The further to the left or the right you move, the more your lens on life distorts.

Sunday, September 23, 2018

Belief

On Friday, I posted a piece entitled "Sexual McCarthyism" discussing the use of wholly unsubstantiated allegations of sexual abuse as a bludgeon to destroy people who you don't like. Although polling is difficult here, I would suspect that a substantial minority of Democrats along with a much, much smaller percentage of independents and a tiny percentage of Republicans simply believe that Christine Blasey Ford's allegations are true.

I have on numerous occasions noted that far too many Democrats operate on belief, rather than evidence. They seem perfectly willing to believe in fantasy (e.g., socialism will lead to a utopian existence), even though clear, irrefutable historical evidence indicates that their belief cannot withstand the harsh glare of reality. When fantasy collides with reality, reality wins every time.

In the case of Ford v. Kavanaugh, we honestly don't know what the reality of the situation is and that provides an advantage for the Dems. Sure, every shred of evidence currently offered suggests significant skepticism when assessing Ford's allegation. The accused unequivocally denies the charge; no other person, even those who Ford named in attendance at the "party," has any memory of the party or the incident; Ford herself can't remember the date, the time, the location, the manner in which she arrived or left, and the alleged event is shrouded in the mists of time, when both people were juveniles—36 years in the past! And now, Ford is negotiating her testimony before the Senate Judiciary committee in a manner that is clearly political.

Byron York comments:
... Democrats are dedicated to trying to stop the Kavanaugh nomination on the basis of a charge without verification.

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."
Wait, what!? A Law Professor suggests that we jettison the notion that evidence-based allegations be valued above evidence-free allegations, that belief in the allegation is all that matters? I have to wonder whether she feels the same way about recent allegations of sexual abuse (that do have substantial evidence associated with them) again DNC co-Chair and Minnesota AG candidate, Keith Ellison?

When Christine Gilliband (D-NY), a sitting U.S. Senator, suggests that all one needs is "a credible allegation," she has crossed a line and entered into the realm of McCarthyism. Joe McCarthy alleged, often without evidence but always with innuendo, that a person was a "member of the communist party" because they knew someone who was a member, once spoke to a member, of even attended a meeting in which communists were present. He made what his supporters believed (that word again) were "credible allegations." As a consequence, the accused lost their careers, were often publicly shunned, and were ruined. Years after, whispers continued to surface.

Byron York continues:
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.
Heh. Political genius on the part of the Dems. And a really convenient, if cynical, argument in this case. And here I thought that Democrats eschewed "faith-based" initiatives.

Friday, September 21, 2018

Sexual McCarthyism

When a man violently assaults a woman and there is clear, irrefutable evidence that the assault occurred, the man is scum and deserves imprisonment. When men use positions of power to harass women, impact their employment or job prospects or otherwise injure them professionally, they are scum and deserve opprobrium. When men make remarks that belittle women or think them incapable of strong action or leadership, they are jerks or worse and deserve harsh criticism or worse. All of that is true, not because PC or #MeToo says it's true, but because decent human beings have believed it to be true for centuries.

But what happens when one group weaponizes a broadly-held belief that woman should be treated with respect and dignity (like all humans) and then uses that belief as a cudgel? That's called 'sexual McCarthyism' and it is cruel, vicious, indecent and reckless. Toby Young comments:
It is hard to know what has caused this sexual McCarthyism. One claim, often made by #MeToo advocates, is that American universities are in the grip of a rape epidemic and if the authorities don’t start taking their responsibilities to protect women more seriously it will only get worse. In fact, sexual assaults of female college students in the US dropped by more than half between 1997 and 2013. In the same period, young women in college were less likely to be assaulted than those who weren’t. The ‘rape epidemic’ claim is a symptom of the hysteria, not its cause.

My own theory is that a small minority on the identitarian Left have used various Maoist tactics, including public shaming on social media, to persuade people that their doctrinaire positions on #MeToo allegations and a range of other issues – gender is a social construct, masculinity is toxic, climate change is caused by misogyny, etc. – are much more ubiquitous than they really are, thereby stifling dissent.

To think about how this might work, imagine a modern-day version of ‘The Emperor’s Clothes’ set at an American Ivy League college. A skeptical undergraduate is taking a gender studies class and suspects midway through that only a small minority of his classmates actually believe anything the professor is saying. So when she comes up with a particularly far-fetched bit of postmodern Neo-Marxist nonsense – for instance, that menstruation is a social construct – he decides to call her out on it. How do his classmates react, assuming the majority of them share his skepticism?

