Synopsis: Like millions of others, I watched the Senate Judiciary Committee hearing during which Christine Blasey Ford detailed her sexual assault allegation against Supreme Court hopeful Brett Kavanaugh. In case you missed the made-for-TV special, the words of Groucho Marx provide the best summary. Specifically, it was “a travesty of a mockery of a sham.” Senator Dianne Feinstein (D-CA) earns a “T10B Busted” Nomination for promoting the un-American notion of presumed guilt. Fellow Senators Dick Blumenthal (D-CT) and Cory Booker (D-NJ) deserve honorable mentions for their hypocritical roles in the spectacle. Overall, Feinstein edges out the other two because she led the effort to use an alleged victim as a political pawn.
T10B Busted Nominee: Dianne Feinstein
My daughter began her sophomore year at a “Jr. University” last month. She lamented when she didn’t get into a class titled, “Business Ethics.” I told her not to worry because the subject matter is an oxymoron and the course could be summarized by saying, “They don’t exist.” Similarly, “political integrity” is an oxymoron. If you doubt me, I offer the Kavanaugh/Ford hearing as support.
Prior to last month, I only remember being glued to the TV for three other congressional hearings.
- The Iran-Contra Affair in the late 1980s.
- Anita Hill v. Clarence Thomas in the early 1990s.
- Bill Clinton’s impeachment in the late 1990s.
The lasting quotes from each of these scandals include the following.
- National Security Advisor John M. Poindexter claiming “the buck stops here” in an effort to protect President Reagan from knowledge of the illicit exchange of weapons for hostages.
- Clarence Thomas describing the Anita Hill hearing as a “high-tech lynching for uppity blacks” when trying to deflect his inappropriate interaction with a subordinate in the workplace.
- Bill Clinton emphatically wagging his finger saying, “I did not have sexual relations with that woman, Miss Lewinsky.” when dishonestly denying his sexual activities with an intern.
SLICK WILLIE WITH CROOKED HILLARY
I can now add Ford v. Kavanaugh to my greatest/worst hits compilation. After watching the hearing and ensuing cable news coverage, I imagined the lasting memory to be of the following.
If not confirmed,
- Christine Ford saying, “Indelible in the hippocampus is the laughter” when describing the horror of the alleged assault.
- Brett Kavanaugh saying, “I like beer. Do you like beer, Senator?” when trying to defend his drinking habits.
- Ford saying, “I don’t recall.” when unable to provide important details throughout the proceedings.
- Kavanaugh saying, “You have replaced advise and consent with search and destroy.” when admonishing the Democrats on the committee.
- Lindsey Graham saying, “You’re looking for a fair process? You came to the wrong town, at the wrong time, my friend.”
I gave Kavanaugh the following odds of being confirmed at various times before and after the hearing.
- Before anyone testified: >60%.
- After Ford testified: <30%.
- After Kavanaugh testified: >75%.
- Upon learning that Senator Jeff Flake would vote in favor of Kavanaugh: >90%.
- Upon learning that Flake had flaked and demanded an FBI investigation after being accosted by protesters in an elevator: >60%.
Basically, my odds didn’t change despite 24 hours of political grandstanding and theatrics. After the one-week investigation requested by Senator Flake, the FBI couldn’t find any corroborating evidence supporting Ford’s claims. Based on those results, the U.S. Circuit Judge ultimately got confirmed to the highest court. Time will tell, but I predict that Graham’s quote will be the lasting impression from the Kavanaugh confirmation process.
Dr. Christine Blasey Ford
I viewed Ford as being very credible during her testimony. That’s why I reduced the odds of Kavanaugh’s confirmation from 60% to 30% after her appearance. At the same time, I had a few lingering questions/concerns about her recollection of events.
First, Ford couldn’t remember a lot of specifics about exactly what happened, when it happened, where it happened, how she got there, or how she got home. Yet, she specifically remembered having one beer. I acknowledge that President Trump already exposed this concern at one of his rallies. However, I had the same thought while watching her live testimony.
