Rush to Judgement
He vs She
A friend and neighbor of Blasey Ford told the Mercury News on Monday that she had told her of the alleged assault by Kavanaugh, without naming him, as the /#MeToo movement gained additional momentum.
"I can't really think of anyone better" to answer questions from the committee, Rebecca White told the Mercury News. "She's one of those people who teems with honesty and truth."
It matters not that Kavanaugh's friends, and more of them are willing to stand up for him.
Ford’s memory is so fuzzy that there is very little in her story that can be corroborated or debunked. She doesn’t know what year it happened, although she thinks 1982. She doesn’t know who owned the house where the party took place, or how she got there or how she got home.
Not only is there no other allegation against Kavanaugh, the assault charge runs against everything we know about his personal and professional life, as attested by everyone who has known him. His exemplary reputation, earned over the course of decades and a matter of public record, should outweigh a charge that is unproven and, as far we know, unprovable.
The /#MeToo Kavanaugh Ambush
The vagaries of memory are well known, all the more so when they emerge in the cauldron of a therapy session to rescue a marriage. Experts know that human beings can come to believe firmly over the years that something happened when it never did or is based on partial truth. Mistaken identity is also possible.
The Post reports that the therapist’s notes from 2012 say there were four male assailants, but Ms. Ford says that was a mistake. Ms. Ford also can’t recall in whose home the alleged assault took place, how she got there, or how she got home that evening.
This is simply too distant and uncorroborated a story to warrant a new hearing or to delay a vote. We’ve heard from all three principals, and there are no other witnesses to call. Democrats will use Monday’s hearing as a political spectacle to coax Mr. Kavanaugh into looking defensive or angry, and to portray Republicans as anti-women. Odds are it will be a circus.
The timing and details of how Ms. Ford came forward, and how her name was coaxed into public view, should also raise red flags about the partisan motives at play. The Post says Ms. Ford contacted the paper via a tip line in July but wanted to remain anonymous. She then brought her story to a Democratic official while still hoping to stay anonymous.
Yet she also then retained a lawyer, Debra Katz, who has a history of Democratic activism and spoke in public defense of Bill Clinton against the accusations by Paula Jones. Ms. Katz urged Ms. Ford to take a polygraph test. The Post says she passed the polygraph, though a polygraph merely shows that she believes the story she is telling.
The more relevant question is why go to such lengths if Ms. Ford really wanted her name to stay a secret?
What are the Facts?
What are the facts at present?
All we really know is what both sides said.
The statements from both sides are allegations of course, but it it is a discernible fact that some things have been stated and denied.
- 36 years after the fact, Ford alleges she was sexually assaulted by Kavanaugh at a party.
- Ford made the statement while under counseling for a broken marriage.
- The therapist’s notes from 2012 say there were four male assailants, but Ms. Ford says that was a mistake. She now says there were two male assailants, but there were four males at the party. The notes say four boys were involved, a discrepancy Ford says was an error on the therapist’s part. Ford said there were four boys at the party but only two in the room.
- Ford says she wanted to remain anonymous but shed failed to do so.
- “I thought he might inadvertently kill me,” said Ford. “He was trying to attack me and remove my clothing.”
- Ford said she was able to escape when Kavanaugh’s friend and classmate at Georgetown Preparatory School, Mark Judge, jumped on top of them, sending all three tumbling.
- The Washington Post reports "Ford said she told no one of the incident in any detail until 2012, when she was in couples therapy with her husband."
- Jim Gensheimer, a friend of Ford's, told the San Jose Mercury News that Ford has been "trying to forget about this all of her life, basically" and that she has told him that she is afraid to sleep in bedrooms that do not have a second way out.
- Kavanaugh “categorically and unequivocally” denies Ford's allegations.
- A source close to Kavanaugh claims that Kavanaugh did not know Ford. We obviously need to hear that from Kavanaugh, not a third party, if indeed Kavanaugh made the claim.
- Sen. Orrin Hatch, R-Utah, told reporters Monday that Supreme Court nominee Brett Kavanaugh categorically denied allegations that he committed sexual assault at a high school party in the early 1980s -- and told the senator he was not at a party similar to what his accuser described.
- In a statement to Fox News, Hatch's office said that Kavanaugh told the senator "he was not at a party like the one [Ford] describes" and added that Ford "may be mistaking [Kavanaugh] for someone else."
Those are the facts. That makes none of them true. Rather it is a fact that those claims have been made.
If anyone disputes those statements have been made, I will gladly modify my list.
Bright Line Denial
Points 10-12 are clear denials, but we need to hear them from Kavanaugh himself.
They are in sharp contrast to fuzzy statements made by Ford.
