2:00PM Water Cooler 9/26/2018

By Lambert Strether of Corrente.

Readers, I had to stop midway and read up on the latest Kavanaugh developments. I’ll have more in a bit. –lambert UPDATE 3:10PM All done!


“As aid checks go out, farmers worry bailout won’t be enough” [ABC News]. “Farmers across the United States will soon begin receiving government checks as part of a billion-dollar bailout to buoy growers experiencing financial strain from President Donald Trump’s trade disputes with China.” • So Trump, in his crude, chaotic, drunk-on-the-high-wire way, has managed to hit on and deliver a policy that mitigates the local effects of a globalization policy, something forty years of neoliberalism under both parties failed to do. What an indictment.



Stop making sense:


Why? Because Clinton’s press office ran like a well-oiled machine?


40 days until Election Day. 40 days is a long time in politics (as we are seeing right now with Kavanaugh and Rosenstein).

“Third Woman, Julie Swetnick, Makes Allegations Against Supreme Court Nominee Brett Kavanaugh” [Wall Street Journal]. “A woman alleged in a sworn declaration Wednesday that she witnessed efforts in the early 1980s by Supreme Court nominee Brett Kavanaugh and others to spike drinks and ’cause girls to become inebriated’ so they could be assaulted. She also alleged that she was a victim of a gang rape at a party at which Mr. Kavanaugh was present…. The Senate Judiciary Committee said its lawyers were ‘in the process’ of reviewing the declaration, which it said Mr. Avenatti provided to the committee Wednesday morning.” • Party culture.

Swetnick’s affidavit, provided (as promised) by lawyer Michael Avenatti:

From the affidavit, #12: “I have a firm recollection of seeing boys lined up outside rooms at many of these parties waiting for their ‘turn’ with a girl inside the room. These boys included Mark Judge and Brett Kavanaugh.” • I don’t see how the Republicans can avoid giving Swetnick a hearing, and if they postpone the vote, I bet Kavanaugh’s bubble will pop.

“Brett Kavanaugh’s slippery answers about high school partying matter” [Matthew Yglesias, Vox]. “Kavanaugh insinuated that he never drank when he was underage, saying on Fox that when he was a senior, the ‘drinking age was 18, and yes, the seniors were legal and had beer there.’…. While there’s no clear documentary evidence of his relationships with women at the time, there is clear documentary evidence about his drinking habits in the form of his yearbook entry…. Kavanaugh’s drinking is unusually well-documented. A friend and classmate of his named Mark Judge actually wrote a book titled Wasted: Tales of a GenX Drunk that appears to discuss it…. As someone who was certainly a contributor to his own high school ralph club, I’m not in a position to hold Kavanaugh’s partying lifestyle against him. But what a person chooses to say about past events of which there is clear documentary evidence tells you something about his overall level of honesty and forthrightness…. [H]is general lack of probity is probably disqualifying on its own.” • Yglesias wrote this before the latest from Avenatti. I like the “lack of probity” framing.

“Congresswoman Anna Eshoo first to hear Blasey Ford’s story: ‘I told her I believed her'” [Mercury-News].

* * *

“Vulnerable House Republicans Head Into Midterm Recess With Parting Gifts” [Roll Call]. “By the end of the week, 28 of the 57 House Republicans whose seats are considered in play this cycle, according to Inside Elections with Nathan L. Gonzales, are set to go home with the chamber having voted this month on at least one of their bills. The House was not supposed to adjourn for the midterms until after the first two weeks of October. While no changes to that schedule have been announced as yet, several Republican lawmakers and aides say they expect GOP leaders to cancel next month’s sessions to have their members out on the campaign trail the entire month leading into the Nov. 6 elections.”

“Republican Attack Ads Overwhelmed by the Democratic Wave” [National Journal]. “The Congressional Leadership Fund, a deep-pocketed super PAC working to help Republicans hold control of the House, took an unconventional approach in its midterm strategy. The group determined that, given the bleak national environment for Republicans, plus a crop of compelling Democratic challengers, it was imperative to attack aggressively early instead of waiting for the waning days of a campaign to unleash the strongest material….. The results of the GOP offensive paint a mixed picture. In a handful of pivotal races, the group’s opposition research changed the trajectory of the campaign, perhaps salvaging several seats that once looked lost. But in a sign of how challenging the political landscape is for Republicans, most of the targeted Democrats are still in a solid position to win—with the GOP’s best opposition material used up.”

UPDATE “‘The Midwest Is Swinging Again’: Democrats’ Best Chances to Flip Governor Seats” [Governing]. “Republicans enjoy nearly total dominance of the Midwest. The GOP holds every governor’s office in the region, save for Minnesota, as well as every legislature except Illinois…. Democrats hold clear leads in the races for governor in Illinois, Michigan and Minnesota…. The races in Iowa, Ohio and Kansas all look like tossups at this point…. The 206 counties that swung from Obama to Trump in 2016 were heavily concentrated in the Midwest.”

UPDATE “New Polls: Democrats in Decent Shape Across the Frost Belt” [Larry Sabato’s Crystal Ball]. “A series of new Reuters/Ipsos/University of Virginia Center for Politics polls found Democrats ahead in a host of Senate and gubernatorial races in five mostly Midwest states that President Trump carried in 2016, in some cases by sizable margins. However, the polling did find two very close contests for Indiana Senate and Ohio governor.”

FL Governor: “Tom Steyer to Spend Millions Backing Andrew Gillum in Florida” [New York Times]. “Tom Steyer, the billionaire investor and Democratic activist, has directed his political operation to spend more than $5 million aiding Andrew Gillum’s campaign for governor of Florida, an enormous investment that will test whether fired-up Democratic voters can flip control of a state long dominated by Republicans.” • Let me fix that lead: “An enormous investment that will test whether an oligarch’s money can flip control of a state.” Gillum watchers have noticed him walking back commitments to #MedicareForAll and taking hawkish positions on Iran. A prerequisite for Steyer’s money?

PA: “Youth voter registration is surging in Pennsylvania” [Post Gazette]. “The latest available data released from the Pennsylvania Department of State on Sept. 17 shows that registered Democrats — more than 4 million in total — outnumbered registered Republicans statewide by more than 810,000. But the most stark takeaway from the numbers comes from people ages 34 and younger, who are now registered to vote in greater numbers in Pennsylvania than those ages 65 and older. That’s a first in state history, according to registration activists.” • There shouldn’t even have to be registration activists!

Our Famously Free Press

“Biased News Media or Biased Readers? An Experiment on Trust” [New York Times]. “[In the Knight Foundation study] half the participants were not allowed to see the source of the news — only to read its content. The other half were allowed to see the source as they would on a typical website. A total of 3,081 people provided ratings of 1,645 different articles originally published by one of seven well-known sources…. the blinded group is significantly more trusting of the news content. People identifying with the Republican Party who read media perceived as left-leaning like The New York Times and Vox without knowing where it came from rated it as more trustworthy than the nonblinded group did.” • Vox and the Times? Left-leaning?

Realignment and Legitimacy

“Pigs All the Way Down” [Michelle Goldberg, New York Times]. “Regardless of what happens to Kavanaugh, however, this scandal has given us an X-ray view of the rotten foundations of elite male power. Despite Donald Trump’s populist posturing, there are few people more obsessed with Ivy League credentials. Kavanaugh’s nomination shows how sick the cultures that produce those credentials — and thus our ruling class — can be…. It may not be fair to judge Kavanaugh by the company he kept. But it’s telling that these were the crucibles in which he and other members of our ostensible meritocracy forged their identities and connections…. There’s no equivalent culture in which girls reap social capital for misbehaving….. Women who struggle ceaselessly to be smart enough, attractive enough, ambitious enough and likable enough have been playing a rigged game. As they realize that, their incandescent fury is remaking our politics.”

“Commanders in Chief: The Women Building America’s Military Machine” [Fortune]. “‘THE LAST MAN STANDING.’ That’s what some on Wall Street have recently nicknamed Tom Kennedy, the chairman and CEO of Raytheon. After all, he’s the only leader of a top five U.S. defense business who isn’t on Fortune’s Most Powerful Women list—and for that fact, says Kennedy, ‘I couldn’t be prouder of our industry.'” • Got your Third Wave Feminism, right here…

“When the Muzzle Comes Off” [Rebecca Traister, The Cut]. “The telling of the stories, the raising of the voices, does its own political work and reveals things that we may have known at some level but have never been able to see so plainly: the connection between policy — the desire to control women’s bodies via restricting and policing their reproductive autonomy — and the personal treatment of individual women.” • See above.

A remarkable admission:

Bremer is one of the saner members of The Blob.

“Why Do We Pledge Allegiance?” [Boston Review]. “The Pledge of Allegiance and the motto are two particularly clear examples of the invention of traditions. The U.S. Constitution, ratified in 1787, specified no pledge or motto, and the country survived for more than a century without either, just as it possessed or needed no national anthem. In the process of nation-building in the late 1800s and early 1900s, made urgent by the trauma of the Civil War and the perceived menace of immigration and socialism, the United States created and promoted these and many other traditions for the express purpose of instilling national identity.” • I wonder what traditions will be invented during the current traumas and menaces….

