As usual, read all offerings in full.
I’m busy, damn it…
Years from now, perhaps only days from now, when people are no longer quite so inebriated with partisanship, those who wish Brett Kavanaugh well and those who wish him ill will probably agree on one thing: His defiant September 27 statement denying the charges leveled against him in the course of his Supreme Court confirmation is the defining speech of our time. Kavanaugh rejected outright Christine Blasey Ford’s allegation that he had jumped her and gagged her at a party 36 years ago, when both were in high school. He denied knowingly having met her. None of the witnesses she named remembered any such party.
But it was a Kafkaesque situation for Kavanaugh: Since Ford could not (or would not) say when and where the incident took place, it was literally impossible for him to exonerate himself conclusively. “Doubts” had been “raised.” Raised by people with a desperate political interest in raising them, it is true. But those who sit on the Senate Judiciary Committee are no more immune than ordinary human beings to the lazy-minded heuristic that when accounts clash, the truth must lie “somewhere in the middle.” When Ford finished testifying on Thursday morning, Kavanaugh’s nomination appeared to be finished.
The moment Kavanaugh began to speak, he broke that logic. The senators were not adjudicating a difference of recollections. They were not adjudicating at all. They were engaged in a “grotesque and coordinated character assassination . . . a calculated and orchestrated political hit, fueled with apparent pent-up anger about President Trump and the 2016 election, fear that has been unfairly stoked about my judicial record, revenge on behalf of the Clintons, and millions of dollars in money from outside left-wing opposition groups.” Now the middle ground was gone, and a new understanding was in place: Whether Ford was lying or misremembering, what was happening was not a hearing but a show trial.
On both sides of this dispute, attitudes towards evidence were deducible from political allegiances. Those who opposed Kavanaugh—or who were looking for a reason to oppose—stressed the “believability” of Ford’s story. Of course they did. The hearings were designed to enhance that believability. This was partly due to politics: Senators were frightened, in an election year, of being seen to beat up on a woman presenting herself as the victim of sexual assault. But it was partly due to the Senate’s ground rules: This was a venue in which a man could be accused of sex crimes without any right to confront or cross-examine his accuser. Ford’s supporters were content that it should be this way. It was only a “job interview,” they said.
Deprived of these structural advantages, the case against Kavanaugh was weak. Without the information that would be turned up regarding both Kavanaugh and Ford in an ordinary court discovery, one can pass judgment only with humility and caution. But patterns emerged. Ford answered questions obliquely. She resorted to abstraction (“Indelible in the hippocampus is the laughter”). She claimed not to remember incidents of recent weeks. Much of her corroborating evidence was either generated by herself (she said she had mentioned the incident in a 2012 therapy session) or easily accessible in the public domain. “A fabulist likely would not know,” writes Kavanaugh foe Benjamin Wittes, “of Kavanaugh’s friendship with Mark Judge and their propensity to drink beer together.” Perhaps not, but a hard-working paralegal for one of the law firms working pro bono to do opposition research on Kavanaugh would have no trouble finding Judge’s books, in which that friendship is described…..
I do not normally write with this kind of introspective tone, generally because I don’t normally imagine that readers would much care about my mental gymnastics. It strikes me as narcissistic, to some degree, and perhaps even uninteresting. But as this Kavanaugh episode has unfolded the last couple weeks, I have felt a paradigm shift underway, and I find it hard to believe others are not experiencing the same dynamic in some capacity. My intent in this writing is to articulate how the Kavanaugh matter has impacted me, not psychologically, but what it has revealed to me – with actionable implications – about the nature of the culture war in which we find ourselves.
I wish I did not have to, but some degree of commentary on the actual story itself is briefly necessary. For a huge percentage of the population, this has become a litmus test of what one believes about sexual aggression – about the male/female dynamic in our culture – about a broader cultural narrative that Judge Kavanaugh was made the antagonist in. And before I lay out why everything is different for conservatives who value the liberal order in society (liberal being used the right way in that sentence), some factual interjections are necessary.
