Mr. Justice Rapist

Here is what we know: While in high school, Brett Kavanaugh, who is now 53, got into trouble.

He was at a party in Maryland. He pushed a young woman into a bedroom. He was joined by another young man. They locked the door from the inside. They cranked up the stereo so her screams could not be heard.

Kavanaugh got on top of her. He tried to remove her clothes. He was laughing. He held his hand over her mouth. She feared for her life.

She finally made it out of the bedroom and into a bathroom. Kavanaugh returned to the party. She went home.

She’s been living with it ever since.

Kavanaugh denies everything.

We do not know who she is. She has not sought publicity. She reported her trauma in a private letter to Dianne Feinstein. Feinstein redacted her name before forwarding the letter to the FBI.

Here is what we also know: Kavanaugh knew about the letter. Republicans knew about the letter. The existence of the letter was made public barely twenty-four hours ago. A statement supporting Kavanaugh, signed by 65 women who have known him for at least 35 years — that is, since at least 1983, when he was 18 — was released this morning.

This statement was not composed, circulated and signed overnight. It had been prepared. Prepared by people who knew about the rape.

Let us make a point here: Attempted rape is rape. The assault is the same. You don’t score points by keeping your dick in your pants at the last moment.

Let us make another point: The rape is not something that happened in high school, then ended. It is still happening for the woman. She lives with the memory of it, the details we all know now. She is also Brett Kavanaugh’s age. She has been living with it her entire adult life.

Brett Kavanaugh has not apologized. He has not shown contrition. He has not made amends, whatever that might amount to in a traumatic case like this. He lives with it as well. He is comfortable with it.

Brett Kavanaugh is a rapist, and remains so.

And he is about to be confirmed for a lifetime seat on the Supreme Court.

By people who do not care that he is a rapist.

It wouldn’t be the first time.


@JNOV: Yeah, you can feel this one coming.

The parade of pubescent Catholic school girls during his hearing dialed my Spidey Sense alarm up to 11.

Why the fuck did DiFi sit on this?

And does Chuck Grassley really think we are that stupid? Guy who went to an all-boys Jesuit high school was able to come up with 65 female high school classmates in 18 hours?

It’s a sad hope of mine that more women come forward, as they did with Anita Hill, but this time the Judiciary Committee will allow the women to testify.

@JNOV: The psychology of it is whether Republicans on the committee (and in the Senate) feel safe to ignore it — they’re not all thoroughly soulless cynics like Mitch. They can feel fear.

And lo, here we are in an election season, when folks are paying attention, and can immediately act on their instincts. I haven’t been following the mechanics of the process, but apparently the committee vote was delayed, and the only reason you delay a vote is when you don’t have the votes.

Which brings us to the traditional opposition strategy: Keep delaying the vote. Allow the moment to linger, and the reality to settle in. You can’t delay the vote internally — there aren’t enough Dems — but you can keep the heat on, and make Republicans feel unsafe to rush through it. Especially when some of them are up for re-election in two months, and there’s now a real chance Dems could take the Senate after all. That’s how you feel unsafe. That’s what makes you pause.

And, unlike Trump, you can’t just tweet your way out of it.

@JNOV: And Clarence Thomas? Nominated July 1991. The hearings played out that summer and fall. In an electoral off-year. That luxury isn’t available now. There’s no time for it to blow over.

@JNOV: On the other hand, I can totally see Mitch losing the Senate and pulling a sneak attack before January. That’s how the Clinton impeachment happened.

@nojo: Oh fuck, shit’s going down hard between November and January if Dems win Congress. Republicans are not going to waste their last opportunity to screw the country.

@nojo: Of course they won’t waste a chance. My prediction is that if the Dems actually win the House and Senate back (barring major hacks/terrorist attack in October), then the Republicans will refuse to give up their seats in January.

@SanFranLefty: That’s further than I would go, but everything just short of that. They’re certainly not going to let norms get in their way.

Here’s the list of all of the candidates I’ve donated $ to since May. Did I miss anyone? Any contests looking newly winnable?

Lisa Brown WA-05
Kim Schrier WA-08
Dorothy Gasque WA-03
Christine Brown WA-04
Kyrsten Sinema AZ Senate
Phil Bredesen TN Senate
Beto O’Rourke TX Senate
Jacky Rosen NV Senate
Jared Pettinato MN-01
Andrew Janz CA-22
TJ Cox CA-21
Conor Lamb PA-17
Bill Nelson FL Senate
MJ Hegar TX-31
Colin Allred TX-32
Sharice Davids KS-03
Ammar Campa-Najjar CA-50
Andrew Gillum FL Gov
Stacey Abrams GA Gov
Lupe Valdez TX Gov

Interestingly, 50% of my contributions are to women candidates. I hadn’t planned that, it just happened due to chance. It dovetails nicely with my theory that the only way to fix our politics and society is to elect many more women to office–especially women of color–and achieve gender parity, since racism and misogyny are the core of our nation’s social problems.

