Working out the puzzle

An idea popped up last night as I was trying to improve my handwriting in the little drawing book I always keep in my back pocket.

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We Americans have been locked in an endless argument, as we so often are, about who is the victim and who is the perpetrator.  Cops, in cheap novels, always call the alleged perpetrator “the perp” as when they walk him, handcuffed and awkwardly trying to hide his face, past a phalanx of news photographers.   While the shame of the perp walk is deliberately inflicted, because that’s what you do to a stinkin’ skel, the identity of the victim (or “vic” in these same dime store books)  is often protected, because every protector naturally has sympathy and protectiveness for the vic.  

All the vic did was be someplace where the perp showed up.   The  vic just provided a vulnerable target for the perp, a malefactor who in most cases would have done the same to just about anyone who could serve the same need.   The vic just happened to be the one this time.   Sucks to be the vic.   Walk into the wrong room and — boom!  Traumatized for life by a scumbag.

This argument rages in public and in private.  I myself have been, it appears, recently turned from vic to perp because of my  stubborn refusal to pretend I wasn’t treated badly several times by an old friend.  The actual crime is not forgiving the old friend.    The guy said sorry, even if he did the same thing again a couple of times afterwards.  Actually, he also defended why he was right in the first place and said he had only apologized because I seemed hurt and mad.   He is currently the deeply wounded, vulnerable party and I am the arrogant, unforgiving hypocrite, so you might want to take the rest of this, as always, with a few large grains of coarse salt.

We saw this hoary debate about who is the perpetrator and who is the victim raging throughout the recent horror show of our latest Supreme Court confirmation hearings.   The only thing both sides agree about regarding the hearings is that they were a despicable circus and a national disgrace.  Men of great discernment and integrity, respected intellectuals like David Brooks and Alan Dershowitz, told us after hearing the testimony of the two alleged victims, Christine Blasey Ford and Brett Kavanaugh, that our opinion of who was more truthful depended entirely on which tribe we belong to.  

There was apparently nothing more at issue during the hearings as far as the judge’s qualifications for a lifetime appointment to the nation’s highest court aside from whether he drunkenly committed sexual assault on a girl two years younger than him while they were both in high school. An insignificant younger girl none of the other teenagers at the home where they were drinking during an impromptu gathering while the parents were away even recall, apparently.  Sometimes history narrows to a point like this one.

Let’s assume for a moment that Kavanaugh was an innocent man and the victim of a vicious coordinated political hit, as he angrily insisted he was. Some people get righteously angry when they’re accused of shameful things, we all can understand that, it proves nothing about a person’s innocence or guilt that he reacts with rage instead of humility to a terrible accusation.   If this inflammatory accusation of atrocious behavior (and a criminal act)  was concocted out of thin air by George Soros and the Clintons for nakedly political reasons, Kavanaugh had every right (if not every reason) to be outraged.   So let’s put his rage about the accusations to the side now, shall we?

Not every innocent person calls for a full investigation of the facts to prove their innocence, to clear their good name.  One reason an innocent person may not want to undergo an FBI investigation into specific allegations of something he never did is because you never know what other unfortunate facts a deep investigation into a specific, long ago time in your life might uncover.  Suppose you had been nothing more than a clandestine (to your parents and teachers)  heavy drinker back in your high school days— would you want that made public as you were about to be confirmed for a seat on the highest court in the land?  Of course not.

Accepting those two scenarios about  Kavanaugh’s righteous anger at the accusation and his, and his Party’s, resistance to a full FBI investigation to clear his name, it is possible to understand both reactions as guiltless displays of human feeling.  Construed this way they constitute no proof that he was hiding anything, or had anything to hide, or had ever hid, or continues to hide,  anything. For the sake of argument, let’s give Kavanaugh the benefit of the doubt on his demeanor under pressure, the “presumption of innocence” his defenders get so worked up about when it was rudely denied him during the rush toward a quick FBI probe.

Next we come to the substance of Mr. Kavanaugh’s actual defense, which was submitted to the Senate Judiciary Committee in writing the day before Blasey Ford testified.   You can read his complete written denial here, as it was submitted to the Committee the day before both victims testified.   The most muscular and effective allegations about how he was the one being victimized were left out of the first draft of his statement.  He wisely omitted them from the written statement he gave to the Committee, why give your determined enemies a chance to organize themselves against your best attack?    He added these powerful touches to the statement he passionately delivered on national TV:

This has destroyed my family and my good name. A good name built up through decades of very hard work and public service at the highest levels of the American government.

This whole two-week effort has been a calculated and orchestrated political hit, fueled with apparent pent-up anger about President Trump and the 2016 election. Fear that has been unfairly stoked about my judicial record. Revenge on behalf of the Clintons. and millions of dollars in money from outside left-wing opposition groups.

