Rapists Have Tiger Mothers, Too: Kavanaugh, Rape Culture and SCOTUS on Blog#42

Rapists Have Tiger Moms, Too: Kavanaugh, Rape Culture and SCOTUS on Blog#42

Here we are, in the final week before Brett Kavanaugh is either confirmed or slinks away in disgrace.

CNN put together a panel of “Republican” female voters to talk about their reactions to Kavanaugh’s accuser.

The views expressed by the women in the above video are why we can’t get beyond burning bras and marches while wearing pussy hats. Rapists have moms, too, and for as long as they do, we will have Kavanaughs, Kozinskis, Thomases and Trumps.

For as long judges continue to be elected and justices picked by elected officials under the guise of some fictitious set of lofty criteria, the bought political class will continue choosing judicial nominees in their own corrupt, sexist image.

Under the best of circumstances, confirming a Supreme Court nominee is Kabuki theater when corruption is carefully hidden. The process of seating a supreme court justice becomes a farce when a nation’s politics are this corrupt. Moliere would have a ball writing a play today. The Thomas confirmation process is the worst we’d witnessed thus far. Two senators from that era sit on the current committee. The Judiciary Committee’s former chairman, Joe Biden, is a presumptive candidate for president in 2020.

In the 30 years since the Anita Hill grilling, we’ve continued to pretend we are an ideal society while methodically cutting out the very things a functional society must have: a solid egalitarian foundation with the tools it needs to remain that way. Education was supposed to be our Great Equalizer. Instead, it has been parceled out to the wealthiest bidders, becoming one of the main sources of inequality. Trump, Kavanaugh, and Grassley’s aide are a reflection of the return on the investment America has made in itself.

By now, there isn’t a corner that is left unstained by the rot we see at the top. One of Brett Kavanaugh’s staunchest defenders, Tiger Mother author and Yale law professor, Amy Chua, is, herself, caught up in this controversy. Apparently, on the side of writing parenting books and lecturing on the law, Chua has been grooming students as law clerks for the high courts and is now defending her role:

“Chua said in the statement that, contrary to allegations that she told students that it was “no accident” that Kavanaugh hired attractive clerks, she “always” told her students to prep “insanely hard” and that substance was “the most important thing”.

But another former law student who was advised by Chua and approached the Guardian after its original story was published on Thursday said his experience was consistent with the allegations presented in the article.

The male student, who asked not to be identified, said that when he approached Chua about his interest in clerking for Kavanaugh, the professor said it was “great”, but then added that Kavanaugh “tends to hire women who are generally attractive and then likes to send them to [supreme court Chief Justice John] Roberts”.

It was a reference to Kavanaugh’s role as a so-called “feeder” judge, whose clerks often go on to win highly coveted clerkships at the US supreme court.

The student alleged that Chua then added: “I don’t think it is a sexual thing, but [Kavanaugh] likes to have pretty clerks.””

In the lower rungs of society, such “feeding” is known as pimping.

Whether the pimping is limited to inculcating her female students with the corrupt value that a woman lawyer, even from an elite school, has to tart herself up for high-powered judges in order to get the job, or Chua was actually pimping attractive, accomplished law clerks to judges, she was quite clearly working for the patriarchy,

Chua gained fame and a measure of respect and trust through her parenting book. What has her “feeding” added to her success? The measure of inequality here, is that Chua’s counterpart in one of the lower rungs of society would end up in jail. Ms. Chua, however, might be shunned for a time, at most.

On the male side of the equation, we have the example of Ed Whelan, also an attorney and president of the conservative think tank, Ethics and Public Policy Center. Mr. Whelan is a friend of Judge Brett Kavanaugh’s.

The New York Times reports that Mr. Whelan was placed on leave by his board of directors because:

“On Thursday, Mr. Whelan — a well-connected member of Washington’s conservative legal establishment — posted the string of tweets, for which he was swiftly condemned. In the tweets, he posited a theory that Dr. Blasey’s account could alternatively describe a student at Georgetown Prep, where Judge Kavanaugh went to high school, whom Mr. Whelan identified as a friend and football teammate. Using photographs from Georgetown Prep’s yearbook, Google Maps and floor plans of a home that he identifies as the classmate’s, Mr. Whelan built an argument that details of Dr. Blasey’s account fit the classmate’s home.

