As Thursday’s hearing makes clear, we have a long way to go. All too many entitled white males seem to be able to ignore or minimize the testimony of women victims of male assaults whenever it is politically expedient. And yesterday’s GOP performance may well spell doom for the GOP…at least with women.Retake Our Democracy on KSFR 101.1FM. Today at 8:30am. I am interviewing Ed Archuleta Director of St. Elizabeth’s Homeless Shelters. A fascinating discussion of what we do and don’t do for homeless individuals and families….and what more we could do. Tune in.
Protest the Abomination. It feels like we need a collective hug. Saturday, 10:30am. Roundhouse. This has been an incredibly difficult week for so many people – so many friends and acquaintances are hurting. I myself don’t know how to process my rage alone so, on Saturday 9/29 I am going to sit outside the Roundhouse (Santa Fe) from 10:30am to give hugs and talk to anyone who wants to come by to rage, to cry, to sit, to stomp, to sing, to recite poetry, to share, to be.
The Democratic Party’s Weekend of Action starts today and They are still 28 volunteers short. I know that you’re busy, but the work to be done this weekend will lay the groundwork for victory in November. Research shows that the best way to get people to vote is by having one-on-one conversations with them about the issues, especially in the weeks before Election Day. With only 22 days until early voting starts and 39 days until Election Day, the Party can’t talk to all of our potential voters in Santa Fe without your help. Can we count on you to lend a hand this weekend? Santa Fe New Mexico for All HQ, 2006 Botulph Rd, 2nd floor Santa Fe, NM 87505. Click below to RSVP so they can cut enough routes.
Journey Santa Fe. Sunday, 11am, Collected Works, 202 Galisteo. A quick reminder that Roxanne and I will be discussing what we found on our 100 day, 10,000 mile Look, Listen and Learn Road Trip. Hope you can make it. Check it out.
Opportunity to sample some authentic local Pozole at Earth Care.
GOP Turns Its Back on Women. Again. And Forever
I had prepared this blog on Friday morning before Sen. Flake said he would not support the Kavanaugh nomination without an FBI investigation and before other GOP Senators also made the same demand. Trump has relented and has ordered an FBI probe to last no more than one week. Not only is that enough time for the FBI to interview the myriad of witnesses that corroborate Blasey Ford’s charges, but to examine the charges brought by Ramirez and Swetnick. It is also time for constituents to apply enormous pressure on GOP Senators. After reading this post, I think you will agree there can be but two results: Kavanaugh is rejected as a nominee for the Supreme Court or the GOP is exposed as being utterly and irrevocably unwilling to respect the rights and the word of women. With that, I offer my analysis of Thursday’s hearing and of our own local pundit, Milan Simonich’s views.
I have often had issues with Milan Simonich’s coverage of late, but Friday’s ‘analysis’ of the Blasey Ford testimony and Kavanaugh hearing and his attempt to compare Blasey Ford to a 20 year old Chicago rape case was so simplistic and unfair that I almost couldn’t finish reading it. His rendering on Blasey Ford read like he had bought the GOP party line on the hearing completely.and was willing to entirely discount one of the most compelling testimonies I have ever seen. And so, his analysis is worth considering, as it sheds light on the perspective of all too many white males in positions of influence.
Simonich reiterated the GOP claim that Blasey Ford’s charges were completely without corroboration, despite there having been entered into the record accounts from her therapist, her husband and two friends, reporting that Ford had told each of them about the assault, specifically detailing when and where it happened and that the perpetrator was a high ranking Federal judge. That seems like pretty strong corroboration to me. To disbelieve Blasey Ford requires you to think she brought this up with her husband and her therapist over ten years ago and with her two friends well before Kavanaugh was nominated, just so that some time in the future she could get him. If you watched even five minutes of her testimony you couldn’t help but recognize her authenticity. This was not a woman who had carefully plotted to get Brett Kavanaugh; it was a woman in anguish publicly testifying about her private humiliation.
Yet, after presumably watching the hearing testimony, Simonich concluded: “History tells us that believing anyone without corroborating evidence is dangerous.” Simonich seems to have a short memory. On July 28 Simonich opened his opinion piece with: “Case closed.” He was referring to Laura Bonar’s harassment charges against Rep.Carl Trujillo. He had previously written that this was a he-said, she-said case and that it was highly political, i.e. a woman’s testimony is not enough. Corroboration is required. Never mind that two female colleagues of Bonar’s had corroborated her story. But now Gene Grant, a man and friend of Simonich’s, had stepped forward and testified that he had been a live-in partner of Bonar’s at the time of the harassment. He corroborated Bonar’s claims by indicating that she had been deeply disturbed by the harassment and it had been a dominant topic at home for weeks. “Case closed.” And one would think that Simonich would reach the same conclusion in relation to Blasey Ford.
What about the husband, the therapist and the two friends who provided statements affirming Blasey Ford’s charges? Is that not corroboration? But Simonich didn’t stop with questioning the lack of corroboration of Blasey’s claims–or at least his own failure to recognize the exact same form of corroboration he valued enough in relation to Laura Bonar to exult: “Case closed.” No, Simonich went on with a lengthy comparison of Blasey Ford with a case in Chicago involving Gary Dotson. Dotson had been falsely accused of rape by a teenager who had become pregnant by her boyfriend, feared for her parents reaction and concocted a rape, even using a broken bottle to carve into her own flesh as part of the alleged ‘rape’. She picked Gary Dotson out of a slew of police photos and he was convicted of rape, spending 10 years in prison before DNA evidence exonerated him.
