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It's been a grim week.

So before I offer two crucial news essays for this week; Trump's profoundly ugly but successful use of ridicule humiliation and dismissal of all women who experience (and this is common), violence, assault, rape, humiliation; and the theory of the Baron de Montesquieu, an Enlightenment thinker on the necessity of keeping the three branches of gov't apart, representative of the majority of the people,and disinterested -- I'll try to lift our spirits by saying we should remember however powerful these people are becoming over a majority of us, they still don't speak for us: as Shelley said, we are many and they are few. I recommend that you play and listen to her words as your read. They will help remind you we are not as yet altogether powerless

Judy Small is a judge (!) in Australia.

The most important crucial news essay of this week was one which told of specifics of the US gov'ts corruption such that it is crumbling away before our very eyes: "The Suffocation of democracy" by Christoper Browning in the New York Review of Books

It's the destruction of the judiciary as a decent arm of gov't. Trump is busy destroying all agencies, putting at the head of these people ignorant of their mission and hostile to it, 205 of the federal force has left; many positions unfilled now. The congress is utterly gerrymandered and, taking into account the disproportionate representation of small states, is not at all representative, and now the judiciary goes.

The second contingent on the first, or part of it:

On TV millions of people watched as a congress made up of people who represent a minority of the US population disregard credible evidence not only from a woman, a professor Dr Christine Blasey Ford, who had been in high school assaulted, raped,&  humiliated by Brett Kavanaugh, a man nominated for a life-time supreme court justice, but from a group of sources the FBI deliberately ignored,which showed he did this sort of thing in high school and again in college for fun. With a group of like-minded admiring men, Mark Judge among them.

We had earlier seen him perjure himself in minor ways; now he perjured himself Writ Large with rage and anger all over him that he should be called to account for this behavior. Despite huge popular protest, the Republicans put him into office because he will not be an unbiased judge but a fierce reactionary partisan, eager to put in place whatever agenda Trump asks for This includes wiping away Roe V Wade, perhaps the right to contraception based on denying that individuals in the US have no right to personal liberty or privacy because it's not mentioned in an 18th century document which condones slavery and set up an electoral college to stymy a popular elected president across the US lest he abolish slavery.

Along with this The FBI has deliberately ignored, not followed up on, dismissed a number of stories about Brett Kavanaug, now made a supreme court justice for life, truly hideous behavior (it's emerging) in college as well as high school. From my little knowledge (really) of what my father told me went on among men as factory owners, I wonder what Kavanaugh has been doing all these later years with these same Prep friends. We have put a radical reactionary partisan ready to do Trump's bidding and absolve him of any crime (as a president is above the law as he is too busy to be bothered ), and  repeated rapist, humiliator of women (and perhaps men too) on the supreme court: Jane Mayer and Ronan Farrow on the suppression of the FBI investigation:


And lastly, but never least, this not so much a news report as what happened: after Dr Ford's testimony, and Kavanaugh's rage, it seemed he might not be confirmed. Trump made a speech where he said listening to women tell of assaults and rapes is "dangerous" to men, and then he went out to rallies and ridiculed Ford, distorted what she said before the senate so it sounded like she remembered hardly anything, mocked, derided, and parodied her and -- to these people succesfully destroyed her by proxy humiliation. Nixon used to say in achieving a majority of people on your side you cannot go too low. It worked. Within two days, the male republicans and all but one female were prepared to erase Dr Ford.

Thus Trump has driven a stake into the heart of whatever purchase the #MeToo movement had -- not much as it depended on women who could get the public to listen shaming and either going or successfully threatening to go to court against men who are powerful but have a lot to lose who harass, rape humiliate punish them. Now Trump has shown that ridicule, mockery, humiliation, distortion works just as strongly as ever and we are back in the 18th-19th century situation. And he was backed by Collins who does what she does to gain attention -- she is a lying sniveling (how "concerned" she is before throwing the ACA under the bus) hypocrite: give-away when she called Kavanaugh a "moderate" and "good man." He still had to pretend to start an investigation but when other credible evidence started to appear (see the New York) the FBI suppressed and ignored all other witnesses. The third woman became " the third woman" (not a person, not an individual). The point is to inhibit women from speaking out. For himself he has paid millions in litigation to silence people who have accused him of fraud, asault, and other crimes.

