Five Thirty Eight: “Why the House and Senate are Moving in Opposite Directions”

“At first, I was a little skeptical of the narrative that Justice Brett Kavanaugh’s confirmation process could send the House and Senate moving in opposite directions.  Usually in politics, a rising tide lifts all boats — so whichever party benefited from the Supreme Court nominee’s confirmation would expect to see its fortunes improve in both its best states and districts and its worst ones.

But a House-Senate split is exactly what we’re seeing in the Five Thirty Eight forecast (Nate Silver, Five Thirty Eight, 2018).”

 

Did Professor Christine Ford lie while under oath?

By Dylan R.N. Crabb

 

Yesterday (10/2), the Wall Street Journal reported that the renewed FBI investigation into the allegations against Judge Brett Kavanaugh could be over “very soon, well ahead of the end-of-the-week deadline.”

This is not surprising considering that Senator Diane Feinstein had already approached the FBI with the allegations prior to Judge Kavanaugh’s planned confirmation hearing; the FBI had denied to investigate the allegations further.  The public has also seen a statement from Rachel Mitchell, the Arizona-based prosecutor hired by the Senate Republicans as an independent investigator, saying “I do not think that a reasonable prosecutor would bring this case based on the evidence before the Committee.”  (See my previous blog entries for the sources.)

I mean no disrespect towards Professor Ford, whatever trauma she has experienced in the past.  If there is not enough evidence of the alleged crime, action should not be taken in her favor.  That is the unfortunate reality sex crimes, they are exceptionally difficult to prove.

A new development now brings Ford’s credibility into question: a letter from a person claiming to be an ex-boyfriend of then-Christine Blasey.

Screenshot_2018-10-03 Shannon Bream on Twitter

SOURCE: Shannon Bream, <https://twitter.com/shannonbream/status/1047293294567456770?s=21> (Twitter, 2018).

The author of the letter states at the end that he wishes to maintain his anonymity but still wanted to share what he knew about Ford.  If this person is who he says he is, there seems to be several things about Ford that contradict what the country saw and heard in Ford’s Senate testimony.

Professor Ford testified before the U.S. Senate Judiciary Committee that she was hesitant to come to Washington D.C. because she has a fear of flying and it would have been nerve-racking for her.  This is despite the fact that Senator Chuck Grassley (the Judiciary Committee Chairman) offered to fly a team to her in California to record her testimony in a more comfortable location.  This letter, supposedly from Ford’s ex-boyfriend, reveals that Ford does not have a fear of flying or didn’t at that time.

Professor Ford was specifically asked by Rachel Mitchell in cross-examination if she has ever discussed how to take a polygraph test with anyone.  Ford responded, “never.”  This letter reveals that Ford assisted a friend of hers in obtaining a job in law enforcement.  The friend named as Monica L. McLean apparently had to take a polygraph as a condition of potential employment and Ford helped her prepare for the examination.  The letter reads that Ford was able to help her friend prepare for a polygraph due to her knowledge of psychology.

The latter revelation may be the most damning as it is a federal crime to provide false information to an government body during the course of an investigation, a crime that can carry a punishment of a fine or a 5-year imprisonment.

Did Professor Ford lie while under oath to the Senate Judiciary Committee?

Senator Grassley has re-submitted a request to Professor Ford’s lawyers for more evidence regarding Ford’s allegation.

Screenshot_2018-10-03 10 02 18-CEG-to-Ford-Attorneys pdf

SOURCE: Sean Davis, The Federalist, <http://confirmkavanaugh.com/wp-content/uploads/2018/10/10.02.18-CEG-to-Ford-Attorneys.pdf> (2018).

Senator Grassley later explains to Ford’s lawyers:

“That the Senate is not a court of law doe not change the reality that Dr. Ford’s allegations have put Judge Kavanaugh on trial before the nation.  A sitting federal judge and Supreme Court nominee has been accused of committing a violent crime.  Dr. Ford, to her credit, offered her testimony to the Judiciary Committee, notwithstanding attempts at obstruction by her attorneys and Senate Democratic leadership.  The testimony hinges on evidence to which Dr. Ford has repeatedly referred – some of which has already been provided to a nationally circulated newspaper – but which you have refused to provide to the Senate.”

