Repub Horrorshow Open Thread: A Clown Car Full of Pennywises

The entire Republican party has devolved into an authoritarian cult where aging white men vow to destroy the world to protect the purity of their essence. And now everybody within earshot of the national news knows it!

Mr. Charles P. Pierce, “I am living in the middle of a pornographic Allen Drury novel—Advise And Lack Of Consent:

Anybody who tells you that they know what happens next is lying. So far, El Caudillo Del Mar-A-Lago is making brave noises. Senator Dianne Feinstein wants all hearings into the nomination postponed until an FBI investigation into this mess is concluded but, at the moment, there’s no stomach for what an FBI investigation might reveal. Senator Mitch McConnell, who warned the White House that Kavanaugh would be a tough sell, knew about the Ramirez allegations a week ago, so it is fair to assume that, whatever else may be out there, he already knows it, and yet he told the Values Voters Summit last week that he was going to “plow on through” with the nomination, which is a very unfortunate metaphor in this context. In addition, McConnell’s response to the news that the latest allegations were going to come up was to try and put the nomination into hyperdrive. However, McConnell is also pragmatist enough to know when to cut bait. If the Republicans decide to pull this nomination, it has to happen early in the week. Waiting until Wednesday—or, worse, until Thursday, when Kavanaugh and Christine Blasey Ford are scheduled to testify before the Senate Judiciary Committee—is completely untenable…

Fox News reporter:


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Open Thread: Really Big & Infinitely Stupid!

In public, Trump continues to voice support for his embattled Supreme Court nominee, telling reporters at the United Nations earlier this morning that he stands with Kavanaugh “all the way.” But in private, Trump is growing increasingly frustrated by being mired in a deteriorating political situation beyond his control. On Monday morning, a Republican briefed on Trump’s thinking said the president has been considering pulling Kavanaugh’s nomination.

According to the source, Trump allies are imploring him to cut Kavanaugh loose for the sake of saving Republicans’ electoral chances in the midterms. The argument these advisers are making is that if Kavanaugh’s nomination fails, demoralized Republicans will stay home in November, and Democrats will take the House and the Senate and initiate impeachment proceedings. The end result: Trump will be removed from office. “The stakes are that high,” the source said. Another Republican adviser told me: “Trump is very worried now, and is finally waking up that it’s the end of his presidency if he loses the Senate.” Trump’s outside allies are advising him to nominate Amy Coney Barrett and fast-track her confirmation before the midterms. “Some in the White House think you can only appoint a woman now,” a former administration official told me. An outside adviser added: “Democrats won’t be able to pivot fast enough to attack her, since she’s a woman.”…

As Kavanaugh’s poll numbers plummet, Trump is telling people in private that he was never a fan of Kavanaugh’s selection, sources said. According to two people who’ve spoken with Trump recently, Trump complained that establishment Republicans foisted Kavanaugh on him, because they reasoned Kavanaugh would unite the party in November. According to one former West Wing official, Trump’s first choice was Judge Thomas Hardiman, who served on the federal bench alongside Trump’s sister Maryanne Trump Barry.

Trump is keeping his distance from the nominee. A White House official said he hasn’t spoken with Kavanaugh in recent days. “This is Brett Kavanaugh’s fight,” the White House official said.

He likes SCOTUS nominees who don’t get captured, okay?


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GOP Venality Open Thread: Kavanaugh’s Latest ‘Murder Board’

Per the Washington Post:

Just as he did several weeks ago to prepare for his confirmation hearings for the Supreme Court, Brett M. Kavanaugh was back inside a room at the Eisenhower Executive Office Building — again facing questioners readying him for a high-stakes appearance in the Senate.

This time, the questions were much different. An array of White House aides, playing the role of various senators on the Judiciary Committee, quizzed Kavanaugh last week about his sex life and other personal matters in an attempt to prepare him for a hearing that would inevitably be uncomfortable…

The epicenter of the scramble to rescue Kavanaugh’s nomination was inside the second-floor office of outgoing White House counsel Donald McGahn — the nominee’s lead champion in the West Wing who, in coordination with Senate Republicans, had helped engineer a rapid transformation of the federal judiciary and was about to secure a second seat on the Supreme Court for President Trump…

Democrats are also plotting their own strategy for the hearing. Furious about Grassley’s ­decision to limit testimony to just Kavanaugh and Ford, Democratic aides planned to find other potential witnesses — such as a trauma expert — who could help bolster their case.

