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September 12, 2018

Comments

The Intercept got it from somewhere.

of course.

where?

If we can speak of upsides - every second that this fiasco drags on, another 100 women who were just not that interested in the mid-terms decide that maybe they'll show up and vote after all. Hell of a lot of women have their own drunk-entitled-jerk-at-a-party story.

The (R)'s once again show their skill in reaching out beyond their core demographic of old white dudes.

Please proceed, Senators.

i've been amazed by how terrible they are at it, too.

but maybe it's too much to expect them to be good at marketing to people for whom they are also terrible at legislating.

"The (R)'s once again show their skill in reaching out beyond their core demographic of old white dudes."

OF COURSE they're skilled at it.

They haven't been slaughtered yet, have they? A fate that they have most assuredly earned, over many years.

Count is still on his leash, that has to count for something.

cleek FTW

Did I mention that I like Hirono ?
https://www.washingtonpost.com/politics/2018/09/19/shut-up-step-up-this-senators-message-men-wake-kavanaugh-accusation/

russell, regarding the Justin Kennedy connection, the "conspiracy theory" has been dismissed by some people (including the Washington Post's Pinocchio column). However, it seems to me to bear more scrutiny than people have given it.

For example:

"The younger Mr. Kennedy spent more than a decade at Deutsche Bank, eventually rising to become the bank’s global head of real estate capital markets, and he worked closely with Mr. Trump when he was a real estate developer, according to two people with knowledge of his role."

And from the Post's Pinocchio article:

"In 2005, Deutsche Bank and others loaned the future president $640 million to build the Trump International Hotel and Tower, which is now the second-tallest building in Chicago. This appears to be the only Deutsche Bank loan to Trump that involved the younger Kennedy.

"From his perch on the trading desk, Kennedy had an important role in the loan-approval process. “What the trading desk does is they price the loan … and then once the loan is originated, they figure out what to do with it: sell, syndicate, securitize in a trust,” Offit said. In other words, Kennedy’s job was to figure out how to manage Deutsche Bank’s risk in loaning Trump the money to build his Chicago tower, and to securitize or sell off parts of the loan as needed.

"The extent to which Kennedy worked with Trump on this loan, or possibly on other Deutsche Bank matters, is unclear. “In that role, as the trader, he would have no contact with Trump … unless Eric [Schwartz] was trying to get Justin in front of Trump for schmoozing reasons,” Offit said, adding that he had recently spoken with former colleagues at the bank about Kennedy’s work.

"The Financial Times reported that, as Deutsche Bank was building its commercial real estate team in the late 1990s, “some of the appointments gave Deutsche more clout in boardrooms and on the party circuit.” The newspaper mentioned Tobin “Toby” Cobb, a banker who was the son of two U.S. ambassadors. “Justin Kennedy, a trader who arrived from Goldman to become one of Mr Trump’s most trusted associates over a 12-year spell at Deutsche, is the son of a Supreme Court justice,” the Financial Times reported.

"The Chicago deal ended up somewhat acrimoniously for Deutsche Bank and Trump. The Wall Street Journal reported that Deutsche Bank syndicated the loan, eventually reducing its exposure to less than $50 million.

"In 2008, Trump failed to pay $334 million on the Chicago loan and sued Deutsche Bank, arguing that the global financial crisis was an unforeseeable event akin to a natural disaster. He also sought $3 billion, reasoning that Deutsche Bank’s practices helped trigger the financial crisis. Trump’s lawsuit alleged that Deutsche Bank compromised the Chicago loan by selling off pieces to “so many institutions, banks, junk bond firms, and virtually anybody that seemed to come along,” the Wall Street Journal reported.

"That last part is interesting, since the people we spoke to familiar with Justin Kennedy’s thinking said it was his handiwork to syndicate the Chicago loan. Deutsche Bank and Trump settled out of court in 2009, and the commercial mortgage unit hasn’t done business with Trump again."

We don't have enough information to conclude that there was anything amiss, and perhaps it is just the swamp, as this writer surmises. But part of the problem with Trump's hidden financial affairs is that there is something off about this, and instead of leaving it to speculation, it should be transparent. No, there's no proof of criminality here, but I'm tired of insisting on indictments before we are justified in pointing out that something smells bad and should be investigated.

In other words, it would be irresponsible not to speculate! And with these characters, that's actually true.

The Dumbass Lout Whisperer:

https://talkingpointsmemo.com/edblog/in-secret-calls-putin-cultivated-trumps-anger-at-the-deep-state

The next Democratic or Independent President of the United States is going to have to be an Abraham Lincoln in stature and character, but not necessarily gender, to save the country:

https://www.youtube.com/watch?annotation_id=annotation_6871907034&feature=iv&list=PLZbXA4lyCtqpy2mDvUsRkxEnyxNp97Cva&src_vid=r_Bdli4c8TA&v=sNi3hwriXyE

lj: Hey, boys will be boys, (wink wink). But of course, we should always be evenhanded (towards people in our socio economic class, you know)

But only imagine the reaction had the boys been black (and the girl white). Even upper class black.

(Probably a lot of ranting about the evils of affirmative action as well, had they also been students at Georgetown.)

My current thoughts about the Supreme Court: term of appointment too long; court too small.

A bigger court with long-ish, but staggered terms of appointment would take political pressure off of the nomination process while still giving the court the sort of long-term perspective that we need it to have.

What's absolutely clear, though, is that what we have is not working well and is subject to all manner of gamesmanship.

Nous -- A court with long-ish but staggered terms is an appealing idea, and maybe bigger (if not too much bigger) would be better. But not much is working well right now, and I'm not sure how much worse the mess is around the Supreme Court than around anything else. When gamesmanship is the order of the day and the top dog is an idiot savant crook, swinging his ... club ... in all directions indiscriminately to feed his own narcissism, we're in surreal territory.

