[Late breaking: Monica Youngblood guilty of Aggravated DWI.] Anita Hill commented recently that she felt we had learned much from #metoo and that charges of sexual assault would be taken more seriously. Maybe among most of America, but the GOP and its despicable President are doubling down on Kavanaugh. We must make them pay.
Rep. Monica Youngblood, NM House GOP Dist. 68. Already locked into a tight general election challenge against Karen Bash, Youngblood’s attorneys did all they could to avoid a judge trial, twice seeking jury trials, only to be denied. During the hearing her attorneys argued that the case was riddled with holes. But the prosecution played the 45-minute video of Youngblood stumbling through the alphabet and mere counting and finding walking in a straight line challenging and then heard from the arresting officer who said it was a “open and shut” DWI case. The judge agreed and sentencing is Oct. 3. Youngblood faces a minimum of 2 days in jail and hundreds of dollars in fines. Moreover, the hard-on-crime GOP Representative must face voters with the video of her trying to influence the arresting officer and coax her into getting off. Not good campaign material. Click here to read the New Mexican report. This is a race we could win. Click here to access the 2018 Retake Our Democracy Voters Action Guide with information on 11 House races, along with info on other statewide and national races.
Retake Our Democracy at Journey Santa Fe, Sun., Sept. 30, 11am-Noon, Collected Works Bookstore, 202 Galisteo St., Santa Fe. Roxanne and I will describe our 10-week, 10,000-mile summer road trip, a journey to discover and learn from successful innovators in local social and economic justice initiatives that could be replicated in NM. Hear what we learned and explore what we can do here.
We will discuss what prompted the trip and the lessons learned from community leaders who have created effective policies and programs related to worker justice, grassroots participatory democracy, green affordable housing within community land trusts, and permanent housing for the chronically homeless. Hear about projects in Austin, Jackson, Madison, Rochester, Cleveland, Buffalo, and more. Learn which models may be most appropriate to New Mexico cities and the steps needed to advocate for and advance these programs. Paul will also speak briefly about Retake Our Democracy’s 2018 Mid-Term Election Voter’s Action Guide and how you can become involved in tipping-point NM races.
We Have a Long, Long Way to Go: Women’s Charges Dismissed by GOP
This whole story sounds oddly familiar. Remember Laura Bonar and her claims that Rep. Carl Trujillo sexually harassed her at the Roundhouse? Among Trujillo supporters, there was a knee-jerk response that essentially came down to: he’s been good to our District OR he had a security clearance OR why did she wait so long to raise the issue Or it’s all a conspiracy of Democratic Party leadership. And just as it was then, my reaction today is that it is very rare for a woman to falsely bring these charges and that very often women will not bring charges or will not do so at the time of the offense precisely because of fear of not being believed. Well here we go again, only now we are not talking about an election to a two-year term to the Roundhouse but a lifetime term to the highest court in the land. We have to do better here.
Below you will find excerpts and commentary from the New Yorker magazine in a report that covers the Kavanaugh charges, leveled by both Christine Blasey Ford and Deborah Ramirez. In late breaking news, four individuals have now signed sworn testimony corroborating Blasey Ford’s charges: all four were told of the assault years before, and in each instance Blasey Ford specified that the person who assaulted her was a Federal judge. It will be interesting indeed to see how the GOP Senators ignore this testimony. Click here to read the full report on the corroborating evidence.
From the New Yorker Magazine: “She [Ramirez] recalled that the party took place in a suite at Lawrance Hall, in the part of Yale known as Old Campus, and that a small group of students decided to play a drinking game together. ‘We were sitting in a circle,’ she said. ‘People would pick who drank.’ Ramirez was chosen repeatedly, she said, and quickly became inebriated. At one point, she said, a male student pointed a gag plastic penis in her direction. Later, she said, she was on the floor, foggy and slurring her words, as that male student and another stood nearby. (Ramirez identified the two male onlookers, but, at her request, The New Yorker is not naming them.)”
“A third male student then exposed himself to her. ‘I remember a penis being in front of my face,’ she said. ‘I knew that’s not what I wanted, even in that state of mind.’ She recalled remarking, ‘That’s not a real penis,’ and the other students laughing at her confusion and taunting her, one encouraging her to ‘kiss it.’ ”
She recalled another male student shouting about the incident. “Somebody yelled down the hall, ‘Brett Kavanaugh just put his penis in Debbie’s face,’” she said. “It was his full name. I don’t think it was just ‘Brett.’ And I remember hearing and being mortified that this was out there.”
