Reason Podcast

Kavanaugh Brawl Shows It's Time for a Controlled Burn of the State: Podcast

Lying about the Devil's Triangle may or may not be disqualifying for the Supreme Court, but this whole process is a reminder that the federal government's power makes politics too important.


||| Valentin Rodriguez/agefotostock/Newscom
Valentin Rodriguez/agefotostock/Newscom

Is Brett Kavanaugh lying about boofing, the Ralph Club, and the Devil's Triangle? And if so, should that be disqualifying for the Supreme Court, even if the process that led to such cross-examination was grotesquely cynical and partisan? Katherine Mangu-Ward, Peter Suderman, Nick Gillespie, and yours truly are split on these and other questions in this moment of national anger and anguish, as you can hear on the Monday editor-roundtable version of the Reason Podcast, but they do agree on one thing: To quote Robby Soave, "at this lowest of moments for political discourse," it's worth remembering that "the libertarian vision for society is one in which politics plays a much smaller role."

The editors also discuss Sen. Jeff Flake (R–Ariz.) and the hated temperamental center, the latest poll numbers about political self-affiliation, the great reasonminus50 Twitter feed, and more.

Subscribe, rate, and review our podcast at iTunes. Listen at SoundCloud below:

Audio production by Ian Keyser.

'The Life and Death of a Certain K. Zabriskie, Patriarch' by Chris Zabriskie is licensed under CC BY 4.0

Relevant links from the show:

"The Kavanaugh Nomination Fight Has Pulled Us Further Into a Partisan Quagmire," by Peter Suderman

"Jeff Flake and the Hated—Yet Vital—Libertarian Center," by Matt Welch

"Brett Kavanaugh's Anger Should Surprise No One," by Robby Soave

"Christine Blasey Ford Was Worth Hearing, But No One on the Senate Judiciary Committee Was Listening," by Robby Soave

"Beer, Courage, and Vomit: Major Themes of the Ford-Kavanaugh Hearing," by Jacob Sullum

"Brett Kavanaugh's Illegal Beer Consumption Highlights the Perversity of Drinking Ages," by Jacob Sullum

"3 Questions To Ask Yourself While Watching the Kavanaugh/Ford Hearings Today," by Nick Gillespie

"Supreme Court to Consider Tree Frogs, Liquor Licensing, Criminals With Dementia, and More This Fall," by Elizabeth Nolan Brown

"Here's What Congress Was Doing While You Were Watching the Kavanaugh Circus," by Eric Boehm

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  1. Yeah, the government is too powerful and the Court is too powerful in particular, though Matt Welch sure doesn’t have a problem with a powerful court when it gives him what he wants. That has nothing to do with this whatsoever. i don’t care if Kavanaugh were being appointed dog catcher or honory Indian Chief, pulling out a BS uncorroborated accusation about something he did in high school would be just as immoral and wrong.

    1. Out of curiosity, is holding down a woman and trying to take her clothes off while gagging her with your fist also wrong?

      1. OUt of curiosity Tony, are you so fucking stupid and depraved that you are incapable of viewing any accusation against someone whose politics you don’t like with any credulity at all? Appearently not. You will believe anything just so long as the person being accused hold politics you don’t like.

        More than anythign Tony, beyond being profoundly stupid, you are just a horrible person. You really are. You are disgusting.

        1. I watched the he-said, she-said on live TV. One was credible and had no discernible motive to lie. The other had an obvious motive to lie and lied obviously for hours on end.

          And if he had a (D) after his name you’d understand that.

          1. And you believed the person whose politics you approve. Just like you have in every single instance in your life. Spare me your rationalizations and lies. You would believe anything if your politics required it.

            1. No, you spare me the ridiculously hypocritical accusations of partisanship. We both have a Team. It’s nothing to be ashamed of.

              But the reason I prefer my Team is because they’d never dig their heels in over a SCOTUS nominee accused of multiple rapes. They’d toss him out and move on.

              1. Keep the hate alive, Tony.

              2. Kavanaugh’s innocence has nothing to do with Trump. The fact that you can’t talk about Kavanaugh without bringing up Trump is just proof that you make your decisions entirely based on politics and are too stupid to even try and hide it.

              3. See also Clinton, Bill

              4. But if he were to be president….

              5. Umm, they did so with a President.

                And they’re doing so with a candidate for MN AG.

