Tag Archives: Christine Ford

Biden faces stern test of his character

Well now, an interview that Joe Biden thought might quash concerns about a sexual assault allegation likely has done nothing of the sort.

The former two-term vice president of the United States and presumptive Democratic Party nominee for president has been accused by former Biden staffer Tara Reade of sexually assaulting her. Reade says that in 1993 Biden pinned her against a wall and groped her.

Biden went on the air this morning to deny categorically the allegation. He told MSBNC’s Mika Brzezinski that the incident never happened. He didn’t question Reade’s motives. Biden said no one on his staff ever reported anything resembling what Reade has alleged.

Furthermore, Biden today announced he has asked the secretary of the U.S. Senate to obtain personnel records from the National Archives that would contain any formal complaint that Reade might have filed and release them to the public. Biden said the archived record would contain nothing of what Reade has alleged.

Is that good enough? Will it quell the questions? Will it stop Donald Trump’s slime machine from kicking into high gear? Hah! No to all of it!

I am inclined to believe Biden, but you likely have assumed that already. Fine, assume all you want. I also believe we need to examine fully the veracity of what Tara Reade has alleged and come to a conclusion on its validity.

Yes, this episode has the sort of echo that resonated when Christine Blasey Ford alleged sexual misconduct by U.S. Supreme Court Justice Brett Kavanaugh when the two of them were much younger. Ford got her public hearing, as did Kavanaugh. The U.S. Senate confirmed Kavanaugh to the Supreme Court and the story of what she alleged has more or less gone dormant.

Meanwhile, the president of the United States has been accused by more than 20 women of assorted acts of sexual misbehavior. Donald Trump has denied all of it; he has called the women liars and worse. Accordingly, he has suggested that Reade’s allegation might be as false as the accusations he has said were leveled against him. Of course, we have heard that hideous recording of Trump regaling “Access Hollywood” about how he sought to have sex with a married woman and how his celebrity status allowed him to grab women by their genitals. What a guy.

Whatever. This matter needs a resolution.

My own belief is that Joe Biden has been a national political figure since the moment he was sworn into the Senate in 1973. He took office under the most extreme duress imaginable, having lost his wife and daughter in a tragic auto accident in late 1972.

He and his second wife, Jill Biden, have been at the forefront of any number of social issues, involving protection against women facing sexual assault. Therefore, I would be astonished beyond all measure to learn that Joe Biden — of all people — would have behaved in the hideous manner that Tara Reade has alleged.

Let’s get to the truth.

Time to treat this accusation with the seriousness it deserves

REUTERS/Brian Snyder

OK, ladies and gentlemen, fair is fair and my instinct for fairness compels me to say something painful.

I admire former Vice President Joe Biden. I want him to win the next presidential election. I believe he should win. I believe his character, his knowledge and his qualifications far exceed those of the incumbent, Donald Trump.

However, he has a storm cloud brewing high overhead. We need to get a resolution to the disturbance that is bound to erupt.

Tara Reade has accused Biden of sexual assault. I don’t necessarily believe that he assaulted her in 1993 as she has alleged. She only recently came forward. However, what I believe is not at issue here. The issue rests on whether the media are covering this story with the same zeal that they did with the allegations leveled in 2018 by Christine Ford against U.S. Supreme Court Justice Brett Kavanaugh.

They are not. They should get to the bottom of what has been alleged. It needs to be resolved, if that is possible, immediately.

Joe Biden himself declared that a woman who levels an accusation of the nature that Ford did against Kavanaugh needs to be taken seriously. Has that standard changed now that Tara Reade has emerged as an accuser of a highly placed politician who well might become the next president of the United States? Of course it hasn’t!

Biden has denied the accusation categorically. So did Kavanaugh while he was being scrutinized during his Senate confirmation hearing. Ford’s allegation caused me some proverbial heartburn when she came forth. So is Tara Reade’s accusation.

We need a full vetting of what she has alleged. We need it settled. Then we need to get to the task of tossing Donald Trump out of office.

Jeff Flake: profile in courage

Jeff Flake’s demonstration of political courage almost made me rethink my long-standing opposition to term limits for members of Congress.

I’ll reiterate: almost.

Flake is a Republican member of the U.S. Senate Judiciary Committee that on Friday recommended the confirmation of Brett Kavanaugh to a seat on the Supreme Court. Flake is not running for re-election this year. Thus, his lame-duck status has enabled him to grow a pair of, um, stones that he otherwise likely wouldn’t have grown.

