Tuesday, September 25, 2018

Cruising the Web

I'm glad that Brett Kavanaugh is fighting back. Atrocious allegations have been made against him to destroy his name and his livelihood. Who wouldn't want to fight back against that? His accusers are talking to the media; why shouldn't he? I realize that judicial nominees don't go on TV and give such interviews but, at some point, a man has to stand up for himself.

And there is something freaking bizarre about all the people on Twitter who are incredulously hung up on his admitting that he was a virgin in high school and several years into his college career. I'm a bit older than he is, but this doesn't seem so unbelievable or unlikely to me. Not what I needed to know about any public figure, but that's where we are when Stormy Daniels' lawyer is out there claiming that Kavanaugh was out gang-raping local girls while in high school. Geesh! Just what this mess needed - Michael Avenatti.

Senator Hatch's statement says it all about what is really going on with the latest allegation against Judge Kavanaugh.
Last night, Senate Democrats continued their smear campaign against Judge Brett Kavanaugh with a thinly sourced article accusing Judge Kavanaugh of conduct that no eyewitness can even corroborate. Rather than bringing the matter to the attention of committee investigators, Democrats coordinated with members of the media to drop the story in the most dramatic and damaging way possible. This continues Senate Democrats’ pattern of playing hide the ball, after they spent six weeks sitting on a letter regarding alleged conduct while Judge Kavanaugh was in high school before leaking it to the press.

Senate Democrats will stop at nothing to prevent Judge Kavanaugh’s confirmation. As reported by the author of last night’s article, the individual in the piece came forward only because Senate Democrats “came looking.” And even then, the individual went on the record only after “six days of carefully assessing her memories and consulting with her attorney,” a former Democratic elected official. The New York Times, which declined to publish the allegations when approached, reported that it had interviewed “several dozen people in an attempt to corroborate the story” and could find “no one with firsthand knowledge.” The Times further reported that the individual in the story had contacted former classmates herself in an effort to corroborate the story and had “told some of them that she could not be certain Mr. Kavanaugh was the one who exposed himself.”

Unsurprisingly, Senate Democrats are now using last night’s article as an excuse to call for further delays. This follows the same approach they have taken since Judge Kavanaugh’s nomination was first announced. No innuendo has been too low, no insinuation too dirty. Everything is an excuse for delay, no matter how unsubstantiated. It does not matter that no other eyewitness can even confirm that Judge Kavanaugh was at the party in question. It does not matter that every other individual alleged to be present denies any memory of the event. The goal is delay.

It should be clear now to all Americans that Democrats are engaged in a coordinated effort to stop Judge Kavanaugh’s confirmation by any means possible. As I have said before, every accuser deserves to be heard. Moreover, a person who has committed sexual assault should not serve on the Supreme Court. But the way my Democratic colleagues have approached these allegations makes clear that the driving objective here is not truth, but politics. Rather than working with Republican colleagues to investigate Dr. Ford’s allegations, they sat on them for six weeks until the eve of Judge Kavanaugh’s confirmation vote and then leaked them to the press. Rather than bringing last night’s allegations to the attention of committee investigators, they back-channeled them to the media and then denied any involvement. Such underhanded tactics are not fair to Judge Kavanaugh, are not fair to the individuals in the stories, and are not fair to the American people. Senate Democrats are demeaning both the Senate and the Supreme Court through their partisan games and transparent attempts at character assassination. We should hear from Dr. Ford on Thursday as planned. Then we should vote.
Well done, Senator. I'm glad to see you're not falling for this. I hope your Republican colleagues aren't either.

As so many have already pointed out, the New Yorker's own story admits that they couldn't confirm any part of Ramirez's story. Jim Geraghty summarizes this point.
The article includes an explanation of a changing account:
“She was at first hesitant to speak publicly, partly because her memories contained gaps because she had been drinking at the time of the alleged incident. In her initial conversations with The New Yorker, she was reluctant to characterize Kavanaugh’s role in the alleged incident with certainty.” (Emphasis added)
The magazine says she named Kavanaugh “after six days of carefully assessing her memories and consulting with her attorney.”

Last night’s report included the stunning line that the magazine has “not confirmed with other eyewitnesses that Kavanaugh was present at the party.” That’s a pivotal point to nail down, and the magazine actually did the opposite. All of the witnesses listed by the accuser are denying that the event occurred:
In a statement, two of those male classmates who Ramirez alleged were involved in the incident, the wife of a third male student she said was involved, and three other classmates, Dino Ewing, Louisa Garry, and Dan Murphy, disputed Ramirez’s account of events: “We were the people closest to Brett Kavanaugh during his first year at Yale. He was a roommate to some of us, and we spent a great deal of time with him, including in the dorm where this things when I talk to incident allegedly took place. Some of us were also friends with Debbie Ramirez during and after her time at Yale. We can say with confidence that if the incident Debbie alleges ever occurred, we would have seen or heard about it—and we did not. The behavior she describes would be completely out of character for Brett. In addition, some of us knew Debbie long after Yale, and she never described this incident until Brett’s Supreme Court nomination was pending. Editors from the New Yorker contacted some of us because we are the people who would know the truth, and we told them that we never saw or heard about this.”
As Senator Hatch write, the New York Times tried to track down someone, anyone who could confirm this story and just couldn't do it.
The Times had interviewed several dozen people over the past week in an attempt to corroborate her story, and could find no one with firsthand knowledge. Ms. Ramirez herself contacted former Yale classmates asking if they recalled the incident and told some of them that she could not be certain Mr. Kavanaugh was the one who exposed himself. (emphasis added)
If the Times could have come up with anything to support their story, we all know that they would have run with it. They tried, but just couldn't find anyone. So all we have is a story that the accuser herself admits that she was drunk for the episode and that she first wasn't sure that it was Kavanaugh, but remembers someone saying his name. She wasn't clear on her memories but after spending time with a lawyer who is also a Democratic politician, suddenly her memory is clear enough to go forward.

Yup, when I am not sure of a memory, I find that I can remember after talking to a lawyer who wasn't there and doesn't know any of the people involved.

If there were such a party and she did get someone's penis thrust in her face, that is definitely repulsive behavior. But to deny someone a position on the Supreme Court without any corroboration on such a shaky story is just wrong.

I did have one theory that would make both her side and Kavanaugh's story possible. Let's picture a bunch of drunken students at a gathering acting this way. They realize that she's too incapacitated to realize who is doing what. So what would be funnier than saying it was the most unlikely guy in their group, someone who wasn't even there? They could just have been so drunk that that sounded like a hilarious joke to them. She admits that she didn't see him and just heard this. This isn't Porky's where we can have a line up 35 years later to identify the guilty anatomy.

Geraghty singles out the danger of anonymous sources when we get quotes like this.
One unnamed source told The New Yorker “another student told him about the incident either on the night of the party or in the next day or two,” and the unnamed source calls Kavanaugh “aggressive and even belligerent” when drunk.

Robert Verbruggen quotes
Jane Mayer, one of the authors of the New Yorker piece, explaining how the story came to them.
The story broke overnight, but it dates back 35 years. People remember at the time who were — a classmate at Yale remembers this. He heard it that night, I think, right after it or the next day. And she didn’t come forward with it. What happened was the classmates at Yale were talking to each other about it, they were emailing about it, we’ve seen the emails back in July, before Christine Blasey Ford came forward. And eventually the word of it spread.
Verbruggen calls for those emails. Wouldn't it be interesting to know what they said and who said what?
After The New Yorker reached out to her, Ramirez (as reported in the story) spent six days “carefully assessing her memories and consulting with her attorney” before deciding to go on the record. The New York Times reports that Ramirez “herself contacted former Yale classmates asking if they recalled the incident and told some of them that she could not be certain Mr. Kavanaugh was the one who exposed himself.”