I also was puzzled by another specific memory she had of Kavanaugh and fellow assailant Mark Judge “pinballing down the stairs” while she hid in a locked bathroom after the alleged attack. Arizonian prosecutor (and Republican bodyguard) Rachel Mitchell exposed some inconsistencies about what Ford heard, or could have heard. Yet, those discrepancies didn’t bother me as much as Ford’s memory of her attackers “pinballing down the stairs” because that was a visual description of something she couldn’t have seen. It made me wonder how much of her testimony might have been suggested by others.
Second, Ford claimed that she feared Kavanaugh would “accidentally kill her” during the alleged attack. I just don’t get how anyone can use the word “accidentally.” Then again, I can imagine the following hypothetical exchange between Ford and one of her attorneys.
Attorney: So, would you say that you believed Kavanaugh would kill you during the attack?
Ford: No. Oh, no.
Attorney: Could you say that you believed Kavanaugh might have accidentally killed you during the attack?
Ford: Yeah, I guess I could say that.
Third, Ford claims she approached Judge (Mark, not Kavanaugh) at a supermarket several weeks after the presumed attack. She admitted to using a different entrance than her mother (“because that’s what teenagers do”), yet willingly talked to her recent assailant. I have become quite adept detouring through various aisles of a supermarket when I don’t want to run into someone. It would have been more believable if Ford said she made a quick turn or ran for the exit after seeing Judge.
Fourth, Ford could not remember major details surrounding the polygraph test she took in early August 2018. Based on her testimony, Ford either:
A. Attended her grandmother’s funeral, went to an airport hotel to take the polygraph test, spent the night at the hotel, and flew out the next day.
B. Attended her grandmother’s funeral, spent the night at an airport hotel, took the polygraph test the next day at the hotel, and flew out later that day.
To make it more clear cut, she couldn’t remember if she went to a funeral in the morning and then took the polygraph in the afternoon/evening or if she took the polygraph in the morning and then got on a plane in the afternoon/evening. Was it possible that she took two tests – one in the afternoon after the funeral and one in the morning before her flight? Regardless, how can anyone accept her recollection from 30 years ago when she can’t remember what happened two months ago?
Despite my concerns, I believed that something bad had happened to Ford. I thought she simply “misremembered” who assaulted her. Regardless, she created enough doubt to question Kavanaugh’s confirmation. That is, until he responded.
JUDGE BRETT KAVANAUGH
As previously mentioned, I increased Kavanaugh’s odds of being confirmed from 30% to 75% after hearing him testify. If you’ve only seen clips of the hearing, you might conclude that he seemed overly emotional (especially when discussing his high school calendar). However, his emotions seem more appropriate when put in context with his entire testimony.
I fully understand that we often develop impressions based on snippets provided by the media. As a case in point, I bet your memory of Kavanaugh’s testimony has been influenced by a You Tube video of Matt Damon on SNL. If you haven’t seen the skit, click on the previous link because it’s quite amusing. Either way, I need to digress with an worthwhile backstory.
MATT DAMON – #METOO ENEMY
At the beginning of the #MeToo movement in late 2017, Matt Damon clumsily got into the mix by trying to differentiate rapists like Top 10 Busted: Harvey Weinstein and perverts like Louis CK. In a New York Times article published on December 17, 2017, Christina Caron wrote:
‘You know, there’s a difference between, you know, patting someone on the butt and rape or child molestation, right?’ he [Damon] told Peter Travers of ABC. ‘Both of those behaviors need to be confronted and eradicated without question, but they shouldn’t be conflated, right?’
Those comments were met with anger and frustration online, where many women, including the actress Alyssa Milano, rejected attempts to categorize various forms of sexual misconduct.
‘They all hurt,’ Ms. Milano wrote on Twitter on Friday. ‘And they are all connected to a patriarchy intertwined with normalized, accepted — even welcomed — misogyny.’
Imagine the following situation ten months later. Saturday Night Live executive producer Lorne Michaels approaches Matt Damon’s agent with the following proposition.
