Asshole Culture has carved out a very clear, unsavory role in American film, literature and life. Entitled, wealthy, bros who take what they want, treat everyone around them like shit and then rise to positions of power is practically a cliche it's so common.
In films, these jerks usually get their comeuppance. In real life, not so much. They usually just keep working their way up the greasy pole,covering for & enabling each other and rising generations of assholes to come...their paths assured by aging assholes atop big institutions.
Kavanaugh, Judge, the GOP leaders in the Senate and above all Donald Trump embody this subset of the ugliest Americans to such a degree you can hardly believe they are real. Cartoonishly smug and convinced that morality is for poor people...
One of Dr. Ford's contributions to the Kavanaugh process and future hearings is to reintroduce the concept of character as central to the confirmation of high court justices. Not the "character" that politicians refer to in their torrents of platitudes.
Instead, we are looking into who Kavanaugh is...how he has treated women as a young man, in college, in practice. We can see how that dovetails with his ideological views and political activities. We can see why he raised the smokescreen of his car pool dad persona.
He's not as Trump asserts, a "good" man by certain key definitions of the word. And he is not a "good" man to or for women (with the possible exception of those in his family or the inner circle of his associates.) The record shows this.
...is accused of sexually attacking a 15 year old
...had a high school career of he hopes "stays" in his old school
...was in a hostile to women fraternity at Yale
...was a political hack attack dog for Starr
...lied under oath about his time w/Bush
...has extremist views on women
...was picked by the president to protect him from Mueller
...has had nomination process where the vast majority of documents about him were withheld
...refuses to seek the truth only an FBI investigation & witnesses testifying under oath can bring
How many ways does this guy have to be disqualified before even one Republican recognizes he is unfit for the position to which he has been nominated?
The GOP is trying to bypass due process in order to approve a Supreme Court justice. It has done so by denying access to crucial documents. It is doing so by denying a full investigation of credible accusations against the nominee (re: sexual assault & lying to Congress.)
It is beyond a sham. It debases our highest court & further infects it w/the disease of partisanship which is destroying our institutions & undermining our system. It,like the Garland fiasco, is more of an indictment of the base motives of GOP leaders than a confirmation process.
The message is that nothing shall stand in the way of a partisan agenda--not the sworn mission of Congress to uphold the Constitution, not justice, not the interests of the American people, not the truth, not fair treatment for the likely victims of sexual assault.
Kavanaugh buddy Mark Judge, who has written of precisely the culture Dr. Blasey Ford has described while he attended school w/Kavanaugh, is going with the "I do not recall" and "have nothing more to say" approach. Which, face it, is just shady & doesn't help Kavanaugh.
Let's be 100% clear, without him testifying under oath and an investigation for other corroborating or opposing witnesses, the Senate hearing will be a sham and a cloud will hang over Kavanaugh's head for the remainder of his career wherever it may take place.
If he truly believes in his innocence he should therefore embrace the fullest possible impartial investigation into the allegations against him. It is not just in his interest but in that of the court on which he would serve.
It is absurd to suggest that what someone does when they are a teenager should not be held against them when they are up for a job like Supreme Court justice. If someone robbed a bank, would that count against them? Could a teen member of MS-13 get on the court?
We, like any good society,should have a different standard for young people and we should offer them, like adults, a path to redeem themselves. But, redemption does not imply a right to sit on the nation's highest court.That is a special privilege for people of special character.
Further, let's be real, decision we make as teenagers regularly impact future life choices. For example, what if you got Cs in Math or English or History and didn't get into a good college. Do you think that would influence whether you ended up on the Supreme Court?
Kavanaugh should be disqualified for lying to the Congress (a demonstrable fact), the fact that he was involved in deliberations on torture, his extremist views on abortion or immigration, the fact he was chosen to protect a criminal president,..
the lack of transparency in his approval process, the allegations of sexual misconduct, the even more damning fact that GOP knew that allegation was coming and were prepared with a ridiculous response, his obviously flawed reasoning, his dissembling to Congress this time around.
He is clearly not up to the job. The process was clearly profoundly flawed. His sponsors know he cannot stand up to scrutiny. There's a decent shot he will be impeached after he is confirmed. And yet...not one single Republican is troubled by any of this.
So, er, @realDonaldTrump --Al Qaeda is bigger than ever, you're about to hand Afghanistan back to the Taliban, you will sit by as Idlib is obliterated and then Assad consolidates his victory, we are farther from peace between Israel & Palestinians than ever thanks to you...
The Iran nuclear deal we had is now undone thanks to you and there is no Plan B, in fact, by the end of the year Iran looks likely to pull out of the JCPOA, unrest has spread in the region, refugees are suffering more thanks to your policies. Russia has gained influence.
China has gained influence. America has lost influence. That's your record in the Middle East so far, Mr. President. You may want to give that some attention.
