Tuesday Reads

Garden at Sainte Adresse, Claude Monet

Good Morning!!

I’m sure I’m not alone in this, but the whole Kavanaugh thing has really triggered my PSTD. I haven’t been able to sleep much at night, I wake up early, and then I fall asleep in the afternoon. I feel disgusted and depressed by the entire ugly episode. It was bad enough that Republicans were determined to confirm a political operative whose main goal in life seems to be to curtail the rights of women and hand corporations the power to rip off and poison Americans, but now we may get a reprise of the Anita Hill hearings.

I’m glad that Christine Blasey Ford has come forward with her story of being nearly raped by Trump’s SCOTUS pick, but at the same time I wish the whole horrible thing would just go away.

Actually, I’m convinced that there won’t be a hearing next Monday. I think Kavanaugh will be forced to withdraw. It seems that Trump isn’t really all that enthused about him, and he can always nominate another evil right wing nut. In fact, he could solve the whole sexual abuse/assault issue by appointing a conservative woman, Amy Coney Barrett. She probably didn’t try to rape anyone when she was in high school, and she would likely vote to overturn Roe v. Wade.

Here’s the latest tick tock from the WaPo White house reporters: With Trump muted, White House leans on Kavanaugh to defend himself.

White House aides said they persuaded the president to refrain from tweeting a defense of Kavanaugh in the accusation’s immediate aftermath and deliberately worked to keep him from meeting personally with the nominee, even though the two men spent most of the day in proximity.

Don McGahn watches Brett Kavanaugh’s Senate testimony

Kavanaugh was hunkered down in the West Wing office of White House Counsel Donald McGahn, strategizing to save his nomination and calling senators to deny the claim against him….

One senior White House official said Trump thinks Kavanaugh can survive and told top advisers he thought the judge’s denial of wrongdoing was forceful. “The president’s thinking is, don’t get out there and defend him if he’s not defending himself,” this official said. “But he liked that he defended himself.”

But two Trump confidants Monday also underscored the president’s history of self-interested calculations amid political tumult. “He’s going to do what’s best for Trump,” said one of them, who spoke on the condition of anonymity to offer a candid assessment. “The president thinks it’s rough for Kavanaugh, and he’d decry the process as disgusting if he withdraws, but he’d nominate a carbon copy of Kavanaugh in a second if he goes down.”

Another reason why Kavanaugh might be thrown overboard, again from the WaPo: Republicans fear reversals in November due to accusation against Supreme Court nominee.

Republicans are bracing for political aftershocks from the sexual assault accusation against Supreme Court nominee Brett M. Kavanaugh, with some expressing fear that the coming investigation will refocus the nation’s attention on an issue that could drive up the Democratic vote in the midterm elections.

The initial hope that the conservative Kavanaugh’s appointment would encourage turnout by grateful GOP voters this fall has been tempered by new fears that more voters, especially independent women, might head to the polls with fresh anger about Republican handling of sexual impropriety after a new round of public hearings.

Anita Hill testifying in 1991

“It’s not just about Kavanaugh but more about the midterms,” Rick Hohlt, a Republican lobbyist and veteran strategist, said of the party’s concerns. “With more women running for public office than ever before and the majority of them being Democrats, we could have a 1992 situation.”

That’s a reference to the elections in 1992, dubbed the “Year of the Woman” after the number of women elected to the House nearly doubled, to 47, and the number of women elected to the Senate tripled, to six. The election came one year after Justice Clarence Thomas was confirmed to the Supreme Court despite allegations that he had sexually harassed a subordinate, Anita Hill, in the workplace.

Even before the accusation against Kavanaugh surfaced, polls showed women preferred Democrats more than men did and were more likely to disapprove of President Trump, who faced accusations of sexual misconduct by 19 women before his 2016 election. A Washington Post-ABC News poll in late August found 58 percent of female registered voters intended to cast a ballot for a Democrat for Congress, compared with 45 percent of men.

Remember Mitch McConnell never wanted Trump to appoint Kavanaugh. It’s a long time until next Monday’s scheduled hearing. A lot can happen in that time. My guess is the Republicans will cut Kavanaugh loose. Certainly, if another woman comes forward, he will be dead in the water.

