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Wed Oct 10, 2018, 02:27 PM

Step by Step. Debunking Kavanaugh Defender Logic [View all]

I'll keep this focused, though thorough and therefore long. This relates solely to whether now Justice Kavanaugh stands rightfully accused by Dr. Christine Blasey Ford, and to a slightly lesser extent Deborah Ramirez, of sexual misconduct and assault.

Regarding Dr. Ford whose widely regarded sworn testimony before the Senate Judicial Committee was witnessed by millions of Americans. And who was widely seen as credible by many Kavanaugh defenders, including Senator Collins and at one point at least even Donald Trump: One of three things about her testimony is true:

1) All of it. She was sexually assaulted as a high school student at a party, and she correctly identifies her assailant as now Justice Kavanaugh.

2) Some of it is true. She was sexually assaulted as a high school student at a party, but she is "confused" and/or has a "faulty memory" and has misidentified Justice Kavanaugh as her assailant

3) Little if anything about her testimony is true. Whether or not she was ever assaulted, Dr. Ford does not believe Justice Kavanaugh assaulted her. She is therefor lying.

Justice Kavanaugh also testified before that Senate Judiciary Committee and he categorically asserts that Dr. Ford's identification of him as her assaulter is false. He wasn't there. He didn't do it. Period. One of 3 things about his testimony is true:

1) All of it. He never assaulted Dr. Ford.

2) Some of it is true. He doesn't believe he assaulted Dr. Ford because he has no memory of any of it But there are some not yet discredited indications that Kavanaugh may have drank heavily in his youth and possibly can not remember everything that happened when he did. In this option Kavanaugh is either lying or in denial about the unreliability of his memory due to “black outs”.

3) Little if anything about his denial of having assaulted Dr. Ford is true. He did it and he knows he did it. He is therefor simply lying.

Kavanaugh defenders claim this is a classic case of "he said/she said". Those who believe that Kavanaugh is telling the full truth (his option number one) and that Ford is literally lying, think Kavanaugh, and not Ford, is a victim. In other words they assert that Ford most likely knowingly took part is a conspiracy to destroy Kavanaugh for political reasons. If they are right, then they would be correct that Kavanaugh is the true victim here. But very few Kavanaugh defenders are willing to publicly admit to holding this opinion. There is absolutely no evidence for it. Susan Collins, the deciding vote to confirm Kavanaugh, clearly rejected this conclusion. She calls the matter a "he said/she said" with two credible conflicting claims, and opts to believe the 2) theory about Ford. namely that she was assaulted; but essentially Ford is "confused" about Kavanaugh having been the one who assaulted her.

Before looking closer at both "option threes" outlined above for Ford and Kavanaugh, let's dispel a cloud of smoke that many Republicans have been blowing. They strongly charge Democratic members of the Judiciary committee of politically plotting against Kavanaugh by withholding allegations made against him to catch him off guard and by surprise, to either sink his confirmation or at least delay it as long as possible. Democrats have charges against the Republicans also, about politically withholding information, limiting witness testimony, and undermining the FBI investigation into misconduct allegations against Kavanaugh. All of these charges are possibly worthy of separate fair investigations, but, except for any efforts to overly constrain the follow up FBI background check, they are irrelevant to the question at hand UNLESS one claims that Dr. Ford was a willing participant in a plot against Justice Kavanaugh solely for political reasons. If instead you accept that Ford testified sincerely about an assault that she believes Kavanaugh made on her at that party, whatever the Republicans and or Democrats on that committee did for political reasons is absolutely irrelevant to the central questions which are: Did it in fact happen, and if so, should Judge Kavanaugh have been denied a life time appointment to the Supreme Court?

So back to the question of truthfulness for both Kavanaugh and Ford. Most of Kavanaugh's defenders would have us think there is no real way of knowing what to believe when two believable people offer conflicting testimony. Further, they say that since Ford can't produce eye witnesses who back up her claim; with those who she identified as being present in the house or room claiming to have no memory of her being assaulted while at the party, the burden of evidence has not been met to establish that Kavanaugh is lying. There are several logical holes in that formulation which I will discuss in detail below. First though lets detail some powerful circumstantial evidence that lends credence to believing Ford over Kavanaugh.

The first and most obvious aspect to explore is motivation. Which, if either, Ford or Kavanaugh had compelling reasons to potentially lie in their assertions about the alleged incident? Motive does not establish guilt but it is always worth considering. Clearly, of the two, Kavanaugh had a strong motive to lie whereas Ford did not. It is widely understood that guilty people often lie in an attempt to cover up their guilt when they risk great loss should the truth come out. That by itself offers little guidance as to whether Kavanaugh is lying in this case, but it becomes more noteworthy when contrasted with the situation faced by his accuser, Dr. Ford. She had nothing credibly of any value to gain by coming forward with her accusation that Justice Kavanaugh assaulted her. It is obvious she did not want the publicity. She never sought any money from Kavanaugh in return for her silence. If she were nursing some deep personal grievance against Kavanauh and looking for some outlet for revenge (again absolutely no evidence supports this “potential “motivation” Ford could easily have made trouble for Kavanaugh many years ago.

