Bret Stephens on Kavanaugh vs. Ford

Yes, Bret Stephens is a conservative, but also a big opponent of Trump. Regardless, his new op-ed in the New York Times (click on screenshot below), is one I agree with.  Stephens doesn’t believe either Ford or Kavanaugh from what has been revealed to date, but thinks that if Kavanaugh is guilty of sexual assault several decades ago, he doesn’t deserve to be on the bench (I agree, and for two reasons: he’s a miscreant and he lied). I also agree with Stephens that we shouldn’t equate an accusation with a fact, and that Ford has to make a credible case that she was assaulted for her claims to be taken seriously. There is, of course, some weight to the assertion that Ford wouldn’t put herself through such a trial if her claim of assault wasn’t true, but that’s not enough for me.

And, like Stephens, I think that she should testify (but she should testify before him, as Kavanaugh deserves to hear allegations before addressing them), and that the FBI should investigate this claim. In fact, I find almost nothing (well, there’s one thing) in Stephens’s piece to disagree with. Read it for yourself and weigh in below.

A few excerpts:

I have absolutely no idea what, if anything, happened between Brett Kavanaugh and Christine Blasey Ford at a party in Maryland in the early 1980s.

Unless you were at the party, I believe that you don’t, either.

I believe that statements on the controversy that begin, “I believe Blasey,” or “I believe Kavanaugh” — because they jibe with personal experience or align with a partisan motive — are empirically worthless and intellectually dishonest. I believe the defect could be corrected by saying, “I want to believe” Blasey or Kavanaugh.

I believe that when Kirsten Gillibrand says, “I believe Dr. Blasey Ford because she’s telling the truth,” the senator from New York is either deceiving herself or deceiving you.

I believe that the actions of which Blasey accuses Kavanaugh and his friend Mark Judge are grave. I believe locking a young woman in a room, groping her aggressively against her will, and turning the music loud so her cries can’t be heard, isn’t harmless teenage horseplay.

. . . I believe it will not do to defend Kavanaugh with the argument that this was one long-ago youthful mistake in an otherwise upstanding life. Nor will it do to note that his classmates thought he was a great guy. Or that this is the only known allegation against him. Or that, as a judge, he hired lots of female clerks.

I believe in the presumption of innocence. I believe this is fundamental, and that it should apply in courts of public opinion as well as those of law. I believe that sexual assault is evil, but so is bearing false witness.

The question here is whether Ford must make her case “beyond a reasonable doubt” to have it stick. This is not a court of law, for one thing. My latest thought on this are that Kavanaugh must be judged guilty by a preponderance of the evidence (I think that’s roughly a 75% chance that Ford is correct) to be judged unfit, not “beyond a reasonable doubt”, which is probably something like 98%.

The statement in bold below is the one thing Stephens says that I don’t agree, with at least when it comes to allegations of sexual assault. That is, I think that claims like Ford’s are true more often than they are false. But that shouldn’t affect who we believe in any particular case:

I believe women lie just as often as men do. I believe the standard “presumed innocent” must always trump the slogan “Believe Women” if we intend to live in a free and fair society.

. . . I believe whatever report the F.B.I. produces will be imperfect. I believe that a Senate hearing, whatever form it takes, will be imperfect. At this point, I believe every conceivable alternative is worse.

I believe Merrick Garland was treated despicably by Senate Republicans. That’s beside the point here. I believe Dianne Feinstein has behaved recklessly. There’s no undoing the mess she’s made. I believe there may be a meta-message in Blasey v. Kavanaugh. But the only thing that matters now is to try to discover the truth of what happened when they were teenagers.

This is a tough situation. And much as I want Kavanaugh to not sit on the court, I think he has to be treated fairly when it comes to the allegations of sexual misconduct. To me that means not automatically believing the accusations.

148 Comments

  1. Ken Kukec
    Posted September 22, 2018 at 11:17 am | Permalink

    In terms of who goes forward first, I think a reasonable compromise would be to follow the courtroom protocol: the party with the initial burden of production (which in this matter should be Christine Blasey Ford) should go first. Then, Judge Kavanaugh should have an opportunity to defend. And if, after Kavanaugh’s testimony, Dr. Ford wishes to respond, she should be permitted to testify again in rebuttal.

    • Posted September 22, 2018 at 12:00 pm | Permalink

      I agree with your logic but it makes it sound like a real trial which it isn’t. They don’t get to call witnesses for one thing and it hasn’t been proceeded by an investigation conducted by professionals.

      • Ken Kukec
        Posted September 22, 2018 at 12:14 pm | Permalink

        I don’t care whether it sounds like a trial or not; I care about getting to the best approximation of the truth available after all these years. And I think this procedure would advance that goal.

        I think the goal would also be advanced by having the FBI reopen Kavanaugh’s background investigation to interview any witnesses with material information on the matter. Any witnesses who have such information should be subpoenaed to testify before the Judiciary Committee.

        We will likely never know the complete truth of the matter, but let’s make our best effort to get as close to it as we possibly can.

        • Posted September 22, 2018 at 12:22 pm | Permalink

          Ok, given the artificial and unnecessary constraints put on the “trial” by Trump and the GOP, perhaps that’s the best we can do. The only chance this is worthwhile is the very slight possibility some GOP senator is convinced to vote “no” by Ford’s testimony. As it is unlikely to be even close to conclusive, it is but a show trial.

          • Ken Kukec
            Posted September 22, 2018 at 2:09 pm | Permalink

            I dunno. I don’t think GOP senators Collins and Murkowski were sure votes for confirmation even going into this. And if those two tergiversate, I think the Dems will hold all 49 of in their own to vote no (including the ones running for reelection in red states, since Kavanaugh is the least popular nominee in recent history).

            Gonna be a squeaker, either way.

      • Filippo
        Posted September 22, 2018 at 9:14 pm | Permalink

        Would you say it is a “trial” to the extent that Congress has the power of subpoena to compel one to testify, and requires witnesses to take an oath to tell the truth while testifying? (Also, per the U.S. Constitution, Congress can make its own rules.)

        She remembers and he does not remember. This illustrates an aspect of human nature. We remember what is done to us; not so much what we do to others.

  2. Rita
    Posted September 22, 2018 at 11:21 am | Permalink

    Why would anyone who went to the party necessarily know what happened? She wouldn’t be likely to come out of the room and start broadcasting about it. Also, besides looking at what she says, I think friends of hers might provide information about her demeanor before and after the party. Not to mention the testimony, under oath, of Mark Judge. I think we have to ask why the Republicans are in such a hurry to rush this through, not allowing witnesses, no FBI investigation. And, of course there is the question of what else are they hiding? You have the non-answer about the $200K credit card debt, supposedly incurred for baseball tickets, and the large number of still unreleased documents.

    • Adam M.
      Posted September 22, 2018 at 10:53 pm | Permalink

      Why would anyone who went to the party necessarily know what happened?

      Ford claims that some (two?) guys witnessed the assault and one of them – Mark Judge, IIRC – stopped the assault and rescued her. Complicating her story is the fact that both of those guys said they never saw any assault. I’m not sure what to make of that.

      • tomh
        Posted September 22, 2018 at 11:23 pm | Permalink

        “Ford claims that some (two?) guys witnessed the assault and one of them – Mark Judge, IIRC – stopped the assault and rescued her.”

        Where did she ever say that? In fact,Ford describes Judge as watching Kavanaugh’s alleged assault, occasionally egging him on, and eventually jumping on top of her and Kavanaugh.

      • Michael Fisher
        Posted September 22, 2018 at 11:32 pm | Permalink

        Adam M:-

        “both of those guys said they never saw any assault”

        No!

        Judge claims he doesn’t recall the party at all & he never witnessed Kav acting in such a way. Judge states in the letter sent by his lawyer, Barbara Van Gelder:

        “I have no memory of this alleged incident, Brett Kavanaugh and I were friends in high school but I do not recall the party described in Dr. Ford’s letter. More to the point, I never saw Brett act in the manner Dr. Ford describes”

        Adam M:

        Ford claims that some (two?) guys witnessed the assault and one of them – Mark Judge, IIRC – stopped the assault and rescued her.

        No again!

