Thursday, September 27, 2018

Who Is Telling the Truth?

There has been enough coverage of the Kavanaugh hearings that I thought I wouldn’t write on it. But, after the hearings, completed almost three weeks ago, in which Brett Kavanaugh comported himself well, showed himself to be fully qualified for the task of weighing matters according to the Constitution, and also showed himself to be a man of particularly decent character—then the drama began.
Judge Kavanaugh at today's hearing.
screen shot from C-SPAN

So I think that, in the search of truth, there are things we ought to discuss.

Who I believe, and who others believe doesn’t much matter. What matters is what is actually, factually true, outside of belief. And if we can find that out, then we can act based on reality.

I will deal only with the allegations by Dr. Christine Blasey-Ford. There have been no other credible accusations; all additional accusations have been spurious, unsubstantiated, and clearly timed to harm rather than to enlighten. So we’ll dispense with those.

That is not to say that Dr. Blasey-Ford’s allegations are credible. I spent much of the day listening to her testimony and then to Judge Kavanaugh’s. As a truth telling person myself, I have a hard time seeing other normal seeming people lie. I used to watch a TV show called Lie to Me, in which the psychological consultants were able to read facial micro-reactions and tell a lot about what people were thinking. While there may actually be such a science, or talent, that show was fiction. I don’t have that ability. I have to use my other resources and discernment skills.

Did Dr. Blasey-Ford appear to be lying? Not that I could tell. But was she telling us what actually happened? I don’t think so.

The way this is being handled, Republican and Democrat committee members took turns asking questions, five minutes each. All of the Republicans ceded their time to an expert female prosecutor, Rachel Mitchell, with much experience getting stories from victims of sexual assault.

Note: Mitchell is a prosecutor. She interviews victims to get their stories as accurately detailed as possible so that perpetrators can be prosecuted and held accountable. She wasn’t there to trip up the accuser; she was there to get details out.
Prosecutor Rachel Mitchell questioned for Republicans.
screen shot from C-SPAN

The Democrat members of the committee did not ask questions to get out any true details. Not one. They each spent their five minutes telling Dr. Blasey-Ford that they believed her, and that she was brave and heroic for coming forward. And that the Republicans were meanies for not indefinitely postponing to begin an FBI investigation.

They embellished with several commentaries on the importance of character:
Senator Feinstein:  I hope the majority changes their tactics, opens their mind, and seriously reflects on why we are here.
Change out the word majority for minority, and then she’s saying something I can agree with. She also said what we’re about is “a real question of character.”

Senator Hirono: Does character matter? Do our values, our real values about what is right and what is wrong, and about whether we treat our fellow human beings with dignity and respect? Do they matter anymore? I believe they do.
Let’s just note that they say character matters, so what they’re doing says something about their character. I’ll come back to this later.

About the multiple calls to begin an FBI investigation. What happens in an FBI investigation? The FBI would get a statement from the accuser. Done. They would get a statement from the accused, under penalty of perjury. Done. They would interview witnesses, under penalty of perjury. Done. They would gather corroborating evidence from others who could shed light on the situation, people who knew the accuser and accused and witnesses at the time, and could have offered additional details. Done. In fact, there were six previous in-depth character investigations of Judge Kavanaugh prior to previous hirings.

Judge Kavanaugh has additionally provided a calendar identifying his whereabouts and activities during the given time frame. The calendar shows that, when the family was in town, he was involved in basketball practices and other typical activities. Parties were listed, including where and with whom. Names of some so-called witnesses were included, some at parties. But the other person accused, Mark Judge, was listed only in relation to a non-party event.

No one, not even the other female witness, Leland Keyser (her name was then) who remains a friend/acquaintance of the accuser, has any memory of the event. In fact, she goes as far as to say she knew of no party or gathering ever attended by Christine Blasey-Ford that was also attended by either Brett Kavanaugh or Mark Judge.

Dr. Blasey-Ford provided no explanation for why she attended this pre-party event, at a house that must have belonged to one of the other attendees but she doesn’t know whose, when she was two years younger than the others and attended a different high school. Her explanation was that it must have been a spur-of-the-moment event she was invited to at the country club they all belonged to. But what was her motivation to go to such an event, if she wasn’t dating any of the attendees, or was not a close friend of any of them? And there was only one other female? Who says those people were never at the same events?

