Lazy Saturday Reads: Caturday and Kavanaugh

Good Afternoon!!

I’m getting a slow start today because I’ve been having stabbing pain in my right eye from falling asleep with my face in the pillow. I don’t know why this happens. It might be because I have surgically inserted lenses in my eyes. Anyway, that’s my excuse for being so late.

You’ve probably seen this by now, but when I read it last night everything about fell into place for me. Brett Kavanaugh is the culmination of the “vast right wing conspiracy” that Hillary Clinton warned us about so long ago.

NBC News: I knew Brett Kavanaugh during his years as a Republican operative. Don’t let him sit on the Supreme Court, by David Brock

Twenty years ago, when I was a conservative movement stalwart, I got to know Brett Kavanaugh both professionally and personally.

Brett actually makes a cameo appearance in my memoir of my time in the GOP, “Blinded By The Right.” I describe him at a party full of zealous young conservatives gathered to watch President Bill Clinton’s 1998 State of the Union address — just weeks after the story of his affair with a White House intern had broken. When the TV camera panned to Hillary Clinton, I saw Brett — at the time a key lieutenant of Ken Starr, the independent counsel investigating various Clinton scandals — mouth the word “bitch.”

But there’s a lot more to know about Kavanaugh than just his Pavlovian response to Hillary’s image. Brett and I were part of a close circle of cold, cynical and ambitious hard-right operatives being groomed by GOP elders for much bigger roles in politics, government and media.

Call it Kavanaugh’s cabal: There was his colleague on the Starr investigation, Alex Azar, now the Secretary of Health and Human Services. Mark Paoletta is now chief counsel to Vice President Mike Pence; House anti-Clinton gumshoe Barbara Comstock is now a Republican member of Congress. Future Fox News personalities Laura Ingraham and Tucker Carlson were there with Ann Coulter, now a best-selling author, and internet provocateur Matt Drudge.

Brock details how Kavanaugh became the “designated leaker” in the Starr investigation and how used his position to weaponize right wing conspiracy theories.

Another compatriot was George Conway (now Kellyanne’s husband), who led a secretive group of right-wing lawyers — we called them “the elves” — who worked behind the scenes directing the litigation team of Paula Jones, who had sued Clinton for sexual harassment. I knew then that information was flowing quietly from the Jones team via Conway to Starr’s office — and also that Conway’s go-to man was none other than Brett Kavanaugh.

That critical flow of inside information allowed Starr, in effect, to set a perjury trap for Clinton, laying the foundation for a crazed national political crisis and an unjust impeachment over a consensual affair.

Please read the rest if you haven’t already.

The New York Times Editorial Board weighs in on Kavanaugh: Confirmed: Brett Kavanaugh Can’t Be Trusted. A perfect nominee for a president with no clear relation to the truth.

In a more virtuous world, Judge Brett Kavanaugh would be deeply embarrassed by the manner in which he has arrived at the doorstep of a lifetime appointment to the Supreme Court.

He was nominated by a president who undermines daily the nation’s democratic order and mocks the constitutional values that Judge Kavanaugh purports to hold dear.

Now he’s being rammed through his confirmation process with an unprecedented degree of secrecy and partisan maneuvering by Republican senators who, despite their overflowing praise for his legal acumen and sterling credentials, appear terrified for the American people to find out much of anything about him beyond his penchant for coaching girls’ basketball.

Perhaps most concerning, Judge Kavanaugh seems to have trouble remembering certain important facts about his years of service to Republican administrations. More than once this week, he testified in a way that appeared to directly contradict evidence in the record.

Read numerous examples of Kavanaugh’s mendacity at the link.

Kavanaugh received and used stolen Democratic emails when he worked in the Bush White House, and he’s not the least bit sorry. The Washington Post: Leahy says Kavanaugh was ‘not truthful’ about Democratic documents.

Sen. Patrick J. Leahy (D-Vt.) said Friday that Supreme Court nominee Brett Kavanaugh was “not truthful” when he denied knowing that he had received documents that Leahy said had been “stolen” from him and other Democrats.

Leahy said that emails disclosed during Kavanaugh’s nomination hearing this week buttress his case that Kavanaugh knew, or should have known, that he had received documents that Republican staffers took from a computer jointly shared with Democrats.

“There were numerous emails sent to him that made it very clear this was stolen information, including a draft letter from me,” Leahy said in an interview….

Leahy’s charge stems from an infamous episode between 2001 and 2003 when a Republican counsel on the Senate Judiciary Committee, Manuel Miranda, learned that Democrats on the panel had put documents on a computer server shared with Republicans. Miranda said in an interview that he read them to learn about the party’s strategy on judicial nominations coming before the committee.

