Brett Kavanaugh Vs. Clarence Thomas

I think the Republicans believe that if they can just ram Kavanaugh through the confirmation process and have him take up his seat on the Supreme Court then the aftermath will follow the same trajectory as followed the Clarence Thomas/Anita Hill controversy, namely that all of the controversy will fade into the background and that the American people will fairly quickly accept Kavanaugh as being legitimately on the Supreme Court.

I think the Republicans are not only wrong in their belief, but very wrong. I think that for the following reasons:

  • Clarence Thomas came across as somewhat mild-mannered He also did not have any history of drinking problems even as a teenager. That made it easy for people to discount the accusations against him. Brett Kavanaugh, on the other hand, came across as a mean-spirited liar and could quite properly be described as being hysterical in his presentation following Dr. Ford’s presentation.
  • Clarence Thomas was accused of sexual harassment primarily in the form of inappropriate comments and inappropriate suggestions although there was one accusation that he deliberately left a pubic hair where Anita Hill would find it. Brett Kavanaugh is accused of attempted rape, a much more serious offense. The American people were willing to overlook accusations of sexual harassment against Clarence Thomas. I don’t believe they will be willing to overlook accusations of attempted rape against Kavanaugh.
  • The culture has changed. American women are sick and tired of being sexually harassed and sexually assaulted, and rightly so. The #MeToo movement is not going away. The far right is trying to discredit them, but they will not succeed. If anything Kavanaugh is making the #MeToo movement a little bit stronger every single day. Evidence for this is that I recently read that Democratic state and local organizations are being swamped by phone calls from women and walk ins by women asking how they can help in the upcoming election.

In summary, I think that the very attempt to get Kavanaugh on the Supreme Court is going to hurt the Republicans. If he actually gets on the Supreme Court he will be a millstone around the Republican’s necks for as long as he is on the court. Which would be a good thing since there cannot be enough millstones around Republican necks as far as I am concerned.

 

Brett Kavanaugh

A lot of people, especially among Republicans, are saying that even if the accusation that Kavanaugh sexually assaulted a 15 year old girl were true it was just a stupid mistake by a high school student 36 years ago and that we should not hold it against him now. I might agree with that except for three things:

  1. It was sexual assault, not underage drinking or any similar indiscretion of an immature teenager. There is also the fact that the girl was only 15 years old. Since the age of consent in Maryland is 16 even if she had consented to sex it would have been statutory rape.
  2. He has never owned up to doing it.
  3. He has never apologized to the 15 year old girl, now a college professor.

Given those three things what he did absolutely should be held against him now. Furthermore, there should be an FBI investigation and if the assault claim can be verified he should be impeached and removed from his position on the Circuit Court of Appeals. (Note that by ‘verified’ I do not mean the criminal trial  standard of ‘beyond a reasonable doubt’ but rather the civil standard of ‘a preponderance of guilt’.)

Donald Trump is Toast – Part 3

Trump’s real estate empire is based on his name. Every Trump property has Trump’s name in it. So it is not simply the Turnberry golf resort in Scotland, it is the Trump Turnberry golf resort. Now there is nothing wrong with that, nor is it unusual. The Hilton hotels are named after Conrad Hilton, the founder of the company. For Trump, however, this may present a problem. Once all of the information that Mueller has been collecting becomes public and it is revealed that Trump has been cheating on his taxes, laundering money, stealing money from the Trump Foundation, obstructing justice, colluding with the Russians and who knows what else I think the Trump name will turn to dirt. He may be able to limit the damage somewhat while he is still President. However, I am not so sure how well he can do that and after he is out of office I definitely think that occupancy rates at all Trump properties will decline sharply, if not outright plummet. That will probably result in the entire Trump real estate empire crashing and burning.

If that does happen, I want the concession to sell marshmallows to all of the people who want to roast them over the burning embers of the Trump empire. I may roast a few myself.