UPDATE “How many Americans actually support Trump?” [CNN]. The article doesn’t really answer the question, but gets more interesting toward the end: “That only a little more than a quarter of adults voted for either Trump or Clinton in the election is an extreme reminder that about half of the population over the age of 18 either wasn’t interested enough in the election or was too disgusted by both candidates…. Turnout in midterm elections is usually even much lower. In 2014, 33.2% of the voting age population voted…. It’s long been a relatively small portion of the population that decides who controls the government.” • Odd. Gerrymandering is bad, but pales in comparison to this.

Stats Watch

New Home Sales, August 2018: “August’s annualized sales pace for new homes came in right at expectations but is offset by sharp downward revisions to the two prior months” [Econoday]. “[V]olatility aside, the sector is doing no better than mixed and looks to remain a disappointing contributor to overall economic growth.” And but: “Because of weather and other factors, the rolling averages are the way to view this series. This month was better than last month – and the rolling averages improved” [Econintersect]. “This data series is suffering from methodology issues which manifest as significant backward revision.” And: “Even with the increase in sales over the last several years, new home sales are still somewhat low historically” [Calculated Risk].

State Street Investor Confidence Index, September 2018: “Global institutional investors became even more risk averse in September” [Econoday]. “[I]nstitutional skepticism was particularly acute in North America, where confidence has declined to a level not seen since 2012, pulled down by elevated stock valuations and the escalating trade dispute between the U.S. and China.”

MBA Mortgage Applications, week of September 21, 2018: “Purchase applications for home mortgages rose” [Econoday]. “Though moderate, the purchase application volume gains despite the substantial rise in interest rates should offer some encouragement to a housing market that has faltered in recent months.” • If they translate into building permits.

The Bezzle: “Tesla to build trucks to deliver its own cars” [Supply Chain Dive]. Not a very critical article. From the end: “The company is also reportedly offering new incentives like charging credits and even discounts on cars to drive the company toward profitability.” • Oh.

The Bezzle: “Tesla Worker Says Musk Summoned Him to Meeting, Ripped Union” [Industry Week]. “During the meeting, he said, Musk told [prominent union supporter Jose Moran, a lead quality inspector for Tesla,] and a co-worker he had brought along as a witness that with the United Auto Workers union, ‘you don’t really have a voice’ and ‘the UAW is the only one that has a voice, and not the workers.’ Moran said Tesla’s then-human resources head Gaby Toledano then told them ‘that the majority of the workers at Tesla don’t want a union, and why do we want to pay union dues?’ After Moran replied that he had the right to organize, and his co-worker said they were trying to improve the company by unionizing, Toledano and Musk suggested that Moran could start participating in safety committee meetings to address his concerns, according to Moran. Then, he testified, Musk said, ‘If these safety committee meetings don’t work out, then we’ll give you your union.'”

The Bezzle: “Uber agrees to $148M settlement with states over data breach” [Associated Press]. “Uber will pay $148 million and tighten data security after the ride-hailing company failed for a year to notify drivers that hackers had stolen their personal information, according to a settlement announced Wednesday. Uber Technologies Inc. reached the agreement with all 50 states and the District of Columbia after a massive data breach in 2016. Instead of reporting it, Uber hid evidence of the theft and paid ransom to ensure the data wouldn’t be misused.”

Police State Watch

“Prosecutors in Florida drop 119 cases involving deputy who is accused of planting evidence” [USA Today]. “The charges involved everything from misdemeanor and criminal traffic offenses to felonies, including possession of methamphetamine and other controlled substances. All of the cases involved former Deputy Zachary Wester, who was fired Sept. 10 and remains under investigation by the Florida Department of Law Enforcement.”

Guillotine Watch

“We Didn’t Call It Rape” [Slate]. “Every June, we had Beach Week—a tradition also described in a Washington Post piece about Ford—in which teenagers actually rent houses to party at the beach, something I still don’t quite comprehend. I distinctly remember being at a Beach Week party with my then-boyfriend when it dawned on us that there was a drunk girl in a room down the hall, and boys were “lining up” to go in there and, presumably, have their way with her. We didn’t know for sure, but my boyfriend and my friend’s boyfriend went to interrupt it and sent her on her way down the stairs. All I remember about her is that she was in the class above us and had dark hair. My friend has told me she remembers boys saying, “I’m next,” which was why our boyfriends went to stop it. That was the only time I can clearly remember a situation that was so obviously a “lineup,” as it was referred to by some at school. My friend remembers witnessing another, and though there weren’t lineups of this nature at every party, they happened often enough that we had a term. We didn’t call it rape.” • Read the whole thing for the Kavanaugh milieu, and especially the presence (or absence) of the parents. And do recall this is the Beltway.

Class Warfare

National Comic Book Day:

“Union chief Tosh McDonald boasts he used to set his alarm clock an hour earlier ‘to hate Thatcher some more'” [Mirror]. • I don’t like to encourage hate, but for Maggie Thatcher I’ll make an exception.

“Life expectancy progress in UK ‘stops for first time'” [BBC]. “Life expectancy in the UK has stopped improving for the first time since 1982, when figures began. Women’s life expectancy from birth remains 82.9 years and for men it is 79.2, the figures from the Office for National Statistics, for 2015-17, show. In some parts of the UK, life expectancy has even decreased.” • Jackpot!

News of the Wired

“Westminster Abbey Gets Hockney-Designed Stained Glass Window” [Associated Press]. “‘I didn’t want a figurative or heraldic thing at all,’ said Dean of Westminster John Hall, who dismissed some of the older stained glass windows in the abbey as ‘vulgar’ and ‘ghastly.'” • Well, there’s your problem with the Anglica church. Here’s a larger image.

“Eating ‘too many Hot Cheetos’ sent rapper Lil Xan to the hospital, he says” [USA Today]. “‘We good,’ he said before promoting his upcoming tour.” • I think I’m too old for this line of work.

Capturing the zeitgeist:

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Readers, feel free to contact me at lambert [UNDERSCORE] strether [DOT] corrente [AT] yahoo [DOT] com, with (a) links, and even better (b) sources I should curate regularly, (c) how to send me a check if you are allergic to PayPal, and (d) to find out how to send me images of plants. Vegetables are fine! Fungi are deemed to be honorary plants! If you want your handle to appear as a credit, please place it at the start of your mail in parentheses: (thus). Otherwise, I will anonymize by using your initials. See the previous Water Cooler (with plant) here. Today’s plant (TH):

TH writes: “Painted Lady butterfly dipping her little straw into a butterfly bush bloom.”

Bonus, since I’ve been a bit derelict, reading up on Kavanaugh:

The cat’s appearances are becoming intermittent as the nights cool…

* * *

Readers, I’m still running a bit short on plants. Probably a little soon for fall foliage, or wrapping up the garden, but I’m sure you can find something! How about a project you completed over the summer?

* * *

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About Lambert Strether

Readers, I have had a correspondent characterize my views as realistic cynical. Let me briefly explain them. I believe in universal programs that provide concrete material benefits, especially to the working class. Medicare for All is the prime example, but tuition-free college and a Post Office Bank also fall under this heading. So do a Jobs Guarantee and a Debt Jubilee. Clearly, neither liberal Democrats nor conservative Republicans can deliver on such programs, because the two are different flavors of neoliberalism (“Because markets”). I don’t much care about the “ism” that delivers the benefits, although whichever one does have to put common humanity first, as opposed to markets. Could be a second FDR saving capitalism, democratic socialism leashing and collaring it, or communism razing it. I don’t much care, as long as the benefits are delivered. To me, the key issue — and this is why Medicare for All is always first with me — is the tens of thousands of excess “deaths from despair,” as described by the Case-Deaton study, and other recent studies. That enormous body count makes Medicare for All, at the very least, a moral and strategic imperative. And that level of suffering and organic damage makes the concerns of identity politics — even the worthy fight to help the refugees Bush, Obama, and Clinton’s wars created — bright shiny objects by comparison. Hence my frustration with the news flow — currently in my view the swirling intersection of two, separate Shock Doctrine campaigns, one by the Administration, and the other by out-of-power liberals and their allies in the State and in the press — a news flow that constantly forces me to focus on matters that I regard as of secondary importance to the excess deaths. What kind of political economy is it that halts or even reverses the increases in life expectancy that civilized societies have achieved? I am also very hopeful that the continuing destruction of both party establishments will open the space for voices supporting programs similar to those I have listed; let’s call such voices “the left.” Volatility creates opportunity, especially if the Democrat establishment, which puts markets first and opposes all such programs, isn’t allowed to get back into the saddle. Eyes on the prize! I love the tactical level, and secretly love even the horse race, since I’ve been blogging about it daily for fourteen years, but everything I write has this perspective at the back of it.


