Saturday, 15 August 2020

Explain like I’m 5: Carter Page. Who he is and why he matters.

Preface: this post is about the FBI investigation Crossfire Hurricane, and it may not be of interest to many of my regular readers. 

I have been following the "Trump-Russia collusion" case very closely and in real time since it began, and am not going to include hyperlinks in this post, other than one to a letter sent by Carter Page to then FBI Director James Comey. 

My sources are the Department of Justice (DoJ) Office of the Inspector General's (IG) December 9, 2019 report (the Horowitz Report), the congressional testimony of Michael Horowitz and Carter Page, and other easily searchable resources. Everything I will assert in this post is something you can look up yourself, and I encourage you to do so.

So let's begin.

Who is Carter Page, and why does he matter?

I have seen the claim thrown around that the FBI must have had valid suspicions about Carter Page all along that had nothing to do with his involvement with the Trump campaign. The reason they believe this? 

Because Page left the campaign shortly after Yahoo News, on September 23, 2016, published an article claiming that Page was under FBI investigation for suspicious contact with sanctioned Russian officials. Page left the Trump campaign pretty much immediately after the FBI confirmed in the media that the matter was “on [their] radar,” and that they were “looking into it.”


So Page left the Trump campaign in late September, but the FBI didn’t even obtain its first Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act (FISA) warrant to surveil Page until October 21.


Clearly, these keyboard warriors tell me, the FBI was only interested in Carter Page’s improper contacts with the Russians, and it had nothing to do with the Trump campaign. After all, he wasn’t even involved with the Trump campaign at that point. Check mate!


People who claim this either do not know of, or choose not to mention, a standard the FBI uses called the “two hop” rule.


While the FBI might have had valid suspicions of Page in the very first days he came to their attention (more on this below), the “two hop” rule would enable them to “look into” not just Page, and not just Page’s immediate contacts, but Page’s immediate contacts’ immediate contacts. 


See? Two hops. (Want confirmation? Google "two hop rule".)


So while Page may have left the campaign prior to the first successful FISA warrant application, there were lots of his contacts who were still involved in the campaign, and lots of THEIR contacts, as well. And if the FBI managed to hit pay dirt a second time—that is, establish sufficient probable cause to successfully apply for a FISA warrant on any of those individuals? Then they’d have another group of primary and secondary contacts to surveil.


So. Carter Page gave the FBI an "in" with the Trump campaign, even after he'd quit.


After the story broke at Yahoo, and was picked up by other news agencies, Page spent months desperately trying to tell anyone who would listen that he was working with the CIA as an informant. He claimed, publicly and vehemently, that he had regular communications with sanctioned Russian officials and other big baddies, but after each one he would debrief the CIA on what had been communicated. He had, he claimed, assisted both the CIA and the FBI for years in their pursuit of intelligence on the Russians.


Most of the media either ignored his claims altogether, or expressed the type of deadpan skepticism late night news satire hosts are known for. “Uh huh. You’re a secret agent. I totally believe you.”


Not that this was a particularly surprising response. Page does not evoke fictional characters like Jack Ryan or James Bond. A big-eared egghead with a slight lisp and a nervous demeanor, he is hardly the stuff of Tom Clancy novels.


But the news media were not the only people Carter Page was desperately trying to talk to.


Two days after the Yahoo News story broke, Carter Page sent then FBI Director James Comey a direct letter in which he described the media allegations as spurious and outrageous, and claimed he’d had numerous interactions over the course of decades with US intelligence agencies, including the FBI and the CIA. He invited the FBI to call him so they could put the matter to rest.


Apparently, the FBI chose not to call Page to clear the matter up. Or to even look him up in their own archived files, which, if they had, would have indicated that the FBI and the DoJ had used Page as a source in the past, and that Page had actually assisted the DoJ in... wait for it... prosecuting Russians.


Does anyone think the FBI should not have at least performed a rudimentary search through their own existing files after receiving that letter? And maybe touched base with the DoJ or CIA? You know, perform the most cursory due diligence before doing something as drastic as obtaining a Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act (FISA) warrant to spy on a US citizen? 


Yeah, me neither. 


These were not only facts that would have explained as either innocuous, or as an asset to the US government, Page’s interactions with sanctioned Russians—interactions that are not prohibited by law, mind you. They were also exculpatory details that were required by law to be included in any application for a warrant to surveil Page. 


And yet the warrant was applied for, and the application contained none of this exculpatory information—some of which existed in the FBI’s own filing cabinets.


So. Let’s review. On or around September 25 2016, James Comey received notice that the FBI had in its possession information suggesting that Page had a history of working with and for the American government, not against them. This information was within Comey’s power to confirm or disconfirm simply by looking through existing FBI files, requesting confirmation from the CIA, and/or reaching out to the DoJ. 


