Kavanaugh is Toast and So is Our Political Climate

We'll likely never know whether the Supreme Court nominee is a sexual assaulter. But it really doesn't matter.

As Steven Taylor noted last evening, there is now a second allegation of sexual assault against Brett Kavanaugh, dating to his college days at Yale. The self-promoting lawyer for Stormy Daniels claims he has another alleged victim as well. What we have so far on those are much less credible than the initial allegation from an accomplished psychology professor who was more-or-less sober at the time of the incident but, given that the second report is coming from Ronan Farrow, that could well change.

Regardless, I agree with frequent commenter HarvardLaw92 that Kavanaugh is likely toast:

For better or worse, in the court of public opinion he has been convicted as an attempted rapist, in a climate where empowered women are toppling titans right & left and the GOP has a staggering unfavorable rating among likely women voters. They’re even losing registered Republican women at this point.

Nothing else needs to be said. He’s poisonous for the party going into an election in which they already stand to be slaughtered even without the baggage he brings to the table.

[…]

He has become the cudgel Democrats are (rightfully, in my opinion) using to extract their pound of flesh in payback for Garland. In short, he’s now being used as a weapon in a political battle that is, at best, only tangentially related to his suitability for the court. Republicans will lose that battle, they know it, and whatever else might be said about them, they aren’t stupid. They know that the best course of action here is to rid themselves of the problem, and do so in a way that draws a nice, bright line between themselves and Kavanaugh the Rapist, before the midterms.

It is now entirely about politics.

Given ordinary standards of proof, this is a grave injustice. But politics ain’t beanbag and Republicans poisoned the well on this with their shameful treatment of Garland.

For the sake of both the public and Kavanaugh, I believe these charges ought be fully investigated by the FBI. If they’re unfounded, his reputation will at least be partly restored although, in the current atmosphere, he’s still permanently damaged. If they are, however, proven credible he may be subject to penalties for false statements under oath–including putting his current appellate judgeship in peril.

For his part, Kavanaugh is doing what he can to prove a negative, including supplying personal calendars from the summer of 1982:

The calendars do not disprove Dr. Blasey’s allegations, Judge Kavanaugh’s team acknowledged. He could have attended a party that he did not list. But his team will argue to the senators that the calendars provide no corroboration for her account of a small gathering at a house where he allegedly pinned her to a bed and tried to remove her clothing.

The calendar pages from June, July and August 1982, which were examined by The New York Times, show that Judge Kavanaugh was out of town much of the summer at the beach or away with his parents. When he was at home, the calendars list his basketball games, movie outings, football workouts and college interviews. A few parties are mentioned but include names of friends other than those identified by Dr. Blasey.

The challenge for senators trying to confirm or refute the accusation against Judge Kavanaugh is that Dr. Blasey has said she does not recall the specific date or location of the house where the alleged incident occurred. She has said she believes it was during the summer of 1982, and she remembers wearing a bathing suit with other clothing on top of it, suggesting the party might have taken place after a swim outing at a local country club.

Aside from finding it amusing that Kavanaugh, who’s roughly a year older than I am, has calendars going back to his high school days, this just shows the futility of trying to refute vague charges. How the hell he’s supposed to prove that he wasn’t at a party that may or may not have been at the home of some person the accuser can’t recollect but possibly somewhere else—almost certainly in Maryland, though—and maybe in 1982 I don’t know.

But, as HL92 notes, it really doesn’t matter. He’s simply guilty. Because Alyssa Milano had a horrible experience 30 years ago, and so did many others.

Victims of sexual assault often don’t report what happened because they know all too well that our stories are rarely taken seriously or believed — and that when it comes to sexual misconduct, our justice system is broken. Now, we are seeing our worst nightmares realized when we see the disbelief, pushback, hate, and death threats Ford is receiving just because she had the courage to speak up.

[…]

I believe Christine Blasey Ford and I demand that our Senators vote to reject Brett Kavanaugh as the next Justice on the Supreme Court. Every person who refuses to loudly and openly reject Brett Kavanaugh’s nomination is telling every generation of Americans that an alleged abuser’s career is more valuable than a survivor’s humanity. And the highest court in our land is no place for an alleged sexual offender to sit.

To every survivor reading this, know that I am here with you. Know that I see you. I believe you. I am you. And know that we will do whatever we can to stop Brett Kavanaugh from serving on the Supreme Court of our United States.

That’s simply bizarre but there have been dozens of similar columns published. The bottom line is that nobody cares whether Kavanaugh himself is a rapist; what matters is that he’s been accused. Additionally, while I disagree with most of his take, Steven Hayward is on to something here:

[E]ven a story as thin as this—even if it falls apart upon further scrutiny—reinforces a subtle aspect of the leftist narrative against Kavanaugh, which repeats the argument made against the wholly innocent Duke lacrosse players a decade ago—namely, that Kavanaugh, as a product of Georgetown Prep and Yale, is a product of “privilege,” which for the collective-guilt left these days means you must atone for the sins of your class. (Recall that something like 80 Duke faculty members signed a declaration attesting to the guilt of the lacrosse team based wholly on this ideological ground.)

Leaving aside the Rush Limbaughesque verbiage, Kavanaugh has become a stand-in for a certain type of bro culture. He may well have been away summering with his parents at the time the alleged rape took place but he’s the type of boy who grew up using “summering” as a verb. And a lot of folks, particularly those who write for elite media outlets, grew up around people these elite boys of privilege and saw them get away with a lot of horrible behaviors because of who they were. Indeed, even the initial WaPo account of Ford’s claim includes language to that effect:

The therapist’s notes, portions of which were provided by Ford and reviewed by The Washington Post, do not mention Kavanaugh’s name but say she reported that she was attacked by students “from an elitist boys’ school” who went on to become “highly respected and high-ranking members of society in Washington.”

Similarly, a New Yorker account notes,

According to many graduates of Washington prep schools, the party culture described in yearbooks often created occasions for sexual harassment and assault. More than a thousand women who attended Holton-Arms, the girls’ school from which Ford graduated, have signed a letter that describes the alleged assault as “all too consistent with stories we heard and lived while attending Holton. Many of us are survivors ourselves.”

Now the rest of us are learning about the hierarchy of Washington private schools—about what it meant, in the eighties, to go to Georgetown Prep as opposed to Landon or Gonzaga, and about the girls’ schools Stone Ridge, Visitation, and Holton-Arms. By all appearances, the kids from these prep schools almost exclusively socialize with one another, and that social network informs their identities for the rest of their lives. As reporters have investigated Kavanaugh’s high-school years, many alumni have expressed fear about going on the record and alienating themselves from a close-knit community. “I guess you could call it a fraternity between a bunch of rich kids,” an anonymous alumnus of Georgetown Prep, who overlapped with Kavanaugh there, told the Huff Post. “All this shit happens, and then nobody really wants to talk about it, because if one person crumbles, the whole system crumbles, and everybody tells on everybody.” I spoke with another Georgetown Prep alumnus, who hated high school but still didn’t want to go on the record about what it was like there. Even for those who take less pride in the institution, what happens at Georgetown Prep stays at Georgetown Prep.

Kavanaugh is a stand-in for all manner of rage and resentment. If he’s innocent, it’s a grave injustice to him.

But, as I’ve noted previously, his defenders are doing him no favors.  Aside from the examples of outrageous and transparently stupid gambits noted in that post, Senate Republican leaders seem to be completely oblivious to the new climate. Lindsey Graham’s declaration that nothing Ford says would change his mind is just mind-numbingly clueless. The leadership’s trying to ram the nomination through without further investigation—apparently knowing that a second allegation was coming—is outrageous. As frustrating as it is that one side of this fight doesn’t care whether Kavanaugh is guilty—that a mere accusation should be enough because women are simply to be believed—it’s much worse to not care whether he’s guilty because you think it’s just no big deal if you did a little raping in your youth.

FILED UNDER: *FEATURED, Supreme Court
James Joyner
About James Joyner
James Joyner is a Security Studies professor at Marine Corps University's Command and Staff College and a nonresident senior fellow at the Scowcroft Center for Strategy and Security at the Atlantic Council. He's a former Army officer and Desert Storm vet. Views expressed here are his own. Follow James on Twitter @DrJJoyner.

Comments

  1. I’m not so sure that Kavanaugh is “toast.” It really all depends on what happens on the GOP side of the aisle. If Senators like Collins and Murkowski (neither of whom are up for re-election) or Flake and Corker (who are retiring) defect, then yes it’s the end. But it will take two GOP Senators to kill this nomination. If one defects (and there are no Democratic crossover votes) then Pence’s tie-breaking vote will be enough to confirm.

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  2. Hal_10000 says:

    I’ve been thinking along the same lines but for a different reason: give Democrats their scalp. It’s a political win for the GOP as they can lament that “a good man was ruined” and rile up their base. They can nominate the next name of the Federalist list and still get their conservative majority. The only person it’s unfair to is Kavanaugh, but he’ll still be a federal judge and can go to all the Nationals games he wants.

    I don’t know what to think of Ford’s allegation. I am very skeptical of the thin claim made last night. And I am deeply skeptical of anything that ambulance chaser Avenatti says, who as basically out tweeting Pizza-gate level delusions last night. But one of the few things I’ve learned in life is not to dig in just for the sake of digging in. It’s not fair to Kavanaugh. But it wasn’t fair to Garland. It wasn’t fair to Ginsburg. It’s not been fair to other judges. Life isn’t fair. If it were, more of us would get into Yale.

    It’s not like the GOP will hesitate to push a judge though a lame-duck session.

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  3. Cheryl Rofer says:

    The political climate became toast when Newt Gingrich explicitly decided that power was the only thing that mattered. The Republicans followed, and the Democrats failed to call them on it.

    James, you’re missing something about women’s anger about the allegations against Kavanaugh. We’ve seen it. Like the Democrats, we’ve failed to call the men who do these things. But we can recognize patterns. And the inability of decent men to see what has been hidden from them is part of the pattern. You don’t see it because women have been silenced. Look at Trump’s comment that the pushback should have been stronger. That’s so that no other victims would come forward. I’d hope you could admit that maybe you have not seen these patterns because they’ve been kept from you so that you and other men who haven’t indulged in these cruelties and even crimes could testify that such things don’t occur. Or at least cast doubt on the women.

    What woman would put herself through what Blasey is going through now unless she was telling the truth? Or that Ramirez will face? They know – we all know – ahead of time.

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  4. An Interested Party says:

    Terribly ironic that this should be happening to someone who was very interested in the prurient aspects of the Clinton/Lewinsky affair…

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  5. TM01 says:

    Republicans poisoned the well on this with their shameful treatment of Garland

    Yes. Because upon his nomination, Republicans immediately began alleging Garland was a child abuser, serial sexual assaulter, animal abuser, import automobile driver, etc.

    Are you frakking kidding me?

    And you know what? A lot of those who write for elite media outlets have more Privilege than people like Kavanaugh. Why isn’t David Gregory in jail for waving a 30 round magazine around on air?

    And perhaps we should have more serious conversations about Keith Ellison and his victims? And frakking ORourke and his privilege. What about that?

    Don’t pretend this is some virtuous play on the part of your media elite to finally get back at people who “got away”with things in the past.

    This is a purely political hit job.