Meanwhile, FEMA’s threatened presidential emergency alert system rollout has been postponed because of all the protests. NBC News:

The Federal Emergency Management Agency, which oversees the wireless emergency alert (WEA) system, announced that the test that had been scheduled for Thursday will be pushed back to Oct. 3, citing the “ongoing response efforts to Hurricane Florence.”

Postponed, thank goodness!

The initial announcement was met with concerns from social media users who stated that a direct message from President Donald Trump to the nation could be used for political purposes, similar to how he uses his official Twitter page.

Many also went on to raise the issue of the alert being mandatory, with no way to opt of it. One user even messaged Verizon Wireless, one of the 100 wireless service companies that have agreed to provide the alert to their network, asking how she can avoid receiving it.

Some users even threatened to cancel their cellphone service, while others said they would protest the test by turning their phones off, creating the hashtag #GoDark920 in response to the original test date.

Stephen Cobb, a security researcher at ESET, a technology security company, tweeted via his verified account that the blowback against the test indicated the broader frustration with the president.

“This POTUS is so bad that folks are prepared to forgo the potential benefits of a national alert system – which already exists on radio and TV – because it is hard to believe Trump will not abuse it.”

As long as we’re talking about the sexual predator in the White House, I might as well include this creepy info from The Guardian on Stormy Daniels’s tell-all book:

Trump’s bodyguard invites Daniels to dinner, which turns out to be an invitation to Trump’s penthouse, she writes, in a description of alleged events that Daniels has disclosed previously but which in the book are rendered with new and lurid detail. She describes Trump’s penis as “smaller than average” but “not freakishly small.”

“He knows he has an unusual penis,” Daniels writes. “It has a huge mushroom head. Like a toadstool…

“I lay there, annoyed that I was getting fucked by a guy with Yeti pubes and a dick like the mushroom character in Mario Kart…

“It may have been the least impressive sex I’d ever had, but clearly, he didn’t share that opinion.”

Ugh. Still, I’d love to be a fly on the wall when someone reads this to Trump.

Finally, if you haven’t already done so, you should read Hillary Clinton’s new essay at The Atlantic: American Democracy Is in Crisis.

It’s been nearly two years since Donald Trump won enough Electoral College votes to become president of the United States. On the day after, in my concession speech, I said, “We owe him an open mind and the chance to lead.” I hoped that my fears for our future were overblown.

They were not.

Hillary Clinton photographed by Annie Leibovitz

In the roughly 21 months since he took the oath of office, Trump has sunk far below the already-low bar he set for himself in his ugly campaign. Exhibit A is the unspeakable cruelty that his administration has inflicted on undocumented families arriving at the border, including separating children, some as young as eight months, from their parents. According to The New York Times, the administration continues to detain 12,800 children right now, despite all the outcry and court orders. Then there’s the president’s monstrous neglect of Puerto Rico: After Hurricane Maria ravaged the island, his administration barely responded. Some 3,000 Americans died. Now Trump flatly denies those deaths were caused by the storm. And, of course, despite the recent indictments of several Russian military intelligence officers for hacking the Democratic National Committee in 2016, he continues to dismiss a serious attack on our country by a foreign power as a “hoax.”

Trump and his cronies do so many despicable things that it can be hard to keep track. I think that may be the point—to confound us, so it’s harder to keep our eye on the ball. The ball, of course, is protecting American democracy. As citizens, that’s our most important charge. And right now, our democracy is in crisis.

I don’t use the word crisis lightly. There are no tanks in the streets. The administration’s malevolence may be constrained on some fronts—for now—by its incompetence. But our democratic institutions and traditions are under siege. We need to do everything we can to fight back. There’s not a moment to lose.

Read the rest at the Atlantic link.

40 Comments on “Tuesday Reads”

  1. bostonboomer says:

    We are getting what’s left of Florence today. So far I’ve had two emergency alerts on my phone. I really hate those. I hope the storm will soon pass down south. I haven’t been following the coverage much, but from what I’ve seen it’s a disaster.