It's tempting to think there's something wrong with the system that we could fix to avoid this kind of mess in the future, but I doubt any system is proof against this kind of assault. You can't lock a system down so tightly that there's no flexibility and adaptiveness, but ... we've gone far beyond that.

That's not to say that we couldn't reform ourselves to good effect. The Supreme Court and the electoral college would be good starting places. I'm not optimistic.

Neither am I, JanieM. One of the reasons I am thinking about this is the very real possibility that the current state of affairs finally causes the sort of collapse that was narrowly avoided in 1860 and in 1932.

Constitution 2.0 for whatever institutions arise our of a potential collapse will need to have better rules.

A jury has a maximum of 12 members, which is generally the number of jurors on a major trial. That sounds like a good number for the Supreme Court. If they deadlock 6 to 6, the lower court's ruling stands. Justices seem to be appointed around the age of 50 these days. A 25-year term should give just about anyone enough time to round out a very nice career, and it's not like there wouldn't be plenty of money to be make after the end of a 25-year term on the Supreme Court - so no political pressure to speak of.

Pie in the sky, yes. But still an interesting proposal.

do away with the permanent SCOTUS altogether. periodically randomly pick some set of members from the various federal courts to look at cases that SCOTUS would handle.

Finland has a court of at minimum 15 justices (18 at the moment), usually working in 5-judge panels. I could see something like that, with the panels having to clear their judgments with the majority of the court before a decision could be used for precedent.

I am always leery of attempts to solve current major problems with big changes. Yes, sometimes that is what is actually needed. But at least as often, we end up creating more, and worse, problems even as we are addressing the old ones.

In the case of the current Supreme Court, I could see something like an automatic removal of any Justice found to have lied during his/her confirmation hearings -- about facts, not so much about what their views on the law are. Rough on Justice Thomas, of course. But it might discourage a bit of the gamesmanship we have seen.

I am always leery of attempts to solve current major problems with big changes.

Kind of like generals fighting the last war....

The German Supreme Court equivalent has two 'senates' each about as strong as SCOTUS. The justices have a fixed term (too lazy to check, iirc 10 years) and have to retire if they reach 67 before that term is over. Although it is not law, it is understood that a former justice may not become a lobbyist, politician etc. but has either to retire, or go into academia (or something similar). The only public office (s)he may have after being on the court is president (an office that has about as much power as Her Majesty the Queen of England just with fewer perks and the same obligation to stay out of party politics).
The last major debate over a nominee I remember was about his area of expertise (which was already overrepresented while the alternative was a specialist in an area the court lacked at that time).

My proposal for the US (stated here repeatedly) is 12 to 16 justices on the Supreme Court. Each year the longest serving one gets replaced. If (more than) one leaves the court out of term the replacement will require a higher confirmation margin or serve only as a placeholder. If the senate tries stalling, a nominee will be considered as approved after a reasonable period (e.g. 3 months) as at least placeholder. A nominee that fails to gain 40% of the vote cannot be renominated by the same president.
Main purpose: a single president could not fundamentally change the court by stacking it with young hacks. It would require at least two two-termers.
There would also be clear rules about when a justice has to recuse him/herself.
Not foolproof but better than what we have now.

UK Supreme Court has 12 Justices. (FWIW)

The one thing which seems unquestionable sensible is term limits.
No judge is uniquely good, or indispensable - and if they are, they are really not acting as everyone says (or gives lip service to) how judges should operate.

If the senate tries stalling, a nominee will be considered as approved after a reasonable period (e.g. 3 months) as at least placeholder.

Your idea seems reasonable, but I don't think any reform should include a default if the Senate doesn't vote for some period. There are lots of ways to stall the Senate and win that way what can't be won by a vote.

A better solution, IMO, is to say that after a certain period, ninety days or so, any Senator can call for a vote, and the Senate must stay in session and can conduct no business at all until it is held.

Voting on things is a Senator's job. Make them do it.

Meanwhile, the Republicans appear to have decided that they don’t care one way or another if Kavanaugh is a liar, and Ms Ford is just a speed bump on the way to confirmation of their partisan hack:
https://www.politico.com/story/2018/09/19/trump-bullish-about-kavanaugh-survival-829990

Great quote for today, from Senator Graham:

It is imperative the Judiciary committee move forward on the Kavanaugh nomination and a committee vote be taken ASAP.
Riiiight. Imperative why, exactly?

Yes, *I* know why. And you know why. But the question is, what reason can the Senator give?

After all, the Court managed for over a year without giving Judge Garland a vote. But admitting that the only rush is because they might otherwise a) find evidence which would preclude confirmation and/or b) the Democrats might (only 1 chance in 3, last I looked, but still) get control of the Senate in the election, which would mean no ideologues confirmed for the next couple of years? Admitting to that would be rough.

Here's a simple fix:

Don't vote for (R)'s.

The fundamental problem is that a Constitution written over 200 years ago is deemed to be the governing document for what the federal executive and legislature can and cannot do today. Of course the Constitution has nothing to say about automatic weapons, joint-stock corporations, or same-sex marriage. So Justices have to apply bizarre theories of interpretation to find something which isn't there. Inevitably, the answers they find depend on their political leanings, not the Constitution itself. So the appoint of Justices becomes a political issue.

The whole thing's broken. And there's no way to fix it while keeping the United States united.

“The whole thing's broken. And there's no way to fix it while keeping the United States united.”

There will never be a system of government that is without politics. Politics is just another name for human interaction.

There will never be a system of government that is without politics. Politics is just another name for human interaction.

This.

There are some problems with the Constitution. The electoral college being one of them. But no system of laws will save a country where a substantial number of people don't buy into the concept of law over power. Those "norms" everyone was talking about are what hold countries together.

The Democratic Party has a diversity of people and a spectrum of views on various issues, although we tend to agree in our belief in government policy as a mechanism to provide the greatest benefit to the greatest number.

