Sep 292018

Practically everyone in Washington, as well as virtually everyone else in the United States of America with an IQ over 98, has been glued to some type of screen or another for the past week, watching the Supreme Court confirmation hearings. And given the circumstances, that’s quite understandable. For the many international readers of this Web log, who may not follow our Congress, President and Supreme Court with quite as much regularity as we here in the USA have been for the last month, here’s the situation: ( 1 ) Our Constitution, a legal document drafted in the late eighteenth century, and amended twenty-seven times since then, is basically the only thing that holds our nation together; ( 2 ) Over the intervening two hundred and thirty years, it has been very firmly established in American law that the Constitution means exactly what the Supreme Court says it does and nothing else; ( 3 ) The Supreme Court consists of nine judges, who each render a separate verdict in every case, with the final verdict of the Court being decided by what amounts to a vote with the majority of rulings found recorded as the final decisive one; ( 4 ) There is no appeal from a final decision of the Supreme Court. If a majority of the Supreme Court rules, as it did in Dred Scott v. Sanford, that black people, being the descendants of slaves, aren’t human beings and cannot be US citizens, then unless an amendment to the Constitution passes both houses of Congress, gets signed by the President and is ratified by three-fourths of the US state legislatures, that’s the law of the land throughout the USA until the Supreme Court decides otherwise by a majority vote of at least five to four; ( 5 ) American society has always been highly divided between rich and poor, rural and urban, liberal and conservative, as well as along racial, gender, generational, religious and cultural lines, and today is more divided with respect to those parameters than any time since the American Civil War (1861 – 1865) even exceeding the divisions which lead to the upheavals of the 1960s; ( 6 ) The recent retirement of Associate Justice Anthony Kennedy left the Supreme Court with four conservative and four liberal justices; ( 7 ) According to the Constitution, the President nominates replacements for Supreme Court justices; ( 8 ) the current President of the United States, one Donald John Trump, is a nattering, childish buffoon, who is completely incompetent and may very well be clinically insane; ( 9 ) After the Kennedy retirement, President Trump picked from a list compiled by the Heritage Foundation, a conservative front organization with politics somewhat to the right of Tomás de Torquemada, and nominated Brett Kavanaugh, a federal judge who, among other things, has made it clear through his previous rulings that he believes fetuses are people, possession of assault rifles is a fundamental right of every citizen, corporate profit overrules the environment and public health, unions are evil, the rich are by definition virtuous, the poor are by definition iniquitous, regulation of the financial community in any form is wrong, there is no right of privacy enumerated in the Constitution, the United States of America is, was, and shall always be a white, Christian nation and that the President of the United States cannot be subpoenaed or indicted under any circumstances; ( 10 ) The Constitution specifies that all federal judges, including those on the Supreme Court, shall be appointed for life; ( 11 ) The Constitution also specifies that the United States Senate must confirm all appointments to the federal bench, and recently, thanks to the Democrats, all that is required is a simple majority vote; ( 12 ) Trump is a Republican and the Republicans control the Senate; and, ( 13 ) While it initially appeared, due to items 11 and 12, that the Kavanaugh nomination would be the proverbial slam-dunk, at the last minute, figuratively speaking, three women came forth with some very interesting claims concerning what Brett did when he was at Georgetown Preparatory, an expensive private school in Bethesda, Maryland, just outside of Washington DC. The first said he had tried to rape her, the second said he had exposed himself to her, and the third claimed he was the teenage mastermind of a gang-rape ring. Oh, and yes, they all claimed he was raging alcoholic who lost control of himself and did things he subsequently could not remember. Later, a bit of probing by the Democrats revealed that he had a buddy, Mark Judge, at Georgetown Prep, who actually was a raging alcoholic who lost control of himself and did things he subsequently could not remember, and in fact had written two books about it, featuring a character, “Bart O’Kavanaugh,” who allegedly was his accomplice in a wide spectrum of misbehaviors.
Well, I’m certainly not about to contend that every previous justice of United States Supreme Court has been an eagle scout or choir boy. Without digressing any further into US history in detail, suffice it to say the Supreme Court has had its share of miscreants and scoundrels in the past, and the primary reason they were confirmed by the Senate is that the Senate, too, has had its fair share of the same. But these days, given the fraction Republicans and Democrats in the Senate being so close to equal, with only a tiny Republican majority; the huge political, economic and social issues at stake; and, the fact that a lifetime appointment in 2018 could involve considerably more years than it would in 1788, when most people were dead by the age of sixty, even the slightest suggestion of impropriety in a Supreme Court nomination, much less something like the three ladies’ accusations of rabid carnal predation and howling drunkenness, raises a righteous ruckus for further investigation.
