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Brett Kavanaugh has been confirmed, despite the boorish and possibly unethical behavior of some Democrats, and in spite of the even more boorish and decidedly illegal behavior of certain well-organized and well-funded left-wing loonies (it being slightly illegal to threaten to kill elected officials). But no one with an IQ above room temperature took the ugly Democrat muck-raking seriously, while screaming and violent protesters simply turned people off, patriotic Americans being essentially peaceable and law-abiding.

Scarier are some of the more subtle and meretricious arguments against Mr. Kavanaugh like the following one I stumbled across on Facebook:

“Let’s do some simple math.

Per the March 2017 study on reports of sexual assault in the Journal of Forensic Psychology, 5% of reports of sexual assault are unfounded – i.e., false reports.

Brett Kavanaugh has had two women accuse him of sexual assault.

The odds of each of these being a false accusation is 5%. That sounds pretty high, right? 1 in 20.

Now, what are the odds of *both* of these being false accusations? That’s two separate events, each with 5% odds. So you multiply those probabilities together: 5% x 5% – or, to write it in more easily multipliable numbers, .05 x .05.

.05 x .05 = .0025, or .25%. So, the odds are one quarter of one percent that both women accusing Brett Kavanaugh of sexual assault are making false accusations.

Or, to put it another way, the odds are 99.75% that Brett Kavanaugh sexually assaulted one or both of these women.

If you don’t believe women, maybe you can at least believe simple math.”

Oh, brave new world! Amid all the shrill hysteria on the streets and the preposterous posturing of politicians and pundits such quiet, dignified, and irrefutable reasoning seems a breath of fresh air. But bear with me, Gentle Reader, and let’s think about it.

If you wish to live in a world where mathematical formulae and statistical probabilities replace presumption of innocence, there it is, quiet, dignified, and irrefutable.

If you wish to live in a world where the worst, ugliest kind of tribalism (in this case it’s, “If he’s male, he must be guilty,” but it could be, “if he’s white, if he’s old, if he’s conservative… and on and on) replaces rule of law, there it is, quiet, dignified, and irrefutable.

If you wish to live in a world where anyone who disagrees with your point of view justifies the crudest, most vicious, salacious destruction of character, there it is, quiet, dignified, and irrefutable.

On the other hand, if you are, as I am, one of those smelly deplorables who revere and deeply believe in the Constitution, the Bill of Rights, the rule of law, the presumption of innocence, all the institutions that have made this country the envy of the world, the whole glorious—sometimes messy and sometimes wrong—history of the most generous, tolerant, and accepting nation on earth, then I suggest you get to a polling booth this November, and vote for a world where guilt and innocence are not determined by equations or statistical probabilities, let alone ugly and unsubstantiated accusations.

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24 thoughts on “Speciousness”

    1. …ich mag Ihren Schreibstil Herr Parker, bitte seien Sie über meine Meinung nicht allzu verärgert, aber ich finde , dass diese “Schlammschlacht-Wahl” unter anderem eine kräftige Ohrfeige für jede (auch im Versuch) missbrauchte Frau ist/war. Die Geschehnisse zeigen deutlich, dass Frauen, die Anfangs als vertrauenswürdig zählen doch am Ende nicht geglaubt wird, wenn diese an die Öffentlichkeit gehen, werde diese denunziert und mit Spott überzogen , (deshalb behalten Frauen dies so oft für sich selbst). Klar lässt sich dieser Vorgang von vor 30 Jahren kaum noch beweisen, schon gar nicht, wenn nicht alle Zeugen befragt wurden. Vertrauen Sie zu 100 Prozent den Ergebnissen des FBI (welche nicht eingesehen werden konnten)? In einer Männer dominierten Politik haben eine Anhörung einer oder mehrerer Frauen kaum eine Chance, selbst, wenn ein Teil der Bevölkerung auf die Straße geht oder Richter- Proffesoren eine Petition dagegen unterschreiben, da, dass agressive Verhalten Herrn Kavanaugh’s nicht akzeptabel ist/war. (….wie wird er sich wohl bei richterlichen Entscheidungen verhalten …agressiv, voreingenommen oder doch fachmännisch neutral ? )
      …. keine Chance gegen den weiten Arm der “Macht” ….
      Man mag der einen oder der anderen Seite Glauben schenken, am Ende müssen die beteiligten Personen für sich damit selbst zurecht kommen. Am Lebensende gibt es nur einen, den man Rechenschaft ablegen muss und der Gerechtigkeit walten lässt…. hoffentlich….!
      viele Grüße Manuela