Matt fumbled the whole #MeToo movement last year. I understand that he hasn’t faced any accusations [yet], but he could do a lot for himself by starring in our cold open making fun of Brett Kavanaugh. Of course, Matt would portray the judge. As a kicker, we’ll poke fun at Alyssa Milano for her questionable appearance at the hearing.
Based on the following photo, I assume Damon’s agent sold it to his client.
DAMON AS KAVANAUGH
Damon’s best line from the bit might have been, “I’m a half-keg-full kinda guy.” Additionally, he nailed Kavanaugh’s water guzzling habit and love of beer. I believe that the judge had/has a drinking problem and likely can’t remember everything that ever happened after having too much to drink (i.e. blacking out). Still, I strongly believe he never molested Christine Ford. In fact, I doubt they ever met in high school.
To be clear, the hearing had nothing to do with #MeToo or alleged sexual assault. It simply resulted from gutter politics in an attempt to derail the Supreme Court confirmation of a respected federal judge. In case you doubt that statement, I offer two of the accusers: admitted liar Senator Dick Blumenthal (D-CT) and admitted sexual assaulter Senator Cory Booker (D-NJ).
DICK BLUMENTHAL (D – CT)
During his questioning of Kavanaugh, Senator Blumenthal asked if the aspiring Supreme Court Justice understood the following quote.
Falsus in uno, falsus in omnibus.
I questioned my son’s desire to drop Spanish in favor of Latin when he got to high school. At this point of the hearing, I respected his decision and wish I had done the same because I wouldn’t have needed to wait to hear Blumenthal translate the quote as:
False in one thing, false in everything.
Apparently, Senator Blumenthal hoped to imply that one untruth by Kavanaugh (e.g. lying about “blacking out”) should completely discredit the judge. Unfortunately, Blumenthal was the wrong messenger because he admittedly lied about serving in Vietnam.
As written in the New York Times,
‘We have learned something important since the days that I served in Vietnam,’ Mr. Blumenthal said to the group gathered in Norwalk in March 2008. ‘And you exemplify it. Whatever we think about the war, whatever we call it — Afghanistan or Iraq — we owe our military men and women unconditional support.
There was one problem: Mr. Blumenthal, a Democrat now running for the United States Senate, never served in Vietnam. He obtained at least five military deferments from 1965 to 1970 and took repeated steps that enabled him to avoid going to war, according to records.
According to my wife, I often recount stories forgetting that she’s the person who originally told them to me. I would argue that I have a good memory, but I apparently “black out” at times when she talks to me. Instead, I hope she realizes that I’m listening to her even when it might not seem like I am.
I don’t accept Blumenthal’s premise of “false in one thing, false in everything.” However, he does. For that reason, he should be held to that standard. I implore the residents of Connecticut to vote out Senator Blumenthal because “once a liar, always a liar.”
SENATOR CORY BOOKER (D-NJ)
Having attended the same “Jr. University” as my daughter, I distinctly remember reading the following editorial in the Stanford Daily during my senior year. Like many other students, I shockingly read the article written by fellow student Cory Booker. Yeah, he’s the same guy who’s now a Senator from New Jersey.
Here are Booker’s own words.
Telling one’s own personal story is often the most powerful way to make a point, or, more importantly, to make people think. When grandiose statements entrenched in politically correct terminology are made, many may listen but few will hear.
When I hesitated in writing this column, I realized I was basking in hypocrisy. So instead I chose to write and risk.
New Year’s Eve 1984 I will never forget. I was 15. As the ball dropped, I leaned over to hug a friend and she met me instead with an overwhelming kiss. As we fumbled upon the bed, I remember debating my next “move” as if it were a chess game. With the “Top Gun” slogan ringing in my head, I slowly reached for her breast. After having my hand pushed away once, I reached my “mark.”
Our groping ended soon and while no “relationship” ensued, a friendship did. You see, the next week in school she told me that she was drunk that night and didn’t really know what she was doing.
Before exposing Booker for “basking in hypocrisy” by attacking Kavanuagh, I need to recount my own personal story.