At the time, Kavanaugh was associate counsel in the White House and was responsible for helping to vet judicial nominees who would appear before the Judiciary Committee.

As I’m sure you’ve heard, Kavanaugh lied about this affair in previous confirmation hearings.

Mother Jones: Five Times Brett Kavanaugh Appears to Have Lied to Congress While Under Oath.

Supreme Court nominee Brett Kavanaugh has made declarations under oath during his current and past confirmation hearings that are contradicted by documents from his time as a counsel to the president and staff secretary in the George W. Bush White House. Newly released documents have undermined Kavanaugh’s declarations to the Senate Judiciary Committee, contradictions that are drawing close scrutiny from many Democrats. Kavanaugh has denied making any misleading or false statements.

His role in accessing stolen documents: In 2002, a GOP aide on the Senate Judiciary Committee, Manuel Miranda, stole thousands of documents belonging to the committee’s Democratic staff. At the time, Kavanaugh was a White House lawyer working on judicial nominations, which included working alongside Miranda. In 2003, President Bush nominated Kavanaugh to his current position on the DC Circuit Court of Appeals and his confirmation hearing was held in 2004—though he was not confirmed until two years later. During his 2004 hearing, Kavanaugh denied ever receiving any of the documents Miranda stole. Asked if he “ever come across memos from internal files of any Democratic members given to you or provided to you in any way?” he replied, “No.” In 2006, also under oath, he again denied ever receiving stolen documents….

Warrantless wiretapping: At a 2006 confirmation hearing, Kavanaugh told Sen. Patrick Leahy (D-Vt.) that he knew nothing of the NSA’s warrantless wiretapping program, launched under President George W. Bush, until the New York Times revealed it publicly in 2005. Kavanaugh insisted he’d heard “nothing at all” about the program before that, even though he was a senior administration aide. But a September 17, 2001 email provided to the New York Times this week shows that Kavanaugh was involved in at least initial discussions about the widespread surveillance of phones that characterized the NSA program….

Torture: During the same 2006 confirmation hearing, Kavanaugh told Sen. Dick Durbin (D-Ill.) that he “was not involved” in legal questions related to the detention of so-called enemy combatants. But Durbin said Thursday that records show that there are at least three recorded examples of Kavanaugh participating in discussions of Bush administration detainee policy. Kavanaugh stood by his prior answer.

Please read the rest of the examples and explanations at Mother Jones.

More interesting reads, links only:

Lisa Graves at Slate: I Wrote Some of the Stolen Memos That Brett Kavanaugh Lied to the Senate About. He should be impeached, not elevated.

Just Security: Judge Kavanaugh’s Testimony on His Constitutional View of Presidential Immunity is Misleading—and It Also Clinches the Case for Recusal.

Bloomberg: DNC Lawyers Raise Prospect That Papadopoulos’s U.K. Contact May Be Dead.

The Daily Beast: We Found the ‘Plaid Shirt Guy’ Who Trolled Trump’s Rally With Hilarious Faces.

The Atlantic: ‘The Separation Was So Long. My Son Has Changed So Much.’U.S. border guards took a 6-year-old Honduran boy from his mother, and ultimately returned a deeply traumatized child.

The New York Times: Trump Administration Discussed Coup Plans With Rebel Venezuelan Officers.

New York Review of Books: ‘Bless Nixon for Those Tapes’: An Interview with John Dean.

What stories have you been following?


Crazzzzy Monday Reads

images (12)Good Afternoon!

It’s been a long few days for me culminating with spending the morning at the LASPCA trying to spring my friend’s runaway dog.  Did I mention it took three hours while I had to look at about 10 cute kittens that definitely need a home ASAP giving me those big eyes ? So, I’m late with everything, tired, and the last thing I need is to crack a virtual newspaper and read about crazy.  However, we still have two crazies in the race, so it’s crazzyyy Monday!!!

We knew the Trump ads against Clinton would be bad but we’re beginning to see exactly how bad they will be.  I think most newspaper Tabloids have less sensation and more facts to be perfectly honest. Is this a clickbait headline or what? Alex Jones has taken over candidate Trump’s policies and their oppo research.  From TPM:  “New Trump Video Mixes Bill Clinton Rape Allegation, Hillary Clinton Laughing.”

Donald Trump released a new Instagram video on Monday featuring audio from interviews with women who’ve accused former President Bill Clinton of sexual assault. The accompanying text asks if Democratic presidential frontrunner Hillary Clinton is “really protecting women.”

As a photo of Bill Clinton comes into focus against a black-and-white photo of the White House, a voice can be heard saying “I was very nervous.”

That voice belongs to former White House intern Monica Lewinsky, explaining her concern about divulging her affair with the President to a grand jury.

The next voice says “No woman should be subjected to it. It was an assault.” That’s Kathleen Wiley, a former White House volunteer who alleged that Clinton groped her in the hallway of the White House in 1993, speaking with Fox News’ Sean Hannity in 2007.

The last bit of audio is taken from an infamous 1999 NBC Dateline interview with Juanita Broaddrick, a former nursing home administrator who accused Clinton of raping her in 1978. A tearful Broaddrick can be heard saying that he “started to bite my top lip and I tried to pull away from him.”

Clinton denied the assault on Willey in a 1998 deposition and has also denied Broaddrick’s rape allegation, which surfaced at the time of congressional impeachment proceedings over his affair with Lewinsky.

Trump’s video clip ends with a shot of Hillary and Bill Clinton together. While audio of Hillary Clinton laughing plays, the words “Here we go again” appear on the screen.

It’s the second time in two weeks that Trump has brought up past sexual assault allegations against Bill Clinton. He has called Hillary Clinton a “nasty, mean enabler” of her husband’s alleged affairs.

We’re about to hit through  the boundaries of horrific misogyny32316240-chihuahua-dog-ready-to-run-away-ready-for-adoption-isoalted-on-white-background-Stock-Photo straight into new, uncharted territory.   This is simply on the internet now, but I can only imagine what he’ll eventually try on other forms of media.  This is really appalling.

And this on top of crazy Bernie Sanders and his delusional dead-enders!

There are also the usual proxies for the two campaigns.  I’m not sure if you’ve had a chance to read this but you might want to look at the NYT’s profiles of Roger Stone (Trump) and David Brock (Clinton).  It’s about some of their behind the scene work for the campaigns.

One takes a pint-size dog named Toby almost everywhere, smokes electronic cigarettes and wears his silver hair in a flowing pompadour.

The other has a portrait of Richard M. Nixon tattooed on his back, boasts that he owns more shoes than Imelda Marcos and traffics in conspiracy theories about the Kennedy assassination.

The 2016 election, filled with ugly insults, whispered innuendo and sordid character attacks, features two central antagonists known for their colorful traits and devotion to the dark arts of politics: David Brock and Roger J. Stone Jr.

Each has a passion for his side — Mr. Brock for Hillary Clinton and Mr. Stone for Donald J. Trump — and a zeal for attacking critics of his candidate. Their intensity and pugnacity make them either perfect villains or misunderstood masterminds, depending on your point of view.

On the wall of Mr. Stone’s office in South Florida, which has an undisclosed address because of the death threats he said he had received, hangs a “Spy vs. Spy” cartoon, which young staff members titled “Brock-Stone” after the two battling operatives.

“The dynamic between the two of them is very interesting,” said Hank Sheinkopf, a Democratic strategist who knows both men. “This will be a battle about who’s tougher.”

Politics has always attracted flamboyant characters with a sometimes-reckless devotion to a cause, and both these men seem to enjoy their outsize images.

Mr. Brock, 53, divides his time between Washington and the West Village in Manhattan, throwing lively salons and wooing liberal donors on both coasts, often accompanied by Toby, his schnoodle — a schnauzer-poodle mix.

7.10.14-Dog-ActivityWe frequently read our friend’s at Brock financed pro-Hillary blog Blue Nation Review.   The NYT article has some interesting stories on him and the purpose of his pro-Hillary PAC.

Mr. Brock now runs Correct the Record, a “super PAC” that coordinates with the Clinton campaign to defend Mrs. Clinton, and American Bridge, a related group that digs up opposition research to defeat Mr. Trump. (Enough to “knock Trump Tower down to the subbasement,” as Mr. Brock put it in remarks to liberal donors, according to Politico.)

His mission now will largely be to get inside Mr. Stone’s complicated head to anticipate, and stay ahead of, Mr. Trump’s attacks. Mrs. Clinton’s allies have vehemently denied that she was involved in silencing Mr. Clinton’s accusers, but Mr. Trump will continue to push that assertion as the two candidates battle for the support of women voters.

Mr. Stone acknowledged that Mr. Brock’s operation has significantly more resources, but he said the traditional tactic of dismissing these accusations as sordid rumors could backfire. “Brock is calling us conspiracy theorists and trying to make us all sound kooky,” he said. “The only people that scares away are the elites.”