    Wherever you are and whatever you’re doing, have a good day today.

    • dakinikat says:

      Be safe. I’ve awakened with nightmares like 3 days in a row. I’m seriously under stress from something. Hopefully, you can sleep during the rain and I know you’re high enough not to be bothered by it! Did you get to the store so you don’t need to go out?

  2. bostonboomer says:

    Kavanaugh is back at the White House after spending 9 hours there yesterday.

    • Enheduanna says:

      I hope you are right BB. If they go through with it Monday it will be PTSD for every single woman who agonized through the Anita Hill hearings – and there are plenty of us. The thought of seeing that happen again makes me seethe with rage.

      • bostonboomer says:

        I don’t think Dr. Ford will agree to the Republican’s terms. She has a good lawyer. They need to worry about reactions from millions of angry women.

      • Minkoff Minx says:

        That must be what I am feeling now, I was wondering what the fuck was wrong with me. All I want to do is sleep….

        • quixote says:

          I read survivors’ accounts of the Hiroshima and Nagasaki nuclear bombings (by John Hirsch-something-I-can’t-remember. It’s a famous work.) The one that struck me the worst was the woman with one or two young children who fell asleep and slept for hours.

          Sleep is a documented reaction to extreme stress, even though it seems so inexplicable when you’re not in such a horrible situation.

  3. Old Guy says:

    I have been depressed about the mess in Washington for some time. The country is split about what kind of government they want That is not right. It is more like it is split between those who want a government, the democrats, and the republicans who don’t want a government at all other than one is enforces property rights and maintains an army.

    The first time I saw Kavanaugh I thought he was a bad character who would be hard to get along with. I would not want him to coach my daughter or be one of three other coaches in the league. And would not want to be a lawyer trying a case in his court.

    Trump will be gone in two years or less. I just hope we can get some sane people in Washington running things.

    Hope you feel better and sleep better.

    • quixote says:

      You know the smarmy tool? ?? (My condolences.) I really really really hope you’re right about your predictions. I really really really hope that if Tool #1 disappears, Tool #2, whoever that is, cannot get confirmed before Nov 6th, and that Nov 6th gives us an actual, functioning Congress.

      So much hope. So little certainty.

      No wonder we all have nightmares.

    • bostonboomer says:

      Thanks for the good wishes Old Guy.

  4. NW Luna says:

    BB, you and dak and JJ have been doing a tremendous job with your posts for so long, especially through the nightmare of the Trump presidency*. The posts can’t be easy to write. Thank you for having this space where we can come together and speak of our anxiety and worries and anger and feel the support and community and persist as best we can.

  5. Jslat says:

    “Even darkness must pass. A new day will come. And when the sun shines it will shine out the clearer. ”

    ~ J.R.R. Tolkien ~

    • Jslat says:

      I have to have hope or insanity threatens!

      • Sweet Sue says:

        Occasionally, my husband doubts that a blue wave will actually occur in November. I scream at him, “Stop Saying That. It’s the only hope that’s keeping me alive!”

        • quixote says:

          We’re going to find out just how good the Repubs are at stealing elections with their gerrymandering, vote suppresssion, social media BS, and outright vote machine rigging.

          They’re being very careful to avoid any steps toward undiddled and accountable elections. I think that means they know exactly what they’re doing.

          The polls say we can hope. But until Nov 7th shows whether the blue wave was enough to drown out all the cheating, we won’t know whether we still have even the remnants of an actual democracy or not.

  6. dakinikat says:

    The Radical Dissent of Helen Keller
    Here’s what they don’t teach: When the blind-deaf visionary learned that poor people were more likely to be blind than others, she set off down a pacifist, socialist path that broke the boundaries of her time—and continues to challenge ours today


    Wonder why those texass republicans hate helen keller?

  7. dakinikat says:

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  11. dakinikat says:

    TPM: Kavanaugh Team Now Calls It “Rough Horse Play”
    Interesting and perhaps disturbing moment a short time ago as Carrie Severino, spokesperson of the Judicial Crisis Network, was interviewed…


  12. dakinikat says:

  13. NW Luna says:

    So cool that 1) a woman broke this record and 2) she’s 45 instead of in her 20s or 30s.

