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Sen. Lindsey Graham Calls for Investigation of Democrats

September 30, 2018 in Blogs

By Gwendolyn Smith, The New Civil Rights Movement

Lindsey Graham has uncovered the real villains in the Brett Kavanaugh hearings.


Lindsey Graham has dedicated himself to finding who he believes are the real villains uncovered during the Brett Kavanaugh hearings — the Democrats.

On ABC news' “This Week,” Graham continued his defiant response presented during the hearing, vowing to “do a wholesale, full scale investigation of what I think was a despicable process to deter it from happening again.”

Said Graham, “The FBI will do a supplemental background investigation, then I'm going to call for an investigation of what happened in this committee. Who betrayed Dr. Ford's trust? Who in Feinstein's office recommended Katz as a lawyer? Why did Ms. Ford not know that the committee was willing to go to California?”

Graham has also suggested that there is no need for the FBI to do any sort of investigation into Brett Kavanaugh, disputing host George Stephanopoulos on the relevancy of looking into witnesses who may contradict his testimony.

“He's had six FBI background checks. He's been on the political stage for 26 years. He's not a stumbling, bumbling drunk,” said Graham. “I don't believe that he could have accomplished what he's accomplished to have been a serial rapist in high school and stop it for the rest of your life”

Graham contends that the allegations against Kavanaugh are political in nature.

“All I can tell you is it came from somebody with a political motive. There were three people who had the letter, people in Feinstein's office, the congresswoman from California, and Ms. Katz and the legal team,” said Graham. “No friend would do this to Dr. Ford. I believe her when she said she wanted to remain anonymous.”

View the full transcript.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

…read more

Source: ALTERNET

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Here's How to Save the Supreme Court

September 30, 2018 in Blogs

By Paul Rosenberg, Salon

“Originalism” has always been a mask for blatantly political right-wing decisions. It’s time to rip off the mask


Last week's historic Senate Judiciary Committee hearing featuring Dr. Christine Blasey Ford and Supreme Court nominee Brett Kavanaugh was primarily about sexual violence and accountability. But it was also about lies, and those issues are inextricably linked at many levels.

“What we saw this week was Lindsey Graham and Chuck Grassley and Orrin Hatch trying to build the Me Too firewall,” Above the Law editor Elie Mystal said on MSNBC Saturday. “There are 18 archconservative judges waiting for Kavanaugh's job. They grow these people on trees. They could pick another guy. But they don't want another guy. That's because the sexual assault allegations against Brett Kavanaugh are a feature for them, not a bug. They want to prove that they can shove this guy through and tell women to shut up.” Exactly the same argument was made by Salon's Amanda Marcotte last week.

That much is painfully obvious. (Rape is about power, not sex. So too Supreme Court nominations.) But the role of lies is far more diffuse and various, ultimately reaching to the very heart of our judicial system and to the Supreme Court, to which Kavanaugh aspires. The lies Kavanaugh told are a useful reminder of how far from the truth we are as a nation.

Sometimes Kavanaugh’s lies to the Senate Judiciary Committee were ludicrous. Sen. Sheldon Whitehouse, D-R.I., called some of them called out.

“I don't believe 'boof' is flatulence, I don't believe a 'devil's triangle' is a drinking game, and I don't believe calling yourself a girl's 'alumnius' is being her friend,” Whitehouse said, regarding a just few of the countless lies, half-truths and bad-faith evasions Kavanaugh produced.

More often Kavanaugh’s lies pretended to common sense status.

Seven times he claimed that all four purported witnesses said “it didn’t happen,” with regard to his alleged assault of Ford in the summer of 1982. That's not true. Three times he specifically included Leland Keyser, Ford's friend, and that's also false. As Sen. Cory Booker, …read more

Source: ALTERNET

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Hypocrites Lindsey Graham and Brett Kavanaugh Represent the Smoldering Ruins of American Democracy

September 30, 2018 in Blogs

By Andrew O’Hehir, Salon

Lindsey Graham's outburst during the Kavanaugh hearings hinted at deeper truth.


