little white lies…

“I swear by Almighty God that I will tell the truth, the whole truth and nothing but the truth.”

Brett Kavanaugh uttered those words before his testimony to the Senate Judiciary Committee in 2004, 2006, and twice in 2018. He swore under penalty of perjury that he would not lie. In each instance, he lied to make himself look better, make confirmation for office more likely, and to cover up crimes.

Sen. Orrin Hatch (R-Utah), a friendly face, asked Kavanaugh, “When did you first hear of Ms. Ramirez’s allegations against you?” Kavanaugh indicated he hadn’t heard of the charges related to exposing himself and causing unwanted contact with his penis, until after an article ran in The New Yorker magazine. NBC broke news that Kavanaugh knew weeks before about the upcoming allegations and was persuading Yale friends to coordinate their testimony and discredit Deborah Ramirez.

This is just one of the many lies Kavanaugh has told under oath, often with the protection of Republican Senators and two Republican White House administrations. In 2004 he lied about his involvement with torture programs when he worked for the White House. In 2006, he lied about receipt of, and the use of stolen materials from Democrat Senator Patrick Leahy. After his 2006 testimony, Democrat Senators sent a referral to the Justice Department regarding his false testimony but the Bush White House refused to act on it. In 2018, Republican Senators and the Trump White House tried to keep the e-mails proving Kavanaugh lied, from ever being seen by the public.

In his 2018 testimony at a 2nd hearing, after specific charges of sexual assault. Kavanaugh was called upon to answer questions about his drinking which was at the center of many of the allegations against him. He was believed to be drunk when he allegedly attempted to rape Christine Blasey Ford, he was drunk when he assaulted Deborah Ramirez. He was close friends with Mark Judge, who wrote a book about his drunken behavior at the all-male Georgetown Prep High School both attended. Judge told his girlfriend about a train of boys having sex with a drunken, incoherent girl, a claim similar to another charge against Kavanaugh by Julie Swetnick, who claimed to have seen Judge and Kavanaugh standing in line at parties, waiting to have sex with a girl.

Kavanaugh was asked to explain several entries in his 1983 yearbook which are very hard to accept as credible. In his responses, he appeared to have lied about his drinking, his throwing up which he blamed on a “sensitive stomach” and his relationship with girls including why 14 boys listed themselves as members of the “Renate Alumnius,” Renate being the first name of a girl at a nearby school. When she heard about the reference, 34 years later. She said, “I learned about these yearbook pages only a few days ago. I don’t know what ‘Renate Alumnus’ actually means. I can’t begin to comprehend what goes through the minds of 17-year-old boys who write such things, but the insinuation is horrible, hurtful and simply untrue. I pray their daughters are never treated this way. I will have no further comment.”

That Brett Kavanaugh is an attempted rapist, guilty of sexual assault and group rape may not be provable beyond any reasonable doubt after as much as 36 years in some instances. That he is a mean drunk is backed up by a steadily growing number of witnesses and that he has committed perjury in a televised hearing which much of the nation watched is abundantly clear. What is also clear is that the vast majority of Republican Senators, capable of confirming Kavanaugh’s nomination with no Democrat support, simply don’t care. What remains to be seen is if the Republican women in the Senate and any Republican male will allow it to matter?

A Woman Shares #MeToo

I was sitting in alone in a small workplace breakroom, at maximum it will comfortably hold 8–10 people, often it is empty. I had been there alone for a few minutes when an elderly white woman joined me, sitting not quite across from me but in the next seat over. I knew her name as we’d often said hello in passing. I knew nothing of her life. Her body was betraying her, she had a slight hunch and varicose veins. She seemed like she might be working past retirement age, I guessed in her late 60’s or early 70’s but I had never inquired about her circumstances. We worked in the same building but in different departments, I might see and speak to her once or twice a month.

I was checking the news on my cell-phone when she asked, “Have you been following the Kavanaugh hearings?”

I said, “I have, very closely as a matter of fact.”