Unlike in the original story, they don’t immediately burst out laughing and applaud him for his courage. Rather, they look around, trying to gauge the reaction of others and, at the same time, keep their own expressions neutral until they get a sense of what the majority believes. Nothing they see on each other’s faces tells them it’s safe to indicate they share the undergraduate’s skepticism – even though a majority of them do – so they keep quiet. Some of them may even start tutting and shaking their heads, not wanting those they imagine to be in the majority to suspect they hold the heretical view. At this point, the gender studies professor narrows her eyes, accuses the undergraduate of being a misogynist and uses the bias reporting hotline to contact the university’s diversity officer.

A week later, the miscreant has been kicked out even though the professor in question was clearly spouting nonsense and a majority of the undergraduate’s classmates secretly agreed with him.
The phenomenon that Young describes lies at the heart of many politically correct positions. Based on life experience, scientific evidence, and simple common sense, most of us understand that many PC claims are unmitigated nonsense. Yet almost all of us have become afraid to call them what they are—B.S.

Young notes that the Left, once the harsh opponent of puritanical thought, has now become its champion:
Who knows how long this paranoid atmosphere will continue. America seems to go through periodic bouts of hysterical puritanism, which partly accounts for the enduring appeal of The Crucible, Arthur Miller’s play about the Salem Witch Trials.
It is further ironic that the Left has become the champion of sexual McCarthism, adopting the methods and even the language of a man they had vilified in the past. When you ruin a person's life, jeopardize their career, and destroy their reputation using only sexual innuendo coupled with decades-old, unsubstantiated allegations that are almost impossible to disprove, you have become exactly what the #MeToo movement hates—people who harass others to control and intimidate them. If it's wrong to do that to a woman, it's equally wrong to do it to a man.

Thursday, September 20, 2018

Decency

The Kavanaugh - Ford debacle, coordinated by the Democrats, reflects a ugly blend of the politics of personal destruction. The Dems express faux outrage over an 11th hour, unsubstantiated allegation that is being used to discredit a fully qualified candidate for SCOTUS, ruin his reputation for the rest of his life, and provide political leverage that just might wreck his chances of getting the nomination after all. They have the chutzpa to demand an FBI investigation that delays Kavanaugh's nomination even though they could have had an investigation completed had they asked six weeks ago. Instead, they have allowed last minute innuendo to ruin a decent man and at the same time, make demands that are so hypocritical, they would be laughable if they were not so dangerous.

The GOP looks like a deer in headlights, afraid to buck political correctness or MeToo hysteria to say ENOUGH! Correctly, the GOP has made an attempt to hear out Ms. Ford, even though her recollections are hazy and the event happened 36 years ago—in high school! But Ford has so far (predictably) demurred, demanding a 7th FBI probe of Kavanaugh after six turned up nothing that would indicate he is an abuser of woman. Of course, if an FBI probe were completed quickly, you can bet your life that Democrats would say that it wasn't thorough enough, that it was a 'rush to judgement,' that male bias pervaded the findings, that we must believe the accuser regardless of the outcome.

There appears to be nothing that would satisfy the Dems short of Kavanaugh removing his name from nomination—their overriding goal in the first place. This isn't about #MeToo or sexual assault or even about Christine Blasey Ford, who is either a purposeful tool or unwitting pawn in the Democrat's on-going psychodrama. The Dems have lost power and they cannot abide that. Any action, no matter how crass, that returns them power is acceptable and necessary. In fact, their recent actions vis a vis the Ford allegations are prima facie evidence why the broader American public has removed them from power.

John Kass is eloquent when he discusses this disgusting spectacle:
Because in their zeal to delegitimize Kavanaugh and delay confirmation until after the 2018 midterm elections, the Senate Democrats seem all too willing to delegitimize the Supreme Court itself.

Even if his nomination is confirmed by the Republican majority, the as-yet-unsubstantiated allegation of an attempted high school rape will hang from his neck for as long as he lives. And from the necks of his wife and daughters.

Ford’s charge is serious business. But having them duel it out publicly, for the amusement of jabbering knaves on Twitter and TV whipping up Democratic or Republican tribal outrage, isn’t the best way for a healthy republic to handle things.

Now it’s a freak show. And trashing the reputation of a man who has never, to my knowledge, exhibited even hints of such behavior is the way of our politics.

It is indecent that we accept this status quo.

