McConnell’s Senate proudly ignored Merrick Garland because damn it, they could. If being a Democrat is grounds for not getting a hearing, being someone who makes you feel a bit slimy to be around should be more than sufficient to vote “No” or “Present” for an actual nominee.
Anybody watching the Kavanaugh hearings? Or the rest of the shit storm rollicking the nation? Anybody have a new found love or rekindled affection for Matt Damon? Wondering if the reason Lindsay Graham is so testy is that his dreams are haunted by John McCain, telling him to stop being a pussy and act like a man? Hoping to see Dianne Feinstein get fed up with Chuck the Duck Grassley and Orin “I had lime jello for lunch, but was frugal because it was generic” Hatch and break both their necks in passing?
Seriously, when Senate hearings and associated madness are pegged as the top TV show right now, something is very, very, very wrong with the zeitgeist.
Why not ? Everybody else is. Not that there are not a lot of far more important things happening, but there’s something about a rich, white guy on the DC Circuit who got into Yale on his own merits and his grandfather’s graduation from the place! not being able to get far, far more than a fair break that just attracts attention.
The fact that the guy is a 50-ish Irish Catholic who went to a Jesuit Catholic Prep School and seems to split his spare time drinking brewskis, coaching his daughters’ basketball teams and praying makes it even more bizarre. Oh, he also seems to spend a lot of times lying, and that’s not terribly strange given his antecedents.
Could there not be a better time, both in our church and our nation, to benefit from the healing power of the Holy Spirit? a power that treats the anger and divisions that so need the healing touch of our God if we are to continue our respective missions with love— Fr. Peter Vaghi, Red Mass Homily, 9/30/2018
In the spirit of full disclosure, I went to college with Father Peter Vaghi who is Kavanaugh’s parish priest and who gave the sermon at the annual Red Mass, held by the Archdiocese of Washington for the Supreme Court on Sunday, to celebrate the importance of courts, laws and justice. Lots of important people like the current Cardinal Archbishop who’s negotiating terms of his resignation with Pope Francis (another Jesuit!) for various incidents of sexual abuse didn’t show up; Joseph Alioto didn’t show up; the non-Catholics didn’t show up; and, DC District Court of Appeals Judge and Supreme Court Nominee Bret Cavanaugh didn’t show up either. He may have figured that he’s heard his buddy’s sermons before; he also may have not wanted to tempt fate.
Father Peter Vaghi was an Honors Graduate at Holy Cross, a Fulbright Scholar at the University of Salzburg, a graduate of the University of Virginia, a Republican Senate staffer and then possibly fell on a horse and became a Catholic priest, ordained and graduated from the North American College in Rome and the Gregorian University in Rome. He’s not a Jesuit, but his credentials would impeccable if he were. He’s a distinguished scholar, author and priest and is a friend and spiritual adviser to a number of Supreme Court Judges and conservative thinkers like Robert Bork; he’s very close to our fellow alum Clarence Thomas. He is eminently qualified to be a Judge on the Supreme Court.
Ah, but Brett Kavanaugh is the nominee. At this stage, Kavanaugh should make you hesitate, think and think some more. And, if you have a conscience, vote “No” or “Present.”
I don’t know Bret Cavanaugh personally, but I know his “brothers”, the wealthy and privileged Catholic boys sent to Jesuit, Christian Brothers and other expensive Catholic prep schools. At my Catholic high school, well removed from the local elite High School, we were basically a planned attempt to provide more opportunities for higher quality schools than the limited number of parish high schools. Those have in general evaporated along with a lot of Catholic grammar schools because of rising costs and falling demand from parishioners. There really wasn’t that much of a difference, except we shared a school with girls; half of the teachers were nuns; and, we ended up with better football, basketball, baseball and track programs than their programs by the time I graduated.
But, life at Holy Cross was a different deal. There weren’t a lot although there were more than enough of the guys who attended the elite Catholic schools to have an impact on culture and mindset. Not going to high school as young men with young women, those guys sometimes had issues with their basic socialization, but then again, so did we all. They however carried to a farther extreme. They were rich, entitled, preppy misogynists; we weren’t all the way there. However, I think it worth noting that the Cross was well known in the local Catholic “girls schools” as the “home of the most expensively educated animals in the free world.”
So, the Holy Cross rap to girls was basically, “Hi, what’s you name? Where do you to school? Oh that’s good? what’s your major? what are you going to do after college? Do you wanna fuck…” Not that it worked terribly well, but what pickup line really does?
Today, Holy Cross has been co-ed since 1972, and has hundreds of proud, highly successful and admired women alumnae. I was there for the first year, and it was really rough on those of us who had been college socialized to suddenly have 300 or so freshman women and a few transfers on campus. We had to act less like rutting wildebeests because these women were out “sisters” and so the standard of behavior began to change.
Well, it appears that at the time Kavanaugh got to Yale, they’d passed that stage and now were in some noir-ish version of Studio 54 and Brideshead Revisited.
Do I believe the women who are accusing him of being a violent and sexist drunk who engaged in borderline rape in high school and in college? Oh, hell, yes. It’s not a trial; he loses nothing to which he is entitled. Complaining about “innocent until proven guilty” doesn’t really make sense, especially since the Republican Senate proudly ignored Merrick Garland because damn it, they could. If being a Democrat is grounds for not getting a hearing, being someone who makes you feel a bit slimy to be around should be more than sufficient to vote “No” or “Present” for an actual nominee.
