Sunday assorted links


>The Democrats are the party of rights

Sort of, in that they believe only certain people should have them, and the Government gets to decide who has which ones.

So yeah, I don't blame them for being absolutely bleeping terrified right now.

I just point and them, and laugh.

I was surpirsed by that line in the Weekly Standard, of all places. Probably ironic, but it didn't come across.

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By their actions it is clear that the Democrats have become violent fascists. The Democrats are the party of anti-constitution and Kavanaugh is a judge who supports the constitution.

Except for the 4th Amendment, which he clearly holds in contempt.

Kavanaugh is a big government conservative who likes more presidential power and loves dragnet surveillance. This guy is not someone I'd go ralphing with at the beach club.

1. I'm really getting tired of this being called a minimum wage story. It's one company. $15 was already the minimum at many companies.

+1. However, Amazon did say they will advocate for minimum wage laws. Expensive labor is a differntial advantage to Amazon vs. competing retailers.

#3 Yes, rights of a sort. Positive civil rights and "entitlements", not negative liberties.

Related: An SC adversarial to expansion of rights may ultimately be good for American democracy and rights.

Fukuyama has pointedly referred to an odd dysfunction in American democracy where multiple rights are won through judiciary and legal civil rights activism (Rode Wade, Brown and so forth), rather than, as in the norm for other democracies, through political parties putting legislation through which they and their constituents have to own. See -

If Dems forced to put through legislation to enshrine rights which have been implemented by shortcut of legal cunning and chicanery, without recourse to democratic mechanism through the legislative branch guided by the executive, may ultimately be good for their brand and for American democracy (and an end to tends to kritocracy).

I think it was liberal legal philosopher Ronald Dworkin who noted the problem of rights proliferation, especially positive rights, back in the late 80s/early 90s. The more rights you have, the more likely they are to come in conflict with each other and with other people's rights, hence the more government has to come in to arbitrate the disputes, and the more police power is required to prevent future potential disputes. This wasn't specifically a Democrat thing either, back in the 80s and 90s Republicans were very big on "victims' rights", which were positive rights crime victims had vis a vis both the government and the individuals who had perpetrated a crime upon them. Rather than the classic liberal situation of individual vs. state, this pitted the rights of an individual accused or convicted of a crime against the rights of the individual who had alleged/been proven to be a crime victim.

Citizens united

Ahem what ?

You believe, I suppose, that the Citizens United SC decision was bad for democracy. Now Citizens United is a decision where the Supreme Court interpreted largely, or extended, a right (the right of speech given by the first amendment). In other words, your example illustrates *a contrario* what M was saying : when the SC extends the rights, it may be bad for democracy.

So perhaps instead of "Ahem", you meant "Amen"?

Partisan Democrats object to Citizens United because it confers free speech protections on corporations they don't own. No one questioned whether freedom to speak or publish adhered to the New York Times Company.

I'll speak slowly in case this is new for you. Corporations are not people. The role of a free press, meanwhile, was something the founding fathers felt worthy enough to specifically enumerate.

"Corporations are not people"

Cannot 2 men join their wills alike? And if 2, why not 10,000? Corporationhood follows directly from freedom of association.

Oh, and it was freedom OF the press, not freedom to the press. The media have absolutely zero special privileges in the constitution.

Why should another entity called a 'corporation' be granted personhood and rights? Those 2 or 10,000 can join their wills without having to create a new supra-entity. Corporations were invented to allow limited liability for entrepreneurs to engage in risky commerce. That's nothing important to do with voting or politics or 'speech'..

No. My point is that "conservatives" are perfectly happy with the courts creating rights instead of the legislature, as long as it's for their tribe

Oh yes, sure, the same "legislation through the courts" problem applies for conservatives/Republicans also.

Read the decision - you clearly don't know what you're talking about.

'to an odd dysfunction in American democracy where multiple rights are won through judiciary'

Or lost by them - just ask the Americans interned after the Supreme Court (in a decision that still stands, by the way) decided that internment was legal.

Though in all fairness, the current Chief Justice of the Supreme Court does not seem to be believe that what goes around comes around, nor that the president has the right to order such actions against American citizens again - '“The forcible relocation of U.S. citizens to concentration camps, solely and explicitly on the basis of race, is objectively unlawful and outside the scope of Presidential authority,” Roberts stated. “Korematsu was gravely wrong the day it was decided, has been overruled in the court of history, and — to be clear — ‘has no place in law under the Constitution.’”

Admittedly, this is not precisely an overturning of Korematsu that Brown v. Board of Education was an overturning of Plessy v. Ferguson.

And this language comes from the reviled Trump v Hawaii! Makes you wonder if any of the critics actually read the thing.