Long before Kavanaugh was born, at a hearing in Washington on June 9, 1954, Joseph Welch, a lawyer representing the U.S. Army finally confronted Joe McCarthy [a GOP senator who is infamous for his dishonest use of anti-communist innuendo] on national television.

Welch offered a statement that ended McCarthy’s career.

“Until this moment, Senator, I think I never really gauged your cruelty or your recklessness,” Welch said. “… You have done enough. Have you no sense of decency?”

It was indecent then. It is indecent now.

It was reckless then. It is reckless now.

Sen. Feinstein, have you no sense of decency?
Nah ... decency disappeared among the Democrats when Clarance Thomas was nominated to SCOTUS, or maybe it was when Donald Trump won the 2016 election. It has never returned. Instead, it has been replaced by a "freak show" that exhibits a level of cruelty and recklessness that is astounding.

UPDATE:
-----------------

Daniel Henninger gets to the core of this debacle by looking at broader motives:
Surely someone pointed out [to the Democrats] that based on what was disclosed, this accusation could not be substantiated. To which the Democrats responded: So what? Its political value is that it cannot be disproved. They saw that six weeks before a crucial midterm election, the unresolvable case of Christine Blasey Ford would sit like a stalled hurricane over the entire Republican Party, drowning its candidates in a force they could not stop.

In #MeToo, which began in the predations of Harvey Weinstein, Democrats and progressives finally have found a weapon against which there seems to be no defense. It can be used to exterminate political enemies. If one unprovable accusation doesn’t suffice, why not produce a second, or third? It’s a limitless standard.

The Democrats’ broader strategy is: Delay the vote past the election; win the Senate by convincing suburban women that Republicans are implacably hostile to them; seize power; and—the point of it all—take down the Trump government.

This is the “resistance.” This is what Democrats have become. Resistance is a word and strategy normally found in a revolutionary context, which is precisely the argument made by the left to justify its actions against this presidency since the evening of Nov. 8, 2016. Anything goes. Whatever it takes. Brett Kavanaugh is not much more than a casualty of war.
Yet, every shred of evidence, with the exception of Ford's wholly unsubstantiated allegations, indicates that Brett Kavanaugh is more than "a casualty of war." He is a decent, competent jurist, who has now been irreparably smeared by the Democrats. This is the party that the Dems have become—a cruel and vengeful collection of ideologues who are incapable of winning arguments on their merits but are fully capable of destroying anyone who stands in their way. They have no sense of decency—none at all.

Wednesday, September 19, 2018

Pigtails

BREAKING NEWS from the OnCenter News Team!! Senate minority leader Chuck Schumer has been accused of gender-based assault, according to reports swirling around Capitol Hill. Although details are unclear, the anonymous victim tells The Washington Post that Schumer attacked her in a kindergarten playground in 1955 — 63 years ago.

In a nationwide exclusive, the OnCenter News Team has acquired part of the interview transcript:
Interviewer: Can you describe the attack?

Victim: Yes. I was in the playground away from the other children and teachers and Chucky ran up behind me and pulled my pigtails—hard! He did this because I was a woman. But it was a violent attack that traumatized me for decades after. It caused physical pain at the time, in fact, I thought for a moment that he might inadvertently kill me!

Interviewer: Why do you think he did it?

Victim: I think he might’ve liked me.

Interviewer: Did your classmates see the attack? Were you injured?

Victim: No one else saw it, except Chucky's friend, who jumped on us both to end the attack. There was no lasting physical injury, but the trauma of the event has stayed with me year after year, decade after decade. The #MeToo movement has taught me that even after all these years, I must now speak out.

Interviewer: Did you tell your teachers or your parents or anyone at the time?

Victim: No. In fact, my recollection of the entire event is rather hazy but I’m absolutely certain it was Chuckie Schumer, or at least I’m pretty sure it was him.
The Oncenter News Team contacted Schumer's kindergarten friend and asked for comment. He responded with a mixture of unfiltered incredulousness and anger:
Wait, what? You're kidding right? This is nuts. And besides, who the hell would dwell on an event that happened 62 years ago, did no lasting physical harm, and occurred when we were kids. It didn't happen as far as I can remember, but that's way beside the point. F*$&## unbelievable.
When asked to comment on the allegation of gender-based assault leveled against the leader of her party's caucus, Senator Elizabeth Warren (D-MA), along with other Democrat colleagues, seemed circumspect.
Reporter (amid shouting by other media): Is Senator Schumer Guilty?

