I’ve been restating the following over and over again because it is pivotal to understanding why the GOP Grumpy Old Perverts acting as senators on the US Senate Judiciary Committee backed Judge Brett Kavanaugh to be a US Supreme Court Justice.
In the Washington DC world of conservatives who’s who, Judge Brett Kavanaugh has been like a rock star in their circles. He has known for years on a personal level, many of the conservative major players from President George Bush to the current FBI Director Chris Wray, the DOJ’s Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein, the White House Counsel Don McGahn and many of the old geezers sitting on the US Senate Judiciary Committee.
They were perceiving him as a decent, hard working family man, of whom they had tremendous respect, admiration and fondness for, but who had come under attack by those left leaning democratic entities who were out to destroy him, his reputation and their cause.
Meanwhile, democrats were looking to fight his nomination based on his hard-line conservative ideology which would tilt the court more to the right. But what the right misses, is that in the past, Judge Kavanaugh had his confirmation as a federal court justice held up for 3 years, from 2003-2006 because of concern over his partisan background.
From the right’s point of view, when Dr. Christine Blasey Ford came forward in a public way with her allegations regarding having been sexually assaulted by a drunken Judge Brett Kavanaugh and his friend Mark Judge while they were in high school, she was simply being used as a political ploy by those leftists who were out to get their man. She had to be confused as their man could not possibly be guilty. Those on the right simply ignored others who filed similar complaints.
So if those observing this fiasco were under the impression that the 9/27/18 Senate Judiciary Committee event where GOP members pretended to give Dr. Ford a fair hearing, and that the subsequent White House controlled FBI probe, were all for show, designed to protect their friend versus a search for the truth, they’d be right.
Eventually, as more proof and evidence spills out into the public forum that backs Dr. Ford’s allegations as well as others, the right will figure out, they backed the wrong horse and that their choice not to believe a credible witness will have dire consequences.
Many of those on the right have resorted to the use of junk science to justify their poor decision making. And so what else is new?
Here’s the rest of the story…
On October 7, 2018, Avi Selk of the Washington Post penned the following report, “The junk science Republicans used to undermine Ford and help save Kavanaugh”
“The politically convenient, scientifically baseless theory that sexual assault so traumatized Christine Blasey Ford she mixed up her attacker is now something like common wisdom for many Republicans.”
“President Trump explicitly endorsed the theory 10/6/18, shortly after Brett M. Kavanaugh was narrowly confirmed as a Supreme Court judge, telling reporters he was “100 percent” sure Ford accused Kavanaugh in error.”
“In days leading up to the confirmation vote, the same notion was implicit in the rationale of every senator who attempted to defend Kavanaugh without wholly dismissing Ford’s accusations — her vivid testimony that he pinned her to a bed and tried to rape her when they were teens in the 1980s:”
- “I believe that she is a survivor of a sexual assault and that this trauma has upended her life,” said Susan Collins (R-Maine), who gave Kavanaugh his crucial 50th vote.
- “Something happened to Dr. Ford; I don’t believe the facts show it was Brett Kavanaugh,” said Sen. Joe Manchin III (D-W.Va.), the only Democrat to support the nominee.”
- “That would get me off the hook of having to make a hard decision,” said Sen. Lindsey O. Graham (R-S.C.), one of Kavanaugh’s most loyal defenders. “I don’t know if this is a case of mistaken identity.”
“It’s easy to forget that less than three weeks ago, when the mistaken-identity theory was first formulated, it was so widely ridiculed that a pundit who advanced it on Twitter subsequently apologized and offered to resign from his job. But for many cognitive researchers who study how memories actually form during traumatic events, the theory never stopped sounding ridiculous.”
(Lady Gaga describes this phenomenon in a recent interview.)
“The person lying on top of you — who she’d previously met — you’re not going to forget that,” said Richard Huganir, a neuroscientist at Johns Hopkins School of Medicine. “There’s a total consensus in the field of memory … If anything, fear and trauma enhances the encoding of the memory at a molecular level.”
“As he and several other researchers told The Washington Post, being attacked floods the brain with chemicals, including norepinephrine, which helps people remember whatever they are focused on. (Ford, a psychologist herself, even mentioned it in her testimony.)”
“It’s essentially the same phenomenon that makes people forever remember what they were doing when the planes hit the World Trade Center on 9/11, or when they learned John F. Kennedy was shot. It’s such a basic tenet of psychology and cognitive science that some researchers watched the mistaken-identity theory spread through the Senate this month with a sense of stunned dismay.”
“I watched all the hearings that took place last week and was just floored at the number of people who offered that as an explanation,” said Ira Hyman, a cognitive psychologist who specializes in traumatic memories at Western Washington University.”
“This story [of mistaken identity] that’s being offered here is a way of both trying to validate sexual assault and not deny it — which is a lovely change — but at the same time create a narrative that Kavanaugh couldn’t have been the person who did it,” he said. “That’s just not consistent with memory research on misidentification.”
“Sexual assault victims do misidentify their attackers, he noted, but those are almost always attacks by strangers — when the victim’s hyperactive memory has no familiar face to etch into the brain.”
“Lila Davachi, a cognitive neuroscientist at Columbia University, analogized the traumatic memory formation process to cranking up the contrast on a photo — central details get heightened, while those in the background get washed out.”
“ I guess the Republicans have been debating why does she forget getting home, but that sounds very plausible,” she said. “It focuses the brain on whatever stands out at that moment. The things that are not standing out are even more ignored.”
“Like other researchers, she could not recall a single case of a sexual assault victim misremembering a known attacker — save for rare instances in which children, were coached into falsely accusing friends and family members.”
“According to her account, she never forgot about this,” Mather noted. “She tried to.”
“Also like other researchers, she said Kavanaugh’s memory was more likely to be suspect than Ford’s, if he was as heavy a drinker in high school as many people who knew him have alleged.”
“I could see a very plausible scenario where they are both telling the truth as they know it, and he is forgetting something that happened when he was drunk,” Mather said.”