        Ford did not claim Judge tried to rescue her. What is your source for that please? According to Ford there was only one guy other than Kavanaugh & that was Mark Judge. Ford claims that Judge laughed as Kavanaugh assaulted her and assisted him, claiming both were “highly inebriated” at the time. Ford wrote a letter to Democratic Sen. Dianne Feinstein, who sits on the Senate Judiciary Committee. The letter said:

        “Kavanaugh physically pushed me into a bedroom as I was headed for a bathroom up a short stair well from the living room. They locked the door and played loud music precluding any successful attempt to yell for help, they both laughed as Kavanaugh tried to disrobe me in their highly inebriated state. With Kavanaugh’s hand over my mouth I feared he may inadvertently kill me.”

        Ford also said she was only able to escape the situation when Judge jumped onto the bed and the “pile toppled.”

  3. Posted September 22, 2018 at 11:23 am | Permalink

    Kavanaugh is a proven liar in previous confirmation hearings. That’s on the record, and it’s enough for me. He’s lying, or he was too drunk to remember, or he’s tucked it away into his entitled-prick subconscious.

  4. Historian
    Posted September 22, 2018 at 11:29 am | Permalink

    We are not dealing with a criminal case here. The accusation does not have to be proved beyond a reasonable doubt. Ford needs to testify so that her credibility can be assessed. As has been pointed out by others, what possible motivation could she have to conjure up her story? Kavanaugh has every reason to lie. It is possible in his mind that Kavanaugh is not lying. Ford says that he and his friend, Mark Judge, were very drunk that night. Extremely drunk people often wake up the next day with no memory of what transpired the previous night. So, it is quite possible that he does not remember what took place in that bedroom.

    Leaving aside all the other reasons Kavanaugh should not be confirmed, if at the end of the hearing it is inconclusive as to whom to believe then Kavanaugh should not confirmed. The reason for this is that half or more of the nation will consider him an attempted rapist. If he is on the Court, the already diminished reputation of the Court as an institution dedicated to law, fairness, and justice will further be eroded. We live in a time where the faith of the American people in their national institutions is near rock bottom. Do we really want it to go any lower? If Kavanaugh has to be sacrificed to preserve the remnant of faith in our national government now existing, so be it. Trump has a long list of other ultra-conservative judges that he can nominate and get confirmed. Unfortunately, it seems inevitable that the Court will be dominated by the far right for decades to come. Kavanaugh doesn’t have to be the individual to satisfy conservatives.

    • mikeyc
      Posted September 22, 2018 at 11:37 am | Permalink

      This is troubling, Historian;

      “Leaving aside all the other reasons Kavanaugh should not be confirmed, if at the end of the hearing it is inconclusive as to whom to believe then Kavanaugh should not confirmed. The reason for this is that half or more of the nation will consider him an attempted rapist.”

      If the reason why a judge is disqualified from a position is because people can’t decide if he is guilty of an accusation then were are truly lost.

      To me, Ford (or the FBI) has to be convincing* or this should not be the reason he is turned away from the court. We cannot be ruled by accusation; that is the path to real tyranny.

      *but then, absolutely no one care what I think.

      • Historian
        Posted September 22, 2018 at 11:51 am | Permalink

        In civil cases, such as libel, judgements are made by juries when the evidence is inconclusive, i.e., not beyond a reasonable doubt. The result of this hearing will almost certainly be inconclusive because Ford will be unable to “prove” that Kavanaugh did it. So, if she seems credible, that should be good enough to disqualify Kavanaugh. As I said above, the reputation of the Supreme Court should not be further tainted.

        • Filippo
          Posted September 22, 2018 at 9:18 pm | Permalink

          As a matter of principle, why shouldn’t the standard in civil cases be “beyond a reasonable doubt”? I’ve never heard anyone say (though no doubt someone somewhere has so said).

          • Brujo Feo
            Posted September 22, 2018 at 10:06 pm | Permalink

            You can argue the theory all you like, but as a practical matter the result would be that pretty much EVERY case would end in a defense verdict. Those with the power would be able to treat those without it with complete impunity (and, at the same time, complete immunity).

            There are societies like that. I suspect that you wouldn’t like living in them.

      • Ken Kukec
        Posted September 22, 2018 at 12:27 pm | Permalink

        I think the best we can hope for here is the “preponderance” standard of which side is more likely true. (On the other hand, were I the president who nominated Kavanaugh, unless I found his testimony on the topic clear and convicing, I’d be inclined to withdraw his nomination — although the Donald, who has an adversarial relationship with the truth, will do that only if he feels it’s necessary to avoid his backing a “loser”).

        PS, Mikey, I’m sure I’m not the only one here who cares what you think. 🙂

        • Posted September 22, 2018 at 2:27 pm | Permalink

          I, too, care what you think, Mikey. As well as for what Historian and Ken and others here think. It is one of the few places I can go to get intelligent discussion from people of varying opinions. Seldom are hits below the belt made here. I love the fact that people of differing opinions can talk with each other rationally rather than ranting.

          • Posted September 22, 2018 at 3:00 pm | Permalink

            +1 Hoping no one noticed my rants. 😉

            • Filippo
              Posted September 22, 2018 at 9:20 pm | Permalink

              In the best Dennis Miller tradition. 😉

              • Posted September 23, 2018 at 12:25 am | Permalink

                Dennis Miller before 9/11 I hope. After that he seemed to lose his mind.

          • Diane G
            Posted September 23, 2018 at 12:52 am | Permalink

            +2

    • Posted September 22, 2018 at 1:39 pm | Permalink

      > As has been pointed out by others, what possible motivation could she have to conjure up her story?

      I haven’t heard Dr. Ford speak yet, so I have no opinion on her credibility. Her Wikipedia page includes this:

      “She is a registered Democrat. In 2017 she participated in a local Women’s March protesting Trump and attended a March For Science in San Francisco to protest Trump administration cuts to research. According to the Federal Election Commission, she has made campaign contributions totaling $80.50, which included donations to the Democratic National Committee and Friends of Bernie Sanders.”

      That gives her detractors reason to think she may have ulterior motives.

      • Historian
        Posted September 22, 2018 at 2:26 pm | Permalink

        “That gives her detractors reason to think she may have ulterior motives.”

        Only if she is totally nuts and willing to subject herself to an inquisition by the Republicans on the Judiciary Committee, hate mail, death threats, and the necessity of moving out of her house. However, that $80.50 contribution must have been the clincher for her detractors.

        • Posted September 22, 2018 at 2:59 pm | Permalink

          Well, there are people evidently willing to make death threats these days … on both sides. I think she is probably being honest too but I don’t think we can rule out “nuts” quite yet.

    • Posted September 22, 2018 at 2:03 pm | Permalink

      what possible motivation could she have to conjure up her story

      If she hates Kavanaugh enough for some other reason, or she strongly believes he shouldn’t be as supreme court judge, she might make up a sexual assault story in order to stitch him up.

      I think that’s plausible but less likely than he really did assault her.

      • Steve Pollard
        Posted September 22, 2018 at 3:05 pm | Permalink

        But, as I understand it, she has talked about the alleged incident with friends, and her therapist, as early as 2012 if not earlier.

        • Posted September 23, 2018 at 12:18 pm | Permalink

          I did not know that. If it is true, it makes it much less plausible that she is lying to stitch him up.

  5. Ken Kukec
    Posted September 22, 2018 at 11:32 am | Permalink

    “I believe I might be mistaken about this. A recent op-ed in The Times argues that we tend to remember traumatic incidents quite vividly. I believe that if this hypothesis is correct, then Blasey should be able to provide a wealth of information about the attack and the circumstances surrounding it.”

    So says Brett Stephens.

    I believe that the data show that the trauma of an event ensures that the event itself will be remembered, but that the trauma often results in the details of the traumatic event being recalled less accurately.

    • mikeyc
      Posted September 22, 2018 at 11:42 am | Permalink

      I have a therapist friend, now retired, who had to deal with the wreckage of the “suppressed memory” fad of a few decades ago. He always said most of his patients who suffered real trauma were his patients because they could not suppress the memory. It’s in fact the basis of many PTSD cases – the undue prominence of a traumatic experience in one’s consciousness.