ZULU SPEAR . . . ZULU SPEAR . . . ZULU SPEAR!
Early in my freshman year at Stanford, I somehow connived my way on stage with the band Zulu Spear. I have many talents, but singing certainly isn’t one of them. Realizing that my lack of talent would be quickly realized, I simply screamed “Zulu Spear!” at least 10 times before getting escorted off the stage. Fortunately, the band let me stay and continue to enjoy the show.
After getting back to my preferred spot in the front row, someone grinded me from behind and whispered in my ear, “Do you want my Zulu Spear?” I turned around ready to say, “F_ck Off!” However, I quickly assessed the situation and simply said, “No thanks.” after realizing that the guy was a lot bigger than I was. Uncomfortable with what happened, I casually danced through the crowd before heading back to my dorm.
If asked to repeat the events from that night, I could pass a polygraph test by saying that I only had one beer. Noticeably missing from that statement is the same qualifier missing from Ford’s testimony. Of note, “one beer” is quite vague. Was it one [can of] beer or one [pitcher of] beer. If questioned under oath, I intentionally would omit [large amount of] before admitting that I only had “one beer.”
After getting back to my room, a fellow dormmate thought it would be funny to tape me in my inebriated state. While others might have argued that I must have “blacked out,” I distinctly remember J-Dog (aka “Rat Tail”) running to grab his tape recorder (it was the 1980s) because he thought it would be funny to record the guy who was running for dorm president against him. Even if J-Dog still has the tape, I doubt there’s a device to play it. Like Kavanaugh, I thankfully didn’t have to grow up in a world where there’s an insatiable desire to post everything on social media.
Perhaps I don’t remember all of the details from that night. Then again, Christine Ford didn’t either so that shouldn’t matter. After seeing and hearing Cory Booker at the Senate Judiciary Committee hearings, I think he was the guy who assaulted me 30 years ago. I bring it up now to get on the record before Booker announces any intention to run for President. If he does, all Americans should know that he not only violated a high school classmate, but also may have assaulted me in college. I do not want to become a political pawn like Ford, but I feel compelled to share my story. #MeToo.
BACK TO BOOKER
As a college senior, Cory Booker decided to write an article exposing himself as a sexual predator because he wanted to avoid “basking in hypocrisy.” Now a U.S. Senator from New Jersey, Booker has no qualms about being a hypocrite. Specifically, he condemned Kavanaugh for allegedly doing what he admittedly did himself.
Well before Ford’s allegation became known to anyone outside of Dianne Feinstein’s office, Booker already jumped on the soapbox denouncing Kavanaugh’s nomination. Here are Booker’s own words from July 2018.
There is so much at stake here; this has nothing to do with politics. This is to do about who we are as moral beings. And so I wanna call on everybody. I’m not here to tell folk just what they should know, I’m here to call on folk to understand that in a moral moment, there is no neutral. In a moral moment, there is no bystanders. You are either complicit in evil, you are either contributing to wrong, or you are fighting against it.
As a quick aside, perhaps it’s a different Cory Booker because his conjugation skills appear to be lacking. Then again, maybe that’s his new angle. He’s now a man of the people who doesn’t know how to speak proper English.
To be clear, Booker claimed that anyone supporting Kavanaugh was either “complicit in evil” or “contributing to wrong.” At that point, I couldn’t help but remember Hillary Clinton calling Trump supporters a “basket of deplorables.” If Booker decides to run in 2020, he’ll likely suffer the same fate as equally hypocritical Crooked Hillary.
Despite all of Booker’s political grandstanding (e.g. defiantly releasing confidential documents previously removed from confidential status), Kavanaugh seemed poised to get confirmed in early September. At that point, the Democrats needed to go to Plan B. Welcome the senior Senator from California, Dianne Feinstein.
DIANNE FEINSTEIN (D-CA)
CRYPT KEEPER / DIANNE FEINSTEIN – IS THERE A DIFFERENCE?