5. Cowen linked this article about Stripe back in July when it was first published. It has the funny anecdote about how the Collisons sought funding from Peter Thiel by criticizing PayPal. My observation is that innovation ain't what it used to be. Daily delivery of bread? When I was a child we had daily delivery of milk and eggs. We thought that was innovative. "Payment gateways" and "one touch payments" made the Collisons billionaires. I think we re so infatuated with the so-called tech billionaires that we have lot sight of what is actually innovative. Indeed, Peter Theiel has become something of a Messiah, his every utterance studied for its revelation. That Stripe would incorporate its tiny internet business clients in Delaware as C corps (because that's what Fortune 500 companies are) isn't evidence of sophistication but an exploitation of envy. Exploiting ignorance, envy, and greed is the secret of success for tech. Rene Girard's heirs deserve a cut.


Venture capital is broken. Most VC's can't even return their investors money, much less beat the S&P. Mostly, they free ride off of public sector funded basic science research (pharma, internet, search, GPS, etc.).

Delaware C corps are all the rage because VC's like the established law and easy to divide nature of shares. LLC and S-corp forms are much more appropriate for many businesses (especially after the Trump tax changes), now that startup capital is barely needed for most internet businesses.

+1 for Rene Girard reference.

3. American conservatives control the executive, the House and the Senate, the Supreme Court, many states. They may lose popular votes, but they can win the electoral college or at least outperform their popular vote totals thanks to the structure of the electoral college. In many states, they seem to have gerrymandered districts so that they are protected against electoral defeat. They would appear to have inoculated themselves against almost every liberal challenge to their power. Tyler, is this the golden age, a long awaited promised land, for conservatism? What has yet to happen? What are the things that conservatives will look back on with regret that they didn't happen?

"What are the things that conservatives will look back on with regret that they didn't happen?"

Oh they'll come up with some excuse for the inevitable and coming fall. "We should have been MORE anti-immigration! We should have shot the media uhleets!" They are their persecution complex.

You may be correct, Cytotoxic. There does seem to be a lot of evidence that people are less motivated by a sense that they've achieved their goals than they are by a sense of indignation.

Obviously, Ryan T. is not from Illinois.

Most of what you say is patently false.

1. The electoral college does not give a structural advantage to Republican. It gives a structural advantage to small states (in population), because of the number of delegates is the sum of representatives of the state in the house, proportional to the population, plus the number of senators, which is always 2. There are about the same number of small states (say less than 4 delegates) that are solidly democrats (DC, New Hampshire, Vermont, RI, Delaware, Maryland, Maine, Hawaii) than solidly Republican (The Dakotas, Wyoming, Alaska, Idaho, Montana). Or if you prefer, do the following computation : look at the number of delegates
won in each state by Trump and Clinton, and remove 2 by states (so that state have now a number of delegates to the electoral colleges proportional to their population). Add the results, and you will see that Trump still wins by a large margin.

It is true that the electoral college gave Trump an advantage because it won many states with small margin, while Clinton won important states with wide margin. But that's not a *structural* advantage, that's just a consequence of the "majority by district" system of votes that many democratic countries have (UK, France for the legislative assembly, etc.)

2. The same goes for the senate. The borders from the states haven't changes since 150 or 250 years, depending where. No gerrymandering. The system advantages small states w.r.t big, but small states are not more Republican than Democrat. Look at who held the senate since 1945 on wikipedia, and you will see whether your theory of structural advantage to the Republicans holds water.

3.-- For the house there is gerrymandering indeed. That's a short-term advantage, which is re-decided and may change side every ten years, depending on the gubernatorial elections (which are not subject to gerrymandering)...

I appreciate the carefully explained distinctions and corrections you've provided here, Joël. Thank you.

Thanks. Sorry for my first sentence, which sounds somewhat harsh at re-reading.

...""majority by district" system of votes that many democratic countries have (UK, France for the legislative assembly, etc.).."

That does make sense for a parliamentary system , but for a Presidential system shouldn't it be "majority by vote" that should be followed ? Why is a voter in UT, CA, NY, or WY considered more irrelevant to a voter in OH, FL, VA etc?
You gave an excellent logic for how the current structure favors smaller states . But may be its time to get rid of some of these historical anachronisms .

Yes, a national election for the president would be an improvement, in the spirit of the phrase "in Order to form a more perfect Union" from the constitution.

Until the first recording recount is necessary.

#2!"Russian intelligence"? Something's wrong.

If you care about truth, justice, and the American way, we must stop the infiltration of the dark forces of Brazilian fascism in the U.S. by the agents and apologists (ahem ^) for the fascist Bolsonaro, who is on his way to become Brazil's next little Fuhrer:

It is a lie! Corrupt leftist party PT, whose leader, former president Lula, is behind bars for his corrupt dealings, is saying that. Representative Captain Bolsonaro oficially disavowed any links with fascism. He is a centrist politician, with a distinguished military carreer behind him.

Bolsonaro is a homophobic degenerate who IIRC favours more state violence towards drug users and traffickers as well as women who want control over their own bodies.