It's now Open season on women. Open season on blacks began when Trump in his rallies threw African-Americans out and told his crowds to beat them and reporters up. He has succeeded in making open season on Muslims by his ban. He has committed his ICE to crimes against humanity by separating hispanic children from their relatives and putting them all in detentions centers for not following regulations or attempting legally to emigrate as refugees. Shortly after becoming president, he made it plain, cops can kill with impunity when he made a gesture and told them to rough people up; and now open season on women. To women Trump has said: Just dare and we'll so shame you you won't be able to show your face again. So, Go ahead guys ... have fun and control "women."

This is Susan Collins, look at her, see the lying hypocrite who for a second time drew enormous attention to herself by driveling on about how she is "so concerned": before for millions needing ACA, now for what?  over a liar (like herself) also thug. See how she dresses herself, how much time and care, how she loves the attention. She called Kavanaugh "a moderate." She betrayed all other women who are now at greater risk -- there is set afoot a new attempt to silence protest against violence. She grins with her petty power as she throws us all under the bus.

After reading Christopher Browning, the New Yorker article and thinking about what's to happen on the supreme court now that two radical right judges have been placed there by a minority party, I went over to Charles-Louis de Secondat, Baron de Montesqueiu who invented in his Spirit of the Laws a three-part gov't where he argued to prevent tyranny all three branches of gov't must be independent of one another and answer to their constituencies by whom they are elected and from whom they come. Here are three of his central axioms:

When the legislative and executive powers are united in the same person, or in the same body of magistrates, there can be no liberty; because apprehensions may arise [rightly], lest the same monarch or senate should enact tyrannical laws, to execute them in a tyrannical manner.»

Again, there is no liberty if the judiciary power be not separated from the legislative and executive. Were it joined with the legislative, the life and liberty of the subject would be exposed to arbitrary controul; for the judge would be then the legislator. Were it joined to the executive power, the judge might behave with violence and oppression [having military might behind him]

A judge must be non-partisan; must not be allowed to serve for more than a short de-limited time, because "the power of judging is terrible," and he should have nothing to do with the prison system. He tells how to recognize dangerous corruptions, how the Romans lost their liberty.

The book is also about the spirit behind the laws; it's not enough to follow their routines literally; but your spirit must be for liberty, for justice, for true representation so commerce (social life, education), can go on. Montesquieu also pleaded for the abolition of slavery, and the harsh punishment of suicides (desecration of their bodies, seizing of their property by the state) typical of the era.

Billionaires now set to destroy social security, free public education and medicare -- you can do that when you control the house, the senate, the supreme court and the presidency. They've already driven a stake into the heart of medicaid by demanding very old people work before they can get any health care.  They are too old to work, and the idea is to separate work as a requirement from the right as a human being to have medical care.

Miss Drake


( 5 comments — Leave a comment )
Oct. 9th, 2018 02:29 am (UTC)
A thank you
Many thanks to my good friend, Fran, for supplying the song by and biography of Judy Small.
Oct. 9th, 2018 11:51 am (UTC)
Getting Nowhere
Today's stories about the Ford v Kavanaugh (and how I dislike formulating what happened this way) today in defense of Ford are troubling: people may remember I argued we (or I) must re-formulate my point of view on "The anomaly" (or a woman living alone) because as formulated I get nowhere. I can tell stories of women living alone or nearly alone but it's along all the old tracks of how people look at or treat spinsters (unmarried women no children is what this word means nowadays), separated, divorced, widowed women. All are being defined by their relationship to a man. That she wants to live alone comes out in individual essays but it is also a "rather" -- not a free choice we learn. One she is paying for.