It seems strange that supposed evidence to a crime would be given to a national newspaper to be showcased before the whole country but not to an investigative body with the specific intent to investigate the allegation.

Why are Ford’s attorneys dragging their heels in cooperating with the Senate Judiciary Committee?

Standing opposed to something is easy, standing FOR something is more difficult.

By Dylan R.N. Crabb

 

The website Poynter, which specializes in journalism news and education, published a selection of excerpts of various editorials curated together from several newspapers across the country.  The curation had a theme: opposition to President Trump.

Click the image below to be redirected to the curation.

Screenshot_2018-08-16 America, help The freedom of the nation depends on you, hundreds of news outlets write
David Beard, “America, help!  The freedom of the nation depends on you, hundreds of news outlets write,” Poynter (2018).”

Newspapers should be oppositional to governments because opposition and dissent is fundamental to the concept of free speech, but opposition should not be the sole purpose of an organization.  Standing opposed to something is easy, standing for something is usually more difficult.

Chicago Sun Times: “We are the enemy of societal failings.”

What does that mean?  What societal failings?  Can newspapers decide what makes a society fail?

I don’t think news organizations should not be proselytizing a particular ideology, they should simply be outlets for truth (facts only).

The “enemy of racism?”

There will always be racism and bigotry in any society, that is a part of human nature.  To hate is a part of being human.  To fight against racism is to fight against a part of humanity.  Ideologues with a utopian vision of a so-called “perfect society” fight against their view of evil by fighting against the darker sides of human nature in an attempt to mold humans into a tool for their utopia.  Instead of moralizing about human emotions, we need to accept the positive aspects of our humanity with the more negative aspects and live with a decent balance.

Truth V.S. Ratings

By Dylan R.N. Crabb

 

Who do you trust when you can’t trust anyone?

Trust takes time to build and can disappear in an instant, so it takes long-term planning to maintain trust with a person.  Building trust requires thinking ahead about the repercussions of your actions on other people – sacrificing quick pleasure today for more pleasure in the future.  That does not sound conducive to a 24-hour news cycle in which a news station must develop new methods of holding the attention of an audience in a society that rewards instant gratification more than long-term planning, a society that records success in quarterly reports with the expectation of indefinite growth.

Screenshot_2018-08-02 Why don_t people trust the news and social media A new report lets them explain in their own words

“Why don’t people trust the news?  Concern about bias, spin, and hidden agendas (Ricardo Bilton, Nieman Lab, 2017)”

The 24-hour news cycle has ruined the news industry – it’s no longer about effective journalism with an intent on holding power accountable to people – it’s about voyeuristic, sadistic, and instant pleasure for the worst aspects of ourselves.  We are not going to find content of substance on the “mainstream” networks designed to appeal to the lowest common denominator of the public and there is a shift taking place from traditional forms of media to new media.  Some new media stars (commentators, pundits, call them what you want) are gaining their own audience by mocking the old guards, making substantive new content through satire.

Let’s compare an interview from BBC’s Newsnight to it’s satirical counterpart by rising YouTube entertainer Wizard of Cause:

Both of the above videos inform the audience about the people involved in the interview but which of the video is more entertaining?

If media spokesmen want to regain the trust of the public, I think the first thing they need to do is place more faith in the public, particularly their audiences.  Rather than dumbing down content to make viewing require less effort to undertake, trust that the viewers can figure things out for themselves.  Perhaps newsmen can learn some things from comedians.

 

Tracing Transgenderism

By Dylan R.N. Crabb

 

Men and women are inherently different from each other.

^ The above statement may be considered offensive by many in the contemporary LGBT(Q+whatever) movement for absurd reasons that I don’t give one shit about and it raises the question of where this existentialist ideology began.

