Can Senator Feinstein Block The Appointment of Rachel Mitchell?

As you know by now, Maricopa County (Arizona) sex crimes unit chief Rachel Mitchell has been deemed by Chuck Grassley and the Senate Judiciary Republicans as their front person to examine Dr. Christine Blasey Ford. From NBC News:

The woman chosen by Senate Judiciary Committee Republicans to question Supreme Court nominee Brett Kavanaugh’s accuser will be in an unusual position when she goes face-to-face with Christine Blasey Ford on Thursday.

Senate Judiciary Committee Chairman Chuck Grassley announced Tuesday that he hired Rachel Mitchell, an outside attorney to question Kavanaugh and Ford, on behalf of the 11 male Republicans on the committee — despite Ford’s wishes to be questioned by the senators themselves about her accusation that Kavanaugh sexually assaulted her when the two were teenagers.

So, the eleven old white men of the SJC want a female stand in to make their evisceration and shining on of putative kidnapping, sexual assault and attempted rape victim Dr. Ford. Because the optics the GOP men, and men are the only sex that has ever served for Republicans on SJC, looked too ugly for even them.

But is this unprecedented move, clearly designed with public optics and maximal humiliation of Dr. Ford even appropriate? Maybe not!

Now, I am not a Senate Rules expert, but a comment made me go do a little digging. Here is the text of the the most recent version of the United States Senate Standing Rules, Orders, Laws, And Resolutions. Here, specifically, is the section, contained in Chapter 43 thereof, in §4301(i)(3) relating to committee retention of consultants:

(3) With respect to the standing committees of the Senate, any such consultant or organization shall be selected by the chairman and ranking minority member of the committee, acting jointly. With respect to the standing committees of the House of Representatives, the standing com- mittee concerned shall select any such consultant or organization. The committee shall submit to the Committee on Rules and Administration in the case of standing committees of the Senate, and the Committee on House Oversight in the case of standing committees of the House of Representatives, information bearing on the qualifications of each consultant whose services are procured pursuant to this subsection, including organizations, and such information shall be retained by that committee and shall be made available for public inspection upon request. (Emphasis added)

So, Senator Feinstein, is this indeed the case? If so, why would you assent to appointment of a prosecutorial thug like Rachel Mitchell to examine the putative victim here, Dr. Ford?

Rachel Mitchell is currently head of the Sex Crimes Unit in the Maricopa County Attorney’s Office (MCAO). She has served under three heads of the MCAO, but she was elevated to her current position because she was an extremist who fit the desired bill by the notorious former MCAO head, Andrew Thomas. As you may recall, Andy Thomas not only had to leave the MCAO in disgrace, but subsequently was disbarred for his zealotry. And that kind of craven zealot is exactly who Rachel Mitchell identified with and was promoted by back in January of 2005. And is Mitchell always hard on sex criminals? No, in fact her past also includes sweetheart deals to abusive clergy members in politically charged cases.

Rachel Mitchell is one of the worst choices imaginable for the current task. It is a heinous move by Chuck Grassley and a direct and complete screw you to Dr. Ford and sexual abuse and rape victims across the United States and world.

And the “screw you” to victims is especially salient with the existence of additional putative victims of Brett Kavanaugh’s drunken debauchery. Not only is there Debbie Ramirez, who did not seek to come forward, but was located because friends and classmates of hers and Kavanaugh, while Kavanaugh was at Yale, started recalling her victimization and talking about it. Jane Mayer has more on that, not to mention her and Ronan Farrow’s original reporting on Ramirez.

And, just as of an hour or two ago, yet another troubling story of Brett Kavanaugh’s misogyny and conduct has been made public by her lawyer Michael Avenatti. Julie Swetnick has issued a sworn affidavit that is chilling. Swetnick is a A 1980 graduate of Gaithersburg High School in Gaithersburg, Maryland, and has has held multiple security clearances for work done at the Treasury Department, U.S. Mint, IRS, State Department and Justice Department. In short, she is a more than credible person who has put her statement under oath and penalty of perjury.

Here is her affidavit, and it is chilling. It describes what now seems obvious, Brett Kavanaugh and his friend Mark Judge were part of a group of a private boys school wilding gang that drank to excess regularly mistreated women. Judge and Kavanaugh were “joined at the hip” according to Swetnick. She further states:

There is more, much more, including descriptions of girls, including Ms. Swetnick herself, being knocked out with spiked punch and gang raped.

And that is where we find ourselves today. It appears that Senator Feinstein can put the kibosh on the craven hiring of a zealot prosecutorial thug like Rachel Mitchell and, further, can with the help of any and all Republican Senators of conscience, slow down this train wreck and investigate the claims and give a real hearing. That means someone among Jeff Flake, Lisa Murlowski, Susan Collins, or another, needs to step up and do the right thing. Will they? Will Senator Feinstein?

Within the last minute, Senator Feinstein has issued the following statement:

Washington—Following the release of a sworn affidavit from Julie Swetnick detailing new allegations of sexual assault by Brett Kavanaugh, all 10 Democratic members of the Senate Judiciary Committee today urged President Trump to immediately withdraw the nomination or order an FBI investigation into all allegations.

The senators wrote: “We are writing to request that you immediately withdraw the nomination of Brett Kavanaugh to be an Associate Justice on the Supreme Court or direct the FBI to re-open its background investigation and thoroughly examine the multiple allegations of sexual assault.

“Judge Kavanaugh is being considered for a promotion. He is asking for a lifetime appointment to the nation’s highest court where he will have the opportunity to rule on matters that will impact Americans for decades. The standard of character and fitness for a position on the nation’s highest court must be higher than this. Judge Kavanaugh has staunchly declared his respect for women and issued blanket denials of any possible misconduct, but those declarations are in serious doubt.”

That is a nice statement, but there appears to be so much more that Senator Feinstein can do Jeff Flake just took to the Senate Floor and, despite some words of empathy, wholeheartedly accepted that tomorrow’s sham hearing in SJC is all that there will ever be. While Flake appeared close to tears, he, as usual, said and intends to do nothing admirable and/or heroic.

It is a sad show we are watching. The hallowed halls of the Supreme Court deserve better, and so too do the American people.

175 replies
  1. Rayne (off site) says:

    Let me be absolutely frank and blunt here about the latest victim who’s come forward: I do not give a flying fuck what you think about Avenatti. It doesn’t matter what any of us think about him.

    What matters right now is that a third victim of abuse has staked her personal welfare and that of her family to do the right thing and give witness about a Supreme Court nominee who has no business serving in any federal court if a full and complete FBI investigation bears out the allegations made by any of the three victims who have stepped forward to date.

    These three women — Dr. Christine Blasey Ford, Deborah Ramirez, Julie Swetnick — have stepped into the roaring river of American history only because they wanted to our country to have a qualified justice seated on our country’s highest court. They are patriots. They deserve to be treated with respect and consideration, not denigration of their persons, their situations, their legal support.

    They don’t deserve to be treated like criminals as the GOP chair of the Senate Judiciary Committee seems wont to do by way of Rachel Mitchell’s “assistance.”

    Discuss the Kavanaugh confirmation process here, particularly Grassley’s questionable appointment of Mitchell. Do NOT indulge in trashing or undermining Ford, Blasey, or Swetnick or their support system including attorneys or I will boot your comment out the door.

    • Tracy says:

      YES to all of this!!! Thank you for your words, Rayne!!! YES these women are patriots and warriors. Much more so than these disgusting, privileged, craven old white males.

      I am praying that justice will be done, and if anything more can be done – for someone who does not live very close to Washington – please let us know.

      I’m also praying that bmaz has a line into the Senate on the blocking of Mitchell – is Feinstein aware of this? I do love the Dems, but they can be hapless. Without being in the majority it just takes so much canny to eke an inch out of any situation, but they have to!!

      (BTW, I am NOT against all elderly white males, but these 11 are horrific – they are in a time warp, and they behave w/out any sense of truth and justice!!!)

      • Rayne says:

        It’s insanely offensive to me that these 11 GOP SJC jackasses couldn’t find a single female GOP senator to seat on the SJC. It’s not as if they didn’t know this day was coming. They had Kavanaugh’s babysitter Kyl find an “assistant” instead of doing the right thing and ensuring the smallest portion of gender equity on SJC. Right there, on the face of it, the GOP SJC is acting in bad faith.

        I can’t even begin to circumscribe with words my rage about this abortion of justice, erasing more than half the country. I know I am not alone. As the executive editor at Salon put it, “Every woman I know has been storing anger for years in her body and it’s starting to feel like bees are going to pour out of all of our mouths at the same time.”

        Bees, motherfuckers. All the goddamn bees are coming. All. Of. Them.

        • Tracy says:

          Thank you for talking about the RAGE and I was thinking, this is also so rage-making because our elected officials are going against what the majority of Americans want – by the polls, by the protests, by everything. It’s like our words are still being stifled. It is goes against the whole idea of a democracy – one person, one voice, one vote.