A few years after allegedly getting assaulted by future Senator Cory Booker, I went to a fund raiser in San Francisco for Barbara Boxer in her attempt to join Dianne Feinstein as a senator from California. Apparently, my future wife had connections because we were seated at the same table as former Moonlighting star Cybill Shepherd. Unfortunately, I forgot to load film in my Kodak Disc Camera so I can’t confirm the disgruntled look Maddie Hayes had when I took her picture with my better looking girlfriend.
I was 21 at the time and really didn’t care much about politics. I certainly didn’t care about an election in California because I knew I would be moving back to Connecticut in a few months. In retrospect, I should have paid more attention because I didn’t appreciate that the Clarence Thomas / Anita Hill hearings from several months earlier would have such an impact on Californian voters. Of note, they only have elected female Democrat senators since then.
Dianne Feinstein was 59 years old when she first won a seat in the U.S. Senate. Now, she’s 85 years old. Let me repeat, she’s 85! Before moving on from that point, I realize that Senate Judiciary Committee Chairman Chuck Grassley is also 85. And, he’s equally senile. I’m not supporting age discrimination against capable public servants, but there should be a limit. I learned during the hearing that both Feinstein and Grassley have passed that limit.
ALYSSA MILANO AT THE FORD/KAVANAUGH HEARING
— Seung Min Kim (@seungminkim) September 27, 2018
Apparently, Senator Feinstein thought having #MeToo spokesperson Alyssa Milano in the audience would help the cause. Based on her cleavage-revealing outfit, Milano must have viewed it as an audition for her next role. If her gig as social activist doesn’t work out, I predict she’ll be starring in Hallmark specials within five years. I’m not shaming her, but rather being realistic about her acting skills.
I fully understand Milano’s desire to support other women given her sexual victimization as a child. However, she shouldn’t automatically assume that every woman is telling the truth and every man is lying. At the same time, I’d like her to explain when she decides to speak out and when she decides to stay silent.
After former Charmed castmate Rose McGowan came out publicly with rape accusations against Hollywood mogul Harvey Weinstein, Milano decided to stay silent out of respect for her friendship with Weinstein’s wife. Specifically, the former Poison Ivy II star said:
Georgina Chapman is my friend. She is one of the most special humans I have ever met. Harvey and Georgina also have two very young children who my children have known their entire lives. It is because of my love for Georgina, India and Dashiell that I haven’t publicly commented on this until now. Please don’t confuse my silence for anything other than respect for a dear friend and her beautiful children.
Was it possible that Milano stayed silent because of her gig as the host of Project Runway All Stars, which was produced by the Weinstein Company? Nah, why would that have mattered? Milano also has refused to call out former President Bill Clinton for being a sexual predator. Hey Alyssa, you’re a H-Y-P-R-O-C-R-I-T-E!
I already covered Hollywood hypocrisy so there’s nothing more that needs to be said.
CHRISTINE FORD TESTIMONY – REVISITED
I have based my comments up to this point on my own impression of the testimony provided during the hearing. However, during the one-week delay due to the FBI investigation, I decided to research what others might be thinking. In particular, I wondered if any body language experts may have been able to detect something I might have missed. Without considering any potential political bias, I thought BombardsBodyLanguage.com provided the most thorough and convincing analysis.
To repeat, I believe something happened to Ford. I simply think she incorrectly remembered who assaulted her. Based on this evaluation of her testimony, I may have underestimated the “Doctor.” According to the body language expert speaking in the clip, Ford manipulated us with the intent to influence our impression of her.
WERE WE FOOLED?
According to the expert:
- Ford intentionally used emotion to influence reaction to her testimony.
- She talked like a little girl when describing the event because adults want to believe kids who have had heinous things happen to them.
- The expert even described Ford trying to be a “small little church mouse” accusing the “big mean kitty.” Watch the clip because that was the expert’s impression, not mine.
- When trying to elicit sympathy, Ford lowered her chin into her neck to sound choked up as if she had mucus building up in her throat. For a visual, look at the middle frame from the previous image.
- A person normally would lift his or her head to get rid of the mucus, so the expert viewed the effort as a manipulation tactic.