Comey either did not perform this basic due diligence, or he did, ignored what he found, and went ahead with the first FISA warrant application against Page anyway.


And why would he do that? Oh, I don't know. Because of the “two hop” rule, maybe? 


Carter Page was a bit player in this tragicomedy, a prologue character who’d arguably left the theater long before Act 1, Scene 1, and who remained for the rest of the story merely a subject of the soliloquies, asides and actions of the more stage-worthy characters. 


A dorky egghead with a slight lisp who happened to be a confidential human source for the CIA, a man whose only crime was being perfectly situated to provide the FBI a pretext to apply for surveillance warrants that, because of the “two hop” rule, would give them license to spy on the Trump campaign, and later, the Trump administration.


You know, as long as the FBI was and remained "unaware" of Page's decades of work for, and cooperation with, the US government, and all.


Page had quit the Trump campaign a month before the ink was dry on the first FISA warrant application, but there’s no “best before” date on the “two hop” rule, dontcha know.


It would not be until after the second warrant renewal (essentially, the third warrant application) that someone on the Crossfire Hurricane team would bother to ask the CIA if Page was indeed a CIA asset. The CIA responded by email in the affirmative.


This email is the document FBI lawyer, Kevin Clinesmith (an outspoken "Viva la Resistance!" type), would alter to say the exact opposite, in order to obtain that one last warrant renewal on June 29, 2017, well into the Trump administration. This discrepancy was discovered by IG Michael Horowitz, and is rock solid.


And all Clinesmith did was add one word. He turned the CIA’s “is” into “is not”. Such a little thing! At least, that's what his lawyer is telling everyone right now. 


On August 14, 2020, it was announced that Clinesmith was set to plead guilty to “making false statements” to the FISA court. 


For those of us who’ve been following this debacle, there’s a sense of “about time!” in the air. But let's not be distracted by the fact that some low level, anti-Trump lawyer is getting his comeuppance for committing a felony in the service of trying to take down a duly elected president. 


No one would have even heard of Clinesmith had IG Horowitz not spotted that itty bitty little “typo” during his review of Crossfire Hurricane's alleged abuse of the FISA process. Clinesmith was neither a mover nor a shaker. He's small potatoes. He was another bit player, his role in the play alluded to but never really acted out on the stage


And when push comes to shove, all he really did was break the law in order to aid an abet a crime that was already in progress. 


That is, the very first FISA warrant against Carter Page was, in my opinion, illegally obtained. Clinesmith's falsifying of evidence to obtain the fourth FISA warrant only added insult to injury. 


Again, James Comey was put on notice in late September of 2016, prior to the first warrant application to spy on Carter Page, that Page had files going back decades with the FBI and CIA. The contents of those files would have prohibited any such warrant. 


Certainly, had the FISA court been apprised of Page's record of assisting the FBI and CIA they'd have denied the request for a warrant. But more than this, under any business-as-usual circumstances, his record would have made utterly inappropriate any effort by the FBI to even obtain such a warrant. 


That is, given Page’s readily available history, the FBI would not have been granted a warrant to spy on Page because, if they had acted legally and ethically, they would not have sought one in the first place.


How inconvenient that must have been!


Either Comey did not care to check, or he did check and didn’t care. As IG Horowitz noted during his testimony before the Senate, the only explanations he could think of for the “errors and omissions” made by the FBI throughout Crossfire Hurricane’s interactions with the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Court were either political bias or gross incompetence, neither of which reflect well on anyone involved.


And to further complicate matters, after being fired as Director of the FBI, James Comey—the man who either did not care to check, or checked but did not care—declined to renew his security clearance. This meant he could not be questioned by IG Horowitz about ANY of these matters, because at that time they were still classified, and Comey was therefore barred from hearing or discussing them.


Slippery little sucker. I bet he just forgot to renew. The guy had a lot on his mind, after all, like collecting royalties for his book, hubristically titled "A Higher Loyalty." 


According to media reports, Clinesmith faces a maximum of 5 years in prison for “making false statements” to the FISA court. 


This, despite the fact that the Department of Justice had him dead to rights on tampering with evidence (18 U.S.C. § 1519), which carries a maximum penalty of 20 years. 


That’s quite the discount, all things considered. From a guaranteed felony conviction carrying a 20 year max, down to pleading to a lesser crime with a maximum of 5? That’s like the feds having you dead to rights on premeditated murder, and they let you plead guilty to negligent homicide. 


Senator Lindsey Graham (bless his heart) could barely suppress his giggles when discussing this plea deal, and what the major players might be worrying about right now, on Fox News yesterday. 


All things considered, I don’t think anyone involved is sleeping well at the moment.