          United we stand in support of those with the courage to speak truth to power – we are with you ladies, and with you tomorrow, Dr. Ford!

          I love the bees, thank you for sharing this from Salon!!

          And thanks, Rayne, for protecting this thread (I see your comment below). This makes it safe for us all to share on here.

        • Rayne says:

          Oh BlackAmazon does an incredible job of letting the rage out of its velveteen-covered titanium cage.

          Those slack-seated soft-handed old white men have NO idea what they have awakened. What they have summoned.

          I really need to publish a post about feminine rage first thing in the morning tomorrow because we are going to need a place to vent the supervolcano’s fumes

        • Eureka says:

          I have been mainlining cortisol for so many days in a row now that I am worried about my health.  I am looking forward to this post.  If anyone can find a way to bust the vent right off, it’s you.  I was just thinking about what a strong, clear writer you are.  RAYNE SAVE OUR LIVES, I AM PISSED!

    • Rayne says:

      Hey punk_____: you know who you are, I’m not using your screen name.

      You opened your trollery by attacking Avenatti after I warned above I wasn’t going to put up with that crap.

      The rest of your comment merely tells me you can’t read. It also tells me you can’t grasp the concept of rape culture or women’s oppression.

      Beat it. I’m not having any of it here.

    • Will Twiner says:

      When I read the word “Wilding”, the thing occurred to me is it was this why Republicans believed The stories that gave us the phrase to begin with? Is it that they knew that their husbands,Fathers, brothers, son and engaged in this sort of behavior as dekes in college. With the entire story not so much racism as imagining all others are as depraved and I’m moral as they themselves.

  2. koolmoe says:

    Didn’t Mitch ‘hire’ Rachel? As such, it’s not an appointment, is it? If he actually hired her as part of his (or whatever repugnantcan) staff, then…no?

    I hope to be wrong.

    • Peterr says:

      No. It was committee chair Grassley. But you’re right that he hired her as a staffer for the majority, not the full committee. See my comment below.

  3. Frank Probst says:

    This will probably hinge on the definition of “consultant”, and they may be able to get around it by saying that Mitch McConnell hired her, not the Judiciary Committee.  But it’s obviously enough to take it to the Senate parliamentarian for a ruling.

    As for Jeff Flake, I really don’t see how you can ignore something like this.  How much more does he need?

    • viget says:

      I think the bigger question is how much kompromat do they have on him?

      But still, I mean he’s leaving the senate.  Do something to protect this country and the US Constitution for once, FFS!

  4. Peterr says:

    In Grassley’s announcement about hiring Mitchell, he said this:

    Mitchell is serving as nomination investigative counsel for the majority members on the committee for consideration of this nomination.

    IOW, she is not being hired as a consultant to the full committee, but as a temporary majority staffer — and I imagine that this is clearly to get around a veto by Feinstein.

    That said, I hope the Democrats raise exactly the kind of objections to Mitchell’s role here, for the reasons you state above. That clergy sexual abuse deal is beyond despicable.

    Assuming she does do the questioning, it will be very interesting to watch how she questions Kavanaugh. If she tosses him nothing but softballs, she is going to get her tail handed to her by the experienced prosecutors on the Democratic side – as will Kavanaugh.

  5. Jenny says:

    GOP Team:  Red Rover, Red Rover send Rachel Mitchell right over.

    If this hearing does indeed continue tomorrow because anything is possible.  I have a great deal of  confidence in Dr. Blasey Ford.  Her credentials are excellent.

    Actually, having Rachel Mitchell on the all male white committee, could be the silver lining for Dr. Blasey Ford considering Rachel Mitchell works with the accusers to prosecute the abusers.

    I am sending good vibrations to Dr. Blasey Ford.

  6. Mary McCurnin says:

    Maybe Flake needs a “dead girl or live boy” situation. Flake is all hat etc. He won’t do a thing.

    • Trip says:

      I’m beginning to wonder if there is something seriously wrong with Flake. He says things, and then does nothing. Why bother with the lip service, he’s out of office soon? Who is he trying to impress? Do something, Flake. As the old saying goes, “Shit, or get off the pot”.

    • Frank Probst says:

      Probably doesn’t want to endanger any future lobbying gigs.  He’s worse than useless, IMHO, because he gives the appearance of putting serious thought into things before he votes with the party.

      • BobCon says:

        To add to that, I think the threats to employment and funding go to family, staff, and institutions the GOP senators care about.

        Of course, the right response to blackmail is to refuse to go along and expose it, or it will never stop. These people have the leverage to fight back if they really wanted to.

    • JD12 says:

      Could Flake just be hedging against attacks from the right?

      I can’t imagine at this point how Kavanaugh gets confirmed.

      I’m beginning to think McConnell decided his best play is to let Kavanaugh get voted down to fire up the base. If he did, he probably wouldn’t even tell Trump or BK since they might withdraw.

  7. Tracy says:

    Does anyone have the ear of an aide for the Senate Dems to get this message to the right people?

    And I am sure y’all on Twitter are tweeting at the right people? (I’m not on Twitter.) I’ve heard that the best way to get a response in customer service is by tweeting, though not sure in politics!

  8. Dan Pearson says:

    This is very good and BMAZ is exactly right about Feinstein’s power if Mitchell was being hired as a consultant, but if hired as a Committee staffer for the Majority there is no basis for challenging the appointment.  All that Grassley needs is an open staff position and the money to cover the costs.  Other questions…  is she on leave from Maricopa County?  is she properly processed as an employee with insurance, retirement benefits, etc?  is the hire for a set term?  is there an outside employment ban that is violated here?  Is there a Senate COI issue?  Does Mitchell have some connection to any of the parties involved in this so that there could be an objection to her impartiality?  Is she paid at a rate that will require she later file a financial disclosure form?  These might be interesting things to know (and I was a House guy so not my area), but I don’t think any of it can throw a spanner in this in 24 hours.  It stinks, but I don’t see a rule that will get in the way of Thursday unfolding with the SJC beard firmly in place.

    • William Bennett says:

      Is Mitchell only doing the questioning for the R side, and the D side get to ask their own questions? I confess I haven’t seen anything about exactly how this is supposed to work, but if ONLY Mitchell is doing the questioning then she’s acting for the whole committee, not just the majority, whoever is signing the paycheck.

    • earlofhuntingdon says:

      Logically, if Mitchell has been hired by the GOP members of the SJC, on their budget, then Mitchell has no remit to act on behalf of the Committee or its Democratic members.  It would be an own goal and loss of the game for the Dems to agree to have anything to do with Mitchell, either on their own or as part of the Committee’s work.

      That leaves the Republican members having to yield time to Mitchell for them – overwhelmingly elderly white male lawyers – to have another lawyer hit woman to speak for them.

      Mitchell is the GOP’s sacrificial goat, taking the heat for doing the character assassination the Senators refuse to do for themselves.  That she agreed to this role is ample support for bmaz’s characterization of her.  That she is a woman is largely irrelevant, except to those who think of Sean Hannity or Chuck Todd as a competent journalist.

      • Peterr says:

        The sight of 11 old white GOP Senators sitting silently in judgment from on high while one woman grills another on their behalf is only marginally better than the sight of 11 old white male GOP senators on high grilling a woman for themselves.

        But let’s be clear: neither is a very good look for the GOP at all.

      • earlofhuntingdon says:

        The eleven will appear more like upper class fraternity brothers – or members of a secret society – standing around while humiliated pledges do their bidding, to each other or whomever they’ve hauled into the room.

      • posaune says:

        I keep wondering how, of all the county prosecutors in the US, they came up with Ms. Mitchell?   (of all the gin joints . . . . . . ).

        • Peterr says:

          Most likely through Jon Kyl, who was shepherding Kavanaugh’s nomination through until he was named to fill McCain’s Senate seat.

    • bmaz says:

      I tend to agree it won’t stop it, but I want the questions asked. And if Rachel only acts on behalf of the majority, perhaps they can get around this rule. As to Mitchell, my understanding locally is that she is on very short term leave from MCAO. Don’t know about the status of her pay and insurance here. Generally attorneys working for Maricopa County, both prosecutors and public defenders are precluded from outside employment in the legal field.

      • orionATL says:

        yeah. ask the damned questions.

        and by the way, file a formal complaint of violation of the senate rules.

        don’tsit around chatting, doing your own dem lawyerin, and deciding pre-hoc you can’t do it. put all the b—ds on record.

    • earlofhuntingdon says:

      Mitchell is not “an outside prosecutor” – the shorthand description the MSM seems to have settled on, which does the GOP’s propaganda framing for them.  She is not acting as a prosecutor, that’s her day job.

      Mitchell is not representing the Senate or any of its committees.  She is not representing any level of government in the state of Arizona.  She is a private lawyer hired by eleven Republican legislators, sitting on the same committee.

