and other women of color and victims of harassment and assault have had enough.

      Unless he’s inside the fenceline of a conspiracy going back to Reagan to create a Christo-fascist government, this is not a fait accompli.

      • Charles says:

        Whew!  This has to be the answer. Thank you!

        And, yes, that the Federalist Society was founded when Brett Kavanaugh is alleged to have attempted rape is ironic.

        It would be nicely bookended by the Federalist Society being disbanded and Brett Kavanaugh being run out of town on a rail.

  11. der says:

    Since the weekend there has been plenty of reporting and interviews of Blasey-Ford’s classmates and the prep school DC culture Kavanaugh was part of, enough written about and by his friend, enough history of Kavanaugh’s college fraternity’s bad boy “tit and clit” behavior to give the Senate Dems the lemon to squeeze and have Kavanaugh pucker, squirm and stammer. I hope they all use it, well. Then there’s Doctor Blasey-Ford, she knows these guys and their “grab ’em by the..” attitudes, very well.

  12. Frank Probst says:

    I kept following Ken Starr’s position at Baylor University after he resigned as President. The football coach resigned at the same time. Ken Starr didn’t immediately leave Baylor University, though. He apparently was also a tenured professor there, and he tried to hold on to that position. I said at the time that there was no way in hell that Ken Starr would be able to stay at Baylor if the football coach had to leave, tenure be damned. I was right. Starr resigned from his professor position a short while later.

    • Trip says:

      The only thing that was honest in Trump’s statement about Dr Ford is proof /evidence of his deeply held, overwhelming and consistent contempt for women, in general. Trump hates women as much as he hates minorities and immigrants. He can not contain it, even when it bites him in the ass.

  13. Teddy says:

    Who will Chuck Grassley pick to be the Committee Majority’s Lady Litigator?

    Judge Jeannine?
    Judge Judy?

    My money’s on Megyn Kelly.

  14. Trip says:

    If Dr. Ford decides to testify and they force her to go first (they’re hiring a prosecutor and want last dibs), she should be on TV that night, countering any dishonest dirt thrust at her. I’m sure Oprah would take up an offer in a heartbeat. She’d get high ratings from women viewers too, and be more sympathetic than the establishment press.

    • Peterr says:

      Over the last week, she seems to be following the example of Robert Mueller. “I’ll say what I have to say in the hearing,” is basically all we’ve heard from her since putting her name to the story in the WaPo, leaving Ed Whelan, Orrin Hatch, and the rest of the GOP to basically argue against the wind.

      I suspect if there is a bunch of dirt tossed at her, there will be plenty of folks ready to call it what it is and sweep it away.

  15. earlofhuntingdon says:

    Kenn Starr has been a committed patron of Brett Kavanaugh for over two decades. Kavanaugh was two years out of Yale Law when Starr, then Solicitor General, chose him for the third of his four clerkships. Two years later, after a year as a Supreme Court clerk, Kavanaugh followed Starr to white shoe DC firm, Kirkland & Ellis.

    Almost immediately, Kavanaugh was put on secondment and joined Starr’s independent counsel team. He remained for three years, went back to K&E for a year, then returned to Starr’s team for another year.

    He returned to K&E and almost immediately made partner, a highly unusual promotion for someone with so little and so narrow experience generally, and so little time actually working on firm business.

    About two years later, Kavanaugh left K&E again to join the BushCheney White House, first on the staff of the WH Counsel’s office, then as deputy then principal staff secretary to the president. He left when he was appointed to the DC Circuit Court.

    Few of those appointments individually, and none of it in the aggregate, happens without consistent, high-level political patronage. Brett Kavanaugh was a made man when he entered Yale. Guys like that are powerful, but they owe a bottomless debt to the more powerful.

    • Anon says:

      As one commenter put it elsewhere “He has been the anointed one for years.”

      In essence Dr. Ford is speaking out at the end of a long process and I suspect for many of them, especially the people at the Federalist Society, this does feel like the 11th hour, but only because they’ve been preening Kavanaugh for decades.

      • readerOfTeaLeaves says:

        In those 20 years, “A Handmaid’s Tale” was one response to the political insults of 1991, and I’ve had two conversations this week alone in which people are binge-watching that story.

        Oh, to be a fly on John Roberts wall.