  1. I have a sincere question which I hope you will answer: why do you refer to yourself as a deplorable?

    1. The term comes from a speech Hillary Clinton gave when she was running for president in which she said, “…you could put half of Trump supporters into what I call a basket of deplorables. Right? The racist, sexist, homophobic, xenophobic, Islamaphobic–you name it.”
      The moment she said that I knew, very much to my astonishment, that a former reality TV host and real estate tycoon was going to be the next president, because the “deplorables” whom Ms. Clinton and the coastal elite and the media all dismissed as being motivated solely by animosities are actually the honest, hardworking, and amazingly tolerant folks in flyover country who happen to have more conservative values. Folks like me. It was typical of Ms. Clinton’s campaign that she, like so much of the media, should demean and belittle the very real concerns of those folks about their traditional values by ascribing negative motivations to them. A fundamentalist Christian baker who believed baking a cake for a same-sex marriage was wrong was expected to violate his religious beliefs, and if he didn’t, he was labeled “homophobic.” (For the record, I think he’s a little confused, and that Jesus would have no trouble with it, but it’s what the baker believes that’s the issue, not me.) Those of us who live in border states and who have witnessed firsthand the very real negative consequences of unregulated illegal migration were dismissed as “xenophobic.” If anyone dared to use the term “radical Islamic terrorism,” he was immediately condemned as “Islamaphobic.” If you are familiar with the realities of the FBI Uniform Crime Report about the true numbers of shootings of young black men by police officers, then you’re “racist.” And so on.
      So my self-descriptive use of the term is intended to both mock Hillary Clinton, whom I despise, and to support my many friends in flyover country for whom I have the greatest respect. And, I suppose, to make my own conservative values clear. As if they weren’t.

      1. Thank you, I very much appreciate your taking the time to answer. You made it very clear during the 2016 election that you were not a Trump supporter, but referring to yourself as a deplorable makes it easy for you to be mistaken as one.

        The thing that bothers me the most about the aftermath of the 2016 election is the tribalism in which many Americans have entrenched themselves further since their ballot was cast. What I also find very troubling is that for those of us who consciously attempt to refrain from tribalism, we are often the recipient of hurled insults and accusations. It occurs through the assumption of, if you do not believe exactly as I do, you must believe the polar opposite; therefore, I find you threatening and must react.

        I would no more want to refer to myself as a deplorable as I would want to don a pussy cap and call myself a nasty woman. I don’t believe either of these terms work towards supporting a union. I see and hear people worry or complain about the division in our country, but I rarely see anyone talk about or take action as to how to assuage the rancor. I think on a neurological level people take much more satisfaction from getting in a good zinger than from learning how to be cooperative.

        It pains me when someone refers to themselves as a deplorable when there really are deplorable actions being taken by others. I consistently see photoshopped memes spewing lies and hate posted by my own family on Facebook, and it garners a tidal wave of hate-filled cheers. They may be hard-working folk, but they are definitely not tolerant. If I take the time to observe the photo is not real, or the information is false, that is considered threatening.

        People who send death threats, people who openly and triumphantly tell women they should get their coat hangers ready with the last Supreme Court nomination, people who openly wish that anyone from either party would die, people who believe but God has made them superior to others … all these, and others akin … these truly are deplorable. I am not a Hillary Clinton fan, but her only mistake in listing her criteria for deplorables is that she failed to note they exist on both sides of the aisle, and she failed to note the deplorable things she and her husband have done. But she was correct that there are deplorable people who take deplorable actions.

        There are several aspects about government over which you and I disagree, but that has not tainted my view of the evidence of your education, wisdom, intelligence, kindness and compassion. (Noted objectively, not flattery.) I would wish that you, and the people in flyover country that you support, would leave the label of deplorable to those who really deserve it. Because they are working hard every day to earn it.


