Monday Reads: #MeToo v Brett Kavanaugh #Be Silent No More!Posted: September 17, 2018 | |
Good Morning Sky Dancers!
When preppy smug Brett Kavanaugh’s accuser unmasked herself in WAPO yesterday I knew exactly what this Monday Post would explore. There were inklings of all kinds of moral lapses and weirdness in Kavanaugh’s binders full of boys will be boys.
He had a lascivious obsession with the details of the Lewinsky/Clinton affair. He worked for predator Judge Alexis Kozinski but managed to see or hear nothing. He belonged to an all boy social club known informally as “Tit and Clit” because that was evidently all it was about. He was an infamous heavy drinker and rumors swirled about possible gambling addictions and odd debt and financial transactions. Additionally, it’s pretty clear he’s lied before several senate committees under oath.
We were supposed to be distracted by the cute kids he coaches and his indefatigable list of 65 high school women that magically appeared to vouch for his activities. But, women every where are beginning to learn the Truth will set you Free. Listen, I knew the Jesuit prep school culture in Omaha during my high school years. Those guys had some of the girls schools labelled the source of Madonnas and potential wives and other ones the girls were whores and prey. I was repeatedly warned by Catholic school girl friends to make sure you were never alone with a group of them. I can’t imagine it was anything but the same situation on steroids in those exclusive DC suburbs. This could be stuff I witnessed ten years earlier. I’m tempted to ask my daughters if those same prep schoolers still behave like this. I have a feeling they do.
Judge, a classmate of Kavanaugh’s at the all-male Georgetown Prep the time of the alleged assault, tells stories in his 1997 memoir, Wasted: Tales of a GenX Drunk, of binge drinking at teen parties and trying to “hook up” with girls.
It was at one such gathering, Ford told the Post, that Kavanaugh and Judge, both drunk, shoved her into a bedroom. She said that Kavanaugh locked the door, pushed her onto a bed, fumbled with her clothing, held her down and attempted to force himself on her. Ford said she managed to escape when Judge jumped on top of both of them. Kavanaugh has “categorically” denied the accusations.
Judge recalls in his book how his life changed when he first got drunk at the age of 14 and later battled alcoholism.
His “immersion” into alcohol began the end of his sophomore year during a typical annual “beach week,” when Catholic high school students headed to the shore after school was out. “Now I had an opportunity to make some headway [with girls]. Most of the time everyone, including the girls, was drunk. If you could breathe and walk at the same time, you could hook up,” he wrote.
His drinking became so extreme that he had blackout episodes, and woke up on the floor of a restaurant bathroom with no memory of how he got there. Once “I had the first beer, I found it impossible to stop until I was completely annihilated,” he wrote.
And that’st the deal, I wonder if we can ever get rid of this culture of raising young men to be predators. But back to the cad at hand. I put this up on the thread yesterday but I’m giving it my full attention now because, well, THIS!!! Garrett Epps,Professor of constitutional law at the University of Baltimore and writer for the Atlantic wrote this yesterday: “The Subtext of Kavanaugh’s Nomination Bursts Into the Open. A sexual-assault allegation against President Trump’s Supreme Court nominee brings the fight over gender and power to the fore.”
The gendered subtext of this moment is, not to put too fine a point on it, war—war to the knife—over the future of women’s autonomy in American society. Shall women control their own reproduction, their health care, their contraception, their legal protection at work against discrimination and harassment, or shall we move backward to the chimera of past American greatness, when the role of women was—supposedly for biological reasons—subordinate to that of men?
That theme became became apparent even before the 2016 election, when candidate Donald Trump promised to pick judges who would “automatically” overturn Roe v. Wade. The candidate was by his own admission a serial sexual harasser. On live national television, he then stalked, insulted, and physically menaced his female opponent—and he said, in an unguarded moment, that in his post-Roe future, women who choose abortion will face “some form of punishment.”
In context, Trump promised to restore the old system of dominion—by lawmakers, husbands, pastors, institutions, and judges—over women’s reproduction. Arguably that platform propelled Trump into the White House: Many evangelical Christian voters chose to overlook Trump’s flagrant sexual immorality, his overt contempt for the basics of faith, because they believed he would end abortion forever.
It’s also why Trump is going all in on the nominee. Kavanaugh’s got the same MOs as Trump. They’re freaking soul mates. Both are entitle dicks who hate women and feel they have the right to take and do whatever they want and to say whatever they want, and to freaking make decisions over “lesser beings” like people from shithole countries and women. Trump sees conspiracies when people actually try to hold any of them all to account for immoral, terrible behavior. They’re alllowed in their mind’s eye.