@¡Andrew!: I don’t have the numbers handy, but part of that is the extraordinary number of women and minority candidates running for office this year — you throw those money darts, chances are you’re gonna hit one.

Another part of that is why they’re running in the first place: White dudes just aren’t gonna take care of this shit. We totally suck at it. Collectively, we just don’t get it, and never have.

And then you get the politics of it, why they’re running as “progressives” and “socialists”: It just makes fucking sense. That was the joke about Hannity trying to fear-monger with AOC’s bullet points: They weren’t radical at all. They’re all fully within the American tradition of the past century, starting with notorious Marxist Teddy Roosevelt.

And now she has a name: Christine Blasey Ford.

And she’s telling the story in her own words.

What makes this rape, and why I’m not bothering with “attempted”:

“She alleges that Kavanaugh — who played football and basketball at Georgetown Prep — held her down with the weight of his body and fumbled with her clothes, seemingly hindered by his intoxication.”

There’s a metaphor I won’t bother playing out.


WA-03 (my district). Dorothy Gasque did not win the primary, but Carolyn Long might have a real chance.

Jaime Herrera Beutler* R 63,450 42.1%
Carolyn Long D 53,220 35.3
David McDevitt D 12,010 8.0
Earl Bowerman R 8,287 5.5
Dorothy Gasque D 7,128 4.7
Michael Cortney R 5,118 3.4
Martin Hash D 1,390 0.9

* Incumbent

@JNOV: The WaPo story is worth blowing a freebie. Anita Hill is not mentioned, but Ford knows full well the consequences of going public, which is why she submitted her letter in confidentiality.

And she’s only going public now because the letter leaked, reporters have started tracking her down, and those consequences are starting to happen anyway. At that point all you can do is get out there and get out front with it.

@JNOV: I’m very worried about her safety. Character assassination is the least of it with Trump’s kool-aid drinkers.

@JNOV: Long story short, her husband is an unapologetic Tdumbp voter who won’t commit to voting for her. They’ve agreed to disagree. How the hell does that work.

I’ll still donate to her campaign, but we’re gonna have to file this one under “Children, Life is Complicated.”

Flake: “For me, we can’t vote until we hear more.”

I want to be very careful about this. There’s plenty of wiggle room in the phrasing, and it’s not like I trust Jeff Flake to take out the garbage. But he said it, and Kavanaugh’s margin of confirmation is that thin.

Only the bestest are picked by Trump.

What a colossal giant clusterfuck. Typical Trump.

Collins: “I’m a chickenshit, you know? Just a total baseless chickenshit. Please, I’m in a hurry, I have some chickenshitting to attend to.”

No, wait, that’s a paraphrase. My bad.

Bob Corker: Delay “would be best for all involved, including the nominee.”

Right noises, but I don’t trust any of them until they’re faced with the choice itself. They keep getting away with Expressing Concern and doing nothing.

Murkowski: “This is not something that came up during the hearings. The hearings are now over. And if there is real substance to this it demands a response.”

Again, right noises, but I won’t feel safe until I see action.

Action, meaning: Vote canceled or delayed because they don’t have the votes.

@SanFranLefty: Agreed. The press doxxed her. Didn’t even need reddit.

@nojo: I like that tweet.

Once again, Orrin Hatch is a shit mormon penis holder (an exmo play on “priesthood holder”). Dudes are notoriously chauvinistic; a 12-year-old son who has the Aaronic Priesthood can tell his mother what to do. Most mothers are like, “Oh, no, Little Man” but some adhere to the hierarchy. MORmONism is hard on men, too – that has to be said. The strict gender roles and bishop interviews of children fuck up many a person.

@SanFranLefty: She and her family are now in hiding, and she’s had to hire security. I hate that her life is completely fucked and that he will no doubt get to overturn Roe.
I can’t remember a time when I felt something other than rage or hopelessness.

@¡Andrew!: Mike Espy, Dem. candidate for Senate in MS. My friend in Jackson thinks he has a real chance.

Meanwhile, in the flurry of details Tuesday, there appears to be no statute of limitations for attempted rape in Maryland.

@nojo: Nooooooo. Really? Was that law on the books in the ’80s, or is it newish? If it’s newish, I wonder if it’s retroactive.

Who has Westlaw?

Here’s the statute:

2010 Maryland Code
Subtitle 3 – Sexual Crimes
Section 3-307 – Sexual offense in the third degree.
§ 3-307. Sexual offense in the third degree.