3. No, this was bad. Consider:

First it was the incident alleged by Ford. Then, second, as the evidence proved underwhelming, it was whether the taint of having been accused of such an incident compromised the perception that he would be a fair judge. Then, third, it was the question of whether Kavanaugh’s minimizing the seriousness of his drinking had constituted perjury. Fourth and finally, it was whether his outburst at the committee showed a partisanship that was evidence he lacked the “judicial temperament” to serve on the Court.

I know I had the restraint not to form an opinion on items 1-3 or to comment about them. What this article calls 4th in a sequence was actually the first direct evidence I could see and form an opinion on.

But look at the internal logic of the article. Because you "know" the answer to unknowns (1-3), you can know this was a "show trial" and know Kavanaugh's behavior (4) was justified.

That's one of the two polarized realities that settle out of this.

Somewhere in the center, some of us know that he-said/she-said can't be decided, and therefore "righteous anger" is still unknown as well.

Also, calling a hearing in front of a legislature controlled by your party is not remotely what constitutes a 'show trial'. And it goes to the crux of the problem with the article - interrogating a proposed justice's past and character is simply not a political assassination attempt

Had the accusations had any credibility, then yes. As it stands, No.

It was just a smear job, one that, in a different form, would have happened to anyone Trump nominated.

The accusations about temperament and lack of impartiality are real and verifiable. You want a fair judge not one who makes up loony Clinton conspiracy theories.

But I heard that Kav helped put the kabosh to those loony witch hunts.

"It was just a smear job, one that, in a different form, would have happened to anyone Trump nominated."

Might I remind you Kavanaugh is the second Supreme Court justice the President has appointed? Tell me about the "smearing" Gorsuch faced.

I mean, really? We're not talking about the general political response here, we're talking about the very specific hearing in the Senate that would not have happened if the Republican Senators who later voted 100% in favor of Kavanaugh didn't want it to happen. And it occurred on exactly the terms they wanted. Your contention is truly that the Republicans in the Senate conducted a smear job against Kavanaugh right before they elected him to the Supreme Court? Please try to slow down and breathe before your run out of oxygen.

You go, Special K!

"interrogating"?? Focusing on (testimony surrounding) a claim that he committed a sexual assault which clearly could not be adjudicated isn't an "interrogation", it is character assassination. I've read Ford has 2 Master's and a PhD. There is something seriously wrong with that woman. The fact that she chose two Democratic Party hatchet wielders AND now *claims* they didn't fully inform her of the offers made (in good faith) to her by the Judiciary Committee should tell any adult there's something wrong there. [If I cared enough, I'd have listened to her testimony which (I'd assume) might shed light on the one "fact" not at my disposal: how well did she know him before (and after) the incident? The crux of the matter is that by her own testimony she did not disclose who assaulted her for far too long to avoid back-filling. Her simply being "sure" that he did it (36 years later) is NOT the same as her disclosing it immediately. The Air Force's Blue Book on UFO sightings observed that most (not all, but most) UFO sightings were reported days or weeks after the event. Memory and dreams have a strange way of mixing over time. OTOH, alcoholics first line of defense is (inappropriate) anger directed at anyone suggesting they have a drinking problem. Kavanaugh has definitely checked off that box.

4 is the issue. Since Ford's accusations were hardly career destroying even if 100% true, it is Kavanaugh's complete overreaction that made me decide the Democrats have a point. Either he is guilty, he himself has no sense of proportion (a major flaw in a judge) , or he is a nasty cynic. The GOP has now basically decided to agree with the Democrats that a drunken sexual misdemeanor committed at age 17 should destroy your career. Kavanaugh is simply "not guilty" of said offense. That seems to me very short-sighted and stupid.

Is it really an 'overreaction' if he didn't do it? Try to empathize with the man that is totally innocent but being accused nonetheless. That being said, his comportment was unprofessional.

Ideally, a statesman so maligned could state his innocence, empathize with victims, and move to a teaching moment on teen binge drinking or etc.

"While I have no recollection of this and don't believe I was at any such parties, I do understand the danger of such situations. We have a minimum drinking age for that reason."

Basic law and order stuff.

Now, I have heard the claim that if we set the bar too high, no one will want to serve. But in a nation of 325 million, it is too much to think we can find 9 people, just 9, who meet my standard?

As with Trump in 2016, it is about standards. And as *I* think, by 2018 we have good experience with the dangers of abandoning standards.

There are two issues with the "temperament" talking point. First, Clarence Thomas had had a similar outburst during his confirmation hearings, and it wasn't held against him as evidence of a lack of judicial temperament, so raising this issue appeared opportunistic and unprecedented; it didn't help that some of Kavanaugh's Democratic questioners also displayed a great deal of anger and emotion in their questioning of him (not to mention rule-breaking), before and during the Ford-related hearings.