In the hours after a 51-year-old California professor came forward to publicly allege that Judge Brett Kavanaugh sexually assaulted her while they were in high school, the White House signaled no interest in slowing Kavanaugh’s Supreme Court nomination.
Instead, the president’s team and his allies on and off the Hill began to mount a vigorous defense against the accuser, Christine Blasey Ford, questioning why she had identified herself only now, and framing Kavanaugh’s alleged behavior as almost commonplace in nature.
A senior White House official told The Daily Beast that, as of Sunday evening, things are still “full steam ahead” for Kavanaugh. On Friday afternoon, a different White House official confirmed that President Trump had been made aware of the earlier reports involving the Kavanaugh sexual-misconduct allegation—reports that did not name the accuser.
The president has told those close to him in recent days that he believes there is a “conspiracy” or organized effort by Democrats to smear Kavanaugh and try to derail the nomination of a “good man.” One Trump confidant said Sunday that they “can’t imagine that” Ford coming forward will change the president’s position, and that it will far more likely cause Trump to dig in and attack those going after Kavanaugh.
The response from Team Trump rang all too familiar for women who have come forward in the past to allege that they had been targeted by prominent male officials. And for veterans of Clarence Thomas’ nomination for the Supreme Court seat some three decades ago, the echoes were even more profound. The extent to which lessons have been learned from that episode —and what specific lessons they are—could very well determine Kavanaugh’s fate in the coming days.
I’ve been mad about stuff like this for a very long time and I’ve never cooled down over it. I will never, EVER vote for Joe Biden because ANITA HILL. And you want a story? I was assaulted in the choir room in my high school by 2 hyperchristians. I felt fortunate I didn’t get raped. I just finally started talking about it 3 years ago. I’m finally talking about what my exhusband did to me when I was 36 and both my kids’ godparents saw the bruises as did my parents and his mother. My oldest daughter’s godparents even asked me if it was okay they talk to him at her wedding because they knew what he did to me. Just about every victim of abuse has to think long and hard about coming forward. My friend in college was raped in the University of Nebraska Library Stacks. She thought she had no options because she had smoked a joint prior to going to study. At the time, the laws let her sexual history and all kinds of crap come forward. It was and still is a torturous process for victims no matter how long SVU has been on TV.
And she was 15 and he was 17.
You don't need to be a #Kavanaugh opponent to think that Christine Blasey Ford's charges should be examined further, as I argue in this @NYTimes op-ed. https://t.co/CPGbl8OJ4f – #SCOTUS #KavanaughConfirmation @NYTopinion
— David Lat (@DavidLat) September 17, 2018
And his behavior was not the normal high school boy stupidity. Read the details. Dr. Christine Blasey Ford has a posse and it includes me because I know what it’s like. I know it includes most of his here including many men.
A group of women who went to Christine Blasey Ford’s high school are circulating a letter to show support for the woman who has alleged that Supreme Court nominee Brett Kavanaugh tried to sexually assault her while they were in high school.
“We believe Dr. Blasey Ford and are grateful that she came forward to tell her story,” says a draft letter from alumnae of Holton-Arms, a private girls school in Bethesda, Maryland. “It demands a thorough and independent investigation before the Senate can reasonably vote on Brett Kavanaugh’s nomination to a lifetime seat on the nation’s highest court.”
The women also say that what Ford is alleging “is all too consistent with stories we heard and lived while attending Holton. Many of us are survivors ourselves.”
The letter is a boost of support for Ford, who has been thrust into the political spotlight and had her credibility questioned by going up against Kavanaugh and the White House. The signatories span decades at the school, both before, during and after Ford attended.
More than 200 women had signed the letter as of late Monday morning, said Sarah Burgess, a member of the class of 2005. Burgess said she and some of her schoolmates wrote the letter because hearing Ford’s story felt “personal.”
“I know that in the coming days, her story will be scrutinized, and she will be accused of lying,” Burgess said in an email. “However, I grew up hearing stories like hers, and believe her completely.”
Politico had this to say this morning: “Why God Is Laughing at Brett Kavanaugh”.
It is on this point that the cosmos may be having a laugh not just at Kavanaugh’s expense but at many other people’s. After decades of competitive moralizing and situational ethics—in which every accuser in due course becomes the accused, and anyone riding a high horse can expect to be bucked off—even the concept of fairness in American politics seemingly is defunct.