Mayer seems to be very careful in claiming only one (anonymous) classmate remembers hearing (secondhand) that Kavanaugh participated in such an incident — though multiple people obviously engaged in these email exchanges — and she and Farrow have been explicit from the start that they have located no eyewitnesses.

These emails would appear to be important evidence regarding how this ball got rolling. They also may bear on the question of whether Ramirez’s memory closely matches the anonymous source’s simply because they’re both the account that was circulating while Ramirez was putting her memories together and contacting her former classmates. Let’s see them.
Well, we know that the magazine won't release those emails. And we'll probably never hear the answers to those very legitimate questions.

Let's hear how Ramirez went from not being sure that Kavanaugh was the one to being sure. What did her lawyer say to refresh her memory 35 years later?

This is not what one regards as a corroborating witness who knows anything useful and should be in a story of this magnitude.  But, apparently, that's enough for Jane Mayer.

This is what they thought was worth publishing and putting out there.

Rich Lowry reminds us
what the Democrats are trying to do with this second extremely weak story that they were the ones to first excavate.
[T]his is obviously about trying to leverage one weak allegation to support another weak allegation without ever having to prove anything. It’s shameful, and another sign of how far the other side will go to protect Roe. If the Court ever comes close to overturning it, the conservative justices will probably require 24-hour security.

David French explains what a topsy-turvy world the Democrats have introduced us to.
The available evidence simply doesn’t meet any conceivable burden of proof. It’s difficult — especially given the extraordinary passage of time and the admitted memory gaps — to argue even that the claims meet a threshold of “credibility.” Indeed, most of the “I believe her” arguments we see across the length and breadth of the Internet are based either on terrible personal experiences that aren’t remotely relevant to the claims against Kavanaugh or on junk statistics claiming that only a small fraction of rape claims is false.

In other words, for these activists and journalists the claim is “credible” simply because it exists. That’s not how evidence works.

And this brings me to the next key issue — the role of the Senate. Democrats are arguing that the claims against Kavanaugh should be investigated by the FBI. But what’s the process here? Does any accusation — no matter how thinly sourced — merit FBI intervention, even when the allegations don’t involve violations of federal law? Democrats point to FBI involvement in the Anita Hill case, but they fail to note that the FBI resolved nothing. The determination of Hill’s claims rested with the Senate. The determination of the claims against Kavanaugh rests with the Senate.

In a rational process, the Senate sets deadlines. Complaints against nominees are brought to the Senate within those deadlines, and the Senate investigates. And, by the way, the investigations are conducted by both majority and minority staff. The Democrats are not shut out of this process.

If the Senate needs law-enforcement resources to do the necessary due diligence, it can request the use of those assets. If claims meet the necessary evidentiary threshold, then they can be heard in an open hearing, where senators (and the public) can weigh the credibility of the accuser and the accused. The public can then hold senators accountable for their performance on election day.

If accusers won’t cooperate with the body constitutionally tasked with providing advice and consent on presidential nominees, then the Senate should proceed with a vote. If accusations aren’t supported with credible evidence, then the Senate should proceed with a vote without holding additional hearings.

It’s important to reiterate the substantial differences between the claims against Kavanaugh and the claims against virtually any other politician or celebrity brought low in this Me Too moment. Whether you’re looking at Roy Moore, Donald Trump, Bill Clinton, or Al Franken, you’ll find substantial evidence beyond the word of the accusers, including contemporaneous corroboration and on occasion even physical evidence. None of those factors is present in the case against Kavanaugh. In fact, the contrast with the careful reporting and fact-checking in those stories could not be more profound.

Instead, in the absence of evidence, activists and even some journalists are filling in the gaps with partisan wishes and personal experiences. That is not the way to resolve allegations that could alter the course of history and destroy reputations. If accusers aren’t willing to cooperate with a constitutional process — and if they cannot bear even the lowest burden of proof — then the Senate should vote to confirm Brett Kavanaugh and vote without delay. Any other approach looks more like character assassination than a good-faith search for truth.

Cocaine Mitch is kicking a** and taking names.
“Let me start with a quote: ‘I'm going to fight this nomination with everything I've got.’ That was the Democratic Leader on television mere hours after Judge Brett Kavanaugh was nominated to the Supreme Court. Others pledged their opposition before he was even named. Before they'd reviewed a lick of evidence. Before they'd heard a minute of testimony. The Democrats had already made up their minds and chosen their tactics: delay, obstruct, and resist. Whatever it took -- whatever the truth really was -- they were going to do whatever they could to stop this qualified, experienced, and mainstream nominee.

“Democrats have signaled for months they’d put on whatever performance the far-left special interests demanded and throw all the mud they could manufacture. Well, it’s not like they didn’t warn us. But even by the far left’s standards, this shameful smear campaign has hit a new low. I’ll get into the specifics in just a moment. But I want to be perfectly clear about what has taken place.

“Senate Democrats and their allies are trying to destroy a man’s personal and professional life on the basis of decades-old allegations that are unsubstantiated and uncorroborated. That is where we are. This is what the so-called ‘Resistance’ has become. A smear campaign, pure and simple. Aided and abetted by members of the United States Senate.

“Eight weeks ago, Democrats on the Judiciary Committee received a letter from Dr. Christine Blasey Ford with an uncorroborated allegation of misconduct. She had requested the matter be handled discretely and confidentially. The responsible next step would have been alerting the full committee so a confidential, bipartisan investigation could begin. Committee staff would have followed their standard practice for investigating background information. Senators could have questioned Judge Kavanaugh in their meetings, or in closed session, while respecting Dr. Ford's request for confidentiality.

“But Democrats didn’t do any of that. They sat on Dr. Ford's letter for seven weeks. They kept it secret. They did nothing. They bid their time. And then they threw Professor Ford’s wishes overboard and leaked it to the press. Our colleague from Delaware has himself indicated that either the Ranking Member’s office or the Democrat committee staff likely leaked the document. As I’ve noted, we know the chain of custody of the letter went through the Democrat side of the Judiciary Committee.

“So, does this sound like Democratic Senators take their responsibilities seriously and want to get to the truth? Or does it sound like a choreographed smear campaign that ignored Dr. Ford's request for confidentiality in order to inflict maximum damage at the last minute on Judge Kavanaugh and his family?

“This is an allegation of misconduct which all four supposed witnesses either flatly contradict or are unable to back up. In addition to Judge Kavanaugh, the other three supposed witnesses have said they have -- quote -- ‘no knowledge,’ ‘no recollection,’ and ‘no memory’ of the alleged incident. It’s not just one alleged witness disagreeing with the allegations -- it’s literally every person who was supposedly there. One of these supposed witnesses said she does not even know Judge Kavanaugh.
He goes on to reject every bit of both of these allegations against Kavanaugh and concludes,
“In the meantime, a good and honorable man and his family are receiving death threats. They are the subject of smears. And are facing Senate Democrats who say he has no presumption of innocence because they don’t agree with his judicial philosophy. Well, before the week is out, both Judge Kavanaugh and Dr. Ford will testify, under oath, before the Judiciary Committee. Chairman Grassley has made sure the facts will be heard. Judge Kavanaugh and the American people deserve nothing less. And I want to make it perfectly clear—Judge Kavanaugh will be voted on here on the Senate floor. Up or down, on the Senate floor, this fine nominee to the Supreme Court will receive a vote in this Senate in the near future.”

Glenn Reynolds has some thoughtful reflections on why judicial confirmations have become so toxic these days.
The Supreme Court is too powerful. Confirmation fights are so contentious because the Supreme Court is in many ways the most powerful part of our government. It’s the only one whose rulings can’t be overturned by an election, and it’s closely divided. The makeup of the Supreme Court is so important that it plays a major role in elections for the presidency and for the Senate. This is a profound distortion of our constitutional scheme, one that’s bad for the court and for the country.