    • Brujo Feo
      Posted September 22, 2018 at 3:02 pm | Permalink

      “I believe that the data show that the trauma of an event ensures that the event itself will be remembered, but that the trauma often results in the details of the traumatic event being recalled less accurately.”

      Indeed. People who have had guns pointed at them tend to be very poor at identifying the person holding the gun–all they see is that big hole at the end of the barrel.

  6. Cate Plys
    Posted September 22, 2018 at 11:36 am | Permalink

    I agree with Bret Stephens overall but also with Jerry’s caveats. I’d also add, Stephens says, “Blasey’s credibility will be tarnished if she can vividly recall the unverifiable parts of her story, but not the ones that can be verified.” I don’t think it’s fair to say her credibility is “tarnished” if that happens. It wouldn’t necessarily mean she’s not telling the truth.

    However, if absolutely none of Blasey’s recollections can be verified at all, I guess it would be fair to say that the preponderance of evidence doesn’t weigh against Kavanaugh. BUT: That only holds if a real investigation is undertaken by the FBI, with enough people interviewed that we can be sure that verifiable information can’t be obtained from others who weren’t traumatized that day. We won’t know if Blasey’s story can be verified if the only thing that happens is that she and Kavanaugh both testify in a single day, and that’s that.

    Also: Stephen Barnard makes the very good point above that Kavanaugh has already obviously lied during the confirmation proceedings.

    • Nicolaas Stempels
      Posted September 22, 2018 at 11:53 am | Permalink

      Yes, Mr “Kavanaugh has already obviously lied during the confirmation proceedings.”, he should be rejected because of that, and that would make the whole Ford/Kavanaugh controversy unnessecary.

    • W.Benson
      Posted September 22, 2018 at 5:04 pm | Permalink

      I suspect that at this very instant Dr Ford and her lawyers are in contact with Ford’s old school mates and soliciting signed statements concerning what they know about the alleged event. Dr Ford has already implied that there were no witnesses, at least none likely to testify on her behalf, but there may be others who remember hearing gossip or bragging. Senate Republicans must now be aware of the danger to THEM if they confirm Kavanaugh and this is followed by convincing corroboration of Ford’s claim of being assaulted by Kavanaugh and Judge.

    • Rita
      Posted September 22, 2018 at 10:32 pm | Permalink

      Let’s not forget that no other witnesses will be allowed at this hearing, so any chance at independent verification is severely reduced.

  7. BJ
    Posted September 22, 2018 at 11:40 am | Permalink

    I agree with a “preponderance of the evidence standard” in a case like this. If the standard is just “it’s 1% more likely that it did happen than that it didn’t,” a man would be “convicted” in the court of public opinion any time he was accused of a sexual crime, since society and our culture tends to believe women over men when it comes to such things. If it’s a simple he-said-she-said case, media and much of the public will generally believe what “she said.”

    It’s a dangerous precedent to set that a man’s life, career, and reputation can be destroyed by any unsubstantiated accusation (I’m not saying the accusation in this case is necessarily unsubstantiated — that is yet to be seen — but just speaking generally). A significant percentage of the population is sociopaths. Such a precedent would mean that, any time someone wants to take down a rival, a boss, a politician, a neighbor they don’t like, etc., all they would need to do is make a false accusation. And since women are almost never questioned when making these allegation and, if found to be lying, almost never punished for making false accusations (even horrendous ones that take tons of time and resources from law enforcement and destroy the reputations and lives of dozens of people, like “Jackie” from UVA), the incentives for making false accusations for these purposes would far outweigh the costs.

    Again, none of what I said has to do with the veracity of Ford’s claim. I have not yet made a decision on whether or not to believe her, as I’m waiting for more evidence to come in. As with any accusation against a person, be it for sexual impropriety, robbery, murder, harassment, etc., I will withhold judgment until I feel I have enough information to make an informed decision.

    • demfromsc
      Posted September 22, 2018 at 11:53 am | Permalink

      You don’t seem to understand that we are now living in an era when “waiting for the evidence” is not at all required for someone to take a strong position! Obviously, that’s sarcasm and I totally agree with you. This is why I think we need someone with scientific training in the White House, and not a CEO-type like Trump, who is so used to stretching the truth (or telling outright lies) and having everyone at least pretend to believe him.

      • Posted September 22, 2018 at 11:56 am | Permalink

        As a former CEO, I resent the implication that Trump is a “CEO-type”. More the criminal type if you ask me.

    • Randall Schenck
      Posted September 22, 2018 at 12:05 pm | Permalink

      I would say that your comments tells exactly where you are on this. You are old school with comments like – a man’s life and career can be destroyed by any unsubstantiated accusations. Of course all those substantiated accusations, they don’t apply.

      Give me a break. You cannot even pretend to be neutral.

      • BJ
        Posted September 22, 2018 at 3:04 pm | Permalink

        “a man’s life and career can be destroyed by any unsubstantiated accusations. ”

        How, exactly, is that anything but a true statement? How, exactly, does it reflect a lack of neutrality? Would you like to explain your opinion, or just be a curmudgeon?

        I used the word “ubsubstantiated” for a reason. If the allegations are substantiated, it’s obviously a different story.

        Geez.

        • Randall Schenck
          Posted September 22, 2018 at 4:00 pm | Permalink

          Curmudgeon you say. If anyone is that on this issue, it is you. I could frame your entire comment above and paste it next to all the things said by Chuck Grassley, Orrin Hatch or Mich McConnell. If you are old enough to remember the beating those old men gave to Anita Hill, 29 years ago and that was just sexual harassment, something that many of the people following this web site do not seem to comprehend. This is sexual assault or attempted rape. And by the way, regardless of how it goes, this woman could go forward to the local police in Maryland, where it happened 35 or so years ago and file. In that location there is no statute of limitations for this.

          • Posted September 22, 2018 at 6:35 pm | Permalink

            Perhaps Ford will pursue her case in Maryland after her interaction with Congress is over. Though, according to this article, it sounds like it would be a difficult road:

            http://www.baltimoresun.com/news/maryland/politics/bs-md-hogan-kavanagh-20180921-story.html

            • Randall Schenck
              Posted September 22, 2018 at 7:00 pm | Permalink

              Of course it would be difficult – 36 years has passed. But the article simply covers someone asking the governor and all that political stuff. It is meaningless. If the person, Ford, goes to the local police and files a complaint, then see what happens. If they are worth anything they will interview all the players in this matter, something that has never happened. Everything is difficult until you do it…that is life.

              The important thing here is that Maryland has at least progressed to the point where they have taken away these stupid statute of limitations. That is what keeps most perps of sexual assault and rape on the streets. And that includes judges.

              A bunch of 80 plus year old congressmen who already have their minds locked in place doing interviews, that is not any kind of justice either. Trump does not want justice, just look at his ignorant tweet. And as usual, he is the only one who could have got the FBI on this. If he had done that it would be over.

          • BJ
            Posted September 22, 2018 at 10:45 pm | Permalink

            Randall, you regularly insult people for disagreeing with you and call them pejorative terms like “idiot.” It makes having any sort of conversation with you very difficult. You even do this when people correct you when you say something wrong.

          • BJ
            Posted September 22, 2018 at 10:51 pm | Permalink

            Also, I like how you talk about this as if it’s already 100% settled. As usual, anyone who disagrees with you is a big ol’ jerk, equivalent to everyone you’ve ever hated and think is a bad person.

            If you haven’t already learned at your age to be civil with people with whom you disagree (not to mention people who merely correct you when you get a fact wrong, as you have insulted people on this website so many times in the past for making said corrections), I guess you never will.

    • yazikus
      Posted September 22, 2018 at 12:12 pm | Permalink

      And since women are almost never questioned when making these allegation and,

      This is patently untrue. Sure, maybe lady-twitter starts an ‘I believe her’ hashtag, but the cold truth of the real world is that pretty much everyone, especially the authorities involved with not only question allegations, but often automatically disbelieve the accuser.

      • Jenny Haniver
        Posted September 22, 2018 at 1:45 pm | Permalink

        +1.