Republicans reject government, and increasingly use it to enrich people who are already wealthy. Currently, wealthy Republicans are pillaging the United States, its treasury, its natural resources. No amendment to the Constitution will cure that. The people have to recognize what's happening and reject it. Unfortunately, there are a lot of marks out there being conned.

The whole thing's broken. And there's no way to fix it while keeping the United States united.

Of course there is. And it's built in. Amend the document to deal with new challenges.

It's admittedly not a trivial effort. But there's no reason why it cannot be done -- after all, we've done it a couple dozen times already.

Or are you suggesting that the level of divergence in opinions is so much greater than ever before (good luck supporting that!) that we can't reach agreement on anything? And never will be able to in the future....

Republicans reject government

Actually no. Libertarians, who are often numbered among Republicans, do so. On the other hand, the religious right has absolutely no problem with government -- they just object when it isn't forcing the rest of the world to follow their own particular views. Ditto the racist right.

Both of the latter reject government as it has been for the last century or so. But only because they feel that they haven't been in control.

are you suggesting that the level of divergence in opinions is so much greater than ever before

I think it is no more divergent than 1860, so definitely not greater than ever.

Libertarians also only reject the government they don't agree with.

"Libertarians also only reject the government they don't agree with."

https://www.balloon-juice.com/2018/09/19/every-man-his-own-master-open-thread-crypto-anarcy-now/

I got nothing.

A libertarian is a guy who builds/downloads his own 3D sex robot and when she shows a trace of human agency by declining his more exotic demands while also demanding a robot abortion, he downloads a 3D gun and shoots her because his constitutional principles have been violated.

Then someone hears the shots and the government he doesn't agree with takes my money to clean up his fucking mess.

Then Charles WT reads this scenario and asks, "Who exactly was hurt that the government needs to step in?"

Then young teenaged male conservatives adopt this line of reasoning and stock up on sex robots and 3D weapons to avoid Kavanaugh's dilemma should they one day be up for nomination to the Supreme Court.

Then, in protest, Ted Cruz's polls surge favorably in his direction and we call THAT fucking monstrosity gummint.

Then Putin nukes the shit out of us, thus saving us from yet again trying to grow the hair back that we once again were about to tear out and jump up and down on.

America: never quite full of shit enough to be satisfied that we don't need to stop being full of shit.

Nothing is what I got.

Here's a simple fix:

Don't vote for (R)'s.

Yup. If we had a solid majority in Congress (both houses) and a president, none of this would matter.

No need to change the Constitution. But if we were to tweak it, I'd recommend the following:

1. Fixed terms for Supreme's
2. Abolish the Senate
3. Abolish the Electoral College

I got nothing, too.

Republicans reject government. Actually no. Libertarians, who are often numbered among Republicans, do so.

Disagree. Libertarians believe in a strong government that enforces their particular authoritarian theories.

Libertarians believe that the more things, ideas, and states of being you can arbitrarily define as "property" the better off we are. This is tyranny.

Libertarians believe the government should essentially be an arm of the propertied class and dedicated to enhancing their interests. Enforcing a strong version of property rights is no 'small thing' to be accomplished by a "watchman" regime. It takes a lot of effort, and overwhelming force.

When it comes to discussions of political economy, libertarians should be utterly shunned.

Abolish state legislative control of redistricting.

Have one senator per 1% of national population, not state (the Dakota's and montana get 1).

2. Abolish the Senate

A great example of trying to deal with a very narrow problem of the moment. Or, as Janie put it, fighting the last war. I'm guessing you are too young to remember when the Senate was all that kept the temporary emthusiasms of the House from screwing up the country. May be hard to imagine watching today's disgusting short-termism behavior, but it did used to be the norm.

To put it another way, what is your alternate solution for restraining the House. If you don't think that's ever going to be necessary, consider how much more the "Freedom Caucus" could have done, if Ryan wasn't able to tell them that some of their dreams just wouldn't get past the Senate. (And, occasionally, show them, when the Senate version excluded something that they had muscled thru.)

I'm guessing you are too young to remember..

I'll be 70 in a little less than 3 months.

...when the Senate was all that kept the temporary emthusiasms of the House from screwing up the country.

Examples would be instructive. Alternatively, there is a good deal of good legislation that passed the House only to go on and die in the Senate.

I'd love to stack those two piles up and see which one is highest.

To put it another way, what is your alternate solution for restraining the House.

Elections.

consider how much more the "Freedom Caucus" could have done

That group is not even a majority of the majority. They use their leadership's blind allegiance to the Hastert rule and its unwillingness to put matters to a vote of the entire House as leverage.

A lot of those dreams would not have gotten past Obama, either.

https://www.marketwatch.com/story/amazon-reportedly-aims-to-open-3000-cashierless-stores-by-2021-2018-09-19?siteid=bigcharts&dist=bigcharts

Everything in America is going to be something-less.

A friend of a friend used to say he preferred the gownless evening strap to the strapless evening gown.

Apropoless.

Once you turn 70, you may be too OLD to remember.

I suspect the Freedom Caucus members are going to run for Senate seats.

I suspect the Freedom Caucus members are going to run for Senate seats.

From your lips (keyboard) to God's (or at least their) ears.

The more of them running for Senate seats the better. Some lose primaries -- maybe from trying to primaries sitting Republican Senators for being too maderate. That gets them out of the legislature. Others win primaries, and thus massively increase the odds of the Democrats taking the seat. They may not be Roy Moore or Todd Aiken, but mostly sufficient to the task.

Republicans go to the Anita Hill playbook on Christine Blakey Ford:
https://thehill.com/homenews/the-memo/407524-the-memo-tide-turns-on-kavanaugh

As she receives death threats, it’s not ‘fair’ on Kavanaugh that she won’t testify on their timetable.