We’ve become too tribal. For decades, the consensus favored bringing Americans together, across divides like race and religion. But things don’t work that way now. As Andrew Sullivan writes: “After a while, the crudest trigger points of tribalism — your race, your religion (or lack of it), your gender, your sexual orientation — dominate the public space." He underscored his point with this from Quillette founder Claire Lehmann: "The Woke Left has a moral hierarchy with white men at the bottom. The Alt Right has a moral hierarchy that puts white men at the top."

Politicians, as I’ve noted here before, probably know that tribalism is bad for the larger society. But it benefits their political positions, and we no longer have strong enough societal norms to control it. If we don’t develop such norms, the result will be bad.

Social media make things worse. There are some nice things about the immediate interaction made possible by sites like Facebook and Twitter. But social media — especially Twitter, where most of the political/journalistic types hang out — can be destructive, too. Ideas and half-baked theories spread like wildfire, amplified by algorithms that emphasize “engagement,” which give more attention to the ideas that people love or hate the most.

Maybe cameras and good government don’t go together. Watching senators posture during the Kavanaugh hearings this month, a fellow law professor observed that he was now convinced having cameras in federal courtrooms was a bad idea. He may well be right. At any rate, having cameras in the Senate certainly hasn’t improved the quality of senatorial work.

Maybe we should just get rid of confirmation hearings entirely. Though people take the practice for granted now, it’s actually of relatively recent vintage. The first hearings involved the confirmation of Justice Louis Brandeis in 1916, and it happened because anti-Semites were reluctant to approve a Jewish associate justice.

For many decades after that, hearings were held but the nominee didn’t take questions. The first time a nominee took questions from senators was Potter Stewart in 1959, and that was because of concerns by segregationists.

It’s hard to argue that either the Senate or the Supreme Court has improved since. Maybe we should eliminate the theatrics.

Monday, September 24, 2018

Cruising the Web

So it seems that we'll finally get the testimony from Dr. Blasey Ford and Judge Kavanaugh on Thursday. I tried to keep an open mind when her accusations first surfaced. I didn't want to emulate so many on the left who assumed that, just because they didn't like Kavanaugh to replace Justice Kennedy, that any accusation against him, no matter how vile, must be true. But the behavior of the Democrats, media, and the accuser and her lawyer for me just reduced any credence I might have been able to place in her story. I always found it hard to believe that the man we heard about helping his clerks and coaching his kids' teams was the guy described in her tale. There was the possibility that he behaved that way when he was drunk one time and never acted that way again, but it didn't seem all that likely. I didn't buy the idea that we shouldn't care because he was a teenager. I just kept thinking about my own daughters or the girls I teach and I didn't think I'd just brush off such behavior against them with a "boys will be boys" and no harm done. Anyone who has come out with such statements automatically disqualified themselves in my mind. Would they feel that way about a girl in their own family? Of course not!

But the constant delays and demands that he testify first were over-the-top. The behavior of the Democrats, principally Dianne Feinstein was so clearly political and unbelievable.

And now we have heard from the three people supposedly in the house when this happened and all of them have denied any knowledge of this story. We had already heard that the two boys who were at the party denied that any such party occurred. And now the girl who was named as being at the party denies ever meeting Brett Kavanaugh and has no memory of such a party.
CNN has learned that the committee has reached out to a longtime friend of Ford named Leland Ingham Keyser.

"I understand that you have been identified as an individual who was in attendance at a party that occurred circa 1982 described in a recent Washington Post article," a committee staffer wrote Keyser earlier this week.

On Saturday night, her lawyer, Howard Walsh, released a statement to CNN and the Senate Judiciary Committee.
"Simply put," Walsh said, "Ms. Keyser does not know Mr. Kavanaugh and she has no recollection of ever being at a party or gathering where he was present, with, or without, Dr. Ford."

The lawyer acknowledged to CNN that Keyser is a lifelong friend of Ford's.
So a lifelong friend who is the former wife of Democratic operative Bob Beckel and who says she believes the Ford story except for the part that she could corroborate. FOrd's lawyer has a ready-made excuse.
Ford's lawyer Debra Katz said in response to Keyser's attorney's statement that it makes sense that Keyser wouldn't remember, because Ford has said she did not share her allegations "publicly or with anyone for years."

"It's not surprising that Ms Keyser has no recollection of the evening as they did not discuss it," Katz said in a statement. "It's also unremarkable that Ms. Keyser does not remember attending a specific gathering 30 years ago at which nothing of consequence happened to her. Dr. Ford of course will never forget this gathering because of what happened to her there."

Keyser is the latest person alleged to be at the party to say she has no recollection of it.
At first, that seemed reasonable to me. But it's just part of her presenting a story that there is no way to disprove any of it. She can't remember where it was or when or how she got home. We're told that she has such a vivid memory because of the trauma she experienced. I can believe that. But I would just think that, pinned to that traumatic memory, would be a bit more about how she got to and from the party and whose house it was at. I think about notable moments, traumatic and otherwise, that I experienced in high school. I would go home and think about those events over and over and think about what I could have or should have said and done. That is part of what makes traumatic events so memorable. And all those rehearsals of the story over and over in mind would include thinking about why did I go there in the first place? Why didn't I leave earlier? If I had thought about it as obsessively as we're told that Dr. Blasey Ford thought about it, those thoughts would include my decision to go along to this party and where it was at. It would include my escape from that house. She was supposedly 15. She didn't want her parents to know what happened to her or that she had gone to a party and drunk a beer. So did she call them to pick her up? That seems unlikely. So how did she get home? Did her girlfriend give her ride? Was the girlfriend also 15 - did they have to call her parents? She would have had to tell her friend why she suddenly wanted to leave. And yet this friend today has no memory of anything like this happening. Once she decided to go public and name her friend, couldn't she have contacted her and told her that she was about to become part of the biggest story in Washington and the country and that people might be asking her about all of this?

If her friend, Keyser, had said that she remembered the party, wouldn't that be trumpeted as proving the truth of the story. Funny how the reverse doesn't work.

Keyser, who is a friend of Ford's, tells the Washington Post that she believes her Dr. Blasey Ford. But on what basis? Is this more believing someone because she is/was friends with her or because she's a Democrat and doesn't like Kavanaugh? Why would her belief have any more weight than all the people who say they believe Kavanaugh, including the two guys that Blasey Ford named as being at this supposed gathering?

Meanwhile, Kimberley Strassel has a long thread that definitely calls into question how the Washington Post has reported this story and what they've chosen to withhold from their readings.
1) More big breaking news, which further undercuts the Ford accusation, as well as media handling of it. A source has given me the email that WaPo reporter Emma Brown sent to Mark Judge, one person Ford claims was at the party. This email is dated Sunday, Sept. 16, 2018

2) The email wants a comment from him. The subsequent story would reveal Christine Ford's name, and give details of the supposed "assault."

3) One part of the email to Judge reads: "In addition to Brett Kavanaugh and Mark Judge, whom she called acquaintances she knew from past socializing, she recalls that her friend Leland (last name then was Ingham, now Keyser) was at the house and a friend of the boys named PJ."

4) This matters for two big reasons--Ford's credibility and WaPo's. The subsequent WaPo story would go on to cite Ford's name and details, and also list notes from a therapist that Ford told this to in 2012. Read carefully what WaPo reports, the same day it emails Judge:

5) "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.”

6) Wait, say what? WaPo reports publicly that Ford says it was "four boys,"even after WaPo reporter tells Judge that Ford had told her it was three boys and a girl.

7) So first, huge problem: This was just a week ago, and we have Ford giving two different accounts of who was present. Four boys. No, three boys, one girl. Either way, therapist notes from 2012 definitively say four boys, which Ford didn't dispute. But now... a girl!

8) Other problem: WaPo's reporting. Reporter has for a week had the names of those Ford listed as present. One is a woman. Yet it writes a story saying FOUR BOYS. Why? Maybe a mistake. But if so, why did WaPo never correct that narrative?

9) What, you can't find Keyser? She has lived in the DC area a long time. The paper had no trouble tracking down the other two men (btw, who also denied such party). And why not publish Keyser's name? It published the other men's names.