Warren: Whether these allegations are true or not is irrelevant, we must acknowledge the victim's pain. I do that.

Reporter: But doesn't the truth matter? After all, you're innocent until proven guilty in our country. And besides, this allegation is completely unsubstantiated.

Warren: That's true, but I'm certain that Senator Schumer is innocent of the charges, although I acknowledge the victim's pain.

Reporter: You already said that. Why do you think Schumer is innocent?

Warren: Our investigators have uncovered the name of the victim and have further uncovered details of her political ideology. We have her Facebook profile and her Twitter feed. By the way, she recently deleted key elements of it, obviously trying to hide her political positions.

Another reporter: What have you found?

Warren: Well, there's a picture of the woman, now 67 years old, with a red M.A.G.A. hat! That should tell us all we need to know about her politics. It might be a motivation for her allegation, but I do acknowledge her pain.

The gaggle of reporters collectively gasp.

Warren (continuing): If this allegation is politically motivated in any way, that's deplorable ... no wait, check that, I didn't mean to say 'deplorable.'

Reporter (amid shouting by other media): But you just said, and I quote: "Whether her allegations are true or not is irrelevant ..." How can you now say Schumer is innocent" or that the "allegation is politically motivated."

Senator Mazie Hirono (D-HI) from Hawaii (interrupting angrily): You're a man and you can't understand the pain of a pigtail attack. Men need to shut up and do the right thing.
As the controversy intensifies there have been calls for an FBI investigation of Schumer's kindergarten, 1st, 2nd, and 3rd grade activities, but Democrats are resisting. When asked for comment, an FBI spokesperson shook her head with a wry smile.

For his part, Senator Schumer has vehemently denied the allegations.

"My goodness," said Schumer, "I, of course, acknowledge the victim's pain, but this alleged incident was 62 years ago."

When asked whether an analogous assault with analogous circumstances that occurred 36 years ago would be different, Schumer responded angrily, "Of course, it would!"

When asked why, Schumer walked away.






Tuesday, September 18, 2018

Benefit of the Doubt

The Hill reports:
[An IPSOS/NPR] poll, which was published late last year, found that 79 percent of Americans believe that those who report they are sexual harassment victims should be given the benefit of the doubt.

Seventy-seven percent of respondents said that people accused of sexual harassment should be given the benefit of the doubt until proven otherwise, according to the survey.
That's a reasonable position demonstrating the inherent fairness of the American people. However, the clear implication is that there are no extenuating circumstances that might lead the accuser to misremember key events or facts or in the extreme, manufacture events or facts to achieve some pre-defined objective.

When it comes to the sexual harassment allegation offered by California psychology professor Christine Blasey Ford against SCOTUS nominee, Brett Kavanaugh, it is nearly impossible to determine whether she is telling the truth. Sure, she can be given the benefit of the doubt, but in her case, there are more than enough extenuating circumstances to justify significant skepticism.

First, the event in question happened 35 years ago. Even if Ford's intensions are pure and her trauma is real, it is not unreasonable to assume that a detailed memory of that day's events (before, during and after the alleged harassment) may have become hazy and/or unintentionally embellished over three and a half decades. The editors of Wall Street Journal note:
The vagaries of memory are well known, all the more so when they emerge in the cauldron of a therapy session to rescue a marriage. Experts know that human beings can come to believe firmly over the years that something happened when it never did or is based on partial truth. Mistaken identity is also possible.

The Post reports that the therapist’s notes from 2012 say there were four male assailants, but Ms. Ford says that was a mistake. Ms. Ford also can’t recall in whose home the alleged assault took place, how she got there, or how she got home that evening.
It's also worth noting that Ford's inability to remember the location of the alleged assault is odd. If the event were as traumatic as Ford claims, every detail of the location, the time, and the events would likely be etched into her memory. That isn't the case, making it impossible to interview other potential witnesses who were there.

Second, it appears that Ford is ideologically opposed to Brett Kavanaugh's judicial philosophy and may have reason to help derail his nomination to SCOTUS. She deleted her social media history before her name became public. Maybe that was for privacy, or possibly it was to eliminate claims that she is hyper-partisan. We'll never know.

Third, this is not a he-said/she-said case. Another person in attendance said the alleged incident never happened and other women who knew Kavanaugh contemporaneously said the allegation does not conform to their knowledge of him or his actions at that time.

Fourth, there is no known physical or documented evidence to support Ford's allegation—it is unsubstantiated. Her therapist's notes are not a secondary source, only Ford's earlier commentary on the same alleged incident. They do not represent meaningful corroboration.