To the contrary, it seems that anyone who knows Dr. Ford, as well as those of us who watched her testify that day, knew in a heartbeat that she is not the type to have such questionable motivations. All evidence, along with common sense, argues to the contrary. Ford made an attempt to share her story about Kavanaugh BEFORE he was selected as the Supreme Court nominee; knowing full well that Trump had other qualified Conservative candidates for the office he could and would turn to instead if Kavanaugh was quietly removed from the “short list” of possible nominees. Ford was highly conflicted and obviously reluctant to testify about the assault made on her by the man, then boy, she identifies as Judge Kavanaugh. In fact she had strong motivation NOT to come forward, a reality that sadly Dr. Ford has in common with millions of other victims of sexual assault. She knew most women are not believed when they claim to have been assaulted, lacking physical evidence. She knew also that her life and that of her family would suffer if she testified that Kavanaugh assaulted her, and she was right. Ford can not even live in her own home now. By way of contrast Judge Kavanaugh surely knew that his own life and family would suffer substantially if he gave any credence to Ford's allegations with his own testimony.

There is more though. A false accuser has no sane reason to stridently welcome a full FBI investigation into her claims. For that matter she has no reason to volunteer for a lie detector test either. A man falsely accused of criminal behavior that now jeopardized his highly successful career, however, might well welcome a full FBI investigation (and perhaps a lie detector test as well) to finally clear his good name. At no point, despite having repeated opportunities to do so, was Kavanaugh so motivated. Another germane observation, anyone other than a highly skilled actress would have found it near impossible to feign, over the course of hours, the pain Dr. Ford was experiencing reliving a deep trauma from her past in excruciating, highly personal, detail in testimony before that committee and tens of millions of Americans who were watching her live. Justice Kavanaugh, in his turn, legitimately experienced himself under attack, and his need to defend himself, whether innocent or guilty, was instinctive and passionate. The emotions he displayed did not require any acting ability regardless of whether he told truths or falsehoods. But many also observed that details in some of his answers seemed to strain credulity, as he talked about notes in his own high school yearbook for example.

Was he forthcoming, or covering his tracks? On the surface at least it is impossible to know with any certainty, but taken as a whole there are some reasons to question Kaanaugh's full honesty, and virtually none to challenge Ford's sincerity as a witness. Keep in mind that Kavanaugh already faced serious substantive allegations, including some written evidence, of stating falsehoods to the point of perjury, earlier in the recently completed hearing. These date back to statements he made under oath at his first Federal Judgeship confirmation hearing.

Faced with these two “credible” individuals giving directly contrary testimony, considering all of the above, one can conclude that A) It is highly implausible that Dr Ford was lying and B) It is at least plausible that Justice Kavanaugh lied regarding her allegation.

Which explains why so many Kavanaugh defenders are eager to embrace Ford option 2): She testified honestly but is “mistaken” in her 100% certainty that Brett Kavanugh is the one who assaulted her in that house. In addition to Kavenaugh's own testimony refuting Ford's claim, his defenders use two arguments for professing that Dr. Ford is “confused” about who assaulted her.

1) the fact that there are gaps in her memory, and
2) the lack of eye witness corroboration.

An astute observer may notice that these are arguments more relevant to use in challenging Dr. Ford's truthfulness than they are to challenge the clarity of those memories of her assault that remain indelible to her, to use Dr. Ford's own words. Those are the memories that Dr. Ford can not forget, the one's that have plagued her throughout her life. Those are the memories that forced her marriage into couple therapy over her insistence on adding a second front door to their house, which initially her husband could not understand. Dr. Ford has total clarity of all events related to the actual assault on her; from the moment the assault on her began, through the moment when she exited the locked bathroom which she had escaped into, finally believing that the active threat to her had then passed.

She remembers being shoved into a bedroom from behind. She remembers the layout of that bedroom. She remembers the music being turned up to drown out her screams. She remembers the two boys who trapped her in that room. She remembers Brett Kavanaugh mounting her on a bed and trying to tear off her clothes. She remembers his difficulty in trying to get under her one piece bathing suit. She remembers him being drunk and that he put his hand over her mouth to stop her from screaming, all of this occurring at extremely close quarters with his face looming over hers. There is quite a bit more about those few minutes of terror that Dr. Ford acutely remembers. The laughter, the bathroom across the hall, the narrow staircase, etc. All of these memories were fixed in her brain while she was struggling to prevent the rape she thought was about to happen, and remain there decades later. Her memories from before and after that intense window of fear are less distinct.