    He should be confirmed today.

    But the Seriousness Of The Allegations! Frak that. You’ll do this to anyone.

    P.s. Garland was never going to be on the supreme Court. Obama knew the GOP Senate wouldn’t confirm him, and Hillary would have nominated some other really far left nutcase.

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  6. MarkedMan says:

    James, FWIW I disagree with your characterization that people (like me) who feel the Ford incident is reason enough to scuttle his nomination “don’t care whether he is guilty or not”, and “it only matters that he was accused because we have to believe women.” I have been consistent since the very beginning: she is a credible person, but we can’t condemn someone based solely on an accusation. In fact, I’m uncomfortable with what happened in the Thomas/Hill accusation. But (and this is the most important thing to me) we could tell a lot by how he and his team react to this. And those reactions have shown him to be a man of poor character. Even if it turns out Ford misrembered or misinterpreted what had happened 36 years ago, we can make a judgement on his character based on the past two weeks.

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  7. drj says:

    The leadership’s trying to ram the nomination through without further investigation—apparently knowing that a second allegation was coming—is outrageous.

    This, of course, pretty much says it all.

    The behavior of Kavanaugh and his allies is only consistent with guilt. Worse: they didn’t even care!

    FBI investigation: no time!
    Putting Judge under oath: can’t have that!
    Other witnesses: nope!
    Etc., etc.

    Kavanaugh himself could have spoken out and asked for an investigation, if only because the very perception of having an indifferent rapey frat boy on the Supreme Court would not exactly be good for the country. He could have stopped – or at least condemned – his buddy Whelan. But no such thing.

    It’s not only about what happened 35 years ago, it is also about his current behavior. And in that regard alone, he failed a whole bunch of important tests.

    ETA: Kavanaugh and his allies acted like the idea of accountability should not apply to them. Fortunately, the time for that seems to have have passed.

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  8. steve says:

    “Yes. Because upon his nomination, Republicans immediately began alleging Garland”

    Garland never even got a hearing, and it meant the GOP got to keep a SCOTUS seat they should not have kept. The GOP can just pick another judge who will vote to make abortion illegal. You can’t go back and get that seat for Garland or the Democrats. This Kavanaugh thing is just another judge who doesnt get confirmed. We have had several of those. Garland was unique, and there is no doubt that McConnell would do it again if he had the chance.

    Steve

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  9. James Joyner says:

    @Cheryl Rofer: I don’t doubt that Ford suffered some sort of sexual trauma in her high school days. But she literally can’t remember even what year it took place. She didn’t associate Kavanaugh with the crime until decades later. It’s entirely possible that she’s telling the truth as she understands it and that Kavanaugh didn’t do what she accuses him of doing.

    @drj: I agree Kavanaugh should have said something re: Whelan.

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  10. drj says:

    @James Joyner:

    I agree Kavanaugh should have said something re: Whelan.

    Well yes, but it appears quite likely that Kavanaugh actually assisted Whelan in cooking up his little stunt.

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  11. MarkedMan says:

    @James Joyner:

    I agree Kavanaugh should have said something re: Whelan

    By that comment I take it that you are convinced Kavanaugh’s hands were clean and he was the victim of his friends and advisors meddling? I think that goes way beyond the benefit of the doubt. Way, way beyond.

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  12. OzarkHillbilly says:

    As Steven Taylor noted last evening, there is now a second allegation of sexual assault against Brett Kavanaugh, dating to his college days at Yale. The self-promoting lawyer for Stormy Daniels claims he has another alleged victim as well. What we have so far on those are much less credible than the initial allegation from an accomplished psychology professor who was more-or-less sober at the time of the incident but, given that the second report is coming from Ronan Farrow, that could well change.

    While I share your lack of regard for the serial self promoter Avenetti, I find the claims of Deborah Ramirez entirely credible, especially in light of her coming forward after everything that has been thrown at Dr. Blasey. From the Guardian:

    The New Yorker magazine reported on Sunday evening that a 53-year-old woman, Deborah Ramirez, who attended university with Kavanaugh, has alleged that the judge appeared to have thrust his genitals in her face at a drunken party during their freshman year in 1983-4 academic calendar. She said she clearly remembers the judge, then a teenager, pulling up his pants after a penis was thrust in her face during a drinking game. She also accused Kavanaugh of laughing at her in the aftermath and has said the FBI should investigate the incident.

    And Jonathon Chait notes that,

    Unlike Ford’s account, which she shared only years later, Ramirez’s story was known to other classmates at the time. One classmate tells The New Yorker he is “one-hundred-per-cent sure” that he was told at the time that Kavanaugh was the student who exposed himself to Ramirez, and “independently recalled” many of the same details she had.

    I have not yet read the Mayer/Farrow piece but Chait lays out a rather convincing case for the Kavanaugh nomination being dead because of several missteps by those responsible for the nomination, not the least of which was their failure to consider what appears to be some problematic ethical behavior in Kavanaugh’s early years.

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  13. Gustopher says:

    I don’t understand why you think the second accuser is less credible than the first.

    I also don’t see why this is a great injustice upon Kavanaugh. He clearly ran with a group that would do these things, and he has been fingered as one of the ones doing it. Even if he wasn’t the one doing it, he was ok with it.

    I say, screw him. He should be treated with the same casual disregard that he and his friends treated young women.

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  14. An Interested Party says:

    He should be confirmed today.

    Merrick Garland should have been confirmed in 2016…life sucks…

    P.s. Garland was never going to be on the supreme Court. Obama knew the GOP Senate wouldn’t confirm him, and Hillary would have nominated some other really far left nutcase.

    Well, it looks like you can justify anything, so you can proceed to justify what’s happening to Kavanaugh…

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  15. george says:

    @Cheryl Rofer:

    What woman would put herself through what Blasey is going through now unless she was telling the truth? Or that Ramirez will face? They know – we all know – ahead of time.

    Does that reasoning also apply to witnesses for gang violence or murder? Why would someone put themselves through the possible retribution unless they were telling the truth. Should a single uncorroborated witness be enough to convict someone of violent crime on that basis, despite the possibility of false memory or simply being mistaken?

    Many conservatives use that line of reasoning against people accused of gang violence, where the risk of retaliation is as high as it gets (ie the rest of the gang might kill the accuser), so why bother with any other evidence than the accuser’s word?

    And its not about witnesses or accusers lying, its about how reliable eye witnesses are even with the best intentions. Read up about the research on eye witness accounts. Read up on the Innocence Project, which was started by a woman who was 100% sure of her accusation until DNA evidence proved her wrong, and which has since proven the innocence of many who were convicted on 100% certain witnesses for crimes as severe as rape and murder. Using a single uncorroborated witness as sufficient evidence to convict for violent crimes (including rape and murder) on the basis that no one would risk revenge if they weren’t sure has been a standard for most of the past. It was dropped because it became clear that even people sure they were telling the truth are sometimes mistaken.

    What should sink Kavanaugh is the second accuser. A single witness can have faulty memory, or simply be mistaken. Two witnesses with the same faulty memory is much less likely, and the odds go down as more come out.

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  16. MarkedMan says:

    @Cheryl Rofer:

    The political climate became toast when Newt Gingrich explicitly decided that power was the only thing that mattered.

    Cheryl is right on the money here. James, you are acting as if this was still the pre-Gingrich era, when the White House consulted with Senators of both parties before making a nomination, when Senators consulted with each other and respected the wishes of the opposing party with respect to background investigations. It was a time when no nomination would move forward unless both Senators from their home state approved, regardless of party. It was a time when an extremist candidate would have been filibustered and so extremists were not even nominated. A nominee might have been more liberal or conservative depending on the president and Senate, but both sides would have to agree that they weren’t partisan or extremist.

    But the Gingrich mentality changed all that. It is no longer enough that he judge be conservative yet fair. They have to be extremist. They have to be partisan And their record has to be a deliberate finger in the eye to the Democrats. One by one the norms have been struck away until we get to Kavanaugh where the Dems weren’t even allowed to get the government documents they asked for in vetting him, and where the ones that were released were reviewed only by partisan Republicans.

    If Kavanaugh goes down it will primarily be due to the demonstration of his own bad character during his nomination process. But the ultimate cause will be the Gingrification of the Republican Party.

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  17. Josh says:

    “How the hell he’s supposed to prove that he wasn’t at a party that may or may not have been at the home of some person the accuser can’t recollect but possibly somewhere else—almost certainly in Maryland, though—and maybe in 1982 I don’t know.” It’s quite simple. He and judge could testify. Under oath. And subject to rigorous cross examination. After a thorough investigation by the fbi where they first have to answer all the same questions.

    But they don’t want to do this and the gop doesn’t want to do this. To even remotely believe that this somehow makes kavanaugh a victim is absurd. He and the gop could have cleared his name as soon as soon as this all started but they doubled down and tried to speed the process up (because they knew about the second change last week!!)

    The fundamental problem with this column is that it reinforced he unfortunate gop line that false reported rape is a thing. It’s not. Duke happened. And the rolling stone fraternity thing happened. And those anecdotes don’t create a problem where it doesn’t exist.

    Sex assault victims tend not to report bc their lives get ruined. Framing it as the other way around it really unfortunate.

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  18. Josh says:

    Also unfortunate is the mistaken treatment of this whole event as a criminal proceeding subject to constitutional due process. It’s not. It’s a job interview.

    And I will wager anyone here the following: if kavanaugh withdraws or is withdrawn and he leaves the bench, he will land at a white shoe law firm making 7 figures a year.

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  19. OzarkHillbilly says:

    given that the second report is coming from Ronan Farrow, that could well change.

    Also, I have heard the complaint by a number of women that it is just a wee bit sexist to call it the Ronan Farrow report, when the article was written by Farrow AND Jane Mayer. Yes the authors are bylined as “By Ronan Farrow and Jane Mayer September 23, 2018” but that is just an alphabetical accident. Seeing as Mayer made her bones as an investigative reporter decades ago and Ronan Farrow is the “shiny new thing” that so many are so enamored of, I have to conclude that these women have a point.

    Calling it the “Farrow report” is not a thing one does to purposely minimize Mayer’s contributions, but it is indicative of an unconscious bias on our part. And seeing as Mayer is the more senior and far more accomplished of the 2, I have decided to refer to it as the “Mayer/Farrow report”.

    ETA I do not mean to degrade Ronan Farrow when I say “shiny new thing” but rather the rather lavish attention he is getting now. I think he is a fine reporter doing good work but the response to him is more than a little over the top to me.

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  20. Blue Galangal says:

    @Cheryl Rofer:

    James, you’re missing something about women’s anger about the allegations against Kavanaugh. We’ve seen it. Like the Democrats, we’ve failed to call the men who do these things. But we can recognize patterns. And the inability of decent men to see what has been hidden from them is part of the pattern. You don’t see it because women have been silenced. Look at Trump’s comment that the pushback should have been stronger. That’s so that no other victims would come forward.

    Thank you, Cheryl. There’s a strong flavour of #NotAllMen in James’ laments. And Avenatti is self promoting, but the specific questions he tweeted have a strong air of Sen. Harris’ admonition to “Be very sure of your answer…” about them.