And fifth, regardless of the conventional #MeToo wisdom that tells us that all women are always to be believed, there is a small, but non-trivial percentage of harassment allegations that have been provably false.

What might sway an objective observer to conclude that the allegations are true? First, if other provable cases of harassment by Kavanaugh had been found, the credence of Ford's claim would grow. It's worth remembering that Kavanaugh underwent detailed investigation by the FBI six times in his career and no such harassment cases were uncovered, nor were any allegations made.

Second, had the allegation been made without the overlay of a SCOTUS nomination process, it might be more believable. Why didn't Ford come forward when Kavanaugh was first appointed to the federal bench or in 2012 when she revealed the incident to her therapist? After all, Judge Kavanaugh's decisions at the Appeals Court level of the judiciary affected many women. Yet, Ford was silent.

Third, if Ford was politically agnostic (she is not), her allegation's might be given more weight. It's worth asking who benefits from the destruction of Kavanaugh's reputation and whether the accuser is of like mind with those who benefit. In this case, it appears that Ford is an activist Democrat.

Again from the WSJ:
The timing and details of how Ms. Ford came forward, and how her name was coaxed into public view, should also raise red flags about the partisan motives at play. The Post says Ms. Ford contacted the paper via a tip line in July but wanted to remain anonymous. She then brought her story to a Democratic official while still hoping to stay anonymous.

Yet she also then retained a lawyer, Debra Katz, who has a history of Democratic activism and spoke in public defense of Bill Clinton against the accusations by Paula Jones. Ms. Katz urged Ms. Ford to take a polygraph test. The Post says she passed the polygraph, though a polygraph merely shows that she believes the story she is telling.

The more relevant question is why go to such lengths if Ms. Ford really wanted her name to stay a secret? Even this weekend she could have chosen to remain anonymous. These are the actions of someone who was prepared to go public from the beginning if she had to.

None of this says that her allegations are false—we'll probably never know. But there is certainly reason to be very skeptical about their validity, and also reason to give just as much benefit of the doubt to the accused, particularly with the set of extenuating circumstances that come into play in this instance.

UPDATE-1:
------------

After writing about the "collateral damage" that Ford's accusations level on Kavanaugh's family, his daughters and the many woman he coached and mentored, Roger Simon doesn't pull any punches when he writes:
But arguendo everything [Ford] says is true or at least true-ish, is what the young Kavanaugh did anything much different from a million fraternity boys at a million parties? Probably not, although it is reprehensible. But has Kavanaugh since then lived an exemplary life regarding his relationships with women? Evidently. In fact he has mentored them and helped them advance on numerous occasions. Sixty-five women who knew him stepped forward almost instantly to defend him. How many of us could say that? Is he likely to be biased against women as a Supreme Court justice? Nonsense.

Is there a single person of any political persuasion who would vouch for everything he or she did in high school?

Nevertheless, we live in a time of consummate selfishness and evil. Almost nothing is done with clean hands or pure motivation. Few, if anyone, think about others -- in this case even about their very young and impressionable sisters. Christine Blasey Ford is a poster woman for the worst, most narcissistic end of the #MeToo movement.

UPDATE: Grabien is reporting that her students despised Ford and urged others to avoid her. They called her "unfiltered" and "vengeful" on ratemyprofessor.com. This meshes with the vengeance she may have been getting for Kavanaugh's mother adjudicating the trial of Ford's parents.
I'm sure there will be sanctimonious protestations that Christine Blasey Ford has been "victimized" as her life is dissected, following her accusations. Yet, she chose to initiate this ugly episode 35 years after the alleged event occurred.


UPDATE-2:
------------

In a shout out to an awful event that happened over 300 years ago, Lance Morrow discusses the hysteria (called “spectral evidence") that surrounded the Salem witch trials and the strange tricks of memory that had decent people testifying that they saw a woman accused of witch craft turn into a black cat.
Three hundred twenty-six years later, an anonymous woman—a spectral and possibly nonexistent woman, for all that one knew when the story emerged—accused Brett Kavanaugh of sexually assaulting her 36 years ago, when he was a high-school student. It seemed as if the American constitutional process might be drawn back to the neighborhood of Salem, Mass. According to this phantom testimony, 17-year-old Brett held the girl down, pawed her and tried to force himself upon her, and held his hand over her mouth when she screamed, until a second prep-school devil piled on top, they all tumbled to the floor, and the girl managed to slip away. The boys were “stumbling drunk,” according to the account.