More from the New Yorker: “A classmate of Ramirez’s, who declined to be identified because of the partisan battle over Kavanaugh’s nomination, said that another student told him about the incident either on the night of the party or in the next day or two. The classmate said that he is ‘one-hundred-per-cent sure’ that he was told at the time that Kavanaugh was the student who exposed himself to Ramirez. He independently recalled many of the same details offered by Ramirez, including that a male student had encouraged Kavanaugh as he exposed himself. The classmate, like Ramirez, recalled that the party took place in a common room on the first floor in Entryway B of Lawrance Hall, during their freshman year. ‘I’ve known this all along,’ he said. ‘It’s been on my mind all these years when his name came up. It was a big deal.’ ”
The New Yorker goes on with commentary from the same student above who recalled being told of the incident: “The classmate said that he had been shocked, but not necessarily surprised, because the social group to which Kavanaugh belonged often drank to excess. He recalled Kavanaugh as “relatively shy” until he drank, at which point he said that Kavanaugh could become “aggressive and even belligerent.”
Another classmate, Richard Oh, an emergency-room doctor in California, recalled overhearing, soon after the party, a female student tearfully recounting to another student an incident at a party involving a gag with a fake penis, followed by a male student exposing himself. Oh is not certain of the identity of the female student. Ramirez told her mother and sister about an upsetting incident at the time, but did not describe the details to either due to her embarrassment.
Mark Krasberg, an assistant professor of neurosurgery at the University of New Mexico who was also a member of Kavanaugh and Ramirez’s class at Yale, said Kavanaugh’s college behavior had become a topic of discussion among former Yale students soon after Kavanaugh’s nomination.”
Other students who didn’t attend the party but who knew Kavanaugh say this kind of behavior is inconsistent with their knowledge of Kavanaugh’s character. But even Kavanaugh’s freshman roommate sent a letter to the media indicating that based upon his good knowledge of Ramirez, he could not imagine her making this up. And based upon his knowledge of Kavanaugh, he could easily believe he had done this: “although Brett was normally reserved, he was a notably heavy drinker, even by the standards of the time, and he became belligerent and aggressive when he was very drunk.” And Roche described Ramirez as “exceptionally honest, with a trusting manner. Based on my time with Debbie, I believe her to be unusually honest and straightforward and I cannot imagine her making this up,” Roche writes. “Based on my time with Brett, I believe that he and his social circle were capable of the actions that Debbie described.” Though Roche says he does not remember the alleged sexual assault Ramirez has described, he does remember Kavanaugh “frequently drinking excessively and becoming incoherently drunk.”
And then there is Blasey Ford, whose claims are validated by her having described the incident to her therapist years ago without providing the name of the person, just indicating he was a person of great stature. So the GOP asks us to believe that Blasey Ford not only made up her charges but had the presence of mind to make up the story in talking to a therapist years ago. And now this morning breaking news (above) of four friends of Blasey Ford who were told of the incident years ago and in each instance were told that the perpetrator was a sitting Federal judge. How does the GOP proceed with this hearing and consideration of this nomination in the face of this much evidence? It isn’t just that Kavanaugh committed sexual assaults as a young man, but that he has repeatedly lied under oath and in the media about the events.
None of this evidence would be enough to convict Kavanaugh in a court of law. But there is much more than enough evidence to raise concerns, to slow the process, and to allow the FBI to conduct an investigation, as it did in relation to Clarence Thomas. After all, two women have independently come forward, making themselves vulnerable to threats and hurtful scrutiny, with little to gain. Scores of students who knew each of these women are stepping forward to attest for their integrity. And many more who may not have seen an actual event have spoken consistently about Kavanaugh’s persistent drunkenness, his aggressive and bullying behavior when he was drunk. Can we do no better than this in seating a Supreme Court judge for life?!
The New Yorker also provides more details about the alleged incident involving Blasey Ford, including quotes that pretty convincingly dispute Kavanaugh’s friend, Mark Judge, and his claims that this sort of thing did not happen at Georgetown Prep. I’ve read a dozen articles about the charges against Kavanaugh, and the New Yorker is the most thorough, the most detailed, and the most compelling.Click here to read the full New Yorker report.
And what is the GOP’s response? Increasingly hostile verbal assaults on the victims coming from the White House. Quotes from Lindsay Graham and Mitch McConnell that clearly suggest they will go through the motions of a hearing, but that all Senators should stay in town to vote for Kavanaugh and, as McConnell put it, “push this through.” It’s part of a broader pattern of haste that’s played out with the Kavanaugh nomination: Thousands of pages of documents from Kavanaugh’s time in the Bush White House were released the day before his confirmation hearing began at the start of September. Republicans have refused to subpoena Mark Judge to testify along with Ford and Kavanaugh about her allegations, and they have no issue whatsoever with skipping past Ramirez and her claims.
Sen. Lindsey Graham (R-SC) last week pushed hard for the Kavanaugh confirmation process to accelerate. He tweeted on Wednesday it is “imperative” the committee move forward and take a vote “ASAP,” and the next day tweeted that the nomination was “still on track.”
I am eager to see the impact that this process has on women’s level of support for the President and the GOP. But for now, all I can say is that this is a very sad day for our Nation. It seems that there is no limit to how debased and depraved our national leaders can go in the furtherance of the goals of the oligarchy.
Paul & Roxanne