And that, dear readers in so many far-flung lands across the globe, is what we Americans have been obsessing over for the last week – all the salacious and gory details of Congressional testimony and investigative news reports concerning exactly how bad a bad boy young Brett was, and whether or not there was enough badness in his bad behavior to preclude his elevation to the highest court in the land. And on Friday afternoon, after nearly two days of salacious and gory testimony by the first, most prominent and highly respected of the allegedly wronged women, Dr. Christine Blasey Ford Ph.D, and some remarkably heated exchanges between Judge Kavanaugh and various Democratic senators, Republican Senator Jeff Flake spoke about there being a need for further investigation of the allegations “for about a week or so,” were the Kavanaugh nomination to go to the floor of the Senate for a final vote, stating that he would not vote for the nomination otherwise. At that, Republican committee chairman Senator Charles Grassley pulled some Senate procedural flim-flam about the “Two Hour Rule” (don’t ask) and abruptly adjourned the hearings “until the next fall of the gavel.” But as luck (or perhaps some wag from CSPAN) would have it, both his microphone and that of ranking Democratic member Dianne Feinstein were left on, causing their conversation to be broadcast for the American public, the world, the Solar System, the Milky Way Galaxy and God Almighty Himself to hear.
As the Republican senators began to leave, Senator Feinstein looked around at the other bewildered Democrats and said, “What? Is Flake’s argument done, or did you cut off a vote?” To which Grassley replied, “this is all a gentlemen’s and women’s agreement.” (To those unfamiliar with American culture and customs, I would explain at this point that the phrase “a gentlemen’s agreement” is basically equivalent to a pile of that excrement which issues from the rear end of a male bovine, and Grassley’s response essentially amounted to a suggestion that Senator Feinstein go perform an anatomically impossible act of erotic gratification upon herself.)
The next fall of the gavel turned out to be about fifteen minutes later, when the Republicans rushed back into the room and the committee vote began, with every single Republican on the Senate Judiciary Committee voting “aye,” as the Democratic senators hurried in to take their seats, each voting “No, for the nomination,” just to make sure that it was clear they weren’t voting on something the Republicans had quickly cooked up while they were out of the room. As Otto von Bismark once observed, politics is like sausage – it takes a strong stomach to watch it being made. No doubt Senator Grassley’s antics yesterday afternoon made an ocean of gorge rise among those predisposed to justice and decency but unaccustomed to watching Congress at work.
And with that, the nomination of Judge Brett Kavanaugh to the Supreme Court was referred to the Senate for a final vote. Since yesterday afternoon, various noises have been made about delaying the vote for some unspecified, but presumably not too extensive length of time while the Federal Bureau of Investigation interviews the other two women, chats with a few of Brett’s college room mates and poses some pointed questions to Mark Judge concerning the exact nature of the wild oats he and his buddy Brett sowed back in the day at old Georgetown Prep. But nothing definite has emerged so far. Everything, it seems, is quite up in the air.
So I was expecting a call from Judge Kavanaugh this weekend, and early this afternoon, I was not disappointed. As I reclined on my living room couch with my cat, Twinkle, a home made cappuccino and a copy of the latest Scientific American in hand, my land line rang.

Tom: Hello?
Brett: Tom Collins?
Tom: This is he.
Brett: This Judge Brett Kavanaugh. Is now a good time for us to speak?
Tom: Of course.
Brett: Good. Um… I understand you provide advice free of charge… the first time someone asks for it, that is.
Tom: Correct. It’s part of my marketing plan, and a very successful one at that, I might add. May I ask how you obtained my home telephone number?
Brett: Rand Paul gave it to me.
Tom: Ah, yes, I must send him a bottle of Louis Roederer Cristal to express my appreciation for all the referrals he gives me. Assuming you are, in fact, Judge Brett Kavanaugh, of course.
Brett: What? Well, I can assure you, Mr. Collins, I am who I say I am!
Tom: Okay, in that case, what’s the secret password for the Georgetown Prep Circle Jerk Society?
Brett: Jesus Christ! You know about that?
Tom: I certainly do, and the real Brett Kavanaugh could tell me, couldn’t he?
Brett: Well, yeah, I know it, but… hell, you’re not taping this are you?
Tom: There’s no need to – I have an eidetic memory.
Brett: I just don’t want any recordings of me saying… that word. I have enough problems already.
Tom: All right, then, describe it.
Brett: Begins with a “C,”…
Tom: Yes… and?
Brett: Ends with a “T.”
Tom: So it does, on the basis of that and the sound of your voice, I believe you actually are Judge Brett Kavanaugh and not some A-hat trying to punk me. So, what can I do for you?
Brett: Mr. Collins, uh… can I call you Tom?
Tom: Sure, Brett.
Brett: No, I’d rather you call me “Judge Kavanaugh.” What I asked was, can I call you Tom?
Tom: No problem, you can call me Tom or you can call me Mr. Collins or you can call me Puddintain, just don’t call me late for dinner, Judge Kavanaugh.
