One Question: Why Kavanaugh?

[NB: As always, check the byline.]

I don’t have anything new to add to the work Marcy has done so far in her analysis of SCOTUS nominee Brett Kavanaugh’s testimony and statements and those of Dr. Christine Blasey Ford. Nor can I add to bmaz’ criticism of the subsequent investigation.

Voluminous amounts of material have been generated by this confirmation process, including a redacted transcript of a Senate Judiciary Committee phone interview with Kavanaugh released last evening. Myriad questions have been asked about Kavanaugh’s past and his false statements. Given the confirmation process is a job interview, after all we’ve seen and heard publicly, it must be asked: Why Kavanaugh?

Why is the White House and the GOP portion of the Senate Judiciary Committee so deeply invested in Kavanaugh’s confirmation?

Why do they remain staunchly behind him when they’ve long had a list of other identified SCOTUS justice candidates?

Why were those candidates, the first 11 identified in May 2016 during the Trump campaign, inadequate such that Kavanaugh was added later in November 2017 to the candidate list?

Is the man we’ve seen and read so much about really the very best candidate this White House could produce for this lifetime appointment?

Why is a man whose behavior was so disrespectful of the Senate, of the Constitution, of the need for neutral nonpartisan mindset so important that the White House and GOP SJC are willing to burn down what little goodwill remains with centrists and with women and minorities?

Why the sustained commitment to a nominee who so easily lies under oath, in full view of the public?

Why stand so pat behind a nominee whose license to practice law could yet be suspended or worse because he has lied repeatedly under oath?

Do the White House and GOP SJC believe the average American would hire somebody who is supposed to be a careful arbiter of the law but who yells at and lies to his employers’ representatives during an interview?

Why are the White House and GOP SJC willing to risk exposing yet more unpleasantness about Kavanaugh given how much has already surfaced about his iffy finances and his lying about his behavior in high school and college?

Why are White House and GOP SJC willing to risk negatively affecting the mid-term elections with their commitment to Kavanaugh?

Why the investment in social media to prop up support behind Kavanaugh — both in the form of “revisions” to Wikipedia entries related to terms questioned during last Thursday’s hearing, and tweets from the SJC’s account?

Why was a Fox cable network interview necessary for the nominee of a nonpartisan job?

Media is marketing — why does this nominee need to be promoted with the public?

Why haven’t they teased an alternative nominee to test the public’s willingness to support them in lieu of Kavanaugh?

Given an alternative candidate of comparable educational and work history, would the average American as an employer offering a lifetime appointment really pick Kavanaugh over anyone else?

Why are the White House and the GOP SJC insisting Kavanaugh’s confirmation be rushed for what appear to the public to be wholly arbitrary reasons?

Everything about this confirmation process makes no sense; it undermines faith in the Senate Judiciary Committee and may taint the Supreme Court. We must know: Why Kavanaugh?


This is an open thread.

302 replies
  1. Clifton says:

    Starting with the report that Kennedy tied his retirement to the nomination of Kavanaugh.

    I don’t know court politics well enough to assess just how routine or bizarre this is, but as a lay-person it certainly struck me as odd/questionable.

    Any thoughts on that part of the story?

    • Rayne says:

      I have seen one theory related to Kennedy’s role suggesting he once represented organized crime clients, implying that had been encouraged to leave when the appropriate compromised nominee had been adequately compromised in order to take his slot.

      Recall Whitehouse asking Kavanaugh if he had a gambling problem? Even the gaming industry took note.

      And Kavanaugh ruled in favor of Trump’s casino against workers in 2012.

      Is Kavanaugh a case where Trump’s and the mob’s interests align with Kavanaugh’s addictions as well as any conflicts in which the GOP is embroiled? Food for thought.

        • ken melvin says:

          Yep.  Hard to dismount the tiger.  A la Putin and others of the past, republicans need protection upon leaving office.

        • Doctor My Eyes says:

          I second this.  Can’t be stressed too much. The most dangerous enemy is Russian organized crime. They infiltrated and took control of Russian political institutions. They are close to doing the same here, culminating at least 20 years of effort by Russian intelligence forces now controlled by organized crime. Kavanaugh’s appointment may be the coup de grace. I interpret everything through the Russian lens. The traditional insane right have become tools of this effort. One way of interpreting the unhinged behavior we are seeing, in addition to other valid lenses such as alcohol and kabuki, is that we are seeing people who are truly frightened, desperate, no longer masters of the political games they play. People who have been face to face with some scary threats. You can see the fear on their faces, a la Trump in Helsinki.

          • Herkie says:

            WILLING tools of the effort by the russians.

            Isn’t it funny how seemingly everyone connected to the White House and GOP now is badly compromised when looked at closely?  The one thing they all have in common in fact is that they can be blackmailed.

            I also thought first and foremost of Kennedy and the suspicious circumstances of his resignation/retirement while reading this piece.

            We are now so far down the rabbit hole we no longer know how far, nor how to get back, meaning even if we can end this nightmare we might well be stuck just starting the republic over from scratch because it is the only way to address our now certain vulnerabilities.

            I have always been sure that what happened in 2016 was a coup, a partial coup anyway, and to complete it they (russians/GOP oligarchs, fascists, Hillary summed them up as deplorables) need a way to make sure demographics and the voters do not undo all their planning and investment in time and money.

            The SCOTUS is an obvious vehicle though not their first choice, for this cementing of power.  What they would really like to do is simply rewrite the constitution.  Bang – all the change they need in a matter of a few weeks.   The SCOTUS takeover is actually plan B, it can make the changes they want on a case by case, law by law basis.  But to get all the changes they want, and make no mistake permanent power is at the top of that list, would take years.  Years of electoral vulnerability in which no amount of vote rigging would remain plausible.

            The bad guys have worked on this since Raygun was in office, they and organs of the right actually recruited people like Kavanaugh in high school and have groomed and indoctrinated them into entitled right wing circles with the intention of placing them into our institutions and positions of power, the right can’t win a free and fair election and they know it, this is their last chance.  The SCOTUS handed them power in 2000, and the russians handed it to them in 2016, but as demographics slip ever further to the left their ability to win even through cheating grows ever dimmer.

            All of the questions above and a thousand others yet to be asked all can only be speculated upon by we the people who are bewildered by the events that have befallen us, and that in itself is proof that our democracy is in deep peril or already gone because in our version of democracy the people have always known most of the facts in the debates and actions of our government even when we did not support it.  Now, like the people of dictatorships all we know is what we are fed leaving large gaps in the truth.

            While the Kavanaugh drama unfolds, and I still say it is a coin toss as to whether or not he is confirmed, the russians and the right are very rapidly working on fixes to their problem, in this they also want the nomination to slow down to buy them time for a work around, otherwise as in the past this candidate for the post would already have withdrawn his name from consideration.  That he has not is due to the need of the coup to think for a few days.  And the obvious solution for them is to get someone else appointed that would rule in cases as Kavanaugh would have, but where Kavanaugh would have ruled only as the GOP (coup) leadership ordered him to they can’t control or predict all rulings from a substitute justice.  That would mean to them that a 5/4 split in the court is no longer good enough, what they really need is a 6/3 or better yet 7/2 split.  So, beware RBG, the fact that you appear physically frail and you hold a SCOTUS seat the russians dearly need means you probably should have someone tasting your food.  And Ms. Sotomayor, your medical history opens you up to the same unfortunate possibilities.

            To understand where we are and where we are going will require us to fill a lot of gaps in our knowledge with speculation, and most of that will have to consider what Putin’s thoughts are.  It would have been easy four or five years ago when they were still honing their weapons in the GRU/FSB, he wanted the USA to break up the way he thinks we broke up the old Soviet Union.  But, then he found out how easy it was to manipulate and own the USA, and he found that the republicans with power and trillions of dollars on the line were willing to sign up to his plans basically no questions asked in a last ditch effort to keep from having to either lose any chance at power or having to buy their way back into political life by moving to the left, something they would have loathed even more than simply committing treason to work for the russians.

            And they so cleverly preempted the idea of a civil war to clear the corruption and restart democracy in America by simply saying over and over that the democrats WANT a civil war.  They have said it for years now so that if there is a civil war or break up of the nation they can neatly blame it all on us.  But, I say that urban USA is primarily blue and it makes up 85% of the population.  Yes some of those 85% are red but they are the minority.  The right dominates the rural areas but they are no match for the wealth and population of the urban blue enclaves.  So, if it comes to it the only way they win is by demoralizing propaganda.   We need to see the right in our country for what they are and CALL them that, force them to own it.  They are fascists, perhaps many of the leaders actually sympathetic to the Nazis.  This is a coup and what they want to build is a Fourth Reich with enough trappings of American patriotism to render their new nation palatable to enough people that they do not have to worry about a civil war.  I will say this though, if it does come to civil war the GOP will call russians in to help them contain it, enforce curfews, augment US military and police the martial law, so easy, ask the UN for troops to stabilize the situation and viola, 2 million russian boots on the ground.

            If any of this is even remotely possible, if you think that the GOP is now capable of ANY of these things then you have to agree that it might be too late to save America.

      • Allison Holland says:

        i think there is a mob connection.

        i dont just think that kavanaugh will protect trump simply because the judge is just an ultra super partisan, anti labor, anti woman, anti earth republican.

        i believe he is corrupt. it is that corruption that seeps into everything about him. its why good people repel so adamantly. instinctively.

        i think he only knows how to pretend to undertake the poses of right and wrong.

        i dont think he believes in them.

        a drunk like him is easily blackmailed. the mob and the russians who are mobsters and trump himself are all the types to use it to their own ends. and do not forget the deutshe bank and kennedys nephew. that is important. it is owned by the russians.

        i think we know now that trump is no patriot.  and i believe there are many privileged people (in fact i am related to some)  who do not have a concept of nationality anymore. they believe in easy travel and nice cars and good cigars. they do not love the real lowly average America.   it isnt their world.  and to that they are indifferent. their crowd is the rich and privileged where nationality means less than ones ability to hop on ones own plane and meet in st moriz for a quick ski and then over to moscow for a drink. that is their nation.  kavanaugh is not one of them but he is one who looks to power for protection. even God..he uses them as they use him. the italian mob is notoriously religious and notoriously corrupt and evil. i think kavanaugh is an awesome consigniliari. he will be trumps roy cohen. and the religious right like it because dominion over the earth and women is their driving force.

      • BobCon says:

        I think it’s highly unlikely that Kav is directly controlled by the mob, but I think it’s reasonable to say that some of the people behind his “iffy finances” are seen as friendly to the cause. And they most likely have enough other things going on that it will never be seen as a clearcut business relationship.

        Beyond that, I think that it’s highly likely that Kav is continuing his Starr era dirty dealings with information, far beyond what they could get from a regular judge. He’s the guy they go to when they want to find out about confidential discussions, he’s the guy who can be trusted to hire clerks who will prowl around for unsecured documents on servers. If they need threats conveyed or grift offered, he’ll arrange it.

        I suspect it’s easy for Fed Soc to find potential justices who will rule however they ask, but it’s harder to find people who will break rules, have experience doing it, and have the communication channels in place to transmit information without being heard by outsiders.

        As to why McConnell is going to the mat, I think he recognizes that defeat is a black eye and weakens his hold on the coalition. The odds are that only a few months will be lost in getting another justice to his liking approved, but I suspect his grip on the leadership will weaken if he fails, and he knows that the forces that sent Ryan packing may be coming for him next.

        • earlofhuntingdon says:

          Kavanaugh’s father was a long-time, highly-paid lobbyist, who retired over a decade ago with a lump sum payment of $13 million.  Brett is his and his wife’s only child.  He is the most obvious source for the cash used to repay Brett’s debts and for the down payment on the house – and the costs of its refurbishment.  (The source of Brett’s debts is another question.)

          Gift exchanges and other financial transactions between family members are excluded from government financial disclosure requirements.  Kavanaugh has famously refused to volunteer that information.

          Perhaps, like Trump, he feels admitting the aid from dad would make him less of a man in power hungry Washington, as if that were now possible.  (Given how many Metro DC’ers inherit their money, it’s also foolish.)

          • Rayne says:

            If Daddy Kavanaugh was the source of the money, it should be very, VERY easy to produce the receipts. But Baby Boy Kavanaugh hasn’t and he’s weaseled his responses as to why he hasn’t.

            It smells like bank or tax fraud IF Daddy Kavanaugh was the source.

    • William Bennett says:

      In the simplest terms, the appointment goes a long way to further undermine trust in one of the most critical institutions in our society, “the court of last resort.” That’s not an unfortunate side effect. That’s the point.

      • Rayne says:

        But burning massive amounts of political capital to do so? Isn’t faith in the court necessary if they want us to believe in whatever ruling it issues which bestows absolute pardon/decides a narrow state election/consolidates power?

          • Rayne says:

            But do they? The folks with whom they’d win capital are approaching attrition. The youngest voters aren’t going to be swayed by some dude who looks like everything they’ve ever been taught a (date) rapist looks like, and they have much less respect for frat boys given the increasing number of non-white+mixed race and middle-to-lower class voters now than 20-30 years ago.

            Quinnipiac Poll 01Oct2018

            (graphic: Quinnipiac poll, 01 OCT 2018)

            • inertiac says:

              I think they’ve just finally acquired and secured enough power that it simply doesn’t matter what the rest of us think anymore.  The Republicans are very near the completion of a project decades in the making.  They see this as their opportunity to entrench themselves in power so deeply that what the majority of us want is irrelevant.  They can do whatever, and there’s little we can do to stop them.

              • Rafi Simonton says:

                I also think that’s what is happening.  There’s a old photo going around of Kav and Karl Rove.   Kav has likely been groomed for this for decades.  Explains why it HAS to be him.  What we lessers do or say is irrelevant.

                • Rayne says:

                  Kavanaugh may be groomed, but he probably wasn’t the only one. I’m thinking of the wretches who were involved in the U.S. Attorney scandal during the Bush years — several of them were squeaky-clean Mormon types who simply did what they were told with zeal. There’s probably pictures of them cozing up to Rove, too.

                  There has to be more to Kavanaugh in particular since there are others in the pipeline who were groomed over the years.

