How dare you?

At times like this, nothing beats good satire.  Leave it to Alexanda Petri.  Great stuff:

HOW DARE YOU?!
HOW DARE YOU DO THIS TO BRETT KAVANAUGH?
HOW DARE YOU DENY HIM THIS SEAT?!

Listen, NO, YOU listen!
Do you know who Brett Kavanaugh is? Brett Kavanaugh went to Georgetown Prep!
BRETT KAVANAUGH IS AN OPTIMIST WHO LOOKS ON THE SUNSHINE SIDE OF THE MOUNTAIN!
BRETT KAVANAUGH IS NOT YELLING!
YOU’RE YELLING!

If Brett does not secure a lifetime appointment on the Supreme Court, this country will be IN SHAMBLES! THIS IS HIS BIRTHRIGHT! Do you know how embarrassing it is for a Georgetown Prep graduate to NOT be on the Supreme Court? They are literally 12 PERCENT of the court! THIS IS PROBABLY THE WORST INDIGNITY YOU CAN INFLICT ON A HUMAN BEING!

ALL BRETT IS ASKING FOR IS DUE PROCESS! DUE PROCESS BEFORE HE IS DEPRIVED OF HIS GOD-GIVEN RIGHT TO A SEAT ON THE HIGHEST COURT IN THE LAND, WHERE HE WILL DETERMINE THE FATES OF MILLIONS!

Apply the standard you want to apply to your husband-brother-son. He should be allowed to be careless. He should be allowed to like beer.
BRETT LIKES BEER!
WHO DOESN’T LIKE BEER!
BRETT ISN’T YELLING!
YOU’RE YELLING!
THIS IS A CON JOB!
THIS IS A FARCE!
YOU SHOULD BE ASHAMED!
THIS IS BRETT’S SEAT!

The Founders did not break from Britain so a landed white gentleman accused of sexual misconduct could NOT be given FREE REIN over the lives of millions!

If you give this woman credence, you will start a terrible trend. THINK OF ALL THE CARELESS PREP SCHOOL BOYS WHO WILL NOT BE ALLOWED TO SIT ON THE HIGHEST COURT IN THE LAND! WOMEN WHO HAVE SUFFERED TRAUMA WILL BE ALLOWED TO GET ON PLANES WILLY-NILLY — EVEN THOUGH THEY ARE FRIGHTENED!

You are going to deny a qualified man. The treasurer of Keg Club — DO YOU HEAR HIM, HE WAS KEG CLUB TREASURER! AND A RENATE ALUMNIUS! HOW DARE YOU DENY A KEG CLUB TREASURER AND RENATE ALUMNIUS A SUPREME COURT SEAT?!

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Just another day in the 2018 Republican Party

So, somehow Duncan Hunter who is seemingly guilty of egregious campaign finance violations, still has a shot at re-election.  His attempt to save his seat is just amazing.  But this is, presumably, what passes for a winning campaign message among 2018 Republican voters.  Just wow.  Washington Post fact check:

“Ammar Campa-Najjar is working to infiltrate Congress. He’s used three different names to hide his family’s ties to terrorism. His grandfather masterminded the Munich Olympic massacre. His father said they deserved to die. … ‘He is being supported by CAIR and the Muslim Brotherhood.’ ‘This is a well-orchestrated plan.’ Ammar Campa-Najjar: A risk we can’t ignore.”

— Attack ad from Rep. Duncan Hunter Jr. (R-Calif.), House candidate in California’s 52nd District, Sept. 26, 2018

“He changed his name from Ammar Yasser Najjar to Ammar Campa-Najjar so he sounds Hispanic. … So his signs could actually say Joseph Campa or, or something. That is how hard, by the way, that the radical Muslims are trying to infiltrate the U.S. government. You had more Islamists run for office this year at the federal level than ever before in U.S. history.”

— Recording of Hunter remarks obtained by the Times of San Diego, Sept. 24, 2018

Never mind that Campa-Najjar is a Christian born and raised in San Diego. Never mind that his grandfather died years before he was born. Never mind that his father wasn’t around much and that Campa-Najjar was raised by his mother and her Mexican American family. Never mind that Campa-Najjar obtained a security clearance for his past work in the Obama White House and the Labor Department. The Hunter ad ignores those biographical details and paints Campa-Najjar as a threat reared by terrorists…

The Pinocchio Test

This ad uses naked anti-Muslim bias in an effort to scare Californians into voting for an indicted Republican incumbent.

The Democrat on the receiving end of these attacks isn’t even Muslim. All the claims in the ad are false, misleading or devoid of evidence.

Hunter earns Four Pinocchios.

Again, the saddest thing about this is not even the extreme dishonesty, but the fact that anti-Muslim bias (even against Christians of Middle-Eastern descent) is key to Republican electoral politics.

The Blackout explanation

So, we do know for a near-certainty that Kavanaugh is a brazen liar.  I’m not convinced, though, that he’s lying when he claims he did not assault Blasey Ford.  I’ve been thinking for a while that the most likely explanation is that he literally did not remember doing so from being so drunk.  Of course, despite all the contrary evidence (including a not-too-distant speech to the Federalist Society), Kavanaugh is entirely unwilling to admit he ever drank so much that he might have forgotten things.