Pick any sensitive issue that may come before Kavanaugh and where his vote is seen as a potentially decisive: a woman's right to choose, the right to subpoena the president, the president's right to pardon himself, immigration issues, etc.
Kavanaugh follows a pattern.
First, he offers a canned answer designed to deflect concern and suggest that he will uphold precedent. (Roe v. Wade, U.S. v. Nixon, etc.). Then, he offers a subtle caveat that seeks to narrow the applicability of the decision.
Then, when pressed on what he might do in a current case he deflects and says judicial independence prohibits him from answering. Where there is no precedent, where he senses a sensitive area otherwise, he also says he can't comment because of some excuse.
If the anonymous oped is accurate and its author is in a position of influence, then writing an oped is not nearly enough. The country is at risk and these self-appointed but secret saviors are arrogating onto themselves a responsibility and powers they don't and shouldn't have.
If the president is unfit & amoral then they should be going public en masse & bringing an end to this, demanding action from the Congress, exposing the facts behind the risks, even providing evidence of those risks. Quietly saying "we've got this" is not enough nor is it right.
They swore an oath to the Constitution and to the US, anonymous complaints and assuming responsibilities to undermine the president does not honor either of those promises. It is confessing to a kind of "patriotic coup." This is not how our government of laws should serve us.
Yesterday, with an admitted impulse to provocation in my heart, I posed the question "could anyone think of a worse person to serve as a public official in US history than Donald Trump." The response was overwhelming.
First, I would like to thank all those bots and trolls and red Xs and Trumpinis and Alt Right nuts out there for their many nearly identical answers. It makes it so much easier when it comes to blocking and muting people to have a big chunk of the worst offenders line up at once.
Next, I would like to say how illuminating the whole thing was. Of course, I don't mean all those folks (& bots) who reflexively responded that the Clintons were murderers or terrorists or space aliens or that Obama was a coke head & a member of Al Qaeda. You're all just idiots.
A devastating loss for an America that can ill-afford to lose leaders who not only understand but embody true public service as did McCain. McCain, for all his imperfections, had character and courage and humility and wisdom and humor and patriotism.
We understand today better than ever how rare those virtues are and how vital. That even those of us who often disagreed with him can acknowledge his contributions and will deeply mourn his passing is testament to the quality of his leadership. He will not soon be forgotten.
Let the love and tributes he receives in the days ahead be an inspiration to all those who lack or seek that which set him apart from other leaders of his generation. Thoughts and prayers to his family...and for a nation that needs more men like John McCain.
Yesterday, Sec. Pompeo announced a very sound appointment in Steve Biegun as N. Korea negotiator & an upcoming mission to that country. Today Trump cancelled the visit,undercutting Pompeo & his new emissary in a single stroke & reminding the world that chaos rules here in the US.
It is worth noting that Biegun was one fo the people under consideration to replace H.R. McMaster prior to Bolton getting the National Security Advisor job. Not only does this have all the hallmarks of Trump mismanagement but it also should be examined for Bolton's fingerprints.
Also, Trump's jab at China is based on a.) he is looking for a scapegoat as he always does when his bombast produces non-policies that never had a chance of happening and b.) because he feels trade war with China is a bigger winner thru Nov. than Korea & wants to play that card.
As is well-known Trump's greatest tell is his compulsion to project. If he accuses an opponent of something it means he has done it himself--from the corruption he attributed to the Clinton Foundation (but was actually done by the Trump Foundation) to...
...concerns about protecting emails (when he uses an unsecured phone and hands over secrets in the Oval Office to enemies, etc.). But of all of these projections, one of the greatest concerns his obsession with Fake News.
His support has been built on the backing of media outfits like Fox News, Breitbart, the National Enquirer, and Alex Jones whose stock in trade is trafficking in lies, deception, unfounded conspiracy theories, bias and pathological partisanship.
There was a bit of an uptick this weekend in people suggesting somehow that @JohnBrennan had "gone too far" in calling Trump "treasonous." The Constitutional definition of treason is someone who adheres to our enemies, giving them aid and comfort.
By that simple standard alone, Trump's behavior is treasonous (which is defined as "involving or guilty of the crime of betraying one's country.") Guilt of the crime remains to be proven. But Trump's actions on behalf of Russia certainly constitute giving them aid & comfort.
He has certainly adhered to them (at our expense). This is all a matter of public record and requires no knowledge of classified information to see it or to know it. Russia is attacking American democracy right now and has been for years. It is therefore, an enemy.
For me, Peter Strzok is a dedicated public servant who, lapses in judgment aside, does not deserve this outcome. More importantly, we need to ensure that we are not entering an era in which law enforcement officials are not entitled to personal political beliefs.
Indeed, if we can attack and punish people for their political beliefs, if "but he is a Democrat" or "she is a Republican" becomes a defense, if the assumption is that political views necessarily translate into operational biases, we're heading into very very dangerous territory.
