What I know about Kavanaugh– he’s a liar

I’ve already dropped a few links in quick hits about the fact that Kavanaugh likely perjured himself in earlier Senate testimony about access to stolen files.  But, nobody has really paid much attention to that.  Things is, though, for anybody the least bit open-minded and paying attention it is super-clear that Kavanaugh was a hard-partying, hard-drinker in his early adulthood.  That does not mean he was a sexual assaulter.  But, he repeatedly refuses to own up to this and been zealously lying to the contrary despite the fact that it is pretty obvious to everybody.  On the one hand, maybe his yearbook paragraph is small potatoes, on the other, I was a teenager in the 80’s and “boof” is definitely not a reference to flatulence and you don’t claim the champion “ralphing”award because you’ve got a weak stomach.  Chait has a nice summary of the lying here:

Why do I believe Kavanaugh is lying? The charges are credible, and his accusers are willing to put themselves at risk, with no apparent gain to bring them to the public. Kavanaugh has said too many things that strain credulity for all them to be plausibly true. He almost certainly lied about having had access to files stolen by Senate Republicans back when he was handling judicial nominations in the Bush administration. His explanation that the “Renate Alumni” was not a sexual reference is difficult to square with a fellow Renate Alumnus’s poem ( “You need a date / and it’s getting late / so don’t hesitate / to call Renate”) portraying her as a cheap date. His insistence “boof” and “devil’s triangle” from his yearbook were references to flatulence and a drinking game drew incredulous responses from people his age who have heard these terms. His claim that the “Beach Week Ralph Club” was a reference to a weak stomach seems highly unlikely.

The accretion of curious details ultimately overwhelms the small possibility that he is a man wronged. The conviction he summoned is the righteous belief of an adult who feels he should not be denied the career reward due to him by the errors of his youth, and who decided from the outset to close the door to that period in his life. Perhaps he believes he has made amends for his cruelty. I see a liar who has the chance to prove his good faith innocence, and has conspicuously refused.

Short version, I’m pretty damn sure that Kavanaugh is a liar in high-stakes circumstances (i.e., Senate testimony).  I know he has everything to gain by lying (a Supreme Court seat).  I have no idea whether Blasey Ford is a liar or not, but no particular reason to believe she is.  And, it’s also pretty clear that she has nothing to gain from false testimony against Kavanaugh.  So, ,who to believe?  That’s an easy one.

In the end, though, whatever doubts may remain about the alleged incident between Kavanaugh and Blasey Ford (and there is real room for doubt), I have almost no doubt that Kavanaugh is a public liar before the United State Senate.  (He’s also, clearly, an intemperate partisan hack).  And that is more than enough to disqualify him for the Supreme Court.

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It really is Trump’s party– media edition

“The basis of our governments being the opinion of the people, the very first object should be to keep that right; and were it left to me to decide whether we should have a government without newspapers or newspapers without a government, I should not hesitate a moment to prefer the latter.”

–Thomas Jefferson

And, sadly, you know whose side today’s Republicans are on.  This latest from Pew is disturbing and damning.  If there is one fundamental aspect of the media in a democracy, it is the watchdog role to keep politicians accountable.  Alas:

Most Americans still support the watchdog role of the news media, but Democrats and Republicans are as sharply divided as in 2017

In 2017 and 2018, partisan divides in support of the news media's watchdog role largest ever measured

Even among the long-time media-bashing of GOP elites, this is a radical departure.  Our democracy is in trouble primarily for one reason– the spinelessness, cowardice, and complicity by Republicans as Trump attempts to undermine our fundamental democratic institutions.

Couldn’t happen to a nicer guy

Really don’t know what’s going to happen at the Kavanaugh hearings today, but, damn, do I love Tomasky’s take.  I’ve just been listening to the terrific “Slow Burn” season 2 podcast about Bill Clinton’s impeachment and, as those of us who were politically sentient at the time recall, the Starr report was grossly, absurdly, obsessed with the sexual details of Clinton and Lewinsky.  And who was behind that push for knowing every last detail of those sexual encounters.  Tomasky:

“Piece by painful piece.”

If you don’t know those words as written by Brett Kavanaugh back in 1998, I urge you to commit them to memory in advance of Thursday’s questioning.

They appeared in a memo Kavanaugh wrote to his boss, special prosecutor Kenneth Starr, on August 15, 1998. We were in the midst of the Bill Clinton-Monica Lewinsky scandal, and Starr’s team was about to question Clinton in front of a grand jury.

“After reflecting this evening,” the memo began, “I am strongly opposed to giving the President any ‘break’ in the questioning regarding the details of the Lewinsky relationship…I have tried hard to bend over backwards and to be fair to him and to think of all reasonable defenses to his pattern of behavior. In the end, I am convinced that there really are none. The idea of going easy on him at the questioning is thus abhorrent to me.”

The subsequent questioning of Clinton went as Kavanaugh had urged, and a month later, Starr and Kavanaugh and team issued a report that read not like something published by the U.S. Government Printing Office but by Larry Flynt. [emphases mine] There were discussion of the presidential johnson, and of when he had and had not ejaculated. The word “sex” or a variation appeared in the report 581 times. The word “Whitewater”—the failed land-deal the Clintons were involved in that was the original raison d’etre for Starr’s investigation—was mentioned four times.

The 445-page, X-rated report existed in the form it did for one purpose only: To make the American people become so morally repulsed by Clinton’s behavior that they would rise up in fury and demand that he leave office. And this was done, as the memo reveals, at the behest of Brett Kavanaugh.

“let’s be fair” liberals. Let’s not get too detailed about Kavanaugh’s past. All that yearbook stuff; let’s not go there! Whatever he did, he doesn’t deserve to have his youthful errors thrown before the public in such ghastly detail…

But one of those reasons is most definitely not that Kavanaugh doesn’t deserve it. He deserves every last bit of it based on the standard that he himself set 20 years ago.

Then, he wanted America to know every single distasteful thing Bill Clinton had done. What right has he today to be shielded from the same treatment? …

A society’s real moral guardians are, throughout human history, the people who are at first accused of being immoral—the ones who are willing to lift the veil that has protected people like Brett Kavanaugh for centuries. The Democrats need to be clear about which side they’re on Thursday. They may decide for tactical reasons not to press this or that matter too hard, and I suppose they have to be mindful of possible blowback.

But I hope they do what Kavanaugh himself urged be done to Bill Clinton—examine every allegation and challenge every lie. Piece by painful piece.

That’s a long-ish excerpt, but the whole piece is really, really good.  If you get a chance, you really should read all of it.

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