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Where realism and idealism meet Tony Brasunas, author of Double Happiness

I Actually See Both Sides of this Brett Kavanaugh Confirmation Circus

Certainly it’s akin to political heresy, but I see both sides of this Supreme Court confirmation hearings brouhaha. If you’re horrified by this statement, you’re probably one of the approximately 43% of the country who remain emotionally invested in one of the mainstream political parties.

Brett Kavanaugh appears to be an aggressive man, a serial liar, an aloof product of privilege, and altogether far too conservative — nay reactionary — in his legal decisions to be a judge in this country, let alone to join the Supreme Court. His opinions on surveillance and torture, to name just two, are far out of step with what most Americans want and believe. Whether at the heart of your political sensibility you more highly value liberty or progress, you should see that this man has no business making final decisions about the laws of this land.

As for sexual assault, there is way way more unreported sexual violence in this country than there are false accusations.

The vast majority of these accusations are true. For some men, this will be difficult to believe; for most women, this is an obvious fact. But for far too long women haven’t been heard on this issue — or even considered the rightful owners of their sexuality in our legal traditions — and it is fantastic for all people that this is beginning to change.

That said, this is an unusual accusation. To begin, Christine Ford’s allegations are about events in high school over three decades ago, and there are no witnesses. What really makes it unusual of course is that there is so much wealth and power at stake, so many swirling motivations at play. Whether the allegations are true or false, it’s highly unlikely it was her idea to come forward at this exact moment.

Hypocrisy, Principle, and the Truth

Since it was almost certainly the Democrats’ idea to bring this allegation forward now, it appears hypocritical of the Democrats to bring this up at the last moment, thereby undercutting due process and the presumption of innocence to ostensibly defend the legal system. The charge of hypocrisy seems more valid when one considers that the Donkey party still supports Bill Clinton and Hillary Clinton after the dozen allegations (also likely true) of sexual assault by Bill, in each case supported and defended by Hillary and most of the Democratic leadership. The stance on the part of Democrats about sexual assault is thus at least partly hypocrisy, and thus this whole brouhaha begins to look like a power play or a charade.

Systemically, it is also dangerous to allow (and encourage) the media to wreck a political career over high school events. With the encroaching reach of the surveillance state, augmented annually by both political parties, virtually every event in life is now tracked, captured, and saved by the permanent intelligence state, and thus the media could have the power to wreck any career with a timely leak based on any event in any political opponent’s life. Think about this. Is there anything in your life — anything that you’ve ever done — that could wreck your career or marriage or political prospects if anyone anywhere found out about it tomorrow? Does this Orwellian prospect appeal to you?

Democrats could and should mount and sustain a real attack on Kavanaugh’s confirmation based on his atrocious interpretation of constitutional law and modern ethics today. As a nation we deserve a far better nominee for our highest court. Were they true defenders of progress here, this wouldn’t be that hard to do, even with their slightly minor proportion of seats in the 100-seat Senate. But have they attacked him on the issues of torture, or police violence and accountability, or surveillance? No, because on those huge issues they essentially agree with him.

This is likely the truth about this circus:

