“Politics is a matter of choices, and a man doesn’t set up the choices himself. And there is always a price to make a choice. You know that. You’ve made a choice, and you know how much it cost you. There is always a price.”
— Robert Penn Warren
— All The King’s Men
Yesterday news broke that the dowager of the Senate, Dianne Feinstein, had received a document that contained information about Supreme Court nominee Brett Kavanaugh, that was sufficiently troubling to warrant it being turned over to the FBI. The Hoovers we are told, are now investigating the details.
Over the course of the rest of the day the story morphed several times. The Hoovers were not investigating it, but had added it to the standard package of background concerning the nominee.
The first iteration appearing originally in The Intercept, stated that the issue concerned something that happened when Kavanaugh was in High School. Several hours later The Guardian reported that it concerned Kavanaugh’s time clerking for a judge subsequently removed from the bench because of sexual harassment, raising questions about Kavanaugh being even more dishonest than he had already had been, in his confirmation testimony.
The focus at that point was either that he had done something illegal while seventeen and in High School, or that he had been involved in the systemic sexual harassment being conducted by the judge for whom he had clerked.
In order for actions at seventeen to be sufficient to raise alarms now, we speculated that there were only two scenarios that made sense: Either Kavanaugh had paid for an abortion or he had assaulted a woman.
At about the middle of the day the story changed again and it then appeared as if it was going to be a lot about very little as we were told that Kavanaugh and a friend, another boy, had locked a female friend in a bathroom at a party.
This fit the pattern of breathless reporting that either went nowhere fast or was, we speculated, an example of deceit and someone or an organization setting the media up to look even more foolish than they do on a regular and daily basis. In other words, this would be the media equivalent of clowns falling out of a too small car in the middle of a three ring circus.
Keeping in mind that The Grey Lady of the Senate, the Dowager Feinstein, had issued a statement that made it clear she had turned the letter detailing whatever it was that Kavanaugh was accused of, over to the Hoovers, which one assumes, means it at the very least passed the threshold for being taken seriously. That of course, by definition had to be more serious than locking someone in a bathroom at a party. However the story about the FBI investigating the issue became murky.
Sure enough, the story changed again and The New Yorker reported that in addition to allegedly locking the young woman in a room at a party, Kavanaugh and his friend, attempted to rape her, or as it was euphemistically stated, he attempted to force himself upon her.
Almost immediately a sizeable group of some 60+ women who had known Kavanagh in High School, issued a joint statement attesting to his solid character and that during the time they had known him he had been a decent young man who treated women with respect.
The binary emotional and intellectual retardation of the media could not overcome its design flaws and point out that these things were not by definition mutually exclusive. That is, attempted rape of one person does not preclude being kind to others. But the point was not raised, so far as we know, and the story began to lose some altitude.
At this point focus again shifted to Feinstein. As the day began to fade it was reported that Feinstein had been informed of the allegations against Kavanaugh in July and had sat on it until either letting it slip at the last minute, or had released some of the details just ahead of the story breaking in the media.
Feinstein of course has been a corporate shill and a liberal aristocrat since she first slithered her way into San Francisco politics, riding the not insubstantial fortune of her family, her husband and her friends.
The illusion of San Francisco as a bastion of anti-establishment protest died in the sewer of the ugly truths about Jim Jones and how he and The People’s Temple were being bribed by the democratic party machine to steal the vote in 1976 – an election that brought Moscone and Harvey Milk to power and was itself a subcategory of Jimmy Carter’s brief limp middle of the road moment between the revolutions of 1968 and the neo-fascist corporate counter-revolutions of the Reaganite assault on the entire agenda of the counterculture.
Jones’ organization, corrupt, sadistic, and living in a permanent paranoid crouch, was a cudgel used by the democrats to seize power and that Dan White was a last vestige of the old conservative cadre that had ruled San Francisco was no accident. White came from a part of the city that had maintained its conservative faith throughout the 60s, and never wavered in its god, country and flag reactionary identity. That White was the trigger that executed Moscone and Milk is not just a narrative about three men and a gun, it is also the story of America’s class warfare.
That Jones and The People’s Temple were also – along with the rest of the country – being harassed by the Hoovers is no small issue, but while a perfect illustration of the neo-fascist reality of America, what matters more, for our purposes, is that all of this represents the frame in which the Feinstein narrative lives.
Feinstein’s rise is understood within that context; a liberal alternative between the left wing truths of the revolution that failed and the neo-fascism, that succeeded, and was the response to the left.
As an aristocratic liberal she was business friendly, willing to support modest environmental agendas (so long as they did not upset the banks and the real estate mafias for whom she worked) and of course as a professional pol, she could count votes and knew that she had to be “gay friendly” which included both lip service as well as making key appointments, and increasing funding for services that confronted the AIDS crisis.
During her tenure as queen of the city, she presided over the unfettered destruction of single family homes and the massive expansion of development led mostly by an influx of money and people from Asia. The resulting congestion, poverty among previously middle class residents, and the spiraling cost of living were packaged as a booming economy and a sign of the city’s rude economic health.
