let’s be reasonable about this

It’s terribly, terribly important for Dr Christine Blasey Ford to be able to tell her alleged version of the alleged “incident” that allegedly took place in the alleged 1980s, but let’s be reasonable. She’s had three decades to prepare for this, so really, there’s no reason she can’t testify on Monday.

We can arrange for her to testify in the morning or the afternoon, whichever she prefers. We want to accommodate her. She can testify in private or in public, sitting or standing, it’s up to her. She can sit in front of us, she can sit behind us, she can sit off to one side, she can testify looking in a mirror if she likes. She can testify sitting behind a table, or standing behind a podium, or relaxing on a beach chair, or reclining on a bearskin rug, or swinging from a trapeze, if that’s what she wants. But let’s be reasonable, we have a schedule here, so it has to be on Monday.

She can testify wearing a sun hat, or behind a veil, or wearing a tiara, or maybe the Mask of Zorro if that makes her feel more at ease. We can turn the temperature of the hearing room up, we can turn it down, we can change the humidity, we can provide her with a folding Japanese kawahori-ōgi if that will make her more comfortable. But we must be reasonable and have her testify on Monday. Not Tuesday, not Wednesday, and Thursday is just impossible.

She can wear a mask during her testimony if she wants.

We can burn aromatic candles, or play chamber music in the background, or let her sit in a warm bath if it’ll help her relax while she testifies about her alleged sexual assault. We can give her a stress ball to squeeze, we can have a therapist massage pressure points on her feet, we can bring in a therapy koala to sit on her lap if that’s what she requires to be comfortable. But let’s be reasonable about this; she has to testify on Monday.

We will provide her with a fan, if that will make her comfortable.

We can hear her testimony in the Senate chambers, we can hear it the Gloria in Excelsis Tower of the National Cathedral, we can hear it on the Observation Deck of the Empire State Building (where Tom Hanks finally hooks up with Meg Ryan), we can hear it on the Orient Express on the way to Istanbul, we can hear it in the Jungle Room at Graceland, we can hear her testimony anyplace Dr. Blasey Ford will feel safe in recounting the intimate details of her alleged sexual assault. So long as it’s on Monday.

We will, of course, do everything we possibly can to oblige Dr. Blasey Ford. We want to be supportive. She deserves to be heard. On Monday. We’re on a tight schedule, you know, so let’s be reasonable about this.

But if she declines….

But if she declines our invitation to testify on Monday — if, despite all the concessions we’re willing to make, regardless of the many compromises we’ve kindly suggested, notwithstanding the various allowances we’ve offered — if Dr. Blasey Ford fails to appear at the hearing on Monday, we’ll be forced, regretfully, to consider her to be just another lying slut trying to destroy the reputation of a decent man. We’ve made every effort to be reasonable about this.

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i trust my inner private investigator

Let me begin by establishing my creds. I spent seven years as a private investigator specializing in criminal defense. I had a contract with a public defender program and I helped defend people accused of serious felonies. Murder, armed robbery, rape, just about any criminal horror one person can inflict on another.

I have no idea how many rape cases I’ve worked. A lot. I have no idea how many rape victims I’ve interviewed. But I know this. In seven years there was never a single case in which I thought an adult woman making an accusation of any form of sexual assault was lying about it. Sometimes they got details confused, sometimes their accounts were jumbled, but I never ever had the sense that they were making it up. And remember, I was employed by the lawyer defending the accused rapist.

Seven years of criminal defense work has made me too cynical to accept the notion that women and girls never lie about sexual assault. People are capable of lying about everything. Earlier I specifically referred to adult women making accusations because I worked a case in which a girl who’d just turned 13 did, in fact, demonstrably lie about being sexually assaulted in order to get an adult in trouble. I also worked a case in which I suspected a teen-aged girl might have been lying.

So, just to be clear, in seven years of investigating I had one case in which I know an alleged teen-aged victim was lying and one case in which the victim might have been lying. I accept that it’s always possible that somebody claiming to have been sexually assaulted could be lying about it. But my experience suggests it’s incredibly rare, and I’ve never seen it from an adult.

Christine Blakely Ford has accused Supreme Court nominee Brett Kavanaugh of sexually assaulting her back in the early 1980s. He categorically denies it. My training makes it impossible for me to simply accept either account. One of them is probably lying. (I say ‘probably’ because sometimes the world is just flat out weird as fuck and almost anything is possible.)

I can think of no logical reason for Ford to lie about this. I can think of no logical reason she would have first told it as a lie six years ago in couples therapy, long before anybody considered Kavanaugh might become a Justice on the Supreme Court. I can think of no logical benefit or advantage Ms. Ford might obtain by lying about this.