  2. I’ll admit: I was a Democrat for 26 years, but a string of their hideous policies and decisions have seriously alarmed and infuriated me, and as a result of this, I have finally switched political parties to Republican, though I had already been voting against the Dems anyway in general elections in recent years.

    Only some of the numerous “straws” that broke this (angry) camel’s back include: “Hate crime” legislation (oh, the loose and wide-ranging definition of what “defines” that; crime is crime); Democrats’ never-ending attacks on the 2nd Amendment, the (liberal) Supreme Court’s 5-4 ruling on eminent domain; the “No Borders” and promise of abolishing ICE; sanctuary cities and coddling of illegal immigrants; their anti-police stance; the Florida (my home state) Democratic party’s nomination of socialist gubernatorial candidate Andrew Gillum; and above all, the Democrats’ emphasis on identity politics and collectivism over individualism, which is as anti-American as it gets.

    The Democrats’ jettisoning of “innocent before proven guilty” was the final straw. Their (and the mainstream media’s) 11th-hour, “believe-the-victim, not-the-evidence” tactics and draggng Brett Kavanaugh through the mud boiled my blood to such a degree that I was embarrassed to even admit (nominal) membership to such a political party as the Democrats, and I have now switched over to the Republcan party.


    Steven from Miami

  3. Better then living in a world where if your old, white, or Republican,thenevery crime you can commit is automatically dismissed as fake news or a conspiracy. What weak minds and morals you Republicans have! Your basic premise states if your wife told you she was sexually assaulted when she was a kid, you would start a smear campaign against her and tell your family to disbelieve her as a Soros operative.

    1. I was sexually assaulted as a kid. I downplayed it for years with the very few friends and family members who knew about it. It wasn’t until a couple of years ago that I finally realized and admitted to myself and my husband that the experience deeply scarred me and affects my relationships, especially with men including my husband. We are navigating these difficult waters together and with the help of licensed professionals. I’ve watched the rise of this #metoo movement with horror. Women like me, who want to work through our experiences privately and who pride, yes, I said pride ourselves on being able to have the strength to not let those experiences define us, are being made to feel pressured to stand up and be counted as victims. We even feel threatened if choose not to do so. I AM NOT A VICTIM. I AM A STRONG INDEPENDENT WOMAN who had a terrible thing happen to me but I choose to rise above it and not let it define me. The majority of the men I know are wonderful people. It isn’t right to condemn ANYONE based on an unproven accusation, especially one that can’t be investigated because it’s 30 years old. My recollections of the man’s face are very fuzzy and could easily be manipulated through the power of suggestion. In all honesty, the main thing that is clear in my mind is his penis. Sorry to be graphic but it’s the truth, it’s what my fear and attention was focused on at that moment. I find your generalization of republicans as weak minded with weak morals offensive as I am a republican and I am neither of those things. I admit, many of my conservative friends have launched disgusting attacks against the other side. Many of my liberal friends have done the same. I have a reputation of calling both sides out on it. Nothing has ever been accomplished through shouting and waving pitchforks. Reasonable people having respectful discussions is the only way to heal this nation and I pray the toddlers on both sides cease their tantrums soon.-KJ

      1. Good for you, KJ. No one should ever consider themselves to be a victim, no matter what horror they might have had to endure. You are a survivor. You are, as you said, a strong independent woman, and you should be proud of yourself. The man who shot me put me through a lot of changes, and I had to admit some things about myself to myself I would have preferred never to have acknowledged, but it made me stronger.

