After the Kavanaugh Allegations, Republicans Offer a Shocking Defense: Sexual Assault Isn’t a Big Deal

By Jia Tolentino

September 20, 2018

Many conservatives have reacted as if they believe the accusations against Brett Kavanaugh, defending the right of a Supreme Court Justice to have previously attempted to commit rape.
Photograph by Mark Peterson / Redux for The New Yorker

Ever since the professor Christine Blasey Ford revealed that she was the woman who had accused the Supreme Court nominee Brett Kavanaugh of sexual assault, in a previously confidential letter, the conservative attempt to protect Kavanaugh from her story has been, to put it mildly, forceful. Ford claims that, in the early nineteen-eighties, when they were both attending prestigious private high schools in suburban Maryland, Kavanaugh attempted to rape her at a party. Republicans have framed this story as a craven act of character assassination rather than an account worth investigating before Kavanaugh receives a lifetime appointment to make pivotal decisions about the future of the nation—including decisions about, for example, the options that will be available to women if they get pregnant after being raped.

Kavanaugh says that Ford’s story is not true. He told the Washington Post, “I categorically and unequivocally deny this allegation.” Some of his allies appear to have settled on a strategy of insisting that Ford is simply mistaken—that she may well have been assaulted, but that it must have been someone else. (This theory quickly reached “Twin Peaks” levels of absurdity, with a conservative Post contributor writing a column titled “Is There a Kavanaugh Doppelganger?”) Other Kavanaugh supporters believe that Ford is outright lying, for political purposes. The conservative commentator Erick Erickson, who tweeted that he does not find the allegations “credible in any way, shape, or form,” later wrote, referring to Roe v. Wade, “Y’all, I’m sorry, but I have little patience for a group of people willing to destroy an innocent man so they can keep killing kids. And that’s exactly what this is about.”

But a startling number of conservative figures have reacted as if they believe Ford, and have thus ended up in the peculiar position of defending the right of a Supreme Court Justice to have previously attempted to commit rape—a stance that at once faithfully corresponds to and defiantly refutes the current Zeitgeist. These defenders think that the seventeen-year-old Kavanaugh could easily, as Ford alleges, have gotten wasted at a party, pushed a younger girl into a bedroom, pinned her on a bed, and tried to pull off her clothes while covering her mouth to keep her from screaming. They think this, they say, because they know that plenty of men and boys do things like this. On these points, they are in perfect agreement with the women who have defined the #MeToo movement. And yet their conclusion is so diametrically opposed to the moral lessons of the past year that it seems almost deliberately petulant. We now mostly accept that lots of men have committed sexual assault, but one part of the country is saying, “Yes, this is precisely the problem,” and the other part is saying, “Yes, that is why it would obviously be a non-issue to have one of these men on the Supreme Court.”

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APWU and Postal Management Agree to Extend Negotiations Deadline until October 20, 2018

National Negotiations Update

Web News Article #:

92-2018

09/21/2018APWU President Mark Dimondstein has announced that the union and the Postal Service have agreed to extend negotiations for a new collective bargaining agreement for 30 days.

Our current union contract between the American Postal Workers Union and the United States Postal Service covers the wages, hours and working conditions of 200,000 postal workers. The current Collective Bargaining Agreement expired Thursday, September 20, 2018.

The APWU and postal management have engaged in negotiations for a new collective bargaining agreement (CBA) since June 26, 2018. Three months of frequent negotiation sessions and a last 10-day stretch of intense “round-the-clock” discussions identified important issues that the union believes deserve more time to discuss and explore before declaring an impasse and ending negotiations for a voluntary agreement.

“Our goal is to reach a negotiated settlement that can be voted on by the members” declared President and lead negotiator Mark Dimondstein. “National Negotiations are always challenging. At this point in time it is in the best interest of the members to stay at the bargaining table rather than declare a hard and fast impasse.”

Once an impasse is declared, the parties enter the phase of mediation and binding interest arbitration. In an interest arbitration, after both the union and management sides make their presentations and arguments, the final decisions regarding our future conditions of employment is determined by an arbitrator.

The goals of the APWU remain consistent as the union is “fighting today for a better tomorrow” and include:  Fair wage increases, COLA, job security including maintaining no lay-off protections, bridging the gaps of the divisive three-tier wage structure, addressing concerns of hostile work environments, seeking better career and full-time opportunities for both PSEs and PTFs, and expanded postal services.

“Postal workers deserve the respect and dignity, recognition for their dedication and hard work, that comes with a decent union contract,” said Dimondstein. “We will continue this just fight over the next 30 days.”

“Negotiations are fluid, changes can happen quickly and we remain optimistic that together we have the power as unionized workers to win a decent union contract,” shared chief spokesperson and Industrial Relations Director Vance Zimmerman. “Keep the contract campaign going strong and continue to send management the message that we are united in our demand for a good union contract.”

All the rights, benefits and provisions of our existing union contract remain in place, and are fully enforceable during the 30-day extension of negotiations.

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