Tuesday, October 2, 2018

They Just Don't Care (Updated)

My apologies for not having anything up on Monday and most of Tuesday. I was out of town and/or otherwise occupied up until Tuesday night when I just didn’t have enough available brain cells to bang out this post.

The funny thing is, I’ve had it written in my head since Thursday when I followed the Ford/Kavanaugh hearings online. I’m going off my notes today, and I’m sure you’ll recognize some of the points that have come up elsewhere in the meantime. Such is the danger of blogging on a subject five days after the fact.
Obviously, to anyone who hadn’t predetermined whose side they were on, Dr. Ford was a highly credible witness. She told her story to the best of her recollection, was specific on the salient points, and remained calm, polite and ever-anxious to be “helpful.”

The biggest chip was that she knew who Kavanaugh was long before the incident. He was someone she knew, therefore, conjecture about him being the wrong guy is a desperate bit of misdirection.

The Republican leadership hired a female prosecutor to ask all the questions, in a lame attempt to prevent the optics of a bunch of old white men questioning a female sexual assault victim. (Using some active female senators apparently never crossed their minds.) But you could see that the prosecutor, while never addressing the meat of her testimony, (what happened in the room), sought to elicit admissions that she or Sen Feinstein leaked the original letter of complaint, or that Democrats or liberal donors paid for her legal counsel and for the polygraph test. None of that was true.

The issue that frosted my ass the most, throughout the entire day, was how people were making the argument that because there were peripheral issues of which she couldn’t recall the details, that must mean she’s lying. Which is complete bullshit.

Evidence abounds that victims of such assaults frequently block out extraneous details about the night in question. So they may not remember who was in what room, or how they got home, or the date it happened or the day of the week, or who said what, when. But that doesn’t mean they don’t remember the primary issue… the assault itself.

I immediately came up with a prime example. I’ve told the story before about the time I took a header down the steps of the Bowling Green Armory, at my buddy’s wedding reception, while trying to move a keg out of the hall.

I know the basics of the story… how I got there, why I was FUBAR, why I tried to help, and what happened to me.

I don’t know the date or the day of the week. I know maybe 4 people who witnessed my epic tumble, but I don’t know who was still in the hall, or who else was even at the event. I don’t know the route my mom used to go home. I don’t know what I had for dinner that night, or who I danced with.

And despite the fact that I know exactly what happened to me in that moment because it was seared into my brain, a prosecutor could have a field day with all the peripheral details. And no matter how many contradictions they could draw out, it wouldn’t change a single thing about whether or not I fell down some stairs.

That’s one story. I’d have hundreds more, even including ones where I wasn’t drunk, that demonstrate the same principle. And anyone who wasn’t there, trying to infer that they didn’t happen, would be in for a righteous ration of shit.

All the alleged inconsistencies are giant “red herrings,” designed to make people question the truthfulness of the witness. And they have to do it that way because she knows what happened to her and her story cannot be shaken, not without waterboarding, anyway.

Kavanaugh later testified that the three other people Dr. Ford says were in the house deny knowing anything about the assault. This is a point that’s been echoed continuously.

Dr. Ford testified that the rest of the people at the house were sitting around in the main room, having some drinks, having a completely ordinary evening. After the assault, she left the house without being seen. So, OF COURSE NO ONE ELSE KNOWS ABOUT THE ASSAULT BECAUSE THEY WEREN’T IN THE ROOM AND NEVER SAW HER LEAVE!

That doesn’t mean it never happened. That’s a primo logical fallacy right there… “I never saw it happen therefore it couldn’t have happened.” That’s ridiculous. All kinds of shit happens under the radar with no one knowing about it. It’s not even a rarity.

To the rest of the crowd, it was just another quiet evening hanging out, just like the many that came before it and the many that followed. That’s why when questioned, they said, “We don’t remember any party where there was an assault.”

Growing up, I had a handful of people over to hang out in our Barn dozens of times. We’d sit around, listen to some music and drink some beers and shoot the breeze. This was a regular occurrence. Now, if someone left the Barn and attacked someone out by the pond, I wouldn’t know anything about it. In fact, I’d be shocked. And 30 years later, I’d have no idea at which gathering it occurred.

But that wouldn’t mean it didn’t happen.

This is the dance the Republicans are trying to do, to trick you into blaming the victim.

During breaks in the testimony, CSPANN was taking calls. It was like reading the comments section of an online news story. (Any story, it doesn’t matter, devolves into lowest common denominator political bullshit.) The stupid was strong with these callers.

Caller 1: She can’t be trusted, she’s clearly lying.
Host: What is she lying about.
Caller 1: I don’t know, you can just tell.

Caller 1 is probably just parroting what he heard on Fox “News,” and people hear what they want to hear. The guy was probably a card-carrying misogynist who never sought a woman’s opinion of whom he didn’t beat it out.

Caller 2: She wasn’t even raped! What’s the big deal?

