Who Will Pay for the Mess of the Kavanaugh Confirmation? All the Women.

The lawmaker who is likely to lose the most in this mess is Senator Heidi Heitkamp of North Dakota, a red-state Democrat in a tough re-election race against Representative Kevin Cramer, who suggested that he’d vote for Justice Kavanaugh even if he had sexually assaulted Dr. Blasey.

.. Amy Chua, a professor at Yale Law School, became a target of social media scorn when The Guardian reported she told students that it was “not an accident” that Kavanaugh’s clerks “looked like models.” But that didn’t really spur a close look at Justice Kavanaugh’s hiring practices. Instead, Ms. Chua bore the brunt of the firestorm.

.. Ms. Chua and Lisa Blatt, a feminist attorney, have faced enormous pressure to denounce him, with reputational consequences that their male counterparts are unlikely to face.

.. A bigger man than Justice Kavanaugh would have apologized to Renate Schroeder Dolphin for turning her into a high school joke.

A more responsible Senate Judiciary Committee would have taken their claims seriously and demanded a thorough, fair investigation.

And all of us could direct the same energy and opprobrium that we level at moderate women at the men who prejudged the outcome of this process and proceeded accordingly.

How the Government Could Fix Facebook

After years of allowing the world’s largest social network to police itself, Congress and federal regulators are discussing some promising reforms.

Typically, the FTC can only impose penalties if a company has violated a previous agreement with the agency.

That means Facebook may well face a fine for the Cambridge Analytica breach, assuming the FTC can show that the social network violated the 2011 settlement. In that settlement, the FTC charged Facebook with eight counts of unfair and deceptive behavior, including allowing outside apps to access data that they didn’t need—which is what Cambridge Analytica reportedly did years later. The settlement carried no financial penalties but included a clause stating that Facebook could face fines of $16,000 per violation per day.

..  “I predict that if the FTC concludes that Facebook violated the consent decree, there will be a heavy civil penalty that could well be in the amount of $1 billion or more,” he said.

.. “Facebook rejects any suggestion that it violated the consent decree,”

..  Daniel J. Weitzner, who served in the White House as the deputy chief technology officer at the time of the Facebook settlement, says that technology should be policed by something similar to the Department of Justice’s environmental-crimes unit. The unit has levied hundreds of millions of dollars in fines. Under previous administrations, it filed felony charges against people for such crimes as dumping raw sewage or killing a bald eagle. Some ended up sentenced to prison.

.. “We know how to do serious law enforcement when we think there’s a real priority, and we haven’t gotten there yet when it comes to privacy,” Weitzner said.

.. Facebook has said it will introduce a new regime of advertising transparency later this year, which will require political advertisers to submit a government-issued ID and to have an authentic mailing address. It said that political advertisers will also have to disclose which candidate or organization they represent and that all election ads will be displayed in a public archive.

.. While she was at the commission, she urged it to consider what it could do to make internet advertising contain as much disclosure as broadcast and print ads. “Do we want Vladimir Putin or drug cartels to be influencing American elections?” she presciently asked at a 2015 commission meeting.

..  Even if it does pass such a rule, the commission’s definition of election advertising is so narrow that many of the ads placed by the Russians may not have qualified for scrutiny. It’s limited to ads that mention a federal candidate and appear within 60 days prior to a general election or 30 days prior to a primary.

.. Last year, ProPublica found that Facebook was allowing advertisers to buy discriminatory ads, including ads targeting people who identified themselves as “Jew haters,” and ads for housing and employment that excluded audiences based on raceage, and other protected characteristics under civil-rights laws.

.. Facebook has claimed that it has immunity against liability for such discrimination under section 230 of the 1996 federal Communications Decency Act, which protects online publishers from liability for third-party content.

.. But sentiment is growing in Washington to interpret the law more narrowly.

.. Jonathan Zittrain, wrote an article rethinking his previous support for the law and declared it has become, in effect, “a subsidy” for the tech giants, who don’t bear the costs of ensuring the content they publish is accurate and fair.

.. “Any honest account must acknowledge the collateral damage it has permitted to be visited upon real people whose reputations, privacy, and dignity have been hurt in ways that defy redress,” Zittrain wrote.

Finding Relief on the Streets and at the Office

Terrorists are much weaker than we feared in 2001. And sexual harassers are suddenly more vulnerable.

Mr. Wood wrote of the suspect, Sayfullo Saipov. “I harp on Saipov’s apparent stupidity for one reason: As long as Islamic State’s attackers are idiots like Saipov, our societies can probably handle them. . . . The Idiots’ Crusade is a manageable problem. Much less tolerable would be a campaign of competent terror—the kind of mayhem enabled by training, like the 2015 Bataclan killers in Paris had, or by patient planning, as Stephen Paddock in Las Vegas did.”

.. it must be noted that what has happened the past month regarding sexual harassment in the workplace is epochal, a true watershed and long overdue.