              • Doctor My Eyes says:

                Yep. There is a question whether Putin usurped the right wing project begun during Nixon’s time.  The blatant disregard for law and even respect was begun with the US behavior internationally. Predictably, the same people who were not brought to justice when we gave the Dems control of Congress and the Presidency (either he didn’t care or Obama did a damn shitty job of looking forward) are now bringing the same open bullying home. In his Nobel Prize speech (which every American should read), Harold Pinter is speaking of US behavior on the international scene, but the same sentiment can now be applied domestically:

                The United States no longer bothers about low intensity conflict. It no longer sees any point in being reticent or even devious. It puts its cards on the table without fear or favour. It quite simply doesn’t give a damn about the United Nations, international law or critical dissent, which it regards as impotent and irrelevant. It also has its own bleating little lamb tagging behind it on a lead, the pathetic and supine Great Britain.
                What has happened to our moral sensibility? Did we ever have any? What do these words mean? Do they refer to a term very rarely employed these days – conscience? A conscience to do not only with our own acts but to do with our shared responsibility in the acts of others? Is all this dead? . . .


                I have said earlier that the United States is now totally frank about putting its cards on the table. That is the case. Its official declared policy is now defined as ‘full spectrum dominance’. That is not my term, it is theirs. ‘Full spectrum dominance’ means control of land, sea, air and space and all attendant resources.

                I often think of his words in closing:

                I believe that despite the enormous odds which exist, unflinching, unswerving, fierce intellectual determination, as citizens, to define the real truth of our lives and our societies is a crucial obligation which devolves upon us all. It is in fact mandatory.
                If such a determination is not embodied in our political vision we have no hope of restoring what is so nearly lost to us – the dignity of man.

        • Bruce Olsen says:

          If the point is to undermine trust in institutions (which it is) doing it in the public eye is ideal, maybe even essential.

          It says “you don’t matter and there’s nothing you can do about it”

        • P J Evans says:

          It’s the bit where K is willing to rule that Himself can’t be indicted/investigated/questioned for anything. Himself needs that protection (but it will never be applied to Democratic presidents).

          I understand K wasn’t on the Federalist Society list – they didn’t think that much of him.

  2. milton wiltmellow says:


    He has lived and worked within the hive.

    Maybe he has a detonator with a dead man’s switch.

    Or maybe his secret patron has made an offer Trump and the Republicans cannot refuse.

    Or maybe the Republican AI has predicted disaster unless Democratic voters aren’t sufficiently provoked to vote.

    Or maybe — and this seems more plausible — Trump wants to be impeached so that he can continue his dismantlement of the US government while he holds 33+ Senate seats. The Russians want their money’s worth.

    • skua says:

      Please expand on, “Trump wants to be impeached so that he can continue his dismantlement of the US government while he holds 33+ Senate seats.”

      • milton wiltmellow says:

        Thanks for asking.  Let me explain as briefly as I can how up becomes down.

        For most of my life the Republicans have been preaching the slogan “government is not the solution; government is the problem.”

        A certain segment of the population responds reflexively to any hint of government overreach or injustice.  This segment of the population doesn’t daily experience the sort of injustice that — say — citizens of Ferguson experienced before the shooting of Michael Brown.

        (Indeed, like Kavanaugh or Trump, many of those dismissing the systemic injustices inflicted on minority, immigrant and impoverished populations are exactly those perpetrating it and benefiting from it. )

        An impeachment of Trump will inflame that segment of the population, proving (and thus denying their own responsibility) that they are the victims of an overreaching, tyrannous government.

        The Republicans have been relying on this simmering resentment of government for years.  Less is better.  Of course the consequence of the belief that less is better is that less is actually worse.

        As things get undeniably worse in fact, then simply blame the prepackaged  scapegoats for that worsening.

        An impeachment of Trump is all the proof they will need that the evil government is the enemy — in which case only an extraordinary response will fix what is “broken.”

    • Rayne says:

      Oh ye gods and fishes, you name it — from weakening controls on mercury emissions to the POS trade agreement with Canada after weeks of harassing our second largest trade partner and fellow NATO member…there was a LOT going on, all ugly.

      ADD: I forgot the consolidation of detained children moved to a concentration tent camp at the Texas border. Heartsickening.

      • earlofhuntingdon says:

        Remember the children.  Donald is like the rat catcher in Chitty Chitty Bang Bang.  He doesn’t like children much.  And he’s addicted to cruelty, the more vulnerable and undeserving target the better: It adds to his aura of power.

        News reporting has it that most of this supposedly new NAFTA was already negotiated by Obama’s team and was on the desk waiting for Trump.  He’s just changed the brand.

        Trump’s is now more toxic than Elon Musk’s.  But the Republicans refuse to dismount that tiger.  As you say, why?

        • bmaz says:

          This is the most awesome reference ever on this here blog. The child catcher from Chitty Chitty Bang Bang! There is always a villain in an Ian Fleming work, and the catcher was one of the greatest ever.

          • SteveB says:

            Roald Dahl created the character in the screen play for the movie.

            Who knew he travelled back in time from the apogee of Stephen Miller to do so!

                • bmaz says:

                  The omniscient Wiki says that is possibly true. Good grief I am getting old….but I started reading Fleming when I was maybe seven. Had seen Dr. No in a theater with my mom, so knew his name. We took weekly trips to this awesome bookstore in downtown Phoenix (gone for decades unfortunately) and would spend a couple of hours there. I found the actual Fleming Bond books and would sit in a dusty chair, in the end of a dusty alcove, and read them. She finally let me buy one, okay she agreed to buy for me, about the time the movie of Thunderball came out.

                  We went to the first showing of Chitty Chitty Bang Bang, with dressed up folk and searchlights panning the sky at the now defunct, but then state of the art Palms Theater in Phoenix that had just gotten the newest and giantess of screens and sound system. In fairness, think the first flick we saw on that setup at the Palms was Thoroughly Modern Millie. Hard to remember now….

                • earlofhuntingdon says:

                  The Bentley was certainly in the books. You can see the Bond Bentley at the beginning of From Russia, With Love. Connery is chilling his Dom Perignon while in the punt with Eunice Gayson, and is interrupted by a radio call from Lois Maxwell.

                  In addition to Van Dyke and Frobe – plus a long list of character actors: Lionel Jeffries, James Robertson Justice, Anna Quayle, Benny Hill – Chitty Chitty starred Sally Ann Howes, every bit as warm, beautiful and well-voiced as Julie Andrews.  Truly Scrumptious.

                  • earlofhuntingdon says:

                    For the uninitiated, that was the name of the character played by Sally Ann Howes.  The original source material was written by Bond author, Ian Fleming.

                    • bmaz says:

                      And now we have come full circle from Truly Scrumptious played by Sally Ann Howes to Julie Andrews, the original pick for the role (who may have been otherwise occupied with Thoroughly Modern Millie).

                  • bmaz says:

                    Sally Ann Howes. Yes. Based, again on the google. the Bond car actually pictured in From Russia With Love was a 35 Drophead. That is well past  the late 20’s era Blower Bentley the original cover illustration looks like

    • Rayne says:

      I’ve seen this case mentioned a LOT. If this one case is SO important to Trump, why don’t they have a Plan B candidate who will also rule in Trump’s+co-conspirators’ favor? Why is Kavanaugh the ~only~ candidate who can get this done?

      • posaune says:

        Exactly.   There’s got to be dozens of equally bad Republican candidates out there.   They wouldn’t be hard to find.   So why Kavanaugh?

      • cat herder says:

        Because they think Kav is a terrific guy with clearly impeccable credentials and any opposition is just partisanship for partisanship’s sake and so any other terrific guy with equally impeccable credentials they put up would face the same dirty smear tactics because Democrats Hate America or whatever. Just like they think there’s no problem with getting help from Russian spies to ‘win’ an election. They are the good guys and so it’s impossible that they could ever do anything wrong/bad.

        Shorter: They’re fucking insane.

  3. !? says:

    K supports presidential pardons that over ride state prosecutions.

    Look at what the heat was like on Trump, and what Mueller was doing when K’s name was brought forward.

  4. Rayne says:

    Oh! I almost forgot this nifty tidbit I found.

    Check out this body language analysis of Brett Kavanaugh’s testimony last Thursday along with Senator John Kennedy’s reactions.

    (I feel like I need a shower after that – Kavanaugh repulses me.)

    • JD12 says:

      That was interesting.

      Watching it live I thought Senator Kennedy suspected he’d been lied to. I think all of the GOP senators have that cognitive-emotional dissonance, they just want that conservative on the court.

    • Mo says:

      They want Kavanaugh for multiple reasons as people have said. One of those reasons is to shut the women up and to keep them demoralized.

  5. posaune says:

    Given that Kennedy’s son arranged the $285B fixer loan for Jared, what’s another $200K thrown in for fixing the court at the same time?

  6. I Never Lie And Am Always Right says:

    Possibly because he may be controllable through blackmail. Considering the nature of the stories that have come to light so far, these stories may be the tip of a large iceberg. Someone may be sitting on much more damaging information which they could use to control him once he is on the Court.

    Remember Strom Thurmond and his love child, and how late in the day the public learned about that child? I’ve always wondered how often people who know about the child before their existence became public might have blackmailed Thurmond using that information. J Edgar, anyone?

    The same type of speculation applies to Kavanaugh. The information that is becoming public was not secret to those who have known Kavanaugh for a long time. Is someone out there using information that is not yet public to control him?

    How many other Senators and Representatives have Strom Thurmond-type secrets that are being used to control them? Lindsay Graham?

    • koolmoe says:

      LOL, is that why Republicans are so mad? Their blackmail power is being compromised? If it all comes out now and he’s confirmed anyway, what do they have left?

      Oh, yeah…BK is a sophomore who’ll bend to power anyway, so no worries.

  7. Eric S says:

    At the nomination announcement, when it came time for Kavanaugh to speak, he praised Trump for not having been surpassed by any other previous president in his scruples and dedication in finding the best candidate for the job.

    Maybe he was the only guy so cravenly unprincipled as to have first promised and then openly, publicly, admitted to what should have been his disqualifying partisanship, fealty, and adoration of a political movement and its figurehead?

  8. Galactus-36215 says:

    Why Kavanaugh?

    Natasha Bertrand has a very interesting theory on why Trump wants this guy. Apparently, there is a case currently working its way up the SCOTUS ladder dealing with double jeopardy and dual sovereignty. (Gamble vs US) This case may over turn dual sovereignty  doctrine and expand presidential pardons to state crimes.

    Thus, the Mueller investigation would be made impotent by offloading cases against Trump and his associates like Cohen and Manafort to individual states. Well, that’s the theory. The link to her story is below.

    • bmaz says:

      Seen the Gamble theory for a while now. But have a hard time seeing it as the overriding motivation behind Kavanaugh. It is a secondary throw in at best. Kavanaugh was a FedSoc project going back to the Bush Administration. It is about way more than Gamble.

      • orionATL says:

        plus gamble is not a simple case.

        it mixes up a backwards claim about federal gov’s rights (the state gov acted first on the felony, but doesn’t the federal gov always have a right?), and hence involves the principle of federalism, i.e., overarching fededal gov power to act.

        then there’s that constitution thing that’s supposed to set the course of all governments in our federation – if fourteenth amendment can control state activity, why can’t the fifth (double jeopardy?).

        then there’s the ghost of states rights for the far-out wingers.

        lots to consider.

    • earlofhuntingdon says:

      Once Kavanaugh is on the Court, it is virtually impossible to get him off.  It takes a 2/3 vote in the Senate after impeachment by a simple majority in the House.  When have the Dems had that muscle?  It’s been decades since any justice has been forced off the Court.

      Any bad news about Kavanaugh that surfaces after he’s approved can be written down to sour grapes and insufficient evidence.  It would have to be exceptionally bad behavior for it to garner sufficient political capital to impeach him.  The GOP will have a strong hold on him.  So it’s worth a long fight to the Republicans.

      But what’s that hold based on?  And to repeat Trump’s question, why, after all these previous background investigations, have questions been raised about his fitness only now?

      The Dems kept him off the DC Circuit in 2003-06; he was appointed only after the GOP retook the Senate.  He was woefully unqualified then, too inexperienced and too partisan, but did the Dems have more then that didn’t come out?  If so, why?

      Only part of the current insistence on Kavanaugh can be written down to Trump’s legendary stubbornness and that he ticks all the FedSoc boxes.  Is it omerta?  A shoulder shrug that, pre-Weinstein, boys will be boys?  Or the more likely Beltway rationale that a little blackmailable behavior makes an already zealous partisan a sure thing?

      But blackmail over what?  Sexual abuse, gambling, heavy drinking?  Are we missing something?  Thanks for asking those questions, Rayne.  They need answers as to Kavanaugh and because the this deeply flawed process will now taint every other candidate Trump might nominate.  And because the GOP will project and accuse a Democratic president and party of the same bad behavior.

      • orionATL says:

        you start by impeaching in the house based on socially important and unassailable facts, including the senate republicans under mcconnell deliberately delaying and refusing to ratify obama admin federal court choices.

        you use this over time to repeatedly question the legitimacy of specific notorious court decisions and the legitimacy of the court in general.

        you then deploy use other means to control the court such increading its size or placing some matters off limits to the court (which congress may do).

        you squeeze the judiciary’s budget.

    • orionATL says:

      why only kavanaugh for trump? because trump has his troops to tend – real men never back down.

      personally, i think trump is hinting he might be amenable to another candidate.

  9. Someguy says:

    The answer may be more prosaic. McGahn is in charge of the nomination process, from selection through confirmation. McGahn is a good friend of Kavanaugh. He wants to do his friend a solid, and at the same time ensure that he can trade on his influence on the Court, once he goes back into private practice.

    • earlofhuntingdon says:

      Too much political capital is being spent on this for it to be that simple and personal.

    • RWood says:

      Agree with that, but also feel there has to be more. At first I thought it was as simple as Kennedy making his nomination a requirement of his stepping down, and now they are simply out of time. Its either Kavanaugh NOW or Garland later as the midterms are fast approaching.

      But there does seem to be a certain desperation in their game. Somebody owns/owes somebody, and Kavanuagh is the payment. I would start with two lists; who wanted him and who didn’t, and start narrowing it down from there. I’d start with Newt or even farther back.