She said, “I watched as much as I could of Dr. Ford’s testimony before coming to work. I believe her!”

“I do too.”

Bt then I’d looked up from my phone, she wasn’t looking at me but rather off in the distance. She didn’t say anything for a while and I went back to the news. A couple minutes passed and she spoke again.

“I told my daughter yesterday for the first time what I experienced, I remember it now as if it were yesterday. What happened to me was over 40 years ago and I could tell she was telling the truth. I’d never told anyone before but I had to tell someone so I told her.

The last time I saw the man was when he preached my father’s funeral. He was the pastor and everyone loved him. I loved him too as a preacher.”

She told me how he was always getting young girls in a position where he’d be alone with them. She wasn’t explicit, often saying, “if you know what I mean” or “he would do his business.” I made some acknowledgments along the way that I heard her but nothing I said was of any importance. I’m not usually at a loss for words but my role at this time was more about listening rather than talking.

She rose to leave, looking directly at me for the first time.

“The first time I ever spoke about this was yesterday, and now I’ve told you.”

Then she walked away.

Three Things We Learned From The Ford/Kavanaugh Hearing

The first thing made crystal clear by the hearing is that two weeks of male anguish is greater than 36 years of female suffering. Republican Senators on the Judiciary Committee, one after another, to empathize with Brett Kavanaugh, “unable to imagine what he’s been through.” Occasionally, one might give lip service to the strain Christine Blasey Ford has been under during the last two weeks. None wondered how she’d suffered over the last more than third of a century? The day after listening to Ford tell her heartbreaking tale, the committee voted along Party lines, to send Kavanaugh’s nomination on to the full Senate for a vote on his confirmation as if they had heard nothing.

Next, we learned that when a man displays inappropriate anger in a public setting, it’s viewed as righteous and a sign of his sincerity. Kavanaugh displayed the complete opposite of proper judicial temperament. He blamed a conspiracy of people upset with him at his role in the impeachment of Bill Clinton and the results of the 2016 election which gave us Donald Trump. Had a woman in her opening statement and testimony, displayed great anger, broken down in tears, evaded the questions of United States Senators and demanded they answer his own, there would be no more consideration of her confirmation. But Brett Kavanaugh is a man.

Finally, we learned that even an individual protester has power. On his way to a Senate hearing, Senator Jeff Flake was confronted by protesters in an elevator who forced him to address the women that weren’t being heard. They told their own stories of rape and abuse which they’d never told because they felt they would not be believed. Worse yet, much like Christine Blasey Ford, they might be believed but the people that mattered wouldn’t care.

As a result of those protesters and other factors, Senator Flake requested a delay for a week to allow for a limited FBI Investigation of the complaints against Kavanaugh which the President has now signed off on. There is no guarantee what if anything this investigation will uncover. It was quite clear that Republican Senators on the committee didn’t want an investigation, Brett Kavanaugh didn’t want an investigation and neither did Donald Trump.

To be continued…

You Wouldn’t Like Him When He’s Angry! Kavanaugh Shows His Other Side

The highly anticipated Senate hearing featuring the testimony of Dr. Christine Blasey Ford and the man she says tried to rape her, Judge Brett Kavanaugh, finally took place. According to the rules established by Senate Judiciary Committee Chairman Chuck Grassley, Dr. Ford went first, there was a break, and then we heard from Brett Kavanaugh.

Much of what people were waiting to see was how credible the witnesses were when giving their testimony. Most of the pressure was on Dr. Ford, who couldn’t have any holes in her testimony or Kavanaugh would be declared the winner by the Republican majority that controls the committee and the Senate. All they needed was a reason to vote along with their party and confirm Kavanaugh as a Supreme Court Justice. The problem for them was, Christine Blasey Ford was authentic, responsive to the questions, and she told a credible story about her assault, assuring the Senators and the nation she was “100% certain” Brett Kavanaugh was the man that forced her on a bed, tried to remove her clothes, and covered her mouth with his hand to keep her from screaming. Even Fox News found her testimony compelling and harmful to Kavanaugh’s chances.