You were supposed to feel the sudden wind-shear of hypocrisy. The nominee was a seeming paragon—perfect father and husband and coach of his daughters’ basketball teams. He is a Roman Catholic with an Irish name, but now the script became as gleefully Calvinist as a Hawthorne tale. What imp of hell had possessed the Kavanaugh boy? The Protestant tale seemed to obtain subliminal verification against the background of Catholic sex-abuse scandals.

Thus the constitutional process takes on an aspect of the 21st-century medieval.
I can only wonder how modern day Democrats would have judged the spectral evidence presented in Salem, Massachusetts in 1692.

UPDATE-3:
----------------

This entire Democrat-generated Ford v. Kavanaugh episode is so despicable, so vicious, it deserves three updates. But, but, but, argue progressives ... Merrick Garland.

Uh ... no. The GOP held the Senate at the end of the Obama era and had a constitutional right to block hearings on Garland. The Dems didn't like it but the solution was to win back the senate or have their candidate, Hillary Clinton win or both. Neither happened.

The GOP never vilified Garland, never accused him a sexual harassment and never ginned up last minute unsubstantiated accusations that tarnished his character and reputation. That was left for the Democrats to do this past week.

Richard Epstein writes:
[Christine Blasey Ford ] putting the information exclusively in the hands of key Democrats thus invited the wholly corrupt strategy that has now unfolded. First, the Democrats would try to discredit Kavanaugh by engaging in a set of procedural antics and obnoxious substantive questions during the hearing, without mentioning this letter. When that strategy abjectly failed, they knew they had to go to Plan B, which was to release the letter and the allegation days before the confirmation vote. A perfect sandbag, for the Democrats knew full well that there was no time to respond to them, without causing an enormous delay in the confirmation hearings. Their hope was, and is, to create a huge media circus that would take weeks if not months to sort out. Shipwreck this nomination. Make it impossible for the current Senate to pass on any subsequent nominee before January. Then take control of the Senate and create a stalemate that could run on until the next presidential election.

And for what? Ford, Kavanaugh’s accuser, maintained a stony silence on these allegations for more than 35 years. At no point did she raise them in connection with the Senate confirmation hearings before Kavanaugh was confirmed in 2006. Kavanaugh has categorically denied the allegations. Late last week, Mark Judge, his alleged accomplice, denounced the allegations as “absolutely nuts.” No other woman has ever made any allegation of this sort against Kavanaugh. and 65 women have written an explicit letter in his defense. Kavanaugh is right not to respond beyond his categorical denial, knowing full well that further comment would only draw him further into a vortex on which credibility determinations would be unending. And the Senate is right to continue with the confirmation vote. The institutional damage to the Senate, the Supreme Court, and the nation has already been enormous. What is left now is only the sorry task of damage containment. What sane judge would like to be the next Supreme Court nominee?
The Dems don't care—it's the politics of personal destruction all the way down. Sad.

Monday, September 17, 2018

Kavanaugh—Part 4

The Democrats tried it with Anita Hill and failed, but not before sullying the reputation of Clarence Thomas and dragging the nation through a vicious episode of the politics of personal destruction. Now, the Dems are trying it again, this time dredging up an unsubstantiated allegation of a teenage "assault" 35 years ago involving Brett Kavanaugh. An assault that he unequivocally denies.

Of course in the #MeToo era, we are supposed to believe the victim without critical evaluation, no matter that the victim is allegedly a left-wing, anti-Trump activist who never reported the now 35-year old incident until 2012 and then, never named Kavanaugh in discussions with her therapist at that time.

Cleverly, her current letter just happened to use the phrase "I thought he might inadvertently kill me," the perfect pull quote for the trained hamsters in the CNN/MSNBC crowd. But if in fact, the drunken teenage "attack" was as serious as alleged, it's rather odd that it was never reported to any adult, to the police, to the victim's friends ... to no one. It's also odd that there was no physical evidence of the attack that might have been noticed by parents or friends, after all, the attack was allegedly so severe that the victim feared for her life.

Of course, the #MeToo era demands that every allegation be fully investigated immediately. But if that were the case, how come Senator Diane Feinstein (a staunch defender of women's rights) silently held the allegation for over two months, doing nothing, and waited until the 11th hour to make it public? It's also rather interesting that the accuser demanded anonymity, something that I thought defenders of woman's rights would respect. Nah, she was outed within 48 hours of the allegation going public in order to give the unsubstantiated allegation the weight of a human identity.

