In case you’re wondering how Kavanaugh got on the Supreme Court…


It’s because toxic masculinity is so ingrained in the culture that the staid ol’ NY Times can publicly say that “Having a penis thrust in your face at a drunken dorm party may seem like harmless fun”, and think that’s a good lead to a story about new testimony that confirms the accusations made against Kavanaugh.

I’ve never experienced that (I guess I attended the wrong kind of dorm party), but I’m a guy, I’d just find it inappropriate and disgusting. I can see how a woman would find it intimidating and insulting.

Comments

  1. Snarki, child of Loki says

    The GOP has long been the partei who defend sex molesters.

    But 2016’s “grab them by the pussy” really shoved it in our faces. Ewww.

  2. says

    The Times has apologized for the tweet, but yeah, more than one person must have thought that shoving your member in a woman’s face at a party is perfectly normal.

    The story is pretty good, despite the horrific advertising.

  3. kome says

    Do white conservative men ever get punished for anything? Like, ever? And I mean really really punished, not Brock Turner-esque slap on the wrist punished.

  4. says

    @kome a what is the point of punishing them? It won’t modify their behavior so all punishment does is magnify suffering.

    What is necessary is to disempower them; to defeat their strategy as Sun Tzu would say. And doing that would hurt them unbearably since they love power, if revenge is what you want.

  5. PaulBC says

    Deborah Ramirez always had a strong, well-corroborated case. It was incredibly frustrating to see how well Kavanaugh’s supporters were able to avoid addressing it. (And to see Michael Avenatti derailing a strong case with his own unsupported crap.) Personally speaking, I take Christine Blasey Ford at her word. But her accusation was not well-corroborated due to reasons beyond anyone’s control.

    Kavanaugh also lied his ass off under oath, and there were some shenanigans after the confirmation to cover his tracks. Note: I do not presume to know what some high school kids meant by “Devil’s Triangle” in 1983 (though I also graduated from high school that year). The idea that it is a drinking game is a stretch. However, Kavanaugh eventually backed this up with two very dubious and similar looking letters from his friends: https://www.nationalreview.com/wp-content/uploads/2018/10/2018-10-04-College-Letter-re-Devils-Triangle.pdf https://www.nationalreview.com/wp-content/uploads/2018/10/2018-10-04-Georgetown-Prep-Letter-re-Devils-Triangle.pdf

    Why did he even bother? I think these are fraudulent and only compound his perjury. Of course, he’s a big SCOTUS justice now and I’m just a schlub with a conspiracy theory. Whatcha gonna do?

    I am very happy to see the NYT reporting on Ramirez again despite that atrocious way of introducing it. Her personal story is compelling too. A nice, smart kid with ambitions surrounded by privileged assholes. Tell me again what Ivy League universities are for other than preserving privilege from generation to generation. Wait, now I remember: nothing. I can’t begin to describe how pissed off I am (it took my months to recover, and there’s Kavanaugh, who may be on SCOTUS till after I’m dead).

  6. hemidactylus says

    @5- Marcus
    The GOP has been disempowered before no? I mean the mists of time cloud that fact, but there were 2006 midterms followed by cratering of world economy and the meteoric rise of Obama. They should have crawled into a crevice and expired then no? But alas they reinvented themselves as an astroturfed Randroids for Jesus rally and came the 2010 midterms. They were at least principled then as exemplified by former health care beneficiary Voldemort (Rick Scott). But now they have devolved to the point where Moscow Mitch shifted gears from ensuring Obama’s failure to empowering the greatest moral monster ever to become POTUS. If disempowered again, I shudder to imagine what the next reinvention of the GOP will look like.

  7. snarkhuntr says

    Do you honestly think that Trump is the most immoral person to occupy that chair? Make no mistake, I think he’s an abomination, but it’s his crassness and ineptitude that stand out for me rather than his outright evil. He’s doing a hell of a lot of harm, but he’s also been quite shockingly unable to get any real large-scale evil projects accomplished (other than the child-concentration-camps, I’ll give him that one).

    Compared to the chemical/explosive defoliation of huge swathes of southeast asia, I’m not sure he really ranks when it comes to inflicting human misery on a vast scale. I’m sure that he’d like to, but I don’t think he’s actually capable of it.

    I suspect that when history looks back on the Trump presidency, it’s going to stand out for incompetence and graft, rather than overt evil.