Truly the party of Trump and male sociopathy.

Blasey - auto correct did it to me again.

As an aside, I don’t really like ‘The Hill’ as it tends to report uncritically the party talking points, particularly Republican ones - but it is also for that reason a useful reference.

Just an observation

I'm guessing that wj's comment about the Senate being a firewall for the House is related to the Clinton impeachment, where the Senate basically stopped that in its tracks. Which is true, but if you view the radicalization as a virus, one can say it jumped from the House to the Senate since that time. So one might say we have to destroy the Senate to save it...

I'm guessing that wj's comment about the Senate being a firewall for the House is related to the Clinton impeachment

It's an idea much older than that, as the introduction of Robert Caro's Master of the Senate argues (albeit somewhat romantically).

Well, wj can tell us what he's thinking about, and certainly, with the 6 year term limit, the offsetting terms so only 1/3 are up every two years, along with the clubby institution lends itself to that idea, but it seems like any institution that has this kind of institutional history is going to be/should be viewed with a lot of suspicion in terms of sexism. One only has to go back to Joe Biden dealing with Anita Hill

https://www.washingtonpost.com/news/retropolis/wp/2017/11/24/rewatching-joe-bidens-disastrous-anita-hill-hearing-a-sexual-harassment-inquistion/?noredirect=on&utm_term=.02bd208c4865

to see an institution that is not going to deal well with the changes that #metoo portends.

Nigel,

That's a great book. I'm not old enough to remember the Senate of Henry Cabot Lodge (the elder), but it was the place where good legislation went to die. It still serves that function, the operational arm of the rich and powerful.

Wild eyed radicalism would not necessarily arise in its absence. There are still many other institutional constraints.

But one can hope.

It's admittedly not a trivial effort. But there's no reason why it cannot be done -- after all, we've done it a couple dozen times already.

We really haven't amended the Constitution a couple dozen times, it just looks that way. Ten amendments were effectively part of the original deal, and three others took a civil war to pass. Three of the remaining ones, 12, 20, and 25, were purely procedural.

Only four, direct election of Senators, the Presidential term limit, DC electoral vote, income tax, changed the underlying structure

Abolish the Senate

I would abolish the Senate as it exists.

There is value in having a second house of Congress, though. Leave it at staggered six-year terms, but make representation proportional to state population, for Pete's sake. The two per state system is insane.

Also, stop the BS - by which I mean the various ways that they avoid ultimately having to vote on things.

The fundamental problem is that a Constitution written over 200 years ago is deemed to be the governing document for what the federal executive and legislature can and cannot do today.

On reflection that's wrong, the problem is more with individual rights. Currently Justices are obliged to pretend to find dicta in the Constitution about many things which plainly were not considered when it was written: they respond by making something up which suits their political views - they make a political decision.

This is a mistake. Elected politicians should make political decisions.

A new Constitution should have a clear and brief bill of individual rights which government cannot breach, confining itself to commonly agreed rights which can readily pass the hurdles for amending the Constitution.

Any other would-be rights, the Constitution should confine itself to saying whether decisions can be made by the federal government which are binding on the States.

(We have a Supreme Court in the UK, much less powerful than SCOTUS. Hardly anyone knows or cares who's on it, or how they've been chosen.)

The US Constitution includes institutions that are, by intent, anti-democratic.

The Electoral College is one. The Senate is another.

The Senate was, more or less, intended to represent states per se, as opposed to the House, which was intended to directly represent people. This reflects the suspicion of a strong central government that was common at the time the Constitution was drafted.

The first attempt was the Articles of Confederation, which was a failure. The second attempt was what we have now. States were willing to concede ultimate sovereignty to the federal government, but only in a limited way.

This was mitigated somewhat by the 17th A, which changed the process of electing Senators to one in which they are elected directly by the people in a state. But it still leaves us with a profoundly undemocratic institution.

At the time the Constitution was written, the most populous state was VA, with about 750K people, and the least was DE, with not quite 60K. That's a ratio of about 12.5 to 1.

Right now, the most populous state is CA, at about 39.5M, and the least is VT, at about 625K. That's a ratio of 63+ to 1.

The difference in the economic texture of life in the various states was also much less different then, than now. Agriculture, artisanal craft, a merchant class, and a professional class was generally the mix. There were cities, but they were not that large, and their residents not such a large percentage of the population.

Today, a different story.

What we have now, in the Senate, is a body by which a really small percentage of the population is able to be not just a tempering influence on popular will, but an utter obstruction.

There is a limit to how much of that the nation can absorb and still remain functional.

Personally, I think it's time for us to start thinking of ourselves less as a federation of states, and more as a people. And, adjust our institutions accordingly. The occasions for insisting on "state's rights" generally seem opportunistic to me, anyway.

But whatever we do, it is not going to be sustainable for the representatives of such a small minority of the population to be able to thwart the will of such a disproportionately large number of their political opposites.

As far as the Electoral College, IMO the POTUS is inherently a national, not a state-wide, office. Presidents should be elected by popular vote, period. The Electoral College has, twice in the last 20 years, resulted in Presidents achieving office who lost the popular vote, and who turned out and are turning out to be poor executives. To put it mildly.

Get rid of the EC, and modify the prerogatives of the Senate so that the representatives of states per se are not able to override the will and interests of the people at large.

But in the meantime, don't vote for (R)'s.

E.g. - Mitch McConnell, Senator from KY, a state with a population of 4+ million, the largest metropolitan area of which numbers a little over 600K people, was able to prevent Barack Obama, POTUS of the US, elected with very robust popular and electoral majorities, from filling a vacant seat on the SCOTUS.

That is outrageous, and if patterns like that continue, the nation will break. Because people will not put up with it.

I think it's highly likely that the (R)'s will find a way to get Kavanaugh on the SCOTUS. If they do, they are going to regret it. Just another nail in their coffin as a constructive presence, or ultimately a presence at all, in the nation.