      They’ve hired her to ask a witness questions and to obtain answers in a way that best serves the political goals of the Republicans who hired her.  She ain’t there to find facts or the truth.  She’s there to win for those who hired her.

      • orionATL says:

        well said.

        why has it not been noted in all the tip-toey media blather, that lawyers hired by a client are obligated by bar rules to serve the best interests of that client, to fight for that client? sex crimes lawyer rachel mitchell is obliged to and will serve the interests of her client, the 11 republican members of the senate judiciary committee (sjc).

  9. Peacerme says:

    I put this on another thread. I’ll add to this one. I think the fact that my story takes place in 1980 is interested. I am wondering if rape parties were all the rage during that time. It happened to my dorm mate, my freshman year of college, in MO.
    I did a story at my college in 1983 about gang rape used as initiation at frat parties. At that time I interviewed 2 girls who were raped and one male who was black balled for refusing to participate. I also witnessed my dorm mate, a 375 lb straight A accounting student, get dragged upstairs, and raped my freshmen year. She was my ride to one of the very first frat parties I ever attended. I did not know until afterwards whether she was willing (and just making out with a guy she liked??) or not. I suspected she was not willing. And for years felt guilty because I froze. Because I had been victim of a gang rape at 12, I was very triggered that night. The guys in the frat offered to take me up to see that she was safe but I knew better than to go upstairs and I was not drunk. It was a god awful night because I didn’t know how to get home to my dorm except lots of guys offered a ride I did not feel safe to accept. I finally left the party alone with out my dorm mate on foot, running home alone. (Also dangerous) I wasn’t sure what was going on but I thought I knew and I was sickened. I didn’t feel sure enough to call the police. Later I was told that this fraternity would have “ugly” parties where they would invite vulnerable women and get them drunk. It always happened during or near the end of Rush. Her story was why I wrote the article fall of my senior year. My prof encourage me to submit it to several magazines as the school newspaper would not print the article. She and I became friends but she was so damaged by what they did to her, that her self destruction was hard to watch. She told me they “pulled a train” and that every new initiate and the president, Vice President and several graduated alumni raped her. She described that many of the initiates were horrified at what they were being forced to do. She stated that they had son]meone in the room to witness. It disgusts me to tell the story, and brings back that horrible night. But I have no trouble imagining this situation reported by Avenatti to be true. I have often wondered what happened to all the men who were black balled or refused. I knew the one, and he became an alcoholic. He never felt good about being black balled. Instead he had tremendous shame, which I did not fully understand.

    This whole two years of trump is digging up every horrible triggers I have.

    This story has some major internal validity for me! Please don’t feel bad for me. This is about all of us. We are being raped as a nation by a cabal. I post to validate others!!

    • Rayne says:

      After reading this comment I want one of our Dem SJC senators to ask Kavanaugh:
      — Did you rush for a fraternity or other campus society? Yes or No.
      — If yes, did that society require you to participate in hazing? Yes or No.
      — If yes, did that society require pledges and members to sign or swear oaths including nondisclosure or secrecy?
      — If yes, did the nondisclosure or secrecy cover acts which may have been illegal or violent?
      — If yes, did the acts include physical contact with female students, school staff, or other women?

    • Tracy says:

      THANK YOU for sharing these two stories, Peacerme! You are a true warrior! I hope that your dorm mate has found her way to knowing that, too. I know it is hard and such traumas can lead to depression, PTSD, even suicidal thoughts or actions – I pray she’s found her inner light again. It is so hard to regain one’s self esteem after an assault, I connect with that.

      It sounds like you’ve found your life’s calling to help others, too. And it wasn’t your fault that you didn’t intervene that night in the frat house. We are all doing the best we can, and for heaven’s sake, you’d already been through it already. I totally understand it!

      Peace, sister, and thank you for sharing – you’re right, we are united and empowered by each other! I feel inspired by you using your life experience to understand life and people a little better, and to help others – there is no higher calling than that service.

      Think of Deborah Ramirez – she found her way to work w/ victims of domestic violence – another warrior, amazing to turns things around like that.

  10. Peacerme says:

    I always wondered about the code of secrecy. I have never had a true member of a fraternity admit that this occurred. And yet, I witnessed it in college and had two other women report similar stories. I realized that some of the guys who participated by coercion might be traumatized as well. (I am not saying feel sorry for them but I think there is a lesson here.) What does this do to men?? As a therapist I have worked with many survivors of this type of rape but I have never had a guy admit he was part of something like this. We cannot change what we refuse to accept.

    • BobCon says:

      I can’t say as far as organized attacks, but I absolutely remember frat bros I knew in college (I never thought of joining myself) who casually talked among themselves about preying on heavily intoxicated women as individuals.

      I am guessing most are in denial now.

    • skua says:

      Does the dynamic work this way:
      Membership is elevated high above personal integrity.
      Every successful member must sacrifice their integrity and debase themself (and this must be witnessed) and so demonstrate a willingness to join their reduced self to the collective both in action and, just as importantly, legally. These guys are all co-conspirators in rape from what I see.
      The collective has literally demonstrated that personal integrity is dispensible and hence unreliable. It has replaced relationships between integrous people with bonding between willing self-mutilators who rely on the collective to preserve their secret.


    • Doctor My Eyes says:

      That looks like a good start, but the behavior is not unusual for any human. What’s the name of those experiments that long ago showed that peer pressure will trump personal integrity in the vast majority of people? And do so quickly and easily. They had to end the prison experiment after a couple of days.  This is not new, but it’s worse now. Who better illustrates this than poor Lynndie England, made famous by smiling for the camera in a photo of prisoners at abu ghraib being tortured. Was England a monster who embraced torture?  Of course not. She was one of the “few rotten apples” who was scapegoated so that the US system of torture could continue on its merry way with no accountability.  It’s no accident that cover-up of torture and cover-up of rape use the same strategies. England said she was smiling because she thought that’s what one did for a photograph: smile.  Social circumstances determine behavior.  Btw, from wikipedia:

        In July 2009, England releasedTortured: Lynndie England, Abu Ghraib and the Photographs that Shocked the World, a biography that was set with a book tour that she hoped would rehabilitate her damaged image.[2]As of 2009, England is onantidepressantmedication[5]and also haspost-traumatic stress disorderandanxiety.[2] While it has been difficult for her to find a job, as of 2013, she has found seasonal employment as a secretary

      Well over 50 years ago George Orwell asked, “What is the special quality in modern life that makes a major human motive out of the impulse to bully others?” He went on, “If we could answer that question–seldom asked, never followed up–there might occasionally be a bit of good news on the front page of your morning paper.” I have never been even close to one of these situations, so I can’t say for certain, but my guess is that there is no “code of silence”; rather, fear, shame, and other ancient social impulses do the trick with no need for explicit language.

      One of my heroes, Stephan Mestrovich, a sociologist at Texas A&M has written extensively about what he calls the Postemotional Society.  It is a complex theory that will not bear summarizing. Mestrovich has appeared as an expert witness at war crimes trials at which he focuses on the atmosphere created intentionally by the command structure.  He argues that the poor suckers who are being scapegoated by the army are simply behaving the way 99% of people would behave under the given circumstances.  He argues that such things as abu ghraib are a failure of command, just as the behavior at Georgetown Prep and so many fraternities seem to be.

      One of Mestrovich’s recent books is called The Postemotional Bully. In it he analyzes 4 situations in which groups behaved violently, asking the question what led to this behavior. (I recommend this book heartily, but it is sold as a text and cost $77.  I sprang for it because for me Mestrovich goes farther than anyone in explaining our current cultural predicament.)  One of his themes is that we are a nation of children, socialized by our peers and by media rather than by adults and traditional institutions. In fact, he argues convincingly that the “screen culture” children grow up with explicitly undermines parental authority. He concludes that

      high-ranking parental surrogates in this  narrative [guards beating an unarmed prisoner to death], as in many screen image narratives in postemotional society, were largely absent from the narrative. The situation is analogous to the typical television shows and films that depict children or young adults usurping the authority of the adults and falling prey to the chaotic influences of the peer group.

      In the case of group rape in the ’80’s and 90’s, and likely continuing today, surely the widespread availability of pornography to children and young adults played an enormous role.

      Again, the structure of the narratives on the screen image holds some affinity to real-life situations in post emotional society.

  11. Frank Probst says:

    Can somebody please explain to me what the hell Kavanaugh’s calendar is supposed to show?  Here are my takeaways from it:

    1.  He’s seeing a doctor once a month for an unspecified diagnosis, in addition to several other doctors that he seems to see once or twice.

    2.  He’s lists numerous sleepovers at other people’s houses that could reasonably be considered parties.

    3.  There are several small get-togethers at which he could have been drinking.  Some people would consider these “parties”, while others would just call them “get-togethers”.

