Melania Trump Demands Proof


Sam Wilkinson

According to a faithful reader, I'm Ordinary Times's "least thoughtful writer." So I've got that going for me, which is nice.

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53 Responses

  1. Avatar Philip H says:

    Well done.

    The only thing missing is the fact that MEN have the responsibility for changing this. We can not expect our wives, our sisters, our daughters, or our mothers to change the system. Men have to change it.Report

    • Avatar Sam Wilkinson says:

      Unfortunately, there is little evidence to suggest that many men would have any interest in addressing this confounding problem. Incremental progress might be made – hopefully, it will be! – but the suffering that occurs while it does will be unavoidable. But as long as the right people are enduring that suffering, here meaning the men who are not affected by it, those changes will only ever be incremental.Report

      • Avatar Philip H says:

        I think many men have never really thought about it. Kind of like the Bible thumping ultra conservative white men who parade around calling for castrating gay people until their most cherished daughter comes out as a lesbian and then they become all for gay marriage, adoption, etc.

        It doesn’t change the fact that men, and most especially white men – hold disproportionate economic and political power right now. Which means WE have to dig in and fix the system. and WE have to suffer during that process so our daughters, nieces, wives and mothers no longer do.Report

    • Avatar Morat20 says:

      Men have to change it.

      Good luck. We’ve been arguing over this for decades, and it seems far too many people are simply unwilling to admit that men have any agency in all but the most egregious, violent cases.

      She was drunk, she was flirty, she was dressed immodestly, she was unchaperoned, she was too hot, all variations of she made me do it, I wasn’t in control, it’s not my fault.

      And even the people unwilling to go full tilt for “She was asking for it”, many will go ahead and assign a lot of blame to the victim — she should have known better, she should have been more careful, she should know how boys are.

      Sexual assault is far, far too often viewed through a lens wherein men are uncontrollable beasts. And that’s by their defenders.Report

  2. Avatar CJColucci says:

    You can spend a couple of decades in prison for rape based on he-said, she-said. A relative of mine just did. Most prosecutors, who like winning, want more than that for obvious reasons, and will often shy away from bringing cases where they don’t have more, but if the jury credits the accuser’s testimony, that is legally sufficient.Report

  3. Avatar Dark Matter says:

    I agree the system is messed up and doesn’t treat this sort of thing nearly as seriously as it should… but I also follow that “take everything seriously” to its natural conclusion which most people here seem to not be doing.

    Ford is a subject matter expert. Ford was really good at talking about her attack where it only required subject matter expertise. However wherever verification became an issue her claims failed because they weren’t verifiable or she was wrong. So her fear of flying was heart rending and pitiable until we figured out she’s not afraid of flying. Similarly her constant need to have a way to flee was also heart rending and pitiable but for all the claims of her needing to restructure her house, she apparently doesn’t.

    Her college grades (no, you can’t see them) took a deep dive after her attack. However when she moved back the date of her attack several years so K could be airbrushed into the picture (he would have been out of town in her first timeline), that meant it was years later in college that she had problems while her High School GPA was fine right after the attack. Her letter to Nancy and the councillor’s notes needed to be hidden safely away because they’d show her disagreeing with herself.

    Using Ford as the poster child of sexual assault is like using Mike Brown of Ferguson as the poster child of the police shooting innocent people.

    And we’re going to do nothing about that. Imho Ford showcased that the people who claim they want to treat this seriously, don’t want to treat this seriously if the desired narrative is wrong.Report

  4. @dark-matter So, for the sake of clarifying here, your position is that Christine Ford is lying, and also that Mike Brown deserved it?Report

  5. Avatar Dark Matter says:

    So, for the sake of clarifying here, your position is that Christine Ford is lying

    “Lying” means she doesn’t believe what she’s saying. She really gives off this vibe that she believes what she is saying.

    What I’m saying is our evidence says she is wrong. Her story changes, it’s not self consistent, she’s wrong on every point we can verify, and she’s a SME on the points we can’t.

    I have been dealing with a false accuser for years, and to this day I can’t tell whether or not she is lying. There are a fairly large number of parallels here. Most everyone believes what they want to believe, I suspect this is a reflection of that.

    , and also that Mike Brown deserved it?

    My position is I believe Obama’s FBI investigation (and all of the other investigations) which showed Brown physically attacked a cop and (amazingly) kept attacking even after he had a gun pointed at him.

