Tuesday, October 11, 2016

Response to Two Down

(See: Just Above Sunset: Two Down)

One disagreement I have with all the pundits, especially on my side of the aisle, is whether all that Billy Bush and Donald Trump chatter on the bus was “locker room banter”. They say it wasn’t, and I can’t understand what they mean by that. Of course it was, as if that means anything useful here. Why do they think that it being locker room chat somehow makes it okay?

Except that, since I don’t play golf or tennis or whatever, I have no way of knowing what is being talked about in men’s locker rooms these days. I only know from way-back memories of high school phys-ed classes and track team practices. Yes, these kind of topics were discussed, in roughly the same language, and probably made-up claims, but it’s important to note that, not only did not all the guys join in, only a very few of the loud jerks did, usually cheered on by a small gaggle of giggling toadies. 

Most the us guys ignored it, trying not to get dressed too fast and leave too hurriedly so as not to arouse suspicion that all this ”guy" talk made us slightly uncomfortable — which it did. 

And yes, as Trump confessed, it was just “all talk”, allowing him to claim that his deeply-regrettable transgressions were only words, whereas Bill Clinton’s were actions! (And yet, without checking the debate transcript, didn’t Donald at one point accuse Hillary of being “all words and no action”? How does this guy always seem to position himself on both sides of every argument?)

But to punctuate his puzzling claims about Bill Clinton, about an hour before the debate was scheduled to begin, Trump staged a blitzkrieg news conference at a nearby hotel with a group of anti-Clinton women, three of whom claimed they had been sexually assaulted by Hillary’s husband, and the fourth being a woman who, back when she was 12 years old, was the (alleged?) victim in a rape case in which the then young lawyer, Hillary Rodham, defended the accused.

Yes, this Trump stunt largely fizzled, maybe because Monica Lewinsky was not one of the women (I’ll bet it was not from lack of trying by the Trump campaign; I’ll bet they asked her but she refused). It probably went nowhere because all the other cases had been litigated and investigated years before, mostly ending up nowhere.

But just so the history of these cases not be obscured by 2016 politics, I looked them all up.

In the case of Paula Jones, who was an Arkansas state employee when Bill was governor:
According to Jones's account, on May 8, 1991, she was escorted to Clinton's (then Governor of Arkansas) room in the Excelsior (now Little Rock Marriott) Hotel in Little Rock, Arkansas, where he propositioned and exposed himself to her. She claimed she kept quiet about the incident until 1994, when a David Brock story in the American Spectator magazine printed an account. Jones filed a sexual harassment suit against Clinton on May 6, 1994, two days before the three-year statute of limitations… 
Judge Susan Webber Wright granted President Clinton's motion for summary judgment, ruling that … Jones failed to show that Clinton's actions constituted "outrageous conduct" as required of the tort alongside not showing proof of damages caused by distress. Jones appealed the dismissal to the United States Court of Appeals for the Eighth Circuit, where, at oral argument, two of the three judges on the panel appeared sympathetic to her arguments. …
But before there was a ruling:
On November 13, 1998, Clinton settled with Jones for $850,000, the entire amount of her claim, but without an apology, in exchange for her agreement to drop the appeal. Robert S. Bennett, Clinton's attorney, still maintained that Jones's claim was baseless and that Clinton only settled so he could end the lawsuit and move on with his life. In March 1999, Judge Wright ruled that Jones would only get $200,000 from the settlement and that the rest of the money would pay for her legal expenses. ... 
She also appeared in the news media to show the results of a makeover and of a Rhinoplasty [a.k.a., "a nose job”] paid for by a donor. 
In April 1999, Judge Wright found Clinton in civil contempt of court for misleading testimony in the Jones case. She ordered Clinton to pay $1,202 to the court and an additional $90,000 to Jones's lawyers for expenses incurred, far less than the $496,000 that the lawyers originally requested.
By agreement with the Arkansas Bar Association, Clinton gave up his Arkansas law license for a period of five years. And it was the Paula Jones case that got him impeached, for lying and obstruction of justice in saying he didn’t have sexual relations with that Lewinsky woman.

Jones sued Penthouse Magazine during all this for printing nude photos of her, taken by her boyfriend, but it was too late — the magazine had already gone to the distributors. But in 2000, she went back and made a deal with the same magazine:
She later posed for photos illustrating an article, "The Perils of Paula Jones" in the December 2000 issue, citing the pressures of a large tax bill and two young sons to support.

