Sunday, September 30, 2018

Brett Kavanaugh is a liar!

Dear Friends,

It has been a long time since I last posted, and I was not sure if I would post again.  The recent events surrounding the nomination of and confirmation hearings for Kavanaugh to become the next Associate Justice of the Supreme Court have caused me to write.  Before I start, I want to make a couple of preliminary points.

First the definition of lie - Mirriam-Webster online dictionary defines the verb "lie" (here)
1.  To make an untrue statement with intent to deceive
2.  To create a false or misleading impression

Second a disclaimer - While I believe Dr. Ford when she claims that Kavanaugh assaulted her and therefore believe that Kavanaugh is lying when he denies her account of what happened, I am not going to use that example as one of the reasons why it is clear that Kavanaugh is a liar.  There are plenty of other examples to rely on.

There are many reasons why I do not think that Kavanaugh should be on the Supreme Court or any court for that matter.  First, I disagree with his judicial philosophy and many of the opinions that he has written.  With respect to this objection, people can differ.

Second, Kavanaugh lacks the appropriate judicial temperament as demonstrated by his self-righteous rant that was his opening statement at the hearing of the Senate Judiciary Committee on September 27.  In his statement he alleged a vast left wing conspiracy fueled in part by Trump's 2016 election victory and by a desire to get revenge for the Clintons.  There is, of course, no evidence to support his claim.  In fact his claim is easily refuted by the timing of Dr. Ford's disclosure of her claim to her therapists, husband, friends and ultimately to The Washington Post.  You can watch it here.  I do not think that any reasonable person can say that Kavanaugh has the temperament necessary to be an impartial federal judge much less a Supreme Court Justice.

Third and the reason for this post is that Kavanaugh is a liar on things both big and little.  Certainly a serial, unrepentant liar should not be on the Supreme Court and should be removed from the DC Circuit Court of Appeals.  Much of the information and citations for this post are from an editorial in The Boston Globe, entitled "The lies that Senators must tell themselves to support Brett Kavanaugh" (here).

As enumerated in The Boston Globe editorial, in Kavanaugh's confirmation hearings, he has consistently lied under oath about his involvement in certain controversial judicial nominations, specifically those of William Pryor, Charles Pickering and William Haynes.  While only a fraction of the documents related to Kavanaugh's time in the George W. Bush White House have been released, some of those that have been released include emails that demonstrate that Kavanaugh lied under oath to the Senate Judiciary Committee about his involvement in these nominations.  Also as pointed out in The Boston Globe editorial, Kavanaugh lied under oath to the Senate Judiciary Committee about his knowledge of the memos and other materials stolen from the Democratic staff of the Senate concerning its approach to various judicial nominations.  

These lies are big deals both because they involve significant issues and because they were made to enable Kavanaugh to become a judge on the DC Circuit Court.  A person who lies to ascend to the federal bench should not be allowed to ascend to the Supreme Court or to stay on any court.

Kavanaugh also lied multiple times during the Senate Judiciary hearing on September 27 both in his opening statement referred to above and in his answers (or often non-answers) to questions.  A number of these lies are set forth in The Boston Globe editorial.  In addition there is a very lengthy discussion of them in Current Affairs by Nathan Robinson entitled "How We Know Brett Kavanaugh is Lying" (here).  There are also many shorter summaries like one at by William Saletan entitled "Kavanaugh Lied to the Judiciary Committee - Repeatedly" (here).  The following is a list of some of the ones that are particularly obvious lies.

Kavanaugh said that any gathering like that described by Dr. Ford must have been on a weekend because he did not go to parties and drink during the week because they all had jobs and football practice, etc.  In fact his calendars show that he did drink on weekdays as well as on weekends.  Especially telling is a gathering on July 1, a Thursday, where he went to a gathering to drink beer with the some of the same boys that Dr. Ford claims where at the gathering at which she was assaulted.

Kavanaugh tired to mislead by saying that it was legal for seniors to drink beer.  Unfortunately it was not legal for seniors to drink at that time nor was Kavanaugh a senior.

Kavanaugh on multiple occasion claimed that all of the people who were specifically named by Dr. Ford as being present at the gathering where she was assaulted have said that they were not there and that no such gathering took place.  In fact, Kavanaugh is the only person to make that claim.  The others have all said variations of "I do not recall".  Certainly a Yale Law School graduate who is as smart as Kavanaugh claims to be knows that there is a significant difference between not recalling and affirmatively denying.