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  21. Kari Q says:

    The refusal of Republicans to take the accusations seriously, to investigate, to find out if there is information to corroborate the story of either party was revealing of how insignificant they think rape is. But to try to rush the nomination through when they knew about a second accusation? That’s adding stupidity to malice.

    Are they in some competition to come up with new ways of convincing women not to vote for them?

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  22. Andy says:

    @Cheryl Rofer:

    I agree with you we need to look at and examine the patterns. But we also need to realize that those patterns, especially when it comes to human behavior and politics, are informed by personal experience and biases. Patterns are important in many aspects of life as a guide to point us in a certain direction, but they cannot be a substitute for empiricism.

    As for the when the political climate changed I think it goes back further than that and has been escalating for a long time now. But here again, this seems to be an area where people’s conclusions follow from their existing political views.

    At this point, I think it’s more important to stop the escalation. We don’t tolerate the “he/she did it first” on an elementary school playground, but in partisan politics it’s the default position that’s never seriously challenged. It needs to stop.

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  23. de stijl says:

    James Joyner from OP:

    Given ordinary standards of proof, this is a grave injustice.

    By what standard? This isn’t a criminal trial. There is no presumption of innocence.

    You know what was a grave injustice as determined by the Constitution? That Obama’s nominee for the Supreme Court was not even granted a hearing.

    McConnell’s treatment of the Garland nomination was a constitutional crisis. A coup d’etat.

    Whereas, Kavanaugh’s treatment is so far bog-standard push-and-pull. It is on the Rs that they nominated a flawed person and did not vet him properly.

    Did Garland have a hearing? No – and that is remarkable and crazy and really dangerous. And requires a stout, hard response. This is not square until a R President cannot seat a SCOTUS nominee when he / she should be able to. It was that serious.

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  24. Michael Reynolds says:

    She asked for an FBI investigation.

    He rejects an FBI investigation.

    Under those circumstances, who is more likely telling the truth? Come on, @JamesJoyner, if this were a property crime, any crime devoid of political impact, you’d be 90% sure the guy afraid of the FBI was the guilty party. Anyone would. Because it would make sense.

    You’re trying to find a way to hold onto this guy’s innocence. You’re leaning on the data. It was already looking bad with one complainant, it’s looking a hell of a lot worse now, and unlike you, I believe Avenatti because Avenatti has been telling the truth, however much you may dislike his personality.

    The Republicans have known about this charge for a week, during which time they ever-more-loudly rejected investigation, and ever-more-urgently insisted on a vote. This is a dirty deal, and the Republican members of the committee are behaving like perfect scumbags. In fact, they are behaving precisely the way female critics say men behave under these circumstances.

    And now, so are you.

    I know it’s hard for people to abandon their tribe, but you have to if you’re to keep hold of what I think is real integrity on your part. Your tribe, like mine, should not be ‘men,’ or ‘white men,’ or, ‘white men who wears suits and have advanced degrees.’ Our tribe should be people of integrity, people who tell the truth, people who are kind. Our tribes should be defined by ideas, not the presence or absence of testicles or melanin.

    That’s easier for me, a guy who works out of a rocking chair (sometimes a hammock) in his courtyard than it is for you, a guy who works with white guys in suits. But I have to tell you, I think the ladies are about sick of our sht, and they have finally figured out that they are 51% and have the raw power. The balance has shifted. The old order’s rapidly changing, if I may borrow a line.

    Person A demands a full investigation. Person B rejects an investigation. Why?

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  25. Franklin says:

    People really only dislike the elitists that they disagree with (see TM01’s post “wah, wah, your elitists are more privileged than mine are, or something”).

    Heh, I admit that I wasn’t a fan of frat boys in college, but I’m not sure it was for some principled reason. It was mostly because they dressed like douchebags. They still do, in fact.

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  26. de stijl says:

    This is exactly why it was important that Sen. Al Franken resigned under pressure from Ds.

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  27. Kathy says:

    The climate was toast long before El Cheeto squeaked through his illegitimate EC win.

    IMO, people take their cues from high officials. If party A treats party B as the enemy, refusing compromise even when it’s in their interest to do so, then the average Joe will consider supporters of party B as the enemy as well.

    This was briefly broken after 9/11. But the break lasted only until Bush the younger began to beat the drums for war against Iraq. At that, a successful and swift ending of that adventure might have allowed for healing afterwards. But seeing as how the W. Bush administration went in without a plan past “We topple Saddam, and then somehow we get a perfect liberal democracy,” well, we know what happened.

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  28. MarkedMan says:

    @Michael Reynolds:

    She asked for an FBI investigation.

    He rejects an FBI investigation.

    Under those circumstances, who is more likely telling the truth?

    Multiple thumbs up

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  29. MarkedMan says:

    @Andy:

    We don’t tolerate the “he/she did it first” on an elementary school playground, but in partisan politics it’s the default position that’s never seriously challenged. It needs to stop.

    Andy, I’m sorry but that’s piffle. “I know he stole your wallet, but it’s time for everyone to calm down and not steal wallets. Going forward.”

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  30. Andy says:

    @MarkedMan:

    Either you operate from principles or you don’t. If one believes that stealing wallets is justified because someone else stole a wallet then basically everything is fair game and expediency rules the day. It’s a very old-testament way of looking at the world, but not conducive to the well-being of a modern, liberal society. It’s obviously not a viewpoint I support.

    Also, don’t complain when the revolution comes back to eat its own.

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  31. MarkedMan says:

    @Andy:

    Either you operate from principles or you don’t.

    Sure. But one of the core principles of our society is seeing that justice gets done. If a Republican steals my wallet and some Republican judge comes along and says, yeah that was bad, and from now on no one steals any wallets, but we are not going to do anything to get your wallet or your money back, then that core principle is ALREADY gone. I need to a) demonstrate that they aren’t going to get away with it, and b) get my d*mn money back

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  32. george says:

    @Josh:

    The fundamental problem with this column is that it reinforced he unfortunate gop line that false reported rape is a thing. It’s not. Duke happened. And the rolling stone fraternity thing happened. And those anecdotes don’t create a problem where it doesn’t exist.

    Doesn’t that apply to all other violent crimes as well? How many people make up false accusations against a drug gang, where the retaliation is typically ultimate (death)? Or for any violent crime, when retaliation is so likely an outcome? So should the standard in all violent crime cases that a single, uncorroborated witness is enough to convict? That’s long been the conservative position, is it becoming the progressive position as well?

    Its not a problem of witnesses/accusers lying, its a problem of assuming that witnesses are never in error, an assumption that has been shown to be false both in controlled research and by organizations like the Innocence Project – where witnesses who were 100% certain they were correct discover a decade or more down the line from DNA evidence that despite their best intention, they were mistaken.

    The current system – more witnesses to a given crime, or witnesses of the same person doing the same crime at different times – seems to be an excellent safeguard against faulty memory, as the likelihood of mistaken memory decreases exponentially with increasing numbers of accusers. This is true for all violent crime cases, including rape.

    Kavanaugh is an excellent example of why, in cases where there is no corroborating evidence, requiring multiple witnesses is a better system. The second accuser is very likely going to sink him, without our having to change our system to a single uncorroborated accusation being enough to convict for a violent crime. And there’s probably more accusers to come.

    There’s simply no reason to have a different standard for sexual crimes as opposed to other violent crimes. The rate of mistaken witnesses is the same in sexual assault as other violent crime, the rate of repeat offending is the same. There have been long periods of history where a single accusation of a crime was enough for conviction. It never worked well.

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  33. gVOR08 says:

    @Kathy:
    More like,

    But seeing as how the W. Bush administration Dick Cheney went in without a plan past “We topple Saddam, and then somehow we get a perfect liberal democracy their oil,”

    Also, the Coalition Provisional Authority wasn’t trying to set up a liberal democracy. A big reason for our failure was their efforts to set up a perfect libertarian capitalist society.

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  34. Andy says:

    @MarkedMan:

    Breaking one norm to avenge the breaking of a different norm is not justice, especially when it’s done in the name of expediency. It’s a course that leads to anarchy.

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  35. gVOR08 says:

    As has been noted at OTB many times, conservatives seem to think 1st Amendment free speech is a general rule applicable to all situations. They cry “free speech!” any time they are criticized for saying something. They cannot see that it applies only to government action to limit speech.

    Similarly, conservatives take innocent until proven guilty as a generally applicable rule, at least when it benefits them. They fail to recognize that it applies only to the legal system and media reporting on same. This is not a court case. This is a job interview. Kavanaugh wants a job. The burden of proof falls on him to prove he is worthy.

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  36. Michael Reynolds says:

    @Andy:
    Twaddle. Breaking norms? Are we seriously talking about breaking norms? What norms? Have you seen any norms lately?

    Here’s a norm: don’t kill people. But when war is declared? Shall we stick to the norm, or should we shoot back? If you don’t think war has been declared you’re blind. The war is on, we’re shooting back, and this elegiac tone you and Joyner are taking just reveals a lack of awareness of the stakes and of the state of the battle.

    There is a corrupt traitor in the White House. The Republican party is trying to ram Kavanaugh through in order to protect their corrupt, treasonous president, and to deny women control over their own bodies. The war has been declared by Vladimir Putin and Donald Trump on your norms, on truth, on decency, on democracy itself. Wake up.

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  37. MarkedMan says:

    @Andy: Justice has been vacated. There is no justice here. There is raw political calculation. The Republicans lie and scheme and smear and weasel in their calculation while the Dems must do so with honesty and pragmatism. But we are literally talking about corruptly appointing a judge who would adjudicate justice. If the lyin’, stinkin’, rapin’ Republicans get away with it they will only go farther.

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  38. Michael Hardy says:

    @Doug Mataconis: Is there any way you could write “neither of whom is up for re-election”?

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  39. Andy says:

    Twaddle. Breaking norms? Are we seriously talking about breaking norms? What norms? Have you seen any norms lately?

    You make my point. Ignoring/breaking (insert what word you want here) “norms” in the name of political expediency is not good for liberal democracy or our particular form of government. That’s my position.

    If you want to throw up your hands and insist there are no norms anymore, because you’re “at war” then get on with it. I guess we need to destroy this country’s institutions in order the save them?

    It’s not like history does not have examples of where your talk about war will lead.

    Personally, having seen societies and people who’ve been wracked by war, and near-war conditions caused by a lack of effective and legitimate governance, I strongly prefer to avoid going down the road you’re eagerly speeding towards.

    As I’ve noted before, I have no personal stake in Kavanaugh’s nomination – my primary concern is protecting the legitimacy of the Supreme Court and the nomination process. Protecting that legitimacy appears to be a distant second for partisans looking for the next victory in your war. This isn’t a sustainable course.

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  40. MarkedMan says:

    @Andy: Put another way: Lie back and take it because the bad guys are too powerful and if we fight back they will only hurt us more. No thanks.

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  41. Michael Reynolds says:

    @Andy:
    The legitimacy of the process is already dead, Andy. It’s dead. It’s not pining for the fjords, it’s dead. There is no norm to defend. Now you’re essentially insisting that we stick to the rules while the other side flouts them, and damn the consequences so long as we get to say, ‘well we stuck to the norms.’ Political pacifism – they shoot, we die, but we die virtuously, obeying norms that exist only for us.