The reality, though, is that this is fairly common among heavy/binge drinkers.  Sarah Hepola, has written a whole memoir on the subject and thus is a perfect person to weigh in (and bring the science) to the Kavanaugh case.  When I first heard her interviewed about drunken blackouts a few years ago on Fresh Air, I remember finding it incredibly enlightening.  Anyway, the key parts from her NYT Op-Ed:

One of the trickiest things about blackouts is that you don’t necessarily know you’re having one. I wrote a memoir, so centered around the slips of memory caused by heavy drinking that it is actually called “Blackout,” and in the years since its 2015 release, I’ve heard from thousands of people who experienced them. No small number of those notes contain some version of this: “For years, I was having blackouts without knowing what they were.” Blackouts are like a philosophical riddle inside a legal conundrum: If you can’t remember a thing, how do you know it happened?

In the days leading up to the Senate Judiciary Committee hearing on the Supreme Court nomination of Brett Kavanaugh, a theory arose that he might have drunk so much as a teenager that he did not remember his alleged misdeeds. The blackout theory was a way to reconcile two competing narratives. It meant that Christine Blasey Ford was telling the truth but so was Brett Kavanaugh. He simply did not remember what happened that night and therefore believed himself falsely accused. Several questions at the hearing were designed to get at this theory, but it gained little ground.

I want to be clear, up front, that I cannot know whether Judge Kavanaugh experienced a blackout. But what I do know is that blackouts are both common and tragically misunderstood…

A few clarifications. First, I dare you to find the heavy drinker who hasn’t passed out from too much booze. To say you were just sleeping is like my dad saying he’s resting his eyes when he’s napping. It’s a semantic dodge.

Second, and more crucially, this answer tips toward a common conflation of the act of passing out — sliding into unconsciousness, eyes closed, being what drinkers often call “dead to the world” — and the act of blacking out, a temporary, alcohol-induced state in which you can remain functional and conversational, but later you will have no memory of what you did, almost as though your brain failed to hit the “record” button. This phenomenon remains unknown to many, even experts who ought to know better — doctors, journalists, judges. [emphases mine]…

“Piecing things together” is a phrase that jumped out at me when I read Judge Kavanaugh’s 2014 speech to the Yale Law School Federalist Society, in which he describes drunken heroics as a routine part of campus life; Senator Richard Blumenthal also leapt on this at the hearing, although Judge Kavanaugh deflected the inquiry, as he did every question about any possible dark side to his consumption.

One particularly dastardly aspect of blackouts is that other people don’t necessarily know you’re having one. Some people in a blackout stagger around in a zombie state; others quote Shakespeare. I had friends who told me I got this zombie look in my eyes, like a person who was unplugged, but others friends told me, on different occasions, that I’d seemed fine.

It wasn’t until this century that scientists really understood blackouts. For generations, experts thought they were the exclusive realm of alcoholics, a sign of troubled late-stage drinking. But non-problem drinkers black out all the time. In fact, that kind of drinker would be a good candidate for someone who might remain ignorant of their blackouts. You see this in sexual assault cases: A woman believes she passed out the night before, but she actually blacked out, leaving untold minutes or hours unaccounted for in her memory bank. This is hellishly confusing — because to the person who wakes up not remembering what happened, it feels like you must have been asleep. Disrupting that assumption requires some contrary piece of evidence: Cuts and bruises, strange clothes you don’t recall putting on, a friend’s testimony, surveillance footage. Today’s young people are more aware of their own blackouts — in part because scientists have gained insight about them, allowing media stories to spread, but also because those kids carry around phones that record everything they do, making them much more likely to have that jarring moment of cognitive disconnect. Wait, when did I type THAT? Wait, when was THAT picture taken? Previous generations simply did not carry such handy data collection services in their pockets…

One of the most unforgettable moments in an unforgettable hearing came when Senator Patrick Leahy asked Dr. Blasey about her strongest memory of that night. “Indelible in the hippocampus is the laughter,” she said. The word Dr. Blasey used, hippocampus, is significant. The hippocampus is a part of the brain that plays a central role in memory formation. And damned if it isn’t a part of the brain disrupted by a blackout. The hippocampus stops placing information in long-term storage, which means what happened, what you did, what you said, what hurt you might have caused another human — all of it turns to a stream of unremembered words and images that pour forever into the dark night.

So while Dr. Blasey’s brain was pumping the epinephrine and norepinephrine that would etch the moment on her brain, it is quite possible that one if not both of those men were experiencing something like the opposite: A mechanical failure of the brain to record anything. Such a dynamic is breathtaking in its cruelty, which makes it no less common.

We don’t know if that happened, but based on what we do know, it is a damn compelling explanation.   Next most likely: in my opinion.  Kavanaugh remembers and is flat-out lying.  We know he has no compunction about flat-out lying.  Least likely: Kavanaugh didn’t actually do anything wrong.

Anyway, I do think the blackout explanation makes a lot of sense.  And based on all the related evidence (which Kavanaugh is so obviously lying about), he almost surely drank himself into a blackout state on multiple occasions.

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