  10. Eureka says:

    Well, Kav did make himself out to be a made man, in a broader sense, when he denied his grandfather’s Yale legacy.  His story was all about how much he has worked for this job for which he was thoroughly entitled. Usually people that work hard don’t also sound entitled. It was also a strange, immature argument, as presumably anyone who makes it to those chairs would be qualified in the ways he cited (good grades, FFS?).

    So maybe it does relate to qualities underneath those we know about, like maybe just general good errand-boy ness? Proven he can be counted upon to ‘decide right?’ No wacky independent moments?

    Like how Yoo interpreted the law into what he wanted it to be, and Kav graduated from the same class? Those class notes must be clearly disqualifying in some resonant way…

  11. Eureka says:

    I did also speculate that they were going so hard for him now because they don’t want to help point to him needing to be removed from DC Circuit should they admit defeat.  But that circles back to why he would be so important to preserve in place…

  12. Tommy D Cosmology says:

    It’s a reward for his ratfucking. Just like Jihn Robert’s reward for his ratfucking in Tallahassee during Bush v. Gore (and prior with the Federalist Society).

    And just like Harriet Miers. But that was too obvious, so Bush pulled her nomination.

  13. AitchD says:

    Is it acceptable here to guess without having any expertise? I’ll guess anyway: because they’re all insane.

  14. JD12 says:

    While I don’t doubt there are reasons that aren’t public, I keep hearing people say what Lindsey Graham said—that they must confirm BK or they’ll be rewarding Democrats and making nasty confirmation battles the new normal. Republicans also keep saying that Democrats only want to delay, and no amount of information will satisfy them. It’s a complete misread of the situation, and they’re making things much worse because of it.

    • earlofhuntingdon says:

      After Merrick Garland, Lindsey is being his usual hypocritical self.  He is bullshitting and practicing performance art for Trump and his base.

      These nominations have been political shit shows for decades precisely because so much is at stake in controlling the Court or preventing the other side from controlling it.  It won’t be rewarding the Democrats any more than it would be rewarding Republicans.  But the Republicans are better at this sort of guerilla warfare than the Democrats.  That has to change.

  15. Rick says:

    I think the Republicans knew he was a bad candidate, with vague secrets and debts.

    They are pushing him so hard (while also coaching him to publicly act like a nut) to try to get the Democrats to make moves (that are certainly reasonable) that they can tell their base (through Fix and Limbaugh, etc) are signs of the far-left trying to steal their guns and kill Jesus again, so that they’ll vote to keep them in power.

  16. Froggacuda says:

    Via a CNN article:

    Republican Sen. John Kennedy of Louisiana expressed confidence that Kavanaugh will be cleared by the investigation.

    “Our Democratic colleagues have accused Kavanaugh of being a rich, drunk, lying sexual predator and the six FBI investigations he’s been through don’t support that. I don’t think this one will either,” he said.

    He added, “This entire thing makes me want to heave. It could be a series on Netflix. We could call it ‘As the Stomach Turns.’ If you think this is a search for the truth, you probably ought to put down the bong. It’s not a search for the truth.”

    He added, “Just win, baby, at any cost. That’s what this thing has turned into.”


    I think this summarizes the GOP attitude towards this entire process: just win–at any cost. No moral compass, no civility, rank partisanship and damn the torpedoes. In fact, if you couple this with the Trump environmental impact report released last month that states that the Earth will blow right past the 3 degrees Celsius mark to SEVEN degrees C of warming by 2100, it explains a lot: we’re truly and rightly fucked.

    This is why the GOP doesn’t give a damn about anything but rape and pillage of the present tense.


  17. Tracy says:

    What is important to this depraved “base,” which I believe we have decided has taken over the GOP (I’ve decided it, anyway!) is #winning at all costs, never looking weak, never backing down, even in the face of incontrovertible and overwhelming evidence, and always “owning the libs.” It’s the Party of the DJT pussy-grabber-double-down- in-the-style-of-Roy-Cohn. I believe (and this was getting reported when Kav’s nom started to go south) that the GOP is receiving word that if they “back down” off of Kavanaugh’s nomination, and if they f*** up this SC seat for the right wingers – let’s add evangelicals to that – then the base will be made furious right before the midterms and may be so dejected and disgusted w GOP leadership that they don’t show up to midterms. Remember that on the right and on Fox News and out of the mouth of Mitch McConnell, this is getting couched as a “character assassination” – and out of the mouth of the nominee and Fox News, a left wing conspiracy.

    In other words, the base is dictating the terms – the Don Trump Jrs, QAnons, evangelicals, MAGAs of the party – bc they want that seat and they want to see their GOP in the fight.

    That’s what the party is all about these days: fight, recalcitrance, anger – fighting against losing privilege or losing an inch to the libs.

    Also, Leonard Leo is in the fight for his life to hold on to that “entitled” SC seat. No way he and McConnell are going to risk putting up someone new at this stage w/ so much invested already in Kav, w/ their base in his corner, an iffy midterm coming, a blue wave on the horizon – when this has been their life’s work to get a SOLID far right majority on the SC. I think that we fail to appreciate the magnitude of their assault on and taking over of the third branch of government, their whole strategy and pipeline of judges. They are incredibly focused and unified on ONLY this one issue, and that is taking over the federal bench with right wingers.

    And Kav IS a party hack. He’s as politicized as he could be. He will deliver decision after decision for the far right. I think he’s showing that he’d be in the vicinity of Clarence Thomas.

    So it’s clear that the right wing, conspiratorial base has become the whole party, and the GOP is making a political calculation: withdraw Kav, lose voters in midterms, vs lose women voters. So far more motivated by the first.

    • earlofhuntingdon says:

      The base is a Greek chorus.  It’s the GOP and its billionaire backers that are the principals.  Trump is just the current headliner, mildly affecting the script but not the story line or the plot.

      • Kick the darkness says:

        I think it is fair to say however that Trump has changed the cadence and language and form of the storytelling.  I guess depending on who the principles are, Trump may or may not have come along by happenstance.  Either way, I do believe it has been realized that he can be made to serve as a rather effective protagonist.  Your comment flagged for me because our politics seem so dynamic at the moment (to say the least).  So if the principles in this analogy think they are dictating a plot 1, 2, 3 chapters in advance, there must be a rather specific end point in mind, as well as substantial investments of power and capital to make that happen.  That is not a reassuring thought.

  18. Kai-Lee says:

    Kavanaugh’s importance to Trump and the Rethugs is overdetermined.

    Kavanaugh is likely the only one who will push for extreme executive authority. And old Orrin is busy hatching his plan, which needs BMK in place this month. Hell, they may even foresee a use for BMK post-midterms. After all, he was most helpful in the Gore-Bush decision.

    The timing of this exercise is key. It’s a testing/proving ground for the midterms. An excellent gambit to rile up the base and evaluate their mettle. Its also a way of assessing how fully they’ve drunk the Kool-Aid and will respond to the revelations that will be forthcoming from the Mueller report. Right now, they’re so far gone, they’re happily assisting, in all forms of media, the propaganda and corruption spreading. This is also allowing Trump to indulge in some of his perversities – hitting back at female accusers, the FBI, the media, Avenatti, the Democratic Party and its supporters, the “PC” crowd, even select Rethugs.

    Yes, indeed. Truly multi-purposed!

  19. Anura says:

    Kavanaugh is someone who will always rule in favor of the police state and corporations, and against civil liberties; he will always place ideology above law. Republican voters all know that liberals are the activists and conservatives simply follow the commandments that Publius inscribed after speaking to The Founders on top of Mount Rushmore, so it doesn’t really make a difference who he is as a person.

  20. Tom says:

    Kavanaugh comes across as emotionally needy and vulnerable with a pliable conscience.   He obviously wants the job so badly and he wants the GOP to know he will never give them cause to regret placing him on the Supreme Court.   He’s a known quantity and will be safely predictable in his rulings; no chance of him maturing in the position or demonstrating a willingness to fall on his sword for the sake of principles he doesn’t seem to have.   Plus, at his relatively youthful age he will have a long shelf life.

  21. d4v1d says:

    justice kennedy, he of citizens united, made kavanaugh’s nomination a condition of his own retirement.

      • earlofhuntingdon says:

        Not formally, no.  It works through personal persuasion.

        It works because the nomination of Kavanaugh fit the wants of other powerful actors, who wanted another hard right, neoliberal, pro-executive, pro-corporate, anti-women and anti-immigrant vote on the Court.

        Plus, it’s not an enforceable bargain.  Trump lies, he changes his mind in a New York minute.  He could plead changed circumstances or just say, fuck you, to Kennedy – once he’s off the Court.  That’s exactly the behavior Donald Trump is known for.

  22. Trip says:

    Aside from the other great hypotheses, Kavanaugh said he believed that (Republican) presidents can’t be under investigation. That would free McGahn and Trump from the Mueller probe, (and any other GOP who get caught in the net). He also believes in the all powerful president beyond the other branches of checks and balances. This is Trump’s draw to him, as a natural autocrat. Plus, overturning Roe v. Wade for the radical religious right. The rest of the GOP want the ‘made man’ in the club, who will do their bidding after they lose seats (but this probably would happen with any of the other candidates).

    • TheVirginian says:

      Here’s a shot in the dark. The institutional GOP needs Kavanaugh because he will ratify the pardoning of the whole kit and kaboodle. They have to stop Mueller. Mueller has  Manafort singing. Manafort was the pivot man for all the deals that made Donald Trump a fully fledged Republican. McConnell, Ryan, and all the rest of them were bought off, and Manafort knows the terms. And now also does Mueller. Kavanaugh is their Hail Mary. How appropriate.

  23. Strawberry Fields says:

    He’s the Koch brothers ideal candidate and they stopped giving money to the GOP, I wouldn’t be surprised if it’s their way back in to good graces.

  24. Trip says:

    Trump really is checking off the bucket-list of cruelty-wants of the radical religious right and bigoted.

    Trump Administration to Deny Visas to Same-Sex Partners of Diplomats, U.N. Officials

    The new policy will insist they be married—even if they’re from countries that criminalize gay marriage.
    Samantha Power, a former U.S. ambassador to the United Nations, denounced the new policy on Twitter as “needlessly cruel & bigoted.”

    Russian newspapers have reported that gay men are sent to concentration camps in Chechnya where they are tortured. Trump set up concentration camps for immigrants, how soon until he moves toward other ‘undesirables’? I’m not trying to be hyperbolic. I think he is doing everything in sneaky stages so that there isn’t wide spread panic and reaction (to most of his deviant policy).

    • earlofhuntingdon says:

      One of the unseen benefits to the US of hosting the UN, which the US insisted on doing.  The usual claptrap about cost and the UNGA not being suitably subservient to US wishes notwithstanding.

      In addition to more sub rosa activities, such as widespread surveillance and bugging of UN personnel, the US overtly controls admittance of UN personnel to the US. 

      Under Trump, the USG is now defying a global movement toward equal rights for the LGBT community and casting its vote for the global neo-fascist right and its divisive, anti-foreign, anti-human rights priorities.

      Imagine how Donald Trump would have accommodated the suffragettes, the early unions, or the 1930s destitute Bonus Army.  He would have had Doug MacArthur “take off the gloves” and ignore any collateral deaths in removing them from the Capital.  This will not end well or without a fight.

    • greengiant says:

      Recall the outer right evangelicals went over to Uganda etc. and helped make homosexuality a capital offense.

  25. hester says:

    Since we are all speculating, I believe there’s some Russian and money connection. The Justice Kennedy, son of Kennedy, Jared Kushner stuff is very blatant. How Kavanothing fits in, I’ve got no idea…… but I think with this crowd it’s about money.

    • Tom says:

      Not sure you can equate being punished for a crime on insufficient evidence with not being offered a job for which there are any number of better qualified candidates.

  26. Trip says:

    We’re kind of out of step with Trump Corruption Inc, because of Kavanaugh, but there was a story about how Donald and Derp Trump were directly involved in the Stormy Daniels cover-up with Michael Cohen and an unnamed lawyer. So it sounds like Cohen is singing like an on key canary.

  27. dimmsdale says:

    I have a feeling that once we learn more about the dark-money tidal pool that funds the modern Republican Party, we might get an answer. Why are the R’s sticking with Kavanaugh? Because someone ordered them to. And all of the conjectures in this post are threads in the tapestry; but someone (or a set of ‘someones’) are trying to collect their due here. How did an experienced pol like Mitch NOT have a Candidate B up his sleeve? Because he’s in hock (as is the R party as a whole) to that set of ‘someones’ who need a pliable justice on the Supreme Court, and committed himself to ram the candidate through, come what may. Maybe it’s a mistake to assume that there’s an ‘actor in chief’ behind it all (e.g. the Mercers or Putin); but I think shining a light into the dark money pool (if the Dems ever get the leverage to do so) will tell us a lot.

    • bmaz says:

      Yes. Why, it is almost like there was a dedicated society hell bent on converting the federal judiciary into right wing revanchist belligerent shitheads. If one were to dream up such a decades long scheme by right wing extremists, I wonder what they could, with maximal intellectual duplicity, name their effort?

      Oh, hey, wait, maybe they would call it The Federalist Society.

      • dimmsdale says:

        Well, yeah. But if they’re just one spoke in the wheel, performing their very specific function (as are all the other spokes, some of which have perhaps not as yet been identified), the question remains as to who or what is behind all that. I may be dull-witted here (or maybe not accustomed to thinking the extreme worst of my fellow human beings), but someone benefits by a) removing the ability of state AG’s to prosecute where the feds have declined; b) using a radical re-interpretation of ‘free speech’ to keep dark money secret and hinder fair-speech regulation as well; c) …well, anything else a rogue Supreme Court could order up, given the right number of grimy FedSoc thugs on its bench. I used to be hesitant to speculate too freely about this sort of stuff, but so many tentacles of corruption are coming to light on a daily basis, some going back decades, that it boggles my mind, and makes me wonder, What else don’t we know, and how come such a huge endeavor of subversion operated out of sight (particularly in terms of specific operational detail) for so long?

    • Rayne says:

      That’s a tell, for sure, that McConnell has been willing to perform a bunch of shifty tricks for this seat — right up to the point where he doesn’t produce a more politically expedient nominee out of the existing bag of right-wing candidates.

