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  • September 21st, 2018

DROP THE HAMMER ON BRETT

By Joel. M. Vance

I had sworn off of writing about Donald J Trump in this blog because it was too much like the old joke about the reason for hitting yourself on the head with a hammer is that it feels so good when you quit.

And it seemed like such an exercise in futility because today’s outrage is superseded by another one even before the electronic ink has time to dry. It is as if Steph Curry, launches one of his patented 35 foot three point bombs right on target only to see the entire backboard rim move 2 feet one direction or the other just as the ball gets there.

What more can you say about this sociopathic nut job that isn’t said nearly every day by anyone with enough perspicacity to see through the deluge of obfuscating garbage dumped by him and his supporters. The man is truly evil, the absolute personification of the anti-Christ. One (this one anyway) wonders how the guy can walk around a golf course and not worry about a sudden heavenly lightning strike taking him out. Of course, fatso doesn’t walk around the golf course anyway—he rides in a golf cart, his preferred mode of transportation since he spends more time in one that he does in the oval office pretending to be the leader of the free world. His main worry in the aftermath of Hurricane Florence was whether or not his golf course in North Carolina had been harmed.

So, setting aside my disinclination to pick on the easiest target on the political landscape and feeling particularly dyspeptic today, and despite the wonderful news that Mary Poppins is returning to the silver screen at Christmas time (and where the hell were you Ms. Poppins when we needed you to fix all that was wrong with the 2016 presidential election) I’m going to write once again about the blathering blimp.

Trump and his sycophantic coterie of supporters are trying to ram through the elevation of Brett Cavanaugh to the Supreme Court which would further tilt the ultimate check on congressional and presidential misdeeds toward acceptance of their incompetence and toward a government that would bear no relationship to what was created 250 years ago and which has somehow managed to endure periodic assaults on its integrity ever since.

Not only would the Supreme Court be seriously capsized toward the extreme right wing of the political landscape, it would feature not one but two sexual predators (if you have forgotten, we already had one in Clarence Thomas). So how would a court with a couple of good old male supremacists as the swing voters rule on issues such as gender equality, a woman’s right to choose, and other hot button women’s issues?

I signed and reposted a petition on Facebook which said “we already have an accused sexual predator in the White House. We don’t need another one on the Supreme Court.” The reaction was immediate and virulent with nearly 60 comments almost none of which was suitable for family consumption— I had prodded the extreme right and the reaction was extreme. But, hey, these are the folks who hear black helicopters anytime someone in the neighborhood starts a riding lawnmower.

I thought about and discarded many really nasty replies but settled for saying simply, “I’m glad to see that the First Amendment is alive and well”.

That there will be extreme and no doubt ugly pushback from the Cavanaugh and Trump supporters against Cavanaugh’s accuser goes without saying (they already said it to me). One unnamed defender says that nearly any guy could be accused of something. Nevada Sen. Dean Heller describes the situation as “a hiccup”.

Unfortunately, there is an element of truth in those statements but the difference is that most guys who have made a pass at a girl sometime in their past (and most have) have backed off when the girl said no and it is no defense to excuse what amounts to an attempted rape by saying, “hey, it’s just a guy thing”.

The woman in question, Christine Blasey Ford, now is an adult—but at the time the alleged incident occurred she was 15 years old and she was at a party where beer was available and consumed and where there was no adult supervision. In that situation it would be highly unusual for a frightened teenager to report the incident either to the authorities or to her parents. But it left a mark on her that has persisted into adulthood and resulted in her seeking counseling— from which she has notes that provide a written record of what happened, how it happened, and how it affected her entire life.

There is absolutely no benefit to her now at the age of 51 to come forward with the story unless it is true. To risk going public with a shameful incident from the past makes no sense unless it is true and she knows full well that she is setting herself up for ridicule , not to mention physical threat, from the right. It has already started. Proving that the rotten apple does not fall far from the tree. Trump’s kid, Don Junior, mocks the allegation by posting a photo of a crumpled up piece of notebook paper with a scribble message which says “Cindy will you be my girlfriend, love Brett.”

This is a classic Trump response to an accusation. Discredit the accuser, throw dirt on the evidence and try to ride it out—he already has told his dear friend Sean Hannity that he feels he has survived the damning effect of the Bob Woodward book, and the uncomfortable fact is that he probably has.

Donnie Junior’s clumsy attempt at sarcasm exposes Junior for the chip off the old blockhead that he is. Talk about a dysfunctional family! I wonder what the legitimate women in Trump’s life think about the old sexual predator’s excesses—Melania, Ivanka, and Tiffany? Perhaps the goldplated lifestyles they lead is enough excuse for them to ignore their patron’s sleaziness. At least one source has said that Ivanka has told her father to drop Cavanaugh—arguably she is the smartest one in the family and, considering she is listed as a trusted advisor, Trump would be smart to take her advice.

The right-wingers will try to excuse Cavanaugh by saying that it happened a long time ago and will imply that he should be forgiven for youthful indiscretion if indeed it did happen. But we’re not talking about a DWI like that that George W. Bush incurred or someone smoking a joint in college (like Bill Clinton—but he didn’t inhale—yeah, right) or some other socially unapproved behavior of long ago. We’re talking about a physical assault on a 15-year-old girl. And there should be no statute of limitation on anything like that, especially when it concerns an appointment to a position with the potential of affecting the entire course of the country possibly for decades to come.

Presumably most of the senators who would vote on the suitability of Brett Cavanaugh to be a Supreme Court justice have families and at least some of them will have had girl children. How would they feel if it had been their 15-year-old daughter who was assaulted? The all-male Republican half of the committee is running scared and reportedly would not question Ms. Ford directly, but would find women among their aides compliant enough to do the dirty job with the old white guys feeding them the inappropriate questions.