        If he isn’t calling around DC to stop this nomination, he’s a fool.  If Kavenaugh is approved to SCOTUS, Roberts ought to seriously consider tossing in the towel and resigning.  Trump knows how to lose by winning, that’s for damn sure.

    • earlofhuntingdon says:

      Looking into Brett Kavanaugh’s career is like raking a heavy pile of leaves in November:  wet, overlapping, stuck and stuck together, almost impossible to shift, apparently the same, like snowflakes, but with a rancid smell that smothers new growth.

      The path that career takes makes clear that Kavanaugh has always been a political animal.  The law was only a battleground and a means to a fundamentalist political end.

      His grades were not in the stratosphere, like Kozinski’s, Whelan’s, and Roberts’s.  He spent more time getting drunk and getting laid, and currying relationships with would be patrons.

      One was his basketball partner and Yale Law FedSoc rep, George Priest.  He is the John M. Olin professor of law and economics at Yale, an appointment that distills the essence of the neoliberal thought collective: the arch-conservative and obesely well-funded Olin Foundation, the neoliberal reconstitution of the law through handcuffing it to Chicago School economics, and FedSoc rep.

      Kavanaugh took multiple, low-paid clerkships to work his way up the FedSoc ladder.  And he made partner the old-fashioned way – through patronage – rather than through expertise, client development, and billable hours.

      Much of his work at K&E was politically charged, such as his pro bono representation of Elian Gonzalez in 2000.  He was a seven year-old Cuban refugee turned into flotsam as US relatives and a Cuban father waged an international custody battle.

      Kavanaugh jumped ship shortly after making partner to join the BushCheney regime.  He started as a member of Alberto Gonzales’s WH Counsel’s office, where his relationship with Ed Whelan at the OLC paid off.

      Remember the torture team?  Cheney and his eminence grise, David Addington, had offices in the West Wing and the Senate.  John Ashcroft was AG, Gonzales was WH Counsel, John Yoo and Ed Whelan were at the OLC.  They cooked up the torture scheme and Yoo issued the political fig leaf memos.

      Kavanaugh then became staff secretary to Bush, reading whatever crossed his desk.  For the functionally illiterate Bush, that necessarily meant working closely with Bush whisperer Dick Cheney, while his appointment to the DC Circuit was being pushed through, which took from 2003 to 2006.

      Brett Kavanaugh was at the heart of the BushCheney administration for most of its first six years, along with other, arch-conservative religious zealots, many of them funded by wingnut welfare.  No wonder the GOP wants to rush through his appointment and pretend that Kavanaugh’s voluminously documented record is not relevant to his public service or to his lifetime appointment to the Supreme Court.

  16. Jenny says:

    A cast of abusive character witnesses for Kavanaugh speaks volumes.

    Ken Starr: Baylor University paid more than $4.5 million in severance pay to Starr. Head coach Art Biles received more than $15.1 million after being fired.
    Investigations by lawyers identified at least 52 rapes, 5 gang rapes by 31 football players in a four-year period.

    Bill Shine: For years he covered up sexual harassment at Fox News.

    Donald Trump: Admitted sexual abuser, Access Hollywood tape.

  17. Tracy says:

    Notable things from Lawrence O’Donnell’s show tonight:

    1 – Letter from a few dozen Yale Law professors saying that this HAS to be investigated properly in order for there to be sufficient belief in the Supreme Court.

    2 – Congressional expert says that if GOP plans to go ahead w/ vote on Monday, Dems should hold their own hearing and allow Christine Blasey Ford to tell her story, and they should call other witnesses, such as Reagan’s daughter, experts on sexual assault, etc.

    The most infuriating thing about all of this is that it seems to me that the GOP Judicial Committee members are still trying to manipulate and further abuse this woman. They are still trying to control her, it’s still a power trip over her.

    And in fact, SHE is the one with the powerful story, with truth on her side, who has women at her back and many men, too, and whose story has turned the populace to a -9 rating against Kavanaugh. SHE is the one who has every right to dictate where, and when, and how she tells her story.

    We are watching, blatantly and in microcosm, this 11-person GOP JC stand in for the macrocosmic patriarchy that has allowed the Brett Kavanaughs to get away w/ whatever they want since women were no longer revered and the divine feminine was stifled. In Shakespeare’s time, women who spoke their mind were called shrews; they could be dunked in the river on cucking stools, their jaws could be clamped shut in an iron harness.