This is a circus. The consequences will extend long past my nomination. The consequences will be with us for decades. This grotesque and coordinated character assassination will dissuade competent and good people of all political persuasions, from serving our country.

And as we all know, in the United States political system of the early 2000s, what goes around comes around. I am an optimistic guy. I always try to be on the sunrise side of the mountain, to be optimistic about the day that is coming.

But today, I have to say that I fear for the future. Last time I was here, I told this committee that a federal judge must be independent, not swayed by public or political pressure.

I said I was such a judge, and I am. I will not be intimidated into withdrawing from this process. You’ve tried hard. You’ve given it your all. No one can question your effort, but your coordinated and well-funded effort to destroy my good name and to destroy my family will not drive me out. The vile threats of violence against my family will not drive me out.

You may defeat me in the final vote, but you’ll never get me to quit. Never.


If you are a Republican partisan, or even a right wing radical with no allegiance to any particular political party who is simply eager to have a reliable Supreme Court vote for your views, you were roused by these words.  An innocent man, attacked by vicious, well-funded partisan enemies, forced to defend a spotlessly good name forever besmirched by a godless conspiracy of people without honor, shame or any sort of morals.   Good for him!   To someone impressed by him these lines will sound like a kind of sweet, infinitely just music:

This whole two-week effort has been a calculated and orchestrated political hit, fueled with apparent pent-up anger about President Trump and the 2016 election. Fear that has been unfairly stoked about my judicial record. Revenge on behalf of the Clintons. and millions of dollars in money from outside left-wing opposition groups.

People worried about your long record as a Republican operative, your troubling and heavily redacted partisan past, your consistent twelve year judicial record, your evasiveness and surliness during the hearings, the many misleading and false answers you gave, the haste of your controversial appointment, will not be reassured by these words, of course.  The words you spoke in portraying yourself as a saintly victim make you sound like an angry partisan and the farthest thing from the impartial, independent arbiter you claim to be, but that’s not the point.   Fuck those people!

Just one thing troubles me.   Are the American Bar Association, the dean of Yale Law School, retired Supreme Court justice and lifelong Republican John Paul Stevens, the many classmates coming forward to corroborate stories of your heavy drinking and occasional abusiveness while drunk all also part of this vast, vindictive well-funded left wing conspiracy?  

Even more ominously, what in God’s name could have possibly possessed the Jesuits, the famously fair-minded and intellectually rigorous Catholic sect that founded and run the elite prep school you attended, to take part in this calculated and orchestrated political hit by outside left-wing opposition groups?    For the love of God, Brett, how could these defenders of the faith have so treacherously, so faithlessly, abandoned you?   How did the left-wing conspirators recruit even the politically nonpartisan Jesuits?   A truly devilish bit of partisan treachery.    I read about it in this AP account:

The Jesuits took an even stronger stance. Following Thursday’s testimony by Kavanaugh and his accuser, Christine Blasey Ford, the magazine of the Jesuit religious order in the United States publicly withdrew its endorsement of Kavanaugh. An editorial in America Magazine declared that “this nomination is no longer in the best interests of the country.”

Kavanaugh was a student at Georgetown Preparatory School, a Jesuit high school, when the alleged assault took place.

The editorial doesn’t attempt to parse whether Kavanaugh’s or Ford’s testimony was more credible. But it concluded that “in a world that is finally learning to take reports of harassment, assault and abuse seriously,” the nomination must be abandoned.

“If Senate Republicans proceed with his nomination, they will be prioritizing policy aims over a woman’s report of an assault,” it states. “Were he to be confirmed without this allegation being firmly disproved, it would hang over his future decisions on the Supreme Court for decades and further divide the country.”  [emphasis mine, ed.]

The magazine had previously given Kavanaugh a full-throated endorsement, stating that his addition to the Supreme Court may furnish the fifth vote needed to overrule Roe v. Wade, the 1973 decision that legalized abortion nationwide. The Catholic Church firmly opposes abortion.

That original endorsement editorial concluded that “anyone who recognizes the humanity of the unborn should support” Kavanaugh’s nomination.

The reversal is significant given that Kavanaugh has cited his Catholic faith and Jesuit education in defending himself against Ford’s accusations. In his opening statement Thursday, Kavanaugh twice referenced his years as a student at Georgetown Prep.


The Jesuits’ editorial stated that unless Christine Blasey Ford’s allegations were firmly disproved doubts would hang over Kavanaugh’s future decisions and further divide the country.    Fortunately for Judge Kavanuagh he was nominated by a man who doesn’t know how to lose.   As far as firmly disproving all doubts, the FBI did it in less than five days.  Disproved by all nine witnesses who didn’t recall anything bad about the nominee!   Give the man his robe.  Next case!    Suck on that, Jesuits!

Jesus, it is so hard to keep your faith in a world as corrupt as this cruel place!

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