Desperate to keep from being seen in the same light they were after the 1991 Clarence Thomas hearings where they attacked the woman (Anita Hill) making claims of sexual harassment. They selected a female attorney with a background of prosecuting sex crimes, who didn’t attack Ford, allowing her to tell her story. At the end of her testimony, Dr. Ford told a compelling story that reached women across the country. People wondered how Brett Kavanaugh could possibly respond?

We learned his strategy during his opening statement. He picked the role of the angry, white male. Upset that he saw the career position he’d worked toward for a lifetime… slipping away. He spouted conspiracy theories, he blamed the Clinton’s, he obfuscated and didn’t answer questions. He attacked the Democrat Senators questioning his alcohol use. In showing his barely controlled rage, he showed the nation just what a man capable of sexual assault and gang rape looks like. Every suggestion that everyone that knows him would never believe him capable of doing the things of which he’s been accused, saw the real Mark Kavanaugh for the first time. Guzzling only water instead of beer as he transformed.

In the age of Trump, Republicans saw Kavanaugh’s rage as “fighting back,” with President Trump proud of his performance and Republican Senators on the committee rallying behind him. None of them, however… are women. It may well be that the Committee votes to send his nomination to the full Senate, hoping that every Republican including the few females, vote to approve Kavanaugh and place him on the Supreme Court? They do so at their own peril because America, especially America’s female population, has seen him angry, and it’s not a good look.

The Mixed Messages of Bill Cosby, Brett Kavanaugh, and Donald Trump

Bill Cosby was just sentenced to the maximum sentence allowed after the judge in the case, Stephen T. O’Neil, consolidated the three felonies he was convicted of into one, fairly standard for Pennsylvania. He sentenced Cosby to 3–10 years which will be served in State prison, also declaring Cosby was a Sexually Violent Predator (SVP) and a continuing threat to the public despite being 81 years old and virtually blind.

Bill Cosby has been accused by over sixty women of having drugged them and having various degrees of sexual contact with them ranging from rape to digital penetration to other forms of sexual assault. The victim in this case, Andrea Constand was the only woman whose rape in 2004 was within the statute of limitations, had she not prevailed in the earlier trial. Cosby would be a free man, although several civil suits are still pending against Cosby for slander and defamation of character.

Many of Cosby’s accusers were present at the sentencing, some had testified at his trial as “prior bad act witnesses.” They gathered outside the courthouse in a pouring rain giving statements like, “this proves no man is above the law,” and, “finally, justice for women,” and, “women are going to be listened to from now on.” One woman felt “liberated,” saying, “there is justice.” Gloria Allred, attorney for several of the woman said, “women are finally getting justice.” Yet, we know through other public cases, justice is situational, not applying to Brett Kavanaugh or Donald Trump.

At the same moment as cameras were lined up in the hallway of the courthouse to glimpse Bill Cosby being led away in handcuffs and outside to see him driven off to state prison. Brett Kavanaugh is preparing for a Thursday Senate hearing where he’s expected to deny charges of sexual assault and attempted rape. Kavanaugh is seeking recommendation by the Senate Judiciary Committee for an open Supreme Court Justice seat, to be followed by a confirmation vote by the entire Senate. In his case, there is little interest in justice, and the women are literally not being heard as the Senate will not allow any corroborating witnesses to back up the story of Dr. Christine Blasey Ford about an event that transpired while they were in high school together. Ford alleges Kavanaugh with the assistance of his good friend, Mark Judge, pulled her into a room and attempted to pull off her clothes, covering her mouth to muffle her screams while Judge turned up the music. The eleven white male Republicans who sit on the Judiciary Committee have no interest in hearing from Judge who was in the room. They will not hear from other witnesses who heard about the event contemporaneously. They don’t even want to be seen asking tough questions of Dr. Ford and assaulting her character. Instead, they are hiding behind the skirts of a female staff lawyer who will do their dirty work.