If so, so be it.

"Stand athwart history and yell stop". Not a great plan. Nevertheless, please proceed, (R)'s.

I think it's highly likely that the (R)'s will find a way to get Kavanaugh on the SCOTUS.

well, all they have to do is have the vote. the fact that they're putting even this much effort into trying to look concerned is surprising to me.

(We have a Supreme Court in the UK, much less powerful than SCOTUS. Hardly anyone knows or cares who's on it, or how they've been chosen.)

Some people suddenly started to care very much, when the case regarding the exercising of Article 50 (by which the UK is withdrawing from the EU) came before it.

As for its powers, they are gradually accreting, partly thanks to the European Convention on Human Rights (though of course in this respect its judgments are to some extent subsidiary to the European Court of Human Rights.... not to be confused with the European Court of Justice which deals with matters that fall under EU jurisdiction).

I'd agree though that it's pretty hard to envision quite the same level of US political struggles any time soon.
Not least because guns and abortion aren't matters of political identity, and the principle (if not the detail of implementation) of universal healthcare is a long settled consensus.

https://talkingpointsmemo.com/dc/gop-rep-rohrabacher-on-kavanaugh-accusation-give-me-a-break

For those who don't speaka or read da Americano, here's an app for the Russian translation.

That Rohrabacher continues among the living is testimony to the fact that Americans will put up with any kind of fucking shit.

That app:

https://play.google.com/store/apps/details?id=com.maniloff.translator.ru_en&hl=en_US

The longer the Kavanaugh fiasco drags on, the more the Rs in congress expose themselves as ethically bankrupt shills. That won't move the forty percenters though, since they also have a problem with ethical deficits in the political aspects of their lives.

None of this would be happening if Kavanaugh has simply saind, "Yes, I did a terrible thing and I should have apologized years and years ago. I was a spoiled brat and I attended a school where entitled drunken frat boy behavior was the norm and I did abuse a young lady. In fact I abused her twice--once during the incident and a second time by failing to apologize. But I will not abuse her for a third time by failing to apologize now. I hope she will understand that I was ashamed of myself thirty years ago and I have made a serious effort to change my attitude toward women and girls and have never since that terrible day been abusive. Please forgive me.

But he is still the entitled abusive asshole now that he was then. He's just entitled and abusive in the way that is socially acceptable because it comes under the label "conservative philosophy' and manifests in terms of policy.

The can, now opened, appears to be worms all the way down...
https://www.theguardian.com/us-news/2018/sep/20/brett-kavanaugh-supreme-court-yale-amy-chua

russell:

Solve the California problem by breaking up California. Not a novel idea, that. Almost made the ballot here. But Republicans would hate having six senators from here and Democrats would hate having those electoral college votes divvied up. Some might be tempted to think that allowing a pre-election writ of mandamus vs. a full hearing on the merits after the election (if necessary) was the deep state in California protecting itself . . .

And I think that "suspicion of a strong central government" is very much alive today.

Your point of view is undoubtedly valid. It was valid at the time of the founding. It is valid today. But just as valid is the countervailing viewpoint of representative democracy, equal footing amongst the states, and so forth. "We the People" voted on the Constitution and we could do so again by amending it if desired.

I have lived in one of the least populated states in the country and the most populous state in the country. You happen to be in the majority of a populous state. I am in the minority. I feel more disenfranchised now, obviously. My state is silly, IMHO, focused on plastic straws when it cannot educate its children (don't get me going on that one). I have little to no say in what happens at the state level.

There is a good argument we are too centralized as a country. I have no idea what is good for Massachusetts on many issues just as you probably have no idea what is good for Alaska on many issues. Actually, you probably have a better idea than me on most issues because you tend to get less frustrated and actually listen. But I digress.

We lay issues at the feet of SCOTUS and let 9 people decide them for us all. Most of the time it makes sense. But sometimes we see overreaching, stretching the commerce clause to see if it will break, etc. The battle over SCOTUS, arguments over the electoral college and the popular vote, the proper objects of executive orders, conversations about the "deep state" etc. are collectively symbolic of too much centralization, IMHO. Ideas that might not divide us as a country do divide us if they are elevated to the national level and imposed on the country as a whole. There is too much at stake.

It troubles me that "small state" viewpoints are seen as not worthy of some sort of respect simply because the populations are small. I get that you are pointing to some extreme examples and I do see and acknowledge your point. But I'm not sure scrapping the senate as we know it and going pure popular vote would unite us. We haven't put as much thought into it as the founders did. Despite the changes in society, economy and population, we owe it to ourselves to have a proper debate before doing anything rash given the almost unmitigated success of the American Experiment. And, thankfully, absent actual revolt that is what has to happen.

Maybe a constitutional convention would be a good idea, to air out all the frustration and spend some time seeing how we can improve the amazing country we already have. I'd much rather see that than seeing the nation break.

Swampy swamp swamp....

Oh, wait. Incestuous swampy swamp swamp...

"a certain look" ... across a crowded courtroom.

In reforming the Court, I think we need to dispense with the robes, because as with kilts, conservatives are curious about what originalist underpinnings are implied beneath:

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=up-UN467Q80

When a conservative stands athwart history and yells "Stop!", history needs to insert a knee into the conservative's bulbous crotch region:

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=J1-gI4G8S8Q

That's the funny one.

Not so funny ....

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=l0Qsl_6muRY


.... but effective

In late breaking news Brett Kavanaugh wins the Roy Moore endorsement — not that he asked for it

Sorry, hat tip to Nigel for the link, which I repeated. Time for a 2nd shot of caffeine I think.

There is a good argument we are too centralized as a country

There is a good argument that we ought not be one country.

Maybe a constitutional convention would be a good idea

IMO if it comes to a constitutional convention, it will be game over.