Dr. Christine Blasey-Ford
screen shot from C-SPAN

She does not remember how she got there, or how she got home, although during questioning, which included maps of the area, she admitted that the distance meant she must have gotten a ride. She says her friend, Leland, did not even notice that she left, nor did she follow up or ask later, nor had she been aware of anything amiss going on upstairs at the house prior to the two boys careening drunkenly back down the stairs followed later by the young Dr. Blasey-Ford’s exit out of the house passing by all of them. Her exit wasn’t noticed, when in full view of all, even though they were supposedly the only females present?

Why didn’t she tell anyone? Not even whoever gave her a ride home? Because she was ashamed, she said. Of what she had done? Only in so far as she didn’t want her parents to know she had attended a party at a house with no parents present where there was drinking going on, of which she had partaken (one beer, she said; she was 15).

Could something—some kind of assault—have happened to her? Quite possibly. Was she assaulted, in the way she described, by someone else? She was offered that possibility in questioning, but insists she is 100% certain that the perpetrators were Brett Kavanaugh and his accomplice Mark Judge.
Yet Dr. Blasey-Ford’s accusations and corroboration are so thin that no charge could ever be brought, no warrant could ever be given. It is clearly, by every legal way of looking at it, so unsubstantiated that it could only do damage as rumor.

So calls for any additional investigation without any additional information from the accuser are fruitless. The leads have all been followed.

We know enough now, from the investigations and testimony, to look at the facts we do know:

·         Christine Blasey-Ford claims she was assaulted but not raped by a drunken Brett Kavanaugh when she was about 15 and he was about 17.

·         She offers no details about where, exactly when, with any corroborating witnesses.
·         So far no evidence of any kind beyond her personal claim has been provided or found.
·         Brett Kavanaugh categorically denies that this event ever happened, or anything like it, nor does he remember any social event that included Christine Blasey-Ford.
·         Mark Judge categorically denies in the same fashion.
·         The other two named attendees, including her female friend, deny any knowledge of anything like this ever happening, or that Kavanaugh ever even attended any of the same events as the accuser.
·         Everyone who knew Brett Kavanaugh at the time, and in subsequent years, has testified that, not only did they never hear of any such event, it would be totally out of character for the Brett Kavanaugh that they knew.
·         His calendar shows some meticulous detail—and was kept and accessible after all these years. On that calendar he included social events, but nothing that could have been this party appears.
·         Brett Kavanaugh further submitted to a media interview, along with his wife, where he explained that, not only was there no attempted sexual assault, he was a virgin at that time, and during college (when other accusations claim he did vile things), and for years afterward.
·         There is nothing in his subsequent life that would bring his character into question. He is a religious man, and his behavior with his wife and children, with his co-workers, and with friends and acquaintances leads one to believe that he is being truthful about his denial. There appears to be nothing to hide.

About his being a virgin, one news interviewee said that right there is proof he’s lying. But for religious—and studious—people, that would be the norm. I never dated anyone that wasn’t a virgin up to and through the time of our dating. That was totally normal in my high school and college life, in a religious community among studious friends. Also, if you read Coming Apart by Charles Murray, you see that this more conservative behavior is known and acted out in the most well off zip codes, similar to Kavanaugh’s.

Let’s let blind justice weigh the scales. Everything comes down in favor of Brett Kavanaugh. Everything.

Dr. Blasey-Ford claims her coming forward now in not politically motivated, but relates only to protecting the country from having a person who would do such a thing in such a high office. However, she did not say anything about him when he was elevated to various other courts, including the DC circuit court, where he has most recently been serving, often considered the second highest court of the land. And his name has been on the Federalist Society/Heritage Society list of acceptable judicial candidates since before President Trump was elected. She wasn’t worried about him possibly replacing Justice Scalia. She did not act, and did not mention Kavanaugh’s name to anyone, including her therapist, until July 2018, when his name appeared on the short list to replace Justice Kennedy.

Why now? is a valid question.

Senator Feinstein
screen shot from C-SPAN
She hasn’t been asked political questions. But she sought to put her story forward through political people, her congresswoman and Senator Feinstein. Whether she is outright lying about who assaulted her (if anyone), or whether she has, after all these decades, falsely remembered who did such a thing (think of A Passage to India, by E. M. Forster, in which an Englishwoman takes an Indian man all the way to court for attempted rape, unable to remember details, until she realizes that she was mistaken and it never happened), the people on the Democratic side have used her for their purpose of delaying confirmation of an eminently qualified judge with an impeccable character.