  8. kome says

    @5
    A justice system is a contract. It is a society’s obligation to punish people who violate the the laws (and we can, and should, have frequent and open debates, discussions, and revisits on what constitutes fair punishment for violation of various laws). Otherwise there’s no point in having the laws. It isn’t about revenge, but about a society doing what it says it’s going to do. If a parent says to their child “if you steal cookies before dinner, you’re not getting dessert” but then when the child steals cookies before dinner the parent says “oh alright, you can still have dessert but it won’t be as big a slice of pie as the rest of us get”, what message does that send? The whole thing paints our justice system as unreliable and hypocritical, but more than that it reveals our justice system to be an existential threat to the values it says it upholds. If our justice system says “rape is wrong and you will be punished for doing it” but consistently, and publicly, refuses to punish a particular demographic of offenders, then we don’t have a justice system, we have a system of oppression.

    And yes, I am fully aware that comparing conservative white men to children in my analogy above is very insulting and demeaning to children.

  9. kome says

    @8
    He instituted concentration camps in the United States. Concentration camps in which infants and children have died in. That’s not ineptitude or incompetence. That’s evil. Pure and simple. All of his obvious theft from the taxpayers and his drawing on weather forecasts and repeatedly lying about the size of his hands or his rally attendance is small and meaningless potatoes compared to institutionalizing concentration camps where agents working on his behalf are unquestioningly facilitating the deaths of infants.

  10. robro says

    The news coverage is largely about NYT’s stupid tweet, which they have taken down, and Trump’s attack on the Liberal Lamestream Media. The actual accusation is buried in the dust, of course. My psychic gifts tell me nothing is coming of this. And what if it did? Would Trump’s next SCOTUS appointment be any better? One privileged white guy is about as good as the next. Maybe after the election, assuming the outcome is better than the last one (and Republican’s don’t find a reason to suspend the Constitution).

  11. hemidactylus says

    @8- snarkhuntr
    Ok I will give you Nixon/Kissinger and SE Asia, especially creating conditions that Khmer Rouge could exploit. But Trump’s reign isn’t over and isn’t he going backward compared to Nixon regarding the environment? At least on signed paper (ESA) and agency creation (EPA) Nixon looks superficially better there. And at least Nixon benefited us by tendering his resignation.

    Teddy Roosevelt played a role in national parks, but rubbed elbows with wildlife managing types who fancied eugenics so his was a blighted legacy too. He also earlier played a role with dapper uniform in the Spanish American War and also allegedly via Taft turned a blind eye toward Japan’s designs on Korea. And he would become the progressive side of GOP trending.

  12. PaulBC says

    The real defense of Kavanaugh amounted to the principle “What happens at Yale, stays at Yale.” (Or at Georgetown Prep, as Kavanaugh himself said in those words.)

    Cut through the bullshit, and the message is pretty clear: we’re not necessarily condoning Kavanaugh’s “youthful indiscretions” but if we let anybody step out of line and try to expose our privileged clubs to public view, we will do everything in our power to stop it.

    A second message was from the GOP was “We control the Senate and we’ll do whatever the hell we want.”

    I am amazed to see NYT finally coming back with the Deborah Ramirez story. Like robro@11, I’m pessimistic about any meaningful follow-through, but this is at least a little better than everyone pretending Ramirez either never made an accusation, or that it was uncorroborated.

    Even the documented fact that Kavanaugh got into a drunken fight with a member of UB40 ought to cast his character into question. Kavanaugh’s supporters would like you to think (and largely succeeded) that the standards applied to Kavanaugh should be those of evidence presented in a criminal trial. They are not. We should enforce unusually high moral standards for SCOTUS justices and not just pass along whatever comes out of the Federalist Society judicial sausage factory.

  13. snarkhuntr says

    @10,

    Kome – nowhere did is say that he wasn’t evil – I said that he is not likely the most evil person to occupy that chair. There have been some of bloodthirsty folks, and many more who were simply indifferent to human suffering so long as the people doing so weren’t white, or weren’t rich. As bad as the kiddy concentration camps are, I really don’t think they compare as a matter of scale or actual harm done to children to the carpet bombing and poisoning of much of vietnam, Cambodia and Laos – this carried out by Kennedy, Johnson and Nixon. (two Ds and an R.). That the murders of children took place a great distance away doesn’t mean that they weren’t also bad.

    We could point to other things – the US’s involvement in horrendous atrocities all over central and south America, including training funding and arming death squads that absolutely did kill children. If it’s a question of numbers, I just don’t think that Trump has reached the heights of moral depravity that his predecessors have. I don’t think this is because he’s a better person, to be clear, just that he’s less good at it. Turns out that living off of inherited wealth in an own-branded large building where everyone you see is paid never to tell you no isn’t really good training for politics. Who’d a thunk it?