    Whether he “deserved” to die is an ethical judgement from which I’ll stay away.Report

    • @dark-matter So there’s no chance that she believes what she’s saying because it actually happened?Report

      • Avatar Dark Matter says:

        @Sam Wilkinson

        So there’s no chance that she believes what she’s saying because it actually happened?

        In Physics one year a Prof had us calculate the odds of a stone statue waving its hand via random molecular motion. It can happen, it probably never has (in the history of the universe).

        Everything we know (as opposed to “want to believe”), suggests that she’s wrong. Yes, granted, it’s always possible to find some new fact which undoes everything we know.

        However the idea that we find some new set of facts seems strikingly unlikely (and at this point I think it would have to be a “new set”). Not “the stone statue waves it’s hand” unlikely but IMHO it’s no longer reasonable to think it will happen.

        What we already know suggests we’re dealing with someone who can convince herself of very different things in different years. After we enter the world of this kind of thinking, we need to fact check everything.

        For example, her life long friend, who ran with her at that time, said she’d never met K. So… do we have any non-Ford evidence that suggests the two of them ever met? We’re *that* far down the rabbit hole, the level of distrust should be *that* great. This is how magic tricks get explained, i.e. we understand we’re not dealing with a situation were we can make the normal assumptions, that the normal rules for social interaction are being followed.Report

        • @dark-matter Your argument here is the same one that is often used to dismiss abuse victims: because they cannot pass tests carefully tailored to their circumstances, they should not be believed. This is how abuse is enabled. All of the weight is out on the victim on the extremely off-chance that they are lying.

          We’re not going to find a common ground.Report

          • Avatar Chip Daniels says:

            Common ground isn’t desired.

            It isn’t that people really are confusing the standards of evidence we use in criminal trials with the standards we use in civil trials, or in assessing a person’s character and fitness.

            When public employee labor unions use this criminal trial level of proof before an employee can be dismissed, it is used as an outrage story.

            The word “privilege” literally means a special right, available only to a special select group of people.
            In this case, the burden for any unpleasantness to powerful men is always, always, the most strict level of scrutiny.

            Meanwhile, for the rest of us, we can find ourselves dismissed with a wave of the hand for any reason, or no reason at all.Report

          • Avatar Dark Matter says:

            because they cannot pass tests carefully tailored to their circumstances, they should not be believed.

            Everything I said up top was after handwaving her being vague on things which happened 36 years ago, and just focused on what’s she has said or done in the last 6.

            We’re not going to find a common ground.

            On the larger situation we already do agree.

            But on Ford? Yeah, no common ground. In order to believe her, you need to excuse everything that we can check, multiple points where her story conflicts with itself, has changed, and seems seriously self-serving.

            Belief in the face of facts takes us into religion territory, and I can’t go there.Report

            • Avatar George Turner says:

              In her case, even if we ignore all the evidence her story is false, it would still be impossible to distinguish the facts of her story from a vivid dream she had.

              It contains characters that she had met back then, but so do dreams. Like many dreams, it doesn’t include a where or when, or a means of arrival and departure. It’s just a disconnected event with some vague filler around it about a party and some people downstairs who are talking but can’t be heard. She fled outside and that’s the end of it – many many miles from home in the decades before cell phones or Uber. In real life you have to get home, but in dreams you just need a good ending that’s psychologically satisfying. She had the dream ending.

              As an aside, I used to be plagued by high school dreams that had staggeringly more detail than her story. In one long series of them I’d screwed up on some paperwork and had to repeat my last year of high school, as a middle-aged adult, whereas none of my classmates had aged a day. Some of those seem more real than things that actually happened back in the 80’s. I would like to think that our legal system has a higher standard than how much I seem to believe my own recollections, or else half my graduating class is in deep deep doodoo for things that couldn’t possibly have happened.Report

              • Avatar George Turner says:

                So you’re like the one person left in the US who still believes her story?

                I bet you believe Dreyfus was guilty too.Report

              • Avatar Maribou says:

                @George-turner All the post-confirmation-vote polls I could find say Sam’s in the majority among Americans. It appears that most people in this country find his theories a lot more plausible than yours.Report

              • Avatar George Turner says:

                Well that’s pretty scary, considering that Chuck Grassley says the FBI files indicate that Senate Democrats were engaged in a conspiracy to bring false charges to derail Kavanaugh.

                So did you believe the charge that Kavanaugh led a teen rape gang that had women drugged and lined up in a hallway? If not, why not?