That Feinstein’s entire existence was essentially a conflict of interest was of course ignored. San Francisco always has been, as A.J. Liebling said fifty years ago, a three day town. The Examiner was never really a newspaper and The Chronicle was in truth exactly the tabloid the city deserved, combining the pretense of sophistication with the blunt force trauma of being a college newspaper with a relatively large budget. In a small town, punching above its weight, corruption is endemic and locked into the tight controls on the borders of class.
The result can be seen in how the Chronicle eventually rose to the level it deserved as a marketing page for the real estate mafia that runs the city, as a bespoke end-user agreement for the tech empires.
From this sewer comes Feinstein.
Up to her gills in intrigues and secret agendas, involving the entire range of America’s political spectrum from the bizzaro parallel universe of the Hoovers and the spooks, to her borderline senile defense of Trump’s potential to transform himself from a postmodern Caligula into something approximating a human being, Feinstein has slithered her way across the decades.
And now she has bolted Brett Kavanaugh to her ass.
Speculation among some alternative media platforms included the suggestion that as an old school pol, the Dowager believed that it was both unseemly and too far beyond the statute of limitations to open an old wound and revisit Kavanaugh’s past.
The media has predictably kept its faux analysis to a narrow channel in which they express both surprise, and disappointment at Feinstein’s seeming ineptitude, mendacity and establishment political prostitution, culminating in passing all of that off as nonexistent factors and instead, offering up the nonsense that, she’s a veteran who knows what she’s doing.
What goes missing in all of this is the most obvious version of a political Occam’s Razor.
Feinstein is being blackmailed*.
It is a given that politics is a dirty business. A staple of even the most shallow and banal dramas is intrigue, and how it is propelled by what is euphemistically called dirt – when in truth it is blackmail. If you accept that someone claimed to have dirt on Kavanaugh, and was willing to use it, then you must accept the possibility of someone having dirt on Feinstein and their being more than willing to use it.
But that of course does not enter into the establishment debate.
A staple of American corporate media is the group delusion that blackmail is shocking and an anomaly, except when it is more convenient to report it as a part of the standard operating system.
As a result, to consider one example, Trump is presented as both an exotic creature that somehow just arrived deus ex machina, and at the same time is a symbol of long term systemic rot. What changes is who is telling the story.
Missing in action are the vast number of analyses that contextualize the truth. As we’ve discussed elsewhere, we are living in a version of Plato’s ideal city state in which artists are banished. As a result the fact that Trump is a low rent Gatsby and a figure from The Godfather for whom the Corleone’s would have contempt, is erased from the narrative like a politburo member erased from an official photograph, because they have been transformed into an unperson.
In the case of Feinstein we are reminded of a doctor who was confronted with the growing habit of his colleagues to assume exotic diagnoses, when something more pedestrian was likely.
When you hear hooves, he said, think horses, not zebras.
The obvious response here would be to say, blackmail is a zebra and the hooves you hear are more easily explained by Feinstein being old and slow-witted. Except, her ineptitude is consistent, and so of a pattern of political and moral compromise that what comes across is not senility but mendacity. And that mendacity, with it strange contortions the consistently exceed the g-force limits of the reasonable and logical, paint a portrait of a toga full of imperial decadence, depravity and enough secrets to power another dozen Le Carre novels.
Feinstein is what she has always been – an aristocratic liberal; a whore of the corporate dictatorship so deeply embedded with the thugs, courtesans, and the trolls of the imperial bureaucracy that the surprise would be if she had torn Kavanaugh to pieces on the National Mall, not that she demurred and instead, sipped her tea.
New details may yet emerge but anyone who thinks Feinstein isn’t the other side of the coin from Trump is a fool, or is being paid to talk like a fool.
*Speaking about the idea that Trump was being blackmailed, a former high ranking intelligence official said, if he wasn’t would you be able to tell the difference? In other words, Trump’s behavior is so unhinged that its indistinguishable from a deliberate program of pressure exerted through blackmail.
We take a similar view towards the Dowager.
The woman who wrote the letter alleging Kavanaugh’s attempted rape, has given an interview. Read the details here:
given the details of the allegations being made against Kavanaugh, one could create a more benign narrative for Feinstein and say she was concerned about honoring the request for anonymity, and also assume that she waited until the last possible minute which allowed her to protect the source while then dropping a potential shit sandwich into the confirmation process.
Or one could allow the premise and also include someone applying pressure to the Senator as more than one thing at a time can be true.
Here’s an update:
Here’s an analysis of the situation by Jill Abramson. We note the following paragraph about Feinstein:
“Once again, the senior Democrat on the judiciary panel is under fire. It was Biden in 1991 who so badly fumbled the investigation of Hill’s allegations, with the silent ascent of fellow Democrats. Now it’s Feinstein who seems only belatedly to have referred Ford’s letter to the FBI. Feinstein, mistakenly, saw herself as protecting Ford’s identity. But a lifetime appointment to the court hung in the balance. Ironically, Feinstein’s election to the Senate in 1992 was part of the “Year of the Woman” backlash sparked by the mishandling of Hill’s case. Despite Ford’s concerns about her identity being protected, Feinstein should have been proactive.”
Here’s a democratic Senator discussing his belief that the letter to Feinstein was leaked to the media. The exchange about the letter occurs at the end of the video and take note that the Senator says he doesn’t know who leaked it, or who had access to it.