    Trump’s actions have not constituted evil on a unprecedented scale, because his ineptitude has made his reach quite small for a president whose party at one point controlled all three houses. He also doesn’t seem as interested in war as many previous presidents have been. I don’t know if this is his fundamental cowardice, that he regards war as too risky to his brand – or if it’s just that war might reduce his opportunities to personally profit from his office, which seems to be his fundamental motivating principle.

  14. says

    Let’s be clear: Trump could be worse (by being evil AND competent), but he’s still horrible and doing very real harm to people. Part of that is that the competent, evil people have seized on this chance to advance their agenda. People like Stephen Miller and Mitch McConnell.

    And don’t forget all the judges Trump have put in place. A national campaign to re-evaluate ALL his nominations would be a really goo idea.

  15. snarkhuntr says

    Sure he’s evil. There’s a ‘presentism’ going on, where trump seems like the most evil, because he’s the one going on right now. That’s what I’m responding to.

    That Trump is an incompetent, blithering, likely senile grifter with no moral compass whatsoever should be all the reason people need to vote for whomever will depose that swine. Pretending that his crimes are somehow unique or grander in scale than those of previous administrations just clouds the issue.

    On the bright side, I’m really glad that Bolton came and went without anyone getting nuked. I genuinely believed that his influence over POTUS would lead to a serious military escalation. Whatever forces in the president’s mind prevented that parasitic murderer from gaining more power did some unambiguous good in that one area, at least.

  16. PaulBC says

    snarkhuntr@16

    I agree with everything you wrote above (especially Bolton).

    What Trump does represent, though, is unique in our (or rather the GOP’s and “Christian” right’s) willingness to drop any pretense at having ethical standards (or even standards of propriety) to the point where there is not even a minimal effort to hide Trump’s failings.

    That is something new, and not an improvement. If people are trying to hide their crimes, at least there’s a shared understanding that they’ve done something wrong.

    The Trump administration would be nothing without McConnell’s senate support. I am relieved that the GOP did not hold onto congress in 2018. If anyone is disappointed by what has happened since, they might want to consider the alternative. I don’t have a lot of optimism, though, whether or not Trump wins re-election (but it will be horrifying if he does). Not only has he done tangible damage, he’s reset expectations to the point that it will be very hard to undo, let alone improve things from status quo 2016.

  17. PaulBC says

    I.e., did not hold onto the the House. Clearly Senate control continues to have lasting consequences, most notably in judicial appointments.

  18. rossthompson says

    @Kome

    George Washington owned slaves, so it turns out a president can be pretty evil and still get sanctified.

  19. hemidactylus says

    There’s another way to look at it. Given the Singer-Pinker thesis of moral progress I could make an argument, though Whiggish, that we at least benefit from greater limits on acceptable behavior now than previous presidents encountered. But does Trump rein himself in to those higher social standards? If we were to put Trump in a time machine and into the shoes of Nixon or Teddy Roosevelt, what would result? I doubt Trump would have the fortitude to fashion himself a Rough Rider in Cuba. I don’t see Trump exploring the river of doubt in Brazil either. But otherwise, for instance, how would he have pursued the Vietnam war compared to Nixon?

    And for Kennedy and Johnson, they were stuck in an ideological construct of containment and dominoes so could they have done otherwise, though the Gulf of Tonkin “incidents” were ready made for deliberate escalation? LBJ wasn’t a great person, but he pursued a Great Society, and played some perhaps begrudging role in civil and voting rights. Vietnam was an albatross that torpedoed his legacy and he did not seek reelection. I would hardly compare him to Trump. Medicare for all would only enhance part of his mixed legacy.

  20. overmann says

    @kome You’ve been race-baited. What does Kavanaugh’s race have to do with whether or not what he’s accused of actually happened?

    @snarkhuntr It’s no coincidence that Trump, supposedly an evil dictator, hasn’t actually done any horrible dictatorial deeds. In light of contrary evidence, perhaps we should reshape our expectations instead of saying the evidence is wrong?

    @PZMyers How have the accusations been confirmed? Testimony is not proof.

  21. says

    Trump’s immigration policy, or trade war with China, or enabling of a surge of racist violence, don’t count as “horrible dictatorial deeds”?

    Fuck off, clown.

