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Thursday, September 20, 2018

For the duration of his time on campus, a former student recalls, the guiding principle among Georgetown Preparatory School students was straightforward: Don't be a narc. "Don't tell, don't tell," said the former student, who overlapped at the school in North Bethesda, Maryland, with current Supreme Court nominee Brett Kavanaugh, class of '83. It was a code of preppy omerta to which Kavanaugh himself has alluded. "But then," the former student continued, "you're getting all these 14-, 15-, 16-year-olds, 17-year-old kids doing whatever the fuck they wanted to do, with no repercussions. Drugs everywhere. Partying everywhere. Drinking -- just whatever we wanted to do. It was unbelievable, off the rails. And that's just how it was."


The woman who accused Supreme Court nominee Brett Kavanaugh of sexual assault is reporting death threats she has received to the FBI, according to her lawyer. Christine Blasey Ford has been subjected to various threats since she went on the record to detail her allegations against Kavanaugh over the weekend. In an email to the Senate Judiciary Committee negotiating possible testimony about the alleged incident, Ford's lawyer said she and her family have had to leave their home because of the threats.


Whatever becomes of Brett Kavanaugh's nomination to the Supreme Court, the Senate Judiciary Committee's process for considering him has been a mockery from the start -- a mockery of lawmakers' constitutional responsibility and of the ideal that the court should be anything more than a political trophy.


Wednesday, September 19, 2018

President Donald Trump and his allies have long insisted that what he calls the "fake dirty dossier" was wholly "responsible for starting the totally and discredited witch hunt" by special counsel Robert Mueller. But, beginning in July 2016, that so-called "dossier" actually sat for several weeks inside an organized crime unit at the FBI's New York field office, even as counterintelligence agents in Washington, D.C. -- unaware of the new allegations -- were already investigating Russian efforts to hijack American democracy.


Trump's tariffs will make the cost of rebuilding after Hurricane Florence much more expensive -- and that will slam his voters hard. The tariffs on $200 billion of Chinese goods announced Monday will raise the cost of many materials and products needed for rebuilding homes. At the same time, the parts of the coastal Carolinas hit hardest by Florence voted heavily for Trump. "People should expect to find it will be more expensive to rebuild and refurnish their houses," as one trade economist told The Charlotte Observer Monday. "Whenever there's a natural disaster, there will be spikes in prices, as demand goes up. This time it will be exacerbated by the impacts of tariffs."


Comments

It just dawned on my just how screwed Kavanaugh is by his own admissions already on record. He just released a letter to Grassley today saying that he will show up for Monday's hearing. By my accounting, Blasey doesn't even need to show up if the issue shifts to Kavanaugh's character at 17, completely leaving out the assault allegation. Hear me out.

First, this story in this thread is public and out there even though it's cloaked in anonymity at present. A senator can read it and then ask Kavanaugh if that accounting of his time at Prep is correct. Ask him if he and his friends did those things, partied that way. Secondly, Kavanaugh is on tape confirming the very code of silence and denial that the student recounts above. He can be queried about that. He can be asked about the passages in his friend Mark Judge's book where he writes about a passed out Bart O'Kavanaugh and whether or not it was him and if he's ever puked or passed out in someone's car during that time frame. I find it hard to believe that Judge and Kavanaugh have never had a conversation about Judge's book over the last 21 years.

I just finished watching a commercial where a lovely blond woman says she vouches for Kavanaugh's outstanding character, so it's hard to deny that questioning him about it when he was a teen is fair game. And to be clear, if Kavanaugh had been candid and said that he was a wild guy in his youth and made questionable choices and decisions, then spoke about how he's changed and matured, that would be one thing. But Kavanaugh and his supporters have taken outrage at even the insinuation that he's anything but the upright, moral, virtuous jurist from an All-American background. He's from an All-American background, but it's one of privilege and the expectation of being able to walk away from things others unlike him are punished for every day.

Former Student: Brett Kavanaugh's Prep School Party Scene Was A ‘Free-For-All'

For the duration of his time on campus, a former student recalls, the guiding principle among Georgetown Preparatory School students was straightforward: Don't be a narc.