Carter Page has never been charged with any crime regarding his alleged collusion with Russia as a member of the Trump campaign. Indeed, he's never even been charged with a process crime, such as lying to the FBI, or with any of the typical "fishing expedition" crimes that tend to stick to political movers and shakers, like tax evasion or money laundering. 


This man appears to be squeaky clean. Either that, or (and forgive me for introducing a new metaphor) the FBI wasn't interested in removing such a useful piece from the chessboard. 


For nearly a year, the FBI used Carter Page's contacts with certain Russian bad actors, the details of which Page dutifully reported to the CIA, as a false pretext to surveil the Trump campaign. 


The consequences for Page? Senator Lindsey Graham has repeatedly used the phrase "his life was turned upside down." I would go further than that. Carter Page's life as he knew it was effectively cancelled on September 23, 2016, when Yahoo News reported he was a person of interest to the FBI due to his suspicious and possibly nefarious contacts with "muh Russians". 


The FBI could have spared Page everything he's endured for the last four years by reviewing their own fucking files and correcting the media narrative. Instead, they misled the FISA court in order to use him as an instrument to spy on the Trump campaign. And in at least one case, the FBI falsified evidence in order to preserve their phoney pretext to renew the warrant to surveil anyone associated with Trump.


Carter Page the patriotic confidential source for the FBI and CIA, who had aided the Department of Justice in the successful prosecution of dastardly Russians in the past, was not useful to the FBI's Crossfire Hurricane "investigation". 


Carter Page, the suspected Russian collaborator, was. 


So the FBI allowed that narrative to stand in the mainstream media and falsely presented it to the FISA court, and Page was left to twist in the wind.


Here's hoping that Clinesmith is not the only casualty of this comedy of malicious errors.

Monday, 27 April 2020

Social Justice COVID Classism

Regarding SJWs and coronavirus... Has anyone else noticed that we have created two classes of people here? Those whose health and lives we deem it acceptable to risk, and those who deserve total protection at the expense of the former? And that expense is not only in risk to health and life, mind you. It's also in the tax burden. Health workers (except in the US, and even that is complicated) are net tax consumers, not net tax contributors, so I'm sorry, they aren't the people who will inevitably foot the financial cost of this. White collar people who can work from home? They have the privilege of earning money while staying safe.

These groups are carrying their weight, but one is immune from the tax burden, the other immunized against the risks. But it is private sector workers who are deemed essential, many of them in low-wage jobs, who are bearing a double burden right now. My daughter is one of these, paying in both risk and taxes so that others can collect tax dollars and not face that risk. Every day she puts on her steel-toed boots, rides the bus to work, and unloads trucks at Walmart. And I'm sorry, but she'd rather have mandatory hazard pay, or her income taxes waived, or even a "coronavirus essential worker tax credit" than all the blathering and virtue signalling about how much everyone appreciates the courage and sacrifice of essential workers. Half our country is sitting on its asses (many of them involuntarily) being served by her labor and her tax dollars, all while the bill for this gets bigger and bigger. She's 23. She had inherited $30,000+ of government debt burden before she filled her first diaper. I shudder to think what that sum is now, or will be at the end of this.
Now, don't get me wrong. I'm not whining about it. I'm glad her work was deemed essential so she could remain employed, unlike my son. Honest work is good for the soul, and neither she nor I are particularly worried about her getting sick (she takes precautions, and is not in the demographics most at risk).

But I do think it's odd that every person on social media with preferred pronouns in their profiles appears to be supporting the lockdown and resisting lifting or easing it, despite the fact that it has created an arguably exploited underclass of high-risk, often low-paid workers who are essentially (pun intended) left carrying the entire bag for the rest of us.

To a great extent, the people in the US and Canada begging for restrictions to be eased are those who put in an honest day's work for an honest day's pay. They know there is risk, they're willing to shoulder it, and the government is telling them no.

It is the elites who are telling us it's too soon, despite the fact that they've already deemed my daughter's life expendable because her work is vital in maintaining the very measures that are killing her future with a massive government debt load combined with an intentionally annihilated economy that may take decades to recover.

It was mostly young, working age people who died during the Spanish flu pandemic.

With COVID, some 75% of the deaths are in people 65 and older, 50% in people 80 and older. The disastrous, long-lasting, perhaps permanent effects on the young, on our children and grandchildren, will not be inflicted by the virus.

They will be inflicted by us.

Friday, 21 February 2020

The legal definition of consent...

According to reports, one of the first notes the jury in Harvey Weinstein's case sent to the judge, seeking clarification, was a request for the legal definition of consent.

Is anyone else finding this weird? I mean, it's not like a jury of ordinary people would need to ask for the legal definition of "taking something that belongs to someone else" in a theft case, right?