  1. Angry and divided is good. Both parties actually love this brouhaha and want it happen. A media circus to drive a frenzy gets everyone riled up, which helps both parties. The thing they fear most is that we might see through them and leave them — that we might one day talk to each other without media filtering and notice that both parties are corrupt, that they’re both getting fabulously wealthy while destroying the planet, dropping bombs on millions of innocent people around the world for only their own benefit, and impoverishing and poisoning all of us while profiting and maintaining their power with a deliberately fraudulent election system and a complicit corporate media. Hmm, if we were to focus on those things, we would start to loosen their grip on power. But as long as we’re always really, really angry about something that the other party is doing, we tend not to think about this.
  2. If not Kavanaugh, the next guy. Even if Kavanaugh is not confirmed, though I expect he likely will be when all is said and done, someone just like him — maybe a little more reactionary or a little less, a little more out of touch or sexist or criminal or a little less, but just as slavishly committed to the corporate-rule crony-capitalist surveillance state these parties are running right now — will be placed on a panel of nine people who get to interpret our laws for life. As always, after the Democrats get 8 years to appoint a justice or two, the Republicans get their 8 years, and the system repeats. Both parties are quite happy with this and certainly would like this system to continue.
  3. A distraction. The underlying reason that the rulers high up in both parties — the Feinsteins and Grahams and Grassleys and Schumers — don’t actually care whether he is confirmed is because their principles about constitutional law and ethics were sold long ago to Wall Street and war corporations. They’re neoliberals and neoconservatives; when the cameras are off they all know that they agree on most things. In a rare moment of transparency, Tom Perez (who was recently chosen as Chairman of the DNC in one of countless actions taken last year to prevent anything like the anti-corruption Bernie Sanders revolution from ever happening again) actually announced that even Democrats who support Kavanaugh’s confirmation will be supported in their upcoming elections. Why promise this now? Because it’s a power play or a charade, as mentioned above, and not a matter of principled opposition by the Donkey party. What matters to them (and to the Elephants too) is that this brouhaha allows them to look noble or strong during the same week that they ram through things like NAFTA renewal, which polls show the country opposes but which will further enrich corporations while impoverishing the rest of us, diminishing the rights of workers, and further destroying the global ecosystem.
  4. Future-proof the two-party system. Finally, and most timely, the two parties want this debate to feel really important and contentious — ideally like an epic good vs. evil confrontation. Supreme Court nominations are one of the handful of things the two parties and the media use to bludgeon Americans into supporting them. Remember that every two or four years a large (albeit shrinking) percentage of the country votes, and people who are starting to have doubts about this corrupt system or about our increasingly fraudulent elections or about our illegal wars in over a dozen countries, have to be convinced that these two parties that agree on almost everything that is determining the fate of the planet are not only different, but are different enough that you must (gun-at-your-head-politely) give them another chance rather than vote for whom you actually support. This voting time is in fact rapidly approaching. This brouhaha is well-timed for the sake of the two-party system.

And so it is that I see both sides of this. Brett Kavanaugh has no business being considered for the Supreme Court, and he absolutely should be opposed fiercely on principle. Many of his rulings are anathema to any patriotic sense of liberty or progress. This matters. The Supreme Court makes decisions that affect us all on a daily basis.

And yet, it also doesn’t matter and is a distraction from what is really going on and where our country is really going. Someone similar to this distasteful nominee will be confirmed in the unlikely event the Donkeys score a small victory here, because this is what the system promises.

Most important is to Think for Yourself

I might sound a little salty. That’s because this could all be different. After being extraordinarily politically active in the first decade of this century, and then spending virtually all of 2016 working very hard and writing for numerous publications about the unlikely revolution of placing a candidate funded only by people (rather than by corporations) into the White House, I witnessed up close enormous unprecedented election fraud in the Democratic Primary and concomitant media censorship that robbed this country of a presidential candidate that it clearly wanted.

I hold the leadership of the Democrats and the Republicans equally responsible for Donald Trump’s presidency and the current state of the country and our political system. But despite their rhetoric, to them, “it ain’t broke.” They’re more wealthy and more powerful now. It ain’t broke, so they’re not going to fix it. They’ll continue to exploit any event — including constitutional moments like this one — to divide us and enrage us and keep us distracted as they continue together to move this country towards a military surveillance state that benefits their corporate donors and no one else.

Unless, that is, we see through the two parties and the media channels that defend them.

Whether you support one of the parties or not, the key in this era of fraud and distraction is to read more broadly than they tell you to. If you’re a Democratic voter, don’t just live in the bubble of NPR, the New York Times, and MSNBC, as they are deceptive; if you’re a Republican voter, don’t just live in the bubble of FOX, the Wall Street Journal, and talk radio, as they are deceptive. Listen to the other side’s media, as that alone will help you see that there is deception on both sides. And then go further and seek out independent and foreign media to get genuine perspective and something approximating the truth. Mounting a true defense of the Constitution independent of party depends on it.

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Posted in Politics
by Tony Brasunas on October 5, 2018