Why Did NBC News Sit on Evidence Discrediting a Kavanaugh Accuser for Weeks?

“…The Republican-controlled Senate Judiciary Committee recommended anti-Trump attorney Michael Avenatti and his client Julie Swetnick to the Justice Department for possible criminal charges on Thursday. Committee Chairman Chuck Grassley noted that in multiple public statements, Swetnick and Avenatti contradicted the sworn statement they provided claiming that Supreme Court nominee Brett Kavanaugh ran a gang-rape-party ring in high school.

What was a very bad day for Avenatti got worse when NBC News reported hours later that “NBC News also found other apparent inconsistencies in a second sworn statement from another woman whose statement Avenatti provided to the Senate Judiciary Committee in a bid to bolster Swetnick’s claims.”

It was very good reporting by NBC News. But it was also reporting based on interviews conducted three weeks ago, with no clear indication of why the outlet chose to sit on it. . . .

But per the newest story, these are the details NBC News knew for a fact during the Kavanaugh debate, and chose not to report:On September 30, Avenatti forwarded an anonymous woman (I’ll call her Woman B) to NBC claiming she could corroborate Swetnick’s story. On the contrary, she said of the punch spiking “I didn’t ever think it was Brett” and when asked if she ever witnessed Kavanaugh act inappropriately towards women replied, “No.”On October 2nd, Avenatti publicized a sworn statement from an unnamed woman claiming she had “witnessed firsthand Brett Kavanaugh, together with others, ‘spike’ the ‘punch’ at house parties I attended with Quaaludes and/or grain alcohol” and he engaged in “inappropriate physical contact with girls of a sexual nature.”The same day, Avenatti confirms to NBC News that the woman is Woman B.
On October 3rd, Woman B tells NBC she only “skimmed” the statement she made to Congress.
The same day, when asked about the discrepancies, Avenatti suddenly backtracks and claims the woman is not Woman B.On October 4th, Woman B texts NBC: “It is incorrect that I saw Brett spike the punch. I didn’t see anyone spike the punch … I was very clear with Michael Avenatti from day one.”The same day, when asked about her denials, Avenatti responds, “I have a signed declaration that states otherwise together with multiple audio recordings where she stated exactly what is in the declaration. There were also multiple witnesses to our discussions.”Five minutes later, Woman B texts NBC: “Please understand that everything in the declaration is true and you should not contact me anymore regarding this issue.”Minutes later, NBC calls again, and Woman B again reiterates she never saw Kavanaugh spiking punch or being sexually inappropriate.On October 5th, she texts NBC: “I will definitely talk to you again and no longer Avenatti. I do not like that he twisted my words.”

Brett Kavanaugh was confirmed October 6th. At the time of his confirmation, there was a sworn statement before Congress indicating that the Supreme Court nominee was a sexual assailant and drugged women. As far as the Senate and public knew, there was nothing indicating that statement was false.

NBC News knew that it was false. Four days earlier, they at least had enough to report that Woman B had changed her story. And days before that, they knew that one of the witnesses that Swetnick alluded to could not “attest to the truthfulness” of her allegations as she claimed in her sworn statement.

What gives? One gets the impression that had Grassley not moved to recommended Avenatti for criminal charges, NBC News would have continued to sit on the story…”




© Doug Santo

The Navy We Need

“…Everyone seems to remember Ronald Reagan’s 600-ship Navy from the 1980s, but few understand how precipitate the decline was following the demise of the Soviet Union. First the Bush/Clinton “peace dividend,” and then the nation’s focus on its wars in Afghanistan and Iraq, saw the Navy fall from 592 ships in 1989, to 350 in 1998, to its nadir of 271 in 2015. While this was playing out, both civilian and uniformed leaders made the argument that the Navy did not require large numbers of ships so long as the ships it retained were of the most advanced designs. This answer appeared valid, in theory, but the reality was that a smaller fleet simply could not be everywhere we needed it to be at once.

The result has been a slow unraveling of the maritime order of free trade and free navigation that the United States and its Navy struggled so hard to build over the previous 70 years. The current situation recalls the “broken windows” theory of law enforcement first advanced by George L. Kelling and James Q. Wilson in the early 1980s. The theory took its name from the phenomenon wherein an unrepaired broken window acts as a psychological invitation to break other windows. Kelling and Wilson argued that police could control crime by maintaining a general sense of order in their communities, with cooperation from the communities themselves. This entailed patrolling on foot rather than by car — so that officers would be seen as part of the neighborhood — and by taking “quality of life” offenses seriously.