You see, Flake — after announcing his decision to support Kavanaugh’s nomination — came back to the committee hearing room and asked that the Senate delay a full confirmation vote for a week to allow the FBI to do an additional investigation into some serious allegations leveled against Kavanaugh.

Christine Blasey Ford has accused Kavanaugh of sexually assaulting her. They were teenagers when the even allegedly occurred. She presented a compelling case against Kavanaugh. Ford persuaded me that her allegation is credible enough to disqualify Kavanaugh from obtaining this lifetime judicial appointment.

Flake was cornered in a Capitol Building elevator by two women — sexual assault survivors, apparently — who demanded that he “listen” to the concerns of other victims.

Flake responded by making his request of the Senate. The Senate agreed. The president then called on the FBI to conduct a limited probe into the allegations. It should take about a week or so to complete.

I applaud Sen. Flake for his political courage, although the courage is watered down a bit by the fact that he isn’t facing Arizona voters this fall. He is free, therefore, to speak from his heart. He did so.

If only other members of the Senate and the House of Representatives could demonstrate such guts when they have to face the voters as they seek re-election.

Having said all that, I remain committed to the notion that voters in each state and House district have it within their power to boot out scoundrels at election time.

Flake, though, must have emerged as a GOP hero in this ongoing — and terribly frustrating — political battle of wills.

Strangest Senate hearing in history? Yep, it sure is

Congratulations, my fellow Americans.

We likely are witnessing the most bizarre Senate confirmation hearing in the history of the republic.

Brett Kavanaugh is trying to protect his nomination to the U.S. Supreme Court against an allegation by a college professor that he assaulted her when they were both in high school.

Kavanaugh has denied the allegation vehemently; Christine Blasey Ford, the alleged victim, has just as vehemently asserted the veracity of the accusation she has leveled.

The weirdest part of this hearing has been the way the Senate Judiciary Committee conducted its questioning.

Republicans who support Kavanaugh didn’t question Ford directly. Judiciary Committee Chairman Chuck Grassley brought in a ringer, a sex crimes prosecutor from Arizona named Rachel Mitchell to speak on behalf of Republican senators. The panel’s Democratic members did question Ford directly.

When it was Kavanaugh’s turn to answer questions, he fielded them from senators from both parties.

I have drawn one conclusion from the tactic employed by the GOP side with regard to Ford. It is that the GOP senators — all of whom are men — don’t have the confidence to ask a female accuser intensely personal questions involving an alleged sex crime.

What might have spooked them? It must be that they couldn’t engage in a discussion without uttering something, anything that observers would deem offensive.

So they handed the heavy lift off to the prosecutor who, in my view, did a credible job on behalf of the Senate committee Republicans.

Still, it was downright weird to watch a surrogate do the work that should have been done by the men who comprise slightly more than one-half of the Senate Judiciary Committee.

Indeed, this confirmation process is exhibiting signs that it is hurtling toward an equally weird conclusion.

‘No doubt’ Ford would have filed charges? Seriously?

Donald John “Stable Genius” Trump purports to know how women should react when they are attacked sexually.

They should go straight to the cops, file charges and then wait for justice to be done, he said in so many words in a Twitter message.

Sure thing, Mr. President. Except that’s not how too few of these cases play out.

The president is defending his U.S. Supreme Court nominee Brett Kavanaugh against charges brought by Christine Blasey Ford that Kavanaugh attacked her 30-plus years when they were teenagers. Ford has accused Kavanaugh of trying to tear her clothes off of her. Kavanaugh denies the incident occurred. They’re both going to testify before the Senate Judiciary Committee in a few days.

But back to Trump’s statement.

As the Los Angeles Times has reported:

Trying to discredit her story, President Donald Trump tweeted Friday that he had “no doubt that, if the attack on Dr. Ford was as bad as she says, charges would have been immediately filed with local Law Enforcement Authorities by either her or her loving parents.”

But according to decades of social science, surveys of sexual assault victims and crime reporting data from federal government agencies, there is a lot of room for doubt.

Women have been fearful of recrimination, which is one reason many of them decline to report sexual assaults to the police.

More from the LA Times:

According to the Department of Justice’s National Crime Victimization Survey, 310 out of 1,000 sexual assaults are reported to authorities. Two out of 3 go unreported. The numbers were culled from data collected from 2010 to 2014 and include assaults against men.

