I am a sexual assault survivor. Trump the other day was speaking at a rally, and he said, ‘She has no memory of how she got to the party. Should we trust that she remembers the assault?’ And the answer is ‘yes’ … And I also know this woman is smart because she’s a psychologist – she’s no dummy. If someone is assaulted or experiences trauma, there’s science and scientific proof – it’s biology – that people change. The brain changes. What it does is it takes the trauma and it puts it in a box and it files it away and shuts it so that we can survive the pain. And it also does a lot of other things. It can cause body pain. It can cause baseline elevations in anxiety. It can cause complete avoidance of not wanting to even remember or think about what happened to you. But what I believe that have seen is that when this woman saw that Judge Kavanaugh was going to be possibly put in the highest position of power in the judicial system of this country, she was triggered, and that box opened. And when that box opened, she was brave enough to share it with the world to protect this country.
The clash of cultures that has been on slow boil since the election came to a frothing head last week in the back-to-back hearings of Dr. Ford and Judge Kavanaugh. Both insisted they are absolutely correct and that those on the other side are either mistaken at best or lying under oath at worst.
In the end, after this full day of wrenching testimony before the Judiciary Committee, it feels like we’re essentially back to “he said, she said.”
Which is exactly where we were 27-years ago with Anita Hill and Clarence Thomas. Then, Hill and Thomas were stand-ins for gender and we essentially chose, “he said.”
In this case, Christine Blasey Ford and Brett Kavanaugh, yes they’re stand-ins for gender, but what today made so clear, they’re really stand-ins for two sides of our divided country and both sides are 100% certain that they are right.
We have been given a week for the FBI to investigate and come forward with the facts. We have a week for our institutions to take these facts and determine the truth and make the right decision on a lifetime appointment. Has a man been unfairly accused of guilt by association or has a woman been heard but ignored?
The stakes have never been higher. The nation watches and the world waits to see if our institutions survive this test and be a reliable crucible that produces truth and justice. We’ll either come out of this stronger with new found optimism or tumble into a cynicism that will infect our midterm elections in the short term and an entire generation of political hopefuls that we can rely on to lead us to make the necessary changes to address the very real challenges to the climate and our way of life.
Two things nagging at me as we await what is gearing up to be the showdown of the decade. There’s no about-ness about this. Someone is not telling the truth. It’ll be winner takes all.
Brett Kavanaugh has categorically denied being at the party where Christine Blasey Ford alleges that she was pinned down and almost raped by the current nominee for the Supreme Court.
Late night TV host Seth Meyers has this observation on curious timing of the release of list of women that support Kavanaugh,
Yet, Chuck Todd from NBC asks,
The problem with the denial is Dr. Ford didn’t make a specific allegation of a specific event. She admitted she couldn’t remember which house where this was. So, why does he have a very specific ability to deny?
“As I’ve been saying from the beginning, this process has been a sham,” Senator Booker said. “The fact that tens of thousands of documents revealing a Supreme Court nominee’s views on key issues were deemed Committee Confidential and not available to the public reflects the absurdity of this process. The public has a right to access documents about a Supreme Court nominee’s views on issues that are profoundly important, such as race and the law. This process has demonstrated an unprecedented level of secrecy and opaqueness that undermines the Senate’s Constitutional duty to advice and consent.”
August 21st felt like a turning point. With the simultaneous trials of Michael Cohen and Paul Manafort popping out new bits of information about how Donald Trump ran his campaign, we learned that our President may be an “unindicted co-conspirator” in a crime. That’s an especially loaded term commonly associated with Nixon and Watergate (Wikipedia has already updated itself to include Trump) that indicates we may be headed into impeachment territory depending on the outcome of our midterm elections.
Joe Kahn, Managing Editor at the New York Times gave a very measured summary of the events of the day on The Daily podcast, part of what I’ve transcribed below.
This was the day that a series of possible charges turned into something that really is a direct legal and direct political threat to Trump’s longevity in office. It is quite likely that this will become a central issue in the midterm elections and force voters to decide whether or not they want to put Democrats back into majority in the house precisely because impeachment proceedings are the constitutional way to adjudicate a accusation of criminal activity by the President United States.
Up until now, even Democrats, had been reluctant to waive the impeachment flag as part of their campaign in the midterm elections. But you now have the President effectively being an unindicted co-conspirator in a crime. It seems highly likely that that then becomes a serious political if not a direct legal threat to the President. So this is a historic shift in the nature of the threat that we’ve been hearing about, writing about, talking about for so many months.