Their timing is peccable.

Senator Feinstein has had the information in hand now for 60 days. Dr. Blasey-Ford provided it to her congresswoman three months ago. Feinstein had it well before the hearing. She had it during private interview questioning. She had it during the hearings. During all of those opportunities, she did not even hint that she was questioning his character or wanted his side of any such story.

One would think that, based on the timing, this was a Hail Mary attack to delay the inevitable confirmation.

People are talking about the attempt to delay until after the midterms, in hopes that a different Senate might prevent any Trump nominee from getting confirmed. But more imminent is the hope to delay beyond this week, because Monday, October 1st, is the start of the new Supreme Court term. That is when they decide which cases to take up and what the schedule will be. The Democrats would much rather that happen with a 4-4 court than a 5-4 court.

In other words, the Democrat idea of “getting to truth” and paying attention to “character” includes falsely accusing a particularly decent man, destroying his life and livelihood, with false sanctimony on their faces.

This is evil.

Evil people, working among civilized people, take advantage of good people and their predictable behavior. Good people try to give people respect and the benefit of the doubt. Good people try to calm their anger and look for a reasonable explanation. They bend over backward to give someone with unsubstantiated claims the chance to be heard—just in case. They don’t want to appear unkind, or uncaring, or impolite.

That’s how you get what you’ve gotten in media the last couple of weeks and in today’s hearing. That’s also how we’ve gotten a president who stands up to those bullies simply by not caring whether he appears nice. I’m beginning to appreciate that willingness to fight back.

What we should have gotten was, “The burden of proof is on you, the badly timed accuser. If you can bring us a shred of evidence to help us believe there’s some truth to your story, despite its terrible timing, let us see it.”

And then you go ahead and confirm.

What else we should have gotten—and still should get—is a defamation of character lawsuit. Including Senator Feinstein. Including everyone else and their sleazy lawyers who have made additional allegations. Sue for jail time—so that Soros money cannot buy them out of the consequences.

If Judge Kavanaugh is not worthy of the Supreme Court, it means he is not worthy of his current district court position either. So what is at stake for him is a lifetime’s reputation and hard work, and the ability to make a living for the next thirty years. There is measurable harm to him. Even if confirmed (and I trust he will be), this has put a shadow of scandal over him, as has hung unfairly over Justice Thomas all these years.

The burden of proof—under these circumstances—must be on the accuser. Dr. Blasey-Ford wanted to remain anonymous, but you don’t get to do that kind of damage to another human being from the safety of anonymity. At best that is cowardly; at worst it is pure evil.

If she were telling what actually happened, there would be corroboration, including a pattern of behavior in the character of such a man, and she could find it. If she had no animus and is merely mistaking the identity of an actual attacker, that could be discovered. (The prosecutor today suggested the kind of interrogation that could lead to exposing what actually happened, but that her counsel failed to offer.) With no animus, there could be a non-jail settlement, as long as it exonerated Justice Kavanaugh.

But if the accuser is not held accountable for defamation of character under such high stakes, then the precedence is set for every Supreme Court nominee, and any other person nominated to an important position, that the Democrats do not agree with on policy.

They have done this before. I’m old enough to remember what they did to Robert Bork, which invented the term for thwarting a nominee. I also remember the Anita Hill accusations against Clarence Thomas.  And let me just point out that, while Hill has been lionized by the Democrats for her bravery, her testimony appeared then, and still appears to be, a false accusation. How do we know? Her behavior. And his. She continues to do whatever is necessary for her “leftist” causes, and has benefited from the notoriety. Meanwhile, Justice Thomas has remained an unimpeachable character, and has done his job of applying the law according to the Constitution, as he took an oath to do, even though the Democrats whisper continued lies about his character. They were never worried about someone with bad character being on the Court—these were people who supported Bill Clinton. They just didn’t want someone who would uphold the Constitution.
Senator Graham
screen shot from C-SPAN

Senator Grassley was too kind to Democrats today, but I do credit him with defending the investigative process by the Republicans. They gave the woman every opportunity to tell her story and provide evidence. She added none.

Senator Graham today, was downright feisty, something we don’t usually see from him (here, during questioning Judge Kavanaugh, and here and here to media between hearing sessions).

If we have any respect for basic principles like “innocent until proven guilty,” and the rule of law, we should see a vote on Friday to confirm.

If we get something else, then evil wins.

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