And that last part feeds into the second issue: the emotional impact and delivery of Ford's testimony was taken by many, even those sympathetic to Kavanaugh, as evidence that she was telling the truth, or at least believed she was telling the truth. Democrats praised her testimony as powerful and brave. Because of the instant-news culture of our current times, people were reporting before and immediately after that her emotional testimony that Kavanaugh was done and the fate of his nomination sealed. This sent the message that emotional force is what ultimately mattered politically; this opened up Kavanaugh, whose feelings were likely as sincere as Ford's (regardless of the truth of the matter), to deliver the emotionally charged, defensively angry, and accusatory speech that he did deliver, and likewise to unleash Lindsey Graham's anger as a counterpoint to his Democratic counterpart's earlier angry questioning.

The hearings were an all-around nasty affair, no one really came out looking good all-around except maybe Rachel Mitchell.

GOP has now basically decided to agree with the Democrats that a drunken sexual misdemeanor committed at age 17 should destroy your career. Kavanaugh is simply "not guilty" of said offense.

I'm not sure I agree that's what the Republicans decided. IMO they were essentially left with no choice BUT to confirm him (in spite of his bizarre outburst at the hearing), because otherwise they WOULD be setting that precedent. Either confirm him, or every future nominee (to the Supreme Court or god knows what else) would be subjected to FBI investigations of stupid shit they did in high school.

It is strange that only trump will note how absurd Ford’s claims were:

‘I’m 100% certain that sometime ago, probably in the 80’s, I went to a party with some people at someone’s house, i’m not sure how I got there or how I got home, but I am sure that it was Brett who attempted to rape me.”

That there is no articles laughing at the absurdity of it all shows that, indeed, we are living in the age of Robespierre.

Furthermore, these allegations were universally labeled at *credible*.

Our media is the worst.

They were too busy reporting on Obamas secret muslim marxist pedophelia hillary lesbian pizza parlor

So we should celebrate the Reddit-ization / 4chan-ification of our major media outlets?

What’s your point here other than “right wing internet conspiracy theories are stupid, therefore the NYtimes should refer to unsubstantiated / completely uncorroborated attempted rape allegations as ‘completely credible allegations.’”

Just because teenagers troll boomers on 4chan doesn’t mean we should not be worried at the entire 4th estate losing its collective mind.

They’ve lost their f’ing minds.

Pretty sure those sort of conspiracy claims, and others like them, are promoted by the top of the GOP pecking order.

Notably by (current and former) members of the Trump administration ans well as the President himself.

Interesting, you must live in a timeline without any "lock her up chants."

It is probably a nice place.

Is that an odd thing to say after the felonies she committed?

Remember, this is the week you are pretending you care about both civility and rule of law.

We know people are legally and formally "felons" when the case is made and they are convicted.

Not when the mob chants.

The acts are felonies. As she has not been convicted, I did not call her a felon.

You should find a woman who believes Kavanaugh is a felon and get a room.

So your bar for the Nytimes is a trump rally?

This is the counterpoint, are you f’ing serious?

“Well, Trump lies at his rallies so the Nytimes should do the same”

You morons and the Trumpers are both screwing this country in the long run. The fourth estate is burning its last shred of credibility to almost stop a Supreme Court Justice.

That seriously cannot fly.

The presidency is the highest office in the land.

Every other job in the land is of lesser importance including of course reporting for the New York Times.

And to cap it, you blame "morons" who pay attention to what the man with the most important job in our democracy does with his days.

One of the things we worried about early in the age of Trump was that he might dsmage our institutions and here you are saying "no one look at that!"

"No one expect decency, civility, or respect for rule of law from the president of the United States."

Sorry, Scared, of all the comments made here, yours is surely the most screamingly incorrect. First, it is well established that people suffering these traumas forget many surrounding details, with Ford clearly admitting what she did not know for sure and in fact citing the well-established scientific evidence on this.

However, where you are clearly just plain wrong is that Trump outright lied about what she did not know. He claimed she did not know the year. She reported it as 1982, and his calendar shows a party for "skis" on July 1 of that year with at least one person attending she identified as being there. The other was his "upstairs downstairs, she does not even know where it was." In fact she described the room and its locations, a bedroom on the second floor, in great detail. Trump just outright lied, although he has done that so many times we are all bored by it.

Of course, just to make this one of the lowest moment s of hi presidency, his crowd then chanted "lock her up!" regarding Ford. Maybe she did not remember all the details, but what she did that remotely deserves for her to be locked up is way beyond my conprehension. These people who chanted that are truly utterly despicable, and Trump just encouraged them. The only thing more disgusting is that this awful display seems to have been politically effective. This is truly nauseating.

It has also been established that people are terrible at identifying their assailants; I once had a patient claim I was her rapist ("It's him"). Of course the fact that I was on duty in the hospital for several hours on either side of when it happened made it bit easier to clear myself. Yet she was certain because of my ethnicity, my haircut, my build and my height. Somehow when she saw me her brain interpreted that I was the assailant. My patient had very clearly been raped, she just could not differentiate between myself and her assailant. People can and are confused about their assailants a lot of the time.

