Dr. Christine Blasey Ford and Judge Brett Kavanaugh — they tell markedly different stories. One is telling the truth, or what they believe to be the truth; the other is lying.
You probably have formed an opinion about them, an opinion that may be based on their appearance and general demeanor, or your political leanings, or your gender.
(Or perhaps you are one of the three people in America who doesn’t know and doesn’t care.)
For the majority, you not only have an opinion, but you probably have a strong opinion, despite the relative dearth of evidence. That is a symptom.
Generally, the fewer facts available to support a conclusion, the stronger the emotions that support the opinion. Consider, for instance, religion, where facts being almost completely absent leads to passionate belief.
Though in the Ford/Kavanaugh debate facts are scarce, there are two ways in which you reliably can determine who is lying and who is telling the truth.
You just need to answer two questions:
Question 1. Motive: Who has the most to gain from lying?
Dr. Ford has nothing to gain. She does not have a book deal pending, nor is she being paid for her testimony. She is not a fame-seeker.
On the contrary, her life has been ripped asunder by hateful criticisms, even death threats, from the right-wing crazies.
She knew this would happen — all women know and fear this — which is why so many women do not report sexual abuse.
Yet she went ahead, out of a feeling of moral obligation and/or patriotism. In her opinion, having a drunk and a rapist on the highest court of the land would be intolerable.
By contrast, Judge Kavanaugh has much to gain. He is grasping for one of the best jobs in the world, a lifetime sinecure and no bosses:
CNBC: If confirmed, Kavanaugh, only 53, will become one of the most powerful and influential people in government for what could be decades, and he’ll lock in a healthy six-figure salary, too.
Associate justices on the Supreme Court make $255,300. These salaries usually increase by $2,000-$3,000 each year.
A seat on the court comes with some desirable benefits. Federal judges have the option to enroll in insurance plans through the Federal Employee Health Benefits system, whose website claims it offers “the widest selection of health plans in the country.“
And justices can look forward to a generous retirement package. If they retire at 70 after serving 10 years, or at 65 after serving 15 years, they qualify for an annual pension equal to their highest full salary.
There is also a summer break between July and October. It’s when justices do most of their traveling, much of which is subsidized, and when they lecture and teach for extra pay.
Former justice Antonin Scalia reported going on 28 separate trips to lecture and teach in 2013, and Clarence Thomas earned more than $27,000 in 2015 for lectures at Brigham Young University, Creighton University and George Washington University.
Stephen Breyer reported $45,000 in royalties in 2016 from his book, “The Court and the World,” while Sonia Sotomayor has earned millions for her 2013 memoir, “My Beloved World.”
By contrast, Kavanaugh claimed to have only $65,000 in assets, which doesn’t necessarily include items such as cars or mortgages.
Plenty of motive for lying.
Question 2. Desire: Who has demonstrated the eagerness to seek the truth?
Ford took, and passed, a polygraph test. Though these tests do not provide reliable measures, her mere volunteering for the test indicates her desire for the truth.
More important is her stated wish to have her claims investigated by the FBI. A liar would not ask for an FBI investigation.
Ford also wants her witnesses to be questioned, under oath, and their claims investigated by the FBI. That too, says much about her veracity. Amazingly, the committee has refused to investigate the testimony of the one witness to the claimed rape attempt.
Contrast Ford’s actions with Kavanaugh’s, he who has refused to answer a simple “yes/no” question: “Will you ask the committee to have the FBI conduct an independent investigation of Dr. Ford’s claims?”
He was asked this question repeatedly, and repeatedly evaded, avoided and refused to answer. Clearly, he does not want the FBI verifying the claims against him.
His defenders responded to the question with spitting anger, that such a question even should be asked, and they have blocked every request for an inquiry.
Liars often act insulted by being questioned.
No truthful person would find that question offensive. If Ford were lying, one would expect it to be her defenders who would object to the question.
Kavanaugh even claimed that the concern about his fitness, and Dr. Ford’s testimony, was motivated by “revenge on behalf of the Clintons.” Paranoia or desperation?
Bottom line, two simple determinants, involving motive to lie and desire for the truth, lead one to the easy conclusion about who is lying and who is telling the truth.
So, for those who feel that youthful drunkness, plus attempted rape, plus the desire to hide the truth, plus repeated lying and evasiveness before a Senate committee, should not disqualify one for the best job in the world, they are about to be pleased.
The party in power, and the President, presumably agree with them.
But if you disagree, show your displeasure in November. Or stay home and just let the liars own you.
Rodger Malcolm Mitchell
Twitter: @rodgermitchell; Search #monetarysovereignty
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