  1. Samuel Conner

    Symptom of “Kavanaugh on the brain”: At first glance, I misread the item headline “parting gift” as “partying gift”.

    I need to look away from the news more.

  2. flaesq

    I don’t see how they can give Swetnik a hearing precisely for the reason Lambert correctly cites, that is, to do so risks popping the balloon.

  3. Oregoncharles

    ” Election Day should be a national holiday.”
    Vote at Home is simpler, and can be implemented by states. And it does increase turnout, besides encouraging thoughtful voting.

    Note: Oregon also sends out a “Voters Pamphlet,” which reaches every household with a registered voter and contains a wealth of information – although the state does charge for entries beyond the bare minimum. Fortunately, they also allow “payment” via signatures.

  4. Anon

    Re: Kavanaugh

    Given the story of the 3rd accuser, wouldn’t that make her over 18 at the party where she saw Kavanaugh? From the NYTimes article:

    “Ms. Swetnick grew up in Montgomery County, Md., graduating from Gaithersburg High School in 1980 before attending college at the University of Maryland, according to a résumé for her posted online. Judge Kavanaugh graduated from Georgetown Prep in 1983.

    I wonder if, perhaps cynically, the number of accusations is meant to erode public support of the confirmation? When there’s one, decisions are split, when there’s three…

    1. Bugs Bunny

      Was at plenty of parties with a mix of high school and college people in the 80s. Don’t understand the point here.

      1. Oregoncharles

        A party with college boys and high school girls is not a healthy situation – come to think, neither is the other way around, though I certainly would have gone.

    1. Unna

      ***The cat’s appearances are becoming intermittent as the nights cool***

      Rodents out gathering; cats out hunting and eating. It’s all good.

    1. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

      From the article:

      In 2000, I called every state but one correctly for Obama, and that was before he even won the nomination. For that write-up, I was labeled an “Obama Lover” but I did not vote for Obama.

      2000? Not 2008?

      To cite calling something correctly, that far ahead (before he even won the nomination), is stretching it a bit, it seems to me.

      The more important piece of information is the call just before the vote (he probably kept the same call).

      1. clarky90

        Good health is our most valuable asset. Poisonous, dangerous, shoddy, counterfeit; food, mechanical products, supplements, chemicals, “medicines”…. are never a bargain.

        “Cheap asbestos anyone? It is fresh and the best quality!”

        Prosperous, engaged, healthy, sane, happy, neighbors and family are something to celebrate.

        The clever “know it alls” imagine that tariffs are bad for The POTUS. The People understand “going without”. The Barbarians have been howling at the Gates for decades. deafening and annoying

      2. Oregoncharles

        The tariffs are a case of keeping his campaign promises. No idea how that will work out for him. And since it’s (so far) a purely executive function, it may not be much of a factor in the congressional elections.

  5. RUKidding

    I said elsewhere that until just now (just got done reading the “latest”), I figured that Kavanaugh was, uh, In Like Flynn (pun and no pun both intended).

    Now I’m leaning in the other direction.

    I never had any qualms about calling out Kavanaugh on his alleged behavior. All of this “it happened 30 years ago” b.s. is just that: b.s. Let’s just look around the corner at what happened yesterday to Bill Cosby, and a lot of his accusers came out with their statements quite a few years after he drugged and raped them. Time and distance doesn’t matter, imo.

    However, to have only one accusation makes it easier to slip slide Kavanaugh onto the SCOTUS. Gets harder with two, and now with 2 other women coming forward, well…

    I’m thankfully old enough that I’m pretty sure (not certain) that this type of really egregious behavior, including rape and raping trains, did not happen during my years at college (and almost definitely not in high school). Can’t swear to it, but never heard any whispers, and my class was small enough that I think we would have all known. We all mostly partied together.

    Yes, alcohol and other drugs were present, but that type of behavior? Not so much.

    The devolution to this type of behavior is very sad, and, for me, pretty unfathomable.

    My bet now is that Kavanaugh will not be “uplifted” to the SCOTUS. Nor should he be. Of course, I would have preferred that he got ousted for other political reasons and that this kind of stuff did not have to be revealed. But that’s the world we live in presently.

    Let the chips fall where they may.

    1. allan

      The soccer moms and dads who let their kids be used as stage props behind BK in the committee hearing
      should certainly be proud of themselves.
      But on the bright side, in about 10 years this will make for some killer college application essays.

    2. Another Scott

      To me the question isn’t whether or not Kavanaugh should be elevated to the Supreme Court, but whether or not he should be impeached from his position as a federal judge. I think there is sufficient evidence to start an investigation into him, provided the Democrats take back the House. Yes, this is politics and yes, the GOP will have enough votes in the Senate to prevent conviction, but if Democrats believe the charges against Kavanaugh, then he doesn’t deserve a place on any bench.

    3. Lambert Strether Post author

      > Can’t swear to it, but never heard any whispers, and my class was small enough that I think we would have all known

      When I was in high school in the mid-70s (small school, Maine) a male acquaintance made a joke about a “train,” and my (male) friend slapped him down and said it was “disgusting.” I remember* the wrong look on the acquaintance’s face, and his laugh. No gossip, though, at least in the sedate crowd that I ran with. I took it as a weird but ineffectual fantasy, as opposed to a data point. Perhaps I was wrong.

      * For what that’s worth.

      1. Kokuanani

        Lambert, is there something about Maine residents that causes Susan Collins to be such a weasel on the Kavanaugh issue? Is there a strong “base” presence there that she has to worry about?

        1. Lambert Strether Post author

          Maine, although a New England state, is also big, and I would say its really at least three states which you could simplify, radically, to Southern, Central, Northern. Southern Maine, in which I would include coastal Maine, has a lot more universities (Bowdoin, Bates), a lot of tourism, has some industry, especially health care, and many more liberal Democrats. Central Maine, including the unorganized territories, was the timber industry and the mills. It’s been devastated by globalization, and so has all the ills of deindustrialized America, including really bad opioid problems. (My own town is an oasis because it’s near a university.) Northern Maine is wilderness and potatoes; that’s where Collins is from. Conservatives do very well in Central and Northern Maine; you could say at the very least that Central and Northern Maine are of the opinion that out-of-state elites haven’t done very much for them — and they’d put Southern Mainers at least close to that category — and they’re right. Collins brings home a modest amount of bacon for the state (for example, she got the bill passed to get the giant garbage trucks for the landfills off our local roads and on to Route 95), and she’ll be under very little pressure, IMNSHO, no matter how she votes. I guess you could say that Collins has the votes of the parts of Maine that are dominated by the extractive economy. Of course, the lawyers who tee up the legislation for all that are based in Portland. So… .

          Other Mainers are free to elaborate on this condensed description; for example, I left out the hippie gradient that rises toward Unity, the lakes region west of Portland, the guys with beards in the woods, etc.

      1. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

        As Lambert said, 40 days is a long time in politics. Here, with this nomination , 24 hours is a long time.

    4. fresno dan

      From the affidavit, #12: “I have a firm recollection of seeing boys lined up outside rooms at many of these parties waiting for their ‘turn’ with a girl inside the room. These boys included Mark Judge and Brett Kavanaugh.”
      I may be mobbed off the site, but I have to be true to my own cynicism. So the accuser witnessed what was “trains” or rape….and girls continued to go to these parties. The accuser saw this and told…who?
      Fathers, Parents in Georgetown are more loyal to the patriarchy than their own offspring? Not one girl trusted her parents with what was occurring? If that is true, the country is beyond redemption no matter who is elected.
      Having said that, let’s have a real investigation. Let’s have the FBI look with its power to charge people with lying and see what shakes loose.

      I have no doubt that terrible secrets are kept – I think Judge Roy Moore has overwhelming evidence that he engaged in criminal activity against minors. But the people Moore acted against did not have the clout of the Georgetown crowd, and I can see poor people in Alabama having no belief that their complaints would hold sway. What is unfortunate is that Moore was a judge. It is unfortunate that Kavanaugh is NOW a judge – whether he becomes a supreme or not.

      1. Tom67

        I am not American but German. I have been in kindergarden in Berkeley and high school in Canada. I run an outdoors business in central Asia and have had lot´s of American clients. From everything I know and heard about the States I find it highly unlikely that boys would line up to rape some girl at a party in an upper class environment without there being repercussions. But maybe I am wrong.
        But what I am sure is that the US will become completely unfunctional if anybody can come forward with an accusation after 30 years and prevent the appointment of a high judge without corroborating evidence.
        That is what it looks like to most of the world I am sure. In Russia, where I have lived for a long time, nobody would pay any attention as this is so clearly polticially motivated.
        I see it as a a political game show. The real issues are not being aired. Sanders is the only one. One of my clients was an Iraq veteran. A mormon from Utah who got terribly drunk on the customery get together at the end of the trip he had booked with us. He was a decent fellow who hated what your goverment got him into. He first voted Sanders and then Trump. I am sure he sees thru all of this and his cynisism will only increase.