          2. Tony|10.1.18 @ 4:14PM|#
            “I watched the he-said, she-said on live TV. One was credible and had no discernible motive to lie.”

            So based on your prejudiced, and given that you are full of shit, ‘something should be done’?
            Fuck off.

            1. “I watched the he-said, she-said on live TV. One was credible and had no discernible motive to lie.”

              Or as my Uncle Olaf would say…

          3. >no discernible motive to lie

            Ford’s GoFundMe

            Half a million dollars sounds like a pretty great motive to me

          4. Sad you don’t believe Ford had a motive to lie. First, she’s a serial donor to Democrats as you can see at Second, accusers like her, often end up with lots of free legal help (including for other legal issues), speaking fees, book deals, and donations. Third, her request for anonymity was thrown under the bus along with her so the accusations would be last minute with little time to corroborate or give the accused an opportunity to defend himself (a long time Democrat MO). Fourth, once she made the allegations (even anonymously ignoring the US tradition of the accused having the right to confront their accusers), she potentially might have suffered legal consequences if she changed her mind.

            So given the pros and cons of either testifying as to what she said or believed (I’m not convinced she believed what she said and potentially knew it was a lie) it seems very reasonable to go along and testify that she’s 100% sure Kavanaugh attempted to rape her, even though her memory is so bad she couldn’t remember if her polygraph test was the day of her grandmother’s funeral, and had inconsistent stories as documented in Mitchell’s report.

            Finally, seems to me her “pro-bono” lawyers were really working for the Democrats, who pay them a lot of money for other work. Note that Shiela Jackson Lee passed them an envelope at the hearings. And they failed, in an ethical violation, to relay Grassley’s offer to interview her in private.

      2. Why do you ask? Do you have some situation where it has been proven to have happened? Is this woman into S&M?

        1. He thinks the burden of proof is on the accused.

          1. But only if the accused has the wrong politics.

          2. I think this isn’t a criminal trial, and even if it were the victim’s testimony would count as evidence.

            Heritage Foundation sluts aren’t exactly independent thinkers, so why even risk having a lying, drunken rapist on the court? Think of Trump’s reputation!

            1. Spare us the big lie, herr goebbels.

            2. And she would have been adversarially cross examined and made to explain why her story keeps changing and why none of the witnesses she named can corroborate her story (in fact they contradict it). There is no way to draw a conclusion based upon the evidence. But you have convinced yourself, based upon your own bias and nothing else, that he must be guilty. You were announcing his guilt over a week ago, long before the hearing. So stop blowing smoke up your ass you have never tried to look at this without your own political prejudices. You want him to be guilty. And no matter what exculpatory evidence offered you have already deemed him guilty and refuse to hear anything to the contrary.

              1. To be fair, Tony is pretty much on par with any of the Reason writers who have tackled this subject. They agree with him that Ford is credible and Kavanaugh should be denied the confirmation because of it.
                What is odd is how tone deaf they have been in spite of comments on each article loudly condemning their poor leaps to bad conclusions

                1. Maybe they want to remain a libertarian magazine that expresses novel and independent opinions and not one of a million right-wing propaganda outfits. You have your pick, why don’t you go to one of those places? Is it because all the commenters can’t stop talking about how black people remind them of monkeys? That’s why I don’t go to those places.

            3. I think this isn’t a criminal trial, and even if it were the victim’s testimony would count as evidence.

              Again, “it happened sometime and somewhere” isn’t exactly evidence.

      3. I’m not sure.
        I’ll have to consult with Bill Clinton, Al Franken or Keith Ellison.
        I’ll keep you posted.

        1. Impeached and humiliated; forced to resign from the senate; pending.

          Are you acknowledging that Democrats are held accountable for their shenanigans while Republicans put rapists and child molesters in the highest positions of power on a terrifyingly regular basis?

          1. “Impeached and humiliated”

            Lying piece of shit.

          2. And Clinton was so completely backed by your side over a rape allegation that was credible and corroborated that they launched an entire organization with millions of dollars in special interest money to defend him. None of that impeachment stuff came from your side. You fought it every inch. And again Clinton’s accusations were corroborated and they weren’t from a hard core partisan left wing hack professor with an axe to grind and millions waiting for her in Kickstarter money and speaking fees.