      Why is McConnell sticking out his turtle neck all the way for this wretch Kavanaugh?

  28. oldoilfieldhand says:

    We’re looking in multiple haystacks for a single lost needle…

    Trump admires and lavishly praises strong leaders. Strong leaders, and Trump considers himself worthy of the title, do not back down. Really strong leaders do not offer concessions to people they consider lesser beings, and Trump surely considers all U S Senators to be lesser beings.

    Those lesser beings have caused Trump some discomfort already, ignoring his advice to push Kavanaugh through the nomination process quickly and decisively with a 51 vote majority that includes his VP; publicly exposing cracks in the strongman facade, submitting to pressure for an investigation and removing the McGahn restraints with 3 days remaining for the FBI to throughly investigate “credible allegations” against his nominee.

    Trump is attempting to show that he exercises the same control over the US population that Putin and Erdogan regularly display. Mob incitement is being tested at his rallies to determine whether the control is adequate to overcome the results of the Mueller investigation when the cards are laid out on the table for all to see. In his zero sum world, Trump is only strong if he defeats and humiliates the weaker liberals. This is all about power, the same power that the invincible chosen leaders of tomorrow regularly exercise  over their lesser male and female counterparts in high school and college.

    Will the United States Senate live up to its vaunted reputation, or become window dressing for the Autocratic rule of our wealthy betters?

    • JD12 says:

      There’s a thinly veiled authoritarian aspect to it. If they succeed over all the opposition to Kavanaugh, that would be quite a show of force. It won’t last long if they’re crushed in the midterms, though.

      Graham pointed out that he voted for Kagan and Sotomayor, implying that when Republicans were the minority they deferred to Democrats. It requires a case of Garland amnesia to believe that, of course.

      I think the culture war is a big part of it as well. Republicans fear—probably legitimately—that if they don’t put the brakes on the #MeToo train, the movement will take out far more Republicans than Democrats and change the balance of power.

    • Doctor My Eyes says:

      I think the main reason for insisting on K is more tactical than this, but I do think “they’, whoever the hell they are, actually want to make it clear that they can get away with rape.  The US had been torturing and exporting torture for years when W decided its time to do it openly. I think it’s the same dynamic, even though I don’t understand it completely.  It’s not confusion, it’s wanting to stop have to hide and just let everyone know that the powerful can rape and there’s not a damn thing you can do about it.

      I’ve wondered why, out of all the possible recordings the network had of Trump–any number of which we have to assume would have shown him dramatically unfit to be President–why out of all these tapes did someone choose to make public the one in which he dismissed sexual assault as no problem.  I have guessed that the main reason is that the word pussy is uniquely fit to create ambivalence and shame among a porn-addicted populace. Even today it is a word not acceptable in mixed company, but used freely by some males in private.  It is a word that brings men excitement that would embarrass them in a public setting.  In short, it is a word that creates a public/private split.  A lot of people watch porn and plenty of those people feel shame about that, at least in front of their families.  Instead of owning their behavior, people project and become angry.  Making public Trump’s use of “pussy” was an almost perfect psychological trigger. Perhaps I haven’t explained this thought well enough–it’s a complex notion–but I think it was a sophisticated psychological ploy designed to create anger in people with a split between who they are privately and who they are publicly, people like Kavanaugh and like so many of the Christian right as compared with people who have a visceral understanding of individual freedom, whose lives are more integrated, iow, liberals.

      The above is a bit of a side track that I’ve thought a lot about and wanted to mention, but it’s along the same lines. I believe that some horrifying things that come into the media are purposely intended to create anger, fear, and even revulsion.  There is more than one reason for this.  I believe the separation of babies from mothers, certainly one of the most upsetting things for a sensitive person to witness, was the same sort of designed action, less about immigration than about hardening Americans to cruelty or in the case of sensitive people, creating fear and general demoralization. I believe this is a side benefit to appointing a rapist to the SC.

      I expect this theory sounds a little crazy.  Before passing too harsh judgment, please consider that I haven’t fleshed out my thinking very fully.

  29. gedouttahear says:

    To sum up so far: there are countless nefarious reasons for this nomination, some known, some unknown, but all heinous. These are the actions of truly bad, bad people. We do not live in a nice place. But don’t give up.

  30. jayedcoins says:

    I realize most may find this reductive, but I actually think the answer to “Why Kavanaugh?” is pretty simple — it is “because we can.”

    The bedrock of conservatism in my lifetime is their recognition of, and all their reactions to and against, the slow and steady march toward more progressive societal values paired with an increase in the population of black and brown folks. Every damn thing Buckley ever said or wrote? The reason for the FedSoc? Trump’s election and subsequent hangers-onto his “style?” They are all grievances of powerful white men. And I should be clear on one thing — this isn’t just the rich guys in skyscrapers. A poorer, white southern man is still used to an immense amount of systemic power and impunity when compared to his non-white and non-male counterparts.

    So yeah. Why Kavanaugh? Because they fucking can. This is the ultimate expression of power that old white men have over the country — “we will give this man this powerful job to prove to you that there is almost nothing you can do to keep people like us from having the power that we deserve.” And I mean, there’s a recent precedent for this in the utter abdication of the party levers from the supposed establishment to Donald Trump and his ilk.

    Shit, to put it in their terms, they are basically cucking us for the lulz.

    • Rayne says:

      Nah. I don’t buy this. Why risk pissing off non-libs with this hacktastic judge, mess with possibility of future party growth among younger voters who don’t approve of Kavanaugh, burn so much political capital “because we fucking can”?

      There’s a specific reason that cost-justifies the expenditure. It’s not the 30 years he may be on the bench, either, because this guy’s drinking history doesn’t suggest somebody who’s going to be around that long.

      • jayedcoins says:

        But doesn’t almost all the evidence available from the past five or six decades tell us that this is a political movement that, at its core, works to preserve the dominant position of older white men in our society? And that a core part of that goal is to keep women in a subordinate role?

        Isn’t sticking with Kavanaugh in spite of the apparent political baggage a furthering of this point of view? Was it Steve King who recently gave the game away by saying something to the effect of, “Who among us hasn’t done what Kavanaugh is alleged to have done; thus, we can’t make it a federal case!”

        Another aspect of this that just sprung to mind. It’s abundantly clear that conservatives of a certain age still harbor massive resentment over how Clinton’s presidency ended. And regardless of the Kavanaugh-Starr Investigation-Clinton connection, it makes some perverted sense that sticking by Kavanaugh in spite of this baggage is a rubber band response to the resentment they will always harbor from Clinton getting off relatively unscathed.

        You are very likely right that there’s a lot more to this story, because of course any other FedSoc douchebag would have a sterling resume in the “Shitting On Women” metric. But it seems entirely compatible to me that Kavanaugh’s indiscretions act as a feature to these mongrels, not a bug.

        Anyway, I’m rambling, but I really appreciate this discussion Rayne, thanks much. All the other comments are really good, too.

        • Rayne says:

          Still doesn’t make sense to me. The Trump administration had 25 candidates — four were women, and I believe only one of the 25 was African American. So the Federalist Society continues the white male supremacy by offering 20 white men, and five non-male or non-white candidates who have proven they support the white male supremacy. The patriarchy, if you will. If that was their criteria, the other 24 candidates would fulfill the patriarchy’s needs.

          PFAW (People for the American Way) said “Trump’s nominees all fit the same pattern: narrow-minded elitists who protect corporations and the wealthy over the rights of all Americans.” Yeah, they’re all patriarchy’s cheer squad.

          Still doesn’t answer why Kavanaugh. Is Kavanaugh’s hostility toward the Clintons enough to justify GOP Senate torching the rest of their party’s future? Does hiding Kavanaugh’s mound of paperwork pertinent to Bush/Cheney’s war crimes provide sufficient cost rationalization?

          Or is the GOP so beyond reach of rationality they can’t see they are writing their own termination papers?

  31. earlofhuntingdon says:

    Mitch McConnell is better at propaganda than Rachel Mitchell.  He is fulsomely spewing it, blaming the Democrats for their “politics of personal destruction.”  He’s trying to get ahead of “bombshells” about Kavanaugh that he thinks the Democrats will invent “this week.” 

    He must be scared shitless about what the FBI is about to dig up on dear Brett. He’s determined to vote this week, before the FBI’s investigation is complete.

    • earlofhuntingdon says:

      Chuck Schumer’s response is correct, but weak tea.

      In a contest between facts v. passion, passion tends to win.  In a contest between facts and passion v. passion without facts, facts and passion tend to win.

      Schumer comes across as the friendly principal, giving his last finger-pointing speech before retirement.  “It is so unfair, and so wrong.”

      • Omali says:

        I don’t mind friendly principals, but Schumer comes across to me as a scold, and no one likes a scold.

        (Rayne, it has been ages since I last commented, and may have used a different username previously.  Apologies for making more work.  I’m a heavy lurker, and consider Emptywheel one of the few safe harbors in the storm.  Thanks, everyone who posts and comments here, for the daily dose of sanity and light.)

      • Pete says:

        Since you’re boofing…how about The Devil’s Triangle: Trump, Kavanaugh, McConnell.

        Should the four point of the Axes of Evil have meaning I’d add Grassly.

        Now gimme a quarter.

        • Rayne says:

          Hey now. Don’t encourage Trip! There’s no boofing allowed here! I don’t want to have to steam clean this place. And everybody better be practicing safe sex around here, water-based clear lubes only!

          ~shudder~ And that foursome is never, EVER permitted here. We haven’t perfected retina transplants yet and that can’t be unseen. ~blecch~

        • Trip says:

          Trump fell in love with Kim Jong-un. I think he’d have to be there. I imagine Putin feels deeply scorned at present.

    • Rayne says:

      McConnell will eventually have to answer for his deliberate effort to suppress information about Russia’s influence on the 2016 election. Greg Miller’s book released today, I think, and it only reinforces what a malicious POS McConnell was under the guise of partisanship.


      Yikes. WaPo’s @GregPMiller describes a tense moment from 2016 involving a CIA director trying to sound the alarm on Russia and a senior U.S. senator wanting none of it…

      8:42 AM – 2 Oct 2018

      Do watch the short 0:48 second video at that tweet.

  32. Jenny says:

    Maybe one degree of separation with Kennedy, Kozinski & Kavanaugh.  Kennedy wants Kavanaugh who clerked for him to be on Supreme Court.  Kennedy’s son has connection with occupant in the WH regarding bank loans.  Kavanaugh clerked for Kozinski who was known to sexual harass women.  Then Kozinski’s son clerks for Kavanaugh.  Perhaps they are all beer drinking buddies.

  33. 'Stargirl says:

    Short of DNA, photo, etc evidence (where is that dress?) linking Kav-ugh-gnaw to the attempted rape, FBI report will be inconclusive….short of 45 pulling Kav, Collins, Murkowski, etc. call the shots (with permission from their owner donors)

    • Rayne says:

      It’ll be conclusive with respect to Kavanaugh’s lying. This is still a job interview and not a criminal investigation — that we know of — and the threshold defining a successful investigation is much lower.

  34. pseudonymous in nc says:

    I’m just going to say that he’s a made man in the GOP.

    But as a made man, he’s also owned by the GOP’s shady donors. Ed Rollins was a little too candid the other day when he talked about all the money that was behind this particular nomination. So even if McConnell thought K’s paper trail would make things messy, the “millionaire’s cabinet” and people like Don McGahn convinced King Stupid to nominate him.

  35. Aneela says:

    My theory is that out of the Federalist Society judges, Kavanaugh is the only one willing to straight up lie to Collins/Murkowski to get over the Roe v Wade hurdle.
    Clearly the reason he was put on there is because he is hostile to choice. But in talking to Collins/Murkowski, he smooths over their concerns.
    My guess is that the other Federalist judges would not be so willing to lie to get their votes.
    Hence, none of the others will get all R votes in this Senate. Kav had a chance and Collins/Murkowski were very willing to vote for him.
    But his nomination has run into shoals obviously.

    • bmaz says:

      Are you kidding???

      Kavanaugh is an original project by the FedSoc. Has been for decades. Seriously, are you just mistaken, or heinously trolling?

      • Aneela says:

        Maybe I wasn’t being clear. Yes, I know he is a FedSoc project and would vote to kill Roe. My point is that he lied to Collins/Murkowski and said he wouldn’t, to allay their fears.

        None of the other FedSoc judges would lie bald-faced like that and would thereby lose Collins/Murkowski.

        • earlofhuntingdon says:

          Bridge for sale.  Makes landfall on one end only.  Seller financing available.  Good terms.

          Kavanaugh might be more willing to lie than a few others on that FedSoc list, but he is not unique.

        • RWood says:

          Collins wanted to be lied to. She had her “two hour talk” and came out of it with the “settled law” line for the press. That’s her cover for when BK overturns Roe.

          Never believed her on anything. She seems to check the political wind-gauge hourly.

    • Rayne says:

      Hmm. I dunno. They could all say the same thing, that Roe v. Wade is settled law and then wait for the case which provides the toehold for unsettling Roe.

    • Rayne says:

      That’s an awful lot of compromising material to ensure an entire party lines up behind one particularly iffy nominee. LOL

      Nice to see you again here at emptywheel, by the way. I note this is your second username; please stick to one so that community members get to know you. Thanks.

  36. John Grabowski says:

    A friend just reminded me about the baseball tickets which could indicate a potential gambling problem.  Remember that a mysterious amount of money just appeared in his account to erase that debt. They are trying to appoint a supreme court judge who is susceptible to potential blackmail.  There are a multiplicity of reasons to not confirm him. Don’t let rethgulicans make it into a just a suspected he said/she said sexual assault case that cannot be satisfactorily resolved.

  37. Tracy says:

    Rayne, thanks for laying this all out! I also appreciate your voice in all of the madness! :-)

    Questions to all: having looked at EW and Bmaz’s Twitter feeds (sorry, Rayne and Ed, I don’t know yours!):

    1 – How significant is it that the Bangor Press is saying Kav is unfit, period?