    3.  He has friends named “PJ” and “EJ”.  Dr Blasey Ford mentioned a “PJ” in her statement.

    4.  If you want to go all Ed Whelan, the get-together at EJ’s house with Squi and Judge on August 19th, if I’m reading the calendar correctly, would match the party that Blasey Ford describes (4 males, with 2 of them being Kavanaugh and Judge).

    There’s nothing about these pages that I’d call exculpatory.  What are they supposed to show?  That he got grounded a few times and went out of town a few times?  So?  He was certainly in town enough to have been at a party like the one Blasey Ford describes.

    • Frank Probst says:

      Here’s the annotated version from the Post:

      For those of you who would like to play Ed Whelan at home, there are a number of addresses that you can put on a map.  My pick is August 19, which has “GO TO EJ’s…” and “4903 Crescent”.  On August 20, there’s a mention of “Jay”, and the top of the calendar says “Jay 4903 Crescent”.  According to Google Maps, 4903 Crescent St, Bethesda, MD 20816, is 3.5 miles (by drive) from Columbia Country Club (where Blasey Ford says she often went to meet up with people, though she’s not sure if that is what happened on the night in question).  So not nearly as close as the house of the middle school teacher that Whelan posits as Blasey Ford’s possible attacker, but still closer than the homes of any of the people that Blasey Ford recalls being at the party.

      All of this is meaningless, of course, but Kavanaugh has categorically denied being at any parties like the one Blasey Ford described.  Blasey Ford described a party that was so generic that it’s hard to believe Kavanaugh’s blanket denial.  Blasey Ford is describing a small gathering of people (Blasey Ford says 7.) in a house where there are no parents present, and some (maybe all) of the people are drinking beer.  That’s pretty much the extent of the description.  I find it hard to believe that Kavanaugh was never at any gatherings like this.

      [Please remove tracking information when sharing URLs, especially WaPo’s links. This one has been cleaned up. /~Rayne]

    • Eureka says:

      That calendar is his Little Black Book.  He just didn’t code it well enough for his SCOTUS birthright.

      Perils of overdrink, I suppose.

    • Trip says:

      If it’s what you say it is, I love it.

      I wonder if Trump rues the day he treated Stormy Daniels like she wasn’t smart or consequential.

  12. Pete says:

    It is my hope and prayer that Dr. Blasey Ford absolutely rips new assholes of each and every one of the 11old white men. And if Grassley tries to shush her that she tells him to sit down, listen, and learn. And if Ms. Mitchell gets ignored by Dr. Blasey Ford so much the better. It’s a lot to ask and not fair but the opening remarks of all opening remarks time has come. Screw protocol.

    Just venting I suppose.

  13. Barb says:

    One of my friends speaks of a kraken of rage. Yep, it’s welling up from deep inside, and it has many tentacles. I like to think I’m a kind person, but I swear anyone who isn’t willing to burn the entitled frat boy, rape supporting clubhouse to the ground with me better stay the fuck out of my way right now.

    • Rayne says:

      I’ve wondered whether noted author and racist H. P. Lovecraft really understood the beast he summoned in his popular text, The Call of Cthulhu. He refers to it by a male gendered pronoun — he — but that Old One with which Man lost touch and no longer communicated, the Old One lurking deep beneath the sea’s roiling waters, that undying thing dormant and waiting may not have revealed itself fully to Lovecraft as so many archetypes hide from authors who give them air.

      “That is not dead which can eternal lie,
      And with strange aeons even death may die.”

      Cthulhu stirs — SHE is done waiting. Yes, a kraken of rage welling from the deep each of us carries around with us in our breasts, in our bag of waters. SHE is coming.

      • orionATL says:

        jeez, rayne. you know about howard phillips lovecraft?

        one of my good friends in high school, yes high school (60+ yrs), loved this guy’s writing. i thought lovecraft was a bore and a freak .

        but i read he’s coming back – a freakin zombie, he is.

        • Rayne says:

          Yeah, Lovecraft has resurfaced in part because he was racist (the readers among the white nationalist crowd appreciate his “othering”); in part because the world he built in his works is dystopic and apocalyptic and we are so very there; and in part because of obscure references in HBO’s recent hit series, True Detective, which embedded references believed to be from Lovecraft’s Cthulhu mythos (The Yellow King) which itself draws on Robert Chambers’ The King in Yellow.

          That is not dead which can eternal lie, …” Zombie. ~nods~

        • orionATL says:

          rayne –

          i greatly appreciate your passionate speech from the top of this post to the bottom. i admire that quality greatly. i apologize for injecting this bit of disruptive personal trivia into the flow of your speech.

      • skua says:

        Another understanding of the violation of women can be see in Ralph Williams lecture/performance around Theogony as it underlies The Eumenides.

        This sounds dry. It ain’t. Superlatives fail me.

        And the Bacchae / Bakkhai featuring the effect of violating women can be viewed on YT, listened to on LibriVox and read at Project Gutenberg.

        Discussions with family and friends around boundaries, limits and having a clear goal in mind, could be begun.

      • Froggacuda says:

        I consider myself an amateur Lovecraft scholar and fan — Cthulhu is tattooed on my left shoulder blade — and this comment, Rayne, that I have been dwelling on for 24 hours, has drastically reshaped my understanding of HPL’s tale. Cthulhu is SHE.

        “Ph’nglui mglw’nafh Cthulhu R’lyeh wgah’nagl fhtagn.In HER house at R’lyeh dead Cthulhu waits dreaming.

        I am helplessly furious; release the god damn bees.

        • Rayne says:

          Glad you enjoyed the rethink on Cthulhu. Imagine Lovecraft’s problem wasn’t race alone and his output complete shifts in meaning.

          Like the Hindu bee goddess and Shakti incarnation Bhramari, we release the shield of deadly bees to slay the demon.

          All. The. Bees.

  14. Ollie/Bee and I sting says:

    Thank you Rayne!!!!!!!!! I support your comment. Thank you!

    SO. I didn’t even stop to read the comments. I am SO upset, frustrated and very angry at the blatant denial of justice committee. Trump will NEVER resend this abuser for SCOTUS. Trump doesn’t have an oz of respect nor empathy in his fatness.

    Q: There is some big deal about the way Avenatti presented his client? Like is she the only one that has taken her testimony to where she is willing to be prosecuted if she lies? Doesn’t that mean anything to these old fossils? My god this is just incredible. This behavior by the GOP is so daring and evil. This sure takes off the mask that our Republic is not by all appearances (to even the blinded) a democracy any longer. How utterly shameful. Also thank you Peaceme for sharing your story. So many of us women can relate. I’ve had bosses suck my neck, write I love you’s, touch my private parts. I had a doctor send his FUCKING NURSE out of the exam room during a pelvic exam and close his eyes and start rocking!!!!!!!!! I laid there and cried! I saw that woman nurse about 4 years ago at my senior center and she walked away from me when I asked her why she left me that day alone w/that beast.

    Yeah. I’m a gardener and my favorite plant is my lavender. It is 45 years old and magnificent. Big beautiful black bees come from all over to visit my plant. At times it looks black and alive w/life when blooming. I’m a black bee and I fucking sting. Time to stand on my local corner again (for me and my frustration) so I feel I’m contributing. Also Tracy? Weren’t you the one who mentioned writing to Dr. Ford in support? I sent my post card in and thank you again for the great idea.
    Rayne: I’m ‘Ollie/Bee and I sting’ until this fiasco has been resolved. I hope that’s alright. If not let me know and I drop it. Loved the story you shared from Salon woman: Bees. Out of our mouths. Oh yeah. Our wrath is becoming ‘ONE’ am I’m proud! #metoo

    • Tracy says:

      Hey, Ollie, thank you for sharing your story, too! The doctor part is really horrific, especially b/c we are so vulnerable w/ our doctors and societally we trust them so much to look after us and help us – like the clergy (for most people – not me!). I also love your poetic expression, thank you so much.

      I can’t take credit for that wonderful idea to write to Dr. Ford (I didn’t even realize that was a thing – duh!), I hope whoever it was can see our comments and remind us who it was. B/c it’s a great idea and if you see this can you tell me where you wrote to her?

      • Jenny says:

        Ollie & Tracy, I suggested the letter to Dr. Blasey Ford.  The more support for her the better. I feel when I am supporting her, I am supporting all individuals who have been sexually abused, harassed & assaulted.  I do feel she has the wind at her back.

        Exposure is good.  The big picture is about changing the patriarchal abuse system firmly planted in our society which is being unearthed & weed out to provide a new foundation with respect for women. Women are speaking out & taking action. Action actualizes change.

        The Native Indians say:  Respect & honor for the beloved woman is the basis of respect & honor for the family, the children & the earth. 

        • Jenny says:

          Tracy, I wrote to Dr. Christine Blasey Ford at:

          Palo Alto University, 1791 Arastradero Road, Palo Alto, CA 94304

          Again, actualizing support for her.