            1. So are you condoning Clinton’s behavior or condemning Kavanaugh’s?

              Or are you being just like 80% of the people here and saying It’s OK if You’re a Republican?

              1. No, you’re being a partisan hack. You dismiss actually credible accusations against a Democrat and somehow accept totally uncredible ones against somebody you disagree with.

          3. You voted for the woman who literally protected her rapist husband. Tell me again about your morals.

            1. He has none.

        2. Clinton was humiliated? Really? Didn’t he receive a standing ovation at the Democratic Convention in 2016? How is that humiliated?

          1. Democrats supports rapists.

            They support bill clinton.

            1. And you support Kavanaugh. And probably Roy Moore.

              Do you give even a half a minute of thought to anything you express?

      4. The obvious truth of the testimony was directly related to how closely the witness’s goals align with yours.

  2. Just breaking and huge;

    1. Your link doesn’t work

      1. Go to Margot Clevelands twitter feed:

        1. I don’t really see where that settles much. But maybe I am missing something.

          1. I think it’s gonna be significant.

          2. I don’t think that settles much either.

            What it really points out is that most of what Blasey Ford said was so vague and non-committal as to be largely un-refutable.

            Otherwise know as ‘Reason credibility.’

            1. The date on that paper is kind of significant.

    2. Full link.

      While this is certainly interesting, in the end I don’t think it means much. Because, you know, I like things like evidence and hard facts.

      1. That’s tough to do when Ford keeps changing her account, particulary when she’s in danger of being refuted.

        The therapist’s notes need to be subpoened, if that’s possible.

        1. What else do you think should be subpoenaed?

          1. Feinstein’s email and phone records woild be a start. And that of all the democratic staff and members of the judiciary committee.

            1. I agree as well as the polygraph test results (we don’t know what “story” the test supports she’s being truthful about). The twitter link also links to a WSJ article whereby a retired FBI agent friend of Ford’s is contacting Keiser and suggesting she clarify her sworn statement, and Keiser felt she was being pressured by them. While of course, Ford’s attorneys claim they had nothing to do with it.

              Mitchell’s report points out many of Ford’s inconsistencies, her quite selective memory and other issues that make her story less believable than a he said vs. she said story. All the evidence supports Kavanaugh’s claim of innocence, except of course Ford’s allegation. But consider, it’s easy to make up a plausible story that can’t be proven or disproven, and for that reason alone IMHO, it should be ignored. We’re teaching people to engage in the sin of bearing false witness, because there’s no adverse consequence for it, and often positive consequences for the accuser.

        2. But this has to be finished forever by Friday!!!!!!!

          1. If Blasey Ford is actually interested in resolving this then she shouldn’t hesitate to provide any information.

            She waited while the Democrats just sat on it, that should tell her something. So why wait when the Republicans have placed a deadline?

  3. I prefer the system we have now, where one sitting judge has so much power that he can negatively affect the lives of 330,000,000 based on one off-hand decision.

    1. Silly, the opinions are written by clerks.

      1. Exactly, the clerks should be term-limited too.

        1. The clerks need to be investigated by the FBI. And, it needs to be done by Friday so we can hurry up and find them guilty.

      2. I would very much support getting rid of all clerks at the Supreme Court level. The Court only takes the cases it chooses to take. Its work load is comparitively light. There is no reason for them to have clerks. Maybe you have a pool of attornies similar to the Congressional Reserch Service that assembles white papers examining the two sides to a particular case. But I would get rid of clerks. It allows justices to stay on the court well past the point that they are no longer able to meet the workload. And it creates this caste of young laywers that has all of this influence on the law without any transparancy or accountability.

        1. Or life experience. Or literary style.

  4. slow burn headline best thing i’ve read here in awhile.

    1. So thos means Kagan is out of the job for refusing to recuse herself? Oh, wait…

    2. Yes, let’s support getting rid of any SCOTUS judges we don’t like, so we can enforce our ideology without dissent. That will surely reign in the power of SCOTUS and bring about the Libertarian moment.

  5. So, according to Robby, “the libertarian vision for society is one in which politics plays a much smaller role.”

    Does his conception of “the libertarian vision for society” include de facto and / or de jure respect for fourth wave feminist agitprop?

    1. Reason is all about the court playing a smaller role except when it gives them something they want.

      1. Reason isn’t about the court playing a smaller role at all. It’s about getting the policies they want through any means. If that means is smaller government, they support it, but they aren’t bothered by supporting centralized power if it results in their desired outcomes.