        I’d say that most women did not and still do not report sexual assault/rape, precisely because they know that they won’t be believed. That is the default position. Furthermore, they know that they’d be dragged through the mud and their reputations would be ruined. That sort of psychological abuse, in its way, can be and is just as traumatic as being raped or otherwise sexually assaulted. You seem so concerned about the fact that “it’s a dangerous precedent to set that a man’s life, career, and reputation can be destroyed by any unsubstantiated accusation…” and I agree; but, like Trump, your statement evinces precious little concern and repugnance not only for the act perpetrated on the woman, but that her “life, career, and reputation can [also]be destroyed by any unsubstantiated accusation,” [here meaning unsubstantiated, knee-jerk denials of the veracity of her claims without investigation.

        • Posted September 22, 2018 at 2:41 pm | Permalink

          Not to mention that she apparently has lived a “normal, productive life” all these years while internalizing, repressing memories of the attempted rape. I have no way of knowing, but I feel strongly that she would not have put herself and her family through this trauma if she hadn’t thought it was for the good of her country.

          • Posted September 22, 2018 at 3:03 pm | Permalink

            Yes, if she was a “nut”, I am sure the GOP would have dug that up by now. The fact that we haven’t heard anything undoubtedly means she’s lived a pristine life.

        • Diane G
          Posted September 23, 2018 at 1:02 am | Permalink

          Hear, hear.

        • Posted September 23, 2018 at 7:52 pm | Permalink

          I second that. Very well put.

      • BJ
        Posted September 22, 2018 at 3:03 pm | Permalink

        Let me clarify: I meant in the court of public opinion, in the era of metoo, the most influential media does things this way. You’re 100% right that people in the public, and even often police, do not act the way I said. I apologize for such confusion.

    • Ken Kukec
      Posted September 22, 2018 at 12:42 pm | Permalink

      No one’s gonna put Kavanaugh in the can over this. He gets dinged in the senate, he goes back to making lousy law on the DC Circuit — same as Douglas Ginsburg has done for the last 30-odd years since he got caught out for smoking pot with his students. This accusation will be part of Kavanaugh’s reputation whether he’s confirmed to SCOTUS or not.

      • Randall Schenck
        Posted September 22, 2018 at 1:00 pm | Permalink

        Maybe he gets an office next to Thomas and they can sit around and talk about old times…

      • BJ
        Posted September 22, 2018 at 3:05 pm | Permalink

        You’re probably right. But some middle manager at a corporate office? Or a schoolteacher? Or an ex-boyfriend? etc. Those people won’t get the kind of defense Kavanaugh has received.

    • Rita
      Posted September 22, 2018 at 10:35 pm | Permalink

      The republicans are doing everything they can to suppress the possibility of any additional evidence or information showing up.

  8. Nicolaas Stempels
    Posted September 22, 2018 at 11:42 am | Permalink

    The fact that Ms Ford confided in this in 2012 to her therapist, long before there was the slightest notion Mr Kavanaugh would be nominated by Mr Trump, well before we had any idea there would not just be a Trump presidency, but even a Trump candidacy, gives some credibility to her claims.
    Moreover, she passed a lie detector test. Now lie detectors are not fool-proof nor faul-proof. Very nervous persons may give false positives, while habitual liars and mythomaniacs may give false negatives (Mr Trump would undoubtedly pass a lie detector test for most of his lies, I’d think). For the great majority of us they are quite accurate and reliable. Since there is no indication Ms Ford is a mythomaniac, we may have at least some confidence here.
    Note, I think -if true- it was indeed a ‘teenager jerk’ action (after all, he did not rape her), which could possibly be forgiven if he had owned up, regretted and apologised. However, he denied, and hence that option is lost.
    Note also that the main reason he should not be confirmed is that he is a partisan reactionary hack, whose most important qualification is the prospect of a ‘get out of jail’ ticket for Mr Trump.

    • Posted September 22, 2018 at 1:26 pm | Permalink

      > The fact that Ms Ford confided in this in 2012 to her therapist, long before there was the slightest notion Mr Kavanaugh would be nominated by Mr Trump, well before we had any idea there would not just be a Trump presidency, but even a Trump candidacy, gives some credibility to her claims.

      My understanding is that she did not name Kavanaugh to her therapist and that the therapist’s notes record that she said there were more witnesses than she says now.

      > Moreover, she passed a lie detector test. … For the great majority of us they are quite accurate and reliable.

      That’s not correct. There are numerous problems with polygraphs, to the point that they are not used by law enforcement in many European countries. A quick summary, with some references, is here: http://www.apa.org/research/action/polygraph.aspx

      The White House needs to direct the FBI to reopen their background investigation of Kavanaugh, identify any potential witnesses, and drive this to as fair a conclusion as possible. I somehow don’t see Trump having the integrity to do so.

      • Michael Fisher
        Posted September 22, 2018 at 2:39 pm | Permalink

        “My understanding is that she did not name Kavanaugh to her therapist and that the therapist’s notes record that she said there were more witnesses than she says now”

        Correct – Kavanaugh & Judge weren’t named by Ford in 2012.

        I don’t know what you mean by “witnesses”, but if you mean witnesses to the assault then Ford says the figure is three:

        Ford says there was her & four others in the house & Ford says there was her & two others in the bedroom.

        According to Ford the therapist has mixed up those two statements both of which can be true – there doesn’t have to be a numbers of bodies inconsistency between 2012 & now.

  9. KD33
    Posted September 22, 2018 at 11:42 am | Permalink

    The most fascinating aspect to me was that Ford took a lie detector test in August when it became a possibility that Kavanaugh would be a nominee. The value of a lie detector test is of course debatable, but the pro-active move, knowing she’d be pilloried for coming forth with her claim, is very interesting.

    • Ken Kukec
      Posted September 22, 2018 at 2:01 pm | Permalink

      I don’t believe in the efficacy of polygraphs (for anything other than extracting confessions from suspects). But it’s interesting to see that Kavanaugh hasn’t rushed to say “hey, hook me up to the machine, too.”

      Or maybe he’s taken one in private, but has elected not to release the results? Should be worth a question during his testimony before of the Judiciary Committee next week.

      • BJ
        Posted September 22, 2018 at 3:07 pm | Permalink

        If I was Kavanaugh, or anyone accused of any wrongdoing, I wouldn’t ask to be hooked up to a polygraph; hell, I would adamantly refuse to do it. You can never know what a polygraph will say about your statements, regardless of the truth of said statements.

        • Ken Kukec
          Posted September 22, 2018 at 5:38 pm | Permalink

          That’s why they’re often taken confidentially, subject to the attorney-client work-product privilege. If the results are favorable, they’re made public; if they’re not, no one’s the wiser — unless the person who took the poly is questioned under oath, and the questioner thinks to ask.

          • Ken Kukec
            Posted September 22, 2018 at 6:02 pm | Permalink

            Let me add that, even though I think the “science” behind polygraphs is BS, I’ve occasionally had clients take them, under strict work-product privileged circumstances. Usually, in circumstances where the client adamantly denies guilty. If the client passes, it’s something to take to the prosecution (since I have them administered by a former FBI expert); if the client flunks, he or she is often more willing to drop pretenses and get down to serious consideration of their circumstances.

            Also, prosecutors will frequently include a stipulation in cooperation agreements that the cooperator will be required to take a poly upon request. That request is rarely made (since, if the cooperator fails, the prosecutor would have to disclose that as exculpatory evidence to the target the prosecutor wants to use the cooperator against), but it sends a clear signal to the cooperator that the prosecutor is now in charge.

            • Posted September 22, 2018 at 6:29 pm | Permalink

              A legal placebo! Its utility depends on the client’s belief that it works.

    • Michael Fisher
      Posted September 22, 2018 at 3:02 pm | Permalink

      @KD33 Explain why you find it “interesting” that Ford planned her ‘outing’ of Kavanaugh.

      In July sometime after discovering Kavanaugh was a listed for Associate Justice of the Supreme Court of the United States, Ford contacted the Washington Post tip line anonymously & also Anna Eschoo. When the Orange One confirmed the nomination Ford went further & met with Dianne Feinstein via Eschoo.

      At some point in the above events Ford went to her lawyer with her story & at some point [then or later] the lawyer advised her to take a bullshit polygraph. In the US a polygraph is regarded as a legit standard of proof & it makes sense to get that done before the opposition subjects you to their own polygraph, with their own questions. Get it done first on your own terms.