    2 – Does Mitch McConnell’s meltdown mean he is in the final death throws of defending this nomination at all costs? Similarly, is Graham talking about a case in which Kav “falls short” so Trump should re-nominate him (preposterous! absurd!) b/c he sees the writing on the wall?

    3 – Despite much stenography yesterday, including by Mike Schmidt, claiming that the FBI could investigate more witnesses, Julie Swetnick appears not to have been contacted yet? Nor the list of two dozen candidates that Dems put forward? Nor ANYONE who is trying to get to the FBI?

    Please correct me if you’ve read reporting that ANYONE has been contacted above and beyond the illustrious 4… Otherwise, we can only call this A CONTINUED GASLIGHTING AND SHAM.

    4 – Does anyone think that Flake-Murkowski-Collins are actually pushing to expand the probe b/c they are looking for a reason that won’t cost them re-election to vote NO?…

    • Trip says:

      According to Frank Figliuzzi (thanks bmaz), their hands are tied. He’s ex-FBI with credible sourcing.

      The three appear to be looking for cover under limited scope.

      • Tracy says:

        Cover to vote yes, or no? Originally I thought yes but I wonder if that has changed, if they have realized it’s really toxic to go forward. Let’s remember that the women are moderates,they count on moderate votes and votes of women. Flake is considering presidential run and he’d be in a much better position as a country unifier than divider and clear choice from DJT. Whaddaya think?

        • Trip says:

          I saw a clip of Murkowski saying, paraphrased, that the investigation in its present state is adequate for her. Take that as you will.

          I think cover to vote yes. Limited scope doesn’t examine lies, other witnesses etc.

          • P J Evans says:

            That would kill Murkowski’s future political career. People in Alaska aren’t happy with K’s statements about indigenous people, and women aren’t happy about his views on Roe (or his treatment of women).

      • Trip says:

        McConnell is heading off the truth with cynical spin:  the truth is there wasn’t enough leeway or time for the FBI to adequately investigate, so he fronts with “it’s never enough”* for Dems.

        * made me think of The Cure song

    • Rayne says:

      1 – No idea if Collins takes Bangor Daily seriously as the voice of Mainers. Can’t say if this means anything to her.

      2 – No idea if the McConnell meltdown means anything, either. Could simply be shoring up support with straight, white cis-gender men who so far have bought into propaganda they are at risk from evil wimmenz who will accuse them of rape simply for looking in their general direction. Graham is incredibly stupid for suggesting Kavanaugh be re-nommed but then it’s Graham we’re talking about, can’t trust him to act on rational and human principles.

      3 – I can no longer tell who’s doing what with regard to the so-called investigation. I don’t really trust the NYT not to be gamed by the White House and there are too many stories floating around other outlets. But this is probably what the White House and McConnell and Grassley want, utter confusion until we cave in. Fuck that.

      4 – Of the three I think Murkowski is most likely to vote no. Flake? “I’m a conservative, he’s a conservative,” he said about Kavanaugh. Collins is the real wild card, has swung in so many directions in the last three weeks it’s dizzying. Toss up.

      • Rayne says:

        LOL There may be hope yet if the ladies continue to hang tough together.


        Murkowski appears in no hurry even as McConnell pledges to move forward with Kavanaugh vote this week. ‘He talked about a vote last week, too,’ she told AP. Collins, riding with Murkowski on the Senate subway, smiled and told Murkowski, ‘Good answer.’

        1:41 PM – 2 Oct 2018

        • Tracy says:

          TY! I’m taking it all in… dizzying is a word for it…

          This sounds more hopeful than Trip’s so I am going to go w/ it. Since I can’t sleep past 3 am most nights, anyway, I have to try something. Psychology says that “realistic optimism” is the way to go. :-) I’m going to try for it!

          I feel like for Murkowski the Native Alaskan backing is likely important to her. I just heard on NPR an interview with a reporter in Maine, who said that Collins has not telegraphed what she’ll do; she’s getting lots of resistance from the left, but if she indicates that she will go “no,” she will get a swift and fierce backlash from conservatives. So she does count on their votes, too. I worry about her, she’s notoriously “been on the fence,” then voted w/ her party. But – realistic optimism – she’s a woman, and she has shown a spine in the case of Obamacare.

          I am hoping that the women stick together. We would not see McConnell ranting, I think, if he already had the votes.

          • on the nickel says:

            summary of why Alaska natives are opposed to  Kav


            Judge Kavanaugh’s Position on the Indian Commerce Clause is Erroneous. Congress’ plenary power over Indian affairs is grounded in the Commerce Clause of the U.S. Constitution. The clause gives Congress the power to “regulate commerce with foreign nations, and among the several states, and with the Indian tribes.” Judge Kavanaugh concedes this point. However, like Justice Clarence Thomas—the most senior justice on the Supreme Court—he challenges the clause’s application to affairs beyond trade. This impacts Alaska Native tribes, corporations, organizations and consortia because their dealings with Congress presently extend to a host of federal programs concerning their members, resources and governments.

            read the link for more details.

            [I’m uncomfortable with the link provided, inserted spaces to prevent accidental opening; “mailchimp” suggests this was posted through email and includes a tracking ID number. It’s also not opening reliably. Readers can consult the Anchorage Daily News article about the AFN’s statement at this link: |~Rayne]

            • Rayne says:

              Murkowski is a swing vote on women’s reproductive rights, health care, and on Native American rights. Other states with large Native American populations including Hawaii will also be affected, but they aren’t swing votes. These states are counting heavily on Murkowski to do the right thing by Native Americans.

                • Tracy says:

                  I’ll just add – y’all probably saw  – that the Portland paper (whatever it’s called) had also come out in its Opinion against Kav. I think I heard on Pod Save America that this most widely read in Maine.

  38. Kick the darkness says:

    One thing that stands out about K that you might not get in other nominees is that he has deep, bitter, enmity for the Clintons.  Not sure why, or if,  that might be a consideration, but its clearly part of the package deal with this guy.

  39. earlofhuntingdon says:

    How cruel of Donald Trump to claim that his chief interest is the personal well-being of one man, Brett Kavanaugh, and his family, whom he contends have been “brutally” treated.

    Never mind the thousands and millions who will suffer at the hands of Kavanaugh’s decisions on the Supreme Court: the immigrants, the women, the union members and those who want to be, the average citizens and especially the poor who would suffer owing to his deregulatory agenda.

    Never mind the women Kavanaugh has apparently already treated with abuse, without consequence.

    How cruel of Trump to contend that he is distancing himself from “the process” that he controls, that he wants “to do nothing to interfere” to interfere with it.  This from a man who has not the slightest regard for process, compromise, or fair treatment, who never suffers restraints on his wants.

    Trump is as fake as Brett Kavanaugh the choir boy.

  40. Coffae says:

    Thank you Rayne! I didn’t think anyone even noticed my first post under Coffae. LOL. I will be sure to post under Coffae versus Mickey Souza. It is my usual screen name.

    That said. I tend to believe that with all of the pushback from the GOP on this very flawed judge (Kavanaugh), there is indeed smoke. I don’t think that all of the GOP is involved (ie. Flake), but that some of the “more driven ones such as McConnell and Graham” were toying with the idea for using Kompromat for future use, and it blew up in their faces. Trump, ever the monkey-see-monkey do, even suggested using blackmail in his next book.

    Once again, the GOP has underestimated the people’s power to watch their every move.

  41. earlofhuntingdon says:

    Note to Velshi & Ruhle of MSNBC:

    Jeff Bezos did not raise wages at Amazon out of the goodness of his heart.  Like every other corporate titan, let alone the richest man in the world, he did it out of self-interest – precisely what his view of economic science dictates.

    He did it to make himself look good, to make a machine look like a hero.  He did it to avoid losing business because he’s alienating his customers.  He did it to combat a widening drive for unions at his many workplaces.  He did it to quiet expanding demands for regulating his business practices and to tax him for offloading onto the public, via public assistance payments, the social cost of the poverty wages he pays.  From his perspective, that’s a slippery slope that could eventually cost him billions.

    Jeff Bezos did it because a lot of people made him do it, and because not doing it would have cost him more.  That’s the economics and the agency at work about which you should be informing your viewers.  Stephanie, you know better.

  42. joberly says:

    Rayne–you ask if the *Bangor Daily News* is the ‘voice of Mainers.’ It is, at least for the 2nd congressional district in the state The paper circulates widely in Bangor and Down East Maine. The senator flies to and from Bangor every weekend. It is now her home. She earned the newspaper’s endorsement in 2014, which was an easy race for her. 2008 was a tougher race against the Obama Wave in Maine but again, the *BDN* endorsed her. I’d say she’ll read the editorial closely.

  43. gmoke says:

    The Republicans are acting as if they will never have to face another honest election because they BELIEVE they will never have to face another honest election. Protect your vote between now and November until at least the week after the election.

    The Republicans are burning through political capital because they believe they no longer need any political capital since they soon will control the political banks and have the ability to print as much political capital as they want.

    PS: If Putin is behind the Republican Party now, as he seems to be, sowing complete disorder is the game plan.

    • Trip says:

      until at least the week after the election.

      I don’t know what this means. How would you protect your vote after?

    • RWood says:

      Securing partisan gerrymandering is definitely a big gun, but do they need BK to do it? Wouldn’t someone less toxic be just as good?

      You may be on the right track, but I don’t think that’s the number one reason.

  44. mrtmbrnmn says:

    Bottom line:  The Supreme Court should have been closed down as a corrupt/criminal enterprise immediately after Bush v Gore.

    But since it is still operating, Trump should have had the stones to nominate his sister Marion Trump Barry, a longtime federal judge.  Despite being 81 years old and semi-retired, she would have been a better choice than the preposterous entitled belligerent beer boy Kavanaugh.

  45. RWood says:

    Can’t nominate someone named “Barry”, the MAGA crowd would reflexively call for their lynching.

  46. x174 says:

    i think it’s clear why kavanaugh.

    the new york times is reporting of a massive financial scam of trump org et al based on their analysis of a trove of trump’s tax documents

    the wall street journal is reporting today that president dementia (h/t hunter @ dailykos) was directly involved in restraining stormy daniels through his son eric.

    in other words, trump’s vacation of basking in all the bad news of his supreme court nominee and serial liar is ending and our demented president has not been able to stop the deluge information exposing the vast expanse of trump’s criminal enterprise system.

    his ploy to entrap the fbi in violating the restrictions on the kavanaugh probe does not appear to have worked thus far.

    the restricted fbi investigation is being reported as ending tomorrow.

    unfortunately, kavanaugh is the least acceptable supreme court justice that one can imagine.

    kavanaugh is so despicable that he makes clarence thomas look like a sober, well tempered and magisterial justice by comparison

    and them is some mighty loooow standards

    • Tracy says:

      He’s still out gaslighting the hell out of unsuspecting and irresponsible consumers of his BS in rallies, though. :-(

      He needs that orange jumpsuit sooner rather than later.

      I can’t wait till the farce of this FBI “investigation” is exploded. I hope that the Dems have something up their sleeves so that no more gaslighting can happen once Senators have received the report and can show what a scam it was. I hope that they can look at it and say – these 20 people were brought up for corroboration by Deborah Ramirez, why weren’t they interviewed? Why weren’t Blasey Ford and Kav interviewed? Why weren’t two witnesses with sworn affadavits interviewed? This is hardly the “fullsome” investigation that Flake “claims” he wanted.

  47. earlofhuntingdon says:

    Lead article in explosive New York Times series holds that Trump inherited upwards of $413 million from his dad, much of it due to helping his parents evade taxes.  Film at eleven.  I guess the Times is not restricted by the 60 day rule.

    • earlofhuntingdon says:

      Self-made liar and serial business failure Donald Trump was a millionaire by age 8.

      His dad paid him the current equivalent of over $200,000 per year from age 3.

      Roy Cohn helped, but daddy Fred made him – all of him.

      The Don’s life story is a complete fiction.  (No surprise to readers here.)  Donald Trump is a fraud, especially a tax fraud, something that Bob Mueller probably knows, too, in excruciating detail.  I wonder if that’s why the Don is starving the IRS’s enforcement budget.  No statute of limitation on civil fraud.

    • earlofhuntingdon says:

      This could be one reason the Don will never voluntarily release his tax returns, and one reason he might be very afraid of Bob Mueller having them.

      Two additional stories from the NYT:  An eleven point summary or takeaway, and this piece, about the safety net daddy Fred wove around the Don and made him and his siblings rich.

      Greed being greed, the Don still allegedly cheated his deceased older brother’s family out of its piece of Fred’s will, after he reportedly rewrote it while Fred was suffering from dementia.

      Will this matter to the base?

      • Trip says:

        It won’t matter to the cult. It won’t matter to the billionaires who are thieves either. And yes, we knew about it before, not the full extent, but I don’t think anyone actually had all of that documentation in hand. Allen Weisselberg and/or Jack Mitnick are telling long held (specific) tales?

      • BobCon says:

        As always, it’s worth pointing out that if Don had simply invested all of the money he got from Fred in blue chip stocks, he would have been vastly wealthier than he is today.

        As far as whether Trump’s base will care, I think a better rhetorical question is whether the media will care. There’s no breathless reporting on Trump Loves Kim, so it’s clear that all reporting on his taxes will be kept in a silo, and when the next GOP push for tax cuts come, there will be no mention of his record or conflicts.

    • earlofhuntingdon says:

      Donald Trump would be a far wealthier man had he invested his inheritance in an unmanaged stock market index fund, or put it into Berkshire Hathaway, or Apple, or Microsoft.  Those businesses made money.  Donald Trump has failed and lost money at virtually every turn.  It’s no surprise that he is failing at being president.

      Given that observation and Trump’s ego, it requires no leap of faith to imagine that Donald Trump would do anything to hide his failures: money laundering for Russian oligarchs or doing a deal with Putin to actually succeed at something would be easy choices for him to make.  If he made them, he should have public consequences for it.

        • BobCon says:

          It would be interesting if Trump gave the state something different in the current investigations, because that may put him at risk. The article mentions that the statute of limitations for criminal prosecution has probably passed, but civil penalties can still apply. And given the way deductions can stretch out for years, I wonder if there is the possibility he’s still at risk for claiming deductions on something he did years ago.