The #MeToo movement suggests that a man's denial is not to be trusted, but how are we to interpret the fact that 65 female high school classmates of Brett Kavanaugh have responded to the allegation by telling us that he was an upstanding student and person who treated women with respect. Are we to believe the single victim who alleges assault without any evidence to prove it happened or the 65 women who tell us Kavanaugh's character and demeanor belie that allegation.

No matter that six different FBI investigations never uncovered the alleged incident. No matter that 65 female classmates of Brett Kavanaugh vouch for him. No matter that the victim's background and politics clearly indicate potential bias against Kavanaugh's conservative judicial temperment or that the timing of the allegation is so, so convenient. Nah, the Senate will now come to a full stop as the episode is fully investigated in what Clarance Thomas rightly described as a high tech lynching. Or maybe, just maybe, the GOP majority on the committee will have the guts to see this for what it is—a ploy to game the system and a cynical attempt to use sympathy for #MeToo to derail Kavanaugh's nomination.

This entire episode stinks to high heaven. It's an obvious delaying tactic designed to destroy Kavanaugh's reputation, provide a political cover for Dems who might vote for him for political expediency before the mid-terms, and possibly derail his nomination after the mid-terms. It's vicious and despicable. It's also what the Dems have done before and are now doing again.

UPDATE:
---------------
David Harsanyi dissects the Democrats' vicious strategy well when he writes:
There is no possible outcome in which Democrats will concede Kavanaugh’s innocence, or even concede that we can’t really know what transpired on that night 36 years ago. Republicans can accede to as many hearings as Democrats demand, and it won’t alter any of the liberal rhetoric or perceptions of partisans. Republicans could put Kavanaugh’s classmates under oath and have them deny that anything inappropriate or criminal occurred that night, and it wouldn’t matter. Nor does it matter if 65 women come forward and attest to Kavanaugh’s sterling character — in fact, for Democrats, it’s merely confirmation that the judge is covering something up. It doesn’t matter that, as far as we now know, there’s no pattern of bad behavior from Kavanaugh into adulthood (unlike say, Roy Moore or Bill Clinton).

What we do know is that there will be no genuine due process in the Senate circus. Kavanaugh, who’s said he’s willing to speak to the judiciary committee, will never get a fair hearing. This is by design. Whether Ford’s accusation is true or not, Democratic Sen. Dianne Feinstein surely orchestrated the leak and subsequent release of Ford’s letter, not merely to sink Kavanaugh and create the impression that he was hiding something, but also to ensure that Republicans will be delayed moving forward with any nomination until after the midterms. Even now, leading Democrats on the judiciary committee are arguing that any hearings featuring Ford should be delayed.

There’s no other explanation for the timing of the letter. The senator claims the allegations are “extremely serious and bear heavily on Judge Kavanaugh’s character.” Yet, according to reports, Democrats were in possession of Ford’s letter for months and sat on it. Feinstein personally met with Kavanaugh and didn’t bring up this “extremely serious” charge of sexual assault. Why not? She could have asked him about the allegations while keeping the accuser’s name confidential. Democrats submitted over a thousand questions to Kavanaugh on the record, and not one of them were about whether he had ever engaged in any “extremely serious” behavior. Feinstein also had Kavanaugh sitting in front of her, under oath, during public Senate hearings, and never asked him about the letter.

It’s worth remembering that these Democrat tactics aren’t only meant to sink this nomination — should they end up forcing Kavanaugh to withdraw — but also to damage the credibility of any Supreme Court featuring Trump-nominated (or, let’s be honest, Republican-nominated) justices. Democrats have been dishonestly challenging the “legitimacy” of the court throughout these hearings. The simple fact is that they don’t want to abide by any authority that treats the Constitution seriously, because it’s often the only thing standing in the way of their coercive policies.
For just a moment, consider what would have happened if during the Senate hearings on SCOTUS nominee Sonya Sotomayor a letter appeared within days of her confirmation vote with unsubstantiated evidence that she uttered a racist slur against a African American man. Or during the confirmation hearings for SCOTUS nominee Elena Kagan, she was accused of having an unsubstantiated sexual encounter with an underage male intern years ago. The trained hamsters in the media would fly into a rage. The "victim" would be vilified and the matter would be dismissed post haste. But here's the thing. The GOP has never done this to a SCOTUS nominee, regardless of their ideology. It has never stooped to this level of vicious and despicable character assassination. That simple reality tells us more about Democrats and Republicans than any policy paper possibly could.