We have studied this in great detail, people cannot correctly pick out suspects from police lineups. Sometimes they frame the wrong guy (as the Innocence Project has shown time and again) sometimes they clear the guilty (as happened to Ted Bundy). Oddly enough the more certain people are, the less likely they are to have correctly IDed the right person. Yet we are supposed to ignore great swathes of data because Dr. Ford trots out some neuroscience.

And it does appear that Dr. Ford has been less than truthful about a number of things. Her claim of suffering from "claustrophobia" at length, yet people who knew her do not describe things I typically see when I treat claustrophobic patients. Claims have been made that she lived in exactly the sort of home she claims the assault made unlivable. These are testable claims. If she lied, not about memories of the past, but about verifiable facts, then she can be held in Contempt of Congress. The penalty for this offense would be 12 months of jail.

Now, sure I think only the strictest reading of her statements and the rules for contempt would convict her. But she is asking us to admit no doubt about four decades of recollection and in so doing thwart the results of an election she dislikes.

Could she be manufacturing all this? Well perhaps it is my family history speaking, but it was not that many generations ago that all the men in my family lived in terror that some white woman would make an accusation. After all, women never lie about sexual assault, and back then everybody knew of somebody who had been lynched. Somehow, in spite of climate where false accusations could literally kill people we had plenty of women who made them.

Why? Maybe they were afraid of having their reputations destroyed. Maybe they wished to preserve the extant political order. Maybe they were willfully blind.

I don't know, but I think it is pretty fair to say that Dr. Ford believes the stakes here to be as high or higher. Is it within the realm of possibility that she did fabricate everything? Sadly, yes. We have ample historical precedence.

Trump is an ass.

But just because an ass is making the nomination, leading the chants, and engaging in all manner of buffoonery does not mean we should give an iota more credence to Dr. Ford. Ultimately we are presented with uncorroborated claims by Dr. Ford, we cannot act as though they are dispositive. It certainly will not be elite white men who bear the burden of such a lower of social burden of proof. I, for one, have zero desire to returning to the days when accusations alone were sufficient proof of guilt to run a man out of town on a rail (if he was lucky).

This is a much stronger statement than that of many partisan hacks!

Barkley, she claimed it was in 1979, 80, or 81. She'd didn't even know the decade. 82 came up as people were trying to match it to a date. She lied about her knowledge of polygraphs, or her fear of flying, of the details of her polygraph, of her second front door. Her witnesses could not corroborate any of her claims, and her best friend at the time said she's been getting calls to change her testimony. There is basically either claims she cannot prove or claims she's made that turned out false. This whole affair has been despicable, lower than even the Democrats go.

As for 'lock her up'. After Comey's 11 min speech, ten of which how he detailed the felonies she committed, and the last minute on how he would not recommend prosecution, these are justified. Unlike the Ford circus, this had actual proof of wrongdoing. Not a surprise how you cannot distinguish between the two.

Show me the well-established evidence that someone groped suffers the same as a rape victim.

+1 for Barkley
Of course, just to make this one of the lowest moment s of his presidency, his crowd then chanted "lock her up!" regarding Ford. Maybe she did not remember all the details, but what she did that remotely deserves for her to be locked up is way beyond my conprehension. These people who chanted that are truly utterly despicable, and Trump just encouraged them. The only thing more disgusting is that this awful display seems to have been politically effective. This is truly nauseating.

I find all these recent the cries for harsh punishment distasteful. To lock Hillary up over the silly email security laws is ridiculous. A lot of those laws are silly and to be effective people from time to time ignore the law (it might be better that they all obey the letter of law and grind things to halt causing the laws to be changed but...). Lock Ford up is absurd, but I also find some of the calls to lock police involved in shootings up a bit upsetting, I am more comfortable Democrats and liberals calling for release of those imprisoned by bad police work than calls to put police in prison except when the case is clear and even then it should not be with such great enthusiasm. Those police are not generally dangerous once they are no longer police.

I guess it just shows the desire for justice is strong.

I almost wrote a scathing reply, and then I realized that this was a piece of subtle wit. Well done.

as the evidence proved underwhelming

There was NO evidence

Even if Mr. Caldwell is right that Kavanaugh’s reputation was assaulted without just cause, it is important to note that the Judge wasn’t being prosecuted for anything, he wasn’t being sued in civil court, he wasn’t even on the receiving end of a civil asset forfeiture dispossession. Characterizing his hearing as a show trial is fundamentally mistaken, because his liberty and property were never at stake. Due process, beyond a reasonable doubt, innocent until proven guilty, preponderance of the evidence; these are all vital concepts in legal proceedings, but they do not directly apply to political determinations. Certainly, they should strongly influence how we evaluate other people, but to pretend that the burden of proof in a nomination process is the same as in a court room is to reveal one’s own deep partisanship.

