In a semi-comical reflection of the pathetic and often revolting state of the American establishment at its highest levels, a swamp of grasping crooks, shameless careerists, and sociopathic warmongers, yesterday we find that Patrick Shanahan, Trump’s candidate to Secretary of Defense (that is, new boss at the American Department of Constant War) has some pretty ugly skeletons in his manorial closet. According to the emerging reports, Shanahan seems like a man stoutly unruffled by the idea of filial violence to his wife, with a teenage son convicted of grabbing a bat and attacking his own mother with lethal intent in a 2011 family fracas of disputed origins.
Whilst, as a rule, I would be extremely cautious of anything published by the Washington Post, a notorious battering ram against Trump in the current Deep State struggle to unseat or utterly neutralise the bumbling president, the police reports, which antedate any possible Shanahan connection with the Trumpite disaster train, appear irrefutable. Slate’s Dahlia Lithwick, who just wrote a fine account of this entire family drama, quotes the Post at length, and the details are certainly horrid:
The Post’s Tuesday story is what a thorough background check of Shanahan would have revealed, and it borders on unreadable. It first recapitulates a story, initially reported by USA Today, of domestic abuse accusations between Shanahan and his then-wife in 2010 and clarifies that there are conflicting accounts of who the aggressor was in a fight outside the couple’s Seattle home. The details of this dispute are mostly just sad. But the Washington Post builds on and amplifies that story by reporting on an incident that took place in 2011, after Kimberley Shanahan obtained custody of their three children and moved to Florida.
According to police reports and contemporaneous documents, shortly after midnight on Wednesday, Nov. 23, 2011, Kimberley Shanahan and son William got into “a verbal dispute” over her suspicion that the 17-year-old was in a romantic relationship with a 36-year-old woman. According to police, just after 1:30 a.m., William “shoved and pinned his mother against a bathroom wall” before grabbing a $400 Nike composite baseball bat “to swing at her head,” striking her multiple times. “I attempted to run away from Will, but as I reached the laundry room, he struck me with the bat in the back of my head,” Kimberley Shanahan wrote in a court filing in the divorce case. “The last thing I remember from before I lost consciousness is the impact of the bat, and blood gushing everywhere.”
William, Sarasota police wrote, struck several blows to his mother’s head and torso and left her “to lie in a pool of blood” and then “unplugged the landline phone cord depriving the victim and [the younger brother] the use of 911 to render aid.” As William fled the home, situated in an exclusive barrier-island development called Bird Key, just outside Sarasota, he “tossed a bottle of rubbing alcohol” to his younger brother and told him “you clean her up,” according to the police report. The younger brother called 911 from a neighbor’s phone, according to police records.
As the 17-year-old fled the scene, his father first booked a flight to Florida and then a hotel room, where for four days he stayed with his son as he assembled a team of lawyers and attempted to recruit family members to assist in keeping William out of jail. Two weeks later, he sent his ex-wife’s brother a memo, which he claims to have written in the hours after the attack, arguing, among other things, that the attack had been an act of self-defense: “Use of a baseball bat in self-defense will likely be viewed as an imbalance of force,” Shanahan wrote. “However, Will’s mother harassed him for nearly three hours before the incident.” He also detailed that “she fueled the situation by berating him repeatedly in his room in a manner that escalated emotionally and physically.”
As the Post notes, Shanahan clarified in a subsequent custody battle—and again to reporters this week—that he does not believe assault with a baseball bat can ever be justified. Despite the written record stating the opposite, he even went further in the interview, saying he now regrets writing the passage and that “I have never believed Will’s attack on his mother was an act of self-defense or justified. I don’t believe violence is appropriate ever, and certainly never any justification for attacking someone with a baseball bat.” (That baseball bat, you may notice, just keeps coming up.) (See Dahlia Lithwick, When Bright Futures Outshine Dark Pasts, Slate June 18, 2019)
If this sounds like some sordid medieval dustup, when extreme violence and foul play were common at all levels of society, it is because the Western power elites have finally degenerated so much that, behind the carefully p.r.-manicured exterior, they are now simply living in a grotesque form of neofeudalism, where only naked power, barely concealed violence, and endless greed count, and the US leads the way in this not-so-charming regression to the past. Incidentally, this is the same Shanahan character we recently saw threatening Iran, and the American elites’ bete noires par excellence, Russia and China. These days no self-respecting Pentagon chief could do otherwise. But get this: in a world plagued by confusion and contradiction, the boys in uniform often sound more war-averse than the suits pushing for cataclysmic conflict in all latitudes.
What I find particularly ludicrous in this entire affair, not to mention uber hypocritical, is the notion that the American “secretary of defence” should be a man of impeccable moral fiber! That, ladies and gents, is an absurdity of insolent proportions. How could that be—self-serving rhetoric aside—considering what the Pentagon really does across the globe, and has been doing for well over 80 years? If anything, bad or indifferent moral character is precisely what is indicated for such a position. Indeed, any high US imperial post carries the same sine qua non.
But now that Shanahan is no longer available for service to the native plutocracy, why not get in touch with Ramsay Bolton? He seems to have the perfect credentials for the job.
Published on Jun 19, 2019
President Trump is looking again for a permanent secretary of defense. Acting Secretary Patrick Shanahan abruptly withdrew his nomination Tuesday after domestic violence incidents from several years ago surfaced. The Pentagon has been without a permanent leader since December. It is one of nine top administration roles filled by acting leaders. David Martin reports.
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