I was never able to come up with a new perspective on sexuality (hetero, homo, fluid) that transformed the component of triumph, conquest, power and thus infliction of pain into something not harmful, amoral, cruel. One can argue against the idea that masochism drives women by attending to specific circumstances -- well she is afraid her children will be taken from her, she knows her abuser will be able to get back, perhaps kill her, she has no wherewithal to support herself, she is in such a condition she is utterly shamed before people who will not help her because class differences make them find her unacceptable and untrustworthy

So now what is so awful is the stories about Ford all assert they believe her. As if there is any doubt, and as if this is the crux of the issue. Many of the signs in the demonstrations say "I believe Dr Christine Ford." If women are to stop men assaulting, raping, humiliating and shaming them at will, this is a thin reed. The subjective nature of what people say truth is is ineradicable. And people will say anything. I wrote last night that Trump drove a stake into the #MeToo movement, weak to start with as only women who can get attention, and that means the story is about some powerful man or she is herself someone with relative power. He showed you can "blow" a victim off easily by ridiculing and humiliating. He re-asserted the ability of this mentality to silence women. But is all we have in response the idea she was telling the truth.

Ladies, the majority of men don't care if we are telling the truth. They don't give a shit. It took 60 women with repeated similar horrifying stories of being drugged, finding yourself in a mob of men with one at the head determined to rape, hurt, humiliate you to get just one story accepted as "too much" -- because we are told the woman told it well. That's what's said. She was convincing. But it was also here that it was horrible so horrible that the court decided to punish him. But in a breath revealing moment we saw he is unrepentant, enraged, unremorseful.

I think of the reams of literary criticism of Richardson's Clarissa, which in the last ten years has again turned on Clarissa, and in effect sympathize with Lovelace.

Is there no other basis for getting men to care by getting them to believe you? As a group, the majority don't care. Trump's cunning maneuver was dependent on his sense that men don't care. His wife has a shirt where she proclaims she doesn't care, do you?

Oct. 9th, 2018 12:02 pm (UTC)
Getting Nowhere
The ridicule is not about Trump proving that Ford is unbelievable; that's the surface text. The subtext is centrally showing he doesn't care and the laughter confirms those listening don't care. All right. You offer the idea these women refuse to believe it will happen to them. But wait. You see it probably has. I'm trying to say this is not a matter of belief. It's a matter of crowing that you don't care and no-one who counts cares. His wife says she doesn't care.
Oct. 12th, 2018 04:21 am (UTC)
Knife in the heart...knife in our hand?
Thanks for describing this disgusting time so accurately. Most men don't care. This administration is destroying democracy, piece by piece, with the complicity of mass media and the giant corporations that own those media, squeezing profit out of sensationalism to increase the number of "eyeballs" they can sell to advertisers. Is there a solution short of another American Revolution? Is going after every prick with a knife in our hands the only effective response? I suspect every minute we spend reading one another's incisive writing on such matters takes away from the time we need to get our own work, chores and errands done (especially if we are any kind of single), never mind the work of organizing armed resistance. At 77, I have plenty of experience...but no answers.

Oct. 12th, 2018 11:19 am (UTC)
Re: Knife in the heart...knife in our hand?
I agree that writing doesn't seem to be effective, but it does spread the word, help galvanize. I may preach to the converted most of the time but I hope I make people feel we are not alone, we are in the majority. I have no other means but the vote. I began going to meetings but it's very small: what counts is money, advertising and having real connections with those in power. I have many Aspergers traits, a busy life and never went to institutions where I met such people, a woman, originally working class. I try not to take too much time -- just enough to keep others spirits up and perhaps bring before them some information insight they have not seen. Thank you for your reply. I am glad to know you are there
( 5 comments — Leave a comment )

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