    2. “libertarian vision for society” seems authoritarian for everyone not using my eyeballs.

    3. Note Robby does not state that it is his vision for society, just that it is the libertarian one.

  6. It’s time for Libertarians and Republicans to wake up to the game the left has been playing for decades. They will do anything to anyone for power. If they can ruin Kav’s life over a vague unsubstantiated accusation, they can do it to you.

    1. Yes but they’re doing it because they’ve sanctioned an all-powerful vision of the state.

    2. Kavanaugh chose his strategy. There were many ways he could have both denied the accusations (true or not) – and expressed anger/emotion at this downhill shit show continuing. eg – he could have spoken as a father with daughters – or as a judge who might be called to adjudicate a case like this. Instead he alternated between an Otter defending the Animal House charter – or a narcissistic baboon who learned from Roy Cohn that everything is a reason to attack.

      But it is just as ludicrous to argue that Ford’s accusation (and maybe Ramirez) are just some political game. Swetnick is different (and IMO complete and politically motivated BS). And I don’t believe that Ford was really remembering what actually happened but was remembering what she has turned it into over time. She went through extensive study of clinical psychology – and not once did she learn those various techniques of trauma therapy (like journaling, etc) by applying it to her own trauma?? Her post-trauma education is not at all like any other woman who may have gone through that then – and that changes everything. But she was clearly not making something up entirely just to be on stage now.

      1. “But she was clearly not making something up entirely just to be on stage now.”

        No, she clearly is making this up to be on stage now.

        1. Sure. Because sending in something anonymously – begging to keep her story anonymous – and then only coming forward when journalists tell her it won’t remain anonymous is EXACTLY the strategy of someone who wants to get on center stage.

          Everything that the Reps are accusing the Dems of doing in bad faith – of manipulating Ford – is EXACTLY what clears Ford of doing that herself.

          1. When I want my name kept out of the papers the first place I go is… the papers.

            The logical is inescapable.

          2. Because sending in something anonymously

            35 years after the fact. For what reason, again?

  7. If Government Almighty got significantly smaller, then WHO would keep us safe from cheap plastic flutes!?!? WHO, I ask you, WHO?!?!?

    “The Flute Police”, sung to the tune of “Dream Police”, by Cheap Trick

    The flute police
    They live inside of my head
    The flute police
    They come to me in my bed
    The flute police
    They’re coming to arrest me
    Oh no
    You know that talk is cheap
    And rumors ain’t nice
    With my cheap plastic flute
    I don’t think I’ll survive
    The night the night
    ‘Cause they’re waiting for me
    Looking for me
    Every single night
    (They’re) driving me insane
    Those men inside my brain
    The flute police
    They live inside of my head
    The flute police
    They come to me in my bed
    The flute police
    They’re coming to arrest me
    Oh no
    Well I can’t tell lies
    ‘Cause they’re listening to me
    And when I fall asleep
    Bet they’re spying on me tonight,

    1. ‘Cause they’re waiting for me
      Looking for me
      Every single night
      (They’re) driving me insane
      Those men inside my brain
      I try to sleep
      They’re wide awake
      They won’t let me alone
      They don’t get paid to take vacations
      Or let me alone
      They spy on me
      I try to hide
      They won’t let me alone
      They persecute me
      They’re the judge and jury all in one
      ‘Cause they’re waiting for me
      Looking for me
      Every single night
      (They’re) driving me insane
      Those men inside my brain
      The flute police
      They live inside of my head
      The flute police they come
      To me in my bed
      The flute police
      They’re coming to arrest me
      The flute police (police, police)
      The flute police (police, police)

      (To find precise details on what NOT to do, to avoid the flute police, please see )? This has been a pubic service, courtesy of the Church of SQRLS!

      1. Good afternoon, Most Righteous Feelz.

        Did you know those lyrics from memory?

        If not, that’s okay as long as you did not use Google.

        1. I like to go to the duck-duck-go, which does not spy on me!

          (They SAY that The Google knows EVERYTHING, but somehow it always wants to know MORE!!!)

          1. Bravo.

            I have been using the duck as well.

            1. Still rewards google. Unfortunately mojeek turned out to be only slightly better than alta vista.

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