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  42. James Joyner says:

    @Gustopher:

    I find the claims of Deborah Ramirez entirely credible, especially in light of her coming forward after everything that has been thrown at Dr. Blasey.

    @Gustopher:

    I don’t understand why you think the second accuser is less credible than the first.

    I think the second accusation is more credible than the first but that the first accuser is more credible than the second.

    That is, I find it more plausible that Kavanaugh put his flaccid penis on an incredibly drunk woman in full sight of a crowd of people as a gag than that he attempted to rape someone in a private room. While both are awful behaviors, the former is quite reflective of the frat boy culture he lived in at the time; the second would have been considered horrible even in 1982ish.

    But the first accuser is more credible because we know more about her, because she has multiple documentations of having at least made the accusation in private well before the SCOTUS appointment, and because, she was essentially sober at the time. The new accuser has no record that I know of of prior reporting on this and was, by her own admission, black out drunk. That simply makes her story less credible.

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  43. Just nutha ignint cracker says:

    @Kathy:

    The climate was toast long before El Cheeto squeaked through his illegitimate EC win.

    Sorry, but I have to disagree. Trump’s electoral college win was not illegitimate as there was no question as to the truthfulness or veracity of the electoral vote count. And, unfortunately, the contention that the result was illegitimate will only continue the deterioration of the climate in which our nation’s business is conducted.

    I hate to be corny, but you need to decide whether you want to continue to be part of the problem or become part of the solution. And I think that those on your side of this particular divide will probably need to do most of the heavy lifting because your counterparts for the lifting are JKB, Warren, TM, and MBunge.

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  44. An Interested Party says:

    As I’ve noted before, I have no personal stake in Kavanaugh’s nomination – my primary concern is protecting the legitimacy of the Supreme Court and the nomination process.

    That legitimacy was destroyed when Mitch McConnell wouldn’t allow Merrick Garland to have a hearing and a vote…the idea that Democrats should stick to “norms” while Republicans destroy them isn’t a sustainable course…

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  45. Just nutha ignint cracker says:

    @Michael Reynolds: One thing that I always remind myself of when reading comments by Andy is that he is a basic bog standard conservative. So, he’s content with the agenda, the bigotry (although he probably prefers the dog whistles), the deregulation, and the misogyny. He would have preferred it to come in a more palatable package than Trump. Trump is the only point of departure for him as far as I can see.

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  46. JKB says:

    No upside for Kavanaugh to withdraw. His reputation is in tatters and can only improve, but gets frozen if he leaves the spotlight. Trump isn’t someone who folds and thrives on chaos. DC is in a —-storm that strikes at the heart of DC Society.

    Look at the stakes. If Republicans let Dems win on smear alone, then they’ll never get another nominee on SCOTUS. There can be no negotiated peace. “War, even to the knife”

    And reports are, but now I see some confusion, that Rosenstein has resigned/fired/maybe not.

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  47. Raoul says:

    White male privilege exists. See examples at the Washington
    Post via dailyhowler.com. If his yearbook and book by his very close friend Judge are to be believed, BK was indeed a member of this sect. What is white privilege? As someone with first hand knowledge, it means the rules do not apply to you. People of the sect engage in all types of conducts which would be shunned by the rest of society. These people feel that is their right to tell others how to behave because they know better. To be clear, it is a minority that takes advantage of these rules of comportment but many of the rest don’t care.

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  48. Grewgills says:

    @Andy:
    I understand your point and wish there was a way to move forward in that better world.
    The analogy of someone stealing your wallet and you stealing it back isn’t exactly right.
    The better analogy is someone stealing your lunch money, then stealing it again, and again daily for weeks. When you finally start stealing it back being told someone needs to be the grown up and stop stealing lunch money so everyone can eat. Unilaterally stopping the bad behavior leaves the ones stopping perpetually without lunch money and those that started the stealing with all the lunch money in perpetuity.
    The horrible truth is the side that stops loses, so neither side can stop without confidence the other side will stop and there can be no confidence the other side will stop.

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  49. MarkedMan says:

    @Michael Reynolds:

    It’s not pining for the fjords, it’s dead.

    Worth a link

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  50. dazedandconfused says:

    @Andy:

    Some truth to that. “Man who seek revenge should dig two graves”, but then again not standing up to bullying leads to totalitarianism. Slippery-slope arguments can be awful, can’t they?

    A most fitting olive branch for the R’s to offer for their transgression would be nominating Merrick Garland themselves now. There’s a recording of Orrin Hatch saying he would support Merrick’s nomination out there somewhere, made just prior to Obama nominating him of course.

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  51. Gustopher says:

    @Andy:

    At this point, I think it’s more important to stop the escalation. We don’t tolerate the “he/she did it first” on an elementary school playground, but in partisan politics it’s the default position that’s never seriously challenged. It needs to stop.

    On the elementary school playground, there is a teacher who has authority over both, and who can stop the escalation.

    Without some kind of authority that will punish the Republicans for continuing this behavior, the only reasonable action is for the Democrats to press any advantage they might have at any moment, no matter how many norms are broken.

    To save the village, we must destroy it.

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  52. Michael Reynolds says:

    @Gustopher:
    The victims need to stop escalating against the bullies. We need to give the bully what he wants, and then proclaim our superior virtue. Hey, if you’re gonna get raped, just relax and enjoy it, amiright?

    I keep wanting to push back against talk of ‘the patriarchy’ because it’s reductionist, but then we get displays of the Patriarchy Protection Squad from guys we both think of as fundamentally decent. It’s so ingrained they can’t see it.

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  53. Tlaloc says:

    Given ordinary standards of proof, this is a grave injustice.

    uh. NO. Not even in the slightest. Were Kavanaugh frog marched to jail on the basis of these ccusations THAT would be a grave in justice. That multiple crdible accusations of gross impropiriety on his part and possibly attempted rape might cost him a lifetime long promotion is in no way an injustice.

    There is no right to a SCOTUS seat. There’s no evidenciary requirments on what is in essence a job interview. Kavanaugh may or may not be guilty but he absolutely will not be prosecuted regardless. If the GOP has their way he won’t even be investigated.

    Now THAT is a grave in justice.

    The GOP has repeatedly sought to prevent the stories of his accusers from being heard, by rushing through the process even when they knew the accusations existed and by setting up their kangaroo court to persecute Ford. Grassley even commented that her testimony would do nothing to change his mind, even though he hadn’t heard it yet.

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  54. TM01 says:

    you know…I’m sick of this “But Garland” bull crap from you people.

    Fine. The Senate didn’t hold hearings on Garland. Even tho there is no need to do so.

    But this? Unfounded accusations to destroy someone’s life?

    Frak you. All of you.

    You want to oppose him on totally political grounds? More power to you.

    But this total shit-show?

    Frak off.

    This is what the left has become. Personally destroy anyone who gets in your way.

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  55. Tlaloc says:

    @TM01:
    No the GOP didn’t bother smearing Garland because they simply denied him ever having a hearing. That’s vastly worse. Kavanaugh has an opportunity to defend himself and the umpires in the game are explicitly biased towards him. Garland was simply forced to go away unheard, undebated.

    And yes we have every intention of making the GOP choke on that for decades.

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  56. Tlaloc says:

    @TM01:

    you know…I’m sick of this “But Garland” bull crap from you people.

    Get used to it buttercup.

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  57. Tlaloc says:

    @TM01:

    Unfounded accusations to destroy someone’s life?

    The two accusations so far are by eyewitnesses (you know, the victims). How is that unfounded, exactly?

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  58. bookdragon says:

    @James Joyner: Given that Kavanaugh’s old roommate at Yale thinks the second accuser is entirely credible, and gives a glowing account of her character (one echoed by several other former classmates), I’d say she is also quite credible.

    But now there are apparently three, possibly four, women who also making claims.

    How many do you need to think he shouldn’t be given a life time appointment to the most powerful court in the land? This is not a criminal case in which he will be sent to prison. For that I’d also want substantially more proof. What this is, is a job interview.

    So I have to ask: If you were on the committee interviewing someone for a high powered position at your college and these sort of stories about him were coming up, would you vote to hire him anyway because the accusations couldn’t be proven beyond a reasonable doubt?

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  59. Just nutha ignint cracker says:

    @Michael Reynolds: It’s why I have removed the concept of “fundamentally decent” from consideration on matters of political philosophy and practice. Everybody’s got an agenda and will stop at nothing to advance it.

    ETA: “How many do you need to think he shouldn’t be given a life time appointment to the most powerful court in the land?”

    Five more than whatever number you’ve got.

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  60. OzarkHillbilly says:

    @Grewgills:

    When you finally start stealing it back

    Whoa, stop right there. One can not steal that which is theirs. If somebody steals my car, and I find it on the street, am I stealing it back when I drive it home? No, it’s mine, it belongs to me and no cop is going to arrest for stealing my own car.

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  61. OzarkHillbilly says:

    @TM01:

    But this? Unfounded accusations to destroy someone’s life?

    Awwwwwwww…. the poor dear. he might have to toil for 35 years working 7 figure jobs at various RWNJ welfare postings, the horror. the horror!

    What a frickin’ snowflake.

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  62. Gustopher says:

    @TM01:

    you know…I’m sick of this “But Garland” bull crap from you people.

    Oh, is poor baby TM01 going to cry?

    Fine. The Senate didn’t hold hearings on Garland. Even tho there is no need to do so.

    Republicans decided to ignore the congressional role of advise and consent for the better part of a year, because they had the votes to do it — breaking 200 plus years of norms.

    But this? Unfounded accusations to destroy someone’s life?

    These aren’t unfounded accusations. They are real accusations from real people.

    Frak you. All of you.

    Ooooh, fake swear words.

    You want to oppose him on totally political grounds? More power to you.

    Bork was denied on ideological grounds and you people are still whining about that long after he’s been dead.

    But this total shit-show?

    Perhaps had the Trumpistas done a better job of vetting him, this wouldn’t have happened. When his best bud from high school is publishing a book about his wild time in high school, maybe poke around that?

    Frak off.

    Adorable. Or as the kids say today, adorbs. Do kids still say that?

    This is what the left has become. Personally destroy anyone who gets in your way.

    Blocking a Supreme Court appointment is not destroying someone. Merrick Garland is doing fine, alive and well, etc.

    Bringing up credible accusations from someone’s past is not destroying someone. At worst, it is allowing someone to destroy themselves.

    This is really about Kavanuagh’s hubris — like Icarus, he flew too close to the sun and his wings were made of entitled drunken frat boy behavior and likely sexual assault. It’s not a perfect metaphor.

    He had skated through life, avoiding consequences for his actions, and now that he is getting more scrutiny, it’s clear that if he had any sense he would have taken his name out of consideration. He would have gotten away with his reputation if it wasn’t for that nomination.

    Documents weren’t released, he lied under oath, and now this. I have no sympathy for him.

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  63. MarkedMan says:

    The idea of a Trump supporter complaining about fairness and decency is just surreal. Trump is moronic piece of trash. Any one of his supporters are likely to be one or the other, or both.

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  64. Andy says:

    @MarkedMan:

    @Andy: Put another way: Lie back and take it because the bad guys are too powerful and if we fight back they will only hurt us more. No thanks.

    The choice between escalation and do nothing is a completely false one.