We can barely find basic points of agreement when we are constrained by the current Constitution. Open that for review and we will end up going our own ways.

For good or ill.

I personally would not welcome the US breaking up, I think a lot would be lost. Not just for us.

But I am by god sick of arguing about the BS that we end up arguing about. And I don't see the point of trying to function as a nation if we can't come to a functional agreement about the most basic things.

bc - Solve the California problem by breaking up California.

And Texas. And Florida. And New York.

Or consolidate WY/MT/ID.

Indiana contains 1/50 the population of the US. Scale the rest accordingly?

All my math nerds would love this. It's also why we don't let math nerds run things.

Time for a 2nd shot of caffeine I think.

In my world, it's always time for a second shot of caffeine, JanieM.

If it comes to a constitutional convention, the first issue will be who are the delegates? How are they selected? By whom, and based on X delegates per state, or per NN population (with district lines established how?) or what? (Of course, we could just let the Congress reconstitute itself, with current members, as a constitutional convention....)

I'd say we have a far better chance of putting through even a bunch of amendments than of even holding a constitutional convention. Let alone having one come to anything resembling agreement.

I'd say we have a far better chance of putting through even a bunch of amendments than of even holding a constitutional convention.

We'd probably have to pass a bunch of amendments to answer all the questions you posed about how to hold a constitutional convention before we could have a constitutional convention.

I'd say we have a better chance of going all Yugoslavia on ourselves than we do of putting together a productive constitutional convention.

Slobodan Trump

If it comes to a constitutional convention, the first issue will be who are the delegates? How are they selected?

they will have been selected by brute force, being the strongest, wealthiest and most-clever person in their little chunk of irradiated Old Yooessay.

they will have been selected by brute force, being the strongest, wealthiest and most-clever person in their little chunk of irradiated Old Yooessay.

Thus was it ever.

IOW, this is how the world works and how it has mostly always worked, with our naive, hopeful little attempts at fairness and equality just chipping away at the monolith, for longer or shorter periods of time.

*****

Also, a big problem with the notion of the country breaking up, or some scheme of breaking up or consolidating states, is that our severe, perhaps fatal ideological divisions are not *really* coterminous with geography.

via LGM:

https://www.thecut.com/2018/09/brett-kavanaugh-alex-kozinski-sexual-harassment.html

Aren't the repubs just a couple of states away from the number required to convene a constitutional convention, at which, they have stated plainly many times, especially at the Federalist Society, that they plan to strip the federal government of all the powers it holds to pay out SS benefits and administer Medicare, and that's just for the amuse bouche.

As things stand now, Democrats might be permitted to man a blow job booth at the convention and propose amendments from their knees.

Probably half a dozen of the current 25 amendments would be stripped from the Constitution, and they won't be ones discussed in this thread, except maybe getting rid of the Senate.

The 25th would be reworded to promote insanity, malfeasance, and the seven deadlies in all future republican Presidents.

Me, a few minutes ago: our severe, perhaps fatal ideological divisions are not *really* coterminous with geography.

Every time this question comes up, images from the movie "Gandhi" float through my mind. Google "The Partition" and that's the topic you get; you don't even have to specify which one. Ours could be...worse.

But that's enough gloom and pessimism for one day.

Guiliani sez truth is not truth, but this guy's theories sound plausible to me:

http://www.patheos.com/blogs/slacktivist/2018/09/19/liberty-universitys-hero-prophet-eager-for-trump-to-declare-martial-law/

I'm cooking a baby for supper tonight.

hat tip to Juanita Jean, the future Governor of the better half of partitioned Texas.

meanwhile....

It's the Onion's world now, we're just living in it.

Party of Trump...
https://www.politico.com/story/2018/09/20/ralph-norman-jokes-about-sexual-assault-833194
Rep. Ralph Norman (R-S.C.) on Thursday mocked the sexual assault allegation a California woman made against Supreme Court nominee Brett Kavanaugh, joking that the latest update had brought new allegations against Abraham Lincoln.

"Did y'all hear the latest, late-breaking news from the Kavanaugh hearings?" Norman said, joking that was the reason he was running late for a candidates' debate. “Ruth Bader Ginsburg came out that she was groped by Abraham Lincoln.”...

Team Deplorable never fails to unimpress

So it's the CONSENSUAL part of sex between two or more people that conservatives object to and have all my life.

For them, it's either forced groping/penetration/sexy office banter OR forced abstinence that lights their wicks and then forced pregnancy with no exceptions, with maybe a little more groping and gettin all up in there even during the forced abstinence for the other person.

They'll do fine in prison.

"Did y'all hear the latest, late-breaking news from the Kavanaugh hearings?"

Another 1000 women decide they will make time to show up at the polls in November. Many of them also get their checkbooks out.

Another handful decide they may just run for office next time around.

Hell, even some of the guys get with the program.

Please proceed, (R)'s.

Laura Koerber,

Yes to all that you said.

bc,

You make two arguments more or less in defense of the Senate:

I have no idea what is good for Massachusetts on many issues just as you probably have no idea what is good for Alaska on many issues.

This is a defense of letting states decide matters that can be handled at the state level. It makes perfect sense. (You might note a pet peeve of mine is that the staunchest advocates for this are all for letting state governments overrule city ordinances, but never mind that.)

The trouble is that the Senate votes on national issues. The budget, national defense, SCOTUS nominees, war and peace. It alo votes on issues that cross state lines - environmental matters - interstate commerce in general, etc.

These are not matters suitable for dealing with at the state level. They have to be handled by a national government, like it or not.


It troubles me that "small state" viewpoints are seen as not worthy of some sort of respect simply because the populations are small.

On the kinds of things I mentioned any "state viewpoints" are silly, because the states qua states should not have a viewpoint. Their residents should. So it's not that I, for example, don't want to hear
the opinions of people in Wyoming, it's that I see no reason why the opinion of any individual resident of Wyoming should carry more weight than the opinion of any single Californian.