In the past, we might have worried about this. But this president, with his complete disregard for the rule of law and this hyper-partisan Congress, are creating the presumption that everyone else is like them, placing political self-interest ahead of the national interest.
Big Government is not only not the problem in America. It never was. The problem in America is Big Money--the plutocrat, corporatist, Wall Street, elites that have gamed our system and turned it into an inequality machine...and a driver of massive economic insecurity.
In the richest country in the world, half the people don't have $400 saved to pay for health care,a major health crisis would bankrupt them, and every uptick in the economy benefits the top 1 percent while wages remain flat. It is organized theft on the greatest scale in history.
Dear Dems: Don't fall into the trap of pitting centrists against the left. What is needed now is unity, leadership and a simple, core message that not only unites the party but draws others to it. Be the party that is for the people, combatting inequality, creating opportunity.
The issue in America is that despite our wealth, the majority of us feel economic insecurity and that the system is rigged against us and for the rich. Find a few core ideas that address this and that send a message that our diversity is the wellspring of our strength.
Just a few big, clear ideas: No one should be homeless, no one should fear dying destitute, decent health care should be a right, kids who study hard should be able to afford college, we should invest in our future, we should protect our environment, we should fight corruption.
Saying Trump is tougher on Russia than Obama is a bad defense for 2 reasons. First, Obama is, any objective observer will acknowledge, a pretty low bar. Second, it's not remotely true. The threat is greater than either Trump or Obama have appreciated, their responses inadequate.
That said, regardless of Obama's uneven and often too muted response to Russian actions in Ukraine, Syria and vs. democracy in the U.S. and the West, no one, at any time, ever doubted his loyalty to the United States.
Alternatively, Trump has only shown consistently loyalty to Putin and the interests of Russia and has actively worked to undermine U.S. standing, our alliances, to attack our allies, and to combat tough steps (sanctions) against Russia.
I am with @RuthMarcus on this one. The secret to containing Trump is triggering real Congressional oversight. The key to that for now is peeling away key Republicans from the reflexive support of Trump and in the near future is driving Dem victories.
If resignations sent message that Trump cannot and should not be supportive, if those who resigned vocally explained the reasons for their resignation, it could advance both goals. Empty gestures are of course, useless. But so too are most advisors to a POTUS who won't listen.
He is a loose cannon who can only be contained by effective oversight from the other branches of government. I should add it is key to the survival of the GOP that people of principle break with Trump and show that is an acceptable, indeed, essential and principled path.
The indictments of 12 Russian military officers who engaged in a coordinated attack on the United States to try to make their preferred candidate our president are a vital reminder that the Mueller investigation cannot and must not be seen as a political issue.
The fact that yesterday also heard from our Director of National Intelligence, a conservative GOP former Senator from Indiana, that the cyber offensive of which the GRU attacks were part is on-going and that "we are at a critical point" in which "the warning signs are there"...
...is also salient. It is not an accident that both these strong statements were made as the president prepared for his ill-considered and unnecessary private meeting with Vladimir Putin--the man who certainly approved, oversaw and continues to oversee these attacks.
I think all the coverage of the Trump exchange with @jensstoltenberg this a.m. has missed the point. While it is inflammatory for him to say that Russia "controls" Germany (oh, and also ridiculous), he was actually making a different point.
He was saying "why should the US have to pay to protect Germany from Russia when Germany is doing big deals with Russia?" He was trying to lay down an argument that the US shouldn't have to pay as much for defending Germany.
This, taken with his animus to Germany, to NATO, his already expressed interest in exploring the costs of pulling US troops out of Germany (and his warm relations with Putin) should frame the comment as much more than an undiplomatic gaffe.
The @jonathanchait article in the current @NYMag on Trump and the Russians is great...a very thought-provoking timeline. Reading it, I was however, struck that perhaps we are looking at the whole story in the wrong way.
It is far too tempting to look at it as being entirely about Trump. And the idea that the president is knowingly collaborating with an enemy to undermine US democracy and interests is undoubtedly, incredibly compelling...and vitally important if true.
But if we look at it from the perspective that the story is about the United States and our national security and not about Trump, it changes the narrative a bit. Because there is no disputing that the Russian engaged in a massive, long-term effort to interfere with US democracy.
What if refusing to serve Sarah Sanders was not the first step on a slippery slope to rampant political discrimination in restaurants and shops and instead was a reasonable of act of civil disobedience against an administration that has violated all norms?
This administration has chosen cruelty, illegality, anti-Constitutionality and incipient authoritarianism as its tools. It is not a "Republican" administration. It is an anti-American administration and profound threat to the American way of life.
In our system, ordinary people are entitled to find ways to protest that. Sarah Sanders wasn't denied her seat in the restaurant because of politics as usual, because she was a Republican. She was denied it because she is complicit in racism, misogyny, lying...