What do we know now that we didn’t know before the grotesque carnival of Brett Kavanaugh’s appearance this week before the Senate Judiciary Committee, where we were treated to the spectacle of a supposedly eminent jurist and Supreme Court nominee spitting, weeping, screaming in red-faced rage, indulging in mawkish sentimentality and belligerently refusing to answer questions? Nothing good.

Perhaps the exercise was instructive for many people nonetheless. I found myself startled to conclude, partway through the hallucinatory national ordeal of Thursday’s hearing, that Kavanaugh was right about something, if not precisely in the sense he intended. During his opening monologue — although I think that’s not technically the correct term — Kavanaugh pronounced, “This confirmation process has become a national disgrace.” Who could possibly disagree?

A few minutes later into the judge’s tirade, after he had accused Senate Democrats of staging a last-minute partisan smear campaign to derail his nomination and spoken darkly about “outside left-wing opposition groups” (what does “outside” mean here — outside of what?), Kavanaugh concluded: “This is a circus. The consequences will extend long past my nomination. The consequences will be with us for decades.” Again, full marks, Judge. Or let’s say a solid B-plus. Nice job of acknowledging the obvious.

I felt a similar reaction, even more strongly, to the scene-stealing outburst later in the hearing from Sen. Lindsey Graham of South Carolina, whose personal transformation from staunch defender of the old-line Republican Party faith into Trump-worshiping homunculus is among the more mysterious phenomena of this depraved political era. Early in the 2016 campaign, I once pursued Graham down a school hallway in suburban New Hampshire, trying to get close enough to extract a few one-liners out of him about Donald Trump. I gave my number to one of his aides and, randomly, to one of Jeb Bush’s sons, who both promised Graham would call me. That didn’t happen, and now look.

Graham’s ire on Thursday was of course directed at the alleged Democratic conspiracy to undermine Kavanaugh’s nomination …read more

Source: ALTERNET

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At Concert Attended by 50,000 Texans, Beto O'Rourke and Willie Nelson Team Up to Deliver Simple Message: 'Vote 'Em Out'

September 30, 2018 in Blogs

By Jake Johnson, Common Dreams

“This is a campaign for the future, because the people of the future, our kids and our grandkids, are depending on what we do at this moment.”


At a massive outdoor concert attended by an estimated 50,000 Texans Saturday night, country music icon and unabashed progressive champion Willie Nelson teamed up with Rep. Beto O'Rourke (D-Texas)—who is challenging Republican Sen. Ted Cruz—to deliver a simple message just over a month before election day: “Vote 'em out.”

“If you don't like who's in there, vote 'em out/That’s what election day is all about, and the biggest gun we’ve got is called the ballot box,” was just one of the rousing lines from a new song Nelson wrote for the much-anticipated gathering in Austin, which provided a brief glimpse of the unique enthusiasm O'Rourke has sparked in his campaign against Cruz, whose lead in the polls has dwindled rapidly in recent weeks.

Some of @WillieNelson’s new “Vote Em’ Out” from the Beto rally: pic.twitter.com/uXQOUC4C56

— Andy Langer (@Andylanger) September 30, 2018Donning a “Beto for Senate” t-shirt, Nelson—who has faced backlash from some of his right-wing fans over his support for O'Rourke—also performed the classic “On the Road Again” with some help from the Texas representative, a former musician in his own right.

Nelson's headline performance came just on the heels of a stump speech by O'Rourke that touched on a wide variety of topics, from the human-caused climate crisis to the Trump administration's cruel immigration policies.

“This is a campaign for the future, because the people of the future, our kids and our grandkids, are depending on what we do at this moment,” O'Rourke declared at the fundraising event, which also featured hundreds of volunteers helping Texans register to vote ahead of the November 6 election.