                Regardless, he’s now Justice Kavanaugh, having clerked for Kagan. On his first day he hired as many black law clerks as Ruth Bader Ginsburg has in her 25 years on the court, and his first class of law clerks is all female (the first in history) just as he said he would, and just as he was doing on the DC circuit.

                So of course women think he must be destroyed. They’re weird that way.Report

              • @george-turner Why would anybody believe Grassley? Why would anybody believe Republicans? They’re the ones who stood on the scales of the investigation to ensure that Kavanaugh was cleared. They’re the ones who conclude that women are almost always lying. They’re the ones who like things the way they are, with men enjoying the spoils of the system and women sacrificed to ensure it.Report

              • Avatar George Turner says:

                Making sure an innocent man is cleared? On the Republican side of the aisle, that’s called “justice”. Now, if you’re dead set on burning witches, it’s probably an upsetting development. The angry, violent lynch mob was denied and turned back. I’m sure that has the left extremely frustrated.Report

              • @george-turner Oh for sure man. Absolutely. This kind of talk is what excused Catholic Priests, is what excused Scoutmasters, is what excused Jerry Sandusky, and what excused Larry Nassar. You’re just tripling down for the trolling sake of it.Report

              • Avatar J_A says:

                All the post-confirmation-vote polls I could find say Sam’s in the majority among Americans.


                Last night I was at a dinner hosted by the managing partner of a private equity fund. Somehow the conversation drifted into politics and we all voted Yes or No on Kavanaugh’s confirmation. All but one were No.

                The lone Yes argued the Ford’s claims have not been proved, so he has to be given the presumption of inocence we’ve all heard many times. All the Nos were based on his horrible demeanor and response (cringing, the CEO of a fertilizing manufacturing company described it). Bringing in the Clintons, the screaming, the obvious lies bordering on perjury, everyone sort of agreed we didn’t have to reach a conclusion on Ford’s story. He disqualified himself on his own.

                Our host said he’s been asking this question all around since the confirmation. His tally so far: 42 NO, 2 YES.Report

              • Avatar George Turner says:

                My what a bubble you live in. I have yet to encounter a woman who believes Ford. All the women at work express total outrage at what was done to Kavanaugh.

                And it’s not just a presumption of innocence, it’s that the charges were proved false. Ford’s own “witness”, Bob Beckel’s ex-wife, says she’s never even met Kavanaugh. Ford’s entire story has fallen apart. She lied to the committee about pretty much everything except her name.

                Do you also believe Kavanaugh, a virgin until long, long after high school, was also running a gang rape club? That would be rather odd, don’t you think?Report

              • @george-turner It’s a neat trick how you believe everything that Kavanaugh says, wholly and completely, without any question without any doubt. That’s how abuse is enabled my man.Report

              • Avatar George Turner says:

                All Kavanaugh said was that the charges were completely false. He was correct. Ford’s initial statements said the attack happened in her late teens, in the mid-80’s. Kavanaugh would have been at Yale. She named three peope as witnessing the attack. All flatly denied it, and Kavanaugh’s own meticulous diary leaves no date when such an attack could have occurred.

                Women are not believed because of women like Ford, who ruin it for the rest of them.

                And suppose that Ford was attacked by someone, at some time. Well, she didn’t accuse the person that attacker her, she instead accused an entirely innocent man. They used to do that down South all the time, and we have photos of black men hanging from trees because of such false accusations.

                The Democrats are still at it, and I have every confidence that Ford would have happily sent an innocent black man to prison for thirty years without batting an eye, and Democrats would have cheered her on.Report

              • You can’t accuse people of living in a bubble with “Where I live, everyone is on my side.”Report

              • (cringing, the CEO of a fertilizing manufacturing company described it)

                There’s a more pungent description and the CEO of a fertilizer company should know it.Report

              • @george-turner That you’re misrepresenting the facts of the matter to arrive at a conclusion you already had speaks volumes as to what you’re doing here.Report

              • Avatar George Turner says:

                Name some facts.

                Ford’s timeline kept changing. She lied about the reason for the second front door on her house. She almost certainly lied about never having coached someone through a lie detector test (which is why Mitchell asked the question). She lied about being afraid to fly. She almost certainly lied about not being aware of the offer to interview her in California, since everyone else in the US had heard about it. Her own witness, who Ford claims was at the party, testified under penalty of felony that she’s never even met Kavanaugh. This isn’t a case of “falsus in uno, falsus in omnibus”, this is just straight up “falsus in omnibus”.