    American woman pedals 184 mph, smashing record held by men for more than 100 years

    A 45-year-old American woman shattered a two-decade-old cycling speed record Sunday, pedaling 183.9 mph across Utah’s Bonneville Salt Flats in the slipstream of a specially designed racecar.

    The record for paced cycling speed was previously held by Dutch rider Fred Rompelberg, who hit a top speed of 167 mph in 1995.

  14. NW Luna says:

    • quixote says:

      Part of me just can’t believe that bumbling old grandpa would purposely and consciously try to torpedo an excellent Democratic candidate.

      But the actual evidence points that way. The not-conceding, the not-campaigning for the winner, the constant vicious repetition of Republican lies, the reliance on Tad Devine. Tad freakin Devine. He had to have looked at TD’s cv, right? He knew he worked for Manafort.

      Plus old Burner may be useless — his main congressional accomplishments were renaming some Vermont post offices and the like — but he’s not stupid.

      He *had* to have known what he was doing. Which means he wasn’t some well-intentioned bumbling socialist. It means he’s one of the most toxic and cynical politicians in the world.

      It’s incredible, in the literal meaning of the word.

  15. dakinikat says:

    Men Are More Afraid Than Ever
    Why Kavanaugh advocates would rather defend malfeasance than deny it.


    To be clear, there are perfectly feasible defenses of Brett Kavanaugh that others have attempted. One could respond to Christine Blasey Ford’s allegation that he assaulted her at a party while they were teenagers by saying (as some have) that we can’t know the facts or that more evidence is needed. But no: This group has opted instead to defend male impunity for sexual assault and frame a woman’s story of coping with years of trauma as a true crisis … for men. A White House lawyer was quoted saying, “If somebody can be brought down by accusations like this, then you, me, every man certainly should be worried.” Similar things were voiced by Ari Fleischer and Joe Walsh. Per this dark vision of the future, any consequence for committing assault—even being unable to move from one lifetime appointment to another lifetime appointment—is the beginning of the end of a just society.

  16. dakinikat says:

    Did any one see Rachel’s interview with HIllary last night?

    She wore Anita Hill Turquoise!!!!

    • Jslat says:

      When I saw what color jacket Hillary was wearing, I was surprised since she normally wears a more subdued or darker color for news interviews. . It took a minute to connect the color and Anita Hill. Hillary’s so great at signsling and messaging thru her attire! Madeline Albright has her brooches and HRC her multicolored wardrobe.

  17. dakinikat says:

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    • NW Luna says:

      This is why women think about castrating the men.

      • quixote says:

        Which would totally miss the target. The problem isn’t hormones. It’s trying to keep a stranglehold on power.

        (Kind of funny-not-funny historical side note: that’s actually been tried. Not by women. Some of the high-placed eunuchs during the time of the Ottoman Empire were the worst.)

        • NW Luna says:

          What Hatch is talking about, sure. Eunuchs held high power in certain times in Chinese court politics too.

          But testosterone levels are associated with increased risk for violent behavior. Violence levels among women who trans to men are higher than for women in general. Men who trans to women usually stay close to the rates of men.

          My comment was a knee-jerk reaction in thinking of a punishment seen as particularly abhorrent to men. Threatening to remove women’s ovaries, strangely enough, doesn’t have the same connotations. And women’s ovaries were removed for all sorts of “reasons” in the past, and still are too frequently.

          • quixote says:

            Absolutely. I know you’re not confused, Luna! And I also know you were being facetious. Sorry to come across as po-faced. (Great English expression: as humorless as the bottom of a chamber-pot, or po’.) And I do know that testosterone is associated with violence and risk-taking. But that’s not the same as sadistic criminality. That’s purely socialized into guys at the obnoxious end of the human spectrum.

            It’s one of my (too many) pet crusades, stopping the conflation of sex and dominance. They have exactly zero to do with each other.