Tiger Clerk-Model Pipeline

Remember the “Tiger Mother” person who was in the news several years back for her book extolling or lampooning (depending on whom you believe) über-strict, traditionalist child-rearing practices? Yeah, me neither, but it turns out she and her husband (Jed Rosenfeld) are both law professors at Yale, and they vetted and advised students who were applying for clerkships with federal judges, including Brett Kavanaugh.

Chua served as a character witness for Kavanaugh at his rollout, calling him a “mentor to women.” She and Rubenfeld offered tips to students seeking clerkships, advice that was in some cases controversial. Via TPM:

An unnamed Yale Law School student said that two of her professors, Jed Rubenfeld and his wife, Amy Chua, warned her that then-federal judge Brett Kavanaugh liked his female clerks to have a “certain look,” according to a Wednesday Huffington Post report.

“He did not say what the ‘certain look’ was. I did not ask,” the woman told the Huffington Post. “It was very clear to me that he was talking about physical appearance, because it was phrased as a warning ― and because it came after the warning about Judge Kozinski.” Alex Kozinski retired in December to a chorus of sexual harassment accusations.

We’ll get to Kavanaugh in a minute, but first, why were Rubenfeld and Chua warning clerks away from Kozinski instead of informing the bar association or whatever organization handles federal judges that there was a sexist pig on the bench who was serially harassing and assaulting clerks and other women in the workplace?

I am not a lawyer, but if it was such common knowledge that that professors made a point to steer students away from Kozinski, why couldn’t they steer investigators toward him?

Via The Guardian:

According to one source, Chua invited a group of students that she mentored to a bar last year to catch up and discuss their plans for clerkships. The conversation turned to a high-profile #MeToo case that was emerging in the news at the time involving a well-known public figure.

The group began to talk about whether the federal judiciary would ever face similar scrutiny, and, according to a source, Chua said she did not believe it would. She told the students she had known about allegedly abusive and harassing behavior by another judge, Alex Kozinski, who was head of the ninth circuit and was forced to retire from the bench last year after more than a dozen women accused him of harassment.

The conversation then turned to Kozinski’s protege and good friend Kavanaugh, who one source said was a familiar name even though he had not yet been nominated to the high court. Chua allegedly told the students that it was “no accident” that Kavanaugh’s female clerks “looked like models”. Student reacted with surprise, and quickly pointed out that Chua’s own daughter was due to clerk for Kavanaugh.

A source said that Chua quickly responded, saying that her own daughter would not put up with any inappropriate behaviour.

Jesus Chicken-Fried Christ. It’s pretty obvious why Chua didn’t think the federal judiciary would face that kind of scrutiny — all these people in elite, powerful positions knew about it and did jackshit to stop it!

The Guardian reports that Chua is currently hospitalized and unable to comment, and Rubenfeld is the subject of an “internal investigation” at Yale for reasons unknown to him, he says. I’m going to make a bold prediction: It has something to do with sexual harassment.

Good God, hose out the entire place and rebuild from scratch. Our elites are fucked up. And I don’t want to hear one more peep out of so-cons about campus PC run amok. Sounds like we need more awareness about how to treat one another like equal human beings, not less.



The GOP Is Exhausting – Now Updated With A Little Hope

Updated because I knew you guys would come through for me.  This lifted me, along with some great comments. I’d hope to give us all a place to vent and feel better. Hope it’s working.

h/t waratah

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I lived through the Nixon years – and while I was young, I remember feeling energized by it all. Because somewhere in the back of my young mind, I saw this as how strong our country was. We defeat bad guys.

I remember during the Shrub years, feeling discouraged. Wondering how people could be so stupid to elect this idiot who was responsible for sending my brother and many, many more people to war.

But it was nothing like this. This. Is. Fucking. Exhausting. I don’t recognize the government any longer. And I can only hope that come November we are a tsunami of change and begin to wash away this stain.

I’m afraid there will always be racists, misogynists, xenophobes, homophobes and other despicable people.  But for fucks sake, we shouldn’t be paying them with our tax dollars to destroy the country.  Or to be so cowardly as to not stand up for it.

I am officially discouraged this week.

Open thread.