          I’m also curious if this is connected in any way to the recent report of some kind of disgreement between the feds who are investigating Trump’s finances and NY State. You have to wonder who leaked to the Times, and if this is connected. Of course for all we know, this was done by Trump allies trying to shape a coming problem.

          • harpie says:

            Glenn Kessler wonders:

            1:41 PM – 2 Oct 2018 quite a story — but did the NYT get the documents from an estate sale??? / If you look deep in the article, there’s reference to the documents being stuffed in the basement of a Trump relative who died in January. / and then, of course, some amazing reporting followed the trail laid out in the documents….

            • Rayne says:

              HAHAHAHAH!!!! Are we going to have to map out Trump’s genealogy and track down all his family members so we can bid on their papers before they kick the bucket??

              • earlofhuntingdon says:

                Trump’s new lawyer and CFO are already on it.  The good news is Trump won’t offer anywhere near the asking price, so they will go to the NYT out spite.  And I imagine that Fred Jr’s family would have no reason in the world to cooperate with the Don.  Let the games begin.

            • BobCon says:

              That’s beautiful. So if that’s true, maybe Trump ticked off some distant relative, or maybe the estate sale company got stiffed and sent the records to the Times in revenge.

              • Trip says:

                Maybe the family sold it or like you said an estate sale co. But the cousin, John Walter, who died, was part of the racket, padding bills (just read article).

  48. earlofhuntingdon says:

    Repeating a pithy “subtweet” from Marcy:

    That Kavanaugh was not credible about Dr. Ford should make folks realize that he was not credible on warrantless wiretapping, torture, judicial philosophy [e.g., about a judge being a neutral umpire or that Roe is settled law], using stolen emails, and Kozinski.

  49. 'Stargirl says:

    This 45 orchestrated three ring circus with its smoke screen and mirrors makes it hard to see if Mueller is still waiting in the wings to make his appearance.

  50. Drew says:

    While many of the specifics, seen or suspected, may be contributors to this commitment to Kavanaugh, I think the big thing is really much as they actually say: He is one of  THEM. Much moreso than Trump. They identify with both his virtues and vices (and really, to a large extent can’t tell the difference). He presents (if we observe the hearings before Blasey Ford’s accusations) as a well groomed white lawyer, with appropriate demeanor. If he was evasive and condescending to Democrats, who wouldn’t be.

    Kavanaugh locks in white male privilege at the level that they expect should be appropriate to everyone–it’s their bottom line. When the seamy underside of Brett comes out, it is THEIR seamy underside–maybe not in all details, but their assertion of authority, privilege and having a good time at others’ expense is very similar to his. His aggressiveness is the embodiment of their own, and it is what they want in the court, which otherwise is run by that softie, John Roberts. Of course, Gorsuch got through without a problem, but he also was a softie in some ways, being put forward to get through quickly and mollify the Democrats who were still mad about Garland. But it’s one thing to do something intentionally gentle to achieve a goal and another to back off of your assertion of your cultural bottom line in the face of pushback.

    In Brett Kavanaugh’s rage, we see the Republican Party as it truly is–holding out for the power of the white male elite. “I went to Yale law school! The best in the nation!” If he couldn’t have a few drinks and let his hair down and show his true aggressive, dominant male self every once in a while, who can ever relax?

    I’m pretty sure that’s the feeling of all the sanctimonious old toads in charge: McConnell who overtly said that his one job was to make the black guy fail, Orrin Hatch whose Mormon probity is based on an overtly held patriarchy which survives by letting young guys have pretty much unfettered behavior until they go through rites of passage and move into the adult world, Lindsey Graham who converted to being a sycophant to Donald Trump on a golf outing, where I surmise the Donald allowed him to discover the ways kompromat would be exercised over Lindsey if he didn’t get with the program (and I think Lindsey has stuff in his past and even present that he would be particularly devastated to have revealed, even if others might only shrug).

    So Kavanaugh is probably the most in line with the stuff Trump wants on the court, he is probably manipulable by the political power brokers in ways that some of the other candidates wouldn’t be, but more than anything, he embodies the choice of the Republicans to show their true selves and caving on him would be caving on their true selves and bottom line.

    I hope they can’t get the votes.

  51. viget says:

    Greaat…. so is tomorrow’s Uber-Emergency Alert system test going to be just a test, or is it going to be some manufactured crisis to distract from these bombshells!

    • earlofhuntingdon says:

      Slow motion self-flagellation, but worth a read, if only for his admission.  That must have hurt.  After all, they’re friends, they hang out over beers occasionally, and DC is a very small town with a long memory.

        • Doctor My Eyes says:

          Followed a link in that twitter to a letter K wrote back in the day. He signed off “FFFFF”.  Looks like the “FFFFFourth of July” was NOT about making fun of a stutterer.  Most likely the meaning ascribed (which I don’t care to repeat).

          Should I contact Flake, who says if K lied then he’s out?

          • Tracy says:

            Yeah, Michael Avenatti claimed it was something like: Find them, Feel them, Finger them, F*** them, Forget them

            I noticed that too, Doctor!

            This is just disgraceful, demeaning, misogynistic trash!!!

  52. earlofhuntingdon says:

    Good point raised by Tony Schwartz on MSNBC tonight. One reason that – at the end of his dad’s life, when he was most likely senile – the Don wanted to completely take over his dad’s business was that he probably owed him a lot of money, money he had borrowed, “invested,” and lost.

    Taking over dad’s business – his creditor – meant that the Don – the debtor – could forget paying back those losses. Or he could pay them back only if, as, and when it would be profitable for him to do so.

    Looks a lot like a rigged crap game to me.

  53. earlofhuntingdon says:

    We’ve talked about McConnell here quite a bit. But digby rolls together a mea culpa and pithy summary about why we should pay more attention to it. These guys are still in power and will be for at least two more elections:

    “I think I’ve been remiss in failing to properly recognize McConnell’s malevolent role in all of this. Ryan’s too. They knew what was happening. They understood that a foreign adversary was interfering in the election on behalf of their candidate and they threatened anyone who tried to sound the alarm.

    “It’s bad enough that Republican leaders, like everyone except their celebrity dazzled base, knew that Trump was a narcissistic imbecile. But they also knew he was was compromised in ways that put the entire country — and the world — in danger. They didn’t care.

    “Mitch McConnell is a traitor. Perhaps not in any legal sense, but in a moral sense he certainly is.”

    • Rayne says:

      I feel like Cassandra. It’s not like McConnell and Ryan haven’t been obvious about selling out all along, like Ryan being caught on audio recording invoking omerta when Kevin McCarthy said he thought both Rohrabacher and Trump were paid by Russia.

      I think of this May 2017 piece in the New Yorker by David Remnick about Ryan’s omerta, in which he said,

      “…It’s not that the members of Congress present were involved in crimes or illegal activity of any kind; no, it’s that they seem so craven, cynical, and, ultimately small-time. …”

      Wrong. They abso-fucking-lutely were involved in crimes and illegal activity — it was conspiracy to defraud the US and obstruction of justice to deter investigation.

      It’s not just that McConnell and Ryan are malevolent. They were and are criminals, and the media acted like it was business as usual, normalizing their behavior.

      • earlofhuntingdon says:

        “Ultimately small-time….”  What a load of exculpatory crap.  I see that Remnick’s piece ended with this exaggeration, from May 2017:

        What recent weeks have also made clear is that, outside government, the Fourth Estate has worked hard to put pressure on power, its most essential role. And a large measure of that pressure has been the result of the daily battle between the Times and the revitalized Washington Post. What fresh horror will tomorrow bring?

        Remnick got one thing right, the question we’ve been asking every night for two years: What fresh horror will tomorrow bring?

    • tinao says:

      Ya know, over the past few days the question that keeps popping up in my mind is…

      Can Mueller use this unprecedented SC appointment process to show complicity of others, lets take mcconnell for instance in the russian investigation. It’s a nagging hunch. Marcy you are soooooo good at connecting dots, any thoughts? And yes Rayne I know this is your thread, just figured Marcy reads it too.

      • Rayne says:

        It’s an open thread, this is what it’s here for, to capture whatever else is going on.

        To everybody else — yes, I’m trying to write something now.
        Is it what you want to read? Maybe.
        Is it Marcy’s weedy teardown of Trump-Russia or domestic surveillance? Nope, sorry.
        Yes, I am hurrying.

  54. Tracy says:

    It’s kinda weird that we’re getting no leaks on what Trump is REALLY saying about Kav. I heard one thing: that he was annoyed about Kav mentioning drinking beer so much. But what else – and why, for once, are we not hearing it from a WH that leaks like a sieve?

    This is where we could use REAL reporting inside that WH, rather than stenographers.

  55. orionATL says:

    the “central question” about brett kavanaugh has been shifting – first it was is christine ford credible? then how much of a drunking problem did kavanaugh have? and now it is how much of a liar is kavanaugh?

    this guy is top flight trump selection for a very important job?

    he fits more easily in the company of scott pruitt, or wilbur ross, or michael cohen, or paul manafort.

  56. Tracy says:

    Wow, there is some horrific “slut shaming” of Julie Swetnick going on. It’s so awful. This is why women are silent. It’s so disrespectful and craven of these disgusting old SJC GOP men.

    On another topic, I wish that Avenatti had released both sworn statements at the same time: the victim and the witness. He left a gap in corroboration (and NBC’s making such a huge deal out of it was really unfair) that the GOP jumped to fill w/ their propaganda. He usually plays the media so well, but here, I think he missed a step in not having the corroborating witnesses all lined up at the same time, like he said he did. I was a little surprised: a slight mistake IMO, but costly.

    But their treatment of Swetnick is totally unforgivable regardless; it was obvious that she’s very traumatized and that it was very hard for her to come forward – of course! – and that she did it out of patriotism and to get the truth out. This only stifles women more!

    • earlofhuntingdon says:


      Apropos of what’s happening to Swetnick under the Republicans, so to speak, this editorial cartoon from the Halifax, Nova Scotia, Canada, Chronicle Herald is justifiably going viral.  Note the monogram on the French cuffs, pinning Lady Justice underneath them.

      • Rayne says:

        MANY women complained about that cartoon, EoH, women who’ve been victims of similar assaults. I don’t usually like trigger warnings but I saw far too many women upset about that cartoon. I know had a visceral response myself, I inhaled and held my breath when I first saw it.

        But it’s an important cartoon for one key reason — that visceral reaction says something at gut level none of Dr. Ford’s accusations and Kavanaugh’s denials have addressed. Dr. Ford was afraid for her life; she thought he might accidentally kill her. We have been wholly focused on an attempted rape, a sexual assault, and ignoring the fact he attempted manslaughter or negligent homicide. All the words flying misses how violent this was to a 15-year-old girl overpowered by two larger teenage boys verging on manhood, who held her down and nearly suffocated her to death.

        Why Kavanaugh?

        • earlofhuntingdon says:

          Looks pretty much like what the Republicans are doing.  The Don’s performance tonight, which has so many people in a rage, fits it to a tee.

    • Rayne says:

      All three of the women who’ve come forward have been slut shamed. It’s standard operating procedure in the patriarchy to slap women down and silence them for thousands of years. I can cite examples going back to the middle ages of women who were put to death for protesting against their rapists.

      And yet the patriarchy can’t understand why MeToo movement has been so welcomed and important to women.

      I’m sure I’m preaching to the choir about this.

      Avenatti really hasn’t grasped the depth of this counterattack, mostly because he’s part of the patriarchy. It’s hard to see it when you’re part of it — when it’s like the wallpaper or the air you breath. He needed the assistance of an aggressive female PR person to handle this situation.

      • harpie says:

        Trump, at a rally in Mississippi about 10 minutes ago:

        5:11 PM – 2 Oct 2018 Trump is now attacking Christine Blasey Ford’s account on stage in Mississippi, reminding the crowd that she didn’t know how she got home & other details. 


         5:13 PM – 2 Oct 2018 Trump is now mocking and imitating Christine Blasey Ford: “I don’t know. I don’t know. Upstairs, downstairs, I don’t know. I don’t remember.”

        • Rayne says:

          The cherry on top of this Trumpish mound of slut shaming crap: media won’t make any effort to find out how many of the attendees were paid to be there, recruited via Craigslist or Facebook.


          • Doctor My Eyes says:

            Re slut shaming, I want to mention again the story Rayne referred to earlier, thorough reporting from the WaPo about a rape in Arlington, TX. I’ve been onto this stuff or some time, having especially studied the sickening issue of rape in the military, but reading the details in this story galvanized for me just how impenetrable is the wall of societal denial of the rights of rape victims.  In that case, the evidence was strong and the victim wanted justice. The adults lied and the legal system by all appearances acted in a corrupt manner.  But the very worst thing was the shaming by the other students in the victim’s high school.

            • Tracy says:

              Yes, I’ve read this, too, Doctor – really shows the dynamics in play, eh? I recommend this to anyone – the story of Amber Wyatt.

              We are on the same page today, Doc! ;-)

        • Tracy says:

          He’s such a f***ing asshole and moron.

          Changing subject from fraud reporting, perhaps?

          Well, his idiotic comments will NOT help the GOP – you can always count on DJT to stick his foot in his own mouth.

          Don, you’ve gotten away with EVERYTHING your whole life, including: committing, and bragging about committing, sexual assault and getting rewarded for it to the highest post in the land (male entitlement at its best) – stealing the election with Russia – defrauding the U.S. government and other crimes – but YOUR TIME’S UP, BUDDY.

          A flaming asshole like yourself who doesn’t know when to keep his big, MF’ing mouth shut, has slipped in his own doo-doo on this one.

          I look forward to when your jumpsuit matches your face, you ignorant, misogynistic miscreant.

          (Thanks for allowing me to rant in this space – I’m FURIOUS!!!)

        • harpie says:

          And now the WH defends this SHIT:

          6:34 AM – 3 Oct 2018 NOW: A White House official, defending the president’s comments mocking Dr. Ford’s account, tells me: “Factual gaps and inconsistencies [in Ford’s account] are fair game.”