There is so much wrong with this comparison it is hard to believe a journalist could write it and a newspaper could publish it. Blasey Ford had absolutely no reason to bring up her charges other than to do her civic duty, as she stated. She was NOT escaping from the scrutiny of others, she was opening the door to floodlight’s of scrutiny. Her coming forward has created enormous problems for her, having to move twice, enduring death threats and public scrutiny. How does this compare to a desperate, immature teenager who was fearful of her religious parents reaction to her pregnancy? Quite simply, there is no relevance.
But Simonich focused mostly upon Blasey Ford’s testimoney and two people testified on Thursday. And as compelling as Blasey Ford’s testimony was, Kavanaugh’s was equally revealing. To my mind, throughout his personal statement and response to questions, he demonstrated precisely the belligerence and bullying ways that many friends have spoken of when he drank to excess. During his personal statement it appeared that he might breakdown completely he was so lacking in emotional control and his anger was visible throughout the hearing, something Donald Trump, the modicum of leadership and decorum applauded, but is hardly the demeanor one expects from a nominee for the Supreme Court appearing before the Senate.
Kavanaugh revealed himself as feeling utterly entitled to the Supreme Court because he had worked hard in high school and college, he’d been a good clerk, he had friends who thought he was a great guy. So how could you begin to believe that he had a dark side? All too many women can attest that a man with a seemingly professional, even gentle nature can also be a sexual predator. Apparently the 11 GOP members of the Judicial Committee have absorbed that reality and they repeatedly extolled his virtues as a good student, a good clerk, a good husband.
Yet in the hearing, Kavanaugh interrupted female Senators frequently, twice rudely challenging Senator Klobuchar about her drinking habits despite her just having discussed her having lived with an alcoholic father. When he was questioned about his drinking he responded to with comments like: I drank beer, I still like beer, but I was captain of the football team, I studied hard, I kept a calendar. In his opening statement, he stated unequivocally that he welcomed any investigation but when Democratic Senators offered multiple opportunities for him to ask for an FBI investigation his non-responses were “I am telling the truth” spoken in a pitch that revealed an anger at his even being questioned. White men of privilege are not accustomed to being challenged.
But while Simonich was umoved by the hearing, apparently many others have stepped forward to demand a full investigation and a halt to the confirmation hearings. The American Bar Association whose letter of recommendation Kavanaugh touted in the hearing, has asked for the FBI to investigate. The Dean of Law at Yale (Kavanaugh’s law school) has asked for a criminal investigation of Kavanaugh’s behavior. And apparently a growing number of Yale classmates were appalled by his dissembling in the hearing. .
From a Newsweek report, Lynne Brookes, a classmate of Kavanaugh’s at Yale was furious over his characterization of his behavior at Yale. And apparently she was not alone, as she reported to Newsweek that her email and text lines were flooded with classmates who were in disbelief of how Kavanaugh downplayed his drunkenness and belligerence. From Newsweek: “ ‘There is no doubt in my mind that while at Yale he was a big partier, often drank to excess,’ she said. ‘And there had to be a number of nights where he does not remember. In fact, I was witness to the night that he got tapped into that fraternity, and he was stumbling drunk in a ridiculous costume saying really dumb things. And I can almost guarantee that there’s no way that he remembers that night….There were a lot of emails and a lot of texts flying around about how he was lying to the Senate Judiciary Committee today,” Brookes continued.
Brookes also appeared MSNB and told Chris Cuomo that she had drank to “excess many nights with Brett Kavanaugh” and spoke about a particular incident in which the Supreme Court nominee and a friend allegedly barged into a room “where a guy and girl had gone off together and embarrassed that woman….They thought it was funny. The girl was mortified,” she said, before accusing Kavanaugh of “blatant lying. Click here to read the full Newsweek Report article. And below is the full video of her comments on MSNBC. Click here to view the Lynne Brookes’ video interview with Chris Cuomo
I don’t know how Simonich came away feeling that Kavanaugh should sail through the confirmation process given all that we know. But I am becoming increasingly confident, that despite the approval of 11 GOP white males, at least two or three GOP Senators will rebel and not affirm the nomination. Instead of bemoaning Blasey Ford as offering up uncorroborated, and apparently to Simonich valueless testimony, she should be viewed as the selfless hero that she is and was. And now that Trump has relented and ordered an investigation, we will have time to see if any of the GOP Senators have the character to call a sexual assault what it is and to call out Kavanaugh as a liar, or whether it remains boys will be boys and what happens at Georgetown Prep or Yale, stays at Georgetown Prep or Yale. Have we made any progress since the Anita Hill embarrassment. Stay tuned. Hope to see you at the Roundhouse at 10:30.
To read Simonich’s reporting on the Blasey Ford testimony and the Kavanaugh hearing and decide for yourself, click here.
Paul & Roxanne