    What is happening now is not so far from that: a woman being, basically, told to shut up – that she can’t speak her story the way she wants to, that she can’t have the protection and the courtesy – that her story will be controlled, that SHE will be controlled regarding her story, her life, her truth.

    I’m sure right now everyone is in Ford’s space and her business, giving her advice and telling her what to do. I wish she could know that it is HER story, that nobody can force her to say it or put it out there in a certain way.

    Now her attorneys and the Dems ought to get creative and give her some ideas for how she could get her story out in a way that takes her power back to her from the sniveling, craven, immoral GOP. I mean, Oprah’s a good idea, and there are others!

    I hope she doesn’t feel that she HAS to accept the terms posed by the Patriarchy on this. It’s her story, her words, her experience, she has the right to control them – and if that can’t happen in this House of the Patriarchy, then so be it.

    We have a ways to go before women are treated equally in politics – and if, in this moment, she does not feel safe w/ what she’s been offered, she needs to go outside of that arena to speak. She should feel free to go out and tell her story in the way that SHE wants it told.

  18. e.a.f. says:

    We don’t really know if Dr. Ford was the only person K. allegedly attacked. Women have always known going to the police or reporting sexual harassers and abusers is an “iffy” situation and frequently brings more pain into their lives. As the stats reveal, only approx. a third report rape, sexual assault, etc. With men coming out in support of K. you know why.

    People tend to want to not dwell on what K. did when he was the presiding judge of the case of a young woman trying to obtain a legal abortion in Texas. He put every block he could. The man does not like women. He ought not to be on the Supreme Court. For a guy who was so big on procedure for a young woman wanting an abortion, you’d think he would withdraw from the nomination, now that he is subject to having to follow every rule and examination.

    Employers check prospective employees’ Face Book accounts and if there is anything untoward, they don’t proceed further. None of those jobs are as important as Supreme Court Judge, yet those old dry balls sitting on the committee just want to give him a pass. Guess the fix is in and they want to complete their agenda to end American democracy as Americans have know it.

    • Rayne says:

      We don’t really know if Dr. Ford was the only person K. allegedly attacked.

      I’ve seen comments in Twitter that there are other stories out there of inappropriate behavior. Unfortunately, the attacks on Dr. Ford make it less likely they will come forward — who wants death threats and evacuation of family to safe houses because Kavanaugh may have drunkenly groped them?

      By the way, you have two usernames. Please stick to the same one with each login so that community members get to know you. Thanks.

    • Trip says:

      Not fulling explaining his evolution from a “Tit and Clit” club member to now a “supposed” nonsexist family man, who has proven he still denies the rights of women as a sitting judge, should be more than enough to disqualify him. His history and his rulings indicate he still views women as “parts” and not sentient and autonomous beings capable and permitted to determine their own destiny without the interference and dominance of men.

  19. Nopants says:

    Just read a NYT archived article (Feb 19, 2004) on Grassley’s release of an internal FBI report detailing misconduct that he calls a “List of Horrors” (I don’t know how to link it), including gambling, rape, and embezzlement. (Please check my use of commas).

  20. Tracy says:

    (From Brian J. Karem on Twitter) BREAKING: Montgomery MD PD Chief Tom Manger confirms will investigate sexual allegations against Brett Kavanaugh if a complaint is filed.

    “We are prepared to investigate if the victim wants to report to us, and we can determine it occurred in the County.”

    Maryland Police Say They’re Ready to Investigate Kavanaugh Sexual Assault Case if a Report is Filed:

  21. Trip says:

    Dr Ford spent hours being interviewed by the FBI yesterday in regard to the death threats. Her lawyer, I think, mentioned how Whelan was searching her name on linkedin before her identity was even released. Is there any hope that those two elements might coalesce in an investigation route? Some of the Whelan followers being energized to stop her from testifying?

    • Tracy says:

      Hey, Trip – that’s interesting – not sure but I’m sure others can comment – but also, MD police have said they will investigate if she files a report. Would be hard to put someone on the SC who is under criminal investigation for committing a felony.

      I just hope that ALL options are open to her, since the SJC Repuglicans have treated her abysmally and have closed the door to a fair hearing. She should be heard on her own terms. I wonder if she’d file a report in MD or if this entails too much personal risk.