10) In its most recent update tonight, WaPo writes: "Before her name became public, Ford told The Post she did not think Keyser would remember the party because nothing remarkable had happened there, as far as Keyser was aware."

11) Wow. "Before her name became public, Ford told..." That is WaPo admitting that it had the name, and had Ford's response to what would clearly be a Keyser denial, but NEVER PUT IT OUT THERE. Again, why? A lot of people have a lot questions to answer.
So we have three people who were supposed to be at this party, named by the accuser, and all three have issued sworn documents to the Senate Judiciary Committee denying being at such a party. And, as Charles C. W. Cooke points out, such statements are subject to criminal penalties.
Under 18 U.S.C § 1001, letters to the Judiciary Committee are subject to criminal penalty if false.

Ms. Keyer, whom CNN confirms is “a lifelong friend of Ford’s,” is the third named witness to deny any knowledge of the allegations. The other two, Mark Judge and Patrick Smyth, issued written statements to that effect earlier in the week. Thus far, nobody has backed up the account advanced by Kavanaugh’s accuser, while Kavanaugh and three other named witnesses have rejected it outright.

Originally, this was a he said/she said story, but by naming three other people who were there, we had the possibility of corroborating witnesses. Now those witnesses have declined to corroborate her story. So all that remains is for people to fall back on their tribal affinities. That isn't enough to destroy a man's reputation and career. And it is destroying his career. If senators truly believed that this story disqualifies him from the Supreme Court, it should also disqualify him from the Appellate Court.

And the Democratic senators are all rolling out their belief in Blasey Ford's story because...they believe all women (except for those accusing Democrats).

Now, out of the Democrats' faith comes a new argument: It doesn't matter whether Ford's charge is true. It is credible. And that is enough, because even a credible allegation -- no word on who defines what that means -- disqualifies Kavanaugh for a seat on the Supreme Court.

"The truth is, I believe her," Democratic Sen. Kirsten Gillibrand said. "She has a credible allegation against Judge Kavanaugh."

Some academic Ford supporters lent their scholarly credentials to the credible-is-enough argument. "The existence of credible allegations against Judge Kavanaugh should be disqualifying," wrote Cardozo Law School professor Kate Shaw in the New York Times. "If members of the Senate conclude that a credible accusation of sexual misconduct has been made against Judge Kavanaugh, that should be enough to disqualify him."

In The Atlantic, Brookings Institution scholar Benjamin Wittes took the argument to its illogical extreme. Because of the political sensitivity of the situation, Wittes wrote, Kavanaugh "cannot...seek to discredit a woman who purports to have suffered a sexual assault at his hands."

"Even if [Kavanaugh] believes himself innocent, even if he is innocent," Wittes concluded, "the better part of valor is to get out now." That is, to withdraw his nomination.

So there it is: Ford's supporters believe in her because they believe in her. They think a credible allegation is enough to disqualify Kavanaugh. And even if that allegation is not, in fact, true -- even if Kavanaugh is innocent -- he is still disqualified. In the current battle, Kavanaugh's opposition is essentially faith-based, trying to create an environment in which there is no way he can win.
That is just horrible. It resembles the crazy situation that the Obama administration encouraged for kangaroo hearings on college campuses if a female student accused a male student of sexual misbehavior. The accusation is enough and, after that, no due process is necessary. What kind of system does this endorse? None that anyone serving on the Senate Judiciary Committee should be endorsing.

But Senator Hirono stated to Jake Tapper that she basically has some magic method of determining who is lying. All she has to do is know that man's judicial philosophy and poof! that's enough.
Hirono had not answered the question and Tapper repeated. “Doesn’t Kavanaugh have the same presumption of innocence as anyone else in America?”

“I put his denial in the context of everything that I know about him in terms of how he approaches his cases,” Hirono said, once again without a yes, then continues with an implied “no”.

“His credibility is already very questionable in my mind and the minds of a lot of my fellow judiciary committee members, the Democrats,” she said. “He has an ideological agenda, that’s very outcome driven, and I can sit here and talk to you about some of the cases that exemplifies his, in my view, inability to be fair in the cases that come before him.”

In a variation on what Sen. Graham said on Fox News Sunday, Hirono clearly indicated that Kavanaugh’s testimony won’t change her vote. “This is a person that going to be sitting on our Supreme Court, making decisions that will impact women’s reproductive choice,” she said. “He very much is against women’s reproductive choice.”

Tapper tried again. “It sounds to me like because you don’t trust him on policy,” said Tapper, “you don’t believe him about this allegation about what happened at this party in 1982, is that fair?”

Hirono said that this is why there should be an FBI investigation.

“You think Kavanaugh is lying though,” Tapper asked one more time.

“Well I believe her, let’s put it that way,” Hirono answered.
And what if an FBI investigation turned up exactly what we know at this point - the accuser has no corroboration of her story and no one she named being there corroborates her story? Would that be enough for Hirono to reverse her belief of the story? Of course not! After all, she doesn't like Kavanaugh and thinks he'd rule against abortion rights so that's all she needs.

The irony is that I don't think Kavanaugh would even rule against abortion rights. I think he'd fall back on what he told Senator Collins and others that he respects Roe as a precedent and the law of the land. He might rule to narrow abortion in favor of some state limitations, but Kennedy has ruled that way also. I don't know, of course, but no one knows. But they're willing to destroy him just because that is what they suspect. And, even if he is confirmed, they now will have this story to whip out anytime he rules a way that they don't like. It's all so shameful.

And now we find out that Brett Kavanaugh has detailed calendars of what he did back in 1982 and is turning that over to the Senate Judiciary Committee.
Judge Brett M. Kavanaugh has calendars from the summer of 1982 that he plans to hand over to the Senate Judiciary Committee that do not show a party consistent with the description of his accuser, Christine Blasey Ford, according to someone working for his confirmation.

The calendars do not disprove Dr. Blasey’s allegations, Judge Kavanaugh’s team acknowledged. He could have attended a party that he did not list. But his team will argue to the senators that the calendars provide no corroboration for her account of a small gathering at a house where he allegedly pinned her to a bed and tried to remove her clothing.

The calendar pages from June, July and August 1982, which were examined by The New York Times, show that Judge Kavanaugh was out of town much of the summer at the beach or away with his parents. When he was at home, the calendars list his basketball games, movie outings, football workouts and college interviews. A few parties are mentioned but include names of friends other than those identified by Dr. Blasey.

The challenge for senators trying to confirm or refute the accusation against Judge Kavanaugh is that Dr. Blasey has said she does not recall the specific date or location of the house where the alleged incident occurred. She has said she believes it was during the summer of 1982, and she remembers wearing a bathing suit with other clothing on top of it, suggesting the party might have taken place after a swim outing at a local country club.
Wow. What teenage kid keeps such a calendar and now has it 36 years later to submit to the Senate? Who does that? It seems that this was his habit and, for some reasons, the calendars were kept. I guess, if his parents live in the same house that they lived in back then, it could have been kept in the way that parents keep everything and no one ever goes through it to throw it out. I know when my parents finally moved out of their house, I found files of all my report cards and letters to them from when I was a little girl to an adult.

I am just trying to get my students to write their homework down for the day it's due.

THe Democrats seem to have no recognition of the dangers of their endorsement of collective guilt as a standard. Kavanaugh is guilty because other women have been abused. He's guilty because other people know prep-school boys who sexually abused someone. He's guilty because he was in a fraternity at Yale.
He's guilty because he's a white man. He's guilty because he's a conservative. He's guilty because of his judicial philosophy. He's guilty because Trump nominated him. This way lies madness.

Jonah Goldberg writes on this theme in response to the argument that, because women have been abused by men for millenia, it's time for Kavanaugh to be found guilty. Or Matthew Dowd who figures that, after 250 years of believing the man in he said/she said stories, it's time to believe the woman.
I can’t quite get my head around the idea that men today should suffer or be treated unjustly to make amends for how men, now long dead, treated women, now long dead.

