Questions about Kavanaugh

Two things nagging at me as we await what is gearing up to be the showdown of the decade. There’s no about-ness about this. Someone is not telling the truth. It’ll be winner takes all.

Brett Kavanaugh has categorically denied being at the party where  Christine Blasey Ford alleges that she was pinned down and almost raped by the current nominee for the Supreme Court.

Late night TV host Seth Meyers has this observation on curious timing of the release of list of women that support Kavanaugh,

Yet, Chuck Todd from NBC asks,

The problem with the denial is Dr. Ford didn’t make a specific allegation of a specific event. She admitted she couldn’t remember which house where this was. So, why does he have a very specific ability to deny?

How can Kavanaugh deny being at party when accuser never said which party it was?

Then there’s this tweet that makes you go hmm,

Putting it on the line

“As I’ve been saying from the beginning, this process has been a sham,” Senator Booker said. “The fact that tens of thousands of documents revealing a Supreme Court nominee’s views on key issues were deemed Committee Confidential and not available to the public reflects the absurdity of this process. The public has a right to access documents about a Supreme Court nominee’s views on issues that are profoundly important, such as race and the law. This process has demonstrated an unprecedented level of secrecy and opaqueness that undermines the Senate’s Constitutional duty to advice and consent.”

www.booker.senate.gov

Turn of the Screw

August 21st felt like a turning point. With the simultaneous trials of Michael Cohen and Paul Manafort popping out new bits of information about how Donald Trump ran his campaign, we learned that our President may be an “unindicted co-conspirator” in a crime. That’s an especially loaded term commonly associated with Nixon and Watergate (Wikipedia has already updated itself to include Trump) that indicates we may be headed into impeachment territory depending on the outcome of our midterm elections.

Joe Kahn, Managing Editor at the New York Times gave a very measured summary of the events of the day on The Daily podcast, part of what I’ve transcribed below.

This was the day that a series of possible charges turned into something that really is a direct legal and direct political threat to Trump’s longevity in office. It is quite likely that this will become a central issue in the midterm elections and force voters to decide whether or not they want to put Democrats back into majority in the house precisely because impeachment proceedings are the constitutional way to adjudicate a accusation of criminal activity by the President United States.

Up until now, even Democrats, had been reluctant to waive the impeachment flag as part of their campaign in the midterm elections. But you now have the President effectively being an unindicted co-conspirator in a crime. It seems highly likely that that then becomes a serious political if not a direct legal threat to the President. So this is a historic shift in the nature of the threat that we’ve been hearing about, writing about, talking about for so many months.

Impeachment is an unavoidable topic. It doesn’t mean he will be impeached. It doesn’t mean that if he is impeached he will be convicted but it is unavoidable topic when the president is an unindicted co-conspirator in a crime. That is the constitutional mechanism for adjudicating a credible accusation of illegal activity by the President of the United States.

Joe Kahn, Managing Editor, The New York Times

The following morning, here is the President’s response.

Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez campaign ad

Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez shocked everyone last night with her huge upset the in New York’s 14th congressional district primary. The 28-year-old newcomer unseated Democrat Joe Crowley, a 10-term incumbent and one of the more powerful old guards of the party. Not only that, headlines screamed, she was a socialist.

She was outspent 18-to-1 and Congressman Crowley didn’t even bother to show up to two of the debates. By giving her something to push against, her supporters found purpose and Alexandria brought them along for the ride.

Here campaign video is powerful and gives me hope because it lays out a vision which is one that has been missing. She speaks to her voters because she is one of them in a way that the establishment is not.

We’ve all seen the “my story” candidate ads (some of which are powerful and mold-breaking). But there was something decidedly different, intoxicatingly defiant but also accessible in this film. The aforementioned, fleeting hallmarks of empathy and authenticity are everywhere in this work. For all the talk of storytelling, the little more than two minutes in the film is a master class in compacting passion, honesty and, yes, empathy and authenticity into a compelling package. Ocasio-Cortez isn’t merely telling her story; she’s telling everyone’s story in the district.

One could very easily deconstruct the tight copy, the beautiful film craft, the pacing leading to an anthemic crescendo, the excellent structure. Yes, there are the trappings of political ads, but what makes this ad special is that there isn’t a full-service ad agency behind it. Ocasio-Cortez wrote it, and she relied on volunteers to coordinate the shoot and real people, including the candidate’s campaign workers, are present throughout.