Mr. Whelan proceeded to post recent and high school photos of the classmate and Judge Kavanaugh, suggesting that their similar appearance could easily confuse someone.””

One way of denying a female accuser is to paint her as confused, especially when there are gaps in memory or the event was traumatic. Whelan knows this. So, in order to circumvent accusations of poor memory, he went and found himself a lookalike perp. It is gobsmacking that a lawyer would have no compunction to do this. What possessed the president of an organization that purports to be an ethics watchdog to dream up such a harebrained scheme – much less to actually do this? There are no words to adequately describe the level of intellectual and moral dishonesty on display here. His board should have fired him.

An America that refuses to believe in itself and denies itself the self-care and respect a functional society needs will always be vulnerable, exposed to powers it doesn’t have the strength to repel, beliefs it doesn’t have the knowledge to dismiss, and the duplicitous leaders it doesn’t have the wisdom to distrust. It will continue to produce mothers who instill in their sons a belief of supremacy and entitlement over woman. It will continue to instill a fatalistic belief in their daughters that male supremacy, and all that engenders, is just a woman’s lot in life. Rapists, the type who never go to jail, have moms, too.

For as long as there is absolutely nothing to counter and then banish this culture of patriarchy, hypocrisy, inequality, and the entitlement of certain classes of individuals over the rest of the nation, we will remain condemned to a fate of repeating cycles of the push-pull of past decades until the forces of conservatism and regression give progress one final shove into the abyss.

The forces of conservatism aren’t necessarily the conservative-minded. As we’ve seen with Amy Chua, they have their allies in so-called liberal colleges. But they have their representation among liberals. Joe Biden’s usage of tense in his MSNBC interview last week is both indicative of an out of body relationship with his own past and a refusal to come to terms with his sexism and racism honestly.

The wealthy have gained almost complete control over the classes beneath them by corrupting the judiciary and then buying  the main political parties which, in turn, maintain for them a system of government that perpetuates inequality. Within this social order, the classes dominate one another, man dominates woman, white supremacy dominates the racial pecking order and is upheld by a law enforcement network that has increasingly been endowed with extra-constitutional privileges by state legislatures and is materially sustained by the prison-industrial complex. In order to fill its ranks, that complex, just like the upper classes, is dependent upon a ruling class that will carry out policies that ensure society continues to be conditioned for authoritarianism.

Brett Kavanaugh was chosen for his ample record of ruling against the public interest, and his well-documented legal opinions on the prosecution of a sitting president. He is the embodiment of the rot that is this authoritarian society we live in, on both the personal and professional levels.

For the past several decades, we’ve been sold the benefits of bipartisanship and centrism as the only way to govern. The other side has made no such pitch. We’ve accepted these notions without properly examining their values or the ethics of those who propose them. In good times, we got pulled further to the right. In bad times, we woke up to an authoritarian order, complete with the most regressive of values. Tiger Mother wins out, and our sons and daughters continue to hear that same patriarchal whistle we all vowed to keep them from.


The Boys’ Club That Protects Brett Kavanaugh

A C-span clip has been circulating online. It dates from September 6th, the third day of the Senate hearings to confirm Brett Kavanaugh to the Supreme Court. In the video, John Neely Kennedy, the Republican senator from Louisiana, asked Kavanaugh about his time at Georgetown Preparatory School, the Jesuit boys’ school he attended.

“I can tell from your testimony those were formative years for you,” Kennedy said, in his Southern drawl.

“Very formative,” Kavanaugh replied.

In a statement following his nomination, on July 9th, Kavanaugh referred to the Georgetown Prep motto, “Men for others.” Several dozen of his former classmates signed a letter to the leaders of the Senate Judiciary Committee, saying that “he remains the same grounded and approachable person that we met in High School.”