  22. says

    Just watched the last couple of episodes of Unbelievable on Netflix. About how an early victim of a serial rapist was charged and convicted of making a false report, only to have cops in another state do their job and catch the rapist. Have not been able to bring myself to watch the earliest episodes.

  23. overmann says

    @PZMyers How many millions has Trump sentenced to death? I’m contrasting Trump with previous dictators’ actions whereas you are listing policies you disagree with that Trump nonetheless has authority to decide (aside from “enabling of a surge of racist violence”, which deserves to be ridiculed for the absurdity that it is).

  24. vucodlak says

    @ overmann, #24

    How many millions has Trump sentenced to death?

    Oh, is that what a dictator is? Someone who orders the deaths of X number of people? I didn’t know that. Why, it’s almost like that’s a fabrication pulled out of… I’ll be polite this time, and say “thin air.”

    Of course, if we wanted to be really unfair, we could point out that Trump’s regime has stopped reporting casualties in most overseas military operations. We could point out that their very-successful efforts to eliminate environmental regulations, as well as their refusal to acknowledge climate change, will ultimately result in the deaths of hundreds of millions at the very least if not reversed in the very near future. We could point out that we don’t really know how many people have been killed by Trump’s anti-immigrant policies, and we likely never will. We could point out that mass-murder via neglect, which is how most concentration camps kill people (as opposed to death camps), takes time to really ramp up.

    whereas you are listing policies you disagree with that Trump nonetheless has authority to decide

    …because he and his cronies have packed the courts. Twisting the legal establishment into a partisan pack of yes-men for the dictator is a classic dictator move.

    Oh that’s right, Trump can’t be a dictator because the murderometer hasn’t turned over at 1,000,000. Yet. He’s only responsible for a few hundred murders. So far. That we know of.

    You know, now that you’ve clarified what a dictator is, it turns out that there were a lot fewer dictators than I thought. For example, Augusto Pinochet was apparently a guardian of freedom and democracy, despite overthrowing a democratically elected government and brutally imprisoning and torturing tens of thousands, because he didn’t kill millions. Duterte can’t be a dictator, despite having (and bragging about having) extra-judicial death squads, because he hasn’t yet reached the coveted millionth-murder-served milestone.

    Perhaps it would be better to say that Trump behaves like a dictator, but has thus far been too staggeringly incompetent to get the job done? That he’s failing at dictatorship, as he has at everything in his life, but remains coddled and protected (like all wealthy scumbags) by his immense privilege?

  25. PaulBC says

    Well, to use one clear, documented example, Trump’s changes in immigration policy directly led to
    the death of a man who had lived in the US most of his life.

    The man, 41-year-old Jimmy Aldaoud, was an Iraqi national who was born in Greece, but came to the U.S. when he was a child, Politico reports. He had never lived in Iraq and did not speak Arabic, but was deported amid the Trump Administration’s immigration crackdown.

    Any reasonable person, knowing the facts, would conclude that Aldaoud, would almost certainly die when sent to a nation he had never lived and did not speak the language. He suffered from mental illness and was dependent on insulin for diabetes.

    No, this is not ordering the execution of millions, but it is putting policies in place that predictably kill people (and not even as “collateral damage” in a war, as if that’s acceptable).

    Next we have the case of Maria Isabel Bueso who is receiving life-saving treatment at UCSF Benioff Hospital, who may be deported, and will almost certainly die as a direct consequence.

    There are also immigrants including children, who have died in ICE custody. Whether Trump fits some specific definition of “evil dictator” is besides the point. The Trump administrator, for no reason except to create an atmosphere of cruelty towards immigrants, is killing people and already has a body count.

  26. PaulBC says

    I’m disappointed to see how this thread has mostly ignored Kavanaugh entirely and turned into a rehashing of accusations against Trump.

    Kavanaugh is probably very safe as a seated SCOTUS justice. It rankles. I admit it. So I guess they got me real good this time. Turns out, I am a snowflake after all. Kavanaugh is entirely the product of the Federalist Society’s grooming program. You have to give them credit for thinking long term. Whatever you make of his behavior as a youth and its relevance to a SCOTUS seat, he lied and blustered his way through a confirmation hearing in which “the fix was in” the whole time.

    If you look at the (probably very genuine) anger of Lindsey Graham, it stemmed from Democrats even having the gall to open this important, privileged man’s past to public scrutiny. Hey, start doing that and who knows who else you’ll bring down?