Brett: Well, Tom, I’m not sure you’re good enough to invite to dinner, but I do hear you’re the smartest person inside the Beltway.
Tom: Which is a lot like being the tallest building in Baltimore.
Brett: Baltimore? Ugh!
Tom: Ugh?
Brett: Sure. Have you ever been there?
Tom: Of course – it’s about an hour drive, but the seafood is fantastic. Do you know how to make Baltimore steamed crabs?
Brett: No, how?
Tom: Wait until July, then run all the way around Druid Hill Park wearing rubber underwear.
Brett: Jesus! Did you have to say that? You’re making me sick!
Tom: Your nomination to the Supreme Court made a lot of people sick, too, Judge Kavanaugh.
Brett: Hey, I’m not that bad. I’m a nice guy, actually – just ask the seventy-five women who backed me up when all this… sexual… stuff started. Just ask all the people who’ve worked with me over the years like my law partners, my clerks and my fellow members of the judiciary.
Tom: So they have nice things to say about you then?
Brett: They sure do!
Tom: Did any of them know you when you and Mark Judge were drinking buddies?
Brett: Some of them did.
Tom: And none of them ever saw you drink alcoholic beverages when you were under eighteen, which was the legal drinking age in Maryland in the 1980’s?
Brett: Oh, come on – the seniors at Georgetown Prep were legal, weren’t they?
Tom: And you only drank when you were over eighteen?
Brett: Hell, you’re beginning to sound like that woman they had at the hearing!
Tom: The female prosecutor who was brought in to cross examine Dr. Ford and you?
Brett: Yeah, her.
Tom: As I remember, the committee forced Dr. Ford to undergo a complete line of questioning, but when she started in on you, they pulled her off.
Brett: As well they should have! That woman was a total… No, I’m not going to say it.
Tom: Rhymes with “witch?”
Brett: Not going to say.
Tom: So sauce for the goose was too strong for gander, is that it?
Brett: There’s no questioning my manhood, Tom! I was a star athlete, you know!
Tom: So was Bruce Jenner.
Brett: Holy smoke, Tom! What is this? Steamed crabs in rubber underwear, Bruce Jenner – are you trying to gross me out or something?
Tom: Just testing the waters. Could you tell me, in your own words, what is the problem about which you would like some of my free advice?
Brett: Well, uh, this whole thing with the accusations and the questioning by the committee, actually. It was fine before that – I went to the Judiciary Committee meetings and stonewalled, just like every other Supreme Court nominee has for at least the last forty years. Then these… women started saying all those nasty things about me and reporters started digging up all kinds of outlandish stuff and now my nomination process has turned into a… a… an inquisition, that’s what… an inquisition, and it’s ruining my reputation, my family, my relationships with the ones I love and those whom I respect – it’s a total nightmare! I mean really, let’s look at the facts! When you look at the facts, there simply isn’t any “there” there! Okay, okay, sure, I drank beer at Georgetown Prep! Me and my friends, we drank beer. We liked beer. Beer is good! I still like beer! Do you like beer?
Tom: Certainly.
Brett: Well, then, there you have it! That’s all they’ve got. I drank beer in high school and that’s supposed to disqualify me to sit on the Supreme Court? What’s going on here? What’s the big deal? Why are all these people so angry and upset? Why are they trying to destroy me, my family and my dear friends? It’s ridiculous! How can I make it stop and get confirmed by Senate? It’s like there’s some kind of conspiracy going on, lead by the Democrats and the Clintons to exact revenge on me for them losing the 2016 election! And I say, look at the facts! What do they have? Some beers in high school! What’s the problem with that? Everybody likes beers, don’t they?
Tom: Or “skis” as you have on that calendar you saved from 1983 and presented as evidence to the Senate Judiciary Committee.
Brett: Yeah, “skis” is short for “brewskis,” which is what we called beers.
Tom: You know, I can see you keeping your school yearbook from 1983, but your wall calendar? What possessed you to do that, may I ask?
Brett: As I have explained before, I started doing that because that’s what my father did.
Tom: Keep all his calendars?
Brett: Yeah.
Tom: Calendars with references to “skis” written on them?
Brett: No, my father’s calendars don’t have anything like that on them.
Tom: Right. So tell me about these “skis” in your yearbook and on your calendar. Have you ever been so drunk you passed out?
Brett: No. Sometimes I fell asleep, maybe, but never, ever passed out.
Tom: You’ve never had enough brewskis to get the whirlies, even? You know, where the room starts spinning around?
Brett: I can’t even imagine what that would feel like.
Tom: And you’ve never been so drunk you… vomited? Or, as you and your buddies would have said, “ralphed?”
Brett: No.
Tom: And you’ve never been so drunk you couldn’t remember what happened the previous day or night?
Brett: Absolutely not!