And yet, this is now the very definition of a woke take.
Someone get Matt a copy of To Kill a Mockingbird stat!

One common response among the more asinine rejoinders to my column is that I am arguing for “men’s rights” or some such. I’m not. First of all, I don’t believe in men’s rights, because I don’t believe in group rights. I believe in things such as natural rights, human rights, American rights, or, simply, individual rights. I understand that this can get tricky when whole groups or classes of people are denied rights wholesale. This is why, for example, it was perfectly proper for suffragettes and early feminists to talk about “women’s rights.” But while the bigotry that is associated with the denial of group rights is offensive, the bigotry itself isn’t the crime or injustice, the denial of individual rights is.

Second, whenever I see a man receive a Nobel prize or win an election, I don’t pump my fist in the air and yell, “Yes! Another win for the Penis People!” Nor do I wave my “Men No. 1” foam finger in the air.

I understand that many people, not just women, do have this kind of reaction when women achieve important things, and that’s usually fine by me. But what I really don’t get is the zero-sum thinking that says men must suffer or be punished simply because they are men.

It shows you how frayed or even severed our connections to traditional — or simply, normal – forms of identity and association have become that we can demonize whole categories of people who are our fellow citizens, co-religionists, and, most importantly, our fathers, sons, and brothers.

Maybe liberals have sent their Rawlsian veil out to the cleaners, but a big part of the rule of law and justice is the idea that, when you walk into a court of law, your class, your heritage, and your connections should not matter. That’s why judges wear black robes and sit up on a high bench — to signal they are partisans of no cause or class. It is absolutely right to say that we do not always live up to that ideal; it is quite another to say we should discard that ideal to get some payback.

The notion that we should automatically believe the accuser because the accuser is white, black, male, female, or whatever is wrong, full stop. To argue that we should be wrong in the “other direction” to make amends for past wrongs is a perfect distillation of the tribal thinking running amok in Washington and the country.
And, always a plus, he ends with the perfect quote from A Man for All Seasons.
Roper: So now you’d give the Devil benefit of law!

More: Yes. What would you do? Cut a great road through the law to get after the Devil?

Roper: I’d cut down every law in England to do that!

More: Oh? And when the last law was down, and the Devil turned ’round on you, where would you hide, Roper, the laws all being flat? This country’s planted thick with laws from coast to coast — man’s laws, not God’s — and if you cut them down — and you’re just the man to do it — do you really think you could stand upright in the winds that would blow then? Yes, I’d give the Devil benefit of law for my own safety’s sake.

Good for Mitch McConnell.
After President Donald Trump tweeted criticism of the woman who came forward accusing Supreme Court nominee Brett Kavanaugh of sexual assault, Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell called the President on Friday to say his tweets did not help, two people familiar with the call confirmed to CNN.
Trump had tweeted that, if Ford's story were true, she would have reported it to the FBI back then at the time. How asinine is that? It is so many levels of stupid and so damaging to Kavanaugh's cause.

We'll see if he listens to McConnell and just sits this one out. I have no faith in that.

And then there is Keith Ellison who is finally getting asked about the abuse allegations against him and the evidence that his accuser told her therapist in 2017 about his physical and mental abuse of her. If we are to believe Dr. Blasey Ford because of her therapist's notes from 2012, 30 years after the event, how about the notes from Ellison's accuser's therapist right after she broke up with him? But Ellison's defense is a bit weak when he trotted it out during a debate.
And then came this doozy by one of the debate moderators: “Are you confident that no one else will step forward with any other allegations?”

Ellison replied by saying, “Look, in this political environment, I don’t know what somebody might cook up. But I could tell you that there is absolutely nobody that I am aware of who is threatening or suggesting or who has ever made a prior accusation about me.”

That was a very flimsy answer. Wardlow [his GOP challenger], who had until that point been quiet, then chimed in to note that the allegations against Ellison are “credible” and “strong.”

“There’s documentary evidence. We have a medical record where we have Monahan reported to her doctor the abuse that was going on,” he said.

And this is why people despise government sometimes.
As Hurricane Florence barreled toward the Carolina coast, Tammie Hedges took action to protect pets that might have otherwise been caught in the storm – a decision that led to her arrest.

Hedges, a resident of Wayne County, North Carolina, was taken into custody Friday after providing care to more than two dozen animals – 17 cats and 10 dogs – for owners who had to evacuate before the storm hit.

"The owners got to evacuate. They got to save themselves. But who’s going to save those animals? That’s what we did," Hedges said. "We saved them."

The owner of Crazy's Claws N Paws, a donation-based animal rescue center, was in the process of converting a warehouse space into a proper animal shelter when she decided to use the building to help keep pets dry. However, her facility was not legally registered as a shelter.

“Our mission was to save as many animals from the flood that we could," Hedges said. "We went through Hurricane Matthew and it was horrible. There were many preventable deaths.”

She said an elderly couple dropped off 18 of the animals, some of which were sick and injured, just before the storm.

On Monday, after Florence passed, Hedges got a call from Wayne County Animal Control regarding the animals.

“He basically told me, 'You can voluntarily hand over the animals, or I can go get a warrant,' " Hedges said.

She willingly surrendered the animals.

"A few days later they called me in for questioning and yesterday they arrested me," Hedges said.

The charges included 12 counts of practicing medicine without a veterinary license.

Friday, September 21, 2018

Cruising the Web

Robby Soave observes the obvious take that people who supported Kavanaugh's nomination believe he's innocent while those who opposed his nomination are quite happy to believe that he's a sexual predator. It's all tribal.
A lot of people nevertheless seem completely convinced, one way or the other. Quite coincidentally, their conviction that Kavanaugh has been slandered, or that Kavanaugh is a sexual predator, seems to line up perfectly with whether they oppose or support Kavanaugh's nomination to the Supreme Court. If you like the guy, you know he's innocent, or that it doesn't matter. If you fear he will provide a decisive vote against abortion rights, you know he's guilty. Fence sitters are betraying women everywhere, according to the left, or are letting the Democrats pull off a con, according to the right.
People's willingness to "believe the victim" reflects their tribal allegiances. Democrats who pooh-poohed the stories of Paula Jones and Juanita Broaddrick have suddenly decided that any woman making an allegation is telling the truth.
"Believe the victims," the mantra of fourth-wave feminists on campuses, often sounds disturbingly like recovered memory. The injunction implies that virtually all women who make allegations of sexual assault are telling the truth, and that all the reasons we might disbelieve them—e.g., they waited a long time to come forward, they changed their stories, or they don't recall all the details—are actually proof of trauma, and thus evidence that they were actually abused. It's a mistaken view, at odds with established science, principles of basic fairness such as cross-examination and the presumption of innocence, and recent history, which has shown that some women do in fact lie about sexual assault—not because they are women, but because they are people, and people lie.

We tell big lies and small lies. We lie because it suits our purposes: Asia Argento is currently threatening to sue former friend Rose McGowan because the latter has contradicted Argento's claim that she was sexually assaulted by a 17-year-old boy, Jimmy Bennett, who credibly accused Argento of sexually assaulting him. We lie by accident, because our memories have deceived us: Steven Avery, the subject of Netflix's Making a Murderer, was arrested for sexual assault after the victim mistakenly identified him; he was exonerated of that crime after someone else confessed. (Avery was later convicted of murder in a separate case.) We lie for reasons known only to us: "Jackie" fabricated a horrific story of assault at the hands of a man who did not exist.
Just because some victims lied, doesn't mean that Dr. Ford is lying. But just as we shouldn't make blanket allegations based on what someone else did or didn't do. That's not how justice works.