        1. Polar Donkey

          In a high school in the Memphis area a few years ago, a girl got drunk at baseball team party. She was passed out drunk. She got gang raped by members of the baseball team. Players recorded it. Police got the video. The girl and her parents didn’t press charges because of the public spectacle of it all. Worst things that happened to rapists were a couple lost baseball scholarships to colleges. These were mostly upper-middle class white guys. It never got in the news.

        2. Wyoming

          You would be wrong about this pulling a ‘train’ not being fairly common. I knew of ‘boys’ who had done this very thing at parties when I was young. My wife was drugged and raped when she was attending college in 1979 at a Catholic University. Upper class people tend to get away with more than working class people as the system protects their kids – but this kind of thing happens in all classes. And is has happened a lot in America.

          I lived in Germany and Greece for quite a few years and have traveled the world extensively. I was shocked when living in Europe at what young women would do and not have fear for their safety. America is a much more dangerous place.

          The best corroborating evidence is the fact that there are many accusers. One of the reasons women do not come forward after being assaulted and raped is that very seldom are they believed and their character is always attacked – so they are victimized twice. My wife has never told anyone about what happened to her but me – she goes to a party is given a drink and the next thing she knows she wakes up and a guy is on top of her raping her. But she is totally disoriented and physically incapacitated. Next thing she knows she is stumbling down the street in the middle of the night.

      2. Wyoming

        The accuser saw this and told…who?

        Just how well do you know the women in your family?

        Statistics show that 25% of the women in the US have been sexually assaulted or raped. Think about this number and then consider this, have about 25% of the women in your family told you that they have been sexually assaulted or raped? You might find your answer in thinking about this.

        For instance I have made over time some efforts to communicate with the women in my family on this very subject. A mother, 3 sisters and a wife. 3 rapes, 1 sexual assault, and 1 who was thrown down the stairs from the 2nd to the 1st floor when she was 6 months pregnant. The wife was drugged and raped while in college (sound familiar) and the only one in the family who knows about this is me and it happened 39 years ago. She is thinking about telling her mother and sister right now because she is very mad at them as they are following the Trump line about “Well if something so bad had actually happened then the women would have said something right away.” Actually almost none of them say anything.

        Women do NOT make this stuff up.

        1. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

          The ‘girls continue to go to these parties’ part stand out.

          Is that correct? Has it been verified?

          If they didn’t tell their families, were others warned?

          1. ArcadiaMommy

            I went to catholic prep school. Believe it or not your available social circle is rather small. These are not giant high schools with thousands of students. I went to school with some of the kids for 12 years. There could be many repurcussions for you and your family that are being dismissed.

            Add in the fact that until recently there really wasn’t a vocabulary to express these events. A rapist was some creepy stranger danger type, not the kid in the next row in AP history.

            Further complicating the issue is the that you may had a hazy memory of what happened. Shame and the overall culture of people looking the other way doesn’t encourage you to say anything. I experienced and witnessed rampant harassment, groping and other carrying on. No one did much to stop it. A lot of parents were obviously clueless (so much for free range parenting).

            Kids do stupid things. They sometimes have bad judgement. There are a lot of adults who can’t cope with this type of thing.

            1. Wukchumni

              It was quite a different world in 1982, the last vestiges of the sexual revolution were being played out against the backdrop of AIDS showing up…

              We’re at about 179 degrees away from that now.

              1. ArcadiaMommy

                There were warnings. But it isn’t the most efficient way to stop this kind of thing. If you are really drunk or get something slipped into your drink you may not be in any condition to make a very good assessment of the situation.

          2. pretzelattack

            apparently there was some warning given to some actors by the cosby and weinstein victims, but they continued to work in hollywood.

            1. perpetualWAR

              Weinstein was a very powerful man in Hollywood. He derailed the career of Mira Sorvino, whose father was also in Hollywood. That is a lot of power. It took great courage for those women to speak up.

        2. perpetualWAR

          I think the incidents of sexual assault are much higher than 25%. Just talk to groups of women. I’d say much higher.

          1. Wyoming

            One always has to be cautious about such kinds of accusations, to be honest – there have been a very few confirmed cases of women trying to use an accusation for gain, but percentage wise it is close to zero. There does have to be some skepticism or doubt. But the kicker is when more and more women come forward about one person. This is absolutely never a lie. It is not a smear. It is not politics (the politics in this is all Republican in that they are determined to ignore the accusations ..it is all about winning). Does anyone believe that Trump is not guilty of sexual harrasment after having more than a dozen women claim it of him – not to mention him bragging about doing it on tv.

            It is clear to any non partisan observer that Kavanaugh is not what he says he is. He has clearly lied about himself. Besides the direct accusations from all the women there are a number of people who are witness to him being a serious drunk who is aggressive and belligerent when drunk – thus proving he has lied about that. More accusations are coming out all the time.


            No one who was impartial would want at this point to rush his confirmation through. There absolutely should be a process of investigation at this point and no vote. What is going on with pushing this nomination is another instance of putting political winning over what is right and over country. The question at this point should not be whether he sits on the SC but whether he should be a federal judge at all. There are plenty of other conservative judges the R’s can put on the Court. But it should not be him at this point.

        3. Yves Smith

          10% of rape accusations are found to be false.

          I know personally of three cases of false accusations of sexual abuse/harassment. One was small group of women under pressure to write up an internal whistleblower (not making this up) and even what they came up with was incredibly lame (all one woman could come up with was the man said she had cute shoes, and she was an Imelda Marcos wannabe, so commenting on her shoes would not be peculiar) and a second said he said she was wearing a nice dress. The third accuser’s spiel was longer but as lame. The company was nevertheless used this as sufficient to discipline him for sexual harassment.

          The second was from a woman who was batshit crazy, had a habit of taking all her clothes off in front of men (and removed all of her clothes below her waist in front of me) as well as talking regularly about how men wanted to have sex with her. She was a stage 4 alcoholic (means 5 year life expectancy = 20%) and MRIs showed her brain had shrunken. She’d fall down drunk, bang herself on a piece of furniture (her bruises were not even remotely consistent with a fight or a beating), likely not remember what happened right before she passed out, and would accuse her husband of assault. The motive was that she and he lived in a large NYC rent controlled apartment and he was divorcing her. If she had been able to get a restraining order against him, she would have gotten to stay in the apartment and he would have to keep paying for it.

          Fortunately, every time she called the cops, her demeanor was so unlike that of a battered woman that the cops would haul her off to the drunk tank, and a couple of times, she was involuntarily committed.

          The third is way too convoluted to tell, but the man was eventually cleared in full (and this was at an East Coast university, so the initial prejudice against him was substantial). The false accusation did him substantial career and psychological damage.

          Please don’t make absolute statements on this topic,

        4. Gesper

          25% of women have not been sexually assaulted. Last I knew that was a bogus campus study infected with non response bias. Sexual assault is more common than it should be, but unless we’re reframing it well beyond anything close to rape 25% is nonsense.

          That being said, Kavanaugh and Mark Judge have used enough evasive language to convince me of their guilt.

      3. Unna

        Reading about these people is like reading a novel with a bunch of characters you don’t care about. Call that cold. I don’t care. I’m finding I come from a background that would have never tolerated their boys nor girls acting like this. Beach parties where the kids rent houses for a week and the mothers and fathers of these girls let them go? Let them go to drunken parties with teenage drunken boys? And then 35 years later these girls account themselves as victims? And now I’m supposed to feel sorry for them? I’m filled with utter disgust for these people.

        If these girls are victims, then they are victims of their parents and the decadent elite social environment fostered by these parents. And in that sense they are indeed victims. If they’re going to do family counselling, they ought to do it with their parents and confront their parent’s utter failure to provide them with an early sense personal dignity and propriety, and basic protection. This is what you do, little one. This is what you don’t do. And if you do it, this is what can happen. The irresponsibility and gutlessness of these parents is stunning. If that sounds “old fashioned” and from another age, then so be it.

        1. perpetualWAR

          That is harsh. As a woman who has been sexually assaulted when drunk, please do not judge! Can you even imagine blaming a murder victim who had been intoxicated that it was their fault for being drunk? My God!

          1. Unna

            ***And now I’m supposed to feel sorry for them?***

            You’re right. That was harsh. I do feel sorry for them. And of course, I primarily blame the parents. But why did they go to the parties? Didn’t they know what was going on, what was likely to go on? If they went once, did they go again? If so, why? What kind of parental lectures, admonitions, did her mother, and father, give or fail to give her as a young teenager? Didn’t they ever tell her in the strongest terms that she should never go to, or stay at, a party with boys and alcohol present and no adults present?

