Tillis Tries to Hide True Colors

September 27, 2018

I am a voter in North Carolina, registered as unaffiliated.

Since Christine Blasey Ford’s information came to light, I have been sympathetic towards her story. Because her allegations are damaging to  Brett Kavanaugh, I am aware that I have a bias in my perspective. So, after I finished a long day of work today, I prepared to watch the C-SPAN recordings of the Kavanaugh-Blasey Ford hearings, I purposely tried to set my mind to be a supporter of Judge Kavanaugh, to hear him in his most positive light.

These are the results:

Rachel Mitchell as Proxy

I was uncomfortable that the Republican senators hired Prosecutor Rachel Mitchell to question Prof. Blasey Ford, and I had to sit with that for a while to determine why it made me uncomfortable. Overall, I thought Ms. Mitchell did a good job in her tone and demeanor towards Prof. Blasey Ford.

After watching the Republican senators make their statements during Judge Kavanaugh’s portion of the hearing, angrily voicing their support of him, stating that they knew he was a good man and a great judge, and apologizing for this “circus” (word used repeatedly by various members) and for what he has gone through — after watching and listening to them, I realized that my sense of unease was their use of Ms. Mitchell as a proxy and as a deception. Ms. Mitchell was hired to ensure the best possible optics for the Republican senators during Prof. Blasey Ford’s portion of the hearing. They tried to use Ms. Mitchell’s  voice and her professional demeanor to hide their true attitudes about this hearing and about the significance of Prof. Blasey Ford’s experience. They must have thought that Ms. Mitchell’s representation of them would be the image and tone we would carry forward of them, the Republican senators, for the whole of the hearings–that we would compartmentalize the two portions of the hearings. They must have hoped  that we would not realize that their angry apologies to Judge Kavanaugh for the “treatment” he had received would not carry back retrospectively, negating any goodwill Ms. Mitchell had created for them on their behalf in the earlier session.

Repeated Anger Over the Request to Reopen the FBI Investigation

Repeatedly, Republican senators, and particularly Chairman Chuck Grassley, became angry and irritated over the requests to reopen the FBI background investigation of Judge Kavanaugh in light of these allegations. This frustration manifested in at least three ways:

  • They repeatedly stated that the Senate Judiciary Committee had done its own investigation, implying that it was so thorough that there was no need to bring the FBI back in. Just in general, the Senate Judiciary Committee’s “investigation” is not a substitute for an FBI investigation. Specifically, apparently Mark Judge’s written statement, in response to this “investigation” was an entire six “conclusory” sentences. That is not an investigation.
  • As justification for not reopening the FBI investigation, they repeatedly said that the FBI does not make conclusions — apparently trying to suggest that a professional investigation is of little value and not needed.
  • They repeatedly complained about the timing of Prof. Blasey Ford’s letter becoming public. There is no credible reason to rush one of the most critical job interviews in the United States. Reopen the background investigation.

Thom Tillis’ (and Others’) Smoke and Mirrors

I call out Thom Tillis because he is the North Carolina Senator on the Senate Judiciary Committee (thus, the senator I make decisions about regarding my vote), but other Republicans also tried this same trick. They stated they believed Prof. Blasey Ford’s account as far as believing that she was sexually assaulted. However, Senator Tillis and his Republican associates also stated that they believed she was mistaken about the identity of her attacker.

They knew there was no way they could credibly deny the power and impact of Prof. Blasey Ford’s testimony, and they knew that there is a growing body of research supporting exactly how Prof. Blasey Ford remembers her experience and her decision not to report earlier. They knew that women are becoming stronger and more empowered in their collective voice in demanding to be heard, particularly when they report sexual attacks and an aggressive and demeaning culture towards women.

Apparently, Senator Tillis and friends thought they could get points for saying “We believe you” and also justify their support for Judge Kavanaugh by saying “You must be mistaken about who attacked you.” They thought they could have it both ways, support the victim of sexual assault and confirm her reported attacker anyway.

Senator Tillis thought we would not recognize how incredibly patronizing it is to tell a person that he believes that she had someone on top of her

  • attempting to pull off her clothing
  • while grinding up against her,
  • covering her mouth to silence her
  • in such a way that she was afraid she would suffocate, and
  • laughing the whole time,

but that she must be mistaken about whose face was inches away from hers during the attack.

You cannot have it both ways, Senator Tillis. You cannot try to placate the American public, and especially women, by saying you believe the victim of sexual assault and also get away with confirming her attacker as a Supreme Court justice by saying you don’t believe she remembers the identity of her attacker. We will remember that you thought you could pull this off. We will remember exactly what you apparently think of us.