"Don't tell, don't tell," said the former student, who overlapped at the school in North Bethesda, Maryland, with current Supreme Court nominee Brett Kavanaugh, class of '83. It was a code of preppy omerta to which Kavanaugh himself has alluded. "But then," the former student continued, "you're getting all these 14-, 15-, 16-year-olds, 17-year-old kids doing whatever the fuck they wanted to do, with no repercussions. Drugs everywhere. Partying everywhere. Drinking -- just whatever we wanted to do. It was unbelievable, off the rails. And that's just how it was."

Sexual misconduct, the former student says, was routine, shrugged off. "My friend, who went to one of the private girls' schools, said she woke up with a guy on top of her," the former student said. "And this was not a situation where people would talk about it. They would just say: ‘Oh, well, how'd you do? How was your weekend?' ‘Oh, well, I got attacked.' And that was just normal then. It was an attitude where ‘No' didn't necessarily mean ‘I'm going to stop.' It meant ‘I'm going to keep going,' and ‘I'm going to keep going because I'm privileged and I'm allowed to and I'm not going to get in trouble for it.'"

The former student would speak about his time at Georgetown Prep only on the condition of anonymity, fearing attacks from his fellow alumni. Based on the response to Christine Blasey Ford's allegation that Kavanaugh attempted to rape her when they were both in high school, his fears are not unfounded.

In describing the culture of the school in those days, the former student pointed to the April 1984 overdose of 28-year-old David Kennedy, son of Robert F. Kennedy, who'd injected drugs into his groin, apparently to hide the needle marks. (Cocaine, Demerol and Mellaril were found in his system.) The former student spoke of Kennedy's death as the end of the school's free-for-all party scene and the catalyst for changes in Georgetown Prep culture.

Two Prep students -- David's brother Doug, and his friend Derrick Evans -- had helped David Kennedy score the coke. Doug, class of '86, had been at the center of Georgetown Prep social life, which the former student characterized as "weekly frat-style parties with the neighboring sister schools and other private schools," often hosted by Kennedy at his family's house in McLean, Virginia.

Looks like the curtain is being pulled back and it likely won't be long until others are asked to corroborate the recollections of this anonymous student who probably won't be able to remain anonymous for long.

No wonder Kavanaugh's "character witnesses" have largely gone quiet since Blasey's allegations became public.

Dr. Blasey is right to want to wait for that fuller investigation to be completed before she agrees to testify. President Trump, demonstrating his usual ignorance of basic governmental functions, said on Tuesday: "I don't think the F.B.I. really should be involved, because they don't want to be involved. If they wanted to be, I would certainly do that, but as you know, they say this is not really their thing." It is, in fact, their thing. The bureau conducts background checks on nominees to federal government posts, and it can reopen a file at any time.

In 1991, at the direction of President George H.W. Bush, the F.B.I. looked into Anita Hill's allegations of sexual harassment against Clarence Thomas, who had gone through his confirmation hearings weeks earlier. The investigation took three days. The Judiciary Committee reconvened a few weeks later, and heard from nearly two dozen witnesses, including Ms. Hill and Justice Thomas. Does Mr. Grassley now want to set an even lower standard for taking a woman's claims seriously than the committee did when Ms. Hill appeared before it?

Speaking of unreliable memories, it's laughable for Republicans to complain, as some do, that Dr. Blasey's claim is too old to be considered. The Senate Judiciary Committee is not a court of law; it's an arena of politics. Remember that less than a decade ago, Republican senators were happy to grill Sonia Sotomayor, President Barack Obama's first pick for the court, about positions taken 30 years earlier by a legal-defense fund whose board she had once sat on.

Certainly there's no statute of limitations preventing the committee from weighing allegations of attempted rape against a nominee to a lifetime seat on the highest court in the land. Besides, since Judge Kavanaugh has flatly denied the accusation, his honesty now -- not as a teenager -- is at issue.

For those too young or for those with situational amnesia, we have traveled down this road before some 27 years ago and the way forward from here is quite simple. A credible allegation has been made at the 11th hour of a SCOTUS nomination process and if the past is prologue a fact-finding investigation may only take a handful of days to complete. All germane witnesses should first be questioned under the penalty of perjury, not through lawyer's letters released through the press. Then a hearing can move forward and all parties can tell their side of the story. It was done without controversy on the process before, and it should be done in similar fashion again.

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