Whitewashing the Predatory Patriarchy Cover-up

Even if a couple of Republican senators were to revolt and vote against confirming the nomination of Brent Kavanagh to the Supreme Court of the United States of America, the “culture war” over the subjugation of women would escalate. How could it not? A Predatory Patriarchy still rules the nation.

Kavanagh at hearingKavanagh rightly called his confirmation hearing a joke (or was it a circus?) but for all the wrong reasons. His behavior reflected classic alcoholic denial/projection as he aggressively attacked and dodged legitimate questions. It also reflected his powerfully self-indulgent sense of entitlement to yet another among many privileges in his patrician life.

No Laughing Matter

But who was laughing? Certainly not Senator Grassley, who chairs the judicial committee, as he struggled to retain old-white-men privileges for the committee’s majority in ramrodding through the alcoholic misogynous serial predator’s confirmation. Certainly not Dr. Christine Blasey Ford, who struggled to perform her civic duty in a deeply hostile environment dominated by predatory patricians seething with disrespect for a woman who would dare stand up and tell her story of Kavanagh’s attempted rape. Her courage befuddled the patriarchs of “the beltway,” who were not laughing. The event most deeply seared into her memory was her assailant and his accomplice laughing, finding their abuse of a fifteen-year-old girl so hilarious.

I remember as a teenager, young men who laughed as they tormented a small animal or bullied another kid on the athletic field or hallway. Torturing others was somehow funny to them. Kavanagh appeared bemused as he attacked Senator Amy Klobuchar of Minnesota when she asked him about his drinking behavior, demanding to know if she had ever blacked out from excessive drinking. Of course, not all ritual degradation is physically violent. But Kavanagh’s attempts to belittle and patronize his questioners, particularly the women, was certainly verbally violent. I was particularly impressed with the unbending Kamala Harris when he persisted in dodging her direct questions.

Congressional Cover-up

As the hearing proceeded, various media quoted growing numbers of potential witnesses who contradicted Kavanagh’s dissembling and evading questions about serial belligerent drunkenness and sexual aggression by him and his friends. Some offered sworn affidavits; almost all but Mark Judge were willing for the Committee or the FBI to interview them under oath. The pressure to have the FBI re-open the background investigation of this nominee to the nation’s highest court.

Finally, Jeff Flake, Republican of Arizona, walked out of the hearing signaling his friend, Democrat Chris Coons of Delaware, to join him in an anteroom. They agreed on a compromise. As a condition for Flake to vote to refer the nomination to the full Senate, the FBI would be allowed one week to interview corroborating witnesses and new accusers, if the President authorized the reopening of the background investigation.

Whitewashing the Cover-up

As always, Trump sent contradictory signals, claiming publicly that the FBI would have full reign, while the scope of the investigation appeared to be severely restricted. Neither Blasey Ford nor Kavanagh was interviewed and the FBI gave numerous other witnesses given the runaround. The FBI submitted a “report” of the investigation to the Committee halfway through the week authorized for the investigation. It appeared that they followed no leads, so there was not much to report. Mitch McConnell proclaimed that a thorough FBI investigation found no evidence of wrongdoing, and immediately called for a vote to confirm by that Saturday.

The predatory patriarchy duly whitewashed the cover-up.

The self-entitled political ruling class has once again raped justice and democracy. We are all Dr. Christine Blasey Ford now.

Money Is Not Speech

What is money? What is speech? We take these concepts for granted and operate as if we know what they are, but do we, really? More importantly, does the Supreme Court understand the relationship between money and speech? Apparently not, or more likely, the Court is in denial about that relationship, for entirely political reasons.

“Money talks.” What does that mean? If money talks, what can it say? Of course, nobody has ever heard money actually speak. It is just a figure of speech to say that money talks – meaning of course that using money exercises power. In our times, money has become the most important factor in determining who gets to speak publicly and what s/he gets to say.

Money and power

Money is not any particular form of communication — or is it? We all acknowledge that money is a medium of exchange for valuing goods and services. So, as we all know, money has power. Is speech a “service”? Certainly, money can “buy” speech. One has only to listen to congressional speeches to know that! Money can be used to control material objects and even to control the behavior of people — including some speech. Why? Money represents value in the abstract and therefore can be used as a form of social, political, and of course economic power. Because everyone agrees to use money as an abstract symbol of value, it becomes inherently valuable in itself. Money contains the power to buy almost anything, including speech. But, of course, “money can’t buy me love.” Some human values may appear to be monetized, but what is bought or sold is really something else. So, such exchanges degrade the human value.

Money communicates value and therefore power over something — almost anything it is applied to. Money symbolizes power and when applied, it exercises power. But does it represent ideas, like language does, or are ideas just one of the things money can exercise power over? What does money communicate — power or ideas, or both?

Money Talks

Clearly, in the industrial world money can be and is used to produce mass communication. That has been enabled by technology. In the days of the founding of the republic, speeches were made in the town hall at face-to-face debates. The power of one’s voice and the persuasiveness of one’s ideas, not a microphone or transmission to other cities, made the difference. Newspapers were entirely local. No radio, no television, no Internet.

Today, political speech is widely distributed. But the speaker or his ‘sponsor’ must pay for the use of the technology required for mass communication. Speech is no longer free, at least if you want to be heard by many. A lot of money is needed to produce mass communication, marketing, etc. Sure, we still have political rallies, but the candidate is usually preaching to the choir. Such staged exercises are covered by the mass media as “political events.” When did you last attend a real face-to-face debate of issues of national importance?

Until it is applied to communication, money is merely abstract economic power — that alone can be a major influence over public policy. But money can used to censor speech and control who gets to be heard. The power of money is used to control the content or the channels of communication in society. Public speech depends on expensive technology to extend the power of ideas beyond the human voice in a face-to-face debate. Speech is no longer free.

Democracy Walks

Money is the exact means used by the corporate elites to control the political discourse, such as it is, in the U.S. today. They use their nearly unlimited economic power to frame so called “public debate.” Our constitutional right to “free speech” contemplated individuals speaking to groups of people in open political discourse. Nobody needed even so much as a microphone or other economic means to extend the reach of their communication.

Corporations are not persons, another cruel joke by the Corporate Court. The founding fathers worried over the potential of corporations to influence politics, even in the eighteenth century. Like Adam Smith, they recognized the potential that even early corporations had to manipulate otherwise free markets. The Supreme Court, with the greatest corporate bias ever, has merely enhanced the existing undue power of corporations over the American people.

Corporate propagandists try to conflate corporations with “the American People.” They are trying very hard to destroy “net neutrality” so that they can profit by controlling the flow and content of Internet communication. The corporate elites already control the content and distribution of ideas on television and the other mass media. We need freedom of speech for persons — over all media. The extended “management” of all public communication by the power elites will consolidate control of speech by the corporate state.

Yes, money is not speech. But the unlimited application of money to control political speech is the death knell of democracy.