Judge Kavanaugh’s Unprofessional Behavior

Unbelievable. Yelling. Absolute refusal to answer direct questions by repeating over and over again fallback statements that did not answer the questions. Constantly interrupting Democratic senators and using up their limited time with his unasked-for soliloquies. If there was no allegation of sexual assault at all, his behavior during his portion of the hearings was so unprofessional and so appalling, particularly for a judge, a lawyer, or anyone in a Congressional hearing, that there is no way I could see anyone supporting a confirmation of his nomination to the Supreme Court bench.

And, yet, Thom Tillis came out strongly in support of Judge Kavanaugh. I am so incredibly disappointed in the state of affairs of this country and in Senator Tillis. And determined.

I called Senator Tillis and left a voicemail. I commented on his Facebook post.

I am also incredibly disappointed in Senators Orrin Hatch, Mike Lee, and Mike Crapo. They are not from North Carolina, so they do not care about what I think (although, apparently neither does Senator Tillis . . . ), but I just have to say it for the record.

September 28, 2018

Senator Jeff Flake has come out in support of Judge Kavanaugh this morning. Adding him to the above list.

Update: Jeff Flake’s Senate Judiciary Committee vote is to confirm.  A few hours later, he asks for the FBI investigation to be reopened and completed within a week. The President has made this request (according to a Twitter post . . . )





Phoebe’s Smoke Detector of Florence

Somehow, poltergeists riding in on the gusts of Florence took up residence in my smoke detectors.

We lost electricity early last Friday evening:

As I am hustling to move refrigerated food to new configurations of storage and preparing candles and matches for nightfall, one of the smoke detector batteries decides it has had enough. If there is no electricity, then why should its battery continue to hold the line? No birds singing? The smoke detector will loudly chirp a never-ending intermittent chorus. So, I stop what I am doing, retrieve a new battery from the now-more-precious reserves, and replace it, trying to be amused at the timing of it all.

Eventually, the power comes back on, Florence blows herself back out to sea, and I begin putting life back to normal arrangements again. Until tonight.

Tonight, I go to bed at an unbelievably reasonable hour and miraculously fall right to sleep. I am awakened about an hour later by a text that was actually welcomed because it brought a good update for which I had been waiting. But, now, I am aware of a chirp. Not the chirp in intervals but a constant, incessant chirp. A chirp that is not in the house proper but coming up from underneath the floor. It is in the basement classroom, to which there is no interior access. I try to ignore it. I turn to lie on my good ear, hoping my less-good-ear will not hear the constant chirping. Alas . . .

I grab the flashlight (it still has working batteries, even after our tropical storm adventures together), and I head out into the night, around to the back of the house. The closer I get to the back yard, the louder the chirping rings out into the night, apparently amplified by the concrete walls and metal door. I am mortified. How is it that my neighbors have not called in a noise complaint or at least curiously texted me? I open the half-height metal door, reach in and twist off the smoke detector from its mount, attempt to muffle its shrieks against my body, and walk back around the house and back inside. Have you ever seen someone not able to turn off their car alarm who finally gets in their car and drives it away in embarrassment? Imagine that, only at a slower walking pace as I carry the offending device on a parade route around the house.

I bring it inside the house because it is a 10-year-battery alarm — the kind that you discard and replace the entire unit. Only, it is not that simple.

I can only assume that the small, low-ceilinged basement room temporarily flooding with several inches of water messed with the longevity of the smoke detector.

Remarkably calmly, I put on my reading glasses, read the instructions on the back, use scissors to “score along the dotted lines” so that I can remove the plastic magical piece. That, indeed stops the constant chirping. I set it down on the table and head off to bed again, only to hear it laugh a chirp behind my back. I stop dead in my tracks and wait. Perhaps it was just a dying gasp? No. It chirps again.

Again surreally calmly, I pick up a screwdriver and use both ends to methodically pulverize and pry that cursed creature apart and remove the “ten-year-battery” innards, bits of brittle plastic flying across the kitchen. It is silent.

Tomorrow, I will dispose of its parts in three different trash receptacles (perhaps in three different locations throughout the city) in order to keep it from reassembling itself in ways that my imagination only too readily conjures.

Please tell me you have seen the “Friends” episode in which Phoebe does mortal combat with a smoke detector. 

PSA: Smoke detectors save lives, when they are not possessed.
I hope you have functioning smoke detectors in your home.