    @Michael Reynolds:

    The legitimacy of the process is already dead, Andy. It’s dead. It’s not pining for the fjords, it’s dead. There is no norm to defend.

    I don’t believe we are at the “anything goes” point – that anything is justified so long as it’s not criminal.

    Consider the implications of what you are saying. If the SCOTUS is now merely a contest of power politics, without any institutional or process limitations, then this country is effectively dead as a constitutional republic.

    I don’t think we are there yet as clearly there are still limits, norms, and process, but they are being systematically chipped away by people who put expediency above all else.

    @Just nutha ignint cracker:

    I’m quoting this in full because I think it’s hilarious:

    @Michael Reynolds: One thing that I always remind myself of when reading comments by Andy is that he is a basic bog standard conservative. So, he’s content with the agenda, the bigotry (although he probably prefers the dog whistles), the deregulation, and the misogyny. He would have preferred it to come in a more palatable package than Trump. Trump is the only point of departure for him as far as I can see.

    I must say, your ability to divine the motives and beliefs of people you’ve never met is truly amazing.

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  65. Andy says:

    @Grewgills:

    Except I’m specifically talking about escalation. Stealing wallets back and forth is not escalation – escalation is when someone steals your wallet, you respond by stealing their car, then they respond by killing your dog, then you respond by killing their spouse. That’s escalation.

    What the GoP did to Garland was a huge escalation. Democrats sitting on information for months and then demanding investigations at the 11th hour is an escalation. Now Democrats are hinting that if they win back the Senate they’ll block any nomination as long as Trump is President. That’s an escalation too. What will the GoP response be to that? Where does it end?

    @Gustopher:

    To save the village, we must destroy it.

    Time to start buying guns and shopping for real estate in a stable third country.

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  66. Andy says:

    @MarkedMan:

    @Andy: Put another way: Lie back and take it because the bad guys are too powerful and if we fight back they will only hurt us more. No thanks.

    @Michael Reynolds:

    The victims need to stop escalating against the bullies. We need to give the bully what he wants, and then proclaim our superior virtue. Hey, if you’re gonna get raped, just relax and enjoy it, amiright?

    You both are egregiously engaging in the false dilemma fallacy.

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  67. Grewgills says:

    @Andy:

    What the GoP did to Garland was a huge escalation.

    Agreed.

    Democrats sitting on information for months and then demanding investigations at the 11th hour is an escalation.

    The victim of the alleged assault requested that the information be held back. Only when things were close did she assent to the information being released. That isn’t escalation, that is respecting the wishes of the victim of a sex crime.

    Now Democrats are hinting that if they win back the Senate they’ll block any nomination as long as Trump is President. That’s an escalation too.

    That isn’t escalation either, it’s straight tit for tat. GOP steals one, Dems steal one back. There is no escalation there.

    In an ideal world everyone would vote on the merits every time. Unfortunately that is not the world we live in. If one side tries to live in that world when the other doesn’t, they lose. For the past few decades one side one side more than the other has tried and has been rewarded by regular defeat at every level other than one.

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  68. Grewgills says:

    @Andy:

    Where does it end?

    Most likely in a terrible place, but no more terrible than if the democrats try to hold onto norms in the face of the current GOPs complete abandonment of norms. The norms have been shredded. Trump is simply the culmination of what began decades ago. It’s no surprise that Gingrich, who did more than his share of norm destroying, is on the current bandwagon. If Hastert were still viable, he’d be there too.
    I’m not saying the democrats are innocent and haven’t done damage to norms, but when one weighs the two against each other on this front it’s clear who is constantly escalating and who is (mostly) fighting back.

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  69. george says:

    @Raoul:

    That’s middle class white privilege. Take it from me (I’m American Indian), poor whites don’t see many of those – I know because I’ve hung around with a lot of poor whites, and they got treated pretty bad by everyone from cops to storekeepers. One look at their rough cloths or the beaters they drove and they were definitely outside of the ‘privilege club’. Don’t believe me? Here’s an experiment. The next time a white street person asks you for a handout, try to take to a decent restaurant for a meal instead of either ignoring them or giving them some cash. And watch the reaction of the staff – more often than not they won’t even let you in with him.

    I think the main reason a few of them hung around in “Indian Country” was because we were the only ones who treated them like human beings. Which is why its so frustrating that so many poor whites support the GOP, who are happy to sh*t on them all day, who wouldn’t allow them into their businesses and would call the cops on them if they came to knock on their upscale doors.

    Kavanaugh on the other hand knows nothing but privilege; he’ll survive.

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  70. Tlaloc says:

    @george:

    That’s middle class white privilege. Take it from me (I’m American Indian), poor whites don’t see many of those – I know because I’ve hung around with a lot of poor whites, and they got treated pretty bad by everyone from cops to storekeepers.

    Which is why we are awash in stories of poor whites being gunned down by cops without reason as well as cops being called on poor whites who are sitting in starbucks, libraries, or their own back yards.

    Oh wait…

    No, we aren’t. Because while there is absolutely a lot of privelege that comes with money there is also a metric fuckton of privilege that comes with pale skin.

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  71. Tlaloc says:

    @Andy:

    You both are egregiously engaging in the false dilemma fallacy.

    Feel free to suggest a course which is not an “escalation” but which also doesn’t incentivize the noxious behavior of the GOP.

    Given that you called treating the GOP exactly the same way they treated the Dems an escalation, I kinda think you are just trolling.

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  72. David M says:

    @Andy:

    Keep in mind that a situation where Dems uphold norms and the GOP does not…is worse than neither upholding norms.

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  73. MarkedMan says:

    @Tlaloc:

    Which is why we are awash in stories of poor whites being gunned down by cops without reason as well as cops being called on poor whites who are sitting in starbucks, libraries, or their own back yards.

    What can I say other than you are totally, completely wrong. Poor, rural, uneducated people are pretty universally sh*t upon. I’ve installed systems and trained people in factories all over the country and worked with all types of people. Amazing, bright and self educated people from tough backgrounds, but also lots and lots of people who never even really learned to read and write. (Technique: Start out by asking people if they like to refer to the manual and written training material when they are learning something or whether they just like to get everything explained and keep the material for later if they need it. People who can’t read appreciate the gracious way out.) And believe me, they were uniformly grateful when someone like me who had a few dollars in my pocket and a college education didn’t treat them like sh*t or blame problems in my system on their stupidity or go out with my colleagues later and make fun of them. Regardless of color the police are suspicious of them and no one wants them around. Do you think if you drive into a nice neighborhood with an 87 Cutlass with peeling paint on the hood that you won’t get pulled over just because you are white? Dream on.

    Everyone sh*ts on the poor and uneducated regardless of color. Regardless of country. Regardless of century.

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  74. Tlaloc says:

    @MarkedMan:

    What can I say other than you are totally, completely wrong. Poor, rural, uneducated people are pretty universally sh*t upon.

    Sure they are, but that’s completely different than being shit on and then routinely murdered by the police with no hope for any justice which is what poor people with brown or black skin face. It’s such a world apart from people with college educations being rude to you that I can’t believe you are even trying to compare them.

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  75. OzarkHillbilly says:

    Me thinks Andy has left the building.

    Funny how it is that DEMs always get the blame for escalating and the demands for not.

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  76. OzarkHillbilly says:

    @MarkedMan:

    Everyone sh*ts on the poor and uneducated regardless of color. Regardless of country. Regardless of century.

    Bullshit. You are smarter than this. Yes, poor whites get shit upon. I used to be one and I can speak from first hand experience. But if you think it is equal opportunity shit-upon? Well, lets just say you were never one of 2 white guys amongst 200 people of color applying for a minimum wage job and some how, some way, were 2 of the 3 people hired that day.

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  77. Terrye Cravens says:

    James, I think you are underestimating how many of us women have had some kind of experience like Dr. Ford. That is one reason so many people believe her.

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  78. James Joyner says:

    @Terrye Cravens:

    James, I think you are underestimating how many of us women have had some kind of experience like Dr. Ford. That is one reason so many people believe her.

    While I was aware previously that women lived very different lives in terms of fear of sexual assault, I didn’t appreciate the sheer numbers before the #MeToo phenomenon. My lingering concern is with the “some kind of experience like” aspect of the movement. There’s a range of violations, ranging from violent crimes on the extreme end to creepy looks on the other extreme, all of which seem to be getting conflated.

    Beyond that, the “believe women” mantra that flows from the experience strikes me as dangerous. That many men have done awful things to man women doesn’t mean that a particular man has done this particular thing to a particular woman. We shouldn’t accept a presumption of guilt in sexual assault cases any more than we’d accept “Well, lots of us have been assaulted by black men” or “Well, you know, Muslims do commit many acts of terrorism” as proof that a given black man or Muslim was guilty.

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  79. TM01 says:

    @Josh:

    And the rolling stone fraternity thing happened.

    What?

    In what bizarro alternate universe are you living?

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  80. TM01 says:

    Oh good.

    The conversation had turned to Principle now.

    Corey Booker.
    O’Roarke. (A Ted Wannabe)
    Bill Clinton.
    Keith Ellison.
    Ted Kennedy.
    Chris Dodd.
    Biden.

    We need more FBI investigations.

    I don’t know anyone here who wouldn’t want to know the Truth.

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  81. MarkedMan says:

    @Tlaloc: It’s accepted wisdom today that cops shoot unarmed blacks but not unarmed whites. But that’s not backed up by the facts. Here’s a good summary of the numbers by Kevin Drum. . I’m not saying that blacks aren’t shot at somewhat higher rates than whites, but unarmed poor people of all colors are shot at alarming rates. And I’m certainly not saying that blacks don’t get hassled in general much more than whites, even poor whites.

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  82. MarkedMan says:

    @OzarkHillbilly: Look, I am not at all saying that blacks and Hispanics don’t suffer more disrespect, harassment and abuse than poor whites. What I am saying is that telling someone who has been abused and disrespected “Hah! Now you know what black people feel like” is just another way of saying “Hah, you got what you deserved because of the group you were born into!” Which is basically what poor uneducated people are told every day. All over the world.

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  83. george says:

    @Tlaloc:

    Which is why we are awash in stories of poor whites being gunned down by cops without reason as well as cops being called on poor whites who are sitting in starbucks, libraries, or their own back yards.

    Oh wait…

    No, we aren’t. Because while there is absolutely a lot of privelege that comes with money there is also a metric fuckton of privilege that comes with pale skin.

    In absolute numbers, more whites are killed by cops than blacks. Care to make a bet what percent of the whites killed by cops (like the guy who was crawling down a hallway begging for his life) were wealthy or even middle class? I’m going to put my stake on less than 1% of the whites killed by cops being rich, and less than 10% even being middle class. Absolutely, native Americans and blacks have a higher percentage of being killed by a cop than whites (by a 3-1 ratio – that’s 300% more likely), but poor whites are definitely targets as well, in a way middle class whites have never experienced.

    Where I grew up cops used to go into the alleys where street people slept and beat them just for kicks – and from what I heard they were just as happy to beat white folk as anyone else.
    Its strange how often its minorities who understand the sh*t poor whites put up with better than middle class whites, who seem to think their privileged existence is universal. Minorities know better – you need both money and whiteness for privilege.

    I don’t know about cops being called on poor whites at starbucks, but I’ve seen white street people being escorted out of restaurants and even public places for being poor (ask any street person of any race how that works).