            Ideally, Dr. Ford at some point in her life should have come to terms with what had happened, recognized what decisions, both her own and others, had resulted in her being in a bedroom with two drunken boys, counted herself fortunate to have gotten out of a bad situation, and have gone on with her life, lesson learned. She was 15, and so I’m not judging her too strongly. So I won’t. K was 17. Just as foolish only with 2 extra years of hormones, and male ones at that.

            I for one am not judging these kids beyond that, assuming it all actually happened. But I do judge them for the decisions they’ve taken as adults. K for the kind of craven judicial operative he’s chosen to become, and Dr. Ford, for managing to place herself in a difficult public position where her life will never be the same.

            1. perpetualWAR

              Next, you’ll be saying a woman has no right to wear a short skirt when in the presence of a boy/man. And here I thought the rape blame game had ended long ago. Silly me.

            2. Monty

              I don’t doubt that some ladies went to the parties to try to snag a fabulously wealthy spouse, in order to provide them with a life of luxurious leisure on easy street.

            3. JBird4049

              Telling someone to hide, hideaway, from all the Bad People is unwise. Don’t drink, don’t leave the house, dress in a burka, and so on. Men are also rape victims, but we don’t give them the same advice, even though they are raped in similar circumstances.
              People need to be careful, or to use some wisdom, but really, why should it be the responsibility of the victim in anyway? I might fault the victim for not being careful, but it is the perpetrators’ fault. They took advantage of someone’s misjudgement and committed rape.

        2. ArcadiaMommy

          Once again – there was no vocabulary to describe date rape or being harassed in the school hallway when I was in high school and I am a lot younger than these people. We were taught that rapists were creepy strangers who grab you off the street. We didn’t get taught about Bobby who you have to ride the school bus to an away game with. I assume that the run of the mill gropings in the school corridor or at social events were just not something that parents could have conceived of or maybe they just didn’t think it was a big deal. I don’t remember learning anything about sexual harassment until I went into the workforce as an adult and the EAP booklet had a section in it.

          Shame and the worry of being judged is what has kept women and girls quiet about this issue. You were drinking, dressing too sexy, out late, walking by yourself, etc. have been used against women for too long.

        3. pretzelattack

          what exactly is it that these women did that was wrong, and how are the parents and the women more responsible than the rapists? how do you know they didn’t regard themselves as victims then, and just didn’t want to endure the slut shaming that would be sure to ensue? i don’t think any of them are trying to enhance their career by coming out with this, now. they may just not want their attacker to be on the supreme court.

          1. FluffytheObeseCat

            Based on the specifics in Unna’s screed above, they “did wrong” by being born to the wrong parents in the wrong time period. Also, they appear to have committed the ensuing crime of having hidden their pasts in order to get ahead during the intervening decades. It should be noted that the accusers do not appear to be coming from the most powerful echelons of the credentialed classes. They are comfortable, pedigreed, but not terrifically powerful. So the animus against them seem way out of line in this context.

            I suspect if Amber Wyatt of Arlington,Texas were as temporarily powerful as these women are just now, we’d be hearing similar complaints about her in this thread.

            We have too damned many smug, rapey, ex-frat boys running the show in DC at present. That fact that some Sneera Tanden types gets a boost out of their (modest) come-uppance….. does not trouble me at all.

      4. drumlin woodchuckles

        The country is beyond redemption if these Georgetown party reports are true? Georgetown is not the country. The whole beltway is not the country.

        If these parties happen all over the country, then the whole country has a problem. If these parties only happen from Georgetown or Beltway people, then the whole country has a Georgetown-Beltway problem.

      5. Bridget

        Clearly Avenatti learned from the mistakes made in the Ford and Ramirez statements. While neither the Ford nor the Ramirez statements contained much in the way of verifiable information, they did contain names of alleged witnesses to be events. To a person, the witnesses either denied that the events transpired or stated that they had no memory of these fairly memorable alleged goings on.
        The Swetnick affidavit is not only free of dates, times, and places, it is also conveniently free of the names of any pesky eyewitnesses who might destroy the narrative. I mean really, if Ms. Swetnick was really in the habit of attending gang rape parties and kept going back for more until it somehow became her turn, you would think she would at least remember the names of the boys who did the deed….

    5. Roger Smith

      I’d put more faith in accusations if there were being made sincerely in response to abuse and not for political points decades later. How much money is this Avenatti clown making off this press loop scam he’s got going? What sane, rational person looking for help would hire this fool as legal representation? Earlier today he posted a clear photo and full name of the client, with a message asking for her complete privacy(!). Is it more believable that Ford sat on this alleged abuse for 30 years, only to bring it up at a coincidentally pivotal moment for certain parties, or is it more believable that some marketing firm concocted a false PR event based on tropes of the dregs of Frat life in colleges, targeted with vagueness benefiting from a current cultural paradigm? Why couldn’t Kavanaugh simply be ousted for being a political goon that he most likely is? Because his guilt is the same as the guilt of all these corrupt bureaucrats.

      Cosby, an 81 year old, partially blind man, was classified as a ‘sexually violent predator’. Whether or not these people committed crimes isn’t even the focus anymore. We’ll never know thanks to this farce (gas on the fire) being played out in the legal system with hearsay and guilt before innocence. Cosby was legally guilty based on only one instance, for which I never confirmed there was stronger evidence other than witness testimony (maybe there is), but what about the tens of other stories floated around endlessly, tainting the entire country’s jury pool? It was all propaganda aiming to ensure a guilty verdict. Again, maybe he did do these things, but I am entirely unconvinced given the lack of quality in the discussions and critical thought surrounding these MeToo movements.

      Plenue says below: “I’m not trying to downplay how awful it is that we have a probable rapist being nominated for the Supreme Court.”

      How is it probable? To me this is evidence that this whatever wave feminist screed against men, that they are all violent predators (reminds me of Clinton), is taking hold in cultural consciousness. Tony Danza beat my mother 40 years ago. Is that story probable? It is possible sure, but probable? This whole thing is so disappointing and antithetical to aiding victims of abuse.

      1. Carolinian

        Don’t forget that we once had a Democratic frat boy as president–also accused of rape by one woman–and many Dems at the time clucked their tongues at Republican prudery and made jokes (“the Clenis”). Now there are some who say that just being a male is to be part of “rape culture.”

        My take: wake me when it’s over. But if you are going to hate Kavanaugh–who seems to have some terrible judicial views–then do it for an honest reason.

        Meanwhile Trump appears to be a reader of Moon of Alabama who advised him not to fire Rosenstein. Maddow has her punch bowl taken away just as Putin did to Haley by not attacking Idlib yet.

        1. Amfortas the Hippie

          When I was in college, I was in a band that played frat parties. Small state college.
          This sort of thing was almost normal…excessively drunk young men and women getting naked and banging in public…or near enough public.
          “Pulling a train” was more of a Black idiom back then(late 80’s)…but the white frats had plenty of their own debauchery. Even blowjob contests. Right there in front of our makeshift stage.
          One of my band mates was a frat boy…and his girlfriend was a sorority ho(so said her t-shirt)….I once asked her about this very behavior. Her:” oh that…it’s just part of the culture”.
          She married well and has a nice career, last I looked.
          It may be of note that while it was a small backwater school,the Greek people there were all of them upper middle class…ie they didn’t work their way through college, had daddy’s credit cards, etc
          My own epic debauchery was always consensual…long before I knew that that was a thing. Just good manners.
          For more detail than that, y’all will hafta wait for the book.

          1. Plenue

            The whole concept of getting blackout drunk and having sex is alien to me. What’s the point of a wild night of amazing sex that you can’t even remember? Or for that matter, any activity, partying etc, that you were so wasted you can’t remember. If you can’t remember anything about an experience, in some sense did you even really experience it at all?

            And going further, even just getting slightly drunk and having sex. Alcohol is inherently a depressant, and sex is something I would want to be fully aware for.

            1. The Rev Kev

              “…it provokes and unprovokes. It provokes the desire, but it takes away the performance.”

              William Shakespeare (1564-1616)

            2. Chris

              Blackout drunk? That is never fun and the stories which come about afterwards are usually cringe inducing.

              Now, enjoying liaisons while tipsy, maybe finishing a bottle of good wine on the beach with someone you love and letting the night work it’s magic, that’s something else entirely.

              I have two daughters. I am trying to teach them how to find their way in this world. And part of that way finding is being able to make decisions about sex, what to do when they want it, who they should consider as partners, what it means to have control over their bodies, etc.

              I want them to learn what it is to be their own person and that no one has the right to touch them against their will. But I want them to understand the magic of falling in love too. There is precious little time before responsibilities of pir lives out weigh abandon. There’s a lot of magic in that time if you have the right person in your life.

              I hope they find partners who they can enjoy all aspects of whatever physical relationship they choose to have. I think all of these attempts to codify ideas of consent and sexual interplay are awful. I think all the examples we have of people being treated as things and elite children acting like animals are awful. I have no idea what to tell my girls about any of this. Don’t spend time with family blogging d!ck heads? Don’t ever get drunk around strangers? No, you can’t go to any beach week?

