Tuesday, September 25, 2018

The Right To Be Heard

Judge Brett Kavanaugh was on a glidepath to confirmation to the United States Supreme Court unless a bombshell revelation derailed the vote on the Senate Floor.

Democrats, moving ever further to the left with each passing day, have found it impossible to change the direction of the country through legislation. The Supreme Court was their stronghold, their refuge, their last gasp and losing control of it has them in a breathless, hysterical panic.

Six weeks ago, Senator Dianne Feinstein (D-CA) received a letter alleging sexual battery by Kavanaugh from an accuser who wanted to remain anonymous.  DiFi sat on it.  Her hope was to force a delay in his confirmation.

Delay would mean the confirmation vote could be put off until after the midterm election and a few jeopardized Democratic senators in states Trump won handily would not have to go on record as voting “no” on Kavanaugh.

The long-time Democrat will now be remembered for one of the lowest, dirtiest tricks in modern political history.  Her actions now have half the country believing Kavanaugh is guilty of a crime committed 36 years ago at the tender age of 17.

We are no longer living in America.

Dr. Christine Blasey Ford is a clinical psychology professor at Palo Alto University who has given donations to political causes such as ActBlue, a non-profit that helps Democrat and Progressive candidates.  She also signed on to a Physicians for Human Rights letter in June “decrying the practice of separating children from their parents at the border” and urging the Trump Administration to halt the practice.

She scrubbed all her social media accounts and public profiles before she decided to go public.
The second accuser, Deborah Ramirez, studied sociology and psychology at Yale.  She is a board member and volunteer at Safehouse Progressive Alliance for Nonviolence and a registered Democrat.
One of the nation’s leading experts on memory, Professor Elizabeth Loftus, has been an expert witness or consultant in hundreds of cases including the McMartin preschool molestation case, the trial of Oliver North, the trial of the officers accused in the Rodney King beating and litigation involving Michael Jackson, Martha Stewart, Scooter Libby and the Duke University Lacrosse team.

Loftus doesn't study when people forget.  She studies the opposite:  when they remember things that didn't happen or remember things that were different from the way they really were. She studies false memories.

From her TedTalk in 2013, Loftus said, “Most people cherish their memories, know that they represent their identity, who they are, where they came from. And I appreciate that. I feel that way too. But I know from my work how much fiction is already in there. If I've learned anything from these decades of working on these problems, it's this: just because somebody tells you something and they say it with confidence, just because they say it with lots of detail, just because they express emotion when they say it, it doesn't mean that it really happened.  We can't reliably distinguish true memories from false memories.  We need independent corroboration.  Such a discovery has made me more tolerant of the everyday memory mistakes that my friends and family members make.”

Disclosure of Dr. Ford’s mental health history and release of her psychiatric and other mental health records is an essential component of the evaluation of her claims.

In her letter to Feinstein, Ford wrote, “I have received medical treatment regarding the assault.” The circumstances under which she initially remembered the incident and how she became aware of its alleged impact on her are unclear. The accuser appears not to have discussed the claimed incident until she revealed it in a “couples therapy” session approximately 30 years after it purportedly occurred.

Was Ford’s recollection a “repressed memory” uncovered during therapy? There is a sordid history in America of false accusations and criminal convictions in sexual abuse cases based on “implanted” memories in vulnerable individuals.

Dr. Ford provided “portions” of her therapist’s notes and “notes from an individual therapy session.” She described failing to recognize the impact of the supposed event on her until long after it supposedly occurred. “Years later, after going through psychotherapy, she came to understand the incident as a trauma with lasting impact on her life. I think it derailed me substantially for four or five years,” Ford said. 

In addition, she described struggling academically and socially and spoke of an inability to have healthy relationships with men.

If Thursday’s testimony were a civil lawsuit with Ford as the plaintiff, her mental health records would be discoverable. The defendant would obtain access to them because they would be necessary to mount an effective defense. To safeguard Judge Kavanaugh’s rights, the Senate Judiciary Committee is obligated to explore Ford’s psychiatric history. Given Ford’s assault on Judge Kavanaugh’s reputation and the potential damage she has inflicted on his career, the Judiciary must examine her mental health history and gain a full understanding of its relationship to and implications for her accusation.

False accusations have victims too.

UPDATE:  This post was updated to include the tweet referencing the actions of the New York Times’ completely re-written original story about Kavanaugh’s latest accuser without providing any editor’s note about the edits and changes that were made.

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