Between 2001 and 2016, when the Navy was shrinking rapidly, the United States’ strategic focus was firmly locked on its counterterrorism wars in the Middle East and Central Asia. Most of the Navy’s deploying ships were either moving towards those conflicts or returning home from them, leaving entire maritime “neighborhoods” unpatrolled — and windows started to break…”


Austin, Evan, and Vince

© Doug Santo

Kelly, Ralph, and Lesley

© Doug Santo

Lesley, Austin, and Cousin Kel, from Austin’s birthday

© Doug Santo

John James, MI, candidate for senate

Ireland’s Peculiar Presidential Election


“…On October 26, Ireland will elect a powerless head of state. Less American president than British monarch, Uachtarán na hÉireann plays a purely symbolic role, representing some notional “character” of the Irish people but making no important policy decisions. Those voting in the upcoming election will make their choice with this peculiar criterion squarely in mind. Nonetheless, that symbolic role, and Irish voters’ awareness of it, makes the presidential vote consequential. It will say a lot about the Irish, and a lot about how the Irish wish to be perceived.

In the seven years since his inauguration, incumbent Michael D. Higgins has achieved near-heroic status in Irish daily life. Widely adored for his short stature and antiquated speech — as well as for other asinine reasons — the former Teachta Dála (i.e., member of parliament) has capitalized on the romantic image of a poetic, scholarly Ireland that transcends crude obsessions with material wealth.

Material wealth, in Higgins’s telling, almost always signifies America. His speeches, which typically rehash socialist boilerplate, also aim to convey to his international audience distance between Ireland and the United States. And although his rhetoric is routinely light on substance, Higgins has convinced a surprisingly large section of the Irish population that passion, prolixity, and idyllic dreaming are sufficient to qualify him as an intellectual giant…”


“…Higgins is a populist himself. Lionized as a champion of knowledge and reason in an age when ignorance runs amok in Europe and America, Higgins reassures a population discombobulated by Trump and Brexit by feeding their sense of intellectual superiority. Yet that sense of superiority rests on precious little substance. It feeds on grievance anchored in events outside living memory and having to do with an entirely different global power structure. In this respect Higgins’s strain of populism is symptomatic of an Irish identity that longs for parity with American influence despite the obvious asymmetries between the two countries. The most powerful Irishman in Ireland will never compare to the most powerful Irishman in America, after all… …In reality, Higgins’ populist appeal is entirely dependent on America’s apathy. That a figure with his history can be elected at no risk to transatlantic relations — even in the capricious age of Trump — is indicative only of his irrelevance. Sadly, much of Ireland’s population has embraced a parochial way of thinking that rages against American economic and military might, yet takes its benevolence for granted…”


Urgent Strategy Session at the Democratic Party Dirty Tricks Office

This is parody, but is it? Remember the Kavanaugh hearings?

-OK, the  fake bomb campaign failed. People are laughing at us.
-I thought the media was with us?
-They are, but still they can’t get people to take it seriously.
-Truth be told, the bombs look like they were built by a drunk Joe Biden.
-I have an idea. Can we get somebody who really knows how to make a bomb?
-I can ask my nephew, he is one of them Antifa groups. Why a real one?
-We won’t be taken seriously unless we hurt somebody with it.
-So, who do we choose to have a bomb sent to?
-It has to be a Democrat politician that is recognizable, but we can afford to lose.
-Obviously, none of the people who we already sent one of the fake ones.
-Nope, somebody else.
-Let me think. I’ll get back to you.


Why no one trusts the media to get the bombing story right

Rick Moran:

“…I contend this started with their going all in to elect an untried, unprepared Barrack Obama, and showing absolutely no curiosity about things like his grades or even what courses he took or of course the fact he was a third generation red diaper baby.  It continued with the demonizing of the tea party which many of us were involved in and knew was not how it was being described. Then there was the summer of recovery… eight times reported unironically in all major newspapers, including those that should know better.  Why, yes, I am looking at you WSJ.  The spectacular all-in for Hillary and it’s more spectacular backfire.

Now? If the media tells me it’s raining, I go outside to verify. And I don’t take an umbrella

Part of the tension right now is that we’re flying by instruments and the instruments are broken…”


The Feast of Crispin

October 25, a date that means a lot to a very few. A date immortalized by a great English poem no longer recognized as poetry. Listen now for inspiration.