Furthermore, Kavanaugh and the Republicans (with the honorable exception of Senator Murkowski), put on a show of their own. They launched a full scale assault on Dr. Ford’s credibility and motives, going so far as to publicize Rachel Mitchell’s legal assessment of her claims, without offering a similar appraisal of Judge Kavanaugh’s position. That memo reasonably highlighted important problems with Dr. Ford’s story; but those positive attributes were outweighed by its evident bias, and poor analytical reasoning. Also, when Mitchell describes one of Dr. Ford’s recollections regarding the alleged assault itself, as opposed to peripheral details, she does not contest its legitimacy.

And yet, instead of being honest about their desire to crucify the Judge’s accuser, the Republicans almost universally claimed that they were not targeting Dr. Ford, but rather a vicious, unjust Democratic smear campaign. The problem with that claim is that the Democratic offensive against the Judge rested on Dr. Ford’s allegation; if the Left was behaving viciously and unjustly, then so was Dr. Ford, the mainspring of the anti-Kavanaugh movement. Shockingly, President Trump comes out of the debacle looking better than every other Republican except Senator Murkowski, because in publicly mocking the Judge’s accuser, he was being honest about how he, and his party, view Dr. Ford.

At bottom, the question was whether an uncorroborated, but still credible allegation of sexual assault should disqualify a person from serving on the nation’s highest court. In light of what we know about traumatic memory, the prevalence of sexual assault, and the relatively low rate of false accusations, I think the answer is clearly yes. But rather than addressing the core issue, Mr. Caldwell wants to talk about show trials.

Women polled seem to disagree:
Qunnipiac: Generic Ballot among white women

Jul 22: D+14

Sep 9: D+5

Sep 30: D+1

That you use white women as a barometer for all women says volumes about you.

Since it was in the title I didn't think I had to draw a map for you. Mea culpa.

She's lying. It's perfectly appropriate to point that out.

the question was whether an uncorroborated, but still credible allegation of sexual assault should disqualify a person

What, exactly made the allegation credible? Any normal person would have to assume a strong possibility that Ford's allegation was the product of a conspiracy.

I think Dr. Ford made a plausible accusation that could reasonably be true. To me, that makes the allegation credible. And I use words like reasonable and plausible, because her story is consistent with the patterns described in the outpouring of #MeToo journalism that started last year.

Significant that you mention #MeToo. Kavanaugh wasn't accused of vandalism or auto theft or embezzlement or shop lifting. The allegation had to be sexually related because in America's current post-Puritan sexual hysteria no crime can be as heinous as one with a sexual dimension. Convicted car thieves aren't required to register as such when moving into a community but 13 year-olds that send explicit photos of themselves to friends are branded as perverts for life. In reality, bearing false witness is a more serious crime than putting one's hand over a woman's mouth, per the ninth commandment.

Ask the now former owners of Rolling Stone Magazine what they think of "plausible" accusations of gang rape at a fraternity and indifference on the part of a UVA dean.

...liberty and property were never at stake....

Where does the choir boy go to get his reputation back. How does he get his reputation back?

As to his liberty not being at stake? With that mob? With the way the Dems are stirring up the crazies/shrieking harpies?

It’s not safe to go to a restaurant or play a basketball or baseball game. Or be on certain college campuses if you have an (R) after your name.

This is getting very, very serious and some of us in the “not important states” are paying attention.

Some live for a 1968 doever and it might be coming.

I love it when the right starts getting scared about being physically attacked for their views. Such precious projection.

Yep. What's a sniper at a baseball practice to worry about?

The prevalence of sexual assault is a much bigger problem than the occurrence of false accusations. Below are some useful articles.

So what? It is bad form to generalize from the population to a politically charged case like this one. And no, there is very little that is credible about Ford's selective memory, which remains entirely uncorroborated by any of the people alleged to have been present at the alleged gathering despite Ford's underhanded attempt to manipulate and to discredit Keyser (health problems supposedly affected Keyser's recollection but not Ford's).

First, context absolutely matters when making credibility assessments, as it does when making any other kind of assessment.

Second, selective memory is not at all surprising when a person has suffered trauma. Here is a useful Scientific American piece -

Third, Ford didn’t suggest that Keyser’s health problems affected her credibility. Here’s what she actually said (as reported in Breitbart):

“Leland has significant health challenges, and I’m happy that she’s focusing on herself and getting the health treatment that she needs, and she let me know that she needed her lawyer to take care of this for her, and she texted me right afterward with an apology and good wishes, and et cetera. So I’m glad that she’s taking care of herself.

I don’t expect that P.J. and Leland would remember this evening. It was a very unremarkable party. It was not one of their more notorious parties because nothing remarkable happened to them that evening. They were downstairs.”

Fourth, clearly there are inconsistencies in Dr. Ford’s account, and Rachel Mitchel properly pointed them out. But an evaluation of her credibility should be based on a balanced assessment of all availabile information.