Everyone knows that even if you do it by accident (like forgetting that bag of potatoes on the bottom rack of your grocery cart) and even if you didn't realize it belonged to someone else (like taking some "junk" sitting unattended at the edge of an unfenced property), "taking something that belongs to someone else" has a specific meaning that we all understand. You might not be aware that you've taken something that belongs to someone else, and you might not realize what you're taking belongs to someone else, but everyone can understand the concept of "taking something that belongs to someone else."

You can literally get a toddler to understand what "taking something that belongs to someone else" means, even before they're morally and cognitively developed enough to get why it's wrong to do it. (The little sociopaths.)

The purpose of the law is not just to punish people who transgress it. It's also to put people on notice as to what behavior is acceptable and what behavior is punishable. "Taking something that belongs to someone else" is not always a crime, nor is it always unethical or morally wrong, but I think all of us can wrap our heads around what it is to take something that belongs to someone else. A thing belongs to someone else, and you take it.

Consent is at the heart of sexual assault law, the way "taking something that belongs to someone else" is at the heart of the laws around theft, shoplifting, mugging, burglary, robbery, etc.

And a jury of 12 adults don't know what sexual consent means under the law. This is not okay.

If 12 jurors don't know what sexual consent is under the law, it's entirely possible that any or all of them have criminally violated someone's sexual consent. If 12 jurors don't now what sexual consent is under the law, then how can we hold ANYONE punishable for violating the grey edges of it?

Will Weinstein be acquitted on a technicality? Because hey, he might have violated those women's consent in practice, but not in legal theory?

Or, worse by far for the ordinary person, will Weinstein end up convicted on a technicality? Because he should have understood something that these jurors didn't know themselves until they asked a judge to explain it to them?

I have heard that politics is downstream from culture. This appears to be an example of the opposite--one situation where our legislators have enacted laws, and definitions in law, that few of us really understand. And that's not good news for those of us who have to live in the real world of mundane human interactions, who aren't schooled in the precise definitions in the laws that govern our behavior.

How are any of us to know when we've crossed a line, if that line needs to be defined by a judge to the 12 adults asked to make a determination on it, who theretofore had no idea where it lay?

And here's the thing. This is not like signing a mortgage agreement--something most people do only a few times in their lives, where you bring in a lawyer and everything's written down. This is an agreement to an act that, by random internet nerd estimates suggest, more than 600,000 people globally are engaging in right now, and every second of every day.

Have any of them had access to a judge to ask them what the legal definition of consent is? How many of them are lawyers? And how did the most fundamental human act other than giving birth and dying become so freaking complicated?

Tuesday, 18 February 2020

RIP Christie Blatchford

What a loss. I didn't know her personally, but she was an inspiration to me as one of the last of the old, hard-nosed journalists.

Tough, tenacious, bold, unapologetic. If she said it you knew she meant it because so much of what she said rubbed the establishment the wrong way and when they bleated, she'd just say it again. Her audacity and personal integrity were something to see, let me tell you.

I'm at an age (49) where you begin losing a lot of the public figures you look up to. Actors, musicians, political and cultural icons. Not just public figures, either. As my mom once told me, "you hit a certain age, and suddenly the parties you get invited to are half weddings and half funerals."

But who knew that it would be Christie Blatchford and none of the other icons we've lost over the last few years who would have me weeping on a Tuesday afternoon? She was a quiet, unassuming part of my life. I never felt any kind of fangirl enthusiasm about her. Yet what a gaping hole she's leaving behind, not only for me, but for all of us.

My condolences to her family and loved ones.

Thursday, 7 February 2019

On Mercedes Carrera...

So. It has come to my attention that an erstwhile prominent figure in the #gamergate controversy who I met once in person, and who was a guest on Honey Badger Radio a couple of times back in 2015, has been charged, along with her boyfriend, with sexually abusing a child under the age of ten.

I wholeheartedly despise and condemn the sexual abuse of children, no matter the gender of the child and no matter the gender of the perpetrator(s).

If these allegations prove to have veracity, I will wholeheartedly condemn Ms. Carrera for an act that is always a sickening violation of the trust and innocence of a child by an adult who should never cross that line.

I am revolted by these allegations.

But that is exactly what they are at this point. Allegations. And as always, I will reserve judgment until a fair and just process determines that they are more than allegations. I did this with Brett Kavanaugh. I did this with Jian Ghomeshi. I did this with the Muslim men accused of an organized mass rape attack in Cologne.

I will do the same for Mercedes Carrera.

If she did what she's accused of doing, she deserves what's coming to her. But at this point, there is no way for me to know.

The allegations are salacious, revolting and should elicit revulsion in anyone who thinks about them. But we do not yet know if they're true.