As Ben Shapiro writes, the willingness of people to jump to conclusions about Kavanaugh's guilt and the politicization of the whole saga is actually harming the #MeToo movement. Given that Kavanaugh has adamantly denied the entire allegation and how the Democrats stalled until the last minute to leak this story, Shapiro asks, "how in the hell is Kavanaugh supposed to defend himself?"
This has always been the key question the #MeToo movement has adamantly refused to answer: What should the standard of proof, or even the standard of believability, be? Should the standard be criminal liability? Presumably not, since most accusers are emerging to speak long after alleged incidents. Should the standard be credibility of the individual telling the story combined with supporting details that lend additional credibility? Perhaps, but that apparently isn't enough for some. The standard promoted by many in the #MeToo movement is the far-too-simplistic and outright dangerous "believe all women" standard. By that standard, former President Bill Clinton is a rapist. So are the Duke lacrosse players, the members of a University of Virginia frat house and a foreign exchange Columbia University student — all of whom were exonerated.
As he points out, Dr. Ford has made very serious charges, but there is still so many details that she says she doesn't remember. If we're going to investigate the story, can we take the lack of verifiable details and the internal conflicts between her therapist's notes and the story she gave to the Washington Post?
There are real questions to be asked about her account — and about Feinstein's political maneuvering. But instead, many on the left insist that the "believe all women" standard be applied to accusers against those on the right but that the general credibility standard should be applied to their own favorites. That's nonsensical, and insulting. What's more, it deliberately undermines the bulwark of universal approval with which #MeToo should be met. We should all be able to agree that some standard beyond mere belief is required here — and we should all be willing to hear evidence that implicates our favorite political figures. But if we insist on applying a politically motivated double standard in the name of #MeToo, the support for #MeToo will crumble.

That would be a tragedy, but it would also be a familiar tragedy. All too often, movements that should draw broad public support are undermined by fringe cases used as clubs by members of politically driven groups. We should all agree that any racist police shootings must be stopped — but such agreement falls apart when some insist that questionable shootings be treated as racist shootings. We should all agree that sexual abuse must be stopped — but such agreement disintegrates when some insist that unsubstantiated sexual abuse allegations be treated just like substantiated allegations.

Politics should not be allowed to override basic human decency. Yet again, that's what's happening.

I don't agree with any suggestion, however, that we should discount the allegation against Kavanaugh simply because he was 17 years old at the time and we shouldn't hold 35 year-old misbehavior against a nominee for the Supreme Court. Dennis Prager wrote a column arguing that, since Brett Kavanaugh has a "moral bank account" that is "way in the black." While I agree the fact that there is not a scintilla of evidence that he has ever behaved in a sexually inappropriate way except for this one allegation is an argument in his defense, I don't agree that the story is basically not a big deal because, for decades, women toughed out such unwelcome groping.

I teach in high school with kids the age of this story. If I heard that one of our students had done to another what Dr. Ford has alleged, I'd never think of the accused in the same way. And, if there were to be some proof that Kavanaugh had done this, we would have to add in that he's flatly denied the entire story in sworn statements to the Judiciary Committee. So we'd have to add felonious perjury to the charge against him.

Alexandra DeSanctis gives a forceful response to Prager's argument.
As should be patently obvious, the exact opposite formulation is correct. No moral society can overlook, downplay, or otherwise dismiss behavior as grave as what Ford alleges Kavanaugh did in the 1980s. To suggest otherwise is deeply perverse.

Of course, we mustn’t assume that Ford is telling the truth, as many on the left have demanded. Automatically believing the alleged victim of assault, without further investigation and regardless of whether she can offer corroborating evidence, is a dangerous standard indeed.

But to be wholly uninterested in the truth — simply for the sake of political expedience and, worse yet, based on a twisted definition of morality — is just as wrong. Real justice requires finding as much of the truth as we can; the middle ground between always believing the alleged victim and immediately exonerating the accused is to seek the full truth with clear-eyed persistence.
And the idea that we shouldn't care about a case of sexual assault just because the accused was only 17-years old.
For one thing, 17-year-olds often are tried as adults when they commit serious crimes, and surely Prager knows this. More important, though, this argument — far from being a principle that undergirds a moral society — is a recipe for complete anarchy. How old does a man have to be before he can be held responsible for his actions? And even if some mistakes could rightly be categorized as youthful indiscretions, making that determination requires that we first know the truth about what occurred.

It’s worth noting that Kavanaugh himself isn’t asserting in his defense that “boys will be boys.” He has categorically denied ever committing the assault of which he’s been accused. If he did do it, he’s now lied publicly several times, including under oath, and if that’s the case, we ought to know that, too.

Instead, Prager asserts that, regardless of whether Kavanaugh committed sexual assault, he has stored up credit with his stellar record since his teenage years and thus shouldn’t be bothered with defending himself against Ford’s charge — his “moral bank account” is full of capital. This is an utterly bankrupt way of assessing character, and it’s tantamount to arguing that virtue matters not at all.

Never mind that there is inherent value in clearing the name of a good man. No upright society evaluates its citizens based on the crudely calculated “net value” of their actions. We don’t invest good deeds in a social bank to be tallied up as a get-out-of-jail-free card on the day we commit a horrific crime. Under this ridiculous framework, if I commit a murder, I can be exonerated simply by having spent my life up to that point visiting the sick in hospitals and mowing lawns for the elderly, or promising to do so for the rest of my life. A just society doesn’t ascertain whether a criminal is a good or bad person on the whole; it imposes consequences for wrongdoing and obtains justice for victims.

Even more appalling is the fact that Prager cites Judeo-Christian values as a valid basis for refusing to investigate Ford’s charges. It’s one thing to argue that she has yet to provide sufficiently convincing evidence; it’s another to assert that Christian values dictate instinctively ignoring charges of sexual assault depending on the identity of the accused and the accuser.

Yesterday, after hearing about the death threats targeting Dr. Ford, I wondered if the Kavanaughs had received any death threats and noted that Senator Collins had received threats at her office. Apparently, one Democratic congressman, Eric Swalwell was not impressed with Collin's story about the threats against her and her staff.
"Boo hoo hoo," said Swalwell. "You're a senator who police will protect. A sexual assault victim can't sleep in her home tonight because of threats. Where are you sleeping? She's on her own while you and your @SenateGOP colleagues try to rush her through a hearing."
He's since deleted his tweet, perhaps realizing that his bona fides as a feminist congressman are not helped by mocking threats against a female senator and her staff.

And his downplaying of threats against a Republican are particularly ill-timed given that less than two weeks ago, his Republican challenger escaped a stabbing attack at him by a guy shouting profanities about Trump and the Republicans.

And my guess that the Kavanaughs have received threats is borne out.
Judge Kavanaugh’s wife, Ashley Estes Kavanaugh, also has faced threats, which are being investigated by the U.S. Marshals Service, a senior administration official said Thursday.

She has received two profane notes on her work email account in recent days, the official said. Both notes, which have been reviewed by The Wall Street Journal, were sent from the same email address. One of the note'ss to Mrs. Kavanaugh, a town manager in the suburbs of Washington, D.C., reads, “May you, your husband and your kids burn in hell.” The other, whose subject line reads, “Hi, Ashley,” says she should tell her husband to “put a bullet in his…skull.”
It's all so disgusting. We really are living in troubled times with the internet allowing people to so easily transmit threats and think nothing of it. I hope they find both the people threatening Dr. Ford and Mrs. Kavanaugh.

I suspect that most people who post a lot on the internet have received threats. I'm just going on my own experience back during the 2008 campaign when someone called into my school and left threats against me on the school answering machine because of my opposition to Obama. Nothing came of it, of course, but I remember feeling pretty shaken up at the time that someone would do that. I can't imagine how either of these two women feel with threats against them and their families.