Data from the Department of Justice also show that 20 percent of survivors do not report their assaults out of fear of retaliation, while 13 percent do not report because they think police will not be helpful, 13 percent believe their experiences are personal matters and 7 percent do not want to get perpetrators in trouble. Those numbers were collected from 2005 to 2010.

I am one American who is waiting to hear from both of these individuals before I make up my mind. I wish partisans on either side would do the same. To be candid, I am inclined to want to give Professor Ford the benefit of the doubt. However, I am reserving any judgment until I get to watch her and Judge Kavanaugh make their respective cases.

As for there being “no doubt” a teenage girl would have called the cops and filed charges when an attack allegedly occurred, the president needs to do yet another reality check before he pops off.

This accuser isn’t looking for publicity

Christine Blasey Ford’s accusation against Brett Kavanaugh is beginning to sound more believable, at least to me.

Ford has accused Kavanaugh, a nominee to the U.S. Supreme Court, of sexually assaulting her when the two of them were teenagers 36 years ago. She said Kavanaugh was drunk, he took her into a room, covered her mouth to keep her from screaming and then groped her, seeking to have sex with her.

Kavanaugh denies the incident occurred.

But the question keeps popping into my noggin: Why would this woman, a university professor, level a charge she knows is false?

She wants the FBI to investigate the case. Does someone with a phony accusation insist on an FBI probe? Ford says she wants a third person to testify before the Senate Judiciary Committee, which is considering whether to recommend Kavanaugh’s confirmation to the nation’s highest court. Would a bogus accuser subject a third person to insult and possible emotional injury?

I still want to hear from Judge Kavanaugh and Professor Ford. I want them to speak to senators about the accusation that has been leveled against a man who wants to interpret the U.S. Constitution at the highest judicial level in the land.

Something tells me there might be more to this than we know.

Wait for FBI probe: What’s wrong with that?

Christine Ford has leveled a serious accusation against Brett Kavanaugh, Donald Trump’s nominee to join the U.S. Supreme Court.

She intends to testify before the Senate Judiciary Committee, but wants the FBI to conduct a thorough investigation before she talks about her allegation: that Kavanaugh assaulted her sexually when they were teenagers.

The FBI can pull together all the evidence it needs to presumably determine whether Ford’s allegation holds up. Or it could come up empty. Or it could produce a result with no definitive answer.

Ford is asking that the FBI do its investigation before she talks.

If it delays Kavanaugh’s confirmation vote, so be it. If his confirmation — should it occur — come until after the court convenes its next judicial term, so be that, too.

The allegation is profoundly serious. Kavanaugh has denied categorically what the accuser has alleged. He is entitled to mount a vigorous defense. Ford, too, is entitled to get a fair and complete hearing of the allegation she has leveled against a man who wants to join the U.S. Supreme Court.

Kavanaugh nomination on rocky ground, but not doomed

It’s pretty clear that Judge Brett Kavanaugh’s road to the U.S. Supreme Court has hit a serious pot hole.

I’m not yet sure his nomination to join the nation’s highest court is doomed.

A woman has come forward with a 35-year-old claim that Kavanaugh sexually assaulted her when they were teenagers. Kavanaugh, Donald Trump’s nominee to the court, denies the event took place. The woman swears it did.

Speaking of “swearing” to the veracity of her allegation, Christine Ford is going to take an oath next Monday to tell the whole truth to the Senate Judiciary Committee, which is considering whether to recommend Kavanaugh to the full Senate.

If she is proven to perjure herself before the court, then her allegations is toast.

Then again, Kavanaugh also will take an oath to tell the truth. If he lies under oath — or if it can be proven that he lied, which is a tall order — then his nomination is toast.

I’ve wrestled with this one. Can teenagers grow out of their youthful nastiness to become upstanding adults? Sure they can. If this event happened, does Kavanaugh’s status as a federal judge and a devoted husband and father negate what he might have done as a drunken teen?

Not exactly. He’s being considered for the highest judicial post in the United States of America. The post requires men and women to be of fine moral character. I mean, Douglas Ginsburg withdrew his high court nomination in 1987 after he admitted to smoking pot while in college. This allegation against Judge Kavanaugh in my mind rises to a higher level of misbehavior.

But still, the two principals are going to take an oath to tell the truth. One of them is lying. The Senate Judiciary Committee — deeply split already along partisan grounds — will have to decide whom to believe.

Good luck, ladies and gentlemen of the committee.