Kavanaugh claims that the 13 references in his yearbook about "Renate" were an affectionate reference that she was one of the boys.  The various boys claiming they were "Renate Alumnius" clearly did not intended that as an affectionate reference.  It is clearly a sexual conquest boast (most assuredly untrue).  This explanation is bolstered by a little ditty about her in the yearbook implying that if you needed a date just call Renate.  His stated position is not the least bit credible and is refuted by a classmate.

In response to questions, Kavanaugh made up definitions for two phrases that were used in his yearbook.  He claimed that boofing is farting.  Boofing has never been farting.  It is in fact a reference to some combination of anal sex and absorbing drugs or alcohol through the anus.  The same is true when he claimed that devil's triangle was a drinking game when it really refers to sex with two men and a woman.  These were bold faced lies.

Kavanaugh's explanations about his drinking were both evasive and completely untrue.  They have been refuted both by classmates, his own words in his yearbook, a taped speech and common sense.  

I could go on and on but if you need more proof, read the articles I have cited and/or google something like "lies of brett kavanaugh".  

There is a common thread running through most all of Kavanaugh's lies.  They are intended to cover up any evidence that he is not and has not been the "choir boy" he claims to be.  The reality is that he is a classic example of a man raised in a world of white male privilege who believes that he is entitled to anything that he wants, even a seat on the Supreme Court.  His testimony, his lies and his demeanor all reek of privilege and self-righteous anger that somebody might keep him from that to which he believes he is entitled.

No person who cares about justice, the credibility of the federal judiciary (particularly the Supreme Court), the credibility of the Senate, or our country could possibly vote to put a serial and unrepentant liar on the Supreme Court.

Thanks for reading and please comment,
The Unabashed Liberal

Thursday, March 1, 2018

Villefranche-sur-mer Winter 2018 - 11

Dear Friends,

The last week has been unusual here in Villefranche.  Each year we try to have a couple of really nice dinners while we are here.  We missed a great dinner on New Year's Eve because Jane was sick.  Then for some reason we spent the next two months here without going out for our fancy dinners.  Well we have now made for that error.

The first thing we did was to walk to Beaulieu for lunch at the African Queen, one of the fanciest and most expensive restaurants in Beaulieu which is saying something.  We figured it would be less expensive at lunch time which was true, but we were still blown away by the expense.  The restaurant is very pleasant, the staff welcoming and professional and the food very good.  Nevertheless, the cost was far more than the experience warranted.  You can read my review on Trip Advisor here.

We do have a rule that once we are somewhere we do our best to enjoy it and forget about the terrible consequences, like paying the bill and increased waist lines.  We started by sharing an arugula salad with wonderful parmesan cheese.  What you see in the picture is my half.  The original presentation was much nicer than what I did when splitting it.

We followed that with sole.  Sole is a kind of flounder, and the sole here is not the same as Dover sole.  It has more texture and flavor.  You buy the whole fish paying by the gram.  This one is ours and it weighs (according to the restaurant 1 kilogram).  

The fish is cooked whole.  In our case just grilled with butter and some seasoning.  Then with some magic work by the waiter the bones are taken out.

We then each received a plate with two filets.

It was delicious, although as you can see it had a little too much butter.  It was served with some vegetables and potatoes, which were fresh and delicious.

We then went on to dessert.  The waiter showed us a huge tray full of pastries and other delicacies.  We decided to split a puff pastry with a cream filling and beautiful looking fresh raspberries.  Unfortunately, we cut it in half before remembering to take a photo.

The cream filling and the raspberries were just as wonderful as we had hoped they would be.  Unfortunately, the puff pastry was heavy and tough.  We ate it all anyway.  We ended with Jane having a coffee, and I tried the chocolat chaud.  As a reader of this blog, you know that I have been searching for the perfect chocolat chaud for several years.  It is a tough job, but somebody has to do it.  Well, the new winner is the African Queen restaurant.  It comes with the hot semi-frothed milk in one container, the melted chocolate in another and the whipped cream in another. You mix it yourself.  The chocolate was perfect in both taste and consistency and when I did the perfect mixing, voilà the winner.

All was well with the world as we ended the meal.

Then, of course, the bill came, and we were forced to return to reality such as it is on the Côte d'Azur.

We also had a very nice dinner at a different restaurant in Beaulieu, L'escentiel.  It is a small, family run restaurant that is warm and inviting.  The server, probably the wife, is friendly, knowledgeable and professional.  The chef who often appeared with the dishes he had prepared was the same.  You can read my full review on Trip Advisor here.  Unfortunately, we did not take any photos of the meal.  We did get a photo of the menu which is all on three blackboards one for starters, one for main courses and one for desserts.  It is a limited menu, but that makes it possible to make everything on the premises (note the sign above the blackboards which tells you that).