Since the initial allegation by Dr. Ford, another accuser has come forward, this time a Yale classmate. Deborah Ramirez says Kavanaugh assaulted her at a party, pulling out his penis, putting it in her face and causing her to unwillingly touch it as she pushed him away. She named several witnesses to the event or that heard of it contemporaneously. Deborah did not come forward on her own, she was contacted by reporters that got wind of several Yale students discussing it on the Internet. The Senate has shown no interest thus far in hearing from Deborah Ramirez, they only want to vote, using their majority to push through the nomination, “plow through” in the words of Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell. President Trump has had a few words to say about the second accuser. He calls her story, “totally unsubstantiated” despite the number of witnesses. Trump says Ramirez was, “totally drunk,” forgetting that Kavanaugh was alleged to have been drunk during the incidents with Ford and Ramirez.

There are additional allegations as well. Attorney Michael Avenatti says he has a client who will come forward before Thursday’s Senate hearing with stories about Kavanaugh and Judge. He implies they arranged parties at Washington area homes where girls were given drugs and/or alcohol and boys gang-raped them, running “trains” on the girls. Kavanaugh writes in his 1983 yearbook of the Keg Club for which he was treasurer, “100 Kegs or Bust.” He writes about a woman he suggests he had sex with, along with several other classmates in the book. Despite all the allegations against Kavanaugh, it appears there will be no investigation, no corroborating witnesses in the Senate hearing. No additional accusers heard from, and Kavanaugh will be given a lifetime appointment to the Supreme Court. While Bill Cosby is still in an SUV on the way to prison. Kavanaugh faces no criminal charges, the worst currently contemplated is that he doesn’t get appointed to the Supreme Court but stays a Federal Judge with a lifetime appointment. What will he think about when he ends today’s practice session and watches Cosby on the news?

Back to Trump… Donald J. Trump has been accused by 19 separate women of charges ranging from rape of a 13-year-old girl to sexual assault, to sexual harassment. He’s facing possible charges related to FEC campaign finance violations associated with his payoffs of a porn star and a Playboy Playmate. He’s bragged of sexual assault, saying he can just kiss women and “grab ’em by the pussy.” An ex-wife once accused him of rape. Most of this was known before he was elected President, and people didn’t care. He has never met a Republican accused of a sex crime he didn’t support. From the biggest soapbox in the nation, he never believes the women, finding them not credible for doing what women do, not immediately reporting their assaults for the verifiable reason that they won’t be believed, among others.

While cheers are still ringing in a Pennsylvania courtroom where Cosby was sentenced to 3–10 years in prison. It’s way too soon to declare victory for #MeToo. Bill Cosby is rich and famous, well-known for his philanthropy. His image as a family man supplemented by the role he played on tv, Cliff Huxtable. There’s hope for #MeToo to see this type of man receive jail time for his crimes. But how many others have gone to jail? What of the messages being sent by the United States Senate and the President of the United States who say don’t believe the women, they were confused or mistaken? Or those that outright call them liars, part of a Democrat plot.

For justice to matter, it can’t be just an occasional thing. What applies to Cosby should apply to Kavanaugh, Trump, Weinstein, and all others where credible evidence is found and presented against them. The concern can’t only be for the future of the man and the impact on their life. If we’ve learned nothing else, it’s that these events stay with the women forever. Until the culture changes, and those that justify, excuse, or ignore bad behavior, pay a penalty for doing so. The behavior will continue. Can it really be the only high profile person prosecuted, convicted and sentenced is the black man? That sends a message as well.

The Arrogance of Old, White Men

Make no mistake, every decision related to the hearing about Judge Brett Kavanaugh’s sexual assault claim has been made by old, white men. They gather in small rooms, away from the public eye, worried about the “optics” of what they do as they make decisions that reflect their interests.