I am not sure I will ever spend another minute regurgitating the lack of evidence for Brett Kavanaugh’s guilt – the lack of corroboration – the whole canvas of his outstanding life and testimony. There are no minds left to change, and as you may have heard, it is Justice Kavanaugh now. He will vindicate his own name through time, and his own public record has been as clear as can be already. I consider him an innocent man, which now makes him a wronged man.
Stephen Colbert’s writer, Ariel Dumas, tweeted over the weekend, “Whatever happens, I am just glad we ruined Kavanaugh’s life.” We should be grateful for her honesty. But we also should transition from this as a discussion of the dirty politics of a Supreme Court confirmation to a commentary on a conservative’s plight in the present malaise. I am, frankly, despondent. And while I celebrate with the majority of the country that our Supreme Court has added such a virtuous and capable jurist to its midst, I also find myself totally paralyzed by the reality of the moment.
I will never know the full story of the genesis of these allegations, and neither will you. I cannot speak to where Dr. Ford fits into this, and I will not be lured into commenting on such a thing. I do know that every man, woman, and child in America knows how this story got leaked, and that in this incident, the left has a grand total of zero heroes. The shameful behavior of the direct actors in this (from Dianne Feinstein, to Chuck Schumer, to the Washington Post, etc.) is simple enough. They actually went to lows that even I would not have ever guessed they would go to, but at the end of the day, if there actions were isolated, it would be simply a disgusting overreach of partisan dirty politicking.
But in fact, their actions were met with a response from the entire leftist ecosystem of our country, and it is that response that is the source of my newfound convictions and questions.
At the heart of my statement that things will never be the same again is this discovery: The left does not wish to co-exist with the right in this country; they wish to extinguish them. They do not value the liberal order of society, or they would never say something so illiberal as “believe all women.” What we are living through right now is an unprecedented level of hate, dishonesty, distrust, and mistreatment. A strong disdain for the ideology of conservatism, of social norms, of Constitutional government, of western civilization – is what it is. But that ideological divide is no longer a merely ideological divide. It really never has been. That transition from worldview to actionable behavior has accelerated faster than I or any humanistic critic could have ever anticipated. And what it means for our national politics and the culture at-large is frightening.
Facing the prospect of violence, I silently reflected on Donald Trump, Brett Kavanaugh, and the current political climate. Leftists want to hurt my family. Not all leftists, of course, but enough to be more than just worrisome. Whenever my family bows our heads in public to pray, we’re a target. Whenever I have a conversation with friends about what we believe, we’re a target. Just existing as conservatives makes us a target.
“What would’ve happened if Rubio had been elected president?” I wondered.
The answer is that he probably would’ve caved and pulled Kavanaugh’s nomination, further emboldening the growing violent hatred of leftists. Sitting in that restaurant, I could envision many scenarios where my family would be at an even higher risk of suffering violence if any of the other GOP candidates had won.
Surprising my friends, I think, I blurted out: “I understand why people voted for Trump, and I’m not sure that I won’t vote for him in 2020.”
When push comes to shove, especially regarding the protection of my wife and kids, I understand the desire to have a person who stays on point and isn’t cowed by resistance. President Trump, for all his faults, stands up to the leftist bullies. I just read a tweet from Politico claiming that “Trump is not most presidents.”
Maybe, just maybe, there is a time to wage aggressive war against the forces of evil.
Ben Shapiro: Stop Apologizing for Our History
The Federalist: How Kavanaugh’s Confirmation Finally United The Right Under Trump – Trumpism is now the unregretted tattoo that altered the Republican coalition, making it edgier, more rugged, and more relentless in pursuing its policy objectives.