- As another manipulation tactic, the expert noted Ford’s use of a “pretty pose”
followed up by “defiance.”
- After her emotional statement during which she presumably built up a lot of mucus, Ford didn’t need a tissue or have to clear her throat. The mucus simply disappeared, which shouldn’t have happened according the expert.
- Ford is a psychotherapist with a doctorate in psychology. Yet, she testified that she didn’t know about the psychology of polygraphs.
- The expert viewed this testimony as complete BS.
- One week after the hearing, Ford’s ex-boyfriend supported the expert’s impression. Specifically, he testified that he “witnessed Dr. Ford help [Monica L.] McLean prepare for a potential polygraph exam” and Ford had “explained in detail what to expect, how polygraphs worked and helped [her] become familiar and less nervous about the exam.” Hmm.
- According to the expert, Ford lacked visual memories of the event. Based on Ford’s eye movements during the testimony, Ford seemingly only had a visual memory of writing the names versus the people actually being there.
THE POLYGRAPH LETTER
After hearing that Ford only may have had a visual memory of writing the names, I searched for when she may have written down the names of the alleged assailants. To my surprise, I found the following hand-written statement by Ford used for her polygraph test. I’ll let you develop your own opinions before sharing mine.
To start, the statement looks like something written by a 12-year-old, not a 51-year-old. Assuming that Ford intentionally talked like a kid to engender sympathy, I wonder if she also intentionally wrote like a kid to serve the same purpose.
Additionally, I was surprised by the omission of the full names of her assailants. Specifically, Ford’s handwritten statement only includes the names “Brett” and “Mark” without calling out “Brett Kavanaugh” and “Matt Judge.” At this point, I wondered about the specific questions asked during her exam. Even if Ford didn’t know how to deceive a polygraph test (which she clearly knew how to do), she didn’t have to lie based on the lack of specifics in the statement.
Fortunately, we know exactly what the polygrapher asked Ford on August 7, 2018.
FORD’S POLYGRAPH – NOTICE THE DEFIANT POSE
After learning the following, I realized that questions about who paid for the polygraph and when it happened didn’t matter. Thanks to the internet, I know that these were the two questions which encompassed the totality of Ford’s “passed” polygraph test.
- Is any part of your statement false?
- Did you make up any part of your statement?
We know that Ford consulted a friend as to how to beat a polygraph, so we can presume that she knows how to do it herself. More importantly, however, her statement lacked sufficient specific details.
During the Senate Judiciary Committee hearing, Dianne Feinstein revealed that she had no idea how Ford’s desire to remain anonymous was violated. I believe the senator was clueless because she’s 85. There are lucid people in their 80s, but Feinstein isn’t one of them. For that reason, she has no right to be in the middle of such an important hearing. I believe the senator and/or her staff waited and only decided to use Ford’s allegation in a last-ditch effort. Even though Feinstein had no idea that it happened, she’s responsible.
Despite Kavanaugh having to expose himself to a horrendous political process, he survived. I give him credit because I lost faith pursuing that path (i.e. becoming a Supreme Court Justice) after witnessing the Robert Bork confirmation hearing in the
late 1980s. Kavanaugh has a lifetime appointment as one of the “Supreme” arbiters of the U.S. Constitution. I’m more of a Hammurabi-kinda-guy so I would have had more issues getting confirmed than my enjoyment of baseball games and beer.
Perhaps most importantly, the Democrats should have been more worried about Gorsuch than Kavanaugh. To President Trump’s credit, he got the tough one through without much controversy. Somehow, the more judicially balanced justice drew the ire of the opposition. Given the state of the economy, I predict Trump will win again and get at least one more nomination through before he’s done. If so, it’s like lamenting about Hurricane Charley in 2004 when Katrina was only a name for the 11th storm of the 2005 season.
While I don’t imagine it happening, I refuse to become a pawn in any political chess game. In case anyone asks me to testify in the future, I’ll simply offer this post to a polygrapher as my statement and swear that everything in it is truthful. Even without Ford’s background as to how to beat a polygraph, I would pass the test.