They are concerned about the appearance of flexibility when in reality none exists. They speak of fairness in public, yet in small groups, they reveal their intent. To put Kavanaugh on the Supreme Court with no concern for what testimony will reveal. Mitch McConnell (76) said, “In the very near future, Judge Kavanaugh will be on the U.S. Supreme Court. So, my friends, keep the faith. Don’t get rattled by all this. We’re going to plow right through it and do our job.” Chuck Grassley (85) the chairman of the Senate Judiciary Committee, talks about his willingness to compromise yet has imposed several arbitrary deadlines he insists Dr. Christine Blasey Ford adhere to while denying the reasonable and standard request that the allegations be investigated before the hearing as they were for Anita Hill. He also stipulated that no additional witnesses be heard besides Dr. Ford and Brett Kavanaugh.

That’s extremely unusual as there was another person available who was alleged to have been in the room and participated. Mark Judge, who’s written a book about his “blackout drinking and culture of partying” at Georgetown Prep which he attended with Kavanaugh. In his book in which he didn’t use real names, he described a “Bart O’Kavanaugh” who “puked in a car,” and “passed out on his way back from a party.” Both sound capable of the falling-down drunk behavior described in Christine Ford’s allegation. Judge says he has no recollection of the event and will not testify. Grassley sees no need to subpoena him and see what he has to say under oath.

Donald Trump (72) was remarkably restrained for the first several days while this played out. Then he reverted to form with a tweet doubting Dr. Ford’s credibility, “I have no doubt that, if the attack on Dr. Ford was as bad as she says, charges would have been immediately filed with local Law Enforcement Authorities by either her or her loving parents.” Trump who technically would have had to order the FBI to investigate her claim of attempted rape, refused to do so, offering no explanation. It’s worthy to mention that Trump himself faces 19 separate allegations of sexual harassment, assault. and rape.

The eleven, mostly old, all-white men that represent the Republicans on the Judiciary Committee, are worried about how they will look when trying to destroy the credibility of Dr. Ford without just like they did when attacking Anita Hill in 1991. They are literally trying to hide behind the skirts of a female staff lawyer to do the questioning, avoiding the video replays of their misogyny and sexism as they claim she was confused or had misremembered. Their plan is to hear out Dr. Ford, then listen to Kavanaugh’s protests of innocence. They will do worse than not believe the woman. Some will actually believe her and not care, voting to confirm Kavanaugh anyway.

One young, white man, Garrett Ventry (29), will no longer be leading the public relations effort to confirm Kavanaugh. He just resigned after allegations of his own sexual harassment and falsifying his resume caught up with him. He was let go after a few months working for North Carolina House Majority Leader John Bell (R). He apparently didn’t get a bad reference, moving up to work for Sen. Grassley. He went from leading the effort to resigning with the Committee calling him, “temporary staff.” Grassley said Ventry, “denied allegations of misconduct.”

It is the arrogance of these men, accustomed to being catered to, that will push them as McConnell said, to “plow right through it.” Because they are arrogant, they will not consider the women watching them, aware that for all the pretenses, the woman was neither truly heard nor believed. There was no investigation and the truth was a casualty of political expediency. Their age and their whiteness leaving them buffered and unaware of the privilege that protects them. When the vote goes to the full Senate, they may convince the few Republican female Senators to follow the Party line and go along, ignoring Trump’s vow to take away a woman’s right to control her body and Kavanaugh’s implied promise to do the same. Trump promised anyone he nominated would do away with Roe v. Wade. For once he can be taken at his word.

Normally, there is little consequence when politicians do what they normally do, voting in the interests of those that fund their campaigns and ignoring the people. Kavanaugh is the least popular Supreme Court nominee since Robert Bork, with a 34% approval rating. More importantly, those opposing Kavanaugh are the same people needed to help Republicans keep the Senate, with most already assuming the House a lost cause. It’s very possible the tactics used to save this nominee, will cause them to lose the Senate. The women who know Christine Ford got no investigation, a partisan hearing, and no justice, will not forget. And the arrogant, old, white men, will bear the consequences, along with the Party that enables them. Then Democrat’s, now controlling now the House and Senate, can do what’s required to start restoring this nation. #Impeachment

%d bloggers like this: