Tuesday, October 02, 2018

Cruising the Web

When you hear the Democrats whining that a one-week FBI investigation is insufficient for looking into Kavanaugh, remember this.
SENATORS CHUCK SCHUMER (D-NY) and DIANNE FEINSTEIN (D-CA): “It will not take a ‘tremendous amount of time.’” (Release, 9/23/18)

SENATOR AMY KLOBUCHAR (D-MN): “We’re not going to say, 'Why isn’t this a month-long investigation?' but we’re going to at least say let’s give this one week.” (John Croman, “Klobuchar pivotal in Kavanaugh drama.’” KARE, 9/29/18)

SENATOR CHRIS COONS (D-DE): “I wish you would join us in calling for an FBI investigation for one week when you clear or confirm some of these allegations.” (Hearing, 9/27/18)

SENATOR MAZIE HIRONO (D-HI): “The thing is that every Senate vote matters and there is – there is time to get to the bottom of it, even if it’s seven days.” (ABC This Week, 9/30/18)

SENATORS KLOBUCHAR, HARRIS, LEAHY, WHITEHOUSE, BLUMENTHAL, JONES, UDALL, CORTEZ MASTO: “Declining to have the FBI take action under these circumstances also abandons the precedent that President George H.W. Bush set when he asked the FBI to investigate... the FBI finished its work in three days.” (Release, 9/20/18)

Gee, it seems like they were willing to say anything and then flip on a dime simply for political expediency, doesn't it?

We can see the Democrats' goalposts being moved before our very eyes. This has gone beyond allegations of sexual assault to the Democrats' and media focus on how much he might have drunk in high schools. And, in talking about that, they're deliberately misleading about what Kavanaugh said to make it seem that he denied drinking a lot. They're jumping from that to saying he perjured himself and also to argue that he did indeed drink so much that he couldn't remember attacking a Dr. Ford.
The new developments raised two questions. One, did Kavanaugh actually lie to the Senate about his drinking? And two, why are Democrats, now that they have finally won the FBI investigation they wanted into the sexual misconduct allegations against Kavanaugh, suddenly making a bigger deal of his drinking?

On the first, Kavanaugh clearly told the Senate he drank in high school and college. He told the Senate he sometimes drank to excess. But he said he did not black out, nor did he drink so much that he could not remember events that took place while he was drinking.

"I drank beer with my friends," Kavanaugh testified. "Almost everyone did. Sometimes I had too many beers. Sometimes others did. I liked beer. I still like beer. But I did not drink beer to the point of blacking out, and I never sexually assaulted anyone."

That was pretty clear. Kavanaugh repeated it all when the Republican-appointed prosecutor, Rachel Mitchell, questioned him.

"Yes, we drank beer," he said. "My friends and I, the boys and girls. Yes, we drank beer. I liked beer. Still like beer. We drank beer. The drinking age, as I noted, was 18, so the seniors were legal, senior year in high school, people were legal to drink, and we — yeah, we drank beer, and I said sometimes — sometimes probably had too many beers, and sometimes other people had too many beers."

Mitchell pressed Kavanaugh on whether he sometimes drank so much that he forgot what he did when he was drinking.

"Have you ever passed out from drinking?"

"I — passed out would be — no, but I've gone to sleep, but — but I've never blacked out," Kavanaugh said. "That's the — that's the — the allegation, and that — that — that's wrong."

"So let's talk about your time in high school," Mitchell said. "In high school, after drinking, did you ever wake up in a different location than you remembered passing out or going to sleep?"

"No, no."

"Did you ever wake up with your clothes in a different condition, or fewer clothes on than you remembered when you went to sleep or passed out?"

"No, no."

"Did you ever tell — did anyone ever tell you about something that happened in your presence that you didn't remember during a time that you had been drinking?"


"During the time in high school when you would be drinking, did anyone ever tell you about something that you did not remember?"


Later in the hearing, Democratic Sen. Amy Klobuchar picked up the questioning. "Drinking is one thing, but the concern is about truthfulness, and in your written testimony, you said sometimes you had too many drinks. Was there ever a time when you drank so much that you couldn't remember what happened, or part of what happened the night before?"

"No, I — no," Kavanaugh answered. "I remember what happened, and I think you've probably had beers, senator, and — and so I..."

"So you're saying there's never been a case where you drank so much that you didn't remember what happened the night before, or part of what happened?"

"It's — you're asking about, you know, blackout," Kavanaugh said. "I don't know. Have you?"

"Could you answer the question, judge? I just — so you — that's not happened. Is that your an. What swer?"