Republicans had been pinning their hopes on some vague comments that conservative commentator Ed Whelan, a friend of Kavanaugh, had been making about how Kavanaugh would be totally exonerated when he testified. The hope was that Whelan knew something. Well, now he's posted a thread on Twitter where he basically accuses a classmate of Kavanaugh who resembles him and lived near the country club mentioned in Dr. Ford's story. Whelan then puts up the floor plan of that house to show it matches the description given in the story. That's really a terrible thing to do. He actually named a real person and puts together his amateur detective work to implicate this guy in the story. You can't go out there name-dropping some other guy as a possible replacement for a sexual assault claim unless you have more than a pretty standard floor plan. Another piece of his argument is that Dr. Ford said the party was near the country club and the other people lived 3 - 10 miles away from the country club. I don't know what the traffic was like in 1980s suburban Maryland, but 3 - 4 miles doesn't seem too far from the country club to contradict a memory that the house wasn't far. Though I will grant that the two guys do look alike if one can tell from yearbook pictures. Whelan better know more than this or he might be open to a lawsuit. And his blaming Feinstein for a private citizen being drawn into this whole mess is no excuse. Whelan has really besmirched his own reputation with this maneuver.

Thursday, September 20, 2018

Cruising the Web

The Democrats have really overplayed their hand. First they demand that the committee allow her to testify since it's important for her voice to be heard. Then the Republicans on the committee invite her to testify. And so they jerk the goalposts away and now demand a full FBI investigation even though that's not the FBI's role in background checks. Now they're saying that asking her to come speak to the committee is basically victimizing her. Senator Grassley points out that he's invited her to speak in either public or private. He's also offered for her to stay in California and be interviewed in private by Judiciary Committee staff.

Guy Benson reminds us of how this has progressed over the past week.
With the allegation out in the open, Democrats loudly declared that Ford be allowed to make her allegations publicly, on the record, and under oath. They demanded new hearings. Republicans, who control the committee, promptly agreed, setting a date for next Monday. In doing so, they abided by the panel's rule dictating that members must be notified of a new hearing one week in advance. Democrats responded by pivoting to a new complaint: The hearing they said must happen is now happening...too soon. The FBI needs to investigate the issue before any additional steps are taken, they now say. The accuser's attorneys are echoing Democrats' new stance, though they still have not entirely ruled out Ford's participation in Monday's scheduled session (remember, her primary lawyer went on national television earlier this week and said her client was prepared to testify). Ed Morrissey raises another problem with the actions of the accuser's representatives:

Ford’s legal team is engaging in bad-faith posturing on those points, but they added a shabby accusation against Grassley as well. The letter accused Grassley of planning to seat Ford “at the same table” as Kavanaugh, but Grassley responded yesterday by saying that no one had planned the two to appear together. They would have appeared at “the same table,” but at two different times.

But it's the Democrats' conduct here that strikes me as particularly cynical goalpost shifting, for several reasons:

(1) The FBI has already declined to launch an investigation into this 36-year-old claim, for which there is no alleged crime scene or date. Ford says she doesn't know where the house was, and can't even narrow down the encounter to any specific month of 1982. This not only renders any criminal investigation hopeless, it also forecloses any possibility for Kavanaugh (or any of the other three boys alleged to have attended the party) to potentially provide an accusation-destroying alibi. The Bureau, which has already performed six background checks on Kavanaugh, inserted the allegation into Kavanaugh's background file. There's nothing more to be done. Insisting on their resumed involvement, with no jurisdiction, or even a clear or realistic goal, smells like yet another delay tactic. I'll return to this theme later.

(2) The counterpoint on FBI involvement is that the Bureau did "investigate" Anita Hill's allegations against then-nominee Clarence Thomas (which also dropped after his hearings ended, by the way). As others have noted, however, that was a matter between two federal employees -- and that "investigation" involved a collection of relevant parties' statements, which nobody had at that time. In this case, we already have the statements of the accuser, the accused, a supposed eyewitness, and now another witness Ford has placed at the scene....

Lying in a letter to the committee is a crime, incidentally. Some liberals, including CNN employees, are downplaying this update, chiding conservatives for wrongly "seizing" on it. This is ludicrous. We have very, very few actual facts to try to verify, based on Ford's allegation (which, yes, contains some gaps and inconsistencies). One of those possible facts is the list of attendees (the number of whom has shifted) at the house that night, as she remembers it. This is one of those people stepping forward and disavowing any knowledge of her allegation and vouching for Kavanaugh's character....

(3) The "we need much more time" grousing from Democrats is particularly brazen, given both their endless delay efforts in other facets of this nomination battle, and the fact that Feinstein kept a lid on this for two months. You don't get to bury something for weeks on end (downplaying its significance in private before hyping it as hugely consequential in public), and then stomp your feet about how the eleventh-hour grenade you chucked, at the tail end of the process, isn't being adjudicated as deliberately and thoroughly as you want. It's so transparent. If Democrats had wanted this to be explored at length, they could have brought the issue to the fore at the beginning of the process. They didn't. But hey, at least Democratic members of the committee aren't publicly floating a partisan plot to derail Kavanaugh, then hold his seat open for two full years, right? Oops

Jonathan Turley explains why a witness cannot demand an FBI investigation as a condition for testifying.
Ford’s demand is, to put it simply, out of line, both with her prior statements and with congressional precedent. It is not that the FBI has not investigated such allegations; it did so with Clarence Thomas. However, there is no precedent for a quid pro quo demand for testimony by a witness. Individuals can certainly refuse to testify, yet conditioning testimony on a criminal investigation by a federal agency is well beyond the province of any witness. There may indeed be a basis for reopening the FBI background investigation, but the priority is to get both the testimony of Ford and Kavanaugh under oath.

This demand is the latest twist in an increasingly confusing record. Ford originally sent a letter to Congress to ask that her allegations be considered by the committee before voting on Kavanaugh. She then demanded that she be left in anonymity — denying Kavanaugh an opportunity to know who had accused him. After her letter was leaked to the media, Ford came forward publicly and said she would testify before the committee. Now she is saying she will not testify unless her demand for an FBI investigation is met....

It would be useful to interview any witnesses, and that may be where this should lead. However, Democrats themselves did not move with particular dispatch since July in locating possible witnesses. As for Ford, her counsel stated publicly that it is simply not her job (or her counsel’s) to determine if there are corroborating witnesses. So, while arranging a polygraph examination, her counsel did not reportedly seek out witnesses to support the claims of her client, including high school friends.

In reality, Kavanaugh was more likely to face an “interrogation” than Ford. Republican senators were clearly leery of being seen as roughing up a sexual assault victim, and potentially losing female voters in the midterms. There was no such reluctance with Kavanaugh, who was always looking at an aggressive, unrelenting examination by Democrats.

The key to holding testimony is to establish under oath exactly what these two individuals remember; it might not be much beyond what is already known. Feinstein stated this week that she could not recall whether she contacted Ford six weeks ago. Yet, these witnesses would be expected to recall details from 36 years ago. Once their testimony is locked in, the Senate — and the public — will have a better idea of whether further investigation is warranted.

The only condition for either witness that will be recognized by the Senate is that their testimony will be truthful. If Ford will not testify, the Senate committee would have grounds to move toward to a final vote. That may avoid the “interrogation,” only to clear the path to confirmation.

Even Joe Scarborough and Mika Brezinski are chiding the Democrats for playing cynical politics with their changing demands for her testimony. Wow, if the Democrats lose Joe and Mika, they should rethink things.

Her lawyer was on TV on Monday saying that Dr. Blasey Ford wanted to tell her story. Then on Tuesday the lawyer turned down the invitation to speak on Monday. Well, maybe the lawyer should have kept her mouth shut. And she shouldn't have allowed her client to speak to the Washington Post. It's hard to argue that she's willing to talk to the Post but not the Judiciary Committee, especially when she's offered private sessions. I get that she is receiving all sorts of hate and threats online and has had to move out of her house. No one should have to undergo that sort of treatment. People can be such slime. Though I do wonder if the Kavanaughs have received death threats through the summer. Susan Collins' office has also received threats. What this demonstrates is that there are garbage people on both sides of the spectrum.