      I hope that her lawyers are laying out all possibilities for her to freely choose what’s right for her.

      • Trip says:

        I guess that depends on whether the MD police have an agenda. Ask her to file charges and if she doesn’t, it gives the orange goon more twitter material.

        I think she has enough going on right now, although I can’t speak for her. Death threats, being bullied by Grassley, who obviously isn’t operating in good faith since he publicly stated he was pushing for a vote on Monday. Same with McConnell, they don’t GAF what she has to say. It’s clear as day they want to get her “over with” so they can vote him in, regardless of whatever truth or facts she brings. Denying corroboration of her allegations is cynical political maneuvering (which is all McConnell is made of, except for maybe bile and rancid shit).

        • Tracy says:

          Absolutely, these goons have predictably been THE WORST. That’s why I hope she can get control of her narrative again. She holds the story, they are trying to wield the power to force how she shares it – just more forcing, pushing, abusing of power. I agree w/ those saying: this is worse than we saw for Anita Hill. We are not so far along yet, are we?

          I do wonder if an FBI invest could come out of what you’ve cited??…

  22. Trip says:

    Man, does GOP stand for Groppers or Pervs?

    Spokesman for GOP on Kavanaugh nomination resigns; has been accused of harassment in the past
    An adviser for the Senate Judiciary Committee has resigned amid questions from NBC News about a previous sexual harassment complaint.

    Garrett Ventry, 29, who served as a communications aide to the committee chaired by Sen. Charles Grassley, R-Iowa, had been helping coordinate the majority party’s messaging in the wake of Christine Blasey Ford’s claim that Kavanaugh sexually assaulted her 36 years ago at a high school party. In a response to NBC News, Ventry denied any past “allegations of misconduct.”

    Wasn’t it Grassley who claimed his own little circle could do all of the “fair” investigations, no need for neutrality?

    • Trip says:

      Wherein it looks like Grassley’s own office accused a private citizen of attempted rape and with it attempted to make the accuser look dimwitted with mistaken identity in order to ram a judge through.

      We know Grassley is dirty. Kavanaugh must be doubly so if his approval depends/relies on GOP ratfucking

      (emptywheel retweeted)

       Dafna Linzer‏Verified account @DafnaLinzer

      This adviser is also connected to the same pr firm that reportedly stoked @EdWhelanEPPC erroneous alibi theory

      And with that, I’m finished monopolizing this site.

      • Tracy says:

        LOL, it is hard to stop, isn’t it – there’s always just SO MUCH terrible, sadly relevant, news at any one time anymore… :-/

        I do hope Grassley gets his butt handed to him in 2022 – he will be 89!! I’m all for self-empowerment, but come on, guys… Or if (inshala) Dems are back in 2018, an investigation into his atrocious conduct and all the rest of this.

        I had thought especially McConnell and Nunes, and Meadows, Jordan, Gaetz were the worst for obstruction and deviousness – but Grassley is sure right up there with ’em.

  23. Trip says:

    Ugh, I can’t help it, sorry. But this is rich:

    Kavanaugh grew frustrated when it came to questions that dug into his private life, particularly his drinking habits and his sexual proclivities, according to three people famliar (sic) with the preparations, who requested anonymity to discuss internal deliberations. He declined to answer some questions altogether, saying they were too personal, these people said.

    He wants his privacy, but invaded the detained immigrant’s privacy when she sought an abortion. He also wanted graphic sexual details from Monica Lewinsky. How are drinking habits out of bounds when sober judgement is a necessity for the SCOTUS?

    • Rayne says:

      Nothing personal but this is white male supremacy, the patriarchy at work — it believes it’s immune to the demands it makes on anyone who isn’t white straight male and in this case, born American. It’s utterly hypocritical; it has no respect for true democracy because ‘one vote, one man’ applies to white men only.

      We the people, who are majority non-male and increasingly not white, do not need another white male patriarch to interpret law. We particularly don’t need one who believes the law does not apply to them. Kavanaugh’s refusal to be transparent is but more evidence he isn’t suited to the Supreme Court.

    • orionATL says:

      you’re too polite :)

      questions that made super-k feel super uncomfortable about and which he therefore declined to consider included:

      -how many different women or men did you have sex with in high school and college?
      – in how many of those did alcohol play a part for you or your partner(s)?

      judge was lucky he was not a subject in a court case else he would have been compelled to give some answer.