If they couldn’t be heard under oath, Democrats discussed holding news conferences where those other experts would speak, aides said. A top priority, according to Democratic officials, was ensuring Ford felt supported, whether it was having enough friends and family in the hearing room with her or finding people who can speak publicly about Ford’s character…

[Warning: Linked media in the following tweet NSFW]

Professional GOP (Never-Trump branch) publicist:



PSA: Debunking Social Media Rumors About Christine Blasey Ford – Open Thread

I just now had to debunk some garbage on Facebook and found this, which is very helpful. The New York Times gets it right sometimes. It debunks five rumors circulating on the right about Blasey Ford. There will be more, I suppose.

Claim: Dr. Blasey’s students left negative reviews on her RateMyProfessors.com profile, calling her “unprofessional” and citing her “dark” personality.
Verdict: False.

Claim: Judge Kavanaugh’s mother once ruled against Dr. Blasey’s parents in a foreclosure case.
Verdict: False.

Claim: Dr. Blasey made similar sexual assault accusations against Justice Neil Gorsuch during his nomination process.
Verdict: False.

Claim: Dr. Blasey is a major Democratic donor with a long history of left-wing activism.
Verdict: Mostly false.

Claim: Dr. Blasey’s brother worked at a law firm with ties to the Russia investigation.
Verdict: Misleading.

Also, from former Republican Bruce Bartlett:

And, since you’ve made it this far, Ric and Zooey helping me with the laundry this morning.



Local Races Open Thread: Beto vs. Cruz, #TrueToForm

Reports from last night’s debate:


 
And then…

Goal Thermometer


Not So Vast, Largely Conducted Out in the Open, Right Wing Conspiracy: Senate Judiciary Committee Edition

This is Garrett Ventry:

(Image taken from Ventry’s twitter feed)

Garrett’s been a very naughty man…

At 4:39 PM on on Thursday 20 September 2018, Ventry in his capacity as the spokesperson/communications advisor for Senator Grassley’s and the GOP majority on the Senate Judiciary Committee for the Kavanaugh nomination tweeted the following:

There’s only one problem with this. As reported yesterday, Ed Whelan was coordinating with CRC Public Relations on his insane an attempt to exonerate Kavanaugh by implicating Kavanaugh’s classmate via tweetstorm. Do you know who worked for CRC Public Relations while Whelan was coordinating with them about committing a gross, public stupidity? Garrett Ventry. And do you know why CRC Public Relations sent him to work for Grassley to help shepherd the Kavanaugh nomination through? Because Leonard Leo, who controls the Federalist Society, as well as several related organizations like the Judicial Crisis Network through an opaque and largely unknown financing network, and who is a good friend of Ed Whelan’s – another senior Federalist Society member – asked CRC to send Ventry to work for Grassley on this.

But wait, there’s more!!!! Apparently among Ventry’s personal preferences was one for sexually mistreating women.

WASHINGTON — A press adviser helping lead the Senate Judiciary Committee’s response to a sexual assault allegation against Supreme Court nominee Brett Kavanaugh has stepped down amid evidence he was fired from a previous political job in part because of a sexual harassment allegation against him.

Garrett Ventry, 29, who served as a communications aide to the committee chaired by Sen. Charles Grassley, R-Iowa, had been helping coordinate the majority party’s messaging in the wake of Christine Blasey Ford’s claim that Kavanaugh sexually assaulted her 36 years ago at a high school party. In a response to NBC News, Ventry denied any past “allegations of misconduct.”

After NBC News raised questions about Ventry’s employment history and the sexual harassment allegation against him, Judiciary Committee Spokesman Taylor Foy replied in a statement: “While (Ventry) strongly denies allegations of wrongdoing, he decided to resign to avoid causing any distraction from the work of the committee.”

And if anyone was still wondering how Whelan got Ford’s name, apparently someone he was in contact at the White House (most likely rhymes with Shill Bine or Mon DcGahn) gave it to him.

If you’re going to conspire to do something dodgy, you should really establish a set of best practices so what you’re doing isn’t 1) SO FUCKING OBVIOUS!!!! and 2) easily detectable by anyone who can trace a simple set of social and professional connections.

Who knew that when Andrew Breitbart, who, like Antonin Scalia, is still dead – unlike Paul Manafort and Mariia Butina who are just still in jail, but will one day die in prison from old age – was caught on video screaming “STOP RAPING PEOPLE!!!!” over and over he was speaking to conservative legal and judicial professional?

Open thread!



Saturday Morning Open Thread: They’re Trying to Circle the Wagons, But the Wheels Keep Coming Off

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