"Journalists make mistakes, of course. But had all of the sloppy and often unethical reporting on Kavanaugh been the product of mere negligence or human error, the law of averages suggests that some errors would have been in his favor. None of them were." https://t.co/U6EbQA9Ggz
— Jim Treacher (@jtLOL) October 10, 2018
Jim Geraghty: What to Expect in the Midterm Elections for the GOP
Thanks Dems! https://t.co/QP6NZHhsUc
— Monica Crowley (@MonicaCrowley) October 10, 2018
Well, this’ll help. Please keep it up to election day in November…
"We will not sit down and shut up. We will keep screaming. We will continue to confront our elected officials wherever we encounter them… We have a brave, bold vision for the world we want to live in and of what justice means to us." https://t.co/17kFUxKl9C
— HuffPost (@HuffPost) October 10, 2018
A major U.S. telecommunications company discovered manipulated hardware from Super Micro Computer Inc. in its network and removed it in August, fresh evidence of tampering in China of critical technology components bound for the U.S., according to a security expert working for the telecom company.
The security expert, Yossi Appleboum, provided documents, analysis and other evidence of the discovery following the publication of an investigative report in Bloomberg Businessweek that detailed how China’s intelligence services had ordered subcontractors to plant malicious chips in Supermicro server motherboards over a two-year period ending in 2015.
Appleboum previously worked in the technology unit of the Israeli Army Intelligence Corps and is now co-chief executive officer of Sepio Systems in Gaithersburg, Maryland. His firm specializes in hardware security and was hired to scan several large data centers belonging to the telecommunications company. Bloomberg is not identifying the company due to Appleboum’s nondisclosure agreement with the client. Unusual communications from a Supermicro server and a subsequent physical inspection revealed an implant built into the server’s Ethernet connector, a component that’s used to attach network cables to the computer, Appleboum said.
The executive said he has seen similar manipulations of different vendors’ computer hardware made by contractors in China, not just products from Supermicro. “Supermicro is a victim — so is everyone else,” he said. Appleboum said his concern is that there are countless points in the supply chain in China where manipulations can be introduced, and deducing them can in many cases be impossible. “That’s the problem with the Chinese supply chain,” he said…..
Geebus, as I type this my landline phone (which we don’t answer but do use) is ringing. When checking voice mail 99+% are the these damn calls. Cell phone too with the local number-ghosting. Ohio had better’ve been one of the 35 states (article doesn’t list them)…
Last November, the FCC created the 2017 Call Blocking Order, which is supposed to provide phone companies a means of weeding out and blocking robocalls. But a group of concerned attorneys general have observed that the robocall issue is getting worse, despite the order.
In 2017, the Federal Trade Commission received 4.5 million complaints about robocalls. The formal comment released today states that reports reflect there were an estimated 30.5 billion illegal robocalls made to cellphones and landlines last year.
The formal comment shakes its fist at scammers and spammers that have plagued the nation’s phones with robocalls—especially calls from spoof numbers that make it seem like the calls are coming from a nearby area code.
Cars without steering wheels will be allowed under certain conditions, the U.S. National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) said today in an 80-page report.
The report gives guidelines, which are voluntary. Precise rules, which are binding, have yet to be spelled out. But the policy clearly is to cut rules whenever possible while reserving the right to tighten regulation if problems should emerge. “When regulation is needed, USDOT [U.S. Department of Transportation] will seek rules that are as non-prescriptive and performance-based as possible,” the report says.
Two bills in Congress aim to achieve such goals on a national level, in many cases overruling states and localities. The U.S. House of Representatives has passed its bill, but the U.S. Senate version has stalled. Consumer advocates have protested measures in the proposed legislation that they maintain would sacrifice safety.
🚨 The FBI Director just testified in the US Senate. I asked him if @realDonaldTrump phone conversations are getting collected in the FISA database. He wouldn't answer. Is NSA or FBI listening in on our President? We know bad actors exist within intel community. REFORM NEEDED NOW
— Senator Rand Paul (@RandPaul) October 10, 2018
I would encourage you to vote next month, but if you need a TV game show host to remind you, then you probably shouldn’t.
— Pat Sajak (@patsajak) October 10, 2018
i’m encouraging all my fans to unregister to vote. you are dumb as shit and do not deserve a say in this country.
— daniel tosh (@danieltosh) October 10, 2018