On the other hand, it’s easy to think of dozens of reasons for Brett Kavanaugh to lie about it. It’s easy to think of dozens of ways Kavanaugh would benefit from lying about this. It’s very easy indeed to believe that the existence of a letter signed by 65 women saying they knew Kavanaugh during his prep school years and that he was a complete gentleman toward women — a letter obviously prepared prior to Ms. Ford’s public accusation — is evidence that Kavanaugh was seeding the field to bolster a lie.

Does that mean Kavanaugh MUST be lying and Ford MUST be telling the truth? No. It simply means there’s ample reason to believe her and almost no reason to believe him.

I keep hearing folks say Always believe the women. I can’t. I’d like to, but I can’t. Everything in my experience — everything in my experience — tells me that if a woman says she’s been sexually harassed or assaulted, she’s almost certainly telling the truth. Every day our culture reinforces that ugly truth. But despite all that, when I hear an accusation of sexual assault, my inner PI forces me to weigh the accuser against the accused.

I’ve done that in this case. And at this point my inner PI has arrived at this conclusion with a high degree of confidence: Brett Kavanaugh is a lying sack of shit.

o manafort, manafort! wherefore art thou?

Well, there you go. Mueller got Manafort. Major victory for the Russia investigation. The fifth and most important member of the Trump presidential campaign to plead guilty to criminal activity. This has GOT to be making heads explode in FreeRepublicLand, right? I mean, c’mon — Trump’s campaign manager? Surely FreeRepublic will be discussing Manafort’s decision to cooperate with the Special Counsel. Right?

So, first page of ‘Latest Articles’ and what’ve we got? There’s a post about Comrade Trump holding an event in Las Vegas — okay, so what. One about women getting tattoos of Ruth Bader Ginsburg — that’s cool. Two posts about something Trump tweeted about Obama saying he’d visited 57 states — sure, that clearly needs discussing. Something about the Dallas Cowboys having low ratings — probably because of Kaepernick. A post called ‘Hot Mic Catches Tender Moment Between Trump and Melania’ — I don’t even want to know what constitutes a ‘tender moment’ for Trump. But no Manafort. Maybe on the next page.

A tender moment.

Okay, page two. Something about Pakistan banning foreign cheese — who knew radical conservatives were fromage fanciers? A post about Ronald Reagan’s letter to his dying father-in-law — probably something inspirational; I hate inspirational shit. One about Trump ‘pushing back’ against his divorce lawyer, who is apparently writing a book about being Trump’s divorce lawyer — and Trump responds: “I’ve had nothing but victories, so it’s sad that somebody you can’t take to Washington for obvious reasons wants to write a book.” Not sure what counts as a ‘victory’ in divorce settlements, but okay. A couple of posts on the opponents to the Kavanaugh nomination — it appears they were loud and disruptive and not at all respectful. Maybe they should have just taken a knee? Still nothing on Manafort.

Imran Saleh and a 22 pound havarti in his artisanal cheese shop in Lahore.

Page three. Post about the Texas Board of Education removing Hillary Clinton and Helen Keller from history books — apparently a good thing because Keller was “a raving left-wing, flagburning Socialist”. Something about Trump adding still more tariffs on Chinese goods — yay America. An angry post about the Women’s National Basketball Association champions not being interested in an invitation to the White House — this is evidence that “leftists ruin everything: politics, sports, journalism, academia, the workplace, sex.” One about a guy in Little Rock who waved a ‘blue line’ flag outside a Nike shop — the ‘blue line’ flag is a ‘pro-police’ flag which I guess is a response to Kaepernick, because all politics are now about a quarterback who hasn’t played a game since New Year’s Day 2017. There’s a post about looting after the hurricane, and another declaring Kamala Harris will never be president, and still nothing about Manafort.

Some guy in Arkansas waving a blue line flag in front of a Nike shop for America.

Nothing on page four, nothing on page five, nothing on page six. I don’t know how much more of this I can take. It’s beginning to look like nobody named Paul Manafort actually exists in FreeRepublicLand.

Paul Manafort, Trump Campaign Manager & Felon

Until, at long last, on page seven of ‘Latest Articles’ we see this:

Manafort Implicates Tony Podesta — the Clinton-Connected Super Lobbyist

And this:

Now that Manafort has pleaded guilty, Mueller HAS to indict the Podesta Brothers

So nailing Manafort is only important because it possibly maybe inculpates the brother of the former chairman of Hillary Clinton’s 2016 presidential campaign whose email account was hacked by the Russians?

Reading the comments in both posts, it’s clear that in the eyes of FreeRepublic the Podesta brothers, evil though they are, aren’t the real criminals. The REAL criminals who colluded with Russia are two noted communists, Hillary Clinton and Barack Obama.