But there’s a simpler reason for opposing his nomination; he’s a casual and accomplished liar. He’ll be a great toady for Donald Trump which means his first loyalty will be to the guy who nominated him,not to the country or the law but to the Ghost of the Imaginary Scalp Line, Donald Trump. His positions on presidential power would make the Founders –even King-Loving John Adams — puke. He’ll look for ways to overturn or at least cripple Roe v. Wade and a woman’s right to choose. He’ll do everything he can to get even with the Senators and the Democrats in general for daring, daring at all to ask him questions. Given the opportunity, he’ll further emasculate the First Amendment and those parts of the Bill of Rights that his Republican sponsors don’t like. Unions and workers will be added by their response to the man’s anti-labor, pro-business sentiment which will be apparent in any ruling he makes.
His intemperate personal attacks on members of the Senate Judiciary Committee and his partisan tirades against what he derided as a conspiracy of liberal political enemies guilty of a “calculated and orchestrated political hit” do more than simply display a strikingly injudicious temperament. They disqualify him from participating in a wide range of the cases that may come before the Supreme Court: cases involving individuals or groups that Judge Kavanaugh has now singled out, under oath and in front of the entire nation, as implacable adversaries. –Professor Laurence Tribe, Harvard Law School, 10-1-2018
He can’t help it. He’s Irish, and all our great virtues are matched by their mirror image in vice. We’re notoriously hospitable; we are also an ethnic type that has more than its share of alcoholics and mean drunks. We are generous and forgiving, except when we’re not. The Catholic Church is having some problems in Ireland and in our centers in this country, but burn a few more priests at the stake, and we’ll be fine with it again.
We produce elegant speakers and writers, renowned for out use of language, logic and humor to win over opponents and fight for justice and liberty. We also are articulate and loyal servants to power, privilege, and oppression and it can be a coin flip as to which way that ball bounces. Our skill and talent as speakers, writers, musicians and poets derives from a basic part of the Irish experience at home and abroad — the Craic.
Craic is an Irish way of life; it’s the high skill we develop by sitting around over cups of coffee or bottles of beer or pints of Stout telling stories and making up lies and generally having a good time at the expense of whomever we’re dissecting. Talking of an effeminate man, someone — like me in the 80s — might defuse a situation by saying, “Looks he’s not gay; he just gives lessons.” I’m not proud of that as an expression of ethics and values, but as an example of craic, I think it’s probably a C+. Remember, I’m competing again Liam Clancy and Tommy Makem; Brendan Behan; Sean O’Casey; Shane McGowan; Frank McCourt; and generations of unknown poets, prophets and writers to steal a great line from another great urban poet although of a different persuasion, those writing “the words of the prophets are written on the factory walls, and tenement halls and echo in the sounds of silence.”
Sadly, Wiki’s discussion doesn’t get to the heart of the matter. To a large extent, the art of Craic is the art of bullshit. If you go back and listen to Kavanaugh’s answers to the various questions throughout all of his testimony you can sense the craic sliding under the door and flooding the place. While he was being polite and nice, he was having some problems with the tool. Only in the hand of a master can it be gentle. Kavanaugh isn’t one; he’d have done a better job skirting the lies and not violating his oath.
The wise ass response of the teenage boy too smart for his own good
But consider his exchanges with Senator Klobuchar of Minnesota, when she asked him if he’d ever blacked out, and he denied it and then went after her, demanding to know if she’d ever blacked out. Now, I suspect he was well briefed on the Senator and her father’s serious alcoholism. This was craic but in it’s most evil form. You could say it was a rhetorical trick but the gleeful way he went about it trying to humiliate the Senator and, by the way, not succeeding — if that was rhetoric, it was a failure.
Kavanaugh’s professed love of beer was probably the most honest thing he said. For the most, he reverted to the catechism of his talking points, except when he was losing his temper. He probably wished he had a beer instead of water in that bottle.
So, the guy was, in the period of high school through his time on the Star prosecution, a mean and violent drunk. He denies it, and denied it under oath. He may or may not know the translation of the Latin in Blumenthal’s question as to the meaning of Falsus in uno, falsus in omnibus. But, his mocking response to Blumenthal, “Why don’t you translate it, Senator, you’ll do a better job” was the wise ass response that anyone used to dealing with teenage boys too smart for their own good hears so often as to have it engraved on their skull.
I’m not sure if anyone asked Kavanaugh if he’d sworn an oath of loyalty to the President. Given Trump’s love of loyalty oaths and need for that reassurance, I suspect he would have done so without thought. And, if confirmed, he’ll stay loyal until it’s worth more to him than staying loyal to the blithering baboon of Queens and Trump Tower.
That’s another radical character flaw of the Irish — we can be unbendingly loyal or we can be very treacherous. Kavanaugh, I suspect, falls into that later category. Oh well, it doesn’t really matter — because if he’s confirmed, a Democratic House may well impeach him and a Democratic Senate might well find him guilty of high crimes and misdemeanors. They might do it as a warm up for Trump…