Photo of the day

Humans rescuing pets from flooding. From an Atlantic gallery:

A man tries to get his dog out of a flooded neighborhood in Lumberton, North Carolina, on September 17, 2018. 

Gerry Broome / AP

Lying under oath. Bad for Bill Clinton, okay for Kavanaugh?

Apparently.  Love this from Julian Zelizer:

Should Kavanaugh’s alleged perjury matter? It should—if lawmakers follow the Graham Rule.

Senator Lindsey Graham is among Kavanaugh’s most ardent defenders and will likely vote to confirm the judge no matter how many lies he may have told. Back in the 1990s, however, when he was in the House, Graham was at the head of the Republican brigade that came close to bringing down President Bill Clinton for having lied about his affair with a White House intern, Monica Lewinsky. Graham blasted those who dared to pretend that perjury didn’t rise to the level of a “high crime or misdemeanor,” and strongly suggested that lying under oath merited removal for any high-level government official, not just a president…

Most House Republicans agreed with Graham’s arguments about perjury. According to then–House Judiciary Committee Chairman Henry Hyde of Illinois: “When the president performs the public act of asking God to witness his promise to tell the truth, the whole truth, and nothing but the truth, that is not trivial. Whether it’s a civil suit or before the grand jury, the significance of the oath cannot and must not be cheapened if our broad boast that we are a government of laws and not of men is to mean anything.”

All Kavanaugh’s lies

Oh my, Nathan Robinson basically builds the extensive legal case for Kavanaugh’s perjuring himself before the Senate in Current Affairs.  It’s a pretty damning case.  It’s long, but worth skimming, at least, to get a feel for it.  Here’s some from his broader take on Kavanaugh’s defense of himself:

Much of the other text in Kavanaugh’s testimony is angry wind about how his life has been ruined, disgrace has been brought upon the august body of the Senate, the nation is going to hell in a handbasket, etc. Look, then, how little this all adds up to. When he addressed the specifics, he dissembled or stalled until the questioning Senator moved on or ran out of time. His character-based defense requires us to swallow obvious falsehoods.

What of his other main points? His distinguished career on the bench and his long record of employing women and being friends with women and coaching girl’s basketball and such. As to his time as a judge, I could mention that his record of judicial opinions suggest he is a man devoid of human empathy. But his atrocious jurisprudence seems to have become all but irrelevant to people at this point. Instead, I’d point out that this statement ignores the entire flood of concealed abuse by powerful people that has come out over the course of the MeToo movement. “If this allegation was true why didn’t it become a scandal earlier in my career?” is what we might call the “Cosby defense” or the “Weinstein defense.” We know the answer to that question: because women aren’t believed, as evidenced by, well, the entire thing that’s happening right now in which Republicans are overlooking Kavanaugh’s endless disqualifying statements and calling a credible accusation a witch hunt.

Kavanaugh says that as a federal judge, he has been investigated up and down. You know who else was a federal judge? Alex Kozinski, the judge Kavanaugh himself clerked for, who turned out to have engaged in decades of sexual harassment without consequence and who even assaulted a woman on live television without it impeding his career. Kavanaugh is not stupid, yet he defends himself with lines like “if such as thing had a happened, it would’ve been the talk of campus,” even though it definitely wouldn’t since frat brothers engage in casual disgusting behavior all the time. And they get away with it, as Kavanaugh might be expected to have noticed, because of people like Kavanaugh’s former employer Ken Starr, who failed to investigate serious campus rape allegations when he served as a university president.

And from the conclusion to the piece:

What does it say about this country that this is the state of our discourse? That Kavanaugh even stands any chance of being made one of the most powerful figures in the American government, with control over life and liberty? That a man like this is even a judge? He went before the United States Senate and showed total contempt for his vow to tell the truth. He attempted to portray a highly esteemed doctor as a crazy person, by  consistently misrepresenting the evidence. He treated the public like we were idiots, like we wouldn’t notice as he pretended he was ralphing during Beach Week from too many jalapeños, as he feigned ignorance about sex slang, as he misread his own meticulously-kept 1982 summer calendar, as he replied to questions about his drinking habits by talking about church, as he suggested there are no alcoholics at Yale, as he denied knowing who “Bart O’Kavanaugh” could possibly be based on, as he declared things refuted that weren’t actually refuted, as he claimed witnesses said things they didn’t say, as he failed to explain why nearly a dozen Yale classmates said he drank heavily, as he invented an imaginary drinking game to avoid admitting he had the mind of a sports jock in high school, as he said Ford had only accused him last week, as he responded to his roommate’s eyewitness statement with an incoherent story about furniture, as he pretended Bethesda wasn’t five miles wide, as he insisted Renate should be flattered by the ditty about how easy she was, as he declared that distinguished federal judges don’t commit sexual misconduct even though he had clerked for exactly such a judge.

And what does it say about us, and our political system, that he might well get away with it?




What Republican deregulation looks like– explosive diarrhea

Okay, I know that’s crude.  But, truly, in a sense that is the reality.  If you’ve ever had serious food poisoning, you know how awful it can be (personally, the worst 48 hours of my life).  No imagine being infected by the worst food-borne pathogen we know, E. Coli O157:H7.  Not pleasant and possibly fatal.  And now think about the fact that in their efforts to limit “burdensome” regulations, the Trump administration makes this more likely to happen to you.  Wired:

William Whitt suffered violent diarrhea for days. But once he began vomiting blood, he knew it was time to rush to the hospital. His body swelled up so much that his wife thought he looked like the Michelin Man, and on the inside, his intestines were inflamed and bleeding.

For four days last spring, doctors struggled to control the infection that was ravaging Whitt, a father of three in western Idaho. The pain was excruciating, even though he was given opioid painkillers intravenously every 10 minutes for days…

The culprit turned out to be E. coli, a powerful pathogen that had contaminated romaine lettuce grown in Yuma, Arizona, and distributed nationwide. At least 210 people in 36 states were sickened. Five died and 27 suffered kidney failure. The same strain of E. coli that sickened them was detected in a Yuma canal used to irrigate some crops.

For more than a decade, it’s been clear that there’s a gaping hole in American food safety: Growers aren’t required to test their irrigation water for pathogens such as E. coli. As a result, contaminated water can end up on fruits and vegetables.

After several high-profile disease outbreaks linked to food, Congress in 2011 ordered a fix, and produce growers this year would have begun testing their water under rules crafted by the Obama administration’s Food and Drug Administration.

But six months before people were sickened by the contaminated romaine, President Donald Trump’s FDA – responding to pressure from the farm industry and Trump’s order to eliminate regulations – shelved the water-testing rules for at least four years. [emphasis mine]

Despite this deadly outbreak, the FDA has shown no sign of reconsidering its plan to postpone the rules. The agency also is considering major changes, such as allowing some produce growers to test less frequently or find alternatives to water testing to ensure the safety of their crops.

So, seriously, here’s the reality of deregulation– explosive diarrhea, kidney failure, and even a few dead people.  All so agribusiness can save a few bucks on your lettuce.  And I’m pretty damn sure most Americans would quite happily pay more for their fresh produce if it meant it were safer.

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