"Yeah, and I'm curious if you have," Kavanaugh said.

"I have no drinking problem, judge."

"Yeah, nor do I."
That last bit with Senator Klobuchar and that's probably why he came back after a break and apologized to her. His advisers probably told him that that was over the line. But notice what he said about his drinking - no way is that a denial of heavy drinking.
Some Democrats and their allies in the press suggested Kavanaugh lied in his exchanges with Mitchell and the Democratic senators. But how? Kavanaugh was quite open about the fact that he drank in high school and in college, and also about the fact that he sometimes drank too much. He denied having alcohol-related blackouts, but said he had "gone to sleep" after drinking. On another occasion, responding to Klobuchar, he said "I don't know" when asked if he had ever drunk so much that he didn't remember what happened the night before. It's hard to see where the "federal crime," as Sen. Sanders put it, is in that testimony.

But by Sunday night, the Washington Post reported that "many Democrats have called for the FBI to take a broader look at whether Kavanaugh may have misled senators by minimizing his carousing behavior in high school and college."

Both the Post and the New York Times featured statements by a man named Charles Ludington, who was a classmate of Kavanaugh's at Yale and is now a professor at North Carolina State University. (He has written an academic history of wine.) Ludington said that in college Kavanaugh was "a frequent drinker, and a heavy drinker." Ludington said he had heard Kavanaugh "slur his words" and saw him "staggering from alcohol consumption." (Ludington said he knew that because "I often drank with him.")

"When Brett got drunk, he was often belligerent and aggressive," Ludington continued. "On one of the last occasions I purposely socialized with Brett, I witnessed him respond to a semi-hostile remark, not by defusing the situation, but by throwing his beer in the man's face and starting a fight that ended with one of our mutual friends in jail."

Ludington said he was going to take his tale of a 35-year-old scuffle to the FBI for further investigation, to show that Kavanaugh lied under oath to the Senate. "I can unequivocally say that in denying the possibility that he ever blacked out from drinking, and in downplaying the degree and frequency of his drinking, Brett has not told the truth," Ludington said.

The problem is, there is nothing in Ludington's statement that actually contradicts Kavanaugh's testimony. As noted, Kavanaugh testified that he drank plenty. And Ludington did not say that he, Ludington, ever witnessed Kavanaugh blacked out or passed out from alcohol. It is unclear what, if anything, the FBI would do with such a presentation from Ludington. But such stories are causing great excitement in Democratic Washington at the moment.
The Democrats have realized that Dr. Ford's testimony is looking a bit weaker than might have seemed while she was giving it. It is still totally uncorroborated by the people she named as having been there. So now they want to move the goalposts to assail Kavanaugh's memory by alleging that he drank so much that he just doesn't remember attacking Ford.
The problem, of course, is that is all anti-Kavanaugh theorizing. There's no evidence to support it, just as there is no evidence beyond Christine Ford's word to support the original attack allegation. But it's what Democrats have to work with right now, and it's why they are trying to change the subject from alleged sexual misconduct to Kavanaugh's teenage drinking.

Rich Lowry points out how silly the New York Times is being in covering this newest allegation.
A New York Times story from over the weekend perfectly illustrated how the media and the Left are distorting what he said. Here is the passage in the Times story:
During Thursday’s hearing, he spoke of enjoying beer but said he did not drink to excess. “I drank beer with my friends,” he said. “Almost everyone did. Sometimes I had too many beers. Sometimes others did. I liked beer. I still like beer. But I did not drink beer to the point of blacking out,” he said.
Here you have an assertion in a news report that is directly contradicted by the quote following. The Times says he denied drinking to excess, then quotes him saying, “Sometimes I had too many beers.” The suggestion that he was deceptive is just flat-out wrong and blatantly so, but such is the magnetic pull of the idea that he lied that the Times bows to it even when directly contradicted a few sentences later.
The Times had to eventually go back and change their story because someone must have realized that they were contradicting themselves in the same sentence.

Philip Klein explains that the power of Rachel Mitchell's memo that simply laid out what Ford said herself and the internal contradictions was valuable because it was the first time that someone formally looked at her testimony. Sure, there are all sorts of people on the internet picking apart her testimony, but this was the first official statement examining what she has claimed.
Why this is significant is that ever since Ford's allegations become public, there have been dozens of "fact checks" about the allegations. But as shown by this roundup from Poynter, those checks have been nearly exclusively an attempt to call Kavanaugh's honesty into question or to debunk claims about Ford. These checks have been extremely flawed, often inaccurately paraphrasing what Kavanaugh said, to set up a fact check contradicting him.
See the way the media have been looking at Kavanaugh's supposed drinking.
What Mitchell provides in her memo is something that has been entirely missing from media coverage — a fact-based document looking at some of the holes in Ford's account.