California’s Feminist Corporate Coup

Party of science and all that!

Jeffrey Harding:

“…The law’s goal is gender parity, but it is couched in financial terms suggesting that companies with women on their boards do better than those that don’t. Several studies are cited to back this claim (UC Cal, Credit Suisse, and McKinsey). Catalyst, a nonprofit that promotes women in the workplace, did a widely quoted study that claimed:

• Return on Equity: On average, companies with the highest percentages of women board directors outperformed those with the least by 53%.
• Return on Sales: On average, companies with the highest percentages of women board directors outperformed those with the least by 42%.
• Return on Invested Capital: On average, companies with the highest percentages of women board directors outperformed those with the least by 66%.

This claim doesn’t meet the smell test and the overwhelming conclusion of scientific research in the field says that women directors have little or no effect on corporate performance. Much of the data supporting the feminist theory lacks empirical rigor and is coincidental (A happened and then B happened, thus A caused B)…”


Headline of the Day (Early Edition)

CNN Host Says ‘No One’s Blaming the President’ for Pipe Bombs Before Panelist Blames Trump

Will ‘burly men’ stop the Democrats’ blue wave?

Interesting analysis from an experienced old hand.

Michael Barone:

“…Do they live in two different worlds? White college graduate women favor Democrats over Republicans in House elections, 62 to 35 percent. White noncollege-graduate men favor Republicans over Democrats in House elections, 58 to 38 percent.

Those results are from a Washington Post poll conducted only in 69 seriously contested congressional districts, 63 of them currently held by Republicans. The numbers in other polls are only slightly different for these two groups.

They all tell the same story. These Americans live in the same relatively small slices of America (average population about 750,000), not many miles away from each other. But they take very different — often angrily different — views of where the nation is headed and on sensitive issues. . . .

It’s not that white college women are diehard Keynesians and white noncollege men supply-siders. People tend to tailor their economic theories to partisan preference, not vice versa. But the economic policies of the last two administrations and concurrent trends have had — and were intended to have — very different effects on white college women and white noncollege men.

President Barack Obama’s 2009 stimulus package was heavily tilted toward college women. As my American Enterprise Institute colleague Christina Hoff Summers wrote in The Weekly Standard in June 2009, the Obama economic team’s original idea was to finance infrastructure, construction, and manufacturing, sectors which lost 3 million jobs in 2007-09.

But feminist groups objected. Obama economist Christina Romer, Summers wrote, recalled that her first email “was from a women’s group saying, ‘We don’t want this stimulus package to just create jobs for burly men.’” So Obama ditched his “macho” stimulus plan for one stimulating creation of jobs in government and especially in education and healthcare, which had gained 588,000 jobs during the 2007-09 recession. Forget the bridge-building and electric grid modernization; let’s subsidize more administrators, facilitators, liaisons.

The results were disappointing. Sputtering growth nudged up toward 3 percent and down toward zero, which is what it was during the last quarter of the Obama administration. Administrators outnumbered teachers in higher education but added little value; government payrolls were sheltered from cuts, temporarily. There was little recovery in blue-collar jobs, and millions of men lingered on the disability rolls. Life-expectancy fell among downscale groups amid a rise in opioid dependency and deaths.

The trajectory of the economy — and the beneficiaries — seem different in the Trump presidency so far. Growth is more robust, obviously, though some economists thought this was impossible, and the the biggest gains are, in contrast to the last 30 years, in blue-collar jobs and downscale earnings…”


Pepin on de-boning chicken

Over Half Of America Gets More In Welfare Than It Pays In Taxes

“vote for a living” instead of work for a living


Headline of the Day

NYT Calls for ‘Civility,’ Runs Fiction on Trump Assassination

Republicans Need to Win 19 of 31 Toss Ups to Keep Control

House elections map

One Nation, Two Economies

An interesting analysis worth clicking over

Joel Kotkin:

“…Over the past few decades, the U.S. has developed essentially two economies. On the one side is the widely celebrated “post-industrial” economy: software, entertainment, media, and financial and business services. These sectors flourished as the stock market soared in the ultra-low interest-rate environment fostered by the Obama administration, whose recovery strategy was built around bailing out major banks, all headquartered in deep-blue cities. The winners under Obama included urban real estate, financial-service firms, and the tech oligarchs. These elements now constitute the Democratic Party’s burgeoning financial base, allowing it consistently to spend more than the GOP in key congressional races, while the GOP still gains support in energy and other less heralded “legacy” industries.