Then there’s Kathleen Willey:
In 2015, Kathleen Willey alleged Clinton groped her in the White House Oval Office in 1993. Kenneth Starr granted her immunity for her testimony in his separate inquiry. 
Linda Tripp, the Clinton Administration staffer who secretly taped her phone conversations with Monica Lewinsky in order to expose the latter's affair with the President, testified under oath that Willey's sexual contact with President Clinton in 1993 was consensual, that Willey had been flirting with the President, and that Willey was happy and excited following her 1993 encounter with Clinton. Ken Starr thought there was insufficient evidence to pursue her allegations further. 
In 2007 Willey published a book about her experiences with the Clintons.
And there’s this add, back in May, from Media Matters:
The Office of the Independent Counsel reviewed Willey’s allegations but declined to press charges after determining that Willey repeatedly shifted her story, lied to the FBI, and urged a friend to falsely support her story. She subsequently suggested that the Clintons had murdered her husband in the same way they supposedly murdered former White House aide Vince Foster.
On that same page, there's also, "close Trump ally Roger Stone says Trump himself gave money to Willey so she would be able to attack the Clintons during Hillary Clinton’s current presidential run”. This was back in May of this year, and Stone mentioned that "various victims of Bill Clinton — those who were raped or attacked or assaulted — those women are getting organized, and I think a number of them are going to speak out this fall.”

Number three of the accusers is Juanita Broaddrick, who actually accused Bill Clinton of raping her:
In a 1999 episode of Dateline NBC, former Clinton volunteer Juanita Broaddrick alleged that in the late 1970s Bill Clinton raped her in her hotel room. According to Broaddrick, she agreed to meet with Clinton for coffee in the lobby of her hotel, but Clinton asked if they could go to her room to avoid a crowd of reporters. Once Clinton had isolated her in her hotel room, he sexually assaulted her. Broaddrick stated Clinton injured her lip by biting it during the assault. In 1999, Clinton denied Broaddrick's allegations through his lawyer. 
Supporters of Clinton have questioned her account by noting that Broaddrick continued to support Clinton, and appear at public events on his behalf, weeks after the alleged rape. In addition, Broaddrick had once signed a deposition stating that no sexual contact had occurred with Bill Clinton; although she subsequently stated that she had made this claim because "I didn't want to be forced to testify about the most horrific event of my life." In 1999, Slate magazine published an inconclusive piece on whether Broaddrick was telling the truth. 
Broaddrick's allegations resurfaced in the 2016 presidential campaign. In various media interviews, Broaddrick stated that Clinton raped her and that Hillary Clinton knew about it, and tried to threaten Broaddrick into remaining silent. She claimed that she started giving some interviews in 2015 because Hillary Clinton's statement that victims of sexual assault should be believed angered her.
(In fact, while nobody was ever able to prove or disprove Broaddrick’s allegations either way, if you read that inconclusive Slate magazine piece, mentioned above, you might just find her story quite credible.)