Once again you ignore the political context. Either Ford thought she could get away with an anonymous accusation (based on selective memory that is conveniently impossible to disprove) or became a useful idiot for the Democratic Party that Ford has supported.

You are mistaken. There is a process for vetting people for these positions, and Feinstein knew about the allegations two months previous. She purposely created the situation that unfolded for political reasons. If the allegations was serious the proper place was in the vetting process.

The way it was done stunk. The way it was presented was to prevent proper handling of the allegations. There are serious holes in the story. We don't know whether it was a case of a vigorous therapist helping someone make up a story in a moment of vulnerability, which happens quite frequently.

It also got out of control. The media went on a frenzy which had the result of discrediting the original allegations.

If you want a circus you get clowns. I utterly reject any pleas for rationality and decency for anyone involved in this mess. It was a mud wrestling show. It was designed to be a mud wrestling show by the Democrats. And they lost, and may lose even worse in a month.

I agree that the process was grossly mismanaged, though probably for different reasons, but that is completely beside the point. Once the allegation became public, all that mattered was how the political system responded to the accusation, and the two that followed it.

As for concerns about circuses, that’s one of the few positive takeaways from this experience. I can’t imagine Xi Jinping putting up with the past few weeks, and the fact that Trump had to is a big point in favor of American democracy.

Hey greetings from Istanbul - long time fan just wanting to tell you guys to keep it up. I love this blog and it’s insightfulness.

A little o/t, but what happens now to Rachel Mitchel. Wasnt her job to work with sex assault victims?

Who the hell will want to talk to her now?

Not sure I follow you here...

If we assume her job requires obtaining the trust and cooperation of sexual assault victims, I am not sure how her allowing herself to be used in a shamelessly one-sided and partisan way to interrogate Ms. Ford on the behalf to the accused will endear her to sexual assault victims.

I bet she's in corporate practice within six months.

We've been told to "believe the woman," so if Rachel says the accuser is full of shit, we have to go with it.

She's a prosecutor. So she's ostensibly on the side of the victim. But the victim's account still has to pass some kind of criteria to launch a prosecution

Except in this case she only interviewed and opined on the accuser not the suspect.

In any case, my point is about the practical ramifications. The perceptions among the accused. Pretty sure there will be a campaign for her scalp by victims rights groups. Surely a smart prosecutor would have anticipated this as a consequence before taking the job and executing it in a blatantly one-sided manner as she did. Which makes me think she already has a soft landing planned.

corr: the perceptions among the victims.

and the accused though for that mater

She was a model of empathy and restraint compared to the dingbats on both sides. It was a senate hearing, not a legal case. No prosecutor would have wasted time interviewing an alleged victim when the statute of limitations ran out decades ago. Nor would any prosecutor have proceeded with a case on such flimsy evidence when the legal standard is proof beyond a reasonable doubt.

Which is precisely why any prosecutor who gave a crap about their role in a democracy and justice system would never agreed to participate in this sh*tshow, unless they were ready to get on the gravy train.

3. is really a great article. Now some of the losers tries here to argue that their defeat is so, so, so unfair, as they did after their defeats in World War II and the American civil war, but it is not even necessary to address their weak arguments.

Hey ya’ll. Here’s some absurdity that we all can agree makes you wanna barf in your mouth.

5: Well one item in that article is that the Collisons really like the book about Licklider, so I'm moving it higher on my to-read list.

4. Gobbledygook.

#3 What amazes me about the Kavanaugh saga is that he will screw so many of his supporters by his decisions.

Kavanaugh will rule for the rich, powerful, corporate and protect President Trump from legal challenges and the Mueller investigation.

He's perfect for that role.

What his ordinary American citizen supporters on the right side of the aisle don't understand is that his decisions will screw them, too.

The rich and powerful including Trump have so hoodwinked their followers that they have no idea what is to come.

I hope they all wake up. Soon.

What I also notice about the Kavanaugh saga is this country is suffering from increasing polarization. The nomination of Kavanaugh is designed to increase this polarization even more. I guess the Republicans think that increasing polarization is to their benefit. If they cared about that issue they would have nominated a less partisan candidate for the Supreme Court.

Traitor McConnell is very happy.

+1. Not a lot was talked about regarding Kavanaugh's actual stances. He's a neocon who believes in maximum Executive power and that a sitting President is immune to crimes and prosecution. This is not constitutional or conservative in anyway shape or form. After 2008, I thought that would be last of neocons. After 2016, I thought Trump was no neocon since a lot of NeverTrumpers are neocons. Wrong.

Cass Sunstein's post brings up something that I have always held that seems terribly overlooked. We are told, all the time, that X behavior is safe/good/beneficial when examined at a current point in time and space. Yet shifts in acceptability can show much greater shifts in outcome than results obtained just previously to the change.

For instance, take marijuana use. We have reams of studies about who will use how much. All of them turned out to be garbage the moment pot was legalized (basically every dispensary running out of product due to massive undershoot of demand). The amount of people who will consume to psychosis is vastly different once social constraints start slipping.