Sunday, September 16, 2018

In-The-Small

Sometimes it's important to look at things in-the-small to learn important lessons about things in-the-large.

The Democrats desperately want to take over Congress in order to resist Donald Trump. In fact, that seems to be their entire raison d'être. The Dems seem unable to tell us exactly what they'd do to improve the economy (it's booming), improve the plight of the middle class (it's improving by the month), reduce unemployment (it's already at its lowest levels in decades), fix healthcare (it's hobbled by the remnants of Obamacare, a program they continue to champion), improve the lives of minorities (black and hispanics have seen the best economic and jobs picture in half a century), reduce hot spots around the world (their guy, nincompoop, John Kerry, is working hard to submarine any progress in controlling Iran). But none of that seems to matter, in fact, their message is simple—hate on Trump.

But back to things in the small. Michael Barone writes about the great city of Chicago and the recent announcement that a mega-political operator, Mayor Rahm Emanuel, has decided not to run for re-election:
Chicago is one of the great creations of mankind: a frontier post in 1833 that was one of the world’s great cities just 60 years later, showing off in the World’s Columbian Exposition of 1893 its new lakefront parks, its new electric light systems, its sanitary canal channeling wastewater away from Lake Michigan, its pioneering skyscrapers and enormous stockyards and factories.

Now the economic foundations of the metropolis are being drained and undermined to provide the generous pensions of long-retired public employees, many of them now in income-tax-free Florida, while public schools are closed, services reduced, police patrols pulled back.

That looks like a future of decline for Chicago, and maybe for America, too. Democrats have shown zero interest in reducing the entitlements of retirees, not since President Bill Clinton broke off negotiations with House Speaker Newt Gingrich amid the impeachment crisis of 1998. Ditto Donald Trump, and no Republican seems to be raising the issue, as President George W. Bush did in 2005.

It’s not a good sign — like a cold wind coming off Lake Michigan — that even as shrewd and well-connected a politician as Rahm Emanuel doesn’t see a viable way forward.
Chicago has had a Democratic mayor and city council for 64 of 68 years! Therefore, the city represents an excellent laboratory for the effectiveness of long-term Democratic governance in-the-small. By any viable measure—including the city budget, taxes, pension obligations, education, public safety, net outflow of taxpaying residents—Chicago is in trouble—big trouble.

Barone provides a recent history:
[Democratic Mayor Rahm] Emanuel inherited a city whose electorate was divided roughly equally between blacks on the South and West sides, Hispanics on the West and Northwest sides and gentry liberals running ever farther inland from the lakefront. It had a great economic heritage and enjoyed robust growth in the 1990s.

It has been downhill since. Chicago and Illinois have been hobbled by metastasizing pension obligations, frozen in place by state courts [judges appointed by a Democratic legislature] and [Democratic] state House speaker Michael Madigan. Taxes have been rising: Shoppers on North Michigan Avenue pay the nation’s highest taxes.

Chicagoans have been voting with their feet. Metro Chicago has by far the highest percentage of domestic out-migration of any major metropolitan area, and net outflow this decade is 5 percent of its 2010 population. In particular, blacks have been leaving metro Chicago for Atlanta and other points south.

Emanuel’s electoral base has been lakefront liberals plus a plurality of whichever minority group hasn’t produced his main opponent. That was blacks in 2015, but his standing with black voters has been hurt by his concealment during electoral season of the videotape of a police shooting of a young black man.

At the same time, Emanuel acquiesced in Obama administration oversight of the city’s police department. And police officers’ retreat from proactive policing has led to enormous increases in shootings and homicides.
A tax and spend economic model dovetailed with concessions to public sector unions is the mother's milk of Democratic policy in-the-small and also in-the-large. It has crippled blue cities (like Chicago) and blue states (like Connecticut) forcing economic decline and in some cases, conditions that force significant out-migration.

And yet, the Dems tell us that the policies that have failed in-the-small will somehow work in-the-large at a federal level. The entire presidency of Barack Obama demonstrated that claim to be false, but it's trotted out every two years. To help people believe their demonstrably false claims, Democrats always mix in a heaping cup of emotion—hate Trump, abolish racist, MeToo, and now Democratic Socialism.

If none of it works in-the-small, why on earth would anyone believe it would work in-the-large. But that's what the Dems are selling, and in these turbulent times emotion may very well trump comment sense, past history, and critical thinking.