Just in case you lost track, here are the various times which Dr. Ford has said the party happened. I just wonder if it took until late July for someone to point out that Kavanaugh would have graduated high school and might not have been around for the summer if she went with the years she originally named.

If they can't get Kavanaugh on sexual assault or drinking, the last refuge of the Democrats seems to be that he doesn't have the temperament to be a judge. Forget the fact that he has been a well-respected judge for the past two years. Elena Kagan herself hired him to teach at Harvard. He received praise from both liberals and conservative within the legal community when he was nominated. But suddenly, he doesn't have the temperament because he had the nerve to get angry when he was accused of sexual assault and gang rape. Andrew McCarthy writes,
Of course, the best measure we have of how someone will perform in a government office is how that person has already performed when in that office, or in a very similar one. And the best measure we have of the seriousness and good faith of a critic’s claim against a nominee is whether the critic consistently levels similar charges in analogous situations.

On that score, I note the following:

Brett Kavanaugh has been a judge for a dozen years on one of the most important judicial tribunals in the country, the United States Court of Appeals for the D.C. Circuit. In that office, not only has he issued over 300 opinions, which have been broadly admired for their craftsmanship and heavily relied on by the Supreme Court and other federal courts; he has also been widely praised for his judicial temperament by litigants, colleagues, and bar associations. The diverse group of clerks he has mentored has been in high demand for Supreme Court clerkships and other distinguished positions in the legal profession.

His judicial temperament could not be more apparent.
And if we're going to say that Kavanaugh can't sit on the Court because he is so angry at Senate Democrats, how about Ruth Bader Ginsburg's public criticisms of Donald Trump? Would any Democrat argue that she had to recuse herself from any case brought by his administration?

David French goes through what all this moving the goalposts really means: the case against Kavanaugh is falling apart.
A very strange thing happened over the weekend: If you follow Twitter closely, you’ll notice that the debate over Brett Kavanaugh moved significantly from the central question of last Thursday’s hearing — did he commit sexual assault? — to a raging debate over whether he lied about high-school slang, college drinking, and inside jokes, and whether he was just too “angry” to be a Supreme Court judge.

This torrent of commentary (most of it silly, including competing, furious arguments about how people described anal sex in 1982) obscures an important development: The sexual-assault claims against Kavanaugh are in a state of collapse.

Charles C. W. Cooke points out that it is rather strange of the Democrats to outsource the investigation to the FBI, an executive branch agency under the control of the evil President Trump.
Whatever has led us to this place, it has produced a farcical spectacle. Alternately, the Democratic party insists that the FBI must investigate, and that only it can resolve this matter and that the FBI cannot do its job fairly under Trump, and that the Senate has no power to force it to. Eventually — eventually — the people in Congress will realize that their behavior, not electing the right president, is the key to the restoration of their power.
Of course, conducting such an investigation is one more job that Congress is delegating to the executive branch even though the Judiciary Committee is given extra funding to hire former federal prosecutors and FBI agents to conduct investigations of Supreme Court nominees. But partisanship bars the Democrats from conceding this simple fact. So they're forced to call for the FBI out of one side of their mouths while badmouthing the FBI's investigation out of the other side.

John Fund notes that it was might convenient that there were cameramen right there when women started yelling at Senator Flake in the elevator. CNN just happened to be there to film the encounter and help it go viral. So who were those two women?
Perhaps because the women expressed such raw emotion, few media outlets dug into their political activism. Archila is an executive director of the Center for Popular Democracy; she had spent the previous week in Washington engaged in protests against Kavanaugh. Gallagher is a 23-year-old activist with the group. The Center is a left-wing group that is heavily funded by George Soros’s Open Society Foundations. Indeed, as of 2014, the Open Society was one of the three largest donors to the group.

Make no mistake. The Center for Popular Democracy is at the heart of the effort to stop Kavanaugh
One of the individuals is associated with the Working Families Party, a group associated with ACORN. What a coincidence, eh?

Expect more of such planned theater assisted by a pliant media that just wants content, particularly if it makes Republicans look bad.