Three decades of remorseless ideological and cultural combat—over Robert Bork, over Clarence Thomas and Anita Hill, over Bill Clinton and Newt Gingrich, over Bush v. Gore, and, at last and above all, over Donald Trump—have made the question virtually irrelevant.
Fairness is rooted in the idea of principles, precedent, proportionality. Few people in American life witnessed at closer range than Kavanaugh the modern reality that when things really matter—in the way that the balance of the Supreme Court matters—all these fine notions matter less than the cold, hard exercise of power.
So here was Kavanaugh—who spent his early 30s as a Ken Starr warrior pursuing Bill Clinton for the political and legal implications of his most intimate moral failings—now in his early 50s facing a political crisis over disturbingly vivid, passionately contested, decades-old allegations about Kavanaugh’s own possible moral failings.
Few prosecutors, it seems likely, would ever open an assault case—36 years later—on the basis of Christine Blasey Ford’s account of being pinned down on a bed by a drunken Kavanaugh, then 17, and being aggressively groped until a friend of his physically jumped in.
But few prosecutors in the 1990s would have pursued an extensive criminal investigation over perjury into a middle-aged man’s lies about adultery if that person had not been President Bill Clinton. In his zeal at the time, Kavanaugh, like Starr, may have worked himself into a belief that this was about sacred principles of law, but to many others—and ultimately to a clear majority of the country—it was obvious that the case was fundamentally about political power.
Kavanaugh’s fate, too, now depends on precisely the same thing: Do the allegations change the calculation for the perhaps half-a-dozen senators—including Republicans Susan Collins of Maine and Lisa Murkowski of Alaska—whose minds were not already made up by earlier political calculations?
With the benefit of hindsight, Kavanaugh later concluded presidents should be shielded from criminal investigations of the sort he helped wage against Clinton. At the time, however, he was filled with righteous indignation. “It is our job,” he wrote colleagues in Starr’s office in an email, “to make his pattern of revolting behavior clear—piece by painful piece.”
Can Kavanaugh and his supporters really be surprised that opponents of his nomination will feel similarly righteous in wanting to examine allegations against him piece by piece?
I was intoxicated one night in college & woke up the nxt morning to realize some1 (whom I had previously rebuffed their advances) took advantage of the fact that I was unable to consent. He denies raping me, but that is exactly what he did. The #KavanaughConfirmation can’t con’t.
— Symone D. Sanders (@SymoneDSanders) September 16, 2018
JUST IN: GOP Sen. Susan Collins: “Professor Ford and Judge Kavanaugh should both testify under oath before the Judiciary Committee” pic.twitter.com/T2lcnMyoWK
— MSNBC (@MSNBC) September 17, 2018
Democrats say the vote should be delayed so that the committee can hear Dr. Blasey — a move Republicans have said is a stalling tactic. Judge Kavanaugh’s confirmation hearings have drawn raucous protests and partisan fights, even before Dr. Blasey’s allegations became public.
Dr. Blasey was willing to testify before Congress, Debra Katz, a lawyer, said on Monday about her client, who has been referred to in news accounts as Ms. Ford but goes by Dr. Blasey professionally.
“We hope that this hearing is fair and not another weaponized attack on a woman who has come forward with allegations of sexual misconduct against a powerful man,” Ms. Katz told The New York Times.
There was no indication early Monday that the Judiciary Committee had requested such testimony or that the panel planned to delay the vote.
A key Republican on the committee, however, Senator Jeff Flake of Arizona, told Politico that he was “not comfortable voting yes” on Judge Kavanaugh’s nomination until he learned more about Dr. Blasey’s account. Mr. Flake’s objection could force a delay for the committee, which has 11 Republicans and 10 Democrats.
Senate Republicans have also expected they could win the support of some Democrats who face tough re-election campaigns in states Mr. Trump won in 2016. One such Democrat, Senator Joe Donnelly of Indiana, said on Monday that the allegations against Judge Kavanaugh were “serious and merit further review.”
This week is going to be a wild and bumpy ride. We’re about to see if the recent women’s marches and the incredible removals of powerful men in charge of media and entertainment interests as well as holding political positions has sunk in enough to to make Anita Hill proud of us all.
This was the one thing I always wanted to protect my daughters from and it pains me to think the girls and women today are still not believed and the men are still waved off with the “boys will be boys” mentality.
He was 17 and she was 15. She was afraid her parents would find out where she’d been. She was afraid of all kinds of things that would happen and are happening now that she spoke out.
We should be on her posse just as I will always be on Anita Hill’s posse. I believe them both.
What’s on your reading and blogging list today? This is still an open thread so share everything!