Mr. Brock’s group Media Matters for America has taken direct aim at Mr. Stone, labeling him “the underbelly of the Trump machine” and assembling an encyclopedia on his tactics, including his involvement in a National Enquirer article that accused Senator Ted Cruz’s father of associating with Lee Harvey Oswald before President John F. Kennedy’s assassination. Mr. Stone calls Media Matters part of “the Clinton slime machine.”

Both men operate outside the official campaigns, though Mr. Brock directly coordinates with the Clinton campaign through Correct the Record. Mr. Stone said he had “no formal or informal role” within the Trump campaign, but he is close to Mr. Trump and has had a major influence on strategy.

And both have taken risky moves that have created drama and tensions within the campaigns they are ostensibly helping.

We probably are experience some Nixonian election tactics this year. So, I am going to use Media Matters as the go to for this story on the potential of running-awayNewt Gingrich showing up as Trump’s VP.  I didn’t want to go directly to the National Review but you can if you’d like!  It’s amazing to me that what looks like a slate of serial adulterers and cheaters is going after Hillary on her husband.  The optics on that alone are so bad as to make your eyeballs peel.  It can’t be to attract women. It must be a full throttle all speed ahead to grab white men’s votes.

Fox News figures are praising network contributor Newt Gingrich as a “great choice” for Donald Trump’s running mate. They have touted Gingrich — the first speaker of the U.S. House of Representatives to be punished by the House for ethics violations — as “a genius,” “a conservative with bona fides,” and someone who would “bring tremendous stability, tremendous gravitas, incredible intellect,” and “judgment experience.”  

Trump Is Considering Gingrich As His Running Mate

Bloomberg: Trump Has Discussed Gingrich As His VP. Bloomberg reported that “Trump has discussed in recent days the possibility of selecting former U.S. House Speaker Newt Gingrich as his running mate, according to people familiar with the talks.” [Bloomberg, 5/11/16]

Trump: Gingrich Is “Absolutely” On His Short List For VP. The Fox News morning show Fox & Friendsasked Trump if Gingrich was on his short list for vice president. Trump responded: “Absolutely. I’ll say yes, because he’s been such a supporter. I mean, anybody that supports me is on the shortlist as far as I’m concerned.” [The Hill, 5/20/16]

Gingrich Has Suggested He Would Accept The VP Slot. Gingrich stated during a Fox News interview that he would be “very hard-pressed not to say ‘yes’” if offered the spot. [The Huffington Post, 5/16/16]

Trump Aide: Staffers Were Informed Gingrich “Will Have His Hand In Every Major Policy Effort.”National Review reported of “Gingrich’s ascent to Trump’s inner circle”:

Gingrich’s influence within Trump World is widespread. Inside Trump’s newly established campaign offices in Washington, D.C., his fingerprints are everywhere. “Right from the minute I joined we were told that Newt will have his hand in every major policy effort,” says one Trump aide. “So one of the things I do when I’m researching or writing anything, in addition to looking at what Trump has said about anything, I look at what Newt has said.”

Gingrich’s ascent to Trump’s inner circle — and potentially to the vice presidency — marks a reversal of fortune for the speaker, who in recent years has fallen out of favor with party elites over his vocal criticisms of the Iraq War and Paul Ryan’s proposal to reform Medicare. On both issues, the views that irked GOP insiders were squarely in line with the unorthodox positions Trump has espoused on the campaign trail. [National Review, 5/23/16]

So, it will be ugly if it’s the doughboys but it’s an easy take down on the sexcapades at least.  I still can’t believe any woman would find Newt’s history fbb9e510884e48c9828b933f161fabf7with women any more appealing than Trump’s.  Still, Trump’s campaign insists they will be aggressive in their ads against Hillary,

“Republicans have been accused in the past, and some degree rightfully so, of not tearing the bark off of our opponents, and this year Donald Trump has made it very clear we are going to be aggressive” to get a Republican in the White House, Sean Spicer RNC chief strategist and spokesman, said.

“We’ve been at it for four years going through her record,” Spicer also said, as quoted by Breitbart. “This idea that people know who she is and that they’ve seen everything is just ridiculous.”

Spicer, speaking with Breitbart News Sunday on SiriusXM radio, added the party has only “scratched the surface” with Clinton.

I never understand the appeal of these kinds of attacks.  They really turn me off. It’s one of the reasons I’m ready to do just about anything within the legal boundaries of the law to see that Bernie Sanders goes back to the Vermont outback, never to be heard from again.  Why do all the remaining dudes in this race all represent the angry white male, women-hating prototype?   Are there really that many of them left out there?

What’s on your reading and blogging list today?