        • Tracy says:

          Hello, Jenny, thank you for sharing that Native wisdom, I have an affinity to Native Indian teachings and culture (I know that’s a broad statement, but I feel it! I have a teacher who learned with a Cree medicine man, and have attended many of her ceremonies as she carries on the tradition). Are you Native American yourself, or familiar with the culture? I only ask b/c I have such a great love for those teachings!

          Thanks for your words, and I love all of the nature associations: “wind at her back…unearthed and weeded out”… Mother Earth, Divine Mother, Divine Feminine – perfect for this moment.

          I intend to send out a letter after the hearing. All the best as we observe and support today!! Let’s go do this!!

        • Jenny says:

          Tracy, not Native American; however I do admire their culture.  Another Native American saying:  There is a special magic & holiness about women.  They are the bringers of life to the people; & the teachers of the children. 

          This is the rising of the divine feminine in order to balance the male/female energy.  A weeding out old abusive cultures, beliefs & behavior. Trump, Weinstein,  Nassar & many more are symbols of old energy & beliefs.  They are the poster boys for abuse against women in order to highlight abusive behavior harmful to all societies.

          Again I say, this is about exposure of women who have been sexually abused, harassed & assaulted by a patriarchal abuse system for eons. It’s an earthquake emerging to create change in order to accept & respect women who are vital to our society.  After all, these men were not brought into this world by a stork.

          It was Anita Hill who said, “It would have been more comfortable to remain silent.”

  15. Ollie/Bee and I sting says:

    omg LOl *resend s/b Rescind
    no edit. How embarrassing, lol. okaybye

    n.o.w we get edit, hehehe Thanks Rayne!

  16. earlofhuntingdon says:

    Trump’s holding a press conference in 10 minutes. He must need more distraction from, well, everything he does and is.

    • earlofhuntingdon says:

      But the Don has no agenda for this rare press conference.  He just wants to chat with his good friends in the press corps.  Maybe it’s because they only laugh at him behind his back.

      And he’s still lying about the scope of FBI investigations of applicants for senior federal jobs.  But it’s the Dems who are pulling off “a big, fat con job” and laughing about.  So that UNGA laughter is stuck in his ample craw.

      He is right about one thing: Obama picked only a handful of judges, while he is likely to nominate another 145 before Christmas.

    • earlofhuntingdon says:

      “What does that mean?”

      A reporter, the nth man picked by Trump to ask him a question, prefaced his question by saying professionally and respectfully, it would be great if the next reporter you picked was a woman.

      Rather than letting it slide, the Don made an issue of it.  After a long rambling answer, the next reporter he picked was Hallie Jackson of MSNBC.  But the Don has been very busy, and Michael Avenatti is a BAD lawyer (unlike the competence challenged Mikey Cohen, who worked for him for ten years).

    • earlofhuntingdon says:

      Ramble, ramble.  Should have reported “it” 36 years ago.  But you’re right, it’s a tough call, but it would have been great if her parents had reported it.

      The question he didn’t allow the woman reporter to ask was about whether Mr. Trump understood how hard it would have been for a 15-year old and her parents to make a hard-to-prove allegation public, starting with whether the local police would even accept a report or document forensic evidence supporting it.  (Never mind all those pre-DNA rape kits that have yet to be analyzed.)

      Fake news, Fake news.  I’m famous, famous, and have had a lots of, many, many false charges made against me.  Phoney story.  His ramble precludes a question about why he always takes the alleged perpetrators side.

      And we have lots of evidence against the Chinese – but I can’t tell you what it is, but it’s a lot.  And the president of China, “has total respect” for Donald Trump and “his very large brain.”  I shit you not.

    • earlofhuntingdon says:

      “Rod Rosenstein has a lot of respect for me.”  No collusion, no obstruction, but I fight back.

      “I don’t want to do anything that gets in the way of this very important Supreme Court pick.”  But that doesn’t answer the question about whether he intends to fire Rosenstein.

      Ramble, ramble, so the Don reverts to attacking Hillary and McCabe’s wife’s backing of her.

      He wants to keep Rod – “he did not say it” [without identifying the “it”.]  The Dems say things they don’t mean, it’s politics.  But the Dems are a total disgrace, even though they think the Don is the most powerful president ever.  Waves tiny hands repeatedly.

        • Rayne says:

          Betting EoH gave up on the live coverage because he can’t understand what Trump is saying. He’s utterly batshit, detached from any semblance of reality. Can’t wait for the psych folks in our community to spill about this shit show.

        • Tracy says:

          I can’t listen to him – lies, rambling, lies, incoherence, lies, garbage, lies, inanity, lies, chest thumping, lies, lies, lies…

    • earlofhuntingdon says:

      Sky News, woman reporter, what message does it send to women that you call an investigation into their claims of sexual abuse a “con job”.  “I’ve used much worse words.  Con job isn’t bad at all.”

      “Women are very angry” at these accusations against a very nice man.  “Women are smarter than men.  I’ve said that a lot [but never meant it].”

      Kurdish reporter:

      “I’m a Kurd.”

      “Kurds are a great people.  I like ’em a lot.  Are you a Kurd?”

      “Yes, sir.”

      “We’ve had tremendous support from the Kurds.”

    • earlofhuntingdon says:

      Fox News, woman reporter: Did you refuse to take a call from the Canadian Prime Minister?

      The Don:  You’re goddamn right I did.  I’ve never liked NAFTA.  I refuse to use the name NAFTA.  We’re pulling out, of NAFTA.  I’m going to start calling it the USMC – ’cause I like the Marine Corps, right General Kelly?  The US, Mexico, Canada agreement.

    • earlofhuntingdon says:

      I am with the people of Iran.  I’ve sticking up for the people of Iran, not the government.  Iran’s a disaster.  They’ll come to the negotiating table, but I don’t want them to have nuclear weapons.

      I don’t like OPEC.  It wouldn’t last two weeks but for our armed might.  Jobs, it’s all made in the United States.  Iran has to come back, it has to talk.  [The EU, Russia and China are orchestrating a way around Trump’s proposed Iranian sanctions.]

      Whose great now?  We’re great now.  I can do this all day long.

      Picks reporter he thinks is from the NYT.  Long diatribe about the NYT.  Predicts the failing NYT will endorse him for re-election.  If they don’t, they’re going out of business.  [Reporter he thought was with the NYT is from CBS.]

      The UNGA were not laughing at me, they were laughing with me, because we’re great.  We had a good time, we were doing it together.  The United States is respected now [because I’m president].  Without our protection, you [members of UNGA] would have real problems.  After two minutes…they agreed with me.  But Mr. President, nobody’s ever asked us for that.

    • earlofhuntingdon says:

      [On Brett Kavanaugh]  One of the highest quality human beings.  The most brilliant person, the most brilliant lawyer.  No. 1 in his class at Yale Law [not close].

      Sean Hannity, I don’t speak with him very much, but I called him about….

      Real NYT reporter wants to ask a question, because he is from the NYT, not CBS.  Puts him off.

      I think we’re gonna make a deal with the Israelis and Palestinians.  Bibi’s been very nice to me.  We saved a billion dollars in moving the embassy to Jerusalem.  Did it for $500,000.

      Two state deal is gonna happen.  Jared loves Israel, but he’s gonna be fair to, um, the Palestinians.  Bottom line, it’s up the the Israelis and the Palestinians, I’m a facilitator, it’s a real estate deal…. Middle East peace depends on it.  Twelve leaders from the ME told me that.  We’re trying hard to get it, but I’m OK with either two or one-state solution.

      The Chinese are doing studies on Donald Trump.  They’re having big problems.  He and I have a very good chemistry together.  China is very special, incredible people, incredible country.  Started with the WTO, a defective deal.  My predecessors allowed them to get away with murder.  In honor of the NYT, I will make a call to the president of China tomorrow….

      • bmaz says:

        “Only thing harder than the two state deal is healthcare, but we’ll get that done too”

        Remember when he said how easy and beautiful great healthcare would be? Guess that is no longer operative as they say in DC.

        • earlofhuntingdon says:

          I took no comfort in his description of the long-simmering Palestinian-Israeli dispute as “a real estate deal,” and brokering a deal through a son-in-law who is in the bag for the Israelis as simple, “mediation”.

          But, yea, we’ll get that healthcare whatever done, too.

        • Trip says:

          A bit of slipped out honesty? For Kushner, it IS a real estate/development deal (after they remove Palestinian people from their homes). Too bad it’s also apartheid.

        • Bruce Olsen says:

          Right after he polishes off Infrastructure Week again.

          And builds the wall.

          Thanks for the summary. I cannot bear to listen to him.

        • Michael Schmitt says:

          I turned MSNBC off seconds before he entered the room. I didn’t turn it back on until the last 20 minutes of Melber.