“Let tonight be a message to the future,” O'Rourke continued. “Let them know who we are, what we believe in and what we are willing to do to accomplish our goals. Let them know that we believe in this country. Let them know that we believe that we can come together and do great things for this country. …read more

Source: ALTERNET

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This One Trump Tweet Could Undo Limitations on the FBI's Kavanaugh Investigation Set by His Own White House Counsel

September 30, 2018 in Blogs

By Gwendolyn Smith, The New Civil Rights Movement

The tweet in question, from Donald Trump's personal account, is attacking NBC reporting of the FBI probe.


In a tweet sent Saturday evening, President Trump may have undone limitations by his own White House placed on the FBI investigation allegations of sexual assault levied against Supreme Court nominee Brett Kavanaugh.

The tweet in question, from Donald Trump's personal account, is attacking NBC reporting of the FBI probe, claiming that his office will allow the FBI to “interview whoever they deem appropriate.”

NBC News incorrectly reported (as usual) that I was limiting the FBI investigation of Judge Kavanaugh, and witnesses, only to certain people. Actually, I want them to interview whoever they deem appropriate, at their discretion. Please correct your reporting!

— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) September 30, 2018

NBC news had reported on significant limitations on the scope of the FBI's investigation, including barring investigation of claims of sexual misconduct against Kavanaugh brought forth by Julie Swetnick. The Wall Street Journal also reported on these same limitations.

The report had said that the White House counsel's office had given the FBI a lot of the people they were permitted to interview, which would make it difficult for the FBI to follow leads and bring in corroborating witnesses.

Don McGahn is the current White House counsel, and a friend of Kavanaugh. Donald Trump had previously announced the departure of McGahn from the position after the presumed confirmation of Kavanaugh.

 

 

 

It may seem odd that a presidential social media account could up-end limitations placed on the FBI by the counsel, but the Department of Justice made just this case in November of last year, telling a district court that his tweets are “official statements of the President of the United States.”

It is also worth noting that McGahn has no legal authority to direct or limit the FBI's work, and that the President would hold sway over McGahn.

The new Trump tweet seems to contradict the presidents own statement from the 28th, saying that the FBI's investigation would be “limited in scope.”

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

<!– All divs have been put onto …read more

Source: ALTERNET

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Lindsey Graham Consistently Disregards Violence Toward Women — And His State Is a Women's Murder Capital

September 29, 2018 in Blogs

By Juan Cole, Informed Comment

Graham’s tone deafness to rape victims is nothing new. He has consistently voted against the Violence against Women Act.


Senator Lindsey Graham (R-SC) made it abundantly clear in the hearing on Thursday that he cares more about Republican Party control of the Supreme Court than about rape victims. He implied that the charges of sexual assault that have surfaced against Brett Kavanaugh are a Democratic Party plot to deny Trump a Supreme Court justice.

He angrily threatened to smear the next Democratic nominee in turn.

Graham’s charge of conspiracy makes no sense, since the Democrats did not make Dr. Blasey Ford come forward, nor did they make the other three women come forward (one, in Montgomery County, has for the time being withdrawn her complaint with the police; perhaps she feared being treated by Graham and his pack hounds the way Dr. Blasey Ford was.)

The Republican evangelicals are always attacking Muslim fundamentalism for not giving equal rights to women. Actually modern Muslim states like Tunisia have women’s equality in the constitution. But it is true that some Muslim fundamentalists argue that a woman’s testimony in court should be worth half that of a man, which makes convicting a man of rape almost impossible. Ironically, the attitude of the Republican men on the Judiciary Committee is the same as would be that of a Muslim fundamentalist. They clearly believe that the testimony of Dr. Christine Blasey Ford, a high-powered professor of psychiatry at Palo Atlo and Stanford Universities, counts for less than that of a preppie white elite male.

Graham’s tone deafness to rape victims is nothing new. He has consistently voted against the Violence against Women Act. Indeed, the Republican Congress is going to let the act expire this weekend, ironically the same weekend they will shoehorn Kavanaugh onto the Supreme Court. Nobody on cable news will tell you that or make the connection.