That is completely consistent with a scientific understanding of how repressed memories of the trauma of sexual assault, and PTSD that envelops it all, functions in the human brain. Dr. Ford also remembers the names of some people who she knew at the time who were present in that house. They were familiar to her at the time, and don't fall into the category of transitory details about a specific location not familiar to her, or the modes of transportation she used to and from that house. Brett Kavanaugh was very familiar to Dr. Ford at the time. Her then boyfriend (who was present in that house (but not in that bedroom was a friend of Kavanaugh) was a friend of Kavanaugh. Brett Kavanaugh was not a stranger to Dr. Ford, he was an acquaintance. Dr. Ford is 100% certain that it was Judge Kavanaugh who assaulted her.

Only three individuals were present for and thus aware of the trauma Dr. Ford experienced inside that bedroom that day; herself and the two boys inside that bedroom with her. No one else who was present at that party has any reason to remember much, if anything, about it decades later. Dr. Ford testifies that both boys involved had been drinking heavily. It is plausible therefor that their memories of that incident are nowhere as distinct at that of Dr. Ford; if they remember that incident at all. This point speaks to the Judge Kavanaugh testimony possibility number two. Namely that he testified truthfully consistent with his memory which, however, may have been heavily impaired.

So the above would be what we are left to sort through while searching for the truth in a classic“he said/ she said” confrontation, such as that which happened during the Senate hearing. Barring the testimony of other witnesses, or other corroborating evidence for either side, that is. It was highly unusual that the Senate Judiciary Committee refused to call more than two witnesses to give public testimony regarding Dr. Kavanaugh. Though earlier in the hearings character witnesses did testify on behalf of Judge Kavanaugh, no character witnesses were directly heard from for Dr. Ford. Nor were any experts called regarding PTSD, or any experts testifying on whether or not Dr. Ford's failure to reveal the assault on her earlier was uncommon, or instead typical of the experience of millions of other women who have suffered a sexual assault on them.

Even more telling, testimony from other witnesses regarding the behavior/drinking/lifestyle of Judge Kavanaugh during the time in question, and extending forward from then through law school was not initially welcomed. They were never called on to give public testimony. None of the other women who alleged inappropriate sexual behavior on the part of Judge Kavanaugh in his youth were called on either. That is especially telling in the case of Deborah Ramirez who reported being publicly humiliated when Judge Kavanaugh thrust his naked crotch in her face during a gathering at Yale. Though a belated reopened and constricted FBI background check on Judge Kavenaugh resulted in Ramirez being interviewed by Bureau agents, it seems none of the potential witnesses that either she herself identified, or those who stepped forward on their own to offer additional evidence, were contacted during that investigation. The Director of the FBI himself confirms that his agents were only allowed to investigate within predetermined constraints established by the White House. In essence their inquiry took place with blinders on.

How much potentially corroborating evidence was never gathered or reviewed? Was the background check intended to help establish the truth, or was it instead intended to provide political cover for those who already knew that they planned to confirm Judge Kavanaugh, regardless of any potentially credible standing allegations against him? What can be said objectively is that a lot of potentially corroborating evidence consistent with Dr. Ford's testimony was left on the table, so to speak, never receiving attention from the FBI due to the constraints that were put upon them.

So we are left with only a “he said/she said” encounter, plausibly by intentional design. And on that basis Kavanaugh defenders claim that the burden of proof against Judge Kavanaugh was not met by Dr. Ford. Burden of proof is a legal term associated with prosecutions, as is the presumption of innocence. It serves the interests of Kavanaugh defenders to use terms associated with criminal trials, where a defendant must be found “innocent” if jurors harbor any reasonable doubts that he or she may not actually be guilty. The use of a criminal prosecutor to question Dr. Ford was consistent with that framing of public perceptions and of forwarding an argument that Dr. Kavanaugh must be elevated to the Supreme Court if it can not be proved beyond a reasonable doubt that he committed the assault on Dr. Ford. That is patently false. No employer would feel obliged to give a promotion to an employee, after serious allegations against him or her emerged, simply because it could not be proved beyond a reasonable doubt that he/she was guilty as charged.

It is possible that Judge Kavanaugh did not assault Dr Ford those many years ago, but her testimony, and everything that surrounds it, makes her case compelling. At least it was compelling enough to warrant a thorough examination of all the facts, prior to elevating an individual facing such charges to a life time appointment to the highest court in the land. That did not happen. The exclusion of evidence from consideration does little to inspire confidence in the judgment reached by the U.S. Senate in confirming Judge Kavanaugh's appointment to the United State's Supreme Court.

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Reply Step by Step. Debunking Kavanaugh Defender Logic [View all]
Tom Rinaldo Oct 10 OP
Proud Liberal Dem Oct 10 #1
Tom Rinaldo Oct 10 #3
Proud Liberal Dem Oct 10 #4
Roland99 Oct 10 #2
Tom Rinaldo Oct 10 #5
Tom Rinaldo Oct 11 #6