    Second, the continual false analogy between this an a criminal prosecution. The question at hand was whether Kavanaugh was fit to serve on SCOTUS, not whether there should be criminal penalties. He perjured himself, at the very least, with answers about the legal drinking age in MD (a tricky issue, but no it was not legal). In fact, there are many reasons to conclude from his testimony that he’s a functional alcoholic. Again (a) that’s not a crime and (b) I can’t prove it. But I feel there is enough doubt of his suitability not to confirm.

    But hey, McConnell’s strategy and the Federalist Society’s long term planning won the day for them. The NYT article is too late to change much, but it does back up my impression of Deborah Ramirez’s accusation.

  27. overmann says

    @PaulBC

    That is a much more reasonable response and you make some valid points (can’t say the same for PZ Myers). I believe the decision of whether to deport or not should be made on a case-by-case basis and while I don’t know all the facts surrounding his case, I’m inclined to agree it was wrong to deport Jimmy Aldaoud. You’re also correct that some children have died in ICE custody, yet leave out how they died. Did ICE kill them? Lastly, I don’t agree that Trump’s immigration policy exists “for no reason except to create an atmosphere of cruelty towards immigrants”. Does no other possible reason for a hardline stance against illegal immigration occur to you?

    @vucodlak

    I cite sentencing millions to death as an example of dictatorial behavior because that is what Hitler is known for. Remember all the comparisons the media and liberals made of Trump to Hitler during the election (and still do)? I sure do. How well has that comparison held up over time?

    “We could point out that their very-successful efforts to eliminate environmental regulations, as well as their refusal to acknowledge climate change, will ultimately result in the deaths of hundreds of millions at the very least if not reversed in the very near future.”

    If you truly believed that, you’d consider Narendra Modi, PM of India, orders of magnitude worse than Trump, since their pollution is orders of magnitude worse. Same for China, though I’d be inclined to agree if you considered Xi a dictator (China has re-education camps for Muslims whose rights are deprived on a massive scale). The US is actually doing very well in clamping down on pollution.

    “We could point out that we don’t really know how many people have been killed by Trump’s anti-immigrant policies, and we likely never will. We could point out that mass-murder via neglect, which is how most concentration camps kill people (as opposed to death camps), takes time to really ramp up.”

    A bit preemptive, no? It seems like you are considering Trump a dictator before sufficient evidence has emerged.

    You can argue scale if you really want to, but the point stands that Trump hasn’t personally sentenced mass amounts of people to death like other dictators you or I could mention. The “Trump is a dictator” line is tired, desperate hyperbole.

    “Perhaps it would be better to say that Trump behaves like a dictator, but has thus far been too staggeringly incompetent to get the job done? That he’s failing at dictatorship, as he has at everything in his life, but remains coddled and protected (like all wealthy scumbags) by his immense privilege?”

    If he’s too incompetent to perform dictatorial actions (for the sake of argument), then in what way is he a dictator? Earlier in your post you listed reasons why you consider Trump a dictator, then later say he’s actually too incompetent to be one? Which is it?

  28. overmann says

    @Brony

    “Are you unable to disentangle me from the group around you?”

    Well, let’s see, I called you by name, didn’t I? I said “proof” because PZMyers said “confirms”. Confirmation is more definite than corroboration, similarly how proof is more definite than testimony.

  29. says

    @overmann 34
    My name is less important to me than my points.

    The fact that PZ said “confirms” doesn’t change anything, and since we’re dealing with the requirements of a non-courtroom situation what matters is which has meaning in the particular venue. With so many other people reporting sexual abuse from Kavanaugh I consider that corroboration, a form of confirmation (like proof is a form of evidence).

    Don’t you mean proof is more definite than evidence?

    If you don’t know which is required and what it’s meaning is in this context I’m not sure you see a problem.

  30. overmann says

    @Brony

    “The fact that PZ said ‘confirm’ doesn’t change anything”

    If that’s how you feel then I’ll consider our exchange over and I’m moving on. If you’re still confused, read PZMyers post, then follow my comment chain starting from 21 onward. Good luck.

  31. says

    @overmann 36
    I guess it isn’t important to you then. The actual concepts applicable to the situation matter. For both confirm/corroborate and evidence/proof. We might even find out the first two are technically interchangeable, but whatever.

    The second two don’t change and testimony is evidence. I very often see overwrought people asking where the evidence or “proof” is, when the thing to be discussed is already right there. Biased against accusers from the start.