In Graham’s worldview, the Democrats got their nominees, whom he voted for, and they are being beastly to take this one away from the Republicans. But he neglects to mention what was done to Merrick Garland …read more

Source: ALTERNET

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With Nation Transfixed By Kavanaugh Monstrosity, House GOP Votes to Give Rich Another $3 Trillion in Tax Cuts

September 29, 2018 in Blogs

By Jake Johnson, Common Dreams

“This is yet another shameful tax law that would swindle working families and siphon even more funding from the programs that help our communities thrive.”


With the nation's attention rightly transfixed by the Senate GOP's monstrous efforts to ram through a Supreme Court nominee who has been credibly accused by multiple women of sexual assault, House Republicans on Friday voted overwhelmingly to approve another $3 trillion in tax cuts for the wealthiest Americans just weeks before the November midterms.

“In less than a year, House Republicans have handed out trillions of tax cuts for the wealthy and big corporations. Now, middle class families are on the hook for higher healthcare costs, and Medicare and Social Security on the chopping block.”

—Rep. Richard Neal

“Today the GOP doubled down on last year's giveaway to the donor class known as the Tax Cuts and Jobs Act,” Morris Pearl, chair of the Patriotic Millionaires, said in a statement following the 220-191 vote. “Tax Cuts 2.0 gives nearly $3 trillion to the wealthiest Americans, and will become yet another excuse for Republicans to slash Medicare and Social Security.”

“In less than a year, House Republicans have handed out trillions of tax cuts for the wealthy and big corporations,” added Rep. Richard Neal (D-Mass.), ranking member of the House Ways and Means Committee. “Now, middle class families are on the hook for higher healthcare costs, and Medicare and Social Security on the chopping block.”

Three Democrats—Reps. Conor Lamb (Penn.), Jacky Rosen (Nev.), and Kyrsten Sinema (Ariz.)—voted for the GOP-crafted measure, which would permanently extend the individual tax cuts under the current Republican tax law.

According to the an analysis by the nonpartisan Tax Policy Center (TPC), the House GOP's measure—which progressive critics have denounced as “Tax Scam 2.0″—would send the vast majority of benefits to the very top.

“The richest one percent of filers would see an average tax cut of $40,000, while those in the middle 20 percent of earners would see an average cut of $980,” the Washington Post noted in a summary of TPC's findings.

 ”The American people are already paying too high …read more

Source: ALTERNET

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Here's What Brett Kavanaugh Should Have Said

September 29, 2018 in Blogs

By Guy Dauncey, Yes! Magazine

“I support the proposal that the FBI be invited to investigate the allegations, so that we may get closer to the truth of what happened.”


Like so many, I watched the Senate hearing on Brett Kavanaugh, transfixed. A lot of us do things in our teenage years that we later regret. It’s how we handle our regrets later that matters. What struck me first was how belligerent and defensive he was—and how entitled and whiney.

He could have adopted an easier approach and won the hearts of all Americans, of whatever political stripe. Since he seems unwilling to do that, I am willing to do it for him:

Honorable Members of the Senate, 

I am testifying today under guidance from the better angels of my nature. I am grateful to you for providing me with this opportunity.  As nominee for a position on the highest court of the land, it behooves me to act with the highest integrity, and in a way that I believe most people wish to see in a possible member of our country’s Supreme Court.

I have no recollection of making any assault on Dr. Ford. In that regard, my memory tells me that I am innocent of the charges laid against me. It is possible, however, that I may be mistaken. Her testimony is totally credible, and it is clear that someone did indeed assault her in the manner she has described. I wish her total support. If it transpires that this person was indeed me, and that it is true that I blacked out or drank so much that I have no memory of the event, I will be profoundly sorry, and I will apologize to her with every fiber of my being and the fullest possible sorrow in my heart.

I would, naturally, withdraw from consideration for a place on the Supreme Court.