    Basically, middle class and up whites have huge amounts of privilege. But they’ve no idea how the poor live, and so they assume that privilege is across the board. Its not. Read up on experiments done by university students of all races, where they borrow clothes from street people and go live on the streets for a week or more. Read up on how everyone treats them, how ‘privileged’ they are. Or better yet, try the experiment yourself if you’re white. I’m betting you’re going to find that white privilege is very real and very powerful for middle class whites, and barely a blip for the poor. Have you heard of trolling? Not on the Internet, its a fun game done by some upper middle class (mainly but not exclusively white) high school kids – they find a bridge where homeless folks are sleeping, and beat up the ‘trolls’ who live there. And if the cops happen by, evenif they don’t join in the fun they’ll never charge the rich kids.
    Because white or not, the poor aren’t really human.

    The point being, telling poor whites they have privilege is driving them away from Dems, because they know its simply not true. They get hassled by cops, kicked out of restaurants, and treated like garbage by most people. In the 90’s Democrats decide that poverty and unions weren’t important, that the way forward was to make friends with Wall Street. But poverty didn’t go away, the middle and up just decided it didn’t matter.

    Look, we should definitely keep working hard on race issues, because there is a vast amount of racism out there. But there is also a vast amount of poverty, yet we decided in the 90’s that it didn’t matter. There’s no reason not to focus on both.

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  84. Andy says:

    @OzarkHillbilly:

    Me thinks Andy has left the building.

    Funny how it is that DEMs always get the blame for escalating and the demands for not.

    Some of us have lives beyond the OTB comments section.

    And, I’m not “blaming” the Dems. I’m blaming a pervasive attitude in our political culture that’s wrecking our institutions – a political culture that is on full display in this thread. All the excuse making for Democrats as if they are saints to the GoP devil IS part of that problem. People who want their tribe to “win” above all else. It only appears I’m blaming the Dems because they make up the vast majority of commenters here.

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  85. Andy says:

    @David M:

    @Andy:

    Keep in mind that a situation where Dems uphold norms and the GOP does not…is worse than neither upholding norms.

    And

    @Tlaloc:

    Feel free to suggest a course which is not an “escalation” but which also doesn’t incentivize the noxious behavior of the GOP.

    Maybe it’s just me, but do people not understand what escalation means?

    Given that you called treating the GOP exactly the same way they treated the Dems an escalation, I kinda think you are just trolling.

    Don’t put words in my mouth. If you want to know what I think, ask, don’t assume.

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  86. MarkedMan says:

    @Andy:

    do people not understand what escalation means?

    OK, I’ll bite. In what way is what the Dems have done an escalation? Are you taking it as a given that all the women accusing him of bad behavior are liars, put up to this by evil Dems?

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  87. Tlaloc says:

    @george:

    In absolute numbers, more whites are killed by cops than blacks.

    Duh, of course they do, because whites are 7x more common in the population than blacks, but since you admit blacks get shot at a much higher rate that really is moot isn’t it?

    The point being, telling poor whites they have privilege is driving them away from Dems, because they know its simply not true.

    Except it is true. A black person gets treated much worse than a white person of equal socioeconomic status, that’d the very definition of racial privilege.

    There’s no reason not to focus on both.

    I don’t disagree, but the most critical issue with a resurgent Nazi movement is clearly not poverty but race. Any argument downplaying race issues is a nonstarter while we have nazi flags being feted by the GOP.

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  88. Tlaloc says:

    @Andy:

    Don’t put words in my mouth. If you want to know what I think, ask, don’t assume.

    I didn’t put words in your mouth. You said the dems holding open the seat until the next presidential election would be an escalation except that is literally the exact thing the GOP did. You can’t escalate by copying. I know what you think because you said it, I just shut down your asinine argument.

    And, gee, go figure you still haven’t actually put forward an argument of what the dems should do.

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  89. MarkedMan says:

    @Tlaloc:

    A black person gets treated much worse than a white person of equal socioeconomic status,

    That’s where we disagree. A black person of middle class or upper class status gets treated much worse than a white person in the same class. But poor people get treated badly regardless of color.

    The bias against poor people is everywhere. When we hear the “… while black” stories, what is the thing that makes them viral? That the black people involved were treated like some random poor black (or white) person despite the fact they were a lawyer/pastor/professional/Yale student. It’s always considered one of the most relevant parts of the story.

    Just ask a maid in an expensive hotel (or a parking valet or a landscaping crew worker). It won’t matter if they are black or white or something else. People treat them like sh*t because they know they can get away with it. Men might assault them, or make sexually offensive comments, secure that they will be believed over the lowly maid. And not just men. Men and women both will make offensive comments about their accents or lack of education, they will accuse them of stealing, or go to the manager and lie about some infraction the maid committed just because they weren’t sufficiently obsequious.

    Think of the people here and everywhere that would never tell a racist joke but is delighted with themselves when they pass on the latest witticism about Waffle House waitresses with missing teeth.

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  90. MarkedMan says:

    @Tlaloc:

    Any argument downplaying race issues is a nonstarter while we have nazi flags being feted by the GOP.

    I agree with you there. But it is dishonest and counterproductive to champion racial equity by peddling false narratives that downplay other peoples very real suffering.

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  91. Tlaloc says:

    @MarkedMan:

    That’s where we disagree. A black person of middle class or upper class status gets treated much worse than a white person in the same class. But poor people get treated badly regardless of color.

    “Badly” isn’t some absolute state, it’s still a spectrum. Let’s posit some hypothetical scale of how you are treated socially. Being poor might give you a -5 modifier to your overall “score.” Being black might be a -3. Say White is +1. Well guess what, a combined -8 for a poor black person is worse than a combined -4 for a poor white person. And that example assumes poverty matters more than race which I find at best debatable.

    I’ve been poor but I’ve never been hassled by the cops. I’ve never been afraid of being shot by them. Frankly there have been a few times they probably should have given me a much tougher time than they did.

    And, oh look, I’m very white.

    Seems like you are conflating a lot of racial animus as class animus. Back in the 70s and 80s the racists learned to couch their view in class terms to make it more palatable. “Shiftless lazy blacks” became “welfare queens” and so on.

    But it’s still racism at the root.

    The nomination and faux-election of DJT has made the deep rot of racism in this country abundantly clear.

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  92. Andy says:

    @MarkedMan:

    OK, I’ll bite. In what way is what the Dems have done an escalation? Are you taking it as a given that all the women accusing him of bad behavior are liars, put up to this by evil Dems?

    I never said the women are liars or even hinted that they are. It would be nice if commenters here didn’t constantly assume bad intent.

    These charges are serious and credible enough they need to be investigated and adjudicated. The Dems escalated in this case by purposely withholding relevant information from the committee.

    @Tlaloc:

    I didn’t put words in your mouth. You said the dems holding open the seat until the next presidential election would be an escalation except that is literally the exact thing the GOP did. You can’t escalate by copying. I know what you think because you said it, I just shut down your asinine argument.

    The GoP held the Garland nomination open for ~300 days. I think Garland deserved hearings and a vote. If the Democrats hold a future nomination until the next Presidential election that would be over two years if Trump loses and six years if Trump wins in 2020. I think doing that is reasonably called an escalation. If the Dems hold a nomination during a Presidential election year – which is what the GoP did, then that turnabout is fair play.

    And, gee, go figure you still haven’t actually put forward an argument of what the dems should do.

    Why do you have to act like such as asshole? Seriously.

    To answer your -ahem- comment, here are some choices:
    – Quid pro quo. Match what the GoP does – ie. don’t escalate
    – The other obvious choice is a political agreement. It’s been talked about before – agreeing to a neutral set of rules for the next vacancy – whenever it happens. A Gang of Eight for nominations.

    There are other ideas along these lines that have been proposed by people on the right and the left. Those alternatives are at least worth trying before the revenge game so many here openly support results is the complete corruption of our government.

    Long term there are even more options, but those will require compromises that partisan zealots don’t want to make.

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  93. Tlaloc says:

    @Andy:

    The GoP held the Garland nomination open for ~300 days. I think Garland deserved hearings and a vote. If the Democrats hold a future nomination until the next Presidential election that would be over two years if Trump loses and six years if Trump wins in 2020. I think doing that is reasonably called an escalation. If the Dems hold a nomination during an election year – which is what the GoP did, then that turnabout is fair play.

    The GOP argument was explicitly that it was after a midterm and thus the seat should be held open til the next presidential election. Exact same case. And the next presidential election is 2020 regardless of what trump does.

    Why do you have to act like such as asshole? Seriously.

    Maybe because you’re being a total troll who lied about what the dems are doing to try and pretend there was an escalation and then lied about me putting words in your mouth.

    Stop being a douche and I’ll stop treating you as one. Whining about your appropriate treatment gets you nothing but scorn.

    – Quid pro quo. Match what the GoP does – ie. don’t escalate

    What exactly would that be with Kavanaugh? Do you mean wait until some future mirror situation? If so then your argument fails the “don’t incentivize the abhorrent GOP behavior” clause.

    – The other obvious choice is a political agreement. It’s been talked about before – agreeing to a neutral set of rules for the next vacancy – whenever it happens. A Gang of Eight for nominations.

    And what exactly was the result of the gang of right, hmmm? Did the right stick to that deal or did they demagogue it endlessly and refuse to follow it?

    Yes, that was rhetorical.

    Long term there are even more options, but those will require compromises that partisan zealots don’t want to make.

    I’m still waiting for you to make one realistic suggestion.

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  94. george says:

    @Tlaloc:

    Except it is true. A black person gets treated much worse than a white person of equal socioeconomic status, that’d the very definition of racial privilege.

    Actually it bottoms out at the poor end. There’s very little racism among long time street people, because everyone is treated so badly that there’s no real difference.

    The point being, the impact of poverty is bigger than the impact of race. In physics and engineering its often instructive to see how things act on the boundaries. Take a billionaire black man and a white man living on the street. If race has a bigger impact, that white street person would be treated better by society than the billionaire black man. If poverty has a bigger impact then the billionaire black man will be treated better than the white street person.

    Racism does horrible things (trust me, this is not just theory for me), but poverty is worse. And I don’t mean not being able to go out to eat more than once a week and not having the latest car or smart phone poverty – poverty is not knowing where your next meal is coming, not having safe or even warm housing. I spent time living on the streets when I was younger. I was beaten for kicks by cops and by ‘upright’ citizens. So were the white guys sharing the alleys. They were as scared as cops as I was, and for the same reason. I wasn’t allowed into respectable establishments. Neither were they. I can’t think of a single privilege they had that I didn’t have, because none of us had any privilege at all, unless you call being allowed to breath a privilege.

    Now I volunteer with native youth, and a lot of them are on the street. Together with white kids. And guess what, both are treated like sh*t by cops and middle class whites. At the bottom most rungs on the ladder race doesn’t make much difference, because you’re considered to be garbage, and whether white or red or black, garbage is garbage. Again, go spend some time on the street, you’ll see it for yourself.

    Probably the only thing with a greater impact on well being than poverty is mental illness, which tends to coincide with poverty in any case, because our society definitely privileges able-ed people over the disabled.

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  95. george says:

    @Tlaloc:

    Any argument downplaying race issues is a nonstarter while we have nazi flags being feted by the GOP.