.. The revelations will have a huge impact, not because men now understand that sexual abuse and bullying are wrong—they always knew, and for many the wrongness would have been part of the enjoyment—but because they now know, really for the first time, that they will pay a terrible price if their misbehavior is revealed. And from here on in, there’s a greater chance it will be revealed, and believed.

.. Celebrity abusers understand the first paragraph of their obit will now include something like, “. . . but fell from his position of power in the sexual-abuse scandals of the 2010s.”

.. In July 2015 New York magazine put 35 women on the cover who alleged that Bill Cosby had sexually violated them. Until then it had been a cloudy, amorphous story. Suddenly it was no longer he-said/she-said: You saw the faces, read the testimony, and knew what Mr. Cosby really was. A year later Gretchen Carlson, and later others, went up against Fox News’s Roger Ailes ; her lawsuit was settled for $20 million. Then came the revelation of the Bill O’Reilly settlements.

.. But Black October for sexual harassers began with the New York Times stories by Jodi Kantor and Megan Twohey on Harvey Weinstein’s history of abuses and payoffs, followed by Ronan Farrow’s lengthy investigation in the New Yorker, and then on to other men in show business and the news media.

.. And one of the things that fell is the phrase “everybody knew.” That is now a self-indicting phrase.

.. Human-resources departments terrified of costly lawsuits will impose more and stranger rules that won’t necessarily thwart bad guys but will harass good men.

.. It included: don’t stray onto the curb, stay on the sidewalk, keep back from careening trucks that take a corner too tight and knock people down. I got it, I said—I take the arms of cellphone zombies and guide them a step back to keep them safe. I’d done it recently with a young woman. He got a poignant look. “I can’t do that now,” he said. If he put his hand on a strange woman’s arm, it might be misunderstood.

The Daily 202: Trump White House might learn more from studying Whitewater than Watergate as Comey testifies

Changing your story, even slightly, looks like a cover up.

“Put a process in place to ensure consistent and accurate communication about the facts. It should be the job of the special counsel to gather the facts and equip the president and White House staff to speak with authority … Anyone talking to the press or interacting with Congress should be armed with enough information to respond with consistent message points. …

.. Bad things happen when key players stray from the message 

.. or have their own communications with the press or Congress that haven’t been coordinated with the special counsel.

.. Giving an unequivocal answer (e.g., ‘No. No. Next question.’) before all the facts are known or fully understood can be disastrous. … Loss of discipline deepens the crisis.”

.. Take the initiative to disclose bad facts, Jane concludes: “Being tempted to evade the truth, or to shade it, will only end up creating more of a mess for a White House already in trouble.”

.. the special prosecutor couldn’t take down Clinton, but he did ruin Jim Guy Tucker’s life. Clinton’s successor as governor of Arkansas was convicted on charges that he’d lied on his application for a loan a decade earlier when he was in the television business. “Trump’s aides would be well-served by googling him — and Webb Hubbell, and Susan and Jim McDougal, and William J. Marks Sr. — about the brutal collateral damage of Starr’s investigation,”

.. Mueller may well prosecute offenses that appear tangential to the Russia case in order to turn targets into witnesses .. Seeking witnesses who would testify against Bill and Hillary Clinton, the Office of Independent Counsel … indicted well over a dozen of their friends and acquaintances, most of whom had nothing to do with Whitewater at all.”

.. Mueller’s reported decision to take over the Virginia grand jury probing former national security adviser Michael Flynn’s lobbying for Turkish interests might be an early window into how he’ll operate. 

.. “Flynn’s legal jeopardy in the Turkish matter will provide heavy leverage over the retired general to testify about Trump,” Joe explains. “And Trump’s fractious and tarnished aides are a prosecutor’s dream.

.. It isn’t so far-fetched to imagine how Mueller might uncover new information about … Chris Christie, who barely escaped prosecution in the ‘Bridgegate’ scandal that sent three of his aides to prison. And then what would Christie say about Trump?”

.. The investigations will likely drag on beyond the end of Trump’s presidency.

.. Clinton staffers quickly had to learn that there were certain things they dare not discuss, and that some meetings were better not attended.”

.. Trump almost certainly does not benefit as much from executive privilege and attorney-client privilege as he thinks.

.. “A pair of legal showdowns between Ken Starr’s office and the Clinton White House two decades ago erased the idea that presidents and their aides are protected by attorney-client privilege when talking with government lawyers,”

.. However, communications directly with Marc Kasowitz, Trump’s personal attorney who’s been tapped to lead the group of lawyers representing the administration in the Mueller probe and related congressional investigations, would be easier to shield.”

.. But legal experts say there are limits and hazards to pushing scandal-related matters to outside lawyers

.. “Some lawyers said it is even possible Kasowitz could be deemed a White House staffer if he takes on too large a role. …

.. the government-paid team is often more responsive to political concerns while the outside lawyers tend to be focused more on avoiding criminal liability.”

.. If you’re sitting in the Oval Office with Kasowitz and he’s talking to Donald Trump and [Sean] Spicer walks into the room … that discussion could be subject to compelled testimony,”