The thing is that this whole situation is Dianne Feinstein's fault. There is a procedure in place to investigate such claims in private and it has apparently been used many times before with bipartisan cooperation. But Feinstein didn't take advantage of that procedure. It was only the Democrats who knew her name so who do you think leaked it out?

I'm coming to think that the best solution for both sides is for Dr. Blasey Ford to not appear on Monday. The Democrats can blame the Republicans for not conducting a FBI investigation, whatever that would have done. It gives cover to the red-state Democrats who worried about voting against Kavanaugh. They can simply say that they were willing to vote for him, but can't do so with such serious allegations against him. And, of course, Dr. Blasey Ford can avoid the circus that a public hearing would have been or have her testimony leaked out if she testified behind closed doors. She can fall back on the whole phoney FBI demand.

The Republicans can say that they provided her all sorts of choices of how she wanted to testify and that they really wanted to hear from her. They wanted to give her the opportunity to explain her story. But she refused to come and, therefore, they can't vote against Kavanaugh based on an unprovable allegation that he vociferously denies and two of the other men who were supposed to be at the party also deny happened.

Kavanaugh would get on the Court. The Democrats would always regard him as illegitimate, but they were going to do that anyway. I happen to believe that he was never going to vote to overturn Roe, but if he did, they can attack him as an abuser the same way that they accuse Thomas.

Both parties can use this whole episode to try to rally their base. The Democrats can talk about how a man with an awful record with women nominated a sexual predator and the Republicans can campaign telling their voters that they have to vote for Republicans because it's clear that the Democrats are so so over-the-top that they can't be trusted to have control of the Senate.

It certainly doesn't help to Hawaii's Senator Hirono go on camera telling men to shut up.
“Guess who’s perpetuating all these kinds of actions?” Hirono said. She continued, “It’s the men in this country. And I just want to say to the men in this country, just shut up and step up. Do the right thing.” Then, after a pause, she added, “For a change.”
Lovely. As John Sexton writes, we've gone beyond "believe all women" to men need to just shut their mouths and accept their guilt.

You know, it used to be a standard liberal position that people are innocent until proven guilty and everyone deserves due process. But they've totally thrown that fundamental concept of liberty out the window when it comes to allegations of sexual misconduct whether it be on college campuses or 35-year old allegations.

And Senator Hirono is giving Republicans another talking point as they try to convince Republicans the importance of coming out to vote.
Hawaii Sen. Mazie Hirono (D.) said Democrats could keep the open seat on the Supreme Court vacant until after the 2020 election if Brett Kavanaugh's nomination collapses and Democrats regain control of the Senate in November.

Hirono pointed to the long vacancy of Antonin Scalia's former seat as a justification for holding off on confirming any nominee from President Donald Trump. When Barack Obama was president and Republicans held the Senate, Sen. Majority Leader Mitch McConnell did not hold a vote on Obama's nominee Merrick Garland, and Hirono said Democrats could do the same if they had the Senate.

"I think we’ve had those kinds of vacancies before, and we certainly had over a one-year vacansuggecy with Merrick Garland," Hirono told Politico Magazine. "So the world does not come to an end because we don’t fill all of the nominees."
Given that a lot of Republicans held their noses and voted for Trump because of the Supreme Court. Given a recent RNC internal poll saying that complacent Trump voters might not come out to vote in November because they don't worry about losing the House, much less the Senate, assertions like Hirono's might give voters some impetus to come out and vote.

This is what media bias looks like.
Last night, two of Supreme Court nominee Brett Kavanaugh’s high school classmates, each named by accuser Christine Blasey Ford as witnesses to the 1982 assault she alleges Kavanaugh committed, issued public statements flatly denying that they saw anything even resembling Ford’s story.

Yet today, CNN viewers have barely heard a peep about these denials, even as the Kavanaugh story dominates their on-air coverage. From 4:00 a.m. to 2:00 p.m. Eastern, CNN spent 3 hours and 23 minutes talking about the Kavanaugh controversy, but only about eight minutes of that were devoted to passing along these confirmations of Kavanaugh’s denial.

Earlier this month, the job-search site Glassdoor compiled a list of 15 major companies that no longer require applicants for certain posts to have a college degree. The list included an array of entry- and mid-level jobs —everything from barista to “Apple Genius” to “senior manager of finance” — at such corporate giants as Apple, Google, Bank of America, Penguin Random House, Home Depot, Costco, Whole Foods, and Starbucks. Glassdoor lauded these firms for opening new pathways to success and recognizing “that book smarts don’t necessarily equal strong work ethic, grit and talent.” CNBC and Axios provided similar, approving coverage.
I've long thought that too many jobs require a college degree when they don't really need them.
This is a praiseworthy development, to be sure. But it should also raise an obvious question: Why were firms requiring college degrees for such jobs in the first place? Is there good reason to believe that having a B.A. in sociology or women’s studies makes one more qualified to be a stocker at Costco or shift supervisor at Starbucks?

No, there isn’t.

In fact, there’s clear evidence that over-credentialing is bad for workers and for businesses. A comprehensive 2017 study by researchers at Harvard Business School found that college graduates filling middle-skill positions cost more to employ, have higher turnover rates, tend to be less engaged, and are no more productive than high-school graduates doing the same job. The long-term consequences of degree inflation look to be even worse, as employers continue to pay a premium for a college-educated workforce even when filling positions that non-credentialed workers could just as easily do, leading ever more students to incur the costs of pursuing a degree.
Young people too often spend four or five years while going deeply into debt to get a degree that wouldn't make a bit of difference to how they do the job. Instead, as AEI writes, employers just use a college degree to screen out students.
Today, thousands of employers use college degrees as a convenient way to screen and hire job applicants, even when postsecondary credentials bear no obvious connection to job duties or performance. In fact, last year’s Harvard study documented increasing “degree inflation,” as employers demand baccalaureate degrees for middle-skill jobs that previously did not require one. They estimated that this phenomenon encompassed 6.2 million jobs across dozens of industries. In fact, 61 percent of employers surveyed admitted to having rejected applicants with the requisite skills and experience simply because they lacked a college degree.

There are multiple factors to blame for degree inflation, but a big one is the unintended consequences of federal anti-discrimination law. Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964 prohibited employers from discriminating against workers or job applicants on the basis of race, color, religion, sex, or national origin. It did, however, allow the use of “professionally developed” ability or employment tests, insofar as they were not “designed, intended or used” to discriminate. In Griggs v. Duke Power Company (1971), the Supreme Court unanimously interpreted this language to mean that when a selection process disproportionately affects minority groups (e.g. has a “disparate impact”) employers must show that any requirements are directly job-related and an accurate predictor of job performance.

Importantly, this “disparate impact” standard, which Congress would codify into law in 1991, applies to any test or selection proce

When I discuss voter turnout with my students and ask them for explanations of why college students don't come out to vote in numbers commensurate with other age groups, I get all sorts of suggestions. A lot of my high school students think that college students are just so busy that they don't have time to come out and vote. They have no idea how much free time college students have. But this is one explanation I never considered.
A Fairfax County focus group this summer found many college students who have gotten an absentee ballot simply fail to send it back because a U.S. Postal Service stamp seems to be a foreign concept to them.

“One thing that came up, which I had heard from my own kids but I thought they were just nerdy, was that the students will go through the process of applying for a mail-in absentee ballot, they will fill out the ballot, and then, they don’t know where to get stamps,” Lisa Connors with the Fairfax County Office of Public Affairs said.

“That seems to be like a hump that they can’t get across.”

The focus group included college interns from across numerous county departments.
“They all agreed that they knew lots of people who did not send in their ballots because it was too much of a hassle or they didn’t know where to get a stamp,” Connors said.

“Across the board, they were all nodding and had a very spirited conversation about ‘Oh yeah, I know so many people who didn’t send theirs in because they didn’t have a stamp.’”
I guess buying stamps is just so last century. Apparently, they don't have post offices on their campuses. I guess Democratic get-out-the-vote efforts will have to include stamps.