Talking about the viewpoints of states in this context is nonsense. States are geographical areas, not sentient beings. What we are interested in is the viewpoints of people.

byomtov, if the Senate would stay out of things best left to the states I would agree. Completely. But they havent and wont, proven over and over. So the founders were prescient.

https://www.mediamatters.org/blog/2018/09/20/right-wing-fever-swamps-are-now-smearing-christine-blasey-ford-over-her-high-school-yearbooks/221393

I would rape the hussy tramp Alex Jones, but his cooties are undeterred by antibiotics.

"So the founders were prescient."

I don't know. If they rose from the dead and looked around today, I suspect many of them would declare "Well, I didn't see THAT coming!" about a lot of issues.

byomtov:

What Marty said. I don't have a problem with the senate limiting itself to what you said. That was the plan in the beginning, with the exception of environmental matters.

I get what you are saying. I am assuming you weren't being didactic for my benefit and that I simply didn't communicate my point effectively. My point is that we are using (have been using) the Constitution's reservation of power over "national" issues to centralize gov't and take over issues traditionally left to the states (um, healthcare anyone?).

Plus, almost 50% of the land is owned by the Feds (ok, "us") in the West. Alaska is over 60%. Even California pushes close to 50 (a lot of mountain ranges, forests, and wilderness, though). In Alaska, the impact of national lands coupled with the heavy military presence creates a lot of "national" issues becoming "local."

And while you call the structure of the Constitution "silly," some might beg to differ. Even on the issues such as war and peace. Remember, Palin could see Russia from her front porch. Trade deals affect ports more, environmental issues impact manufacturing and mining more, etc. etc. etc. The states didn't have to agree to a union, but they did and the compromise is enshrined.

And I don't think the "city ordinance/state law" is necessarily a good analogy, depending on the state constitution at issue. Could be similar, many times it is not, I think.

But he is still the entitled abusive asshole now that he was then. He's just entitled and abusive in the way that is socially acceptable because it comes under the label "conservative philosophy' and manifests in terms of policy

Just when I thought the #metoo movement had us all on the same page . . .

I am assuming you weren't being didactic for my benefit and that I simply didn't communicate my point effectively. My point is that we are using (have been using) the Constitution's reservation of power over "national" issues to centralize gov't and take over issues traditionally left to the states (um, healthcare anyone?).

Did someone mention being didactic? Napoleon demonstrated the superiority of national based levies and nationalism as a motivational factor. Everything in the modern world has moved towards centralization because of economies of scale. Internet anyone? Alternatively, the Civil War pushed that ball down the hill, with the Northern states using *national* policies to defeat the Confederacy. Maybe it might have been better if folks could have compromised a bit more in the run up to that tete a tete...

You mentioned healthcare. Why is it that every OECD country but the US has a relatively workable healthcare system that provides a decent level of care without threatening bankruptcy? Isn't it not because we centralize, but because by only sticking one foot in the pool, actors with motivations that go against centralization (or worse, hijack centralization as a way of creating a monopoly) hijack these urges to carve out their own niches. Maybe the states can deal with climate change...

'We' are using the constitution to centralize and expand because everyone else is. You may not like it, you may point out that causes a lot of problems. But don't pretend that it is some sort of Democrat plot, it's the way the world is being pushed.

bc,

Even on the issues such as war and peace. Remember, Palin could see Russia from her front porch.

I'm not getting your point here. Do you think war and peace should be dealt with on a state level?

Trade deals affect ports more, .

Trade deals affect the whole country, mining, manufacturing, software, etc. Ports, and there are ports in a lot of states, shouldn't have any extra degree of control over them just because the goods come in at ports. And how do you make trade deals at the state level anyway?

environmental issues impact manufacturing and mining more, etc. etc. etc.

Like ports, only more so, manufacturing is spread out around the country. Where is the state interest? How should it be represented? By the portion of state GDP that depends on manufacturing? And of course that ignores the huge issues of clean air and water, climate change, and so on. These are national issues. Even if some are more regional, they are certainly not state-level issues, because air and water emissions are not respecters of state boundaries.

The states didn't have to agree to a union, but they did and the compromise is enshrined.

Well, thirteen did. But for most of the rest the states are creations of the federal government, rather than the federal government being a creation of the states, only a couple of which had any meaningful sovereignty before joining the union.

And I don't think the "city ordinance/state law" is necessarily a good analogy, depending on the state constitution at issue. Could be similar, many times it is not, I think.

I'm not talking about Constitutional issues but practical ones. My point was that the strongest advocates of doing things at the state level "to let people make their own decisions" or whatnot" are often happy to override the decisions made by city-dwellers about their own situation. They want decentralization to the exact level of government where their policy preferences can be enacted. No lower, no higher.

lj: Did I say it was a democratic plot? I don't think that. I think the R's are easily as responsible.

And I completely agree with you on only sticking one foot in the pool. I didn't read the article yet, but "only one foot in" is exactly how it feels and matters are much, much worse for me at least. My exchange rate for what used to be an ok plan is over $4k. So I'm going COBRA baby for as long as I can (can you believe COBRA is half the cost of the exchange for me???).

And I'm not necessarily opposed to a national approach to healthcare. I'm simply commenting on structure here. And since you asked . . .

mandate coupled with catastrophic and HSA's for everyone, fund HSA's and assist on premiums for the poor (giving an incentive for those on public assistance to manage their own health care) or something like that would appeal to me if we could overcome the constitutional issues. I am not there yet, and I'm sure many could poke a lot of holes in that idea, but doesn't Singapore do something like that? I remember reading back in the days before Obamacare about Singapore's approach and it was something like that. But the current situation is not working for the self-employed middle class.

They want decentralization to the exact level of government where their policy preferences can be enacted. No lower, no higher.