AdWeek

Border Wall

My twitter feed blew up last weekend. I had to turn off notifications and, even now, four days later, the number of retweets, likes, and responses are still coming in above the usual trickle. I clearly touched a nerve.

The original story is really quite amazing and has to be read to be believed.

Responses ranged from outrage from people that have been to the border fighting with people that were incredulous there was no kind of fence or marking of the Canada/US border. . .

. . . to those that felt the runner was the victim of selective enforcement because of the color of her skin. There were a surprising number of doubters and others who thought the whole story was made up fake news. Several people misread my tweet and dismissed the whole thing as bogus because,  “No one could jog all the way to Canada from France!”

The best replies came from those that pointed out that back in 2016 when 1,500 partying inner-tubers were blown off-course into Canadian waters our Northern neighbors scooped up the cold, wet, and tired into 19 buses to bring them back over the border. On top of that, “Sarnia city spokeswoman Katarina Ovens said workers spent several hours cleaning up after the invasion, picking up beer cans, coolers and even picnic tables that had washed up on the shore.”

I miss those innocent times before “zero tolerance”

Zuck goes to Washington

Sure you could watch 9 hours of testimony (Day 1 on CSPAN, Day 2 on CSPAN) but just to put it in one place, here are the takes that I found insightful. I’ll add to this post when I find things so please add something in the comments too.

The New York Times’ Podcast The Daily had a great wrap-up of each day and are worth listening to in order.

Congress vs. Mark Zuckerberg covers the Senate hearings on Day One
Questioning the Business of Facebook covers the House on Day Two.

For a historical context, here’s a 2003 post in The Harvard Crimson about another site that was more popular than anticipated and drew criticism.

Anil Dash, central to the creation of early blogger communities, speaks the wiseman in a short video addressed to Facebook employees. “We can’t have it both ways. We can’t say we’re able to change the world and pretend it’s not our fault when we do.”

There were many photos, here are some of my favorites.

Leah Mills/Reuters

One photographer got a photo of Mark’s notes which was picked apart and dissected for insights.

Then there were the memes

Zuck in his booster seat

Zuck’s testimony in DC even reverberated all the way over to the TED conference that was being held in Vancouver. Here’s early internet pioneer talking about the Internet’s Original Sin.

The World We Live In

Things have gotten so crazy and divisive lately that it’s now increasingly obvious that people are living in alternate realities. Our filter bubbles have become so completely isolating that they are impervious to commonly understood baseline facts such as science and reason. Some examples:

And today Vox has a terrifying piece which imagines a world where even a well-documented case of malfeasance by the current administration might be rejected out of hand by a misinformed and untrusting public.

That insular partisan far-right media is also full of nonsense like Pizzagate that leaves the base continuously pumped up — outraged, infuriated, terrified, and misled. At this point, as the stories above show, the conservative base will believe anything. And they are pissed about all of it.

At least the stock market is still breaking new records. I shudder to think what will happen if the economy takes a turn for the worse.

Hillary Clinton on Trump

HRC is on tour to promote her book, What Happened. She was on the popular liberal podcast, Pod Save America and shared this snipped which I’ve transcribed and linked to below.

I wrote this book to come to try to come to grips with what happened but also to sound the alarm about what I think could still and may well happen.

I think Trump, left to his own devices, unchecked, would become even more authoritarian than he has tried to be. Also remember, the right wing, aided and funded by Mercers, Koch brothers, etc, is very serious about calling a Constitutional Convention. They need 34 states, last I checked they were at 28, 29.

Part of their gerrymandering is to control state legislatures, elect republican governors and to call a Constitutional Convention. If you really get deep into what they’re advocating, limits on First Amendment, no limits on the Second Amendment, limits on criminal justice, there is a very insidious right wing agenda.

So when I say that he doesn’t just like Putin, that we wants to be Putin. I’m not saying he’s going to start killing journalists but I am saying he likes the idea of unaccountable, unchecked power. We’ve never had to face that in a serious way in our country.

https://breaker.audio/e/22734699 (jump to 35:54, I have also left a comment on the page)