    2. Dear Outraged (Presumed) Progressive Liberal,
      I will happily debate this or any other issue with you, but only if you calm down, take a deep breath, and deal in specifics, not wild generalizations.
      “Better then [sic] living in a world where if your [sic] old, white, or Republican, then [delete space] every crime you can commit is automatically dismissed as fake news or a conspiracy.” That is a sweeping blanket statement that would certainly seem to support my argument about tribalism. Try rewriting the sentence in your mind to apply to blacks, or Muslims, or Native Americans, or transgender people or any other minority in America. Would you be proud of it then? Would it be true? The rule of law and the presumption of innocence were written and intended to apply to and protect all of us, we loathsome old, white, Republican men as well as minorities and women and even, oh, let’s say the Romany or the Druze. The poorest homeless man on the street deserves the protection of the law, but the reverse of that statement is also true: Jeff Bezos and Bill Gates—and Justice Brett Kavanaugh–all deserve it too. If any of the four purported witnesses Dr. Ford cited had substantiated her accusation, even if all they could do was substantiate it without proving it, making it a ‘he said, they said,’ I might be suspicious of Justice Kavanaugh; but instead, all four repudiated her claims, including her best friend.
      “What weak minds and morals you Republicans have!” Another sweeping blanket statement that would just as true or untrue if the word “Republicans” were replaced with “Democrats.” Believing in and adhering to a system of justice that has made this country the envy of every other benighted place on earth is not indicative of weak minds or morals.
      “Your basic premise states if your wife told you she was sexually assaulted when she was a kid, you would start a smear campaign against her and tell your family to disbelieve her as a Soros operative.” Normally, I would not bother responding to an ad hominem statement like that, but I want to point out that there is a world of difference between what my wife or anyone else might relate to me as part of their personal history, and a public accusation, under oath, that might have (and as it turns out, very nearly did have) devastating consequences for the accused. And what smear campaign are you referring to? As far as I know, no one and no news agency has attempted to smear Dr. Ford. The smearing, as I’m sure you recall, was all directed the other way. As for Soros operatives, yes, you bet your bippy baby, all those paid protestors with their professionally printed signs and carefully rehearsed and choreographed chants and confrontations were in fact Soros operatives (see “George Soros’s March on Washington,” by Asra Nomani, WSJ, Monday, October 8, 2018) and while I find them tacky and tasteless and, worst of all, stupid, they too are protected by the same rule of law that protects you and me and even Justice Kavanaugh.

      1. Democratic men who were accused of sexually assaulting or abusing women.
        1. Harvey Weinstein
        2. Anthony Weiner
        3. Eliot Spitzer
        4. Jonn Conyers
        5. Al Franken
        6. Eric Scneiderman
        8. Keith Ellison

        I will also add Kevin Spacey accused of sexually assaulting a teenaged boy.

  4. Here’s some more math for deplorables: Chance of being struck by lightning 1 in 700,000. Women’s chances of being sexually assaulted in their lifetime 1 in 5. Chances a male will be wrongly accused of sexual assault? Look it up before you cry about those dirty dems. Of reported cases, 2-8% are judged to be false, and some of those fall under the flag of not enough evidence to prosecute. The odds are astronomically against a “poor young man” ever being falsely accused of sexual assault. Just keep pretending that every bad thing your republicans do is a conspiracy by the left. Meanwhile, you are destroying democracy by your failure to hold anyone to account because you agree with their politics. The mere whiff of accusations like these and the dems would have pulled a nomination if it was their guy. Hell, they couldn’t even get a nomination started, a guy who was pretty qualified. Deplorables was a terrible thing for Hillary to say, agreed, but holy hell, y’all are really trying to live up to the term.

    1. All the statistics in the world do not and never will outweigh the presumption of innocence, but as long as you’re quoting statistics, take a moment to look at The Innocence Project ( https://www.innocenceproject.org ) and read the stories of men who were convicted, many of them based on firsthand eyewitness testimony. It is why–at least it is the secular reason why–I do not believe in the death penalty.
      But you did say something very important, something I would like all my readers to make note of and remember:
      “The mere whiff of accusations like these and the dems [sic] would have pulled a nomination if it was their guy.”
      If Democrats truly–and based on their current behavior I believe you–would place accusation above the presumption of innocence, the rule of law, and the Constitution, they have no business being in government. Politicians like that would quickly make America no better than any of the totalitarian garden spots ruled by tinpot despots. Think Cuba, Venezuela, El Salvador, Guatemala, North Korea, China, scores of other hellholes where might makes right. You’ve made the strongest argument I have ever heard for never, never voting for any Democrat.