It can be traced to a psychologist, Dr. John Money (1921-2006), and a curious case of male twins (Brian and Bruce Reimer) born in 1965.

British Broadcasting Corporation, “Dr. Money and the Boy with No Penis,” (September 2014).

Dr. Money specialized in sexology and had written case studies about hermaphrodites and sexual transitions.

The story begins with a botched circumcision on one of the twin boys, Bruce Reimer.  The infant’s penis was burnt off and the Reimer parents chose not to operate on the other twin.  The parents were distraught and did not know what to do for their son, Bruce.

The Reimer’s eventually learned about Dr. Money from a television program.  The psychologist convinced the parents to raise young Bruce as part of an experiment regarding nature versus nurture; Dr. Money wanted to prove a hypothesis revolving around childhood socialization and whether or not gender could be taught rather than simply born.  Prior to the Reimer twins, Dr. Money had not performed any clinical studies on non-hermaphrodites.

Here lies the initial problem with the experiment: it was an opportunity for an ambition.  It is understandable that the Reimer parents wished to give their deformed some a sense of normalcy in childhood but Dr. Money was seeking a chance to prove his hypothesis and exploited the tragedy of these parents’ situation.  It also seems like Dr. Money had the end-goal in mind from the start of the experiment.

Bruce Reimer’s early childhood was marked with visits to Dr. Money and forced socialization tactics (wearing female clothing, playing with supposedly female toys, etc.) in an effort to convince him of his female identity.  However; as Bruce grew into adolescence, he began to reject the socialization and revert backward to his original gender.  Apparently, Bruce hated his visits to Dr. Money and was grateful to his brother for letting him play with his (male) toys.

The story ultimately ends tragically with the deterioration of both brothers’ mental health and their deaths, although Dr. Money continued talk up his experiment as a success despite resistance from the young Bruce Reimer.  The moral of this story is one of hubris in which a scientist falls in love with his own hypothesis and goes to extreme lengths to prove it with the goal of being etched into the annals of history.  A particular personality or an identity cannot be forced onto a child because a person cannot be forced into an identity.  Any parent that forces their child into a specific role will most likely be met with resistance.  The idea that gender has no relation to biology is based on a lie.

Steven Crowder of late-night fame “Lowder with Crowder” ranted about this subject more in-depth.

 

Peace in Perspective

By Dylan R.N. Crabb

 

The study of human history can reveal insights into human conditions and instinct which can assist living people in problem-solving and conflict resolution.  History books have no shortages of conflict and violence.  However; a trend that is often over-looked by the average person (due to the human tendency for short-sightedness) is the decrease of violence in daily life.  Take a moment to think about everything you do in a day.  If you (as an individual) can live from sunrise to sunset while not worrying about your next food source or defending your person from a violent predator, then you are in a better living situation than 90% of humans throughout history.  Violent acts such as mass shootings in public spaces usually hold more media attention than other more positive news stories because of the human tendency to seek out problems, the human tendency to look at the worst aspects of a society even amongst a plethora of benefits.  The modern 24-hour news cycle exascerbates this situation where, in a relatively peaceful society, we are literally seeking out trouble.

Consider this: mass outrage in the aftermath of a violent crime is indicative of the taboo nature of these acts in modern, industrialized societies.  The fact that there is such outrage against violent criminals means that violent interactions are becoming less accepted in modern societies.  What is the probability that you will be victimized in a heinous act of violence?  Compare that probability to the probability of victimization in a less industrialized society.  Take it a step farther: how often do you go through a day with minimal contact with other people?

American media is hyperfocused on disasters and epic violence.  “If it bleeds, it leads,” as the old reporter’s moniker goes but is this really the best way to report news?  Is our hyperfocus on disasters making us safer or just more paranoid?

The recent tragedy in Parkland, Florida, is exactly that: tragic.  But is it a commonplace occurance?  If we can name these mass shooters on our hands, perhaps it is not as commonplace as initially perceived?