          • Doctor My Eyes says:

            I mentioned this down thread before I had seen that “defense” from the WH. That’s the second time one of the propagandists has used the word “factual” in relation to Trump’s rant.  But these guys are so certain that they can only get somewhere by lying that they can’t help themselves. When Trump said Ford didn’t remember whether the attempted rape was upstairs or downstairs, that was not factual.  I know off the top of my head that it was up a short narrow staircase to a landing with a bathroom on one side and a bedroom on the other. I think that the bathroom was on the right but I wouldn’t swear to it in a court of law, so to speak. They use the word “factual”, but the only word they understand is “power”. And by intentionally mocking one of the details that Dr. Ford moving described as indelibly imprinted on her hippocampus, he is saying, “Fuck you. It doesn’t matter what you say.”

            It just occurred to me what I think the tactic is.  For a long time the public sphere has been corrupted by injection of strong emotions, especially rage.  Science has shown definitively that strong emotion shuts down the careful thought processes required for reaching rational conclusions.  So, Trump throws up this fog of emotion and inserts into it a lying narrative of how clear Dr. Ford was.  People absorb the exaggerated narrative and imagine Dr. Ford to have been the opposite of what she was–vague and uncertain. Then the rant is labelled as having been factual. And this is how the truth is murdered.

      • harpie says:

        …and Maggie Haberman:

        5:11 PM – 2 Oct 2018 Trump now mocking Ford testimony at MS rally. Asks repeated questions, answers to laughter, “I don’t know,” over and over. 

        From the hearing:

         8:14 AM – 27 Sep 2018 Patrick Leahy asks what is most memorable about that night to Dr. Ford. // Dr. Ford: “Indelible in the hippocampus is the laughter. The uproarious laughter between the two and their having fun at my expense.” 

        Sarah Kendzior:

        5:46 PM – 2 Oct 2018 It’s also an attack designed to cause maximum pain to Ford. What traumatized her most? “The uproarious laughter” of Kavanaugh and Judge. So Trump makes a mockery of her. It’s pointed, sickening cruelty.

      • harpie says:

        There are two young boys in the audience behind Trump as he says:

        5:21 PM – 2 Oct 2018 Trump is warning his Mississippi audience to fear for the men & boys in their families — that their lives could be destroyed if some women suddenly accuses them of sexual misconduct. // “Think of your son! Think of your husband!” // The white men behind him nod in agreement.  

        • Rayne says:

          It’s incitement. This is Gamergate and MRA with a permission slip to attack women because they ~might~ be a threat.

          In real life I’ve only met one person I thought was evil incarnate. Trump surpasses them in evil many times over.

          • Tracy says:

            Yes, @harpie, @Rayne – Donald Trump is actually sadistic.

            He is a psychopath, IMO – he fits the characteristics more than a sociopath – I’ve always said this and others have written about it – a malignant narcissist and psychopath. How lovely. Traits you always look for in someone w/ the biggest megaphone in the world.

            He’s an abuser, pure and simple, and delights in other people’s pain whom he feels wronged by.

            • earlofhuntingdon says:

              Sadistic indeed.  As only one illustration, there’s the immense pleasure he takes in firing people.  He does it from a distance, then facially but not credibly denies personal involvement.  That his denials are not credible is a way to brag about it in front of the victim, saying nothing’s gonna happen to me, but you’re fucked.

              He does it in the most painful, humiliating way possible.  He wants to cost them their jobs, to ruin their careers, personal finances, and families.

              Sadistic and psychopathic.  A bad seed.

          • harpie says:


            The network architecture built in Gamergate helped propel Trump to the presidency and fuel conspiracies like Pizzagate and QAnon. Now it’s backing Brett Kavanaugh. 

            Virginia Heffernan says:

            Kavanaugh’s not just a liar, drunk & likely assailant. He’s dirty like Trump w/a shady network of amens fr/the gamergate woman-haters club pounding the internet til cognitively vulnerable checkmarks like Brit Hume parrot the jive & make it canon. This is a masterpiece. READ.

            edit to add second link:

            • Rayne says:

              Thanks — I’d caught McKew’s work earlier today. This is the true hacking of America that began in earnest in 2016 though there were clues warning us in advance.

              Like Trump’s birtherism; this was an A/B switch to identify who was most susceptible to both Trump and racism, and it began before Obama took office, well before testosterone-poisoned Gamergate and MRAs, before the infiltration of left-leaning entities like BLM.

      • Tracy says:

        Rayne, yes – Avenatti did not handle this exactly well, and did not know the magnitude of what he was up against – the patriarchal machine. I think you are right – when you’re on the inside, you don’t fully what it means to be outside…

        My heart REALLY GOES OUT to all of these women.

        They are so brave – such warriors and role models.

        The thing I think about is rape and gang rapes are happening around the country and the world constantly – imagine what a message this would send if he is confirmed – legitimizing rape culture???!!!! It’s unthinkable!!!

        Indeed – WHY KAVANAUGH? GOP, you want to confirm him, at what price??? To women, victims, our country? It is the most shameful of shameful.

        • Doctor My Eyes says:

          I have been saying for some time that the last limit on political behavior is rape.  It took them almost a year, but a steady stream of propaganda finally got over half the country to say they were okay with torture.  Bombing civilians wasn’t even resisted that strongly, nor was invasion of a sovereign nation on false pretext.  No one seems to even think about drone strikes anymore. The obscene financial shenanigans which are creating so much suffering–they seem to have become a feature after the Occupy movement was easily swept aside. Horrendous health care, the shameful prison complex, etc. etc.  But rape and general mistreatment of women could be counted on to create strong feelings in a majority of the country. And now the needle may start moving on that.  So. fucking. disheartening.

      • Peacerme says:

        Katz makes such stark points about this:
        We talk about how many women were raped last year, not about how many raped women.
        We talk about how many girls in a school district were harassed last year, not about how many boys harassed girls. We talk about how many teenager girls in the state of Vermont got pregnant last year, rather than how many men and boys impregnated teenage girls.
        So you can see how the use of the passive voice has a political effect.
        It shifts the focus off of men and boys and onto girls and women. Even the term ‘violence against women’  is problematic.
        It’s a passive construction; there’s no active agent in the sentence.
        It’s a bad thing that happens to women, but when you look at that term ’violence against women,’ nobody is doing it to them.
        It just happens to them.
        Men aren’t even a part of it.

  57. Rayne says:

    Watching PBS Frontline’s Trump’s Showdown

    and I am SCREAMING at how awful it is.

    They are cramming far too much material into this program without providing background — like a quote from Corey Lewandowski and Seb Gorka without explaining the depth of their relationship to Trump and other players and why they are important to the entire Trump campaign and administration.

    And Sessions is treated with the assumption he’s a good guy when it comes to Comey’s one-on-one meeting with Trump.

    Jesus Christ. I don’t know if I can stomach this.

    I can’t imagine what they’ll do when it’s time for Frontline to look at Kavanaugh.

  58. 'Stargirl says:

    Bernie is the President today as Amazon caves to $15/hr.
    45 and his gang are history.
    Bernie can bring court to 11.
    9 is a random number.
    Not specified in Constitution.

    • Rayne says:


      Amazon is having a tough time filling jobs. They aren’t competitive based on the wages they’ve been paying and bad press makes them less appetizing. These are not ALL the jobs Amazon uses to fulfill their orders; many are contract jobs and they remain at whatever their current rate is — not $15/hour.

      45 is history when one of four things happen: Congress changes hands and both houses impeach and remove him, or he resigns, or he doesn’t win re-election, or Mother Nature grabs him by the pussy.

      I am not holding my breath for all hourly workers at Amazon to make $15/hour or Trump to become history.

      Last I checked, Senator Sanders is still a senator from a tiny northeast state.

      • Tracy says:

        Honestly, I didn’t like how Bernie took the conversation away from Christine Blasey Ford, the FBI sham investigation and the other allegations to talk about this on Chris Hayes. He stole a moment for himself that took the deserved spotlight from these women, who rarely get it, to plug what he’s been up to. I just find that infuriating. YES I am absolutely for higher wages, but please, find the appropriate time and place, Sen Sanders, not when you have been asked to comment entirely upon the injustice of three badly treated accusers.

        • Rayne says:

          Yes. It’s a very bad habit of his. Does the same to minorities as well but some folks put up with it just because they can’t break through male-centric/white-centric media otherwise.

          • bmaz says:

            There were a few of us who had direct through puts into Sanders’ campaign in 2016 who begged for civil rights and minority engagement to be made more front and center. And with Bernie the man, far as I can tell, he was always on the good side of that. Bernie the campaign never got there though, and still has not really post campaign.

            • Rayne says:

              I would love to know how much of that shortcoming was Sanders — his ongoing problem suggests much of it was — and how much was Tad Devine.


              • bmaz says:

                I honestly have no idea. Do think that Sanders himself thought that his economic message included all that in a way that it really did not at all. But that is just my own impression and guess.

                • Rayne says:

                  He’s a perfect example of white male privilege’s blindness. Doesn’t happen to him or people around him (hello, Vermont? 3rd least diverse state in the nation?) so it doesn’t exist in his frame.

  59. General Sternwood says:

    They don’t have time to get another nominee through in one month. When they lose the Senate (Graham’s lunacy is the tell) they will all be in Guantanamo by 2020.

    • Rayne says:

      They have plenty of time if they actually field a decent candidate who isn’t a lying skank. Hell, if they fielded Merrick Garland he’d be confirmed inside a week from hearing to full senate vote.

      Nice to see you again at emptywheel, by the way. I note you’re using a second username. Please stick to one so community members can get to know you. Thanks.

    • earlofhuntingdon says:

      Regards to Mr. Chandler.  Tell him that that thinly veiled story about Ned – the Cassidy Case – in High Window was a bridge too far.  He’ll be hearing from the boys.  The secretary did do it; we paid a big chunk of your money to the Times, the mayor and the DA to make them believe it.

      Oh, Carmen is still in the home, but Phil and Mrs. Rutledge send their best.

  60. earlofhuntingdon says:

    An important issue the NYT series highlights is the elaborate machinations Fred Sr and Donald Trump engaged in. The object was to create the myth of the great Donald Trump, the super-wealthy, super-successful real estate developer. It was his dad’s idea, he paid for it, he worked on it for decades, deal after deal, but Donny never learned how to make a buck.

    Secondarily, the machinations were designed to transfer immense wealth to Donald (and to a lesser extent, his siblings) while paying a fraction of the gift and estate taxes ordinarily due on such transfers. This happened over decades. Their schemes avoided at least $500 million in estate or gift taxes.

    They used pass through and shell companies. They wildly over- or under-priced assets being transfered. They siphoned money through intercompany transfers. The created schemes to extend payouts for decades.

    The only thing Donald Trump learned was that no matter how much and how often he fucked up, Fred Sr. would bail him out. Fred Sr did it until he died at age 93 in 1999. So much for the Trump mythology about the stable genius from the Wharton School.

    The process was the perfect training ground to learn derision for the law and legal process, for limits, and for the people and the political system that enforces them. It was an ideal way to learn large-scale tax evasion and money laundering techniques and the kind of mentality that would have come in useful in becoming great friends with Russian oligarchs.

    The NYT’s story stops over a decade ago. What’s happened since then?

    • earlofhuntingdon says:

      The Don has known about this NYT series for weeks.  That may explain some of his recent behavior.

      The many distractions he’s conjured up had more purpose than to distract from Kavanaugh and Mueller, although the Don must be worried about what Mueller might do with some of this material.  New York State, too.

      If none of this behavior is legally actionable, it should still have political consequences.  It should bar the actor from public office, if for no other reason (so far as the Beltway denizens care) than that he’s been outed.  The same goes for the party that has followed him off the cliff.

    • Trip says:

      All of the tax/padding/laundering maneuvering was complicated, hard work. Supposedly the inheritance “work” was the brain child of Robert (who I had completely forgotten about until now). Here’s a Town and Country puff piece from 2016:

      Where Has Donald Trump’s Brother Robert Been During This Election?
      Once a fixture on the New York social scene, the younger Trump has been lying low.

      Robert doesn’t have his brother’s marital sense – the couple didn’t sign a prenup, sources said. That paves the way for Blaine, who’s become a philanthropic force in the world of high society, to go after half of his estimated $200 million fortune.
      “He’ll argue it’s all inherited, but he was running his father’s real estate business for 20 years,” the source said.
      one of his sisters is a (retired?) bank executive:
      Elizabeth Trump Grau, a retired bank executive (Chase Manhattan bank)

  61. Yogarhythms says:

    Bk because Palace was told to pick Bk. Palace doesn’t think or read but will “Bark” like any carnival barker and barks better than most. FBI is the executive branch police force. BK’s long strange trip job interview is not in danger by the branch of government that nominated him. 6NOV18 is the next opportunity to challenge the palace. CBF heroically endurs. One of BK’s many sex victims may bring civil suit against him. He will not quit. Palace will not withdraw. Senate R’s will vote to retain power/party over US Constitution ideals again.

  62. Eureka says:

    (Folks, I am getting downloaded on the Collins situation from an active Maine friend- short story, don’t count on her. Unless Flake or other events shield her… Will add some details later…)

    • Eureka says:

      ^My original comment should go up in the thread(s) about the Press Herald (Portland paper) and then Bangor Press issuing anti-Kav editorials yesterday and today (1st and 2nd).  With Press Herald a bigger and more liberal audience, I, too, had wondered if Bangor Press (Collins’ home base) would be more meaningful to her.  Friend thinks it won’t matter per se (unless she wished to later cite it as cover).  Collins hasn’t been the old Collins for awhile, took her time to finally make any statement about trump when it mattered, etc… Also ME may be a ‘blue state’ but, well, not so much…look at who is Gov. (45-esque LePage).  Collins had been looking to a future ME Gov-ship (maybe still is), but the climate, given LePage, leaves her fine and ‘reasonable’-looking even if she takes no anti-Kav stand.

      Other Mainers may well disagree.  But it was sounding to me like Collins has no reason to strike out in the lead on this issue.  If her coalition w Flake, Murkowski (et al. ish) and their ‘reasons’ work out, great, but this friend wasn’t all excited about the editorials having an impact, even the Bangor one. Though they could help provide cover for a ‘No.’