      • W.Benson
        Posted September 22, 2018 at 5:13 pm | Permalink

        Michael: Good comment.

  10. tomh
    Posted September 22, 2018 at 11:45 am | Permalink

    @ #7
    “I have not yet made a decision on whether or not to believe her, as I’m waiting for more evidence to come in.”

    As the Republicans refuse to allow a proper investigation, the only evidence to come in will be her testimony. Which makes it a “she says, he says” case.

    • BJ
      Posted September 22, 2018 at 3:07 pm | Permalink

      Indeed, and that’s wrong on so many levels.

  11. Posted September 22, 2018 at 11:47 am | Permalink

    I am also convinced by the argument “Ford wouldn’t put herself through such a trial if her claim of assault wasn’t true” but with a change to “Ford wouldn’t put herself through such a trial if she didn’t believe her claim of assault wasn’t true”. It’s a big difference in my book and is why it deserves a proper investigation. We won’t learn much from Kavanaugh and Ford testifying about it.

    • BJ
      Posted September 22, 2018 at 3:13 pm | Permalink

      I never put stock in the idea that “someone wouldn’t put themselves through X if they weren’t telling the truth.” We’ve seen people do it before, and we’ll see them do it again. Some people are sociopaths. Some people want fame. I don’t think either of those are true in this case, but there are other possibilities. For example, the human memory is extremely fallible and malleable. It’s entirely possible that Ms. Ford had a bad sexual experience nearly 40 years ago and she has changed that memory over the years into one of assault. It’s possible that she thinks it’s her duty to do anything and everything she can to stop Trump from putting Kavanaugh on the Court, and so she’s willing to make up a story and put herself through hell to do it.

      Again, I am not in any way implying that any of what I just said is actually true. I’m merely explaining that there are many reasons beyond telling the truth that might make people might lie, improperly remember, or do something else that puts them in an unwanted spotlight. I’m just pointing out that it’s dangerous to apply a standard of “X person must be telling the truth because he/she making these statements is putting them in a bad situation.”

      I think people are misunderstanding many of my posts here. I’m not making comments about Ms. Ford specifically. I’m just trying to sketch out all the possibilities inherent in any such situations, even situations that involve crimes that aren’t sexual. People have lied in the past about every crime or untoward but legal action under the sun. It’s just human nature, and that’s why we need to weigh evidence, rather than intuition.

  12. Posted September 22, 2018 at 11:47 am | Permalink

    “There is, of course, some weight to the assertion that Ford wouldn’t put herself through such a trial if her claim of assault wasn’t true, but that’s not enough for me.”

    I agree that it’s not enough. Frankly, I’m surprised that Ford is the only one who’s come forward with such an accusation. Given what she and other liberals, mistaken or not, see as the stakes—overturning Roe vs Wade—the ordeal of public scrutiny is certainly worth the possible outcome, which could include becoming a hero of the left. Whether it’s worth the risk of perjuring oneself is a separate question.

    • Posted September 22, 2018 at 11:53 am | Permalink

      This all sounds like carefully crafted language. So you believe she’s lying because she either doesn’t want Kavanaugh to overturn Roe v. Wade and/or she wants to become a hero to the Left. Did I get that right?

      • Posted September 22, 2018 at 12:08 pm | Permalink

        “This all sounds like carefully crafted language.”

        Thanks, Paul—I like to think that all my posts are carefully crafted.

        But no, you didn’t get that right. What I said was that if she is lying (and I have no more way of knowing that than anyone else), the reasons I stated would account for her being willing to take that risk. In short, I was impugning the argument, not the individual.

    • Historian
      Posted September 22, 2018 at 12:02 pm | Permalink

      Do you believe that one day Ford got it into her head to become a liberal martyr because she is a sociopath and craves attention, even if it would cost herself and her family dearly, or that a group of conspiratorial liberals somehow discovered through detective work worthy of Sherlock Holmes that Ford knew Kavanaugh 35 years ago, secretly approached her, and convinced her to become a liberal martyr?

      • Posted September 22, 2018 at 3:15 pm | Permalink

        All I’m saying is that with something as important as Roe vs Wade on the line I’m surprised that more Iiberals haven’t come forth with similar accusations, whether true or false. I would say the same about conservatives if the shoe were on the other foot.

    • Ken Kukec
      Posted September 22, 2018 at 12:04 pm | Permalink

      “… the ordeal of public scrutiny is certainly worth the possible outcome, which could include becoming a hero of the left.”

      If that’s the case, why would she have told her therapist, and her husband, about the attack years ago, way before Kavanaugh was on anybody’s list for SCOTUS?

      And why wouldn’t she claim Kavanaugh actually raped her, instead of merely having made a drunken attempt?

      And why would she put a third person in the room — Mark Judge — who is Kavanaugh’s buddy, and, thus, would be expected to corroborate his innocence?

      And why would she initially request anonymity, only coming forward very reluctantly, knowing the devastating impact doing so was likely to have on her and her family?

      It’s not like if Kavanaugh is gets dinged Trump is gonna turn around and nominate someone who will be committed to upholding Roe v. Wade.

      • yazikus
        Posted September 22, 2018 at 12:14 pm | Permalink

        You have to remember that Heroes of the Left™ are paid in Soros$$. Totally worth whatevs!

        • Diane G
          Posted September 23, 2018 at 1:11 am | Permalink

          Examples?

      • Posted September 22, 2018 at 12:16 pm | Permalink

        You are right. If Kavanaugh goes down, Trump would nominate another just like him. However, his replacement would likely not be confirmed until after the midterm election, giving Dems more control over the process. I’d be ok with that.

        • tomh
          Posted September 22, 2018 at 12:23 pm | Permalink

          I don’t see why they would have more control over the process. Even in the unlikely event they gain a majority in the Senate, Republicans would have several months to get it done. And if they don’t win the Senate, it’s just business as usual for Republicans.

          • Posted September 22, 2018 at 12:38 pm | Permalink

            It appears that the real deadline the GOP want to meet is to get Kavanaugh seated before the next Supreme Court session which starts Oct. 1st. Is it the case that he wouldn’t get seated until the next session if they miss that date?

            • tomh
              Posted September 22, 2018 at 12:51 pm | Permalink

              A new justice can be seated the moment they are confirmed by the Senate. The only caveat is that typically (but not always) they won’t participate in decisions in which oral arguments have already been heard.

            • Diane G
              Posted September 23, 2018 at 1:12 am | Permalink

              They want to get him seated before the November elections!

        • Mark R.
          Posted September 22, 2018 at 12:39 pm | Permalink

          “…nominate another just like him.”

          I don’t think so. Kavanaugh has a very unusual opinion re. Presidential power. He doesn’t believe that the law applies to everyone in a political jurisdiction. He has written that a sitting President is indeed above the law and shouldn’t be pestered with lawful entanglements.

          Though I agree that any of his other nominees will no doubt be a Roe v. Wade antagonist.

          • Posted September 22, 2018 at 12:56 pm | Permalink

            Yes, that occurred to me also. But I also imagine that Trump and his cronies have sent out a casting call that says, essentially, “Promise to back me and my agenda and you too can be a Supreme Court justice!” It would be naive to pretend there aren’t judges out there that would grab at such a prize.

          • Ken Kukec
            Posted September 22, 2018 at 1:23 pm | Permalink

            Kavanaugh is quite the johnny-come-lately to his expansive view regarding presidential immunity from criminal investigation. He certainly didn’t feel that way when he was one of the attorneys working with Independent Counsel Kenneth Starr.

            Everyone should have a look-see at the prurient memo Kavanaugh wrote to Inspector Javert IC Starr about L’affaire Lewinsky.

            • Diane G
              Posted September 23, 2018 at 1:18 am | Permalink

              Jesus, this guy’s a sleazeball.

            • Blue
              Posted September 23, 2018 at 10:58 am | Permalink

              O Crikey, Mr Kukec !

              ” … … and bring her to orgasm, would she be lying ? ” and ” … … ejaculate in to her mouth, would she be lying ? ” Kavanaugh asks.

              Yet he, Kavanaugh, does not have the “respect” to query IF: .she. ( and .not. the President then ! ) could / can orgasm multiple times, let alone, easily and without much of the President’s ‘effort’ employed ?!