              I don’t know.

              What I do know is with exception of this last allegation made via signed statement, none of the other witnesses should even of been given a voice in this. No details, no ability to Mr. Kavanaugh to face his accuser, no anything to meet any standard whatsoever? String BK up because his opinions as a jurist are questionable. Keep him off the court because his ideas behind the unitary executive are atrocious. But let’s not normalize this kind of drive by smearing and self righteous prudery any further than this country already has.

              There seems to be no floor below which our alleged leaders can’t sink in terms of decency.

              1. Plenue

                “I think all of these attempts to codify ideas of consent and sexual interplay are awful.”

                Why? Some of the ideas for solutions get a bit silly around the fringe (“We’ll use blockchain to create tamper and forgery proof consent forms!”), but the core idea of getting explicit verbal consent from a sober person seem entirely reasonable.

                With no other proof of course it could devolve into he said, she said if one of them later claims it wasn’t consensual, but that isn’t any different from how things are already. If we can curb the culture of ‘she was asking for it; it was an unspoken mutual desire’ type of thinking, and make explicit consent a social requisite, that would help a lot.

                1. Chris

                  Honestly, and perhaps I feel this way based on experiences that put me in the minority, if you think you have to ask, if you are that unsure your mood is being reciprocated, then the answer is no. Full stop.

                  You ask to dance with someone. You ask if your date wants to be kissed. You ask if they’d like to take a walk with you. If one of you is getting naked and both of you are adults, then it either is mutual or someone is going to say stop. And if they say stop, you honor that request. It’s that simple. No checklists. No legality. Just common decency. Why have a physical relationship with another person who wouldn’t respect those boundaries?

                  I personally don’t understand the entire notion of people not being able to tell these things. And if you think you need to have some one intoxicated in order to get them to say yes, you are a predator. And a lousy one at that.

                  1. Plenue

                    I’m a bit worried that you don’t seem aware people, women especially, may feel obliged to consent to sex even when they don’t really want to. It may be social pressure, or a fear that violence will happen if they refuse, or a situation where they believe they have to do it for their career prospects. In fact people don’t always say stop when they want it to stop.

                    There have always been people who think of sex as a power trip, that it’s something you do to someone else, not with them. That isn’t a new idea, and I also don’t at all think it’s the driving force between calls for getting explicit consent. Quite the opposite; its about clearly establishing that all parties want to do it.

                    1. Oregoncharles

                      And how would explicit consent help, if the one consenting feels pressured?

                      Putting it in words seems to me to make no difference, except that the consenter is even more committed.

        2. Roger Smith

          I completely agree. What I sort of see is the “liberal” version of the GOP Clinton attack, only as typical with Democrats, they are executing the play in the biggest, dumbest way possible without any foresight. If this keeps up, rape allegation will be the go to smear ad on TV. I think for diversity’s sake we should add a Dog to the SCOTUS bench. I think I’d trust that call most.

          Also, what a thing it would be to have a President who reads the Moon!

  6. barefoot charley

    The Slate article on Washington’s elite sexually segregated private high schools does a good job of contextualizing Kavanaugh’s repulsiveness. It’s getting harder to shock me, but ‘boys will be boys’ defenses of not just swinery but pride in it shocks me. Mark Judge’s book on being a rich young drunk (in which Kavanaugh transparently figures as ‘Bart O’Kavanaugh’ barfing) sometimes sounds like Hemingway at his most disoriented, such as this:

    “There’s also that ambiguous middle ground, where the woman seems interested and indicates, whether verbally or not, that the man needs to prove himself to her. And if that man is any kind of man, he’ll allow himself to feel the awesome power, the wonderful beauty, of uncontrollable male passion.” It’s from
    https://www.theatlantic.com/entertainment/archive/2018/09/mark-judge-brett-kavanaugh-writing/570631/ , also worth reading.

    1. Plenue

      Don’t know what so many men seem to think just asking “hey, just to clarify, you wanna bang, right?” is so difficult.

      1. Chris

        I dont know. I don’t understand the idea of using sex to prove yourself to anyone. That’s nuts.

        Sex in our culture seems to have become something you do to someone else. A physical act to purely overpower and gain pleasure/power in one direction. In the sense that I could hit you with a baseball bat or I could sex you?

        Seduction, romance, love, marriage…the good stuff, they’re all things you do with someone else. It’s mutual creation. That’s why those ideas are the foundation of so much great art. Maybe that’s why I feel like having to explicitly ask is so wrong?

  7. Plenue

    “Regardless of what happens to Kavanaugh, however, this scandal has given us an X-ray view of the rotten foundations of elite male power.”

    Three countries destroyed in the last seventeen years. An attempted destruction by proxy of a fourth. An ongoing literal genocide against a fifth. Anyone? Bueller?

    I’m not trying to downplay how awful it is that we have a probable rapist being nominated for the Supreme Court. But *this* is what reveals the ‘rotten foundations of power’? Not millions of corpses? And of course, this warmongering is not restricted to elite men.

      1. mle detroit

        +100, Summer. *This* is what brings it home and makes unavoidably real what is normally hidden by the fog of war and pretense of respect.

        1. Plenue

          *This* didn’t refer to the act of rape. It refered to the allegations that Kavanaugh is a rapist. I wasn’t comparing mass murder to mass rape

          I’m saying that our establishment can spread mass death and no one bats an eye; that’s perfectly acceptable and respectable. But one specific person might have raped someone decades ago and parts of the establishment are defending him and that’s a bridge too far?

      2. todde

        if you rape a million brown people during a war, it’s just a statistic.

        If you rape a women from one of America’s Elite schools, it’s still just a statistic until you get nominated for the Supreme Court.

        They can all go up against a wall.

      3. ewmayer

        Let’s recall Hillary’s gleeful “we came, we saw, he died” cackle upon being informed that Libya’s Gadaffi had been sodomized to death with a bayonet as a result of her ‘successful’ regime change op in Libya. (Yes, Obama was pres, but she led the charge on that little project.)

        So pardon me if I question the gender-specificity of the “elite male power” claim. It’s elite power, period. The men may be worse on the sexual-predator aspects, but the sheer pervasive psychopathy appears to be quite gender-neutral. Not just HRC, either – off the top of my head, recent exmplars: Madeline Albright, Condi Rice, Vicki Nuland, Gina Haspel, the list goes on.

        Rather telling, too, that it’s much easier to gin an MSM outrage-fest over sexual predation than over actual genocide overseas at the behest of our political elites.

        1. Massinissa

          Tulsi Gabbard made a statement recently condemning both parties approval of the war on Yemen ,and the MSM has been 100% crickets. More important to talk about Kavanaugh, apparently…

    1. Lambert Strether Post author

      > an X-ray view of the rotten foundations of elite male power

      And if we fired them all, we’d replace them with…. Well, in essence the Clinton campaign and the Clinton-adjacent, that being a fine working definition of elite female power, as they themselves would be the first to tell you. That strikes me as problematic. You go to hell with the political class you have…

      1. DJG

        LS: Yep, you have this observation up top, from Michelle Goldberg:

        Women who struggle ceaselessly to be smart enough, attractive enough, ambitious enough and likable enough have been playing a rigged game.

        Has she never worked in a U.S. office? Where the discrimination against black people, gayfolk, anyone over 50, and the lesser orders is light-speed and fierce?

        I’ll amend this to:

        Anyone who struggled ceaselessly to be smart enough, attractive enough, ambitious enough and likable enough has been playing a rigged game.

        What we are seeing here with Kavanaugh is one more worm’s-eye view into how corrupt and incompetent our elites are. A few weeks back Strzok was a hero. Is there that much difference? We tend to laugh here at NC at Neera Tanden’s tweets, but she is widely considered a Serious and Ambitious Woman of Consequence (a good bourgeoise).

        I also went to a Catholic high school, a boarding school, as a matter of fact. As a child of a unionist, I k now that my biggest “takeaway” is that the Catholic upper-middle class is resentful and just not very nice people (M and F). Kavanaugh. Scalia. Strzok, presumably. Various bishops in Pennsylvania. The newest Mrs. Newt Gingrich. And the weird thing here is that the resentment is because American Catholics are still not quite elite enough. Kavanaugh and his gangsters are Strivers, you see.

        1. NotTimothyGeithner

          is that the Catholic upper-middle class is resentful and just not very nice people (M and F).

          Admittedly, I’ve never liked DC and that area. The elites there always struck me as…i didn’t like them. I wonder about this.