  32. says

    snarkhuntr I see what you are saying as I was a teenager during the VietNam War however this current POS is destroying the EPA and all the laws we have built up and our WW work with other Nations. I remember the smog and the deet being sprayed while we played on the sidewalks. The shit was real and clean water is essential to life and piping whatever the hell nasty shit country wide is not wise. So no he is evil as hell and soon we will be at war with Iran to get money from Arab’s as this is all the POS cares about money and power. I hope he keels over from his fat ass bad eating habits.

  33. vucodlak says

    @ overmann, #30

    I cite sentencing millions to death as an example of dictatorial behavior because that is what Hitler is known for. Remember all the comparisons the media and liberals made of Trump to Hitler during the election (and still do)? I sure do. How well has that comparison held up over time?

    Hitler didn’t murder millions in his first two-and-a-half years in office, either. That level of butchery takes time, but the machinery is humming right along.

    Camps have been built and filled with immigrants and asylum seekers. The administration is looking into sweeping up homeless people next. The camps are already killing people through deliberate neglect, and it’s only a matter of time until the administration decides people aren’t dying fast enough. We also can’t forget that many of the people whose claims are rejected without a fair hearing will die when they are deported.

    If you truly believed that, you’d consider Narendra Modi, PM of India, orders of magnitude worse than Trump, since their pollution is orders of magnitude worse.

    I don’t live in India or China. I have little-to-no chance of effecting policy in those places, but the US government could if it got its act together. My best chance for effecting positive change in those countries is to clean up the dogshit in my own backyard.

    A bit preemptive, no? It seems like you are considering Trump a dictator before sufficient evidence has emerged.

    No. The camps are sufficient evidence all by themselves, but they’re hardly the only evidence we have. Trump’s rhetoric, cronyism, blatant disregard for the law (to say nothing of reality), nationalism, hatred of democracy, and love for other dictators are also evidence.

    You can argue scale if you really want to, but the point stands that Trump hasn’t personally sentenced mass amounts of people to death like other dictators you or I could mention.

    Your point is irrelevant. “Dictator” does not mean “leader who has killed X number of people.” Just because you don’t understand what a dictator is doesn’t mean that the rest of us must be so burdened with ignorance.

    If he’s too incompetent to perform dictatorial actions (for the sake of argument), then in what way is he a dictator?

    I worded that poorly- Trump is a dictator but, as he’s also a complete failure of a human being, he’s not very effective in implementing his agenda. His incompetence is the closest thing he has to a saving grace, but being bad at dictatorship doesn’t mean that he’s not a dictator.

  34. says

    The reason I posted about Unbelievable is it is about a case where a rape victim’s testimony was discounted by the police, only for them to be shown to be wrong, and that they had let a serial rapist continue his crimes. As was stated in the show, you’d seldom hear a robbery victim disbelieved in the same manner

  35. overmann says

    @vucodlak

    Hitler didn’t murder millions in his first two-and-a-half years in office, either. That level of butchery takes time, but the machinery is humming right along.

    I rolled my eyes.

    The camps are already killing people through deliberate neglect

    Source?

    I don’t live in India or China. I have little-to-no chance of effecting policy in those places, but the US government could if it got its act together. My best chance for effecting positive change in those countries is to clean up the dogshit in my own backyard.

    China and India are orders of magnitude worse, though. And since words are cheap, it doesn’t cost you anything to raise awareness about India and China’s involvement in this supposed mass extinction event you’re talking about. It’s just surprising that their involvement isn’t at least as important to you.

    No. The camps are sufficient evidence all by themselves, but they’re hardly the only evidence we have. Trump’s rhetoric, cronyism, blatant disregard for the law (to say nothing of reality), nationalism, hatred of democracy, and love for other dictators are also evidence.

    What about Trump’s rhetoric, specifically? For that matter, which cronyism or blatant disregard for the law (is he ignoring injunctions or something)? Nationalism isn’t dictatorial in and of itself, since it could just mean advocating for one’s own country. How does Trump hate democracy, and how do you know what he feels? Also, which dictators does Trump love and how do you know what he feels?

    Your point is irrelevant. “Dictator” does not mean “leader who has killed X number of people.” Just because you don’t understand what a dictator is doesn’t mean that the rest of us must be so burdened with ignorance.

    We don’t have to agree on what a dictator is exactly, but we do agree that Trump hasn’t sentenced mass amounts of people to death, which most notable dictators have in common. (Though in your case you don’t believe Trump has done so yet, and I’m curious how long after Trump has left office without mass murdering our own citizens it will take before you would admit you were wrong.)

  36. John Morales says

    overmann:

    We don’t have to agree on what a dictator is exactly, but we do agree that Trump hasn’t sentenced mass amounts of people to death, which most notable dictators have in common.