              /s
              Blue

            • Blue
              Posted September 24, 2018 at 8:14 pm | Permalink

              From Mr Dowd today a querying challenge:

              http://www.twitter.com/matthewjdowd/status/1044325967123165184

              So can anyone name one ? within only the last decade ?

              Blue

              • rickflick
                Posted September 24, 2018 at 10:27 pm | Permalink

                Good point, but you have to take each case individually based on evidence, not on statistics.

      • Posted September 22, 2018 at 12:39 pm | Permalink

        Your arguments are all sound, Ken, and in fact are among the reasons I’m inclined to think that Ford is telling the truth. That said, I still eschew the argument that “Ford wouldn’t put herself through such a trial if her claim of assault wasn’t true,” which was the only point of my “carefully crafted” post.

  13. Randall Schenck
    Posted September 22, 2018 at 11:48 am | Permalink

    I say Kavanaugh is guilty for the following reasons: as already stated, he is a known liar and lied early in his testimony. More important – Who is asking from the beginning for the FBI (the professionals) to investigate. Also, who is not. Not one word from Kavanaugh that the FBI should investigate. Who is asking that the other person in the room come forward as well.

    You could be a republican and a Trump faithful and vote for this guy and those people will no matter what. The republicans have already shown they have no open mind about this. They are on the record saying so. They don’t give a damn. Look at what Trump already said – If this happened 35 years ago it would have been reported. That is pure stupid telling us it is not true. Look at what the top (old) republicans who were there 29 years ago to humiliate Anita Hill, have said. Their case is closed and has been since the day they were born.

    Whatever the outcome, this guy did it and everyone knows he did it.

  14. Ken Kukec
    Posted September 22, 2018 at 11:49 am | Permalink

    “I believe women lie just as often as men do.”

    That’s probably true as an abstract matter. But I seriously doubt women lie about being the victims of sexual assault anywhere near as often as men who have engaged in sexual assaults lie about having done so (which is almost always).

    • mikeyc
      Posted September 22, 2018 at 11:53 am | Permalink

      Agree. It is the rare woman who would put themselves through the kind of shitstorm Ms Ford is facing unless she has a powerful motive. That alone speaks to credibility. It does not define it (to me), but it is in support.

      • Mark R.
        Posted September 22, 2018 at 1:01 pm | Permalink

        Not only is she putting herself through a shitstorm, but she wants to testify under oath. Perjury under oath is a felony with up to 5-years imprisonment. Who would risk that along with death threats, having to live in secret, having to protect your family and the prospect of a bleak future? Dr. Blasey-Ford is a very brave woman.

        For me, it is quite telling that Judge and Kavanaugh don’t want to testify under oath. It reminds me of Trump’s actions regarding the Mueller investigation. Neither one of these entitled pricks act as an innocent person would act.

  15. tomh
    Posted September 22, 2018 at 12:08 pm | Permalink

    Though the Republicans won’t allow a proper investigation, at the very least they should compel testimony from Mark Judge, the only person Ford claims to be an eyewitness, not to mention participant. The fact that Judge has spent years writing about high school debauchery, describing a private school party scene in which heavy drinking and aggressive sexual conduct was common, might even be relevant.

    • Mark R.
      Posted September 22, 2018 at 1:07 pm | Permalink

      Mr. Judge doesn’t want to risk going to jail over perjury charges. Though being a self-described black-out drunk, he may well not remember. Either way, his insistence of not wanting to testify under oath looks very suspicious to me. Also, one of the characters in his debauchery memoirs is named McKavanaugh. Hmmm, I wonder who that was? As Kavanaugh himself said: “What happened at Georgetown prep, stays at Georgetown prep.”

    • Ken Kukec
      Posted September 22, 2018 at 1:33 pm | Permalink

      Yeah, Mark Judge seems to be quite the Brett Easton Ellis manqué. There’s a character named “Bart O’Kavanaugh” in his prep-school debauchery roman à clef.

  16. Historian
    Posted September 22, 2018 at 12:19 pm | Permalink

    In evaluating Ford’s claim, it should be noted that it appears common that rape victims do not report the crime and sometimes do not remember the details. Patti Davis, daughter of President Ronald Reagan, relates her rape story in an op-ed in the Washington Post. Her story parallels Ford’s.

    https://www.washingtonpost.com/opinions/i-was-sexually-assaulted-heres-why-i-dont-remember-many-of-the-details/2018/09/21/8ce0088c-bdab-11e8-8792-78719177250f_story.html?noredirect=on&utm_term=.e3be89fd4540

  17. yazikus
    Posted September 22, 2018 at 12:21 pm | Permalink

    What seems interesting to me is how many on the right have moved right past Kavanaugh’s own ‘it didn’t happen’ to ‘it probably totally happened and we think it is not a big deal’. They are willing to accept that this behavior is in line with Kavanaugh’s character that we have seen, that girls do get assaulted fairly regularly at drunken teenage parties, and that boys can behave very badly. They just don’t find the behavior in question disqualifying. Says something, to be sure.

    • Posted September 22, 2018 at 12:33 pm | Permalink

      What is considered “attempted rape” is a bit fuzzy, isn’t it? It seems to hinge on the intent of the perpetrator and the misinterpretation of signals between those involved. I am not suggesting that is the case here though but that is why there should be a proper investigation.

      I think the GOP are playing a game here. It is as if they are saying:

      “Given the nature of the alleged crime and what little we know about it, we can’t find Kavanaugh guilty. And given our political agenda, we don’t want to know any more about it for fear it would alter that judgement. Ford can talk it out in front of our committee, which will seem fair only to our base, but that’s as far as we’re willing to go.”

  18. DW
    Posted September 22, 2018 at 12:45 pm | Permalink

    No consideration Kavanaugh was a minor at the time of the alleged incident?

    I also don’t buy the “She wouldn’t put herself through this” when we’re talking about the supreme court. Passions are rather high.

    • Mark R.
      Posted September 22, 2018 at 1:16 pm | Permalink

      This isn’t a criminal trial, it’s a job interview. It speaks to his character and being a minor doesn’t absolve him of this serious allegation.

      As far as saying you don’t buy that “she wouldn’t put herself through this”, I don’t think you are very familiar with the facts leading up to the accusation. The most pertinent fact is that she didn’t want to put herself through this and wanted to stay anonymous.

  19. Taz
    Posted September 22, 2018 at 12:49 pm | Permalink

    What scares me is that Kavanaugh will not be confirmed and Trump (being Trump) will nominate someone far worse as a “fuck you”.

    • Ken Kukec
      Posted September 22, 2018 at 1:50 pm | Permalink

      Kavanaugh is highly qualified by education and experience, but he is, tout court, a Republican Party hack, having made appearances, Zelig-like, at most of the right-wing debacles over the last quarter century, from the Whitewater investigation, to Elián Gonzalez, to the 2000 Florida recount.

      Trump could certainly nominate someone less qualified as revenge, but it’s hard to see how he could do any worse ideologically — at least if he wants to have a prayer of holding the votes of Republican senators Collins and Murkowski.

      We’d likely just wind up with the next name on the Federalist Society’s list.

  20. Posted September 22, 2018 at 12:59 pm | Permalink

    I don’t understand why the Republicans are resisting having Mark Judge, who Ford claims was present, testify. Judge claims it didn’t happen, or he doesn’t remember, so let him say so under oath. Surely, for the Republicans, two liars are better than one for resolving this.

    • Mark R.
      Posted September 22, 2018 at 1:21 pm | Permalink

      Judge would be a horrible character witness for Kavanaugh. He has already written memoirs of his black-out drunk days of debauchery with one of his friends a certain “McKavenaugh”. His memoirs also reveal an individual who is extremely misogynistic and homophobic. This will all come out, so obviously the Republicans don’t want him to testify.

      • Ken Kukec
        Posted September 22, 2018 at 1:53 pm | Permalink

        “O’Kavanaugh,” please — my Irish relatives would have you know those names aren’t fungible. 🙂

        • Mark R.
          Posted September 22, 2018 at 3:01 pm | Permalink

          Sorry…I must have hamburgers on my mind 🍔

  21. Mike Anderson
    Posted September 22, 2018 at 1:09 pm | Permalink

    Stephenson: “I believe Dianne Feinstein has behaved recklessly.”