          I also went to a Catholic high school, a boarding school, as a matter of fact. As a child of a unionist,

          This could be written by my dad, but he was Eastern Massachusetts when the Boston Brahmin were sort of on the way out. He met Ambassador Lodge on the train once. Dad had fond memories, but I can guarantee my parents wouldn’t have considered sending me to a place like Georgetown Prep. If my dad’s high school still did boarding, they would have sent me there because they thought it was a school that was worth it. I wonder about the social climbing aspects of DC. I always thought there was a constant hustle among the DC area elites that was very off putting. I grew up in Virginia away from Northern Virginia, and personally, we were much more conservative in our lifestyle. When my dad retired, his around town car was about 20 years old. When he bought it, it had been on the lot a year. Not to excuse Kavanaugh as an individual, I knew I hated the vibe I always picked up there. It wasn’t a busy vibe.

          1. s.n.

            “He met Ambassador Lodge on the train once”

            so did i, almost, 1975. Train to Gloucester. Henry Cabot Lodge sat two seats ahead of me. Some other passengers whispered the name of that distinguished-looking gentlemen and their child ran up and shouted ‘Hi Mr. Cabbage” again and again. My brush with history.

    2. NotTimothyGeithner

      My feeling is there is a certain sloth and ignorance when it comes to foreign policy that infects too many people. “Politics stops at the water’s edge” is treated as a serious sentiment.

      Whether its “classified” or the foreign nature of a foreign country, I feel the demands for a standards just don’t exist when it comes to that sector.

      I would also add I don’t believe Americans comprehend the opportunity costs of foreign misadventures. Would Obama have been a better President if he couldn’t go to Senators with, “hey we got this Libya win,” ? Would he have been forced to be more progressive as a result because he didn’t have the win. In his waning days, he started signing all kinds of executive orders which he could have signed day one. Since Americans don’t pay much attention to the world at large, its just not something that bothers enough people to reach a critical mass.

      1. Plenue

        Okay, let’s take foreign policy out if it entirely.

        A rapist on the Supreme Court is unacceptable. Alright.

        But Obama colluded with banksters to allow the greatest mass theft in US history. Who knows how many people literally killed themselves after losing their homes. Why is he still allowed to appear in polite company?

        1. Richard

          I was recently reminded of his actions in lying to the people of Flint, and telling them their drinking water was fine, and then pretending to drink of glass of Flint water. And NC informed me not too long ago about his role in okaying war games, actual bombing and shooting, conducted in Flint, Michigan.
          How is he not detested? Who are we?
          3 wars into 7, huge wall st bailout, foreclosures, QE for the banks, austerity for us, most of the country never recovers from 08, drones, presidential murder lists.
          I heard the man say the other day that there was a straight line from Palin to Trump. What utter twaddle and self-serving bs. The straight line is from Obama to Trump. Like duh.

        1. John k

          Sanders is practical.
          Being practical, keeping ones eye on the prize, whatever it is, is not always inspiring.
          Imagine he is pres… it would be good to have good relations with the dem leader in the senate.

    3. fresno dan

      September 26, 2018 at 3:04 pm

      I’m not trying to downplay how awful it is that we have a probable rapist being nominated for the Supreme Court. But *this* is what reveals the ‘rotten foundations of power’? Not millions of corpses? And of course, this warmongering is not restricted to elite men.

      What you say brings to mind Monihan’s phrase, “defining deviancy downward”
      Every year more lying and stupidly, and ever more excuses for it, and ever fewer alternatives to it.

    4. DJG

      Plenue: Thanks for the comments: Think of “this,” the morality play of Kavanaugh, the silence about torture, the Iran hysteria, the Russia Russia Russia delusion, the decline in life expectancy, the opiod epidemic, all as the war come home.

    5. John k

      Trump sucks the ox out of the room. My friends can’t tale their eyes off him to think of the far away wars that kill far away people.

  8. JTMcPhee

    Re Steyer and Fl guber race: I guess it was not clear that “an oligarch’s millions” placed the current Governator in the state’s highest office. And let him further the looting by the rest of the oligarchs. As one involved in health care, with friends and patients on Medicaid, I have to remind of one such scam. Rick Scott and his group directed all the state’s payments for Medicaid and many Medicare services through an outfit that called itself Univita. Which resulted in looting and bankruptcy “protection” for the looters:

    The bankruptcy of a third-party administrator for Florida’s Medicaid program means Joseph Quinn, who has a spinal injury and can’t walk, has been stuck for months without a working wheelchair. And he’s not the only one hurting from the collapse of the Mirarmar-based Univita Health Inc.

    The company, which filed for Chapter 7 bankruptcy on Aug. 28, controlled most of the Medicaid market in Florida and a portion of the Medicare market. Univita supplied medical equipment such as wheelchairs and walkers, dispensed prescriptions and contracted to provide home health care services for about 2 million people in Florida.

    The company operated in Tennessee, California, Minnesota, Indiana, Wisconsin and Massachusetts. It moved into the Florida market in 2010.

    By 2014 Florida’s Agency for Healthcare Administration had enrolled all Medicaid beneficiaries in managed care plans taking the program from state administration to being run by private insurance companies. Most of those insurance companies contracted with Univita to administer the Medicaid programs.

    A year later, on July 27, Univita sent letters to home health care providers saying it was immediately shutting down in Florida. The state agency told health care providers it was working with health plans to ensure “a smooth transition” so there was no lapse in service or equipment issues for Medicaid enrollees.

    Things didn’t work out so well.

    Feel free to read the rest of the article to see how horribly tens of thousands of Floridians got shafted and suffered because of that one (among many) of the scams the oligarch governor has pulled off.

    Remember that Scott pretty much bought the election with a hundred million or so dollars from the stash he got as a “golden handshake” (over $300 million, as I recall) when he was “asked to leave” Columbia-HCA, “for the good of the company and shareholders.” Which under Scott’s lead as CEO itself got in trouble of a sort, for bilking MEdicare and Medicare of many billions of dollars, and ended up paying maybe $1,7 billion in fines as a result (a fraction, of course, of what they stole from Medicare and Medicaid programs.) Somehow, Scott emerged “Scott-free” without being prosecuted. D’oh!

    Even the pantywaists at “Politifact” could not find a way to sugar-coat or argue away the claims of the (ineffectual) Dems and many ordinary people who studied the subject, and here is their artfully drafted “ruling:” “Rick Scott oversaw the largest Medicare fraud in the nation’s history: Mostly true.” https://www.politifact.com/florida/statements/2014/mar/03/florida-democratic-party/rick-scott-rick-scott-oversaw-largest-medicare-fra/

    So there’s nothing new about oligarchs playing “buy the office” in FL. My concern is what Steyer hopes to get in the way of compensation for being so generous to a kind of pseudo-libo-progressive.

    But then I read that maybe the East Antarctic ice is going to slide off into the Great Ocean, and since I live a bare 19 feet (and shrinking) above current ocean level, and all the public infrastructure in my area is even closer to inundation, who the hell cares? https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=eZ_-kgmCTEA I guess I should have skipped buying a house and stayed living on my slowly rotting sailboat? At least it would “rise with the tide that floats (some) boats…”

      1. JTMcPhee

        Easy to say, neh? Given your own altitude, resources and mobility. But given the size of “the problem,” of course none of this is personal…

  9. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

    I had a dream, that citizens should be paid (as in, becoming professionals…professional athletes, professional politicians…)

    Bernie Sanders

    For far too many people it’s too difficult to get to the polls. We need to make it much easier for everyone to participate in the democratic process. Election Day should be a national holiday.

    So, the dream has been ‘paid national holiday,’ even for independent contractors or self-employed people.

    1. Arizona Slim

      This long-time freelancer would LOVE a paid national holiday or two. Paid family leave would also be helpful.

  10. polecat

    Does it matter anymore WHO gets to perch on whatever SupremeCorpse pedestal stands empty .. the rest on the bench seem rather corrupt as well, in their own special ways ..
    There are no saints here.

  11. jsn

    Perspective does risk being lost, I think Lambert’s “• Got your Third Wave Feminism, right here…” up near the top captures the spirit.

    Of course the kinds of people who look the other way at a rape down the hall, men or women, or maybe participate, are just the kinds of people who would do the things you mention.

  12. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

    It’s all about packaging and presentation?

    Small piece of news on the 2020 front (unrelated to Kavanaugh & Rosenstein): Elizabeth Warren has hired Hillary Clinton’s former policy chief of staff at Hillary For America as a new press secretary, per records.

    Or is it a small town, with a small pool of talented workers that you just can’t bring from overseas with H1B visas?

    1. flora

      Or is it Habsburg-level party inbreeding deformity/haemophilia , or whatever you’d call it for an organization?

      1. flora

        adding: Isn’t that what the super-delegates are for; to keep out the riffraff and maintain a “pure” policy line of succession?

        1. NotTimothyGeithner

          Its proof Warren isn’t a serious candidate. After all, Obama didn’t surround himself with Clintons team so fresh off the Gore and Kerry victories…

          1. Arizona Slim

            Read her book, A Fighting Chance. To me, there is no stronger evidence that Warren is not presidential material.

            1. flora

              ‘not presidential material’ is no slam against Warren, imo.