Thank you.

Let's be honest: we all want our policy preferences. Republicans have no overarching philosophy for that other than "what we can get away with." It's their "deficits don't/do matter" philosophy; their "family values/put them in cages" philosophy, and countless other examples.

wrs about "Don't vote for Republicans." To be more specific and positive (and constructive: "Vote a straight Democratic ticket."

Did I say it was a democratic plot? I don't think that. I think the R's are easily as responsible.

My point is that it is something a lot larger than party politics, so if you drop into talking about it as if it were, you are mistaken.

And why, for god's sake, is healthcare a 'constitutional issue'. Because one party has made it a constitutional issue, that's why. If you think about it, the 'constitutionality' of healthcare is basically a red flag, and I don't know of any other country has invoked the constitution as guidance for their healthcare system. But in the US, it is.

https://talkingpointsmemo.com/edblog/the-1993-kristol-memo-on-defeating-health-care-reform
But the Clinton proposal is also a serious political threat to the Republican Party. Republicans must therefore clearly understand the political strategy implicit in the Clinton plan–and then adopt an aggressive and uncompromising counterstrategy designed to delegitimize the proposal and defeat its partisan purpose.

partisan purpose = getting more people insured. This is not to say that you agree with that, but when you frame it as a Dem v. Repub. question, you are falling into the rut that Bill Kristol started digging 25 years ago.

yes, do go read about how lightweight and unintrusive Singapore's healthcare system is!

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Healthcare_in_Singapore

Singapore's healthcare system uses a mixed financing system that includes nationalised life insurance schemes and deductions from the compulsory savings plan, or the Central Provident Fund (CPF), for working Singaporeans and permanent residents

of course Singapore has 5M people in 280 square miles. which means it's smaller in population and area than NYC.

...doesn't Singapore do something like that?

Is a city state the best model for how to do healthcare in a country ten thousand times bigger? Could there be a reason why its healthcare system is an outlier?

The answers are no and yes. Singapore has a huge number of migrant workers - about 30% of the population. So it has a much lower proportion of old people and infants. And hence much less healthcare demand relative to the size of its economy.

We lay issues at the feet of SCOTUS and let 9 people decide them for us all.

This is a simple reflection of the political reality that such issues, under the current rules and the actually existing political division of power, are not 'decided' to finality.

Our national politicians have every incentive to punt a lot of divisive issues to the Supreme Court. Then they fight like dogs over the political makeup of the Court.

And then we blame them for doing so, and act surprised.

stretching the commerce clause to see if it will break

This old cannard is, thankfully, nearing the end of its shameful political life. I'd wager you couldn't find a million voters who gave a rats ass about the commerce clause.

It troubles me that "small state" viewpoints are seen as not worthy of some sort of respect

It troubles me that so many reprehensible political preferences drape their underlying aims under the cloak of "small state viewpoints".

simply because the populations are small.

NAME ONE PERSON WHO ACTUALLY HAS SAID THIS.

But I'm not sure scrapping the senate as we know it and going pure popular vote would unite us.

Please do explain to the peanut gallery how one or two of those public policies that you support will "unite us."

things best left to the states

We all agree that "things best left to the states" ought to be left to the states.

I get really impatient when the conversation moves to fantasy, but that's my character flaw.:

In real life: Ed Whelan (the guy who outed ObWi's publius) has now blamed some third party middle school teacher for the incident. Ford refutes the account.

Ed Whelan, a former clerk to the late justice Antonin Scalia and president of the Ethics and Public Policy Center, pointed to floor plans, online photographs and other information to suggest a location for the house party in suburban Maryland that Ford described. He also named and posted photographs of the classmate he suggested could be responsible.

Well, at least you can see that his outing of publius wasn't a one time thing. I hope some of the people he posted photos of sue his ass.

For those of you who are interested, but might be low on google-fu, here you go

http://obsidianwings.blogs.com/obsidian_wings/2009/06/stay-classy-ed-whelan.html

He apologized
http://obsidianwings.blogs.com/obsidian_wings/2009/06/moving-on.html

but he clearly feels that information is for him to post. What a jerk.

Sorry, not some of the people, just one person.

https://heavy.com/news/2018/09/ed-whelan-kavanaugh-edward/

As Fallows points out in the Atlantic:
Whelan is the director of the Ethics and Public Policy Center; a one-time Supreme Court clerk for Antonin Scalia; reportedly a friend of Kavanaugh’s; and overall a significant figure within the conservative establishment. None of the members of that establishment, by the way, stepped up this evening to defend Whelan’s version of events. Which leads to…

Why this might matter for Brett Kavanaugh. As many commentators pointed out this evening, a natural question for (Democratic) senators to ask, when Kavanaugh comes back before them, is: Did you know about any of this?

And apparently the guy he slimed was one of the signatories of the ‘Kavanaugh is of unimpeachable character’ letter !

A link to Fallows
https://www.theatlantic.com/notes/2018/09/midterm-time-capsule-47-days-to-go-derangement-comes-to-the-kavanaugh-fight/570961/

Drum is puking, and not from his cancer treatment:

https://www.motherjones.com/kevin-drum/2018/09/the-kavanaugh-affair-careened-off-a-cliff-today/

It would rather follow the Trump White House pattern for something to go off the rails due to a combination of lies, libel, and failure to learn from experience. In this case the experience which teachs (the teachable) that the misddeds are far less of a problem than the cover-up.

Had Kavanaugh merely said something like this, when the allefgation first surfaced:

I ran a bit wild in my youth. Including, I am ashamed to say, sometimes drinking to the point of having no memory of my actions. So I cannot say with any certainty that this did not happen at some point. If it did, I deeply regret it, and the pain that it has clearly caused Ms Ford.
If he'd done that, there would have been a flurry of recriminations. But the nomination would have been safe. Now? Perhaps not.

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