Jeff Bezos stands his ground

Much remains mysterious about the Enquirer’s actions, and in particular its connections, if any, with President Trump and the government of Saudi Arabia — a possibility that Bezos alluded to in his blog post. Both the Saudis and Trump are aggrieved at The Post, and Trump wrongly blames Bezos for the newspaper’s accurate but unflattering coverage of him. When the Enquirer’s initial article about Bezos’s extramarital relationship was published, the president gloated in a tweet: “So sorry to hear the news about Jeff Bozo being taken down by a competitor whose reporting, I understand, is far more accurate than the reporting in his lobbyist newspaper, the Amazon Washington Post. Hopefully the paper will soon be placed in better & more responsible hands!”

The president would obviously love to see a sale of The Post to a friendlier owner — perhaps Trump pal David Pecker, the chairman and chief executive of AMI. (One is reminded of autocrats such as Hungary’s Viktor Orban, Russia’s Vladimir Putin, and Turkey’s Recep Tayyip Erdogan, who have benefited from bullying media organizations into submission in their own countries.) The Enquirer was threatening Bezos in order to get him to affirm that its coverage was not “politically motivated or influenced by political forces.” Might the Enquirer have, at a minimum, pursued the story to curry favor with Trump?

.. This is apparently not the first time the publication has been accused of extortionate demands. Other journalists, including Ronan Farrow of the New Yorker, have said they were threatened by the Enquirer’s lawyers while investigating the tabloid’s relationship with Trump. And Bezos wrote that “numerous people have contacted our investigation team about their similar experiences with AMI.” These machinations are now being exposed because of Bezos’s smart and courageous decision to confront the Enquirer rather than give in. “I prefer to stand up, roll this log over, and see what crawls out,

.. I suspect David Pecker will rue the day that his friend Donald Trump became president — if he does not already. And he is not alone.

  • Paul Manafort had a flourishing business as an international influence-peddler before he became Trump’s campaign chairman. He now faces a long stretch in prison after having been convicted of felony financial charges. Trump’s friend
  • Roger Stone has now been indicted for the first time after a long career as a political dirty trickster.
  • Michael Flynn, Trump’s first national security adviser, has gone from well-respected general to felon.
  • Michael Cohen had a cushy career as Trump’s personal lawyer before his client became president. Now Cohen, too, is a felon. Numerous other Trump associates and family members are facing, at a minimum, hefty legal bills and, at worst, serious legal exposure.

Every organization Trump has been associated with — the Trump Organization, the Trump Foundation, the Trump campaign, the Trump administration — is being investigated by prosecutors and lawmakers. His name, long his biggest asset, has become so toxic that bookings are down at his hotels. And Trump, a.k.a. Individual 1, faces a serious threat of prosecution once he leaves office. Before it is all over, Trump himself may regret the day he became president. His unexpected and undeserved ascent is delivering long overdue accountability for him and his sleazy associates. We have gone from logrolling to having logs rolled over — and it’s about time.

Brett Kavanaugh’s History-Changing Speech

If what Kavanaugh had to say sealed his confirmation (and I think it did), and if Kavanaugh serves as a resolute constitutionalist on the Supreme Court (and I think he will), his speech did what so many political speeches try to do but don’t come close to accomplishing: It changed the course of American history. By 3:20 it was apparent that he was on his way to pulling off the political equivalent of what the New England Patriots did to the Atlanta Falcons in Super Bowl LI.

.. Kavanaugh pounded the Senate process: “You have replaced ‘advice and consent’ with ‘search and destroy.’” He called out the gratuitousness of Democratic rhetoric: “A Democratic senator on this committee publicly referred to me as evil. Another Democratic senator on this committee said, ‘Judge Kavanaugh is your worst nightmare.’”

.. He lambasted the “calculated and orchestrated political hit, fueled with apparent pent-up anger about President Trump

.. revenge on behalf of the Clintons and millions of dollars in money from outside left-wing opposition groups.” When he presented his defiance it sounded like Margaret Thatcher telling us “the lady’s not for turning”:

I will not be intimidated into withdrawing from this process. You have tried hard. You’ve given it your all. No one can question your efforts. Your coordinated and well-funded efforts to destroy my good name and destroy my family will not drag me out. The vile threats of violence against my family will not drive me out. You may defeat me in the final vote, but you’ll never get me to quit. Never.

Never mind Thatcher, this was Churchillian stuff. And there were even more affecting moments to come: a moving description of how Kavanaugh’s ten-year-old daughter suggested to her sister that both should pray for their father’s accuser, how he bonded with his father by adopting the old man’s habit of keeping detailed calendar-diaries and retaining them forever: “Christmastime, we sat around and he would tell old stories. Old milestones, old weddings, old events from his calendars.”

.. he tapped into the anger that was simmering just beneath the surface among tens of millions of American men and women. He channeled both the widespread fear that the Me Too movement was becoming so careless that it could take down innocent men and the well-justified loathing of the shameless collusion in the elected Democrat-activist-media triangle.

.. even the legendarily fastidious New Yorker — had abandoned all normal journalistic practice to run highly suspect stories

..  Patently scurrilous accusations were diluting the power of Christine Blasey Ford’s story. To the average American, it might well have started to seem that every accusation against Kavanaugh was being dredged up from the same big pot of bogus stew.

.. Ford’s story was more credible than the Deborah Ramirez New Yorker story, and Ramirez’s story was more credible than the Michael Avenatti–promoted Julie Swetnick gang-rape story, and even Swetnick’s bizarre and completely unsubstantiated claim was more credible than the anonymous accusation sent to Gardner and the already-recanted story about the yacht.

.. But it turned out that two sides could play the guilt-by-association game. If Kavanaugh was to be considered under a cloud of suspicion for being part of the fratty, preppy culture of privileged party boys who make dumb jokes in yearbooks, then Ford could equally be tarnished by association with left-wing activist lawyers, their eager and hysteria-promoting allies in the media

.. With her girlish voice and her slightly unkempt hair, she seemed like the opposite of a hardened, professional political operative or even a dour, pedantic academic.

.. And of course all four people she had placed at the party, including a lifelong friend of hers, said they didn’t remember it. The friend said she had never been present at any party with Kavanaugh.

.. With an account that, however gripping, was nevertheless completely uncorroborated, indeed denied by all known witnesses. That, Kavanaugh made ringingly clear in his opening statement, would not be enough to achieve the goal of annihilating him. That speech was momentous. It was magnificent.

TED Talk: On Being Wrong

Most of us will do anything to avoid being wrong. But what if we’re wrong about that? “Wrongologist” Kathryn Schulz makes a compelling case for not just admitting but embracing our fallibility.

.. 04:50