              Her main interest and expertise is Consumer Financial Protection. I think her natural home is the CFPB, which her work made possible and to which she should have been appointed its first director, imo. (Obama didn’t think so, and appointed Rich Cordray.)

              I agree with your assessment about ‘presidential material’, but credit Warren for much good and necessary work outside the partisan politics arena. Hard to believe her CC and student loan work was purely cynical for personal advancement.

              1. flora

                shorter: outside the congressional tent she was relentless, direct, and very effective. once suckered into the congressional tent she’s been hobbled by equivocations, maybe to be a ‘good team player’ thinking she’ll win congressional support in return. Big mistake. I think she’s been played. Perhaps she knows it. In congress she pulls her punches in a way she never did when she was a private citizen.

                1. cocomaan

                  Any time someone talks about Warren’s great congressional acumen, I remember the picture of her eating a catered lunch when she and others had a “sit in” against gun control.

    2. Synoia

      It would have been more cost effective to hire the Russians. They appear able to work election miracles with few dollars.

    3. Synoia

      It would have been more cost effective to hire the Russians. They appear to be able to perform election miracles for only a few dollars.

    4. John k

      Maybe she is angling for the astute and professional clinton team, and or to show she is a clinton team member.
      She has little chance vs Bernie.

  13. Lee

    As a boomer, feminism smacked me in the face and, I have no doubt whatsoever, made me a better person in my early 20s. I assumed, quite naively it would seem, that there would have been progress in this regard among the great and the good of the following generation.

    But then, I came out of a working class/lumpen milieu where the women and girls were often tough cookies themselves and generally knew or were related to men who would pound you into the ground if you messed with them. In a way, I was prepared by my formative years for the general consciousness raising that came in the 70s— at least among those whom I knew and associated with.

  14. drumlin woodchuckles

    About Trump’s policy-mitigation payments to farmers in contrast to 40 years of no-such-thing, it is not a matter “failure to do so”. It is a matter of the neo-liberal market stalinists’ deliberate refusal to do so. Actually , the market stalinists pursued a deliberate policy of farm-extermination and rural depopulation ever since WWII. Deliberately and on purpose.

  15. PKMKII

    I wonder what traditions will be invented during the current traumas and menaces…

    I pledge allegiance, to the norms, of the United Bureaucratic Processes of America
    And to the meritocracy, for which it stands
    One nation under $$$
    With think tank and deep state positions for all who went to prep school

    1. grayslady

      I don’t have a WF near me, but recently I was visiting a friend who lives just across the street from a WF. As we were checking out, I asked the cashier what she thought about a WF union (sotto voce, of course, since I didn’t want to get her in trouble). She said she thought it was a good idea and that she couldn’t understand what other employees were afraid of. Shades of the early union movements possibly, with employees being threatened?

      1. tegnost

        She said she thought it was a good idea and that she couldn’t understand what other employees were afraid of
        They know they work for bezos the greediest b*stard ever?
        Gotta pay the insanely high rent, after all

  16. Hameloose Cannon

    The Supreme Court Justice nominee turns out to be Patrick Bateman. Then a room full of the world’s most experienced diplomats erupted in spontaneous laughter in the gobsmacked face of a US President addressing the UN General Assembly. What do these men have in common? Neither seems capable of establishing a long-term relationship with a co-equal partner, which might have something to do with both men spending most of their time sitting around in robes, dispensing punishment to those unfortunate souls required to appear before them. Nation, you and I should put some flyers, “Lost: Mandate from Heaven. Last Seen: Mount Olympus.”

  17. Wukchumni

    So say, Kavanaugh is a no-go.

    Is there enough time to vet and question another candidate before the November election, or are all the marbles bet on a single roll of the dice, as they couldn’t conceive boy plunder being such a rotten apple?

    1. voteforno6

      All of the vetting has already been done by the only relevant institution here…the Federalist Society.

      So, yes, no problem.

    2. WobblyTelomeres

      If the Repubs hope to retain the Senate, they will not stay in DC any longer than absolutely necessary. If Kavanaugh withdraws (as seems possible, perhaps before tomorrow’s sworn testimony), there won’t be another nominee vetted before the Nov election as McConnell won’t be able to keep them in DC to vote on another.

      The lame duck session will be under a LOT of pressure, then. Has a SC nominee ever been annointed by the Senate during a lame duck session?

  18. marku52

    Amy Chua and husband Jed Rubenfeld under investigation at Yale Law. Relating to, sex, natch. and this isn’t from 30 years ago. It’s current. Among other things they advised some students not to clerk for Kozinski (Later removed for sex harassment) and Kavanaugh. One wonders why…

    “I fail to see how “Conduct related to excessive drinking with students (driving with students while drunk, etc.),” falls in the category of “controversial but important topics in law.” The allegations against Rubenfeld outlined in this email go well beyond anything that can be described as retaliation for academic beliefs.”
    “Yale Law alumni tell us that Rubenfeld’s behavior towards women was an “open secret” within the Yale Law community.”

    Elite immunity is what is going to bring the country crashing down. There is no consequence for any of their bad behavior or worse, incompetence.


    1. John k

      Immunity means much more of the same, whether raping homeowners or people.
      To say nothing about torture or starting wars, I’m looking at you, bush and Obama.

  19. Amfortas the Hippie

    I’m on an iPad in the hospital(wife’s better, if anyone’s innerested) so have difficulty with the web.
    Just wanted to recommend part two of Robert Hocketts “accounting for incorporation” on the law and political economy blog. Part one was linked the other day, and I thought both were excellent and timely.
    Exactly the sort of commonsensical but hard core trust busting we need.
    I’m sorry that I haven’t figured out how to do links on this thing

      1. amfortas the hippie

        such exhortations, from perfect strangers…from an iraqi family in their little cafe, to street people with shopping carts(ill talk to a stump)…in the last two weeks, have put my latent misanthropy into definite remission. evidence of the fundamental goodness of ordinary folks is the silver lining in all this.
        i find that i am overwhelmed

    1. Yves Smith

      Fear not, investigations like this aren’t done by the AG but by CalHR, which has a stable of law firms that investigate people like state Senators and Assemblymen, so they are used to handling pretty high profile pols. And the CalHR investigations have a good reputation.

  20. Wukchumni

    Lithium-ion batteries have become essential for powering electric cars and storing energy generated by solar panels and wind turbines. But their drawbacks are also by now familiar: They use scarce minerals, are vulnerable to fires and explosions, and are pricey.

    A plentiful, safe and more affordable alternative would be worth a lot.

    On Wednesday, an energy company headed by the California billionaire Patrick Soon-Shiong announced that it had developed a rechargeable battery operating on zinc and air that can store power at far less than the cost of lithium-ion batteries.

    Tests of the zinc energy-storage systems have helped power villages in Africa and Asia as well as cellphone towers in the United States for the last six years, without any backup from utilities or the electric grid, Dr. Soon-Shiong said.

    “It could change and create completely new economies using purely the power of the sun, wind and air,” Dr. Soon-Shiong, a surgeon and a biotechnology entrepreneur, said in an interview in Los Angeles before the announcement.


  21. VietnamVet

    During the early 80’s, I was starting mid-life, going through the end of my marriage and a government employee in Ronald Reagan’s DC. The elite party scene described is totally alien to me. I missed the brief post pill era before AIDs when pleasure seemed risk free. I thought Brett Kavanaugh’s nomination would have been pulled to avoid a glimpse into the debauchery and incompetence of the new aristocracy. No, they appear ready to ram it through. This shows the establishment’s deep contempt for women not to mention the working class or anyone else lower down the totem pole.

    What is clear is that Brett Kavanaugh has a serious drinking problem. He’s been describe as a mean drunk who drank to excess. He even describes himself swaying after getting off the bus at Yale after a binge drinking trip with fellow Yalies to Boston. Either he is a functioning alcoholic or a dry drunk like George W Bush. He does not look healthy. He does not act like a person who has done the 12 Steps. His lies and denials, conscious or not, are reason enough not to promote him.

  22. The Rev Kev

    Lambert, that is one fine looking cat that. Appreciate you posting pictures of him from time to time.

  23. Parker Dooley

    ‘drinking age was 18, and yes, the seniors were legal and had beer there.’

    However, Kavanaugh was not of legal age in Maryland during high school or in Connecticut during 2 or 3 undergraduate years. He was born in 2-1965. In 1982, he was 17 when the MD age was 18. That year, the age was increased to 21 nationwide. Thus, he was never of legal drinking age at the time of the alleged events.

    1. Wukchumni


      Why is nobody bringing this point up?, everytime he took a swig he was a habitual offender, you might claim he showed contempt for the law, by his actions.

      Bring on the next wannabe Supreme!

  24. BillF

    “I wonder what traditions will be invented during the current traumas and menaces….”
    How ’bout rampant militarism at sports events? Military flyovers, God Bless America during the seventh inning stretch, Pentagon-sponsored heart-warming introductions of military personnel, college football teams wearing camouflage uniforms and helmets, etc., etc.

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