“What was it like for you?” Kennedy asked. “What were you like?”

Kavanaugh appeared to blush slightly. He made eye contact and nodded at someone unseen. He half laughed, as if unsure whether the question was serious.

“Were you a John-Boy Walton type, or a Ferris Bueller type?” Kennedy probed.

Kavanaugh laughed more, encouraged by others laughing around him, but he didn’t answer. By all indications, he was not the bookish, responsible John-Boy Walton. (That more accurately describes Justice Neil Gorsuch, who also graduated from Georgetown Prep.) Kavanaugh said, “I loved sports, first and foremost.” He played football and basketball. He furrowed his brow as he became more reflective. He worked hard at school, he continued. He had a lot of friends. Some of his friends had been attending the hearings.

“You left out the trouble part. I was waiting for that,” Kennedy said.

Kavanaugh looked uncomfortable. “Uh, right,” he said. “That’s encompassed under the friends.” He tried smiling again.

“Now, see, I was going to ask the judge, if not him but any of his underage running buddies tried to sneak a few beers past Jesus or something like that in high school,” Kennedy said. “But I’m not going to go there.” Kavanaugh smiled.

Continue reading at The New Yorker

Note: This video starts with the John Boy/Ferris Buehler question, which was asked at the end of Senator Kennedy’s time. As striking and prescient (?) that question may have been, the very long segment about Judge Kavanaugh’s diverse female clerks is no less riveting, given what we’ve subsequently learned. To watch that segment, move the slider back to 3:05.

Twelve years ago, Amber Wyatt reported her rape.

Few believed her. Her hometown turned against her. The authorities failed her.


About that night

Aug. 11, 2006, was a sweltering Friday night in the midst of a long, fatally hot summer. A 16-year-old girl reported that she was raped that night, in a storage shed off a dirt road in my hometown of Arlington, Tex. Nobody was ever prosecuted for it, and nobody was punished except, arguably, her: By the end of the fall semester, she had disappeared from our high school, leaving only sordid rumors and a nascent urban legend.

I never saw her, the rising junior-class cheerleader who said she had been assaulted by two senior boys after a party. I only heard about her. People whispered about her in classrooms and corridors as soon as school started that year. The tension in the school was so thick that the gossip about what had taken place trickled down even to the academic decathletes and debate nerds like me, the kids who could only speculate about what happened at the parties of athletic seniors. I was a 15-year-old rising sophomore, and even I formed a notion of what had happened, or what was said to have happened.

Leaving school one autumn day in 2006, I stood at the top of the concrete stairs at the back exit, with the senior parking lot spread out before me, cars gleaming in the still afternoon sun. Several of them bore a message scrawled in chalk-paint: FAITH. They looked to me like gravestones, brief and cryptic in neat rows.

Continue reading at the Washington Post


New Jersey sheriff resigns after racist remarks captured on tape

A New Jersey sheriff has resigned after he was caught on tape making racist remarks about African-Americans and the state’s attorney general.

The Bergen County Sheriff’s Office said Friday in a statement to NorthJersey.com that Bergen County Sheriff Michael Saudino and four of his undersheriffs resigned, effective immediately.

The statement made no mention of the offensive remarks, stating only that Sheriff’s Office Chief Kevin Pell would lead the department until Gov. Phil Murphy (D) appointed an interim sheriff.

In a recording first reported by WNYC News earlier this week, Saudino can be heard making derogatory remarks about black people and disparaging Murphy for his policies and rhetoric. The recording, according to WNYC News, was from Jan. 16.

“He talked about the whole thing, the marijuana, sanctuary state … better criminal justice reform,” Saudino says in the recording. “Christ almighty, in other words, let the blacks come in, do whatever the f— they want, smoke their marijuana, do this, do that, and don’t worry about it. You know, we’ll tie the hands of cops.”

The remarks caught the attention of numerous local politicians, including Murphy, who demanded Saudino’s resignation on Thursday.

Continue reading at The Hill


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What Trump (and Congress) Did While You Weren’t Looking


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