Presumption of innocence applies here, just as it applies to Kavanaugh, Ghomeshi and every other person accused of a horrific act. I will watch this case with interest, and reserve judgment until the facts come out.


Saturday, 22 December 2018

Waving Goodbye to Patreon

Unlocked
I will be quitting Patreon
On the 6th of January, I will be deleting my Patreon account. I am not doing this immediately because I want my patrons to have a certain amount of notice. 
Given the revelations produced by Matt Christiansen regarding his conversation with the head of Patreon's "trust and safety" team Jacqueline Hart, I no longer trust Patreon, nor do I feel safe here.
Despite Subscribestar being crippled by Paypal (who dominate more than 70% of the US payment processing market and who, incidentally, Ms. Hart used to work for), I cannot continue lining the pockets of a company whose rules are not universal and which somehow prides themselves on having an "individual" manner of applying them.
In Matt's conversation with Ms. Hart, it was revealed that had Carl Benjamin only grovelled enough, had he only given a "full-throated" apology for his statements, rather than focussing on defending the context and genuine meaning of his words--which even she admitted was calling out racists on their racism--she would have reinstated him. 
I'm sorry, but that's not good enough. Particularly since they never actually directly contacted Carl to either put him on notice before his account was deleted, nor afterward to let him know what particular action would get him out of the gulag. 
More than this, she implied that Patreon is only complying with the requirements of payment processors and credit card companies. 
Speaking as someone with unpopular opinions and a salty tongue, who sometimes describes herself as "Chief Executive Misogynist for Patriarchy Inc", I'm not safe here. 
I'm also not safe at Subscribestar, since both Paypal and Stripe have indicated they're not going to do business with them. 
I hold Subscribestar blameless in this, and I would encourage any American citizen reading this who cares about these issues to contact the Federal Trade Commission regarding a potential violation of anti-trust laws.
It's entirely possible that Ms. Hart, in trying to staunch the hemorrhaging of creators and patrons from this platform (some estimate Patreon has suffered a 20% loss of revenue since this unpopular decision) reached out to her old bosses at Paypal to help take down the only viable competitor to the platform she so spectacularly damaged through her actions. 
It's also possible that Visa and Mastercard are engaging in an illegal "refusal to deal" with companies who give a platform to people whose political opinions or choice of words don't comply with their own.
*If* either of these is the case--Paypal and Patreon conspiring to eliminate Patreon's competition, or credit card companies that enjoy a comfortable monopoly refusing to do business with certain entities for no good reason--there is a valid anti-trust concern that merits investigation. I have written to Senator Ted Cruz, who used to be director of policy planning at the FTC, to explain the details of the case and ask him to consider applying pressure on his former colleagues to look into the situation.
Section 230 of the CDA gives these platforms blanket immunity regarding what and who they publish and what and who they remove. There is no existing law that can hold Patreon accountable for what it's done to Carl Benjamin. But there MAY BE laws that will hold Patreon, payment processors and/or credit card companies accountable for what they've done to Subscribestar, and what they will surely continue to do with any viable alternative to Patreon that offers a platform to people with unpopular opinions.
For now, my Paypal account is functional and people can support me through that either through a monthly payment or a one-time donation. The link is on my YouTube channel, and I will let everyone know immediately should that change. Anyone in Canada can support me via Interac email money transfer to the address girlwriteswhat@gmail.com. And I have a personalized tip jar at https://www.feedthebadger.com/product/tip-karen/ 
And as soon as a viable alternative platform is available I'll be on there like a monkey on a cupcake and will shout it from the rooftops.
For now, I hope everyone is able to have a wonderful holiday season despite all the upheaval and uncertainty. Take joy in the little things, like the sound of two dogs gnawing meaty prime rib bones instead of each other. And I'll see you all when and where I see you.
Hugs to everyone over the holidays,
Karen 

Sunday, 7 October 2018

To the Weinsteins and Dr. Peterson,

It's not very often that I disagree with JBP, and when I do I feel a need to articulate why. Today, he said something in response to Eric and Bret Weinstein, that I vehemently disagree with, so I'm going to say so, and I'm going to try to explain why.

First off, please understand that I am not criticizing the intentions of anyone in this conversation (Peterson or the Weinsteins). Particularly given JBP's clarification:


I don't know how closely any of them have been watching Kavanaugh's confirmation process, or whether they're getting their information from primary (the hearings and his judicial opinions) or secondary (the media) sources. I'm guessing that none of these gentlemen have the kind of time on their hands to have watched the hours and hours of live testimony after Dr. Ford's allegation was leaked, or to go back and watch a bunch of the earlier testimony, or to investigate some of the more egregious things that have been brought out in the open that have occurred since the nominee was chosen.