It’s not exactly a secret that society is male-dominated and has been since biblical times. I once went to a wedding where part of the vows demanded that the bride pledge to be subservient to her husband in all things— and this was demanded in the name of God and in a holy place. I’m still steamed about this blatant nod to male domination done under the guise of religious dogma. According to the religious right a woman is no more than a spare rib, ripped from a snakebit Adam in the Garden of Eden.

Not that Donald J Trump, the Groper in Chief, has any devotion to religious belief, having lived his entire life in opposition to most of the precepts of recognized religion. Makes you wonder why a lightning bolt hasn’t turned his golf cart into a Viking funeral pyre.

Elizabeth Warren, I think the most respected woman in politics today (sorry, Hillary, I never did have that much respect for you) , had this to say about the Cavanaugh nomination, “There is already a long list of reasons why Brett Cavanaugh should not be allowed anywhere near the highest court in the land (and I’ll bet that list would be even longer if Republicans weren’t still hiding over 100,000 pages of Cavanaugh’s work in the George W. Bush administration).”

The far right, especially the religious right, is fond of maintaining that the founding fathers intended a Christian government, ignoring the fact that the founding fathers set up a three-part government whereby the president would be prevented by Congress from becoming a leader with kingly powers, and the Supreme Court would oversee the other two branches of government to prevent them from accumulating excessive power.

And the same founding fathers adopted an amendment to the Constitution that guarantees religious freedom and said nothing about Christianity being a dominant religion—in fact a number of the founding fathers specifically warned against adopting any single religion as an official one.

Predictably, Orrin Hatch, the Neanderthal senator from Utah has pooh-pooed the accusation, sneered at Ms. Ford as a ‘mixed up person” and said that he implicitly believes Cavanaugh’s version of what—he thinks— didn’t happen. Hatch was prominent 27 years ago when an all-male Senate hearing committee humiliated Anita Hill, the accuser against Clarence Thomas.

Hatch said the same things then that he is saying now. He was wrong then and he is wrong now— an out of date, over the hill, misogynistic cretin who never should have been elected to any office, much less the high office of the Senate. His doddering colleague Chuck Grassley, chairman of the Senate Judiciary committee, has done his best to push the vote for Cavanaugh through, scheduling a hearing for the two combatants, offering a single date and saying that if Ford doesn’t show up the vote should happen quickly. I hope it works out and that the world sees incredible woman tell an all too familiar story of sexual misconduct, rubbing the face of those who belittle her in their own mess.

Considering that the Republicans wouldn’t even consider a hearing for Merrick Garland, President Obama’s pick for the Supreme Court, the unseemly haste with which the Repubs are trying to shoehorn Cavanaugh onto the court is beyond suspicious—it’s just flat out political and everybody with a brain should know it and be disgusted.

I’m posting this two days before accuser Christine Ford and Cavanaugh were scheduled to testify before the committee to tell their diametrically opposed stories. It’s worth noting that Ms. Ford has passed a lie detector test administered by a former FBI agent, and that she has notes from a psychologist who treated her for trauma associated with what Cavanaugh’s defenders deny happened. She also has witnesses whom she told about the incident contemporaneously.

Ms. Ford rightfully has claimed that the FBI should conduct an investigation before any testimony by her and Cavanaugh. But the big fat fly in the ointment is Donald Trump who apparently is the only one who can involve the FBI. Chances of him risking an investigation which would implicate Cavanaugh are about as remote as him admitting to any of his own sexual predations.

And Trump’s Senate lapdog, chairman Grassley is trying to mousetrap Ms. Ford by saying that if the doesn’t testify on Monday with only two witnesses—her and Cavanaugh— and without an FBI investigation, the committee vote will go on.

. He’s betting that his political game of chicken will work. In other words there will be no witnesses called, no chance for Ms. Ford to offer any evidence other than her own word—and you can guess how that would play with a bunch of doddering old man Republicans. I wonder how the two woman Republican senators, Susan Collins of Maine, and Lisa Murkowski of Alaska, both of whom try to maintain a reputation as champions of women’s rights, will vote when push comes to shove.

The Republican old white guy half of the judiciary committee has two members who also were associated with the humiliation of Anita Hill during the hearing for Clarence Thomas. And both of those guys, Orrin Hatch and Chuck Grassley, have said there was no reason to hold a hearing on Ms. Ford’s allegation and that maybe a simple phone call would settle the matter.

It’s too bad Ms. Ford won’t be able to call possibly the most expert witness to testify— Donald J Trump the Groper in Chief who has bragged about his ability to assault women without subsequent consequences and who has been accused of sexual misconduct by at least 14 women and who paid off a porn star and a Playboy model so they wouldn’t tell stories about their misadventures with the King groper.

Cavanaugh would bring to the table a defense which largely consists of echoing Donald Trump’s own advice on how to deal with accusations of sexual misbehavior : “you’ve got to deny, deny and push back on the women,” Trump is quoted as saying “If you admit to anything and any culpability, then you’re dead.”

That’s a quote from Bob Woodward’s best-selling book, titled Fear, a chronicle of the twisted world of Donald J Trump. Woodward a two-time Pulitzer Prize winner and half of the team that exposed Richard Nixon’s crimes and led to his resignation from the presidency is the most respected reporter of his time and if he says it you can take it to the bank.

Let’s hope that in this case “deny” means what happens to Brett Cavanaugh’s nomination to become a Supreme Court justice.

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