    • earlofhuntingdon says:

      The farmers in Iowa: we don’t care if we get hurt from your tariffs, because you’re doing the right thing.  [Demonstrates ignorance of Mexican VAT and NAFTA.  Compares news conference to rock concert, and leaving on a high note.]


      Reporter: What message are you sending to young men in your stance about Brett Kavanaugh?

      False statements.  False statements.  Nobody knows who to believe.  I could pick another judge, justice, this could go on forever.  Honestly, a very dangerous period in our country.  Being perpetrated by very very dangerous people, some of them are Democrats.  It’s a con game.

      This is the most coveted job in the world.  I would honestly say, I could conceivably imagine going to one of them, I’m gonna choose one of you, but they will turn me down because of what happened to Brett Kavanaugh.

      When you are guilty until proven guilty, it’s not supposed to happen that way.  Very very dangerous standard.  I look forward to what “she” has to say, and to what Judge Kavanaugh has to say.  A very important day in the history of our country.

      [Refuses to answer the question about what message he’s sending to young men.]

      The End.

      Someone hand me a brown paper bag.  Kudos to Ms. EW, who does this for a living.

      • cwradio says:

        Thanks for braving the Orange Puke’s bullshit. I can’t listen to him without wanting to throw something through the TV screen.

        That “brain” comment reminds me of Dustin Hoffman’s character in “Rain Man”.

        “I have a very good brain… Dad let me take it around the drive, because it’s a very good brain; it’s very large.”

        “I always buy my ideas from K-Mart…Kremlin Mart… in Moscow..Russia… Mr. Putin is very nice…Canada sucks!…I have a very good brain…”

      • Trip says:

        Someone on twitter likened Trump’s presser performance to an impersonation of Alec Baldwin doing an impersonation of Trump.

        Too bad Trump didn’t go into comedy instead.

        • earlofhuntingdon says:

          Or music promotion.  Could have been the cover art for the Allman Brothers’ Ramblin’ Man.

          He might be doin’ the best he can, but it’s definitely time for leavin’.

        • Trip says:

          This reminds me more of the ever-present, everything, non sequitur, Trump pitch:

          Step Right Up ~ Tom Waits


          and toward the end….

          You got it buddy, the large print giveth and the small print taketh away

    • Frank Probst says:

      Just to be clear, she says that Mark “He Who Must Not Be Called to Testify” Judge felt guilty about participating in at least one event where multiple men/boys had sex with one woman/girl, but she said that Judge told her that he thought the sex itself was consensual.  That’s how delusional he is about his high school years.

  17. Frank Probst says:

    Trigger warning for those who can’t stand listening to Trump, but I thought he totally screwed the pooch here. He doesn’t seem to know that only Blasey Ford is being allowed to testify tomorrow. He clearly thinks that all three women will be taking the stand:

    I’m not sure how you walk that back. If the President thinks he needs to listen to all three women to decide whether or not he’s going to pull the nomination, why is Grassley only allowing one of them to testify?

    • bmaz says:

      Unless someone puts their name to it, which the other three have, and at least two under oath, not sure it means much. That said, if testified to, that sure looks to be not just a physical assault,but a sexual one too given the description.

      • JD12 says:

        Yeah I didn’t realize they were totally anonymous. I thought the Senators knew who sent the letter, like with Ford, but apparently not.

    • Doctor My Eyes says:

      Senator said, “No stone was left unturned,” which turned out to be only one stone–Kavanaugh’s denial.  Reminds me of Trump verifying that Russia didn’t interfere with the election by asking Putin. Not that much can be done from an anonymous letter, but still. No stone left unturned? Ugh.

      • JD12 says:

        The Democratic aide is probably right.

        “Republicans may have leaked these in an attempt to make the others look frivolous by association,“ the aide said.

        Republicans on the committee are leaking the non-credible allegations now to muddy the waters.

  18. Tracy says:

    I just wanted to say that to all of the women and men who read this blog who have endured sexual harassment, misconduct and assault, thank you for sharing your stories if you felt moved to do so. (Rayne had posted another thread a few days in a similar vein – due to being pretty heavily triggered at that time, it took me a few days to go back and read your stories, by which time the comments section was closed.)

    So I just wanted to say that I honor all of your experiences and thank you for sharing them. I hope that people will feel empowered to share more as we go along. You all give me strength throughout this process that is rage-inducing and almost unendurable to watch. I feel helpless and furious, but I am grateful for this space to share troll-free thoughts.

    Does anyone intend to be in Washington tomorrow to protest?

  19. Kim Kaufman says:

    I am appalled by Dianne Feinstein’s actions and non-actions in all this. Was she really keeping Ford’s letter quiet to protect her – or to protect Heitkamp, Manchin and Donnelly because they want to vote for Kavanaugh to help their re-election?

    As to Trump’s hour and a half of public rambling today, listening to him dismissively cut off every woman was maddening.

    • Rayne says:

      Read Ford’s letter. I don’t think Feinstein had a choice based on the text of Ford’s letter. IIRC Feinstein had consulted with at least one other female member of Congress about the letter.

      And don’t blame Feinstein for the right-leaning Dems that ND, WV, IN produce. They bug the crap out of me but activists in the party still haven’t figured out how to give these centrists air cover so that they can run to the left. We failed the same way with Obama.

  20. X says:

    I love that this site shows me the depth of my ignorance but enlightens me. My comments are that the problems that the Repubs have with Trump is only the way that he presents without guile and as for Avenatti, I go with Charlie Pierce. To paraphrase, it ain’t the way I’d do it, but he hasn’t been wrong yet.

  21. Frank Probst says:

    I wish I remember who said this, but someone once said that most of what Matt Drudge posts is right-wing crap, but not all of it, and part of what makes him so influential is that “Drudge NEVER misses the story.”  I don’t remember what it was in reference to, but it was one of the few times that Drudge HAD, in this person’s opinion, missed the story.  Amongst all of the other headlines he’s been running all day is “SHE SAID, SHE SAID, SHE SAID”.  It’s been up there for a good chunk of the day, even though the other headlines have been rotating.  Even Susan Collins seems genuinely nervous at this point.  She wants to know why Mark Judge wasn’t called in to testify.  There’s still almost complete silence from Murkowski.  They’re all obviously waiting to see how tomorrow goes, but I don’t see how it can be a win for Kavanaugh unless Blasey Ford comes off as comically dishonest, and even then, you’ve got two more accusers plus Judge to explain away.

    • BobCon says:

      The hearing will be a sham. The Democrats get only five minutes per member to question Kavanaugh, for a total of 50. Members can yield to another, so odds are only two or three will get most of the time.

      Kavanaugh will filibuster. He’ll respond by talking as slowly as possible, throwing in pointless details and asides, and then Grassley will gavel to a close. The headlines will be how he said nothing and no serious blows were landed.

      They will rush to a vote in committee and then go to the full Senate. Collins and Flake will shake their heads about the process and wish they had more clarity, and then vote to confirm.

      • Doctor My Eyes says:

        Sad but true.  One thing, though, based sheerly on intuition, I have been feeling all along that Ford will be a kick-ass witness whose clear honest voice will penetrate the bs.  Now this evening I have learned that there is reason for believing this: Ford became an expert in these matters as a result of her experience at that unspecified party that Kavanaugh can prove he wasn’t at. She will have educated responses, backed by statistics, for all questions concerning why she has behaved as she has.  And she understands this issue very well, so she will know how to explain things.  I think she is going to score big points and speak in a way that resonates strongly with much of the country.  It’s the media coverage later that I fear more than anything.

        • Tracy says:

          Yes, the Truth will resonate above lies – the Truth will prevail!

          And also, Dr. Christine Blasey Ford is an expert – as per her profession as a psychologist – in human nature. I feel like I read that her field is trauma, but even if not so specifically, she’s got a lot on her side.

          Go Christine! We are with you and rooting for you today!!

  22. DJ says:

    If an outside hired gun comes in as a ringer and just tries to bullly around Prof Ford, will that backfire on the GOP? If people see Dr. Ford as a sympathetic victim who could have been their mother, aunt, or sister, I don’t see this move as being any better for the GOP.

    …and Flake will vote to confirm. He’s just a show pony. He don’t show up for the hard stuff when the chips are down…

    • BobCon says:

      You’re right that Flake will do nothing. However I also don’t think the hired gun will do anything but repeat some gentle sound bites about reasonable doubt and a distinguished career and father. I’d be surprised if she takes all of the allotted time. They want this over as quickly as possible, with no video of grumpy old men. This time, they won’t be feeding their base.

    • Doctor My Eyes says:

      I think the most effective thing Mitchell will do will be after the dog and pony show, when she offers her opinions.  She will be treated as an expert.  This will complete the illusion of an investigation, one in which the investigator (Mitchell) then becomes judge and jury.  She will make declarations of some kind–there’s not enough to go on, the witness wasn’t credible, there is no way this could have happened, it’s too late for an investigation, I found Kavanaugh to be credible–she will make some kind of declarations which the GOP will then portray as End of Investigation.  In short, the GOP will use her reputation first as a prosecutor, then as an expert, to present the illusion of a trial which reaches a verdict.  My two cents.