And this is not to say that I have done an exhaustive investigation of Kavanaugh’s judicial record, despite the fact that I actually enjoy reading judicial opinions. (Call me crazy, but I find the nuances of the law to be very interesting.)

I had a lot of time to sit and watch and be engrossed and amazed and appalled and intrigued. I even, a week ago or so, went and looked at the votes-by-party summaries for Supreme Court Justices from Scalia (1986) onward. What is revealed there is a clear trend away from bipartisan unity and toward partisan antagonism.

The politicization of Supreme court nominations has been 30 years in the works. Scalia—perhaps the most conservative Justice in recent memory, and the most hated by the left due to his strict adherence to the text of the law and the original intent of the Constitution—was confirmed with 98 votes in favor and 2 abstentions. Kennedy (1988) got 97 votes and 3 abstentions, and the vote was 50 Democrats and 47 Republicans in favor despite the fact that Reagan nominated him. 

Clarence Thomas was the first anomaly, but even he got 11 Democrat votes, allowing him to squeak in despite the Democrats holding a majority in the Senate at that time. And while there was a return to unity afterwards, with Ginsburg and Breyer, both appointed by Bill Clinton, things started to become more distinctly partisan from that point on.

And now here we are. Gorsuch’s confirmation saw three Democrat senators voting for Trump’s first SCOTUS nominee, primarily because their electorates were pro-Trump and they have a normal sense of self preservation. 

This time around, however, only one of these three dissidents was prepared to break ranks with the party.

Having watched hours of testimony and read thousands upon thousands of words, and listened to Senator Susan Collins (a staunch pro-choice Republican) speak for 43 minutes, I’m going to have to say, Democrat opposition to Kavanaugh is much ado about nothing.

There is nothing in this man's judicial record that should scare anyone.

And yet I sat on a stage in September with “Faithless Feminist” Karen Garst and heard her express her fear about Roe v Wade being overturned now that Kavanaugh was shaping up to be the next Supreme Court Justice.

According to Senator Collins, nothing could be further from the truth. Kavanaugh appears to be a true conservative, in that he will prioritize adherence to the law, the constitution and precedent over using his position to push for sweeping changes in the absence of extraordinary circumstances, whether in a forward-looking direction or a backward-looking one, and regardless of his personal or political opinions. This includes Roe v Wade, which has been reaffirmed by SCOTUS more than once since it set precedent, decisions which add weight to the initial precedent and on which Kavanaugh has commented positively.

When Collins spoke to him about the right to choose, his response was that it is a case of precedent on precedent on precedent, each affirmation bolstering the original, and the passage of time cementing it in place such that one would need extraordinary justification to overturn its underpinning principles.

That's what a genuine conservative is. A keeper of things as they are, based on tradition, precedent, and durability over time.

For a Republican appointee who is also Catholic, the Democrats couldn't ask for much better than Kavanaugh, particularly when it comes to women's reproductive rights. His entire record speaks of a man who thinks, "it's best to keep things as they are, unless there's a VERY compelling reason to change that." That includes Roe. 

As Senator Collins mentioned in her speech, special interest groups scrambled to be the first to publicly register their objection to Kavanaugh. One organization put out a press release saying as much, a document we know was written in advance of the announcement, because some PR staffer had embarrassingly forgotten to replace "XX" with Kavanaugh's name (I actually read that press release when it came out, and had a good chuckle. I'm not chuckling so much now). 

One Democrat senator, she added, vehemently stated his objection to the nominee after the announcement that a decision had been reached, but before the actual name of the nominee was known. 

This was never about Kavanaugh. It was always about “whoever Trump picks”.

It’s not a genuine objection to Kavanaugh’s qualifications, his judicial record or his politics. It's not even a shining #MeToo moment of solidarity with a survivor. 

It’s Trump Derangement Syndrome by Proxy.

I’m sure there are some people who believe Dr. Ford was sexually assaulted by Kavanaugh, just as I know there are people who believe Kavanaugh is innocent of the charges. To them, I say, you are making a claim to know what you cannot know.

But one thing we DO know--Dr. Ford asked that her allegation be kept confidential. We know that the allegation could have been investigated by the FBI and Dr. Ford’s testimony given in private during the initial confirmation hearing, without revealing her name.

We know that the allegation was in the hands of Senator Feinstein (the ranking Democrat on the committee) for more than forty days before it leaked, and that Feinstein could have taken advantage of the above measures during the initial hearing and thereby protected Dr. Ford’s privacy and dignity, and concealed her name from the press and the public. 

None of this was done. Instead, the hearing was closed after 32 hours of testimony from Kavanaugh, and more questions put to him, and more handing over of documents by him, than the last five Supreme Court Justices combined. 

Everything about his career was scrutinized with a scanning electron microscope, and he came out looking like a boring boy scout. 