                Ford can’t recall how she got to and from the party, and none of her friends or family members has stepped forward to say they drove her. Ford also doesn’t know where the party was, or when. She didn’t have enough evidence to even get a civil case into court.

                I can make an equally probable accusation that I was sexually assaulted by Diane Feinstein, Nancy Pelosi, and Hillary Clinton at a party at Rush Limbaugh’s house. That would likewise get four complete denials under penalty of felony, likewise have no particular year attached, likewise be refuted by their own carefully kept schedules, but at least I’d have a physical location in my allegation, with an address and everything.

                Ford lied. For the next 20 to 30 years you’re going to have to get use to the fact that she lied, because it’s never going away. It’s going to come up over and over and over again.Report

              • Avatar J_A says:

                There’s a more pungent description and the CEO of a fertilizer company should know it.

                What!!? Why would he remind everyone of his main competition?

                It’s would be like Bill Gates using the iPhone as an exampleReport

            • “self-serving” is a hell of a way to describe a woman voluntarily walking into the hellstorm that the is the cultural disbelief of assault. She hasn’t been home owing to the death threats.Report

              • Avatar George Turner says:

                Those will continue for the rest of her life. Making a false accusation has consequences. She also didn’t voluntarily walk into it. A Democrat leaked her letter, one she wrote at the behest of her “beach friends”, whose names everybody knows from all the other stories about the people who set up the Trump/Russia collusion story.Report

              • Translation: the Right will continue feeling good about making death threats forever.Report

              • Avatar Dark Matter says:

                “self-serving” is a hell of a way to describe a woman voluntarily walking into the hellstorm that the is the cultural disbelief of assault. She hasn’t been home owing to the death threats.

                @Sam Wilkinson Our local accuser has a PhD, has written books, has numerous rich, well connected, friends who fund her so her legal budget is unlimited. Her actions would (and did) have the easily predictable outcome of burning down her life. Her current actions will (IMHO) result in her losing her kid in 2-5 years.

                This isn’t the land of logical people taking logical actions, it’s a mistake to try to get inside her head. What is NOT going on is them thinking about what lies to manufacture and tell, and min-maxing the effect. This is raw emotion. People fighting desperately over their kids reaching for the nastiest thing possible and convincing themselves the other side deserves it.


                And I was thinking about Ford’s GDP drop last night and realized it doesn’t fit in the timeline(s), we have no evidence it happened (she could release her grades, she hasn’t), and she’s done multiple SME things to “prove” her victim-ness (fear of flying, claustrophobia) already.

                So assume there was No GDP drop, which is really the only thing which narrows this to her school years.

                Let’s take a wild ass guess here(*) and assume history repeated itself. To create a false-accuser-who-believes-it-who-is-otherwise-functional you need to start early, like “at birth”, by her parents, who she still loves. By the time she hit school she was really good at compartimization. She understands she’s a victim but there’s no way in hell she will accuse her parents, ergo it must have been someone else.

                (*) This is not my field, it’s dangerous to extrapolate from one data point which is what I’m doing.Report

              • @dark-matter An elaborate wildass conspiracy theory, or she was telling the truth. I’ve made it clear which of the two I’d choose.Report

              • Avatar George Turner says:

                Well of course you’d believe her, because you’re white. Black men don’t believe her, and have expressed outrage over how Kavanaugh was railroaded.

                Jamele Hill of the Atlantic was blindsided by the reaction.

                On Tuesday night, I was in an auditorium with 100 black men in the city of Baltimore, when the subject pivoted to Brett Kavanaugh. I expected to hear frustration that the sexual-assault allegations against him had failed to derail his Supreme Court appointment. Instead, I encountered sympathy. One man stood up and asked, passionately, “What happened to due process?” He was met with a smattering of applause, and an array of head nods.

                She was so blinded by modern race and gender theory that she didn’t see that coming, nor did any of the Democrats on Capitol Hill.

                David French at National Review responded to Jamele’s piece, noting that:

                In fact, according to a report she cites, while black men account for 22 percent of sexual-assault convictions, they account for a whopping 59 percent of exonerations. And that’s just criminal convictions and exonerations. Hill doesn’t even delve into the ongoing scandal of campus Title IX adjudications, where the stakes, like those of a judicial confirmation hearing, aren’t criminal but nevertheless remain high: An accused student’s enrollment in school is often on the line.