The Senate Judiciary Committee is referring to the Justice Department for a criminal review the person who submitted information to the Committee that was false.
Committee investigators have actively pursued a number of tips the committee has received regarding the nomination of Judge Kavanaugh to the Supreme Court, though the committee has not been able to substantiate any allegations of wrongdoing by Judge Kavanaugh. One tip was referred to the committee by staff for Sen. Sheldon Whitehouse (D-R.I). While Whitehouse referred the accuser to a reporter, the committee took the claim seriously and questioned Judge Kavanaugh about the allegations under penalty of felony. Judge Kavanaugh denied any misconduct. After the transcripts of that interview became public, the individual recanted the claims on a social media post.
Good. Maybe having some legal repercussions will stop people from making wild allegations just to try to be part of the story or hurt Kavanaugh.

This might give you pause if you're so sure that you can spot who is lying in this whole thing. Jim Geraghty lists several prominent stories that were based on lies, yet a lot of people believed them at the time. Maybe we're not so good as we think at figuring out who is lying and who is telling the truth.
Plenty of people insist, “I know how to spot a liar.”

Right, right. This is why some of you bought tickets to the Fyre Festival, bought a lemon of a used car, invested in Enron, let Bernie Madoff manage your money, raved about James Frey’s A Million Little Pieces, believed your ex-girlfriend or ex-boyfriend’s denials, forwarded that hoax social-media meme, and believed The Martian was based on a true story. Some of you are convinced he really is going to call you back, that the attractive woman connecting with you on social media is real, that your brother-in-law will pay back the money you loaned him, and that the guy who’s hanging around your girlfriend a lot is “just a friend.”

But you know how to spot a liar, right?

We live in country where roughly 5 million people bought weight-loss supplements that don’t work, 2 million attended the sales seminar because they were told they could win a prize, and 2 million fell for fraudulent “work at home” offers. Roughly 22.1 million Americans lost an estimated $9.5 billion to phone scams last year.

Some of you believed the Tourist Guy photo after 9/11, Lance Armstrong’s denials, and that the baseball home-run kings of the 1990s didn’t use steroids. Some of you believed Brian Williams’s stories, Stephen Glass’s reporting, and that Ryan Lochte had been robbed during the Rio Olympics. Some of you believed Bill Clinton did not have sex with that woman, that if you like your plan, you can keep your plan, and that the Duke Lacrosse players were a bunch of malevolent criminals. Some of you believe Pete Rose never bet on baseball. Some of you have marveled at stuffed and mounted jackelopes or were riveted by the “Alien Autopsy” footage back in the 1990s.

Some of you mourned Manti Teo’s late girlfriend and feared for the fate of Balloon Boy, and hoped LonelyGirl15 was doing okay. Some of you thought The Blair Witch Project was real found footage.

Some of you believed that Whole Foods employees would write a homophobic slur on a cake.

Some of you have mourned the death of Morgan Freeman multiple times over. Some of you think Tupac and Elvis are alive.

Somewhere in your attic, we’ll find a Milli Vanilli album.

So maybe, just maybe, you’re not as good at spotting a liar as you think you are.
I bet we all have something on that list that we believed. I know that I believed Lance Armstrong's protestations of innocence for a long time.

The Democratic Party has finished their investigation of the allegations against Keith Ellison by his former girlfriend. Guess what? They don't believe her.
An ex-girlfriend’s allegation that Minnesota Rep. Keith Ellison once physically abused her could not be substantiated because she refused to provide video she said she had of the incident, an attorney with links to the state’s Democratic party who was hired to investigate the claims concluded in a draft report obtained by The Associated Press.

The party launched an investigation after Karen Monahan alleged in August that the Democratic congressman dragged her off a bed by her feet while screaming obscenities at her in 2016. Ellison, also a deputy chairman of the Democratic National Committee, has denied the accusation.

Monahan said she had video footage of the incident and leveled the allegation just days before a crowded Democratic primary for Minnesota attorney general that Ellison went on to win. But she declined to turn over the video during the investigation conducted by attorney Susan Ellingstad, a partner at the same Minnesota law firm as Charlie Nauen, the top lawyer for Minnesota’s Democratic-Farmer-Labor party.

In her report , Ellingstad noted Monahan’s shifting rationale for refusing to produce the video footage, including that it was lost, on a USB drive in storage or that it was too embarrassing and traumatic to release. Ellingstad also wrote that Monahan would not allow her to view the footage privately, and that Monahan’s sons — who claimed to have seen the video — declined interviews.

“An allegation standing alone is not necessarily sufficient to conclude that conduct occurred, particularly where the accusing party declines to produce supporting evidence that she herself asserts exists,” Ellingstad wrote. “She has thus repeatedly placed the existence of the video front and center to her allegations, but then has refused to disclose it.”
Wait! I thought we were supposed to believe all women just based on their testimony and therapist's notes. Now we need video evidence. Who knew? Someone tell Senate Democrats