Changing cultural norms to endorse a behavior has far greater reach than actually just engaging in the behavior against cultural norms. Yet we never even bother to discuss these sorts of effects when debating their changes.

Will MeToo change cultural norms around sexual predation? Sure. We it engender an increase in the false report rate for sexual predation? Possibly. Will all of our old data become useless? Absolutely.

3. That's why they democrats want to destroy the Constitution and the Bill of rights, especially property rights. The democrats also supported slavery, Black Codes, Jim Crow and established the KKK.

That must be why Democrats love flyin' those Confederate flags.

+1, git 'er done!

Both parties seek to have judicially enforceable rights. Recently, the Supreme Court established that the right to religious freedom overrode democratically passed laws in the Masterpiece Cakeshop and Hobby Lobby cases, and this was widely praised by almost everyone on the right. I agree with both of those rulings, and generally think it is appropriate for the courts to strike down democratically passed laws that disproportionately harm minorities or nonvoters because those groups don’t have a reasonable recourse in the democratic process, but let’s not pretend Masterpiece Cakeshop and Hobby Lobby weren’t judicially created rights every bit as much as abortion and gay marriage.

The Religious Freedom Restoration Act was passed by Congress in 1993 by a vote of 97-3. Its sponsor in the House was Chuck Schumer and in the Senate was Ted Kennedy.

Its stated purpose was to prevent governments from burdening religious people with laws of general applicability. In Burwell the court created no new rights, it merely required the government to act in accords with legislation on the books, namely RFRA as delineated in the peyoted cases.

Masterpiece Cakeshop was decided on the grounds of West Virginia Board of Ed. vs Barnette. Neither of these cases broke new ground and both of them were about the silliness of how bureaucrats had taken license with interpreting statutes in the most inflexible direction possible. Literally, both cases were enforcing rights previously delineated in legislation and precedent.

Roe and Obergefell were the exact opposite. Roe vitiated a number of laws that had been enacted with no federal statute behind it. Obergefell vs Hodges again went against a number of laws and state constitutional amendments. Again the only federal statute in question was against the right created. Legal precedent was decidedly against it having been decided multiple times (after all the sodomy bans were legal until 2003 when the Supreme Court again flipped precedence).

In both Roe and Obergefell we are looking at de novo rights. Rights which the courts had previously denied existed. We are looking not at how laws should be interpreted and implemented, but going directly against the stated purposes of the laws.

Burwell and Masterpiece very much are not new rights, they just require the government to use the old methods when implementing these new laws. Roe and Obergefell are both novel, overriding precedent, and requiring laws to simply be vitiated.

In Hobby Lobby case court created new religious rights for corporations. The underlying issue was Hobby Lobby did not want to provide free birth control to its employees. In other words they were only trying to save money and used the religious argument to make their case.

I saw a bumper sticker once that said:

I'll believe corporations are people as soon as Texas executes one

"I'll believe corporations are people as soon as Texas executes one"

States do from time to time force corporations to dissolve (cease to exist) for such reasons as fraud, nonpayment of taxes, insolvency, etc.

Actually those rights were already given to corporations Citizens United. Citizens United had established that First Amendment freedoms. Absent a compelling government interest, corporations have always been free to pursue religious aims as case law has long held that corporations are groups of freely associating individuals. The question was strong was the Affordable Care Act's interest and if RFRA allowed alternative means to reach that end.

Frankly, the strand of law that has allowed corporations virtually all the rights of individual real persons is pretty old. Long before we got to Burwell corporations have been emancipated from many of the old strictures. Basically we are going back to the really old view of corporations as nothing more than agglomerations of individuals, but with protections against extended liability.

There are plenty of cases where you can make a good argument about conservatives discovering "rights" that do not exist, at least for a long time. Burwell is not that case. It basically said that when the court allowed corporations to make claim to some of the 1st Amendment rights, it let them claim all of them.

#3. That was disappointing. Just another partisan rage rant full of mind reading and conspiracy theories. Both sides are crazy, and I mean that literally. The Democrats are wrapped in a delusional universe in which Kavanaugh is a gang rapist who is definitely going to overturn Roe v. Wade, and the Republicans believe the entire thing is a conspiracy orchestrated by the Clintons to get revenge for the election, because the Clintons are just that good at getting millions of people to follow their marching orders.

Who needs marching orders when your followers are insane already? Why bother with a conspiracy if you can just babble something insane into a megaphone?

Lots of that is crazy, but Kavanaugh is DEFINITELY overturning Roe v Wade. So blue states will keep it, red ones will abandon, and red state politicians will have to fly their secretaries to Illinois to take care of problems.

Why do you think Kavanaugh is definitely overturning Roe v. Wade ?
He has authored opinions that upheld it in the past.

I didn't know that. Just seemed like the whole point of who Reps pick. I still say it's pretty likely.

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