And then the allegation leaked. To the best of anyone’s knowledge, only three parties had knowledge and possession of the letter. Democrat Senator Feinstein and Democrat Representative Eshoo (and their staff), Dr. Ford, and Dr. Ford’s lawyers (one of whom was apparently improperly recommended to her by a Feinstein staffer). 

The leaking of the letter to the public meant that the Democrats could take another run at Kavanaugh during the run-up to the midterms, where they hope they’ll be able to secure a majority in the Senate. As Lindsey Graham (hereafter to be referred to as “Grahambo”) said during that hearing, the Democrats on the committee had their minds made up from the start, and the allegation, the testimony and the demands for an investigation amount to little more than creative filibustering until after the midterms.

So who leaked it? I don’t know, but I’d really like to. Because the leak of that letter took the process of confirmation from the cynically partisan joke it had already become, all the way to a three ring, #MeToo, virtue signalling circus. 

Bret Weinstein said both possible outcomes of the vote would be "completely unacceptable". I disagree. There's nothing objectionable about Kavanaugh's judicial record.

Eric Weinstein said that “everyone thoughtful” he’s spoken to about Kavanaugh agrees that both potential outcomes are unhealthy and unworkable. I disagree. The "thoughtful" people he's spoken to don't understand what's really at stake here.

Jordan Peterson responded that he thought, if confirmed Kavanaugh should step down. That is, make the big public sacrifice for the sake of fostering unity in an increasingly polarized nation. 

I disagree. 

We know from Gorsuch that anyone nominated by Trump would garner default “no” votes from the Democrats. I’m actually kind of shocked that there were three Democrat dissenters in the case of Grosuch, and a whole ONE dissenter in the case of Kavanaugh.

I understand why a progressive like Bret Weinstein would think Kavanaugh is a poor choice for the Supreme Court. He's not. In fact, I don’t know why Bret Weinstein thinks the Dems' opposition and their collective hysteria has anything at all to do with Kavanaugh. 

It doesn’t. 

According to the Democrats, Trump has the reverse Midas touch—everything he puts his hands on turns to shit, triggering moral disgust and the urge to purge. If Trump likes something, the Democrats are morally obligated to hate it. If Trump does something positive (like, I don't know, getting North Korea to chill out a bit), the Democrats are obligated to predict the end of the world.

I have no idea whether Eric Weinstein's belief that the reason Kavanaugh is “divisive”—that Kavanaugh would "break the political symmetry" of the Supreme Court—is correct. 

The only way it CAN be correct is if we are to accept that SCOTUS is not a legal body but a partisan political one. That it is not beholden to the law (in all its forms, from the Constitution to statute to precedent), but rather that it is a forum for partisan activism on the part of the Justices at the political whim of the president, or the majority in congress, or both.

Brett Kavanaugh strikes me as a judge who eschews activism. Who eschews "big" decisions that take us forward (or backward) by leaps rather than increments. 

But again, this isn't about Kavanaugh. It's about sticking it to Trump.

And I have no idea whether JBP realizes that it wouldn't matter who Trump named as a nominee--the reaction from the Democrats, their media lapdogs and the pussy hat-wearing, mass-produced placard-waving, Ashley Judd-worshipping, #MeTooing leisure class of well-heeled feminist do-gooders and progressive Hollywood moral busybodies would have been the same no matter who the nominee was. Trump could have nominated a clone of Ruth Bader Ginsburg in the body of a black lesbian in a wheelchair, and they’d have found some reason to vote against her (I exaggerate, but not by much). 

Just look at the media over the last few days. When it looked like Dr. Ford's spaghetti wasn't sticking to the wall, what was the next “big controversy”. OMG, one time in college at a bar, Brett Kavanaugh threw ice cubes at a guy during a heated disagreement. Surely THIS is sufficient to demonstrate Kavanaugh lacks a proper judicial temperament. 

Never mind that the ONLY aspect of his judicial record—you know, the record that matters—that the Democrats don't like is his distinct lack of impulsivity.

Surely this conclusion—that nothing whatsoever was going to convince the Democrats to accept ANY nominee put forward by Trump—is supported by the two examples given by Senator Collins. Surely it's further demonstrated by declarations on the part of the Democrat members of the committee that they would vote no on Kavanaugh long before they had even held the first hearing. 

And now, with the ink on his confirmation papers still wet, Democrats and left wing political action groups are petitioning for Kavanaugh’s impeachment, if and when they gain a majority after the midterms.

As Jordan tweeted, legal scholars warn it’s a terrible idea that if successful would set a dangerous precedent and completely undermine public perception of the stability and reliability of the highest court in the US. It would essentially turn SCOTUS from an independent and apolitical body that provides a necessary check against the potential excesses of the other two branches, into an exercise in partisan rubber stamping, with the bench politically subordinate and subservient to whatever party holds the majority.