    Such bullshit!

    The claim that unless one has sentenced mass amounts of people to death, one is not a dictator is pretty fucking desperate, yet you resort to it. The why of it is obvious.

    We don’t have to agree on what a dictator is exactly …

    (sigh)

    He’s a wannabe dictator only, and only lingers because of the utter corruption of the Republican Party which sustains him in order to achieve generational goals.

    Notably, he has the support of the Evangelicals, their power established over the generations and the USAnian political system.

    (Tax the poor, give to the rich. Make new laws which permit further authoritarianism.
    Destroy the separation of powers. Reward the faithful, punish the dissenters.
    So far, so good)

  37. PaulBC says

    First off, I thought the OP was about Brett Kavanaugh, not whether Trump is as bad as Hitler. (But OK, I give up, I lost that one, though I would much rather discuss Kavanaugh.) Second, the idea that to be a “dictator” you have to sentence massive numbers to death has no historical basis. It’s simply a definition apparently made up on the spot. Third, you don’t have to be a “dictator” to subvert the US constitution to the point of high crimes and misdemeanors (until very recently the GOP included lying about a blowjob among such offenses).

    The Declaration of Independence does not use the term “dictator” but it does state “The history of the present King of Great Britain is a history of repeated injuries and usurpations, all having in direct object the establishment of an absolute Tyranny over these States.” I think “absolute Tyranny” is close enough to dictatorship that we can use it as a basis for establishing what it takes to be a dictator. A few of the charges against George III involve executions, though hardly of millions or even a comparable amount for the time period. E.g. “He has constrained our fellow Citizens taken Captive on the high Seas to bear Arms against their Country, to become the executioners of their friends and Brethren, or to fall themselves by their Hands.”

    But if you look at this for what makes a tyrant, the common theme is one of autocracy. A tyrant acts without the consent of the governed. A more typical charge is “For suspending our own Legislatures, and declaring themselves invested with power to legislate for us in all cases whatsoever.” It is really not about a body count at all.

    Trump along with a complicit GOP senate has made a complete mockery of the constitutional separation of powers. He may not be a murderer on the order of Hitler or Stalin (though his immigration policy is deadly). He is, however, a ruler who shows no interest in adhering the the democratic institutions of the US government. That is what makes him distinct among presidents (at least recent ones).

  38. overmann says

    @JohnMorales

    Such bullshit! The claim that unless one has sentenced mass amounts of people to death, one is not a dictator is pretty fucking desperate, yet you resort to it. The why of it is obvious.

    There’s no one single reason why a head of state could be considered a dictator. Let’s be clear about that. I mention mass killing because that’s a clear indicator (unlike the “reasons” cited by others here) and a basic thread to previous dictators that Trump continues to be compared to. That said, we clearly have different ideas what “horrible dictatorial deeds” refer to.

    He’s a wannabe dictator only, and only lingers because of the utter corruption of the Republican Party which sustains him in order to achieve generational goals.

    Care to explain this one? Incidentally, judging from Trump’s rally sizes, he has a great deal of public support (and public animosity, of course).

    (Tax the poor, give to the rich. Make new laws which permit further authoritarianism.
    Destroy the separation of powers. Reward the faithful, punish the dissenters.
    So far, so good)

    Please explain these while you’re at it. What are you referring to?

    @PaulBC

    First off, I thought the OP was about Brett Kavanaugh, not whether Trump is as bad as Hitler.

    It was; I was replying to another user and it blew up.

    Second, the idea that to be a “dictator” you have to sentence massive numbers to death has no historical basis.

    I never claimed that was the only definition of a dictator, but it’s certainly an important one (at least to me; others here seem to disagree).

    Trump along with a complicit GOP senate has made a complete mockery of the constitutional separation of powers.

    How?

    He is, however, a ruler who shows no interest in adhering the the democratic institutions of the US government.

    How?

  39. John Morales says

    overmann:

    There’s no one single reason why a head of state could be considered a dictator.

    Other that its actual meaning, not one single one.

    I mention mass killing because that’s a clear indicator […]

    Therefore, Jesus Christ was a dictator. How many have been killed in his name? ;)

    That said, we clearly have different ideas what “horrible dictatorial deeds” refer to.

    Do we? (heh)

    Care to explain this one?

    How could I, to you? You find “wannabe dictator only” confusing already!

    (“Our great American companies are hereby ordered to immediately start looking for an alternative to China, including making your products in the USA.” (Aug 23, 2019))

    Please explain these while you’re at it. What are you referring to?