Ford also claims her therapist made incorrect notes.
One of the ways liars attempt to deflect such stories is to make fuzzy statements. In this case, Kavanaugh “categorically and unequivocally” denies Ford's allegations.
Implanting False Memories
The vagaries of memory are well known, all the more so when they emerge in the cauldron of a therapy session to rescue a marriage.
How reliable are memories of abuse "recovered" during psychotherapy?
Dr. Elizabeth Loftus from the University of California identified two primary research paradigms that she studies in her memory laboratory at the University of California at Irvine. The first paradigm, which she calls the “misinformation” paradigm involves testing research subjects on a specific event and seeing how accurate their memory for that event is afterward. The second paradigm, focusing on implanting false memories, involves bringing subjects in and asking suggestive questions and seeing whether that influences recall of past events. As she concludes in describing her research, “we’ve done hundreds of experiments involving thousands of subjects showing that it’s relatively easy to change people’s memory of the details of an event that they’ve actually experienced.”
Despite the ethical limitations imposed on laboratory studies of artificially created memories, research showed that creating false memories of a relatively benign childhood experience, i.e., becoming lost in a shopping mall as a young child was easily induced. In other studies, even much more extreme example of false memories (eg., spilling punch on the bride’s parents at a family wedding or nearly drowning as a child) could be induced in as many as a quarter of the subjects tested. Even in subjects who failed to develop a complete false memory, partial recall could be induced in nearly half of all research subjects.
This phenomenon is commonly seen, not only in recovered memory cases, but in people who “recall” details of alien abductions or past lives which can be produced by improperly administered hypnosis or other psychotherapeutic methods.
And the false memory phenomenon extends beyond therapeutic settings. A recent article by Slate magazine examining false memory did an informal study using online readers. Presenting a series of doctored and real photograph, at least 15 per cent of online readers reporting remembering doctored pictures of public events (including one photograph of President Obama shaking hands with the president of Iran). In studying their results, Slate found that political beliefs often matched these false memories (conservative readers were more likely to “remember” the Obama photograph, for instance).
Vagaries of Memory
The article discussed false memories of Paul Ryan, Mitt Romney, and Hillary Clinton.
Implanting of false memories and deterioration of memory over time are a well-established fact.
Admittedly, we do not know if it applies.
Nor can we be certain Hillary had a "false memory" or she was outright lying when she made her claim of "ducking gunfire" in Bosnia. Even her daughter, Chelsea, denied the gunfire claim.
So, was Hillary lying or did she really believe she was under gunfire?
All we can say it seems plausible if not extremely likely, that Ford either was outright lying or she has false, fuzzy memories.
Santa Clause Theory
This brings us to a Twitter discussion that also highlights the problem facing Kavanaugh.
I was asked if I assumed Ford was lying. My response, was 16 hours ago (which is why I strongly prefer a timestamp to this one whatever ago nonsense).
I publicly stated "I am neither dismissing the allegation outright, nor defending Kavanaugh if it's true."
That brought up the Santa Claus theory as well as this ridiculous reply.
The curious thing about that Tweet is it supports just what I was saying.
By the way, that's another important fact. Kavanaugh's mom was involved in a foreclosure ruling involving Ford's mom.
Biased people like @mbobbish who accept Kavanaugh is necessarily guilty on the flimsiest of evidence are a huge part of the problem.
Where the Hell Are They?
I have a set of simple questions for all the /#MeToo'ers.
- There were allegedly four men at the party. What are the other names?
- Where are they?
- Where there other women at the party or was Ford the only woman there?
- Is it easily believable that a 15-year old girl told no one about this incident ever, until 36 years later, under therapy, and the memories are indeed accurate?
- Is it possible that Ford's memories are indeed accurate but she has the wrong guy?
- How unlikely is it that Ford has a planted memory?
Please pay close attention to questions 5 and 6.
It is because of those question I stated, "I was not dismissing" the allegation. It may be true, but the wrong person.
Fair Hearing Unlikely
Meanwhile, mainstream media and the court of public opinion are both so heavily biased, the only way Kavanaugh can get a fair hearing is if Ford recants her story.
Presumption of Innocence
In France, one is presumed guilty until acquitted in court.
In the US, it is supposed to be the other way around.
Admittedly, I will sometimes take a position. In the case of Ray Moore, since nine women spoke out, I chose to believe the women.
In the case of Kanavaugh, he put himself on the line with a strong denial. That alone is evidence he did not do it.
The facts suggest that it is far more likely that Ford is either caught up in a blatant lie or she has false memories.
I am willing to change my mind if anyone else from the party can provide credible evidence.
Mike "Mish" Shedlock