It’s been suggested Hillary and Barack also colluded with Sauron. And slept with orcs. Pre-teen orcs. In the cellar of a lembas pizza parlor in Rivendell. I mean, isn’t it obvious? But the Fake News will never report this.

 

life just be that way, i guess

Every so often, on a regular goddamn basis, I am reminded that The Wire wasn’t just the best cop show ever made, but a modern oracle for understanding These United States. The opening scene of the very first episode is the most concise, most hard-boiled, most accurate summation of how the world works in this nation.

Here is a True Thing, a thing The Wire gets right: Snot Boogie is always going to steal the money. Always, every time. But here is another True Thing, something that reminds you that The Wire is fiction: in real life, Snot Boogie often gets away with the money. Not every time, but often enough that snatching the pot and running is considered a business practice.

Maybe you should watch this before we go any further. Little over two-and-a-half minutes. It’s all there.

Delaware North. A privately owned global food service and hospitality company, owned by the Jacobs family, named for the location of its headquarters building on the corner of Delaware Avenue and North Street in Buffalo. Over fifty thousand employees, annual revenues of over three billion dollars. Three billion dollars. That’s serious coin.

In 1993, Delaware North won the contract to provide concession services for Yosemite National Park. We’re talking food, beverage, souvenirs — a sweet deal. But they lost that sweet deal to another company in 2015. That’s how the game of craps works, right? You make your point, you keep the dice; you don’t, the dice get passed to the next player. Delaware North is out, Aramark has the dice.

Well, that’s how it works in a fair game, even in a Baltimore back alley. Now imagine if Delaware North passed the dice, but said that in order to keep playing you had to pay them if you used the words ‘dice’ or ‘craps’ or ‘roll’ or any numeral from two to twelve. If somebody pulled that shit in Baltimore, his ass would get whupped.

But that’s basically what Delaware North did with Yosemite National Park. During the twenty-two years they had the concession contract, they began to trademark the names and images of the iconic landmarks inside Yosemite. They trademarked the name of ‘Curry Village’ and ‘Ahwahnee Hotel’ and even ‘Yosemite National Park.’ Hell, they trademarked the likeness of Half Dome. These greedy motherfuckers trademarked the phrase ‘Go climb a rock.’

Sorry, dude, can’t say that no more.

And when they lost the contract, Delaware North sued the National Park Service for trademark infringement, demanding US$50 million in compensation. That suit is still unresolved, but in the meantime the park decided to rename the hotel, the village, and some other sites. You can’t stay in the Ahwahnee Hotel anymore. Now you have to stay in the Majestic Yosemite Hotel. I mean, it’s just a name…but damn.

But wait…it gets worse. Of course it does. Everything gets worse in the Comrade Trump administration. About a year ago, Interior Secretary Ryan Zinke created (and I am NOT making this up) the ‘Made in America’ Outdoor Recreation Advisory Committee “to tackle some of our biggest public lands infrastructure and access challenges.” That’s ZinkeSpeak for ‘How to make rich motherfuckers even richer by letting them fuck with public lands.’

“Life just be that way, I guess.”

Guess who’s on that advisory committee? If you guessed Jerry Jacobs, the billionaire CEO of Delaware North, you’d be right. Only in the Trump administration would you find a greedhead like Jacobs, who is suing an agency of the Department of the Interior, formally named an advisor to that department.

Why is Jacobs on the committee? According to Zinke, he offers “unique insight that is often lost in the federal government.” That’s ZinkeSpeak for “Life just be that way, I guess.” Jerry Jacobs is what you get if you let Snot Boogie keep stealing the pot. So why do we even let him in the game?

“Got to. This America, man.”

in the box

They’re still burying John McCain today. They’ve been burying him all week. I don’t know when he’ll actually get put in the ground. For that matter, I don’t know that putting him in the ground is part of the plan; he may be cremated, for all I know. But the thing is, he’s been dead for a week — for seven full days — and people are still gathering to pay their final respects (or, in the case of politicians like Pence, McConnell, and Ryan, to fake their final respects) to the man.

Comrade Trump, of course, isn’t there. He’s off somewhere else, tweeting angrily about what a great president he is, and how unfair it is that he’s being investigated, and how nobody can be trusted or believed except him.

But knowing that Trump is alive and tweeting while McCain is being buried, an obvious questions comes to mind. Some day it’ll be Comrade Trump’s day in the box. Who’ll come to his funeral? Who’ll give speeches praising him? Who’ll be his pall-bearers? Who’ll weep uncontrollably?

How many ordinary citizens will wait in line for hours to look at his casket?