    • earlofhuntingdon says:

      Brett Kavanaugh would be the first person to throw away a woman’s control over her own body, or a couple’s right to privacy for their consensual adult sex, or for same sex couples to marry or routinely buy goods and services in the marketplace.

      He will happily allow his favorite religions to use tax dollars to promote parochial interests at the expense of public ones.  And corporations, like the president, in his mind, should be bound to no restriction on their profitability or power.  So let it be written, so let it be done.

      But it is a tad rich for the guy who wanted all of Congress and the voting public to know the precise geography of every dribble passed from Clinton to Lewinsky to refuse to answer questions about his money, gambling, and drinking because they impinged on his privacy.

      Personal finances and behavior, for example, are essential to gauging the reliability and judgment of anyone nominated to high office.  Honey traps being what they are, and the keeping of promises being essential to good government, sexual conduct – notably adultery and affairs – is routinely assessed for security clearances.  Finances disclose judgment, prudence, risk tolerance, and potential for conflicts of interest.

      Therapists and medical doctors also know that there are three things patients frequently lie to them about: how much they eat; how much they drink; and how often, with whom, and how they have sex.

      Nominees are prone to do the same.  Investigating inconsistencies is an essential look at a nominee’s honesty and self-knowledge, and willingness to lie to protect themselves over doing their jobs.  The behavior is not often publicly relevant, but lying about it is.

      • Peterr says:

        Anita Hill v Clarence Thomas was lawyer v lawyer. Christine Blasey Ford v Brett Kavanaugh is research psychologist v lawyer.

        I know nothing of CBFs scholarly record, but if her lawyers are thinking, they need to arrange for a setting in which she can discuss BKs answers (given after her testimony) with all the professional expertise she can bring to it.

        And that prospect ought to worry BK a great deal. Given his views on women, however, I doubt that it will.

  24. orionATL says:

    buried in this is wapo story is a blueprint of the white house effort to control the fallout from ford’s revelations and possibly to begin an intimidation process, including a white house spokesperson (raj shah) calling up a bunch of folks. why the need for the calls? to alert. about what exactly? this all may help explain republican operative ed whelan’s “blundering”.

    “… Sunday, Ford noticed that — even before her name became public — Whelan appeared to be seeking information about her.

    That morning, Ford alerted an associate via email that Whelan had looked at her LinkedIn page, according to the email, which was reviewed by The Post. LinkedIn allows some subscribers to see who views their pages. Ford sent the email about 90 minutes after The Post shared her name with a White House spokesman and hours before her identity was revealed in a story posted on its website.

    A White House spokesman said Friday that neither Kavanaugh nor anyone in the White House gave Ford’s name to Whelan before it was disclosed by The Post.

    After The Post contacted the White House for comment Sunday morning, deputy White House press secretary Raj Shah called a number of Trump allies to warn them about the upcoming story, according to a person familiar with the calls, who spoke on the condition of anonymity to describe private conversations. He disclosed Ford’s identity to a number of these people but did not talk to Whelan, the person said. Other White House officials, including McGahn, also made calls according to a second person, who also spoke on the condition of anonymity…”

    i always wonder in circumstances like these if an fbi investigation of ford’s charges should not include an investigation of trump social media communications director dan scavino (or whoever is in that position now).

    • orionATL says:

      i haven’t thought it thru, but the literature that first comes to mind from reading this is “lord of the flies”.

      in my view of family, what the brats at georgetown prep and landon school needed was some serious fatherly, especially, and motherly parenting. these children-becoming-adults were allowed way too much license, had way too little parental supervision, yet really needed a great deal of affectionate but demanding parenting.

      how many other unguided, pampered brats-turned-adults, like trump and kavanaugh, are there in our ruling class today?

  25. Tracy says:

    Has anyone seen that Graham’s already said he’s a YES for Kavanaugh, NO MATTER WHAT FORD SAYS? How is this a search for truth, then, as per his Constitutional duty? How is this justice? How is this properly vetting the lifetime appointment of a position that will affect all Americans?!

    These Repuglican clowns play with fire, at their own peril, by treating this as they did three decades ago. It just shows how the GOP is totally out of touch and stuck in a time warp.

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