Impeachment is an unavoidable topic. It doesn’t mean he will be impeached. It doesn’t mean that if he is impeached he will be convicted but it is unavoidable topic when the president is an unindicted co-conspirator in a crime. That is the constitutional mechanism for adjudicating a credible accusation of illegal activity by the President of the United States.
Joe Kahn, Managing Editor, The New York Times
The following morning, here is the President’s response.
Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez shocked everyone last night with her huge upset the in New York’s 14th congressional district primary. The 28-year-old newcomer unseated Democrat Joe Crowley, a 10-term incumbent and one of the more powerful old guards of the party. Not only that, headlines screamed, she was a socialist.
She was outspent 18-to-1 and Congressman Crowley didn’t even bother to show up to two of the debates. By giving her something to push against, her supporters found purpose and Alexandria brought them along for the ride.
Here campaign video is powerful and gives me hope because it lays out a vision which is one that has been missing. She speaks to her voters because she is one of them in a way that the establishment is not.
We’ve all seen the “my story” candidate ads (some of which are powerful and mold-breaking). But there was something decidedly different, intoxicatingly defiant but also accessible in this film. The aforementioned, fleeting hallmarks of empathy and authenticity are everywhere in this work. For all the talk of storytelling, the little more than two minutes in the film is a master class in compacting passion, honesty and, yes, empathy and authenticity into a compelling package. Ocasio-Cortez isn’t merely telling her story; she’s telling everyone’s story in the district.
One could very easily deconstruct the tight copy, the beautiful film craft, the pacing leading to an anthemic crescendo, the excellent structure. Yes, there are the trappings of political ads, but what makes this ad special is that there isn’t a full-service ad agency behind it. Ocasio-Cortez wrote it, and she relied on volunteers to coordinate the shoot and real people, including the candidate’s campaign workers, are present throughout.
My twitter feed blew up last weekend. I had to turn off notifications and, even now, four days later, the number of retweets, likes, and responses are still coming in above the usual trickle. I clearly touched a nerve.
A jogger, visiting Canada from France, accidentally crossed the border, was apprehended by US Border Patrol, put into the back of a caged vehicle and driven 200 kms away to a DHS processing facility which took two weeks to clear her. https://t.co/mweyKb5hDU
The original story is really quite amazing and has to be read to be believed.
Responses ranged from outrage from people that have been to the border fighting with people that were incredulous there was no kind of fence or marking of the Canada/US border. . .
For the less ignorant people in the house… the left side is Canada and the right side is the USA. There is no fence or wall or even a sign except for a pick up your dog waste. And that small yellow berm is less than imposing or defining. pic.twitter.com/sDeJ3Gk4Fi
. . . to those that felt the runner was the victim of selective enforcement because of the color of her skin. There were a surprising number of doubters and others who thought the whole story was made up fake news. Several people misread my tweet and dismissed the whole thing as bogus because, “No one could jog all the way to Canada from France!”
The best replies came from those that pointed out that back in 2016 when 1,500 partying inner-tubers were blown off-course into Canadian waters our Northern neighbors scooped up the cold, wet, and tired into 19 buses to bring them back over the border. On top of that, “Sarnia city spokeswoman Katarina Ovens said workers spent several hours cleaning up after the invasion, picking up beer cans, coolers and even picnic tables that had washed up on the shore.”
I miss those innocent times before “zero tolerance”
Sure you could watch 9 hours of testimony (Day 1 on CSPAN, Day 2 on CSPAN) but just to put it in one place, here are the takes that I found insightful. I’ll add to this post when I find things so please add something in the comments too.
The New York Times’ Podcast The Daily had a great wrap-up of each day and are worth listening to in order.
Anil Dash, central to the creation of early blogger communities, speaks the wiseman in a short video addressed to Facebook employees. “We can’t have it both ways. We can’t say we’re able to change the world and pretend it’s not our fault when we do.”
There were many photos, here are some of my favorites.
Things have gotten so crazy and divisive lately that it’s now increasingly obvious that people are living in alternate realities. Our filter bubbles have become so completely isolating that they are impervious to commonly understood baseline facts such as science and reason. Some examples:
Wikipedia has a whole page on Malaysia Airlines Flight 370 theories
And today Vox has a terrifying piece which imagines a world where even a well-documented case of malfeasance by the current administration might be rejected out of hand by a misinformed and untrusting public.
That insular partisan far-right media is also full of nonsense like Pizzagate that leaves the base continuously pumped up — outraged, infuriated, terrified, and misled. At this point, as the stories above show, the conservative base will believe anything. And they are pissed about all of it.
At least the stock market is still breaking new records. I shudder to think what will happen if the economy takes a turn for the worse.