The food, service and ambience at L'escentiel were all fantastic and better than the African Queen for less than half the price.  If you are ever in or near Beaulieu, you should go to this restaurant for either lunch or dinner.

Last night we went to the fancy restaurant that we go to almost every time we are in Villefranche, L'Oursin Bleu (translated:  The Blue Sea Urchin).  It is one of the nice restaurants right on the water.  I did not write a review this time, but you can see two prior reviews on Trip Advisor here and here. Knowing what would be coming later, we skipped a starter.  They give you little treats when you arrive and also an amuse bouche.  The amuse bouche was a small portion of a wonderful butternut cream soup.  For the main course, we both had filet de bœuf Limousine (beef from the Limousine region of France) which was fantastic with a little mushroom sauce.  There are no vegetables on the menu at all and the beef usually comes with mashed potatoes.  We asked our waiter if we could have vegetables with the meat.  He said, of course.  You can see what we got.

What a delicious main course it was.  L'Oursin Bleu is a traditional French restaurant, and as such it offers Crêpes Suzettes flambées.  Here you can see the waiter at work and then the wonderful results of his efforts.

So we had another fantastic meal and experience at L'Oursin Bleu.  It is not inexpensive, but it is a good price to quality ratio.

This last week has not been unusual just because of the eating we have been doing.  The weather has been very bad and very unusual.  Here is a picture the waiter took of us last night as we were leaving L'Oursin Bleu.

It may not show up very well in this photo, but that is snow in the background.  We have had snow several days.  Here is a view from our balcony.  You should be happy you were not living on the sailboat.

Our French teacher had to go to Eze which is high above Villefranche to pick up her son one day after our lesson.  She sent us this picture.  It is not often you see snow on top of a palm tree.

Today when we stopped in at our favorite bakery to get bread for lunch, we asked Marie Claire, the owner, when was the last time it had snowed.  She said eight years ago and then just one day.  By the way if you are ever in Villefranche on a day other than Tuesday or Wednesday and need some bread, go to Chez Marie Claire.  She has the best bread.  It is one of the things that I will miss the most when we leave.  Anyway, there is no more snow in the forecast, just rain for the next week or two.  

We leave on a 6:30 am flight on Saturday.  We have had a great time and are looking forward to our return in the fall.

Thanks for reading and please comment,
The Unabashed Liberal

Wednesday, February 21, 2018

Villefranche-sur-mer Winter 2018 - 10 Combat Naval Fleuri

Dear Friends,

The annual "Naval Combat Fleuri" was held in Villefranche last Monday.  The first event of the day was the arrival of a couple of marching bands at l'Octroi (the main drag and plaza).  There were a couple of neat floral arrangements.  Here is Jane with one of them.

The first marching band was from Italy and also from another era.

But they were very good at throwing their flags in the air and catching them without hitting any spectators.

After watching this group for awhile, we had to do some shopping so we could have lunch before the actual boat parade.  From our apartment we watched the people coming from the train station through security to get to the waterfront from which they could watch the parade.  We were invited to view the parade from the apartment of some friends who were just above the waterfront at the center of the activity.  As with all events in France now where there are lots of people, there was lots of security.

These officers were checking people entering the waterfront from the street directly below the apartment from which we were watching.  They were amazingly disciplined.  At all times at least one of them was looking away from the parade at the buildings overlooking the route.  The boats got ready in a small marina area used primarily by the boats from the cruise ships in season.

It is hard to tell from my pictures how many people there were.  It was a lot.  Right on the water, they were five or six deep along the about 5 blocks of the route.  In addition there were people wandering on the street.  While waiting for the boat parade to start the crowed was entertained by several marching bands, including the one we had seen earlier.  One of the bands, consisting of teenage girls from Eastern Europe, stole the show with their fantastic drumming and dancing.

At the start of the parade, the boats make a pass in single file along the waterfront to the cheers from the crowds.

After a boat has made its initial run past the crowd, it joins the others milling around waiting for the rest to finish.  

Once all are done, the "battle" begins as the beautiful floral masterpieces are torn apart and thrown into the crowd.  This maneuver requires the boats to go right next to the shore which has a deep drop off but consists of huge boulders.  If you look closely, you can see the man in the bow has just thrown a large bunch of mimosa (a beautiful yellow flower that is in full bloom around here now).

This continues for a long time until most of the flowers on the boats have been thrown.  Many of them do not make the shore and end up in the water.

At the end of the day everybody is happy and most of the crowd goes home with beautiful bouquets.

Great fun was had by all!!!

Thanks for reading and please comment,
The Unabashed Liberal