Finally, the fourth woman in the group, Kathy Shelton, was not an accuser of Bill, but instead has a beef with Hillary Clinton herself, as investigated by Snopes earlier this year:
”In 1975 when I was 12, I was raped by a 42 year old man. Hillary Clinton volunteered to be his lawyer. In court, Hillary told the judge that I made up the rape story because I enjoyed fantasizing about older men. Hillary got my rapist freed. In 1980 she gave an interview where she admitted she knew he was guilty. And she laughed about it. Hillary Clinton is an advocate for rapists. Not for women or children.”
According to Snopes, this poster, complete with photo of a beautiful blond teenaged girl with tears running down her face (but with this small-print disclaimer, “This story is true. Photo is not the actual victim”), began circulating back in May on Facebook, the claims of which Snopes pronounced “Mostly False”, in that, for one thing, Hillary did not volunteer, but was assigned to the case by the judge because the accused demanded to have a woman defense lawyer. Also, witnesses from the time attest that she requested to be let off the case, but was turned down.
Documents from the 1975 case include an affidavit (p. 34) sworn by Clinton ... That affidavit doesn't show, as claimed, that Hillary Clinton asserted the defendant "made up the rape story because [she] enjoyed fantasizing about men"; rather, it shows that other people, including an expert in child psychology, had said that the complainant was "emotionally unstable with a tendency to seek out older men and to engage in fantasizing about persons, claiming they had attacked her body," and that "children in early adolescence tend to exaggerate or romanticize sexual experiences." Clinton therefore asked the court to have the complainant undergo a psychiatric exam (at the defense's expense) to determine the validity of that information… 
As for the claim that Hillary Clinton "knew the defendant was guilty,” … [is] largely irrelevant given that under Hillary Clinton's handling of the case, the defendant pled guilty rather than going to trial and asserting his innocence.
What really happened? Here’s a Newsday article from 2008:
Finding out precisely what happened in the pre-dawn hours of May 10, 1975, is difficult three decades later, particularly since [the accused Bruce Alfred] Taylor died in 1992 of a heart ailment. But a basic outline can be reconstructed from interviews, court documents, witnesses’ statements and the Washington County sheriff’s original case file, obtained under the Freedom of Information Act. 
Sometime around midnight, the girl was sleeping over at a friend’s house in Springdale when Taylor and his 20-year-old cousin walked in, asking if anyone wanted to take a drive. The sixth-grader, who says she was bored and wanted to buy a soda, jumped into Taylor’s beat-up red 1963 Chevrolet pickup truck. 
Soon after, they picked up the 15-year-old boy and drove to a liquor store, where Taylor bought a pint of Old Grand-Dad whiskey, which he mixed for the girl in a cup of Coca-Cola, according to the boy, now a 48-year-old Army veteran. (Newsday is withholding the boy’s name because he was charged in the case as a juvenile offender.) 
After a few hours at a local bowling alley, the foursome crammed into Taylor’s truck and drove to a weedy ravine off a busy two-lane highway connecting the sister cities of Fayetteville and Springdale, according the sheriff’s department account. 
Taylor and the older man went off for a walk, leaving the 12-year-old and the teenager alone in the cab. In a statement to police, the 15-year-old said he removed his pants and admitted to having sex, revealing the encounter only after being pressed by investigators. 
Moments later, he said he left and Taylor approached the truck, climbing on top of the girl. The girl let out a scream, according to the police report, and he claims to have seen Taylor hitching up his pants. 
The victim, the boy reported, turned to both of them and yelled, “You all planned this, didn’t you?” 
At 4:50 a.m., the girl walked into a local emergency room, badly shaken. The doctor’s report noted that she had injuries consistent with rape.
The “she laughed about it” part came after a 1980s interview Hillary gave to a reporter, in which she is heard laughing at this surprising development, in speaking of her client:
He took a lie detector test! I had him take a polygraph, which he passed, which forever destroyed my faith in polygraphs [Laughter].
She didn’t “get him off” of the rape charge, she made a plea deal to a lesser charge — “found guilty of Unlawful Fondling of a Child Under the Age of Fourteen” — which the prosecutor agreed to at the behest of the victim and her mother, "to make a quick plea deal rather than have the [victim] go through the ordeal of a court trial, with the mother actively interfering in the investigation to bring about that result”, with the sentence "that carried a five-year sentence, of which the judge suspended four years and allowed two months credit of time already served towards the remaining year.” 
“We both wanted it to be over with,” the victim told Newsday. “They kept asking me the same questions over and over. I was crying all the time.” ... 
In 2005, while working in a laundry, the victim stole several hundred dollars worth of checks from her boss to buy drugs. She is now living in a halfway house and looking for work. 
Despite these problems, she bears Hillary Rodham Clinton no ill will and was eager to read “Living History” — at least pages 72 and 73, which contain her case.
Which brings us to today:
Eight years later, in 2016, the UK's Daily Mail identified the victim (who had previously spoken anonymously to the Daily Beast) as Kathy Shelton and quoted her as saying that she "cannot forgive Hillary Clinton for defending her rapist" and that she was unaware for many years that Hillary Clinton was the person who had represented the defendant in her case. 
'It's put a lot of anger back in me,' said Shelton, now 54, in an exclusive interview at her Springdale, Arkansas, home. 'Every time I see [Clinton] on TV I just want to reach in there and grab her, but I can't do that.' 
For decades, Shelton said she had no idea that Clinton was the same woman as the lawyer who defended her rapist in 1975.
That’s the tragic thing about fame and history and how they combine to effect people! Think about it:

Had Hillary Rodham never married some guy who went on to become president of the United States, then real life sexual-assault victim Kathy Shelton, who all her life held no ill will toward the woman who defended her rapist, might never have changed her opinion about her, and therefore, would never have gotten a prominent seat at this second Trump-Clinton debate, and would have missed her own very small place in American history!

No comments:

Post a Comment

(No trolls, please! As a rule of thumb, don't get any nastier in your comments than I do in my posts. Thanks.)