A petition to impeach Kavanaugh has already garnered over 125,000 signatures, all from people who have not one clue what would be destroyed in the process.

And here we come around to Jordan’s suggestion that Kavanaugh should step down, for the sake of bringing the highly polarized American left and right back together. In a perfect world full of perfect people, sure. He should know better.

The truth is, this isn’t a world of perfect people. When my fiance gets upset over how so many people behave, how they act on base instinct and then back-rationalize what they did (in whatever context, but particularly in those that can be characterized as “us vs them”), I tell him to imagine two troupes of chimpanzees, screeching, whooping, thumping their chests and throwing smartphones at each other. Because that’s exactly what they're doing.

And that’s exactly why we have these institutions and their processes, regulations and procedures designed to take the chimpanzee in all of us out of the equation. It’s why we have the system of checks and balances in the first place. It’s why the law is written down, and why bad decisions can be taken to higher courts. It’s why a successful impeachment and removal of someone from public office requires a supermajority of 67 votes.

All of these things are there to put obstacles and barriers in front of the chimpanzee that exists in every single one of us.

If Kavanaugh steps down, it won’t bring the two sides back together. 

The right will see it as either a noble sacrifice or a betrayal. The left will call it evidence that Kavanaugh probably IS a sexual predator merely looking to avoid more and deeper investigations, and, more importantly, they’ll see it as evidence that they can get what they want by corrupting the confirmation process and making a mockery of what was once a sober, nonpartisan deterrent to mob rule.

That those interested in corrupting that process to their own ends are on the left is immaterial. Whether you believe Dr. Ford is a victim of sexual assault, or Justice Kavanaugh the victim of a wrongful accusation, is immaterial. The real victim if he steps down will be the integrity of both the process and of the highest court in America.

Worse still, if he’s impeached and the impeachment is successful, the entire system will be destroyed by this abuse of process. A system designed to depoliticize at least one branch of the federal government, keep it beholden only to the law, and protect it from the vagaries of the partisan mob. 

This is not about the presumption of innocence. As important as that presumption is in the strict legal sense, and as a cultural value, presumption of innocence is a difficult case to make in a situation where someone has been subjected to half a dozen thorough FBI background checks just to get the job they’re applying for. Kavanaugh willingly subjected himself to an invasive process that sets aside that presumption. Seven times now. Because of the enormity of the authority he will wield and has wielded in the past.

That is a necessary part of the vetting process if you want to do the type of work that involves the complete trust of the public. The process found NOTHING on his record as a judge suggesting he would abuse that authority or violate that trust and through the commission of his service bring the Supreme Court of the United States into disrepute. 

The process found nothing, despite the fact that even before Dr. Ford’s allegations were made public, Kavanaugh had jumped through more hoops than any SCOTUS nominee has ever been forced to, and he did so with humility and without complaint. 

“Why aren’t you calling for an investigation into Dr. Ford’s allegations, Judge Kavanaugh?” he was asked over and over again, by people who should know (at least I would hope they know) that it’s not his call. The nominee has no jurisdiction to call for an investigation—that’s the goddamn committee’s call. He could demand one until the cows come home, but it’s not his decision to make. All he can do is cooperate with the committee’s decisions to the best of his ability. And he has.

The Democrats have abused this process for political ends, cynically sacrificing Dr. Ford’s privacy and violating her trust, subjecting Kavanaugh and his family to the same, for no good reason, and all of it is justified to them as necessary collateral damage in their quest to stick it to Trump by any means necessary. 

That Kavanaugh’s justifiable anger at this shit show, that his emotionality over the more ludicrous accusations made against him in the liberal press, utterly unvetted accusations presented with a drooling, fapping, titillated, eager credulity so ravenous and gross it could only be self-serving... 

That this is now being used against him to criticize his judicial temperament and deem him unfit for the bench… Well, that’s like kicking a man in the balls and then saying he retroactively deserved it because while he was writhing in agony on the floor, cradling his battered testicles, he raised his voice and used harsh language.

And this petition to impeach? Just this moment, my son (all of 16 years old) said, "why not just impeach everyone then?" Why not, indeed? Because that would be stupid and dangerous and would throw everything we value away. He added, "Meh, no more Supreme Court. Might as well not exist. Just impeach everyone. The mob knows best."

This entire process has been turned into a joke. And if the Democrats are able to get what they want out of it, whether because Kavanaugh nobly but futilely falls on his own sword, or because the Democrat mob opts to impeach—the equivalent of pulling a fire alarm to shut down a speaker they don’t like—it will open a door we do NOT want opened.


It will invalidate the integrity of the entire process and turn the highest court in the United States into the political majority’s partisan prostitute.