    Things beyond your understanding, apparently.

    (Such as the subject of this very post!)

  40. PaulBC says

    overmann@44

    How?

    I’m not going to get into a pissing match on this. Numerous stories have been written on the topic of Trump’s contempt for democracy. These are neither the only or the most significant cases, but the article does include the catchy title “War on Democracy.”

    http://nymag.com/intelligencer/2019/04/trump-war-on-democracy-homeland-security-william-barr-treason.html

    In recent days, the warning lights have flashed as bright as ever. Trump has ramped up the volume of his authoritarian rhetoric. This week alone, Trump has used “treasonous” as a description for both Democratic immigration policy (“I think what the Democrats are doing with the Border is TREASONOUS. Their Open Border mindset is putting our Country at risk”) and the Mueller investigation (“In fact, it was an illegal investigation that should never have been allowed to start. I fought back hard against this Phony & Treasonous Hoax!”).

    Meanwhile, he is energetically subverting the independence of the Federal Reserve. The country’s economic health and the president’s standing are generally in alignment, but to the extent that they diverge, Trump wants to ensure that the Fed will prioritize the latter over the former. He has appointed a pair of flagrantly unqualified hacks to the board. “He wants guys he can call at home at night and tell them what he wants done,” a former administration official tells The Wall Street Journal.

    He has also turned the office of AG Bill Barr into his personal defense attorney. In the first months of his appointment Barr did almost nothing besides deflect charges against Trump. I know it’s been nearly forgotten, but AGs used to enforce federal law, not defend the the president from its effect.

    He is a blatant kleptocrat with a scale of corruption unseen in any recent president. The number of instances where people on his staff just happened to find a Trump-owned property the “most convenient” facility cannot be explained by coincidence (most recently, there’s Pence’s trip to Ireland and military stops in Scotland; coincidences happen, but not large-scale patterns of pure coincidence.) Diverting public funds for personal gain is a hallmark of dictatorship even if Trump’s approach is desultory and may not even be worth it financially relative to his assets (though who knows).

    The only reason Trump has managed to stay ahead of corruption charges is that the GOP-led Senate has his back. No president (at least in recent history, but I suspect it’s never) has been able to get away with this level of corruption. This is not carried out by consent of the governed. We did not grant Trump these powers. So, yes, it’s dictatorial.

    (And that’s it, honestly, I really have no idea why you are trolling a thread about Brett Kavanaugh and I have no more to say on this.)

  41. KG says

    If you truly believed that, you’d consider Narendra Modi, PM of India, orders of magnitude worse than Trump, since their pollution is orders of magnitude worse. – overmann@30,/blockquote.

    As far as the most important pollution – excessive produciton of greenhouse gases – is concerned, this is of course complete garbage. Despite having over three times the population, India currently produces less than half as much as the USA. China does produce significantly more, but again, considerably less per capita. Moreover, the totals for each country cover only what is actually produced in that country, not what is produced to suppoly its imports, which increases the USA’s relative contribution greatly. And if one looks at historical data, the disparity is far greater still. And the USA – thanks to Trump – is the only country to spit in the world’s face by abandoning even the inadequate Paris accord, and brazenly lying about climate science.

  42. PaulBC says

    KG@50

    I think Jair Bolsonaro in Brazil may actually be worse than Trump in many ways. He has more unchecked power to carry out massive environmental destruction. But so what? Again, the topic is Brett Kavanaugh, not the world’s greatest environmental criminals.

    I don’t know anything about Narendra Modi. A quick Google comes up with his party membership and wikipedia says “BJP is a right-wing party, and its policy has historically reflected Hindu nationalist positions”. Hindu nationalism is a serious problem in India, much like other nationalist movements. I have a friend who has complained about it, but I know very little. So, in short, if Modi is as bad or worse than Trump, it wouldn’t surprise me at all. But so the fuck what? That is not the topic. Trump isn’t even the topic, but he’s at least tangentially related.

    As far as I can tell by skimming the news, they’re big buddies anyway. https://www.indiatoday.in/india/story/modi-thanks-donald-trump-for-attending-houston-rally-1599531-2019-09-16

  43. KG says

    PaulBC@51,

    Modi is a fascistic scumbag, with a long record of “Hindutva” extremism. He, Trump, Bolsonare and Kavanaugh (along with Erdogan, Duterte, Netanyahu, Orban, Johnson…) are all part of the same phenomenon – the rise of the far right. And toxic masculinity, as PZ notes, is key to that rise.

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