    This too is an unfounded accusation. We don’t know why Feinstein timed it the way she did. Maybe the timing was driven by Dr. Ford (she was worried about being doxxed). Certainly there was a lot of worry over Dr. Ford’s well being, and it makes sense to try to thwart Kavanaugh’s confirmation without involving Dr. Ford.

    Feinstein’s behavior around this doesn’t bother me in the least, given what we now know (which is not much). Trying to blame Feinstein is a “kill the messenger” distraction.

    • Diane G
      Posted September 23, 2018 at 1:25 am | Permalink

      +1

  22. Ken Kukec
    Posted September 22, 2018 at 1:35 pm | Permalink

    Dr. Ford has just accepted the Judiciary Committee’s offer to testify next week, per an email her lawyer just sent to the committee.

  23. Linda Calhoun
    Posted September 22, 2018 at 2:12 pm | Permalink

    “There is, of course, some weight to the assertion that Ford wouldn’t put herself through such a trial if her claim of assault wasn’t true, but that’s not enough for me.”

    Jerry, what would you find convincing?

    L

    • Marta
      Posted September 23, 2018 at 9:26 am | Permalink

      Alas. Every assault victim needs:

      1)tape, film, or pictures
      2)audiotape
      3)eye witnesses
      4)DNA evidence
      5)a police/leo filing
      6)multiple statements to friends and family concurrent with assault
      7)assault must happen in a sports stadium, with the stands filled, and the assault occurring on the Jumbotron.

      Otherwise, it’s just “she said/he said”, and women should not be believed because they’re liars.

      • Posted October 21, 2018 at 4:36 pm | Permalink

        Some of them are, unfortunately. I initially believed a young lady who claimed that the Duke Lacross team had gang-raped her. She turned out to be a liar. (Then she became a murderer.)

  24. Brujo Feo
    Posted September 22, 2018 at 3:09 pm | Permalink

    A technical quibble…Stephens says:

    “My latest thought on this are that Kavanaugh must be judged guilty by a preponderance of the evidence (I think that’s roughly a 75% chance that Ford is correct) to be judged unfit…”

    No–“preponderance of the evidence” is what we sometimes call the “51% rule,” or even “50.1% rule,” generally used in civil cases not involving punitive damages. In other words, just “more likely than not”–whichever side has the stronger evidence, even if by a minute amount. Interesting discussion here: https://studentactivism.net/2011/07/21/preponderance-of-the-evidence/.

    When you get to the 75% or 80% level, that’s the “clear and convincing” standard, which is usually the threshold in a claim for punitive damages.

  25. Blue
    Posted September 22, 2018 at 3:19 pm | Permalink

    Dr Blasey Ford and Senator Feinstein staying
    quiet, as they have, is of no wonderment to
    me. At all.

    The Violence Against Women Reauthorization Act of y2013,
    passed the United States Senate 78 – 22.

    The following six misogynists all
    voting against said Act
    are themselves still & now .ranking.
    Judiciary Committeemembers:
    Senators Cornyn, Cruz, Graham, Grassley, Hatch, Lee.

    I ? Seeking Truth ? ‘ld soooo .not. subject my brain
    to .second. such attackers.

    Blue

    • Blue
      Posted September 22, 2018 at 5:23 pm | Permalink

      Stating on behalf of only myself now so no requesting for bent outta shape – rebutting am I,
      WERE I a SITTING federal judge accused of something
      i) I denied & ii) with .my. reputation at stake,
      THEN
      .that. about which I so do have wonderment is thus:
      WHY wouldn’t … I myself … demand
      … an FBI or thorough
      ‘otherwise disinterested third – party’ investigation ?!

      WHY wouldn’t I myself WANT that ?! Given .the circumstances. to date.

      Blue

      • Mikeyc
        Posted September 22, 2018 at 6:01 pm | Permalink

        I like reading your comments, Blue. At least the ones I’m able to parse. But I must say, I often flash on e.e.cummings when I do.

      • Michael Fisher
        Posted September 22, 2018 at 6:28 pm | Permalink

        @Blue. Kavanaugh has a lot to hide in various areas – why take chances with a further FBI background check? A background check where the FBI, this time have got clues as to who to interview who hasn’t been interviewed before.

        Kavanaugh has undergone six FBI background checks over the years – these checks are supposed to go back to the teens & high school. They are very invasive & quite embarrassing & that’s how Rob Porter got nabbed: the FBI interviewed past partners who alleged he was a domestic abuser.

        If Kavanaugh assaulted Ford, then I would think such an incident is likely not a ‘blip’ in an otherwise unblemished, vanilla life – there ought to be other examples of cases of inappropriate [or worse] behaviour with girls/women. The problem for the FBI is it’s an all boys school with a code of silence – no girls there to canvas on their Kavanaugh experiences & thus many of his social interactions are unchecked or checked only from a male prep school boys-will-be-boys shutupaboutit perspective. A new FBI check would be obliged to spread the net wider to include female local schools in Kav’s school area.

        • Blue
          Posted September 22, 2018 at 7:42 pm | Permalink

          W h o a. Interestin’, Mr Fisher. Thank you
          for this thorough analysis … … in re
          Mr Kavanaugh.

          Anyone know ? Within any of the six / is
          there a “report,” outside of that
          shutupaboutit – deal say, that shows a thing
          in re that particular / specific era of
          months’ time back then ?

          Too, as someone else ‘as stated: THAT
          “letter of support” had to ‘ve been waiting
          in the wings just in “the case” that it
          “might be needed,” the one from 65 women.
          Cuz, I defy ANYone to i) even FIND that many
          of their classmates, let alone, ii) put
          together an AGREEING support letter THIS
          SWIFTLY. Out of one’s high school years.
          This many freakin’ decades later !

          Blue

          • Michael Fisher
            Posted September 22, 2018 at 9:06 pm | Permalink

            The contents of FBI background checks are not public information for various obvious reasons. The FBI might indeed have found infractions or misdemeanours in Kav’s past, even stuff similar to what Ford reported, but they’d not act on those – just pass on the info to the department who requested the check. They’d be obliged to act on any felony they encountered of course [rape for example].

            Kav is obviously financially bent – he’s been living up to the lifestyles of those he hangs out with at work & play e.g. he joined the Chevy Chase club which costs $92,000 up front & $9,000 annual sub – that’s while on a salary of $220k. He was in massive debt until just before his nomination & then it all got paid off without eating into his savings. Somebody with deep pockets desperately wants Kav on the Supreme Court [not the Orange One’s money – he gets other people to risk their monies rather than his own]. READ THIS MOTHER JONES for details [The FT, WP & others have reported the same stuff].

            It’s blindingly obvious to me that he’s not to be trusted in a high office because he has strings attached to him that a puppeteer could easily play. His upright rep is smokescreen.

            The letter of support had more time to materialise than you might think – before the Washington Post dared use his name they’d have done deep checks over the ‘phone with numerous people. Some of those people would have told their friends who told their friends…

            I think it’s quite reasonable that 65 female names could be gathered from Kav’s youth – these sorts of networked people who join the tony country clubs & play bridge – they’re the bush telegraph of Washington society with bursting hot address books. As a strategy of course it’s rather pathetic – Kav should have hired an image fixer, but perhaps he’s low on funds. His moves have been amateur time.

  26. tomh
    Posted September 22, 2018 at 4:29 pm | Permalink

    What I find striking about this affair is the hubris of people, whether senators, or Bret Stephens, or probably the vast majority of the population, who feel that once Ford and Kavanaugh testify, they will be able to judge the credibility of them both and decide the case. Have they never come across a persuasive liar, confident and believable? By the same token, a person may come across as nervous, unsure of themselves, perhaps stuttering, and look like they’re making the whole thing up, when, in fact, they are telling the truth. If mechanical lie detectors are uncertain, human lie detectors are impossible. There will never be one.

    Rather than expect definitive evidence and exact recollections, as Bret Stephens seems to, IMO the case should be judged on whether it is likely to be true, given what we know about the private school atmosphere it took place in, the cost Ford is paying to go through this, the incentive Kavanaugh (and his friend Judge) have to lie, and other relevant factors. After all, we’re not sending someone to jail, it’s a political appointment. He already has a lifetime job.