Unbelievable. How about this, Caller 2? Let’s say someone brandishes a red-hot poker and lays on you, trying to claw your clothes off, while clamping his hand over your mouth. He tells you he’s gonna use it. You believe him that he’s gonna use it. He and his buddy laugh at your terror and turn up the music to cover your muffled squeals. Then somehow you get away.

Still think it’s NBD because you “didn’t get raped?”

It’s always “no big deal” when it happens to someone else. But we shouldn’t be surprised. Republicans don’t recognize empathy.

Caller 3: I don’t believe her testimony because it sounded too scripted.

Right. We all knew the “prosecutor” was going to try to trip her up on mundane details and you think she hasn’t fully honed and rehearsed her statement? Of course she has. But that doesn’t make the statement any less true.

Caller 4: The hand over her mouth should have been more memorable than the sound of the two guys laughing.

Seriously, you’re in the position to know what a stranger would find memorable? And she’s a bad witness because what traumatized her is insufficient to you? Again, with the total lack of empathy.

She never said the laughter was the only thing; just that it was one of the things that she remembers the most clearly. And I don’t find that far-fetched at all.

Throughout the Kavanaugh testimony, (and I won’t even bother with his whiny, arrogant, spoiled-jock-who’s-not-getting-his-way attitude), the Republicans harped on the process; about how the Democrats hid the information and who paid for it, and a bunch of other unsubstantiated accusations. But criticizing the process in which information comes to light, AGAIN, does not make the information any less true.

Let’s talk about the famous calendars. By this time, we already know that Kavanaugh lied about what some of the terms meant. They were not pretty. But the lack of an entry for this particular event does not mean it didn’t happen. And there are plenty of other statements that contradict his testimony that he only drank on the weekends. His own buddy wrote about it in his book.

Now, I get that he maintained a pocket planning calendar. You know what? I did too. I ran my entire college life from a day by day planner. Every homework assignment, school event, hot date, work shift and deadline were entered into my calendar. I even went so far as to note how much I drank on a given night, or what my girlfriend and I did that night. (I had a series of symbols, in case the calendar fell into nefarious hands.) And of course I kept my calendars. (Seriously, how could anyone toss away a record of four years of one’s life? You never know when it’s going to come in handy. That’s how I knew exactly how old I was when I lost my virginity,when it was time to tell the story.)

Yes, I had parties in it too. BUT! Not all of them… only the ones I knew about in advance and planned to attend. I also attended other gatherings on the fly if I was out and about. If I was just going over to a friend’s house to hang, it never went in the calendar. It wasn’t that noteworthy… just us hangin’ out.

Therefore, it is perfectly plausible that Kavanaugh and his friend Judge attended this casual gathering when they heard about it, and it never made it into the famous calendar. It’s not really that complicated. Dr. Ford testified that they were far drunker than anyone else at the house. I’d bet they were out drinking on their own and then just stopped by (or were invited).

I can’t believe how easy it was for him to lie about the yearbook stuff too. All those mentions of drinking beer and getting hammered were just a big joke? Right. That cigar is totally a cigar. And I feel bad for that poor Renate. There’s no question this “Renate Alumnius” stuff is nothing but a “Been There and Done Her” club. Where were the yearbook advisors on this? I guess no one cared about “slut-shaming” in the 80s.

Through the whole hearing, you could see that the Republicans were desperately seeking a fig leaf they could use for cover so they could vote in one of “their guys” without repercussions. All they need was plausible deniability. I thought they had it too until Senator Flake grew a pair and withheld his vote unless we got an FBI investigation.

The amount of information coming out of the woodwork is amazing. Not that I expect it will lead to much. I don’t think the FBI is conducting too thorough of an investigation… just enough to cast a glimmer of doubt upon the lying slut… I mean, the good doctor. Republicans want the appearance of an investigation, but they sure as hell aren’t prepared to deal with bad news.

They know Dr. Ford is telling the truth. They’re just not prepared to do anything that dilutes their power.
Maybe the Democrats did sit on the story until it could do them the most good. I don’t have a problem with that. And any time Republicans want to complain about Supreme Court nominee obstruction, we can just scream at them, “MERRICK GARLAND.”

They destroyed any modicum of bipartisanship in the process by depriving a consensus nominee even a hearing, for 10 months. They don’t get to complain about it when someone uses the tactics that they’ve already wielded.

The Democrats have to stall for time until the election is over. That’s the only hope of getting a reasonable nominee. Because even if Kavanaugh goes down, the Republicans will just go back to the “short list,” as provided by the Federalist Society, and come up with another white male who will rule the same way as Kavanaugh on every issue.

Roe? Gone.

Same-sex marriage? Sent back to the states, protections stripped.

Unlimited dark money in politics? The more the merrier.

Voter suppression? Full throttle.

It all kind of sounds like a prequel to the Hunger Games. Coming to a dystopian theater near you.

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