  5. I always get a kick out of that picture. I had to tune the whole nightmare out. I believed Ford’s accusations were initially plausible and after I looked at images of her speaking and read a couple upsetting survivor articles, I couldn’t help but believe her on an emotional level. As rational arguments from the other side and friends’ emotional posts pulled me from back and forth, I found myself at the drug store with a bag of candy corn (it was only a little bag, but still). At that point, I decided that if I was stress eating over it, and it was interfering with my ability to get things done, I needed to tune the whole thing out. I decided not to watch the testimony.

    I believe she was describing something real, but not necessarily with him. Perhaps it was because she was confused as you previously suggested, or perhaps it was a “the end justifies the means” moment. The Democrats succeeded in getting me to distrust Kavanaugh. I would have to ask to be excused from a jury. I don’t trust her motivation either, however. I do agree that we can’t presume that people are guilty without evidence or simply because someone accuses them, but they got to my emotions…I am left feeling manipulated.

    This was not about not stopping his confirmation, not really. Maybe it was for Dr. Ford and those who reacted emotionally to it, (myself included). I think the involved Democrats knew that Kavanaugh would probably be confirmed and that they could not prove these allegations. They saw it as an opportunity to mobilize midterm voters against the Republicans. What they counted it on was the emotional reaction of a frequently victimized population and their ability to manipulate that to an end. Women are sexually assaulted so often, and it goes unreported so often. When they do report they are often met with reactions that cause them more pain. This is well known, and when the politicians saw the power of #metoo and just how many people identified with it, they knew they could use it…which sickens me.

    I enjoyed some of the other reader’s comments, especially KJ’s, (although I disagree with her about #Metoo) and your discussion on this thread. Glad you think Jesus would not mind about the cakes, but I already would have guessed that of you 🙂

    – JM

  6. Dear JP,
    I often come across as a liberal when I join the discussions on your blog but this time I might not.
    The day of Dr Ford and Mr Kavanaugh’s testimony I watched intently. I downloaded transcripts of her testimony and his from the Washington Post. I watched their testimonies multiple times and in the end, both of them seem to have given less than honest testimony.
    He lied about his drinking in high school and college. The evidence is all too clear on that.
    Outside of that there is a message trail where he went out of his way to get support from Yale classmates to discredit his second accuser Deborah Ramirez. This lends credibility to the second accuser as he didn’t do this for other accusers.
    Doctor Ford created an odd narrative in her claim that he attempted to rape and almost killer her in college. Something so serious that she couldn’t keep silent if he were to be a supreme court justice, but not serious enough to say anything with him being a circuit court judge in DC which is one of the most powerful courts in the country. She presents that she made her husband add a second front door to her home due to the lingering trauma of the attack. That he she had to move her family multiple times and send her children to live with her parents due to the threats she received when no one can point to a single assault of someone testifying before congress outside of mob trials. Add to this her situational fear of flying. Her testimony shows that she is not good at identifying, assessing, and responding to threats.
    Even if you look past the lack of corroboration one need only look at her actual story that was reviewed by her attorneys before she presented it. The only part of her statement that would make the encounter a sexual assault was the attempt to remove her clothing. Something she claims he was too drunk to do. Trying to put this delicately, but there was no mention of kissing, groping of the breasts or genitals, or his showing any sign of his sexual arousal which you normally find in attempts at sexual assault. Especially in high school assaults and especially when they are coordinated in the way she presents. And especially when presented with her legal team.
    In the end I am less embarrassed by the spectacle of this nomination than I imagine I will be by the next one.
    Love your work.
    Ken from Dallas

  7. Hear! Hear!
    I’m going to say it again, Thank you for being a voice of reason in the crazy!!!

  8. And in all of this, no where have I seen anyone bring up, what to me, is the most critical aspect of Kavanaugh’s confirmation — his behavior was not, in any way, shape or form, the behavior I would expect from someone who claims to be impartial, temperate and judicial. I don’t have enough evidence to judge whether the allegations are true; however, his obvious lack of self-control and willingness to lie, is sufficient for me to state that he should not have been confirmed. The integrity of the Supreme Court is now tarnished. Politics have absolutely no role to play in our Judiciary.

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