    • Achrachno
      Posted September 22, 2018 at 7:19 pm | Permalink

      Likely, or merely strong possibility? If I were hiring for someone in my shop and a guy came along who quite possibly was a rapist(20%?), I’d look at the other candidates very closely. The cost of having a dangerous person around is pretty high. There are 100s or 1000s of judges/lawyers qualified for this job — why hire the one with a serious and credible, if unproven, claim against them? Especially in light of all the other problems (perjury, financial irregularities, etc.)

    • Diane G
      Posted September 23, 2018 at 1:41 am | Permalink

      Exactly! And regarding, “given what we know about the private school atmosphere it took place in…,” at least one erstwhile preppy has chimed in with his recollections of the era in question:

      https://www.washingtonpost.com/outlook/in-the-80-boys-prep-schools-like-kavanaughs-could-be-bastions-of-misogyny/2018/09/20/53764bd8-bc75-11e8-be70-52bd11fe18af_story.html?

      (You don’t need that reminder, but some others here might.)

  27. Harvey
    Posted September 22, 2018 at 7:08 pm | Permalink

    My understanding is that Ford said that Kavanaugh was ‘falling-down drunk’ at the time. How likely is it that it all happened as she said but that he did not remember the next morning what may have happened the night before, let alone more than 30 years later?

  28. Hrafn
    Posted September 22, 2018 at 10:13 pm | Permalink

    Whilst not certain, I’m tending to believe Blasey over Kavanaugh, for the following reasons:

    1) Kavanaugh has a well-established pattern of being (to say the least) parsimonious with the truth under oath.

    2) Blasey’s mention of the incident 6 years ago to a therapist.

    3) Reports that Blasey socially withdrew at about the time of the purported incident (consistent with her suffering a traumatic event).

    4) Mark Judge’s published descriptions of his drunken and debauched high school lifestyle give credibility to the allegation that he and a friend of his might be involved in such an incident.

    5) The details of the allegation appears to be inconsistent with known incidents of false accusations (which tend to be far more lurid).

  29. Steve Gerrard
    Posted September 22, 2018 at 11:11 pm | Permalink

    I think Feinstein did the right thing in honoring Ford’s request not to go public until Ford agreed to do it. It seems wrong to me to ding Feinstein for that. It would have been reckless of her to break that trust.

    The Kavanaugh team knew about this before Ford went public. They had a list of 65 female peers of Kavanaugh ready to go in case it came up, which it did. It could not have been prepared on the spot.

    There are other bits and connections that indicate they were prepared for this. One of the questions to Kavanaugh was carefully worded to exclude anything occurring before he was 18, for instance.

    There has been some lying, which is never a good sign. They cooked up an “alternate scenario” to explain the event, even as they mumbled that there was no event, which looks kind of bad.

    Crazy lady accuses impeccable judge doesn’t quite cut it for me.

  30. Adam M.
    Posted September 22, 2018 at 11:21 pm | Permalink

    I don’t believe Kavanaugh should be convicted even in the court of public opinion on the basis of a mere accusation, but surely as a nation we have a right to demand that the nine people who sit on The Supreme Court be of unquestionably impeccable character? (Of course, that’s expecting too much of our Congressmen.)

    • Posted October 21, 2018 at 4:41 pm | Permalink

      If candidates are dragged through the mud like this, based on uncorroborated accusations concerning decades-old events, there will be few people with impeccable character to apply for SCOTUS.
      You already see that few people with such character apply for POTUS.

  31. rickflick
    Posted September 23, 2018 at 12:23 am | Permalink

    A quick scan for literature on Gender difference in Lying shows little or no difference between men and women. e.g. https://econpapers.repec.org/article/eeeecolet/v_3a114_3ay_3a2012_3ai_3a2_3ap_3a147-149.htm

    Abstract: Aversion to lying has been consistently observed in sender–receiver games. Women have demonstrated greater aversion to lying for a small monetary benefit in these games than men. We test the robustness of this gender difference in a sender–receiver game with larger stakes. We find no difference in lying by gender.

  32. Merilee
    Posted September 23, 2018 at 10:15 am | Permalink

    Sub

  33. Posted September 23, 2018 at 1:28 pm | Permalink

    I’ve considered all the sound arguments made here by better minds than mine.

    I just want to say more correctly this time that I WANT to believe Dr. Ford, based on the information provided by the various news articles. I am also inclined to believe her.

    Another two cents’ (or more) worth of lessons garnered by observing the wise Mother Duck, Honey, is that birds of a feather flock together. QUACK, QUACK!

  34. Blue
    Posted September 23, 2018 at 7:37 pm | Permalink

    and Mr Farrow writes again. New Yorker:

    Senate Democrats Investigate a New Allegation of Sexual Misconduct, from a Yale classmate of Kavanaugh’s describes a dormitory party gone awry and a drunken incident … …

    “By his freshman year, Kavanaugh was eighteen, and legally an adult. During his confirmation hearing before the Senate Judiciary Committee, Kavanaugh swore under oath that as a legal adult he had never “committed any verbal or physical harassment or assault of a sexual nature.”

    “Ramirez said that, when both she and Kavanaugh were freshmen at Yale, she was invited by a friend on the women’s soccer team to a dorm-room party. She recalled that the party took place in a suite at Lawrance Hall, in the part of Yale known as Old Campus, and that a small group of students decided to play a drinking game together. “We were sitting in a circle,” she said. “People would pick who drank.” Ramirez was chosen repeatedly, she said, and quickly became inebriated. At one point, she said, a male student pointed a gag plastic penis in her direction. Later, she said, she was on the floor, foggy and slurring her words, as that male student and another stood nearby. (Ramirez identified the two male onlookers, but, at her request, The New Yorker is not naming them.)

    A third male student then exposed himself to her. “I remember a penis being in front of my face,” she said. “I knew that’s not what I wanted, even in that state of mind.” She recalled remarking, “That’s not a real penis,” and the other students laughing at her confusion and taunting her, one encouraging her to “kiss it.” She said that she pushed the person away, touching it in the process. Ramirez, who was raised a devout Catholic in Connecticut, said that she was shaken. “I wasn’t going to touch a penis until I was married,” she said. “I was embarrassed and ashamed and humiliated.” She remembers Kavanaugh standing to her right and laughing, pulling up his pants. “Brett was laughing,” she said. “I can still see his face, and his hips coming forward, like when you pull up your pants.” She recalled another male student shouting about the incident. “Somebody yelled down the hall, ‘Brett Kavanaugh just put his penis in Debbie’s face,’ ” she said. “It was his full name. I don’t think it was just ‘Brett.’ And I remember hearing and being mortified that this was out there.”

    • Michael Fisher
      Posted September 23, 2018 at 8:06 pm | Permalink

      The New Yorker: Senate Democrats Investigate a New Allegation of Sexual Misconduct, from Brett Kavanaugh’s College Years
      By Ronan Farrow and Jane Mayer

      Deborah Ramirez, a Yale classmate of Brett Kavanaugh’s, has described a dormitory party gone awry and a drunken incident that she wants the F.B.I. to investigate

      LINK TO ARTICLE

    • rickflick
      Posted September 23, 2018 at 8:30 pm | Permalink

      Well that’s more weight against confirmation. I hope the GOP decide to stop the committee process long enough to have the FBI check it out. But that might require Trump’s approval. Not going to happen. Then the only event that might have an influence is if 5 or 10 more women come forward.

      • Blue
        Posted September 24, 2018 at 8:12 am | Permalink

        Likely as you state, Mr rickflick, I fear.

        What is as also likely … … something my
        own atheist Daddy taught me, his little girl
        born upon his own Winter Solstice birthday, about some many men in particular:
        leopard spots.

        As of “A leopard can’t change its spots. A
        person cannot change who they are (their
        character), no matter how hard they try.
        Origin. This idiom comes from the Old
        Testament ( Jeremiah 13:23 )” = from google.

        aaaah, biblical: how apropos.

        Blue

        • rickflick
          Posted September 24, 2018 at 12:01 pm | Permalink

          There must be another verse somewhere having to do with the GOP rush to judge-ment.

  35. Posted September 27, 2018 at 11:47 pm | Permalink

    He will receive Congressional Approval .


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