    And how in hell is also focusing on poverty downplaying race issues? Not only because minorities are more likely to be poor, but because human beings can think of more than one thing at a time.

    I explicitly said we have to work on both race and poverty issues. That’s not downplaying race issues, anymore than arresting both rapists and murderers is downplaying either rape or murder.

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  96. george says:

    @MarkedMan:

    The bias against poor people is everywhere. When we hear the “… while black” stories, what is the thing that makes them viral? That the black people involved were treated like some random poor black (or white) person despite the fact they were a lawyer/pastor/professional/Yale student. It’s always considered one of the most relevant parts of the story.

    That’s exactly right. A generation ago it was something every Democrat knew. How was it forgotten? We can work on poverty and race issues simultaneously – at least those of us who can walk and chew bubble gum at the same time.

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  97. Tlaloc says:

    @george:

    The point being, the impact of poverty is bigger than the impact of race. In physics and engineering its often instructive to see how things act on the boundaries. Take a billionaire black man and a white man living on the street. If race has a bigger impact, that white street person would be treated better by society than the billionaire black man. If poverty has a bigger impact then the billionaire black man will be treated better than the white street person.

    And cases like Philandro Castile proves that race is a much bigger deal than class. He was gunned down in a situation where a white man never would have been. What’s more the cop in question suffered no criminal repercussions for murdering him in cold blood.

    There is endemic infiltration of police forces by white supremacists throughout the US. There is just no comparison between poor people getting rude treatment and minorities lives being at risk everytime they encounter police. Even wealthy minorities.

    Just ask Ving Rhames.

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  98. Tlaloc says:

    @george:

    The point being, the impact of poverty is bigger than the impact of race. In physics and engineering its often instructive to see how things act on the boundaries. Take a billionaire black man and a white man living on the street. If race has a bigger impact, that white street person would be treated better by society than the billionaire black man. If poverty has a bigger impact then the billionaire black man will be treated better than the white street person.

    And cases like Philandro Castile proves that race is a much bigger deal than class. He was gunned down in a situation where a white man never would have been. What’s more the cop in question suffered no criminal repercussions for murdering him in cold blood.

    Poverty is absolutely terrible in terms of determining future success and opportunities but there is endemic infiltration of police forces by white supremacists throughout the US. There is just no comparison between poor people getting rude treatment and minorities lives being at risk everytime they encounter police. Even wealthy minorities.

    Just ask Ving Rhames.

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  99. Tlaloc says:

    @george:

    And how in hell is also focusing on poverty downplaying race issues?

    TWo ways, by diverting scare resouces to a smaller problem and by mis-attributing the damage of racism to classism instead. You can’t fix the problem if you fundamentally misunderstand it.

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  100. Grewgills says:

    @Andy:

    These charges are serious and credible enough they need to be investigated and adjudicated. The Dems escalated in this case by purposely withholding relevant information from the committee.

    Ford specifically asked not to be publicly commented on and then not to be named before relenting late in the game. That isn’t democrats escalating. That is democrats respecting the wishes of a sex crime survivor. Calling it escalation is not fair or accurate.

    The GoP held the Garland nomination open for ~300 days. I think Garland deserved hearings and a vote. If the Democrats hold a future nomination until the next Presidential election that would be over two years if Trump loses and six years if Trump wins in 2020. I think doing that is reasonably called an escalation.

    Waiting for an exact mirror of 300 days or less isn’t required for the response to be tit for tat. Assuming dems take the senate withholding a vote on his supreme court pick, Kavanaugh or whoever at that point, is tit for tat. If Trump is reelected in 2020 and dems somehow hold the senate in that situation (unlikely) and still refuse to vote, that would reasonably be called an escalation. Simply withholding the vote until the next presidential election is not, particularly while Trump is still under investigation. Under investigation for potentially impeachable crimes is as good or better a justification than it’s an election year. BTW you leave out in your calculus that it wasn’t just Obama’s supreme court nominees that were blocked.

    Quid pro quo. Match what the GoP does – ie. don’t escalate

    In real world politics that doesn’t work, whether the politics are national or international.
    To make a trivial example:
    If stealing $1000 might end up with $1000 being stolen from you at some later date, assuming a group of people agree, that doesn’t disincentivize the behavior.
    That’s why the penalty for stealing $1000 isn’t a $1000 fine.

    The other obvious choice is a political agreement. It’s been talked about before – agreeing to a neutral set of rules for the next vacancy – whenever it happens. A Gang of Eight for nominations.

    Given how the Gang of Eight compromise ended up, it isn’t the best example to put up to convince progressives to enter a similar compromise. In theory it is a good solution. If both sides can be trusted to stick to the compromise it can be a good deal. The problem is that there are bad actors on both sides and one side is composed almost exclusively of bad actors*.

    I really do want to see a way out of this toxic political culture that we have descended into. The problem remains that if at least one set of people in the negotiations live in a fantasy world of facts made up to fit their preconceived notions, all negotiations fail and we inevitably sink further into the vitriol.

    * someone who goes along with the primary bad actors >90% of the time, even if they vocally object and distance themselves from the primary bad actors beforehand, is still a bad actor

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  101. Grewgills says:

    @george:
    If we limit the conversation to street people, then yes, race is much less a factor. That said, most poor people aren’t homeless. Conflating poor with homeless isn’t helpful to the conversation.
    The poor white woman working three jobs to support her kids, doesn’t have an easy life by any stretch. However, she still has it better than the African American, Latin American, or Native American woman in the same situation.
    The poor white kid working as a bus boy after school to help feed his family, while having more than his fair share of suffering, doesn’t face as much as the similarly situated African American or Native American kid working alongside him. For instance, he is much less likely to be shot walking home from from work.
    Saying that being white confers privilege regardless of class, doesn’t mean that class privilege, particularly in the US isn’t a large or important issue. Wealth brings privilege. That is undeniable. Many of the privileges brought by wealth are not addressable by any reasonable means. We can and should address increasing income disparities. We can and should address poverty more like the rest of the developed world and even they need to do better. That said, we are in a time when overt racism and nativism are on the rise and systemic racism needs addressing every bit as much. Solving classism won’t solve racism.

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  102. Grewgills says:

    @OzarkHillbilly and Tlaloc
    Andy has generally been as honest and reasonable as any of us. I often disagree with him, but we live in a world with the same basic facts, he debates the actual argument, and he doesn’t run off when faced with a real argument. He is by no reasonable definition a troll.
    This is a better place with people like him and Hal. Don’t conflate their honest disagreement with being a troll like tmo1, our resident russobot, or the many faces of jen0-. We all lose in that situation.

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  103. David M says:

    @Andy:

    The GOP precedent with Garland was that opposing parties will not confirm judges to the Supreme Court. You now need the presidency and the Senate to confirm a judge. I don’t see how the Democrats have escalated (yet).

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  104. Tlaloc says:

    @Grewgills:

    Andy has generally been as honest and reasonable as any of us. I often disagree with him, but we live in a world with the same basic facts, he debates the actual argument, and he doesn’t run off when faced with a real argument. He is by no reasonable definition a troll.

    You’re welcome to your opinion. From where I sit, it doesn’t comport with the evidence of this thread. Maybe he’s just having a really bad day.

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  105. Andy says:

    @Tlaloc:

    Stop being a douche and I’ll stop treating you as one. Whining about your appropriate treatment gets you nothing but scorn.

    Look. Here’s the deal. If we’re going to have a productive conversation then we need to not impugn motives. I have not impugned your motives one iota. You’ve constantly impugned mine.

    You may believe I’m a troll and you’re certainly welcome to your opinion. However, I’ve been reading and commenting on this site under the same name for about a decade, if not more. As I recall, you (or your nom de guerre at least) has been around for a really long time too.

    The bottom line is that I will not continue to have any kind of “debate” with someone who cannot act decently.

    Good day.

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  106. george says:

    @Tlaloc:

    And cases like Philandro Castile proves that race is a much bigger deal than class. He was gunned down in a situation where a white man never would have been. What’s more the cop in question suffered no criminal repercussions for murdering him in cold blood.

    White men have been gunned down crawling down hallways begging for their lives. There’s no situation at all where some cop in America won’t gun down someone for no reason. That’s what neither conservatives nor progressives get – American cops kill per capita 20 times the number of even whites than any other developed nation.

    And if you think a black billionaire has it harder than a white street person you’re living in a very different reality than any I’ve seen.

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  107. george says:

    @Tlaloc:

    TWo ways, by diverting scare resouces to a smaller problem and by mis-attributing the damage of racism to classism instead. You can’t fix the problem if you fundamentally misunderstand it.

    I’m native American, and I’ve been very poor – living on the street. Racism has caused me problems all throughout my life, but it wasn’t even close to being as bad as poverty. Even in terms of violence, I faced more for living on the street than for being a native American (and we are killed by police at even higher rates than blacks). If you can only fix one, fix poverty. But you’re wrong about society not being able to address both simultaneously, and for the same reason we can build both roads and airports.

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  108. Tlaloc says:

    @Andy:

    Look. Here’s the deal. If we’re going to have a productive conversation then we need to not impugn motives. I have not impugned your motives one iota.

    Hey, look, another lie. That’s new and different. You most certainly impugned me when you said

    don’t put words in my mouth. If you want to know what I think, ask, don’t assume.

    I never put words in your mouth but used your exact argument. You were lying then and you’re lying now so don’t try that BS “I’ve been perfectly reasonable” crap. I’m very comfortable shoving it right down your throat. Argue with some integrity and stop lying and I’ll be happy to treat you politely.

    The bottom line is that I will not continue to have any kind of “debate” with someone who cannot act decently.

    You refusing to continue your trollishness isn’t quite the threat you seem to imagine it to be.

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  109. george says:

    @Grewgills:

    Solving classism won’t solve racism.

    Which is why I’ve been consistently saying we need to solve both – solving classism won’t solve racism, and solving racism won’t solve classism (the poverty in homogeneous societies throughout the world and history should make that clear).

    Yes, not all poor are homeless – about .5% (1.5 million) of Americans are homeless. About five times that number are close to it and run into many of the same problems. The working poor are many steps up the ladder, and at that point racism comes more into play, though from my experience (having gone through that stage) being that level of poor is still as hard as racism.

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  110. Tlaloc says:

    @george:

    And if you think a black billionaire has it harder than a white street person you’re living in a very different reality than any I’ve seen.

    Okay so point me towards the story of a cop holding a poor white person at gun point in their own home merely for being poor. Ving Rhames is not only a black millionaire but a famous black millionaire who had that happen to him merely for being black.

    But you’re wrong about society not being able to address both simultaneously, and for the same reason we can build both roads and airports.

    I’m not saying you can’t work on both, but racism is clearly the much bigger problem. It gets priority. It has to. If for no other reason than that poverty isn’t really a solvable issue. We can ameliorate the worst aspects with well funded social programs, and we should, but racism is doing much more damage and is much more tractable. It can actually be ended.

    The damage from poverty is mostly from lack of opportunity. The damage from racism is from social interactions. Opportunities can’t just me made out of thin air but social interactions are entirely malleable based on culture.