There’s a glitter gap between the parties, too. The Democrats now own the fashion, media, literary, and entertainment communities, in the process turning the putative party of the common man into the political vehicle of the leisure class. In contrast, during the depth of the recession, a much larger, more dispersed America struggled. As traditional industries like manufacturing, energy, agriculture, home construction, and basic business services declined, the progressive clerisy in forums like Slate crowed that these blue-collar jobs were never coming back. Unlike the tech oligarchy or the financial giants, these older sectors wielded little political influence under Obama and, in the case of energy, seemed destined for a radical downsizing.

These heritage industries and the people who work in them elected Trump. Despite repeated tales of how tariffs are destroying manufacturers, the industrial sector, after weakening at the end of Obama’s term, has been enjoying its best growth since the mid-1990s. Critically, incomes are up for the lower deciles of the labor force, including young workers. Nothing guarantees that this recovery will continue, but Trump can justifiably boast about accomplishing what Obama failed to deliver in eight years. Democrats might mutter that renewed growth has come from regulatory reforms and big corporate tax breaks, but that makes Trump’s point: a continuance of Obama-style economic and regulatory policy would have hurt most Americans outside of Wall Street and Silicon Valley.

Despite the media’s national obsession with gender and race, American politics continues to follow broad geographic and economic lines. The battle lines have changed over time, from a conflict between coastal merchants and southern farmers to splits over tariffs between western farmers and eastern financiers, and eventually to the battle between an ascendant Sunbelt and struggling older states in the northeast. Today we have a new divide, what might be described as the “tangible” sector versus the ephemeral; the French Marxist economist Thomas Piketty has aptly called it “the brahmin left against the merchant right.” One economy trades in digits, images, and financial transactions, the other in real goods such as cars, steel, oil, gas, and food. These economic sectors have often radically different imperatives.

The Bay Area economy, for example, depends on noncitizens for as much as 40 percent of its workforce, including relatively cheap, work-visa-shackled, latter-day indentured servants from Asia. This explains why Trump’s travel ban and other, often crude or insufficiently justified moves on immigration have helped transform Silicon Valley into a one-party political goldmine. This software-dominated economy, along with its cousins in Hollywood and finance, also is far less exposed to regulatory excesses than firms in manufacturing, home-building, or energy. Tech servers can be located in low-cost regions like the Pacific Northwest or the South, while manufacturing, highly sensitive to environmental regulation and electricity prices, has been relocated to places like Texas or the Midwest—or preferably to China—so that firms can produce gadgets without expanding their localized “carbon footprint.”

Any return to Obama’s energy policy—or the even more extreme one enacted in California—could set back the economic recovery in much of the country, most notably Appalachia, but also across the energy belt that extends from the Permian Basin and the Gulf to the Bakken fields in North Dakota. Even Democratic Texas senate candidate Beto O’Rourke, who in the past supported a $10 a barrel tax on oil, has a tough task justifying his position in oil-rich Texas.

The tangible and ephemeral economies create distinct political trajectories. In Texas or Tennessee, for example, working-class people can get decent jobs and aspire to homeownership and other aspects of middle-class life. Historically, Democrats and Republicans in these regions favored robust economic growth, battling mainly over how to achieve it. But today, a pro-growth bipartisan consensus is increasingly elusive, as Democrats adopt the environmental and lifestyle preferences of their often childless urban base. Superstar firebrands like Democratic congressional aspirant Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez can talk about going on a war footing to fight global warming because there’s not much industry left in her district in Queens and the Bronx…”


Voter Fraud a Myth?

Former Democratic Party leader paid women in alleged Tarrant voter fraud ring, AG says.

“…A Fort Worth woman recently indicted on voter fraud charges paid others involved in the scheme with funds provided by a former Tarrant County Democratic Party leader, court documents filed this week show.

After learning about a state investigation, Leticia Sanchez — one of four women arrested and indicted on voter fraud charges — allegedly directed her daughter to send a text message to others in the scheme, urging them not to cooperate with investigators, state officials say.

The allegations are made in a state’s notice of intent to introduce evidence in Sanchez’s criminal case, where state officials say she was among those who collaborated to vote for certain down-ballot candidates on a number of north side residents’ mail-in ballots…”


Doug Santo