      • SteveB says:

        I do not doubt for one moment that your take is an accurate prediction.

        But how scandalous that a SCOTUS nominee is likely to achieve confirmation with “oath helping evidence” – which has been barred in common law jurisdictions for ages, not least because it impinges on the function and duty of the tribunal of fact.

  23. Doctor My Eyes says:

    Thank you everyone for this sane oasis. I’ve only had time to skim the comments before commenting myself; must go to bed. I’ve been so exercised about this all day, and most especially about the seemingly impenetrable wall any rape victim faces who seeks accountability. It is stunning to see the same tired misdirections being thrown out on the national level, all of them insulting, none less than the crocodile tears over ruining the life of the fucking perpetrator. I hear the rage, and I feel it from around the country. At first I dismissed MeToo as another fad that would lose national coverage and fade. I believe I was wrong. I believe there has been a sea change. I was discussing reasons with my daughter. I offered that sex is now so open, with so many people watching porn, that the shame of discussing sexual things is not as paralyzing for victims. Also, the “slut” attack is not as effective. I came up with a few others, but hers was my favorite: women are standing up for each other more. In any case, if they get away with this, it will not be because people were afraid to speak out; it will only be because propaganda now dominates our media.

    I appreciate the effort by women not to include all men in the rage–it can’t always be easy. I want to offer that in all brutal systems, everyone in the system suffers. It is a challenge, but remembering this when dealing with torture, slavery, rape, and other abominations is the way to sane solutions. Along the same lines, I think one factor contributing to the sea change is that decent men are starting to learn more about just how bad the rape culture is.

    Someone mentioned these GOP’ers not wanting to look bad. I think it’s much worse than that; I think most of them enjoy the power and enjoy the shaming. From what I’ve gathered, Mitchell is a practiced hired gun. My reading of things is that when prosecutors in Arizona were having friction with Sheriff Arpaio’s office for the thousands of sexual crime cases they were ignoring, tptb brought in Mitchell to quiet them down. All one needs to know about Arpaio is that he once forced a woman to go through labor while shackled. I say this amounts to torture. This act for me symbolizes the hatred for women we are discussing–it’s not about pleasure, it’s not even about sex except to the extent to which violence has a sexual component. It’s about control and hatred.

    I’m wanting to spew out much more, but I’ll stop myself. There is much we need to discuss about violence, men’s shame, and the code of secrecy. Perhaps another day. For me, Peacerme sums things up best:

    “We are all being raped as a nation by a cabal.”

  24. FightsLikeAGirl says:

    Thank you, Rayne. Thank you E.W. & commenting community. You’ve helped me be informed, given me strength & hope, & belief in the goodness of others for many years. Usually I need to read and learn here; this is the only time I felt I had to speak here.

    “If this was happening at these parties, why didn’t she report it?” Today I heard this. Again.
    Spoken by morons who inherited power, so they can afford to be morons, and their minions.

    I was a young girl in private Catholic high school in the mid seventies. Nothing changed in the eighties, the 90’s, the 2000’s. Normalizing yearbook entries. Bragging terminology, events referenced in multiple published entries. The message of complete acceptance & approval. Private schools. Entitlement. Privileged, powerful boys. Sports culture, male “heroes” taking their spoils, creating memories of shared drinking, dominating sexual experiences and bragging. Advice, hints on how to do these things passed on from older boys to often unsure, insecure younger admirers, & passed on in the messages clearly sent by what was/is said between older men – bragging about old memories, in front of their sons, hoping to make past ugly behavior into a joke; and made acceptable by drunken, secretly fearful, consensus.

    Look at the words written by Brett Kavanaugh in his yearbook. The bragging. The shared titles of events. Renate Alumnius. All done because he and everyone else knew this was all seen as great, acceptable, what you publish as your printed statements in a book meant to memorialize your high school experience. Before publication, teachers and administrators looked this over and approved – Why would ANYONE wonder why insecure, vulnerable, powerless young girls – first used, then having that immortalized and legitimized – why would anyone wonder why young women KNEW there was no place for them to report, to get protection in that world? It WAS ALREADY reported. And approved of, right there, in countless printed entries. Year after year. Approved by the adults in power, the yearbook advisor, the coach, the principal, the boosters. Right there, In black and white.

    It was not exclusive to private schools, or Catholic ones, but privileged sons got an even stronger message of entitlement, and boys got the message of a high school years as a sexual and alcoholic proving ground, a rite of passage. Girls are to be tricked and used. They are for men. They are collateral damage.
    The idiot Senators who say “Why didn’t she report it, then?” – The rage that is about to be unleashed, it will shake the ground beneath these monsters’ feet.

    • Eureka says:

      – why would anyone wonder why young women KNEW there was no place for them to report, to get protection in that world? It WAS ALREADY reported. And approved of, right there, in countless printed entries. Year after year. Approved by the adults in power, the yearbook advisor, the coach, the principal, the boosters. Right there, In black and white.

      Yes, this^.

      That entry about Renatta really sums it all up.

  25. Tracy Lynn says:

    @DJ and @X I agree about Avenatti: He’s the guy I’d want in my corner if I needed a bulldog lawyer–but I’m not sure his tactics don’t come with a lot of baggage. And, he hasn’t been wrong about much.

    • earlofhuntingdon says:

      Welcome.  Hope you enjoy and contribute to it.

      It’s good form when posting a cite to clean up the tracking information often appended to it.  That usually starts with the question mark and includes the rest of the address, which should be deleted.  Your cite should end with “…kavanaughs-supreme-court”.  Thanks.

    • Doctor My Eyes says:

      This infuriates me literally to the point of tears! So, is the other man going to prison?!! Where is the fucking investigation of the other man who stepped forward, as men so often do in such situations? I guess that’s just how fucking patriotic the actual rapist is, that he couldn’t just stand by and see a good man’s reputation ruined.  “Yes, for the sake of god and country I must declare, I am the rapist, not my honorable friend. Sure, I rape women, but I’m an otherwise honorable man.”  Happens all the fucking time.  I’m beside myself reading this bullshit.

      My feeling is that if Kavanaugh is appointed to the SC, it’s game, set, match for what’s left of democracy in this country.  The Russian mob will have the levers of power through their proxies.  If they steal the midterms outright, who will be able to stop them? There will be no recourse.  They will control all 3 branches of government. I firmly believe this is the crisis point.  Hardly slept last night.

  26. Doctor My Eyes says:

    As reported from an article in the 2005 Phoenix New Times, concerning Rachel Mitchell’s role in Joe Arpaio’s county fiefdom:

    The article said the naming of another woman as a special assistant in the County Attorney’s office that was part of the same shakeup was “a clear signal that the County Attorney’s Office no longer will do battle with controversial Sheriff Joe Arpaio over what…staffers often viewed as legally impermissible excesses.” The office was being run by a new County attorney.

    • bmaz says:

      Really, Mitchell has nothing to do with Arpaio, other than that she was elevated to sex crimes bureau chief by Arapio’s pal Andy Thomas. But that bureau itself always had contempt for Arpaio’s Sheriff’s department because they submitted sloppily worked up cases and abandoned hundreds if not thousands. Trying to equate Rachel with Arpaio is simply not right. She has plenty of baggage but that is not it.

      • Doctor My Eyes says:

        I accept that you may know more than I, but you did not address my argument.  The quoted passage claims that there is a connection between Mitchell and Arpaio, specifically that she was brought in as part of a shake-up to quell the friction between the bureau and the sheriff’s office.  You acknowledge this friction. Are you also arguing that her appointment had nothing to do with this friction? Could it not be that she used her position to provide cover for the sheriff’s office much as she is being employed to provide cover for the Reps on the SJC? I understand that I’m making assumptions on the basis of limited information, but it does not seem far-fetched to assume that the Reps would choose someone with a proven track record that suits their interests. Do you actually know the Phoenix New Times report to be inaccurate?

        • bmaz says:

          Yes, I am arguing that because the same “friction” has maintained ever since she was elevated. She did NOT use her position to cover for MCSO, indeed her bureau is still trying to clean up remnants of that mess. I know a lot about the case described in the New Times report, but am not going to go into it. It is factually accurate as far as it goes.

  27. earlofhuntingdon says:

    The Republicans are in a twist about what will happen to their boy this morning. One argument is that they chose Mitchell because she apparently has a history of being tough on alleged male sex offenders [and for getting along with Sheriff Joe-of-the-pink-panties]. Mitchell is being praised across the MSM for that.

    That argument doesn’t scan. It might, if Mitchell had been hired by the Dems. She wasn’t.