I support the proposal that the FBI be invited to investigate the allegations, so that we may get closer to the truth of what happened. It is important that the American public sees justice being pursued in an open, non-evasive manner. It behooves me, …read more

Source: ALTERNET

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Is There Anything to Donald Trump's Claim that George Washington Had Skeletons in His Closet?

September 29, 2018 in Blogs

By Rick Shenkman, History News Network

While Washington was treated as a hero during most of American history he came in for a drubbing during the cynical 1920s by self-professed debunkers


 At hisnews conference on Wednesday President Trump dragged George Washington into the fight over the nomination of Brett Kavanaugh to the Supreme Court. This is what Mr. Trump said:

Look, if we brought George Washington here and we said, we have George Washington, the Democrats would vote against him. Just so you understand. And he may have had a bad past, who knows, you know? He may have had some—I think accusations made. Didn't he have a couple of things in his past? George Washington would be voted against 100 percent by Schumer and the con artists. I mean 100 percent. 100 percent. So it really doesn't matter from their standpoint.

We cannot know what he had in mind as he didn't spell out his concerns. But what might he be thinking of?

While Washington was treated as a hero during most of American history he came in for a drubbing during the cynical 1920s by self-professed debunkers like W.E. Woodward. These are the points the debunkers made:

● In his twenties and thirties Washington, a young man on the make, connived to buy up as much land as possible, sometimes unscrupulously.  Early on in his career as a land speculator, when Virginia was still under British rule, he hired a surveyor to stake out land west of the Alleghenies that was off-limits to white settlers. As a colonel during the Seven Years' War, to the disadvantage of his own soldiers,  he made off with the best lands set aside by the British for soldiers who fought in the war.

● He didn't like his mother and in her final years rarely visited her.

● Though he had a reputation as a prude thanks to mythmakers like Parson Weems, the author who concocted the famous cherry tree story, Washington actually love to drink and dance.

Painting by Grant Wood mocking the cherry tree story (1939)

● As a soldier he told crude sex jokes. How bad were they?  You be …read more

Source: ALTERNET

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Former US Attorney Explains How Kavanaugh's 'Little Lies' Will Catch Up to Him

September 29, 2018 in Blogs

By Tom Boggioni, Raw Story

Michael Moore — who served as a U.S. Attorney in Georgia — said the FBO investigation into Kavanaugh accuser Christine Ford's claims could open up a Pandora's box from the judge.


Appearing on CNN's New Day, a former U.S. Attorney said that embattled Supreme Court nominee Brett Kavanaugh's chances of actually being seated is in danger if a collection of “little lies” he made during his Senate testimony show a pattern of major deceit.

Speaking with CNN host Christi Paul, Michael Moore — who served as a U.S. Attorney in Georgia — said the FBO investigation into Kavanaugh accuser Christine Ford's claims could open up a Pandora's box from the judge.

“I want to ask you,” Paul asked. “How might it affect him, affect the vote if they can't corroborate what Dr. Ford says but can find that there was really serious alcohol use here that did impair his decisions?”

“We've heard about this being a trial and what the burden of proof is,” Moore began. “When you have an investigation, they will look at his credibility. If a witness says he was impaired, passed out, these are small things that we can see that he's maybe not telling the truth about. When you don't tell the truth on the little things, it casts doubt on your version of the big things.”

“If they develop evidence where he's been drinking and passed out, that's a problem,” he continued. “They'll be interested, and frankly, I've been through the background checks, they want to know whether or not you've got an alcohol problem, whether or not you've got a substance abuse problem, has that been going on through his life. he was clear probably a dozen times when he talked about his affinity for drinking beer now. Nothing wrong with somebody having a beer. if this is a pattern through his life, that will end up in a report during his background check.”

Added CNN contributor Rachel Blade, “I do think that this new one [investigation], it puts the nomination in peril for Brett Kavanaugh. there was a meeting where [Senate Majority Leader]Mitch McConnell (R-KY) …read more

Source: ALTERNET