Donald Trump is Toast – Part 2

Donald Trump has said multiple times in the past that there was a bright line that Mueller could not cross, namely that Mueller could not investigate Trump’s personal finances, nor investigate any of the Trump companies, nor investigate the finances or companies of any of Trump’s children. On March 15 this NY Times article said that  “The special counsel, Robert S. Mueller III, has subpoenaed the Trump Organization in recent weeks to turn over documents, including some related to Russia”.  To me that clearly crossed that bright line yet Trump’s reaction was not what you would expect, namely he did nothing. I think I know why he did nothing.

Robert Mueller is a smart man. He knows that Trump has been wanting to fire him since the day he was first appointed. He also knows that the Republican congress cannot be counted on to take any action against Trump were Trump to fire Mueller. So what I think Mueller did was to write up preliminary reports about obstruction of justice and collusion with the Russians as soon as he had collected sufficient evidence to justify such reports. He has then periodically updated those reports as new evidence was obtained. Specifically, he updated both reports immediately before issuing the subpoenas referenced in the NY Times referenced above. He then told Trump’s lawyers about the existence of those reports and that those reports would be immediately sent to Congress if he, Mueller, was fired. I doubt that he told Trump’s lawyers a single detail about what was in the reports, just that they existed.

This has put Trump into a severe psychological bind, namely that Trump knows if he fires Mueller he gets severely screwed right know but if he allows the Mueller investigation to continue to its conclusion he gets even more severely screwed in the future.

I have read that some people think that Trump is beginning to suffer from dementia but I don’t think that is the case. I think the constant severe psychological pressure is what is causing Trump to become more and more mentally unstable.

I hate to think how I would react to such pressure, but then I would never cheat on my taxes, launder money, defraud a charitable foundation, obstruct justice, and collude with the Russians.

 

Big Banks

The official policy of the AWCP would be that there is no such thing as a bank too big to fail. If any bank were to become insolvent the FDIC would step in and clean up things as much as possible under the existing laws and regulations. The only way the federal government would inject any capitol into an insolvent bank would be in return for sufficient equity in the bank to give the government control of the bank.¹

Once the government had control of the bank it would not operate the bank but it would fire all of the top management and then break the bank up into three to five regional banks which would be prohibited from becoming part of any nationwide bank in the future.

Another reason for making it official policy that there was no such thing as a bank to big to fail is that I read a while back that there were companies with links to the banks such that if the bank failed the company would fail. It is tempting to think that the CEOs of any such companies were incompetent, but I suspect that the bank gave them a financial incentive to do so, all the while assuring them that the government considered them to be a bank too big to fail. By stating this policy in advance the government would be encouraging the companies to break any such links they have to the banks.

Any administration that would implement such a policy would have to consider the possibility that the companies with links the the big banks would not sever those       links but that rather that the companies and banks would present a united front basically saying that if the bank goes bankrupt the companies go bankrupt.

Obviously an administration cannot either buy out or bail out a bank unless Congress appropriates sufficient money. There are four things Congress could do:

  1. Congress could do nothing, that is Congress would not allocate any money for either buying out the bank or bailing out the big bank. This would not be the ideal solution but it would be acceptable. It may well cause financial chaos, but it would rid the country of a bank too big to fail.
  2. Congress could allocate money only for buying out the bank. This would be the ideal solution.
  3. Congress could allocate money and leave it up to the President whether to buy out the bank or bail out the bank. On a practical basis this would be the same as #2 above.
  4. Congress could allocate money but specify that it can only be used to bail out the bank. You might think that this would force an adminstration’s hand but that is most probably not true. When Congress passes a bill and sends it to the President he has ten days to either sign the bill or veto it. This means that a president could wait until the tenth day before vetoing the bill and sending it back to Congress. Since there is no such thing as a slow-motion financial crisis this would have the effect of being the same as #1 above.

As you can see an administration that wants to rid the country of banks too big to fail would be in control in the event of a financial crisis. Note that in the event of a financial crisis not all of the big banks would fail at exactly the same time. This would mean that a President who stood his ground when the first bank failed would be in a much stronger position vis-a-vis Congress when the other big banks failed.

¹ I am assuming that the process of buying out a bank would consist of buying a majority of the shares on the open market.