    Lawyers are trained to fight tenaciously for whomever hired them. They are there to win. Republican Chuck Grassley hired Mitchell to rip into Ford like a tornado ripping into an Iowa corn field. He wants to protect his choir boy, and the legacy he expects from him.

    • bmaz says:

      I really cannot emphasize this enough, equating Mitchell with and as some kind of pal of Joe Arpaio is just flat out wrong. That is just not the facts on the ground between her, the bureau she runs and Arpaio.

      • Trip says:

        Dunno much about her, but with the GOP laughing off and disrespecting victims, how can we not assume she is only a fig-leaf attack dog for the cowards?

        @earl: Chuck (Snake in the) Grassley.

      • Doctor My Eyes says:

        bmaz, it just looks fishy to me. She is appointed by Andrew Thomas in the middle of a shake-up, a shake-up involving friction between the bureau and the sheriff’s office concerning prosecution of sex crimes. Meanwhile, two decorated division chiefs are demoted. Thomas forms a close partnership with Arpaio and ends up in disgrace.  I accept that it would be a mistake to stress unprovable accusations, but it doesn’t seem so far-fetched to guess that Mitchell was part of preventing the aforementioned decorated division chiefs from causing trouble for Arpaio. I guess it’s not worth pursuing, because it’s wild ass guessery, but I smell a rat.

        • bmaz says:

          Well, I have been here practicing in Maricopa County superior Court since before either Arpaio or Mitchell arrived on the scene. I have had over that time many cases with the sex crimes bureau, including several high profile ones. I know them and the dynamics pretty well. This is what I do. But let it smell fishy if you want. Andy Thomas was a dogmatic asshole. Yes, he tried to make things smoother with the MCSO. Did Mitchell really do that with the sex crimes bureau? No. There has continued to be “friction” as before and there is simply no love lost there.

        • Doctor My Eyes says:

          Aha! Light dawns on Marblehead.  Thanks so much. Forgive me for not feeling encouraged, but I now see why the association between Arpaio and Mitchell should be abandoned.

  28. harpie says:

    Kavanaugh-Blasey Ford showdown really about whether a woman can control her story, her body, her destiny | Will Bunch 

    […] Who were these men? It’s a question that a lot of folks — especially (but not exclusively) American women — are asking themselves in anger this week as they watch a stunning spectacle in Washington: Decrepit white men so desperate to defend a corrupt and corroded social order that they are attempting to do, metaphorically, what 51-year-old research psychologist Christine Blasey Ford insists a future member of the power elite did to her in the early 1980s — turn up the background noise and cover her mouth so no one can hear her scream. […] This is a cultural and psychological battle that’s taking place — about what kind of society America wants to be in the 21st century and beyond. […] But more and more people, especially women, are seeing things for what they really are: An ancient patriarchy clinging to what it’s always done in the past: Control the narratives of women. […]


    • earlofhuntingdon says:

      Kavanaugh’s record thoroughly documents his belief that a woman is inherently incompetent to control her own body – or to run a corporation, an agency of state, or a basketball team – and that the male-dominated state is obligated to step in and make her decisions for her.  Amen.

  29. Trip says:

    Oh FFS, Grassley thinks he’s in a position to bloviate about “civility”. Pffft.

    I don’t know if I’m going to have the stomach to watch their charade.

  30. klynn says:

    Like EW has pointed out, check those K emails and confirm you didn’t receive any Kav. FBI sure can. Guess the R-u-s-n-s could too. But boy are their bots busy. An article checking specific bot activity would be interesting too.

  31. Trip says:

    I feel so bad for Dr Ford. She is terrified, but is doing this anyway. That is the badge of heroism and courage, right there. (as opposed to the entire GOP panel)

  32. klynn says:

    Grassley is terrible. No matter how this would come forward, he would find fault. He had his chance a few weeks ago to have Ford’s letter contents investigated. The biggest tell is Mark Judge in hiding. That decision came way ahead of the Kav hearings and that timeline and those involved in determining the hiding should be accounted for.

    • Doctor My Eyes says:

      On c-span, every offered clip under the live testimony is of Grassley, beginning with “Grassley apologizes to Ford”. I think they are listed in order of “popularity”.

  33. Trip says:

    Update from Captain Obvious: Meghan Kelly was a wretched (Fox) political hack, and she remains the same. You can take the woman out of Fox, but not the Fox out of the woman. She’s trying to pretend she’s just representing Trump supporters’ opinions on Dr. Ford, but she presents with such vigor and venom, you know she’s singing with that choir.

    Does NBC have an evil quota?

  34. klynn says:

    Mitchell’s Chershire Cat smile after the “check where your house is” moment was deeply disturbing. They are going to tear in to her whole “how did you get home” portion of her recall.

    • earlofhuntingdon says:

      Mitchell’s use of the map created a false sense of precision and accuracy.  Her implied dig about having a [learner’s] driving permit at 15 was pedantic.  She’s trying hard to be the iron fist in the velvet glove.

      Whitehouse started off poorly, but has found his stride.

      Grassley is seriously defensive and wasting time restating his version of a Marcy Wheeler timeline.  He’s bragging like Donald Trump about what a good background check his people have done.  Righteous anger does not suit him on this issue.

  35. earlofhuntingdon says:

    Mitchell should have learned by now that she is dealing with an expert on PTSD and human relations.  Digging into other causes of PTSD is meant to both offput Ford and relieve Kavanaugh from liability for it.

    Mitchell is trying to show Ford’s fear of flying – and more generally her emotional anxiety and trauma from the Kavanaugh incident – is not very great.  A delicate impugning of her testimony, an opening she will use to attack her, if she can make it wide enough.

  36. earlofhuntingdon says:

    It is surpassingly weird that Mitchell is asking all the Republican questions, but Democratic Senators are asking theirs.

    So far, Ford is handling her national exposure and questioning by a trained prosecutor exceedingly well.  She is precise, factual, willing to be vulnerable, but not obviously intimidated by an extraordinarily intimidating process.

    Mitchell, for example, is asking the names of Ford’s friends who gave her informal advice, before she was prepared to talk to experienced lawyers and advisers.  She has the presence of mind to respond with “friends” rather than names.

    Mitchell is asking for names of who at the Post and Times she might have contacted.  Ditto for congressional staff.  This is about Ford’s process in coming forward, and how she managed and organized to do it, a daunting task for any citizen.

    Mitchell is attempting to expose Ford’s personal network, while avoiding the substance of Ford’s claims, a form of intimidation, particularly given that no other witnesses other than Kavanaugh will be heard today.

    Mitchell questions whether Ford talked to any Republican congresscritters or their staff, an apparent attempt to show bias.  Ford smartly says that the congresscritters where she lives are Democrats.

  37. Frank Probst says:

    I don’t have the stomach to watch this, so I’m just following comments online and watching the news sites.  The big tell that it’s not going well for the GOP is that Drudge hasn’t been able to come up with a single thing to put in its blaring headline spot.  Chris Wallace is calling it a disaster for Republicans.  Everyone seems to think that she’s extremely credible and that what she went through was horrifying.

  38. Geoff says:

    This is the easy part Frank! The nauseating part is yet to come, when The Unctuous One gives his phony self-righteous choirboy performance.  I will try to power through, but will probably fail and have to just follow Marcy’s tweet feed for the important bits.

    This whole thing today, whatever you call it, is an absolute charade. That we have a female prosecutor standing in for the Republican cowards and trying to undercut Ford’s credibility as the entirety of the investigation into a very serious matter with serious gaps in information which could easily be plugged by having additional witnesses here, is all the info you need to know that this is nothing but political performance theater being carried out by team R in order to try to do a major CYA before they ram this lying wanna be rapist into the top court in the nation. Appalling.

  39. Frank Probst says:

    @bmaz just said this on Twitter, which is something that I’d been wondering: There isn’t a chance in hell that Mark Judge would be able to stand up to cross-examination without having to take the 5th. (Paraphrasing, but that’s the gist.)

  40. klynn says:

    Why did Mitchell even agree to do this for the GOP when, as she pointed out, goes against professional guidelines for sexual assault victims? What is her political motivation? Why didn’t she recommend to Grassley to oroceed as per her own professional guidelines? Who is paying for her to be there? Every question and point Mitchell made in the closing time actially applied to herself more and Ford less.

    • Frank Probst says:

      This was her 15 minutes of fame.  If Blasey Ford had been a terrible witness, the GOP would already be saying that Mitchell has a bright political future ahead of her.  If the exchange had been so-so, Mitchell would go back to Maricopa County no worse for the wear.  I don’t think anybody on the GOP side was expecting Blasey Ford to be as credible as she was.  So Mitchell takes a huge hit to her reputation, but she still goes back to her job in Maricopa County.  It may end up hurting her career if advocacy groups for sexual assault victims start calling for her to resign, but I think she’ll just be getting dirty looks for about a month, and then everyone will have forgotten about her role in this.

Comments are closed.