I have not so far written about the absolute bloody circus into which the Senate confirmation hearings for Trump’s Supreme Court nominee Brett Kavanaugh have turned out to be, partly because US Congress at the best of times boggles my mind too much and partly because I have been waiting as long as possible to form an ever so slightly informed judgment instead of jumping to reflexive conclusions. But with every new day of the farce my internal outrage-o-metre is reaching closer to the explosion point and today might actually be the day. Not the least because of the tweet from Michael Avenatti:
Brett Kavanaugh must also be asked about this entry in his yearbook: "FFFFFFFourth of July." We believe that this stands for: Find them, French them, Feel them, Finger them, F*ck them, Forget them. As well as the term "Devil's Triangle." Perhaps Sen. Grassley can ask him. #Basta
— Michael Avenatti (@MichaelAvenatti) September 24, 2018
“The Creepy Porn Lawyer”, now best known for representing Stormy Daniels and fancying himself a possible Democrat nominee in 2020, has yesterday sent an email to Mike Davis, the chief counsel for nominations at the Senate Judiciary Committee, stating that he possesses “significant evidence of multiple house parties in the Washington D.C. area during the early 1980s [where Kavanaugh, his friend Mark Judge and others] would participate in the targeting of women with alcohol/drugs.” What constitutes that evidence remains so far unknown. I hope for the sake of sanity that it does not consist of trying to decipher old school yearbooks like some sort of a dirty Da Vinci Code. Clearly, Avenatti must be more in with the lingo, as I’m neither myself aware nor can I find any confirmation of his translation. FFFFFF is a programming reference to the colour white (which post-dates the early 1980s) and multiple “Fs” can also signify the long-drawn and unfinished “f***” said in amazement or consternation. If Georgetown 35 years ago had its own special slang it left no permanent record anywhere I can find.
But this is the level to which the whole affair has now degenerated – no different to the Pizzagate conspiracy theory on the alt-right fringes, except backed and pushed by the Democrat mainstream.
The original accusation of an attempted sexual assault against Kavanaugh by Christine “Chrissy” Blasey Ford seems quite Kafkaesque. Ford is not able to say when or where the alleged incident took place. The only person she has apparently ever recounted it over the years is her counsellor a few years ago, without mentioning anything about the attacker including his name. The four people Ford indicated were present at the party witnessing/participating/being aware of, including her long-time friend, have all denied under oath any knowledge of the incident or the party at which it might have happened. Meanwhile, the Democrats’ efforts to ensure Ford doesn’t herself testify under oath despite being given all sorts of options of doing it suggests to me they never expected things to progress to the stage where a sworn testimony would be required. Not unreasonably in light of the recent #MeToo controversies, Senator Feinstein (who sat on the information for months) and her cronies probably thought that it would be sufficient to merely drop the accusation a week before the confirmation vote, without any backing evidence whatsoever, and Kavanaugh would simply pull out or be pulled out by the terrified Republicans. But this is not what happened.
Whether you believe Ford pretty much depend on where you sit politically. “Believe women” is a nice slogan, but the Democrat hypocrisy becomes apparent when much more credible and recent allegations against the ex-DNC chair Rep Keith Ellison are being dismissed by Ellison himself as “cooked” by a spurned woman, ignored by his senior colleagues, and only believed by 45 per cent of the Democrat voters in Minnesota (with only 21 per cent saying he should have resigned) – meanwhile 83 per cent of state central committee has endorsed him . It’s easy to believe women when it’s politically convenient; consistency is hard to find.
The sentiment behind “believe women” is a pious one. Sexual violence, goes without saying, is horrendous, and its victims deserve justice, sympathy and healing. In addition, sexual violence is , for a variety of reasons, perhaps the most under-reported crime. But it is also perhaps the most falsely accused one, with anywhere between 2 and 10 per cent of cases involving the complainant lying about the attack (again, for a variety of reasons, including blackmail, revenge, as a weapon in child custody battles, etc.). The whole reason we have developed justice system is precisely because believing is not enough. To this, some would reply that Senate confirmation hearings are neither criminal nor civil proceedings and thus do not require the accuser to satisfy the “beyond the reasonable doubt” or “the balance of probabilities” standard of proof. This is technically true, but it is also disingenuous, since while the accused might not end up in jail or having to pay damages to the victim these sorts of accusations completely destroy the accused’s reputation and often their livelihood. Full due process might be too much to ask for but surely it should take more than just a “she/he says” to ruin somebody for life. But this goes further – we are now seeing the efforts to reverse not just the presumption of innocence but also the onus of proof: a mere accusation itself means that you are automatically deemed guilty, and you will be deemed guilty unless you can prove – and this time the old standard of proof (beyond any shadow of doubt) remains – that you are innocent. It’s a catch-22, however, the very fact that you have been accused (even without any supporting evidence) means that you are most likely guilty because, well, “believe women”.
And now, courtesy of “The New Yorker”, we have a second accuser, this time from Kavanaugh’s first year at Yale, where at a party he apparently exposed himself to Deborah Ramirez and thrust his penis in the direction of her face. Ramirez herself was so drunk at the party she self-confessed has memory gaps.
In her initial conversations with The New Yorker, she was reluctant to characterize Kavanaugh’s role in the alleged incident with certainty. After six days of carefully assessing her memories and consulting with her attorney, Ramirez said that she felt confident enough of her recollections.
The article quotes some hearsay – on both sides of the fence – but that’s about it. Again, supposed witnesses are denying their presence at the party and/or their knowledge of the alleged incident. The attorney, who so ably helped to refresh Ramirez’s memory, is a former Democrat official recommended by a Democrat Senator.
— Guy Benson (@guypbenson) September 24, 2018
Sadly, this is a win-win game for the Democrats: even if the allegations don’t politically destroy the opponents, anyone who doesn’t unreservedly accept the accuser’s story can and will be portrayed as a woman-hater, sexist and misogynist scum and a rape-enabler. Either way your base is whipped up in a frenzy and enough mud gets thrown around to stick as far as the non-committed voters in the middle are concerned. One thing you can be certain: a tactic that works this well will be used again and again in the future. For all those who can’t comprehend how the witch trials or the show trials could have actually happened, here’s your chance to see the past without a time machine. The losers out of all this are genuine victims of sexual violence, for whom every politicised frivolous accusation means more public skepticism amongst large sections of the public in the future.