The Big Bamboozle

In a bizarre interview with The Hill last night, Trump bragged that he is doing the country “a great service” by declassifying documents pertinent to an ongoing investigation into his campaign’s possible collusion with Russia. What he is actually doing, of course, is trying to further undermine the Mueller investigation and influence the news cycle.

I hope and believe that Adam’s prediction about that effort will come to pass — that it will make Trump and his toadies in the House look like idiots. In The Hill interview, Trump said the declassification could become one of his “crowning achievements” because it will reveal that the FBI was out to get Trump all along when they surveilled Carter Page. The Atlantic covered this odd strategy here:

But it’s looking more and more like House Republicans have chosen to die on a hill that’s shifting below their feet. “Be careful what you wish for,” Democratic Senator Mark Warner, the ranking member of the Senate Intelligence Committee, told reporters on Tuesday. He was indicating, according to an aide, that “it’s simply impossible to review the documents” on Page and conclude anything other than that the FBI “had ample reason” to investigate him. It’s not only Democratic Senators who believe that: Republican Senator Richard Burr, the chairman of the Senate Intelligence Committee, told CNN in July that he believes the FISA judges had “sound reasons” for issuing the Page surveillance warrant to the FBI. “I don’t think I ever expressed that I thought the FISA application came up short,” Burr said at the time.

But Reps Nunes, Gaetz, Meadows, et al, are doubling down on the Page-as-martyr strategy. It may make sense to people (like Trump) who marinate in Fox News 24/7, but it’ll likely fall flat with everyone else because believing all the Deep State conspiracy crap is a prerequisite of buying the Page-as-victim angle. It would be as if you or I showed up at a city council meeting and started babbling about lost mustard and naked mopping. Any jackals in the audience might find it amusing, but the rest of the crowd would look at us as if we’d lost our goddamned minds.

Anyhoo, there was also this piece of supreme weirdness from Trump in last night’s interview with The Hill:

Trump also said he regretted not firing former FBI Director James Comey immediately instead of waiting until May 2017, confirming an account his lawyer, Rudy Giuliani, gave Hill.TV earlier in the day that Trump was dismayed in 2016 by the way Comey handled the Hillary Clinton email case and began discussing firing him well before he became president.

“If I did one mistake with Comey, I should have fired him before I got here. I should have fired him the day I won the primaries,” Trump said. “I should have fired him right after the convention, say I don’t want that guy. Or at least fired him the first day on the job. … I would have been better off firing him or putting out a statement that I don’t want him there when I get there.”

Trump has offered different reasons in the past for his firing of the FBI chief, blaming Comey’s handling of the Clinton case but also linking it to Comey’s actions in the Russian investigation.

Emphasis mine. Of course, Comey served at the pleasure of President Obama when Trump won the primaries and was nominated at the convention. But I suspect Trump was just indulging in mindless superlatives as usual during that interview but was otherwise faithful to talking points created as part of an evolving legal/PR strategy — to claim that he was onto this Deep State conspiracy even before day one and, therefore, Trump fired Comey for the Clinton email investigation rather than to shutdown the Mueller probe.

But believing that dog’s breakfast of a post-hoc justification requires going down rabbit holes within rabbit holes. For instance, recall that the memo Trump ordered Deputy AG Rosenstein to produce to justify firing Comey rightly claimed that Comey’s actions at the conclusion of the email investigation were unfair to Clinton. But now we’re supposed to believe that Clinton was colluding with the Russians to take out Trump, either with the active participation of Comey or via his negligence? Come on, man.

It’s nonsense. But so is everything else Trump says, like the claims this morning that the economic recovery began the day he was elected. You can plot unemployment rates, GDP growth, etc., on a chart that represents a gradual upward trajectory from the Great Recession to the present day and wave it in Trump supporters’ faces, but they won’t believe their lying eyes or lived experience. Nope, the USA was a Dickensian hellscape until 11/9/2016 and the ascension of the Golden Calf.

Will the con work again? I don’t think so. One thing successful con artists know is that you have to move on because the bamboozle only works until it stops working. Ironically, being POTUS is the first real job Trump has ever had. And it looks like the first performance review is going to be all kinds of ugly.



Profiles In Courage, Continued

Christine Blasey Ford and her family have had to move out of their house.