      • Tracy says:

        TY for your report, Eureka! I continue to hold slight hope for her, perhaps in spite of contrary evidence, but “realistic optimism”… :-)

        But it’s infuriating to see Heidkamp and Manchin “still on the fence” – perhaps they just want to cover till the last possible moment that they will say no, but they ought to have had the gumption that Donnelly had to JUST SAY NO. There is plenty enough cover for them, and if Joe Manchin doesn’t understand that there is a movement of energy from the female teachers of his state that likely crosses into lots of areas, then he’s out of touch (goes w/o saying!). And Heidkamp, as a woman doing this, I can’t even… grrrrrrr!!!!

        • Eureka says:

          Yes, it’s annoying that they area acting as a bloc, apparently waiting until the last minutes.  If even one struck out- in the interests of their respective home states or even individual future political ambitions there- a dam would break.

          Tells me it’s possible that this poker play (which I will presume that they presume is to benefit their future careers) may also result in a benefit for us.  Constrained optimism, as you say!

  63. Bruce Olsen says:

    Here’s my working theory. Most of what’s posted above is true or highly likely to be, but not central to the plot.
    — Trump doesn’t really care about anything that won’t help him. He’d normally be fine with any FedSoc judges, except he knows the value of leverage (kompromat, if you prefer). After all, Putin clearly has leverage on Trump.
    — FedSoc knows Kennedy has to retire ASAP so he can be switched out for a more reliable “justice.” Trump may not last much longer with Mueller snapping at his heels.
    — Trump knew Kennedy’s son from Deutsche Bank, who underwrote a shady loan for Trump. Trump now has leverage over Kennedy.
    — At some point, BK’s name comes up (doesn’t really matter how). Trump comes to realize he can exert leverage over BK, which leapfrogs him over the FedSoc names. That BK has pro-executive positions is a bonus, but of no importance–he can be blackmailed and that’s all Trump needs.
    — At some point, BK’s connection to Kennedy becomes clear.
    — Trump now has the ability to threaten Kennedy with exposing his son if he doesn’t retire now. Trump can also offer to promote one of his clerks, BK, to replace him.
    — Trump (and everyone else who knows about this) gets a SCOTUS stooge.
    — If BK falls through Trump will get someone from FedSoc with the same views about presidential indictments.

    What makes it all work is this: the GOP is tainted with Russian money that came in through the NRA. Maybe all of them are, though it’s not necessary. Many are seriously ideological, others are worried about their next career as a lobbyist or think tanker.

    None are incented to do the right thing.

    • tinao says:

      That looks about right to me. Great dot connecting! Now, I’ll ask again, do you think Mueller can put this together with evidence to back it up?

      • Bruce Olsen says:

        Marcy has done some posts on divining the shape of the investigation based on Mueller’s staffing choices, and others have chimed in as well (thanks to all). Check those posts out if you haven’t already.

        I expect Mueller hs fair handle on the amount and destination of money flowing from Russia, which is a pretty obvious place to start if you’re looking to learn about Russian influence on the campaign. The NRA and the inaugural team are obvious money sinks, and the transition team as well; beyond those, who knows? We’ve all forgotten about Panama, Azerbaijan, and much much more, but I don’t think Mueller has, despite Trump’s constant barrage of tweets (and as Trump is a crafty sort, they’re part of the scheme).

        Besides money, Mueller is clearly looking into voter tampering (defining “tampering” fairly broadly). There may also be some explicit threats that he’s looking at,  though post-Skripal the threat implicit in disagreeing with a powerful Russian doesn’t need to be articulated to anyone.

        This is a very dirty bunch, so it’s difficult to envision everything that Mueller might be into, but he doesn’t need to prosecute every crime to have an impact; he only needs to outrun Trump (so to speak).

        Beneath it all, it’ll be tied together by money, of course, and the folks here think he put together a great team to find whatever there is to be found.

        Hard to wait, tho’…

        • tinao says:

          Thanks Bruce. I do read regularly but only comment now and then, and am not as concise in my wording as most here. What i was trying to say was the kavanaugh shit show looks to me like more evidence Mueller could investigate and use to include people like mcconnell, grassley, and grahm to protect our russian corrupted president. They are looking equally compromised to me.

          • Bruce Olsen says:

            Well, McConnell and Ryan did play political hardball when Brennan first brought the Russian interference to light and if Mueller finds evidence that GOP leadership (and others like Nunes) knew it was Russian money he’d take action.

            • tinao says:

              Yes, exactly. Far left conspiracy my ass. That’s just more right wing projection. Kavano is under the blackmail sway and could be used to block Mueller protecting all their asses!

              • tinao says:

                Oops, there should be a comma after Mueller. Mueller could well have evidence of all their complicit trails, hence the hysterical shit show we ALL viewed.

  64. Trip says:

    A Trump ultimately benefited from the Senate Judiciary committee refusing to give a hearing to a Clinton nominee. And then Clinton nominated a Reagan Republican.

    Clinton had nominated Robert Raymar to the seat in 1998, but that nomination was never given a hearing by the Senate Judiciary Committee, and Raymar’s nomination expired at the end of that year. During the next congressional term, Clinton nominated Barry to the position.

    This shit has been going on forever.

  65. harpie says:

    Critical thread for Democrats from Matthew Miller:

    6:24 AM – 3 Oct 2018  Watching the way D’s are approaching the FBI investigation into Kavanaugh, & it feels like they are making some of the same mistakes they made during the Clinton email investigation & as Rosenstein has ceded ground to the WH at various times in the Russia probe. / 

    • Trip says:

      So true, especially the Wray and Rosenstein ties. After the “atta-boy pat” on Kavanaugh’s back, I began to wonder if Rosenstein is actually the anonymous op-ed writer.

    • Tracy says:

      Thank you for posting this! I just saw this! Dems should be:

      1 – pressuring FBI to write a memo, for posterity, saying that “this will not lead to the truth”

      2 – making clear they will subpoena every doc, interview FBI officials, hold public hearings

      3 – demanding Wray/ Rosenstein recuse over Kav connections

      4 – demanding FBI release 302’s publicly (as they did w/ Clinton)

      Miller: “D’s can’t continue to play by rules R’s long ago abandoned.”

      It is true, the Democrats have to GET ON THE BALL about this sham “investigation!”

      I’m so worried that they will drop the ball on this, they are so hapless sometimes.

      • Tracy says:

        But I’ve not seen the Dems speaking out about this today.

        I fear if they wait to see the report, the damage will already have been done. The R’s will be able to use it in any way that they see fit, and it will surely exonerate Kav. Disgusting! Despicable!

        Chris Coons, you and the SJC Dems should be speaking out!!!

  66. bmaz says:

    1) Yeah, that is really not the kind of memo the bureau writes, nor should it be.

    2) Dems should reclaim at least one house of Congress before making such statements.

    3) No, this is exactly the kind of politicization of law enforcement that should be decried, not encouraged.

    4) Which “Clinton” are you referring to? I am not aware of any instantaneous posting of 302s as you contemplate, nor would such be anything other than a very dangerous precedent.

    • Tracy says:

      Bmaz – This is a summary of Matthew Miller’s points he made on Twitter, as per our conversation. Check there for more details, please.

        • Tracy says:

          I do really like Matt! He’s probably tired of seeing the R’s running roughshod. I’m worried that the D’s aren’t doing enough, too, so I relate to his ideas, but it’s not my area of expertise, so I appreciate your view.

          I sure hope they do something legitimate to stave off disaster.

      • Frank Probst says:

        They’re obviously trying to “run out the clock” by slow-walking the FBI investigation.  The calculation is that (1) any sort of report from the FBI will pressure Flake, Murkowski, Collins, and Manchin to vote yes and/or (2) a report will also get Dems in vulnerable states to flip from no to yes.  So far, it doesn’t seem to be working.  If McConnell had the votes, he’d just have the cloture vote and then force the vote.  So Flake et al aren’t budging, and the vulnerable Dems are probably going to wait on them.  The reports that the final FBI report may not be made public suggests the investigation is still a sham.

        Now, Trump is attacking Blasey Ford in public speeches, and all three accusers are being slut-shamed.  This is supposedly in response to polling that shows races in a bunch of places are tightening, and a plurality of people in the “vulnerable Dem” states want Kavanaugh seated.  That’s just not going to fly with most women.

        I think it’s all still very fluid.  Kavanaugh endorsors are pulling out daily.  I think a sham investigation won’t work–if the report isn’t released, the Dems can beat that drum:  Kavanaugh was NOT voted down because a woman accused him of sexual assault.  He was voted down because a woman accused Kavanaugh of sexual assault, and the FBI investigated that allegation, and THEN Kavanaugh was voted down.  So the reason for voting him down was the FBI investigation’s findings, which the GOP won’t release.  “He got due process.  The FBI didn’t clear him.  So I voted no.”

        And I think Squi and Timmy are both going to be pretty unsympathetic to Kavanaugh.  Squi got pulled into this by Ed Whelan (who had to have gotten the idea from SOMEONE in Kavanaugh’s orbit, if not Kavanaugh himself), and Timmy got pulled in by Kavanaugh’s calendars.  Kavanaugh’s letter in the NYT was addressed to PJ at the top.  It may have come from PJ, from the FBI (after PJ gave it to them), or from someone else who managed to get PJ’s letter.  In any case, it indicates that evidence is still coming in, and more witnesses are going to the press on a daily basis.

        And Blasey Ford isn’t the only person whose credibility is going up.  I thought Ramirez’s allegations weren’t as strong as Blasey Ford’s, and then I found out that Kavanaugh and Kavanaugh’s team were trying to get info on her BEFORE Kavanaugh said he found out about her allegations.  That pretty much convinced me that she was telling the truth–Kavanaugh knew he needed dirt on her before he supposedly knew she was going to accuse him of sexual assault.  It’s now obvious that he was lying about her.

        So we’ll see.  I think his chances of being confirmed go down by the day.  He could still clear the bar, but it’s a hell of a lot less likely than a week ago.

        • Tracy says:

          Frank, thanks for being “frank” and showing some positivity! :-) You’ve made me feel better, I have a horrible panic feeling/ pit in my stomach today. I’ll reference your post when I feel doubtful or low. Thanks!

          Importantly, it’s still fluid, and McConnell is so far clearly bluffing in his bluster. The Dems I would hope would make a HUGE stink if it’s true that only 6 witnesses, nearly all friends of the accused, were interviewed. This is not what Flake and Coons agreed to, actually.

        • Trip says:

          Ramirez seems to have hard evidence (after the fact of cover-up) and corroboration. Plus Kavanaugh can’t deny knowing her.

          But, really, even if we put those allegations aside, he has stated that he is partisan and looking for payback. He has lied on matters specific to gov’t. He simply is not SCOTUS material.

  67. earlofhuntingdon says:

    A quick note about the NYT series about Donald Trump’s illegal tax schemes to inherit daddy’s millions.

    The reported schemes appear to be beyond criminal (but not civil) prosecution because they are too old: the statute of limitations is generally three to six years. The reported schemes are limited by the NYT’s sources. They are more than a decade old.

    We know that the Don hates new things and new people. Learning makes him uncomfortable; he avoids it like a crewcut. Whatever worked in his past, he’s likely still to be doing it. Trump has been president for less than two years, which means at least four of the years before he became president are within the statute.

    Paging Bobby Mueller, paging Mr. Mueller.

  68. Mark says:

    McConnell didn’t want Kavanaugh and I’m sure doesn’t care who they get on the court as long as they are reliably conservative. The amount of time left in this term is counting down and there is a chance, however small, that they could lose control of the Senate. If they don’t do it know, regardless of how flawed he is, they could lose the chance to stymie Democratic reform for the next 20 years. Especially if they fear that after Trump they will be in the wilderness for a while until they can get the base under control and move back towards the centre.

  69. [email protected] says:

    It is crucial for the RepubliCONs to get their drunken frat perjurer boy named Bart on the court for several of the reasons previously mentioned in these posts.

    However, I’m convinced the current case of Gamble v. United States is the main reason that Bart’s ass and nobody with any integrity has to be sitting in that empty chair on the bench this month. Essentially , it would allow Trump to pardon for state crimes as well as federal crimes! From Tzar Trump’s prospective this completes the takeover.

    Read The Atlantic Article:

    • bmaz says:

      A minor reason? Maybe. The “main reason”? Nope. Kavanaugh has been being groomed for this by the GOP and Federalist Society of well over a decade. Trump and Len Leo/FedSoc don’t want a loss. That is FAR more the basis for the push, and not the interesting but plodding case in Gamble.

  70. Patrick Hume says:

    Let me put this out there. Trump classified 100,000 pages of documents of George W Bush documents citing national security reasons. Kavanaugh has also been accused of perjury for his responses concerning drafting illegal surveillance memos. Yesterday this letter was sent to both McConnell and Shumer. Are we elevating an illegal surveillance advocate to the highest court in the land? When taken into consideration of the sitting president’s authoritarian tendencies this argument certainly has traction with me. Please bring me back to earth if necessary. Thanks

    • Rayne says:

      … Are we elevating an illegal surveillance advocate to the highest court in the land? …

      By we I hope you are referring to yourself and a mouse in your pocket or some other editorial “we” because no one at this site has supported Kavanaugh as SCOTUS jurist let alone DC circuit jurist.

      The rapid push to confirm Kavanaugh may in part serve to bury Bush/Cheney documents related to torture, indefinite detention, threat of child rape as well as illegal domestic surveillance. This site recognizes this.

      It’d be nice if you avoided citing the Washington Examiner. EPIC’s press release would have sufficed.


      I’d like to know why EPIC was a little slow with this request.

      Welcome to emptywheel, by the way.

      • Patrick Hume says:

        We as in the country that we all belong to, not specifically those who post on this forum.  It’s been my experience that spending all your time within an echo chamber is somewhat self defeating to changing the direction of the entire country.  We’re all in this together, after all.  My apologies for posting the Washington Examiner link, but then again I haven’t found any other news site that has picked up this letter nor reported on its implications lately.

        Good day,

        • Rayne says:

          Washington Examiner isn’t neutral. It’s quite good at masking propaganda as news and generally needs too much vetting to be reliable as a news source. In this case it was easy and most reliable to go straight to the horse’s mouth, so to speak. A Google search for “EPIC Kavanaugh delay” and presto, there it was.

          If we are truly ALL in this together, I don’t know why GOP isn’t simply refusing to confirm Kavanaugh.

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