(a) Prohibited.- A person may not:

(1) (i) engage in sexual contact with another without the consent of the other; and

(ii) 1. employ or display a dangerous weapon, or a physical object that the victim reasonably believes is a dangerous weapon;

2. suffocate, strangle, disfigure, or inflict serious physical injury on the victim or another in the course of committing the crime;

3. threaten, or place the victim in fear, that the victim, or an individual known to the victim, imminently will be subject to death, suffocation, strangulation, disfigurement, serious physical injury, or kidnapping; or

4. commit the crime while aided and abetted by another;

(2) engage in sexual contact with another if the victim is a mentally defective individual, a mentally incapacitated individual, or a physically helpless individual, and the person performing the act knows or reasonably should know the victim is a mentally defective individual, a mentally incapacitated individual, or a physically helpless individual;

(3) engage in sexual contact with another if the victim is under the age of 14 years, and the person performing the sexual contact is at least 4 years older than the victim;

(4) engage in a sexual act with another if the victim is 14 or 15 years old, and the person performing the sexual act is at least 21 years old; or

(5) engage in vaginal intercourse with another if the victim is 14 or 15 years old, and the person performing the act is at least 21 years old.

(b) Penalty.- A person who violates this section is guilty of the felony of sexual offense in the third degree and on conviction is subject to imprisonment not exceeding 10 years.

@nojo: BINGO

In Maryland, the criminal statute of limitations varies depending on the severity of the offense. The criminal statutes of limitations include:

Felony sexual offenses: no statute of limitations, and

Misdemeanor offenses: one year from the event.

Hmmmm…maybe not 3rd degree. No dangerous weapon. Hold on.

Yes, third degree. No criminal SOL. Someone(s) might be going to jail.

@JNOV: Yeah, that was the chatter today, with input from a Maryland lawyer with 25 years experience. It’s a live case, and Kavanaugh could take the Fifth about it.

@Mistress Cynica: I wish I had something more to offer other than the hope that we’ll get through this, starting with the Blue Wave in November.

I read an essay recently in which the author discussed how our current national crises resemble the Gilded Age of the late 1800s that led directly to the Progressive Era which ran all the way into the 1920s, and how the Great Depression led to the New Deal. This kind of historical context serves as a critical reminder that the country can rebound from horrendous periods in our history.

Until this turns around, our survival strategy is to focus on what’s within our control, and make our little corners of the world better. Our national politics may be a destructive, dysfunctional mess like Brazil, Italy, or Japan, but there’s plenty that we can do on the local level to make life a little better for our fellow travelers.

@JNOV: See § 3-307(a)(ii)(3) (“threaten, or place the victim in fear, that the victim, or an individual known to the victim, imminently will be subject to death, suffocation, strangulation, disfigurement, serious physical injury, or kidnapping…”) (emphasis added).

@¡Andrew!: I’ve thought about the Gilded Age, and then I’ve remembered the Gilded Age lasted thirty years, and then I’ve stopped thinking about the Gilded Age, until I remember it’s been thirty-eight years since Reagan was elected.

And then I watch BoJack Horseman, which is really fucking good this season.

@SanFranLefty: Yup! Girrrrrrrl! I wonder if MD would Brock Turner them. Did they recall that judge?

Shit keeps getting uglier. Imagine that.

I don’t understand why she’d want to testify in front of the committee anyway. It’s a KKKangaro court, and they’ll just be fishing for new ways to call her a slut and say she was asking for it.

She should take her case directly to the media—this is the kind of thing that journalists like Diane Sawyer used to knock out of the ballpark. Afterwards, she should ask the district attorney of whatever jurisdiction in which the assault occured to open a case. That seems like a much more effective plan.

@¡Andrew!: Time, mainly. Any delay in the process amps up the attention — and Mitch is eager to have this locked down before things get out of hand.

If she goes straight to the media — bearing in mind that all this is what she desperately sought to avoid — it doesn’t delay anything at all. They wanted that hearing Monday so they could shut it down and get to the votes. If she says next week but not Monday, that stretches the attention a few more days. And maybe Susan Collins will run out of lame excuses by then.

Soon as that vote happens, story’s over, and we’re all on to the next atrocity. That’s why the media play doesn’t work. Clarence Thomas was in an off-year, and scandals had plenty of room to breathe back then. This time it’s now or never.

Hope everyone enjoyed Infrastructure Week!

@JNOV: Diversionary move trying to leak Rosenstein into submission, but everyone’s talking about the rapist again.

And here’s Ben Carson with some comic relief:

“If you really understand the big picture of what’s going on, then what’s going on with Kavanaugh will make perfectly good sense to you. There’ve been people in this country for a very long time, going all the way back to the Fabians, people who’ve wanted to fundamentally change this country.”

Fabian Conspiracy! Thanks, Ben! America needed the break.

@nojo: Ah. Rachel just read Dr. Blasey’s letter to Grassley. She’s got a damn good legal team. Kavanaugh has the Federal gov’t., but it’s a bit fucked up right now.

@JNOV: That’s the beauty of it — Fabian socialists are such an obscure reference, I wouldn’t dare. But ol’ Ben, man, he just goes there.

It’s also very, very British — Shaw, Wells, the Webbs, Bertrand Russell… Which is also why I know of it at all. Literary fashion of a moment, that moment being a century ago. Must have been in one of those brains Ben was poking around in.


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