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  111. Just nutha ignint cracker says:

    @Tlaloc: “Even wealthy minorities”–Well of course they do everyone knows how wealthy minorities become wealthy. And if Ving Rhames didn’t look so much in real life like the gangsta characters he portrays, maybe he wouldn’t get hassled by the police in his own house. It’s not all the police’s fault, you know!

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  112. Just nutha ignint cracker says:

    @Tlaloc: I will agree with Grewgills in that the fact that the only part of the GOP agenda that they object to is Trump does not a troll make. In contrast, Trump is probably the only part of the GOP agenda that I DON’T find any problem with. He’s just a character in the ultimate reality show of his own creation. Impeaching him does NOTHING of benefit for anyone other than the GOP leadership. If they weren’t spineless, they’d do it themselves and save a lot of bad press. With Pence in, maybe you get Kavanaugh thrown under the bus, but if he is the key piece in overturning Roe v Wade–why ever that would be–the full court press by the GOP stays on because bitches be lyin’.

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  113. Andy says:

    @Grewgills:

    Ford specifically asked not to be publicly commented on and then not to be named before relenting late in the game. That isn’t democrats escalating. That is democrats respecting the wishes of a sex crime survivor. Calling it escalation is not fair or accurate.

    Except someone in Feinstein’s circle leaked the information, and the timing of the leak was clearly intentional. I don’t know if Feinstein knew about it or not, nor do I necessarily believe that this was the deliberate “hit job” as those on the right believe.

    But it was still improper. Feinstein should have at least alerted the committee leadership that something may come down the pike. This current blow-up could have been avoided.

    And I wonder if Democrats are setting a new standard that this is just a “job” that no one is entitled to and thus due process and the normal rules for proving allegations don’t apply. Indeed some have gone so far to claim that due process is reversed and Kavanaugh must disprove allegations. That seems to be a position born out of expediency and not first principles.

    Simply withholding the vote until the next presidential election is not, particularly while Trump is still under investigation.

    I think reasonable people can disagree about that. I personally think holding a nomination in an election year is not the same thing as holding it until the next election since one is, by definition, less than a year, and the other is up to 4 years (or potentially 8) distant.

    And just to be clear, I don’t think nominations should be held as the GoP did with Garland. If I could, I would role that precedent back.

    BTW you leave out in your calculus that it wasn’t just Obama’s supreme court nominees that were blocked.

    And before that Bush’s were blocked.

    The pattern here is one of escalation. My point in all this is to consider where constant escalation will lead. In my view, people are too focused on expediency, on justifying ends and ignoring means and ensuring their side gets the last “blow” and doesn’t appear to be “weak” etc. I think it’s completely legitimate to seriously ask and wonder how long such a state of affairs can go on and to what end. And, at the end of the day, if all those temporary victories will be worth the price.

    In real world politics that doesn’t work, whether the politics are national or international.

    Except it does work. Endless escalation into destruction is not an iron law – if it was the world would have ended in October 1962.

    In theory it is a good solution. If both sides can be trusted to stick to the compromise it can be a good deal.

    There are certainly no guarantees that it would work, but I believe the problem is serious enough that we need to try.

    The problem is that there are bad actors on both sides and one side is composed almost exclusively of bad actors*.

    It’s hard to come to any compromise if one believes that everyone on the other side is a bad actor. I’ll state again my anti-partisan bona fides – while I’ve voted for both Democrats and Republicans over the years, I’ve never been a member of or aligned to either party. I disagree that Republicans are exclusively bad actors (and neither are Democrats). I think both parties are becoming more reactionary and extreme and think the GoP started on that road earlier and is further along. At present, I think the Democrats, writ large, are less bad, but that isn’t saying much.

    I really do want to see a way out of this toxic political culture that we have descended into.

    Me too.

    I just want to say thanks for the discussion – it’s nice to have a civil debate here and I really do appreciate it.

    I’ve spent too much time reading and arguing politics and need to get some work done, so I’m bowing out of this thread at this point – feel free to have the last word.

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  114. Andy says:

    @Tlaloc:

    I’m very comfortable shoving it right down your throat.

    Stay classy!

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  115. Tlaloc says:

    @Andy:

    Except someone in Feinstein’s circle leaked the information, and the timing of the leak was clearly intentional.

    You don’t know that. Maybe Ford agreed to the release. The right wants to pretend that this is a hit but that’s all supposition on their part and frankly their rush on the confirmation process negates their attack entirely. None of this would be 11 hour if they had taken the time to do it right.

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  116. george says:

    @Tlaloc:

    Okay so point me towards the story of a cop holding a poor white person at gun point in their own home merely for being poor. Ving Rhames is not only a black millionaire but a famous black millionaire who had that happen to him merely for being black.

    What house do you think that street person owns, that a cop could hold him at gunpoint in it?

    Meanwhile, show me a story of a black billionaire sleeping on the street, starving because he’s unable to buy even a simple meal with 100% of his money. Or having to sleep on the street in freezing weather because he doesn’t have the money to pay for even overnight accommodation – and with light clothing, because he doesn’t have the money to get even a half way decent coat, mitts or headgear.

    The cases you’re talking about, where minority billionaires are held at gun point in their own homes are horrible – as I’ve repeatedly said, racism is real and awful. They’re also rare enough to make the news.

    The cases I’m talking about happen roughly a million times a day (there’s about 1.5 million homeless in America).

    The damage from poverty is mostly from lack of opportunity. The damage from racism is from social interactions. Opportunities can’t just me made out of thin air but social interactions are entirely malleable based on culture.

    The financial opportunities are as much a product of social interactions and regulations as racism is. You’re just so used to how our economy works that you think its the only (or perhaps even best) way to do it. Many other countries (much of Europe and Japan for instance) have found ways to reduce extreme poverty. America started down that road, and then decided (thanks again, Reagan) that it was unnecessary – and the Democrats haven’t been much better since the triangulation of the 90’s.

    And no, racism isn’t doing more damage than poverty. For a start, a higher percentage of minorities live under poverty than anyone else. But mainly because racism doesn’t follow you every second of your day, in your every interaction. Poverty does. You’re constantly cold, malnutritioned, hungry and tired, with all the dullness that comes from that.

    For middle class and up people, racism is a bigger problem, because they have no poverty. They have warm homes, have food, have comforts, have entertainment and enough security that they can momentarily escape the grim reality of racism. For the poor poverty is a much bigger problem, because the only escape is in some sort of drug … or I suppose, extreme spiritual devotion, like monks of various religions who take vows of poverty. I don’t see that becoming common place.

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  117. Jim Brown 32 says:

    @Tlaloc: Actually alot of them are killed. Twice as many as people of color. Its just that white people really don’t give a f^^k and whitey getting shot down by the law isn’t good click bait.

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  118. Jim Brown 32 says:

    @Tlaloc: Again, this is false. Its not newsworthy so it never goes beyond the local news. 1000 whites are killed on average by the law per year. People of color the number is around 500. Im sure a good number of those 1000 didn’t deserve to die as sure as good number of those 500 also didn’t deserve it.

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  119. Jim Brown 32 says:

    @MarkedMan: Not only that….but police interact with white citizens twice as much as non-white citizens.

    I have plenty of reasons to not like white people in general…this is not one of them. Its a completely made-for-TV diversion from the most damaging racist policy since jim crow. The so called War on Drugs.

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  120. Tlaloc says:

    @Jim Brown 32:

    Again, this is false.

    No it’s not actually. You are trying to lie by comparing total amounts instead of per capita. It’s no different than economic arguments that rely on on using numbers unadjusted for inflation.

    Whites are 72.4% of the US which makes non white 27.6%. Even if whites are getting shot at twice the total amount or having twice the total cop interactions they are still underrepresented per capita.

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  121. MarkedMan says:

    Think about every moronic family feud you’ve ever encountered. The ones were siblings end up not talking to each other for decades. Don’t most of them boil down to “But you won’t acknowledge that I was wronged more than you!”

    Of course there are gradations of mistreatment. Of course racism is an accelerant for mistreatment. But if if your reaction to someone’s misery about being diagnosed with Lyme disease is “you shouldn’t complain. Black people can get sickle cell anemia” you need to take a long hard look at your capacity for empathy.

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  122. george says:

    @Jim Brown 32:

    Again, this is false. Its not newsworthy so it never goes beyond the local news. 1000 whites are killed on average by the law per year. People of color the number is around 500. Im sure a good number of those 1000 didn’t deserve to die as sure as good number of those 500 also didn’t deserve it.

    Do the per capita; blacks and native Americans are three times as likely to be killed by police as whites.

    However yes, I suspect 90% of whites, blacks and native Americans killed by police didn’t deserve it. You only need compare the rate of police killing in other western nations to see that. So why are whites so willing to put up with their fellow whites being killed by police for no reason? My guess is that because the whites being killed are mainly poor, and so not part of the privileged club.

    “White” has always been a sliding scale. A century ago Irish and Italians weren’t white. Now in many measures of diversity (as in high tech) Asians are considered white. As far the police are concerned, poor Caucasians still aren’t white (anyone who thinks the poor were ever treated as having rights were needs to read up on the history of police in North America).

    There are two independent problems with police killings.
    1) Blacks and native Americans are killed by police at three times the rate of whites.

    2) Even whites in America are killed by police at ten times the rate of other western nations.

    Both need to be fixed, and simultaneously – fixing one won’t fix the other.

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  123. Jim Brown 32 says:

    @Tlaloc: Pretty shoddy analysis to used rates versus raw numbers when it suits your narrative.

    Do you know the numbers of police interactions per year by race? Of course you don’t because you wouldn’t be here arguing propaganda. Police interaction for whites vs people of color are ORDERS of MAGNITUDE beyond what they should look like based on percentage of the populations. For the most part the police overwhelmingly interact with whites more than blacks. Where the problem comes in is that those relatively low interaction numbers results in far more incarcerations of blacks vs whites indicating a problem in the criminal justice system–not policing.

    A black person has a greater chance of being struck by lightning than killed by the police This year black police deaths will probably not even reach 300. Find actually problems to solve in the community…not made for TV ones.

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  124. Jim Brown 32 says:

    @george: I’d expect better analysis from you based on your previous posts. Its useless to play the rate vs numbers game because people like to use one or the other whenever convenient to support their argument. White people like to point out the percentage of black people on welfare…Black people like to point out the total number (an therefore total burden to the State) of white people on welfare.

    The better statistic, which offers a better story–is to measure police interactions by race versus killing. If, for example, every thousand police interactions for whites resulted in .1 killings and every thousand police interactions for blacks resulting in .4 killing–that would be a clear indicator of bias. That facts are that there are more police interactions for whites–and more killings. There is no reason to use killings versus population as a metric–other than it paints the picture attention peddlers want people to see.

    If we start looking at the number of white vs black police interactions that result in incarceration–THERE we see a HUGE problem.

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  125. Tlaloc says:

    @Jim Brown 32:

    A black person has a greater chance of being struck by lightning than killed by the police

    Why do you think you can get away with these lies when it is so easy for me to prove you wrong?
    Number of lightning deaths (among all races) in 2017 was 16
    Number of blacks killed by police that same year? 223

    Is some fraction of 16 larger than 223? I’ll give you a moment. Remember to use your fingers and toes.

    Keep lying and I’ll keep humiliating you. It isn’t hard and rather fun, frankly.

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