Tom: Nor have you ever been so drunk you ah… “fell asleep” and then woke up later somewhere different from where you were when you “fell asleep?”
Brett: Never!
Tom: Nor have you ever been so drunk you “fell asleep” and then woke up later wearing clothes other than the ones you had on when you “fell asleep?”
Brett: No! Not even once!
Tom: In that case, may I ask, Judge Kavanaugh, exactly what the hell kind of Irishman are you, anyway?
Brett: Huh? What do you mean, what kind of Irishman? A pious, God-fearing, responsible, law-abiding, Roman Catholic Irishman, that’s what kind!
Tom: A pious, God-fearing, responsible, law-abiding, Roman Catholic Irishman who stayed a virgin until he was married?
Brett: As I told the Senate Judiciary Committee – yes, I have never had sexual intercourse with anyone but my pious, God-fearing, responsible, law-abiding, Roman Catholic wife!
Tom: Are you aware, Judge Kavanaugh, that you are an absolutely lousy liar?
Brett: I am?
Tom: Without a doubt, sir, you couldn’t fool a five year old. Did you, for example, actually expect anyone to believe that it was spicy food that made you the “Biggest Contributor to the Beach Weekend Ralph Club?” Or that other references in your yearbook to “Devil’s Triangle” and “Boofing” referred to a drinking game and flatulence? Or that descriptions of you as a “Renate Alumnus” referred to you going to the movies and drinking ice cream sodas with a girl named Renate Schroeder, who is referenced the same way, fourteen times, in several other boy’s yearbooks? Holy perjury, Your Honor, what do you suppose Ms. Schroeder will say when the FBI comes to call on her?
Brett: That we went to the movies and drank ice cream sodas together. And maybe a few beers, just like she did with all the guys on the football team.
Tom: As I said, sir, you are one hell of a bad liar. So my first bit of advice on your predicament would be that, going forward, if you can’t tell the truth about something, don’t say anything at all, because your attempts at prevarication are absolutely pathetic.
Brett: But… but… if I don’t respond to further questions, how will that look?
Tom: Pretty bad, admittedly, but better than if you attempt to make up something calculated to make you appear more um… pious, God-fearing, responsible and law-abiding, as you put it, because you obviously lack the guile, perspicacity and imagination necessary to concoct a believable deception.
Brett: Gee, you think so, really?
Tom: We all need to recognize our limitations, Judge Kavanaugh, and that’s definitely one of yours. Frankly, I’m rather surprised that you got as far as you have in Washington with a handicap like that. I suppose you must be a very talented jurist to overcome such an enormous impediment.
Brett: Uh, thanks, I guess.
Tom: So make the choice right now, sir. You can go ahead, be honest, and admit what you did, whatever that was, and deny only the falsehoods, which I am sure you can do very convincingly, and let the chips fall where they may. Or you can withdraw from the nomination process and realize that while you may have been able to get away with that stuff and still make it to a place on the Federal Appellate Court for the District of Columbia Circuit, you simply can’t expect to be forgiven for things like that now.
Brett: How come? Why not?
Tom: Because appointing you as an Associate Justice of the Supreme Court of the United States would institutionalize the atavistic values of four other troglodytes already ensconced there by previous Republican scumbags for a crucial period of thirty or forty years in the mid twenty-first century. And that would seriously imperil our nation, sir, to an extent so odious and dangerous that frankly, your reputation, your family and your professional relationships all amount to matters of extremely minor consideration.
Brett: So that’s it, then?
Tom: Well, no, not completely. There’s still a chance the current Republican scumbags in the Senate will ram you through some kind of farcical voting process, committing God knows what heinous travesty of good order and legislative procedure, despite the screams and protests of outraged, honest members of that body, including all the Republicans who aren’t scumbags, and you’ll get your wish anyway.
Brett: Hmm… Sounds like a plan. So, what needs to occur for that to transpire?
Tom: At this point, nothing short of a genuine, bona fide miracle.
Brett: Oh really? Well, it just so happens, that as a pious, God-fearing, responsible, law-abiding, Roman Catholic Irishman, not to mention a patriotic conservative American, I wholeheartedly believe in genuine, bona fide miracles!
Tom: Well, then, Judge Kavanaugh, speaking as one pious, God-fearing, responsible, law-abiding, Roman Catholic to another, my recommendation would be that you immediately go down to the Shrine of the Immaculate Conception at 400 Michigan Avenue, Northeast, light about five thousand dollars worth of candles, pray a thousand Hail Marys, perform five hundred Stations of the Cross and make two hundred novenas to Saint Jude, because in the current circumstances, that’s about what you would need.
Brett: Think so, huh? Okay, I’ll ask my wife about that right now.
Tom: Good. And give her my best, won’t you?
Brett: I will. God bless.
Tom: You, too. Goodbye.