The New York Times has a very short article saying that she may not come to the hearing on Monday. It was much longer before, and included this paragraph. It may grow again, or they may do a separate article on the attacks on Blasey. According to the previous version of the article, she prefers using her maiden name professionally. There were lots of problems with the earlier version that I spotted, starting with introducing her as “the woman,”  but I lack the patience to go into them now.

Mark Judge, who Blasey has said was in the room when Kavanaugh attacked her and who has written two books about being a teenage alcoholic, has said he will not testify to Congress.

This was, of course, entirely predictable. Christine Blasey Ford is a brave woman. I hope the police can bring her harassers to justice.



Tuesday Morning Open Thread: Slow Your Roll, Dude…


 

Republicans should be holding themselves to an especially high standard on this, and not only because they have nominated and elected a president who has had serious accusations of sexual harassment and sexual assault leveled at him. Politicians of both parties have, over time, been guilty of terrible crimes. But Republicans have a particular obligation here because their public-policy positions have put them on the side of those who oppose equality and full citizenship for women, and because they nominate far fewer women for elected office. To be sure: Many Republicans (including many Republican women) strongly dispute that they are in any sense anti-woman. This, then, is an excellent time for them to demonstrate that they really do consider crimes against women to be major offenses…

 
“The country?” Meaning, you & your rich white male friends?…



Horrorshow Open Thread: A Million Little Miniver Cheevys

Hey, look at Manson from Carlson’s point of view: A white guy with nothing but his own charisma and a big dream was able to rise to the top of an internationally known organization, get more cute white chicks than he had time for, make himself a permanent place in the history books.

Okay, maybe some of his publicity ideas were a little… in advance of their time. But you never saw Charles Manson whining about “oppression”, didja? He was a guy who saw a problem and took the initiative to solve it, without waiting around for the Nanny State to rescue him!

Of course, Carlson can’t actually remember Charles Manson’s ‘helter skelter’ — or much of anything about that period, or most of the rest of the history he’s lived through, if his words are any indication.

Why do so many white men, not all of them overprivileged halfwits like Tucker, assume they’d have been any happier in an era where they’d only have been competing against each other for the top slots?

I mean, sure, it would’ve cut the number of potential competitors down considerably, but does Tucker Carlson really assume his natural talents have been insufficiently rewarded even as it is?



AP News Open Thread: Julian Assange, the Biter Bit?

This is the AP, not some blog with a history of overreaction, so… cui bono, at this particular moment?

LONDON (AP) — Julian Assange had just pulled off one of the biggest scoops in journalistic history, splaying the innards of American diplomacy across the web. But technology firms were cutting ties to his WikiLeaks website, cable news pundits were calling for his head and a Swedish sex crime case was threatening to put him behind bars.

Caught in a vise, the silver-haired Australian wrote to the Russian Consulate in London.

“I, Julian Assange, hereby grant full authority to my friend, Israel Shamir, to both drop off and collect my passport, in order to get a visa,” said the letter, which was obtained exclusively by The Associated Press.

The Nov. 30, 2010, missive is part of a much larger trove of WikiLeaks emails, chat logs, financial records, secretly recorded footage and other documents leaked to the AP. The files provide both an intimate look at the radical transparency organization and an early hint of Assange’s budding relationship with Moscow.

WikiLeaks has repeatedly been hit by unauthorized disclosures, but the tens of thousands of files obtained by the AP may be the biggest leak yet.

The AP has confirmed the authenticity of many of the documents by running them by five former WikiLeaks associates or by verifying non-public details such as bank accounts, telephone numbers or airline tickets.

One of the former associates, an ex-employee, identified two of the names that frequently appeared in the documents’ metadata, “Jessica Longley” and “Jim Evans Mowing,” as pseudonyms assigned to two WikiLeaks laptops.

All five former associates spoke to the AP on condition of anonymity, in some cases because they didn’t want their past association with WikiLeaks to become public, and in others because they feared legal retaliation or harassment from the group’s supporters…

Metadata suggests that it was on Nov. 29, the day after the release of the first batch of U.S. State Department files, that the letter to the Russian Consulate was drafted on the Jessica Longley computer…