                At Colgate University, for example, from 2013–2014 black students were 4.2 percent of the population, but “black male students were accused of 50 percent of the sexual violations reported to the university, and they made up 40 percent of the students formally adjudicated.”

                If Democrats keep this up, their only remaining base of support will be single white female liberal Ivy league professors.

                So, as Steve Perry of Journey urges, “Don’t. Stop. Believing.”Report

              • Avatar Dark Matter says:

                An elaborate wildass conspiracy theory, or she was telling the truth. I’ve made it clear which of the two I’d choose.

                @Sam Wilkinson
                Eh? How does Ford being wrong require any sort of conspiracy? Afaict we can’t think she’s Right without a tin-hat level conspiracy.

                She’s on record tearfully explaining that she’s afraid of flying because of the assault. We also know she’s not afraid to fly. So is there a media conspiracy? Was her original announcement faked? Has she actually taken the railway to everywhere she’s gone?

                We have similar issues with her various timelines. Ditto her grades. Ditto her extra Door. Are these issues part of the same conspiracy and which story is correct?

                And here’s a good one: “Is someone forcing her to not release various records that could shed light on all this?”

                The absurdity of this line of reasoning is why I think we’re not going to find out she’s right. IMHO it’s a lot more likely we’ll find more of the same problems, just on steroids because cherry picking data to support herself is one of the things our local gal does.Report

  6. @george-turner Men are more likely to be sexually abused than to be falsely reported.

    But, since you’re so genuine about this belief that men are constantly being falsely accused, how many actual assaults would it take for you to at least consider the possibility that maybe the one problem is much more substantive than the other?Report

    • Avatar George Turner says:

      It doesn’t matter how many sexual assaults there are to reject a false accusation. Last time I checked, this isn’t Nazi Germany and we’re not using the Nazi legal system that emphasized “group justice”. No one was harder on child sexual abuse than the Nazis. In fact, they condemned whole swaths of people to stop it. They said that the entirety of one region’s Catholic priests were homosexual pedophiles. In court, guilt didn’t matter. Was the defendent a member of a supsect group? If so, then he was guilty.

      I’m sure that’s the system of justice you want, but the usual suspects aren’t willing to indulge you.Report

      • @george-turner I admire your commitment to encouraging abuse so long as men are protected. Really decent, good stuff.Report

        • Avatar George Turner says:

          I admire your committment to prosecuting innocent men while letting the actual rapists go uncharged.Report

          • @george-turner You need examples of either to have that make any sense at all. But then again, this sort of thing is quintessentially George Turner, so keep on keeping on.Report

            • Avatar George Turner says:

              Ford accused Kavanaugh, an innocent man, for political reasons. If we assume that she was sexually assaulted by some man, at some point in her life, then that man, the one who assaulted her, didn’t get accused of it.Report

              • @george-turner You believing Kavanaugh isn’t the same as him being innocent. You’re doing the same thing that the people who believed priests and scoutmasters and Sandusky and Nassar did.Report

          • Avatar Dave says:

            George Turner: I admire your committment to prosecuting innocent men while letting the actual rapists go uncharged.

            See, now THIS is why I refuse to turn the page.

            I don’t like liars and so long as they wow us with their brilliance, I’m not letting this bullshit go unanswered.

            I’m sure that’s the system of justice you want, but the usual suspects aren’t willing to indulge you.

            Yes, you’re right. My whiteness, maleness and privilege notwithstanding, I declare a war on men so any woman with an ax to grind can falsely accuse men, ruin their lives, get them thrown in jail and eliminate the patriarchy and oppression.

            Unfortunately, real men like you George (LOLOL) are preventing this from happening.

            We’re all lucky to have a beacon of masculinity like you to look up to.

            Holy shit dude…get a grip!Report

  7. Avatar Mike Dwyer says:

    George, Dark Matter

    You aren’t going to change Sam’s mind. My suggestion is to not waste anymore digital ink on this topic. Sam will find another police shooting or some other thing to be outraged about soon enough and you all can put the boxing gloves back on. Until then, Kristin has a fun post up about cover songs and nearly all of our commentariat is participating and no one has accused anyone else of being racist, a bad human or even a poopy head. You should join in the fun…Report

    • @george-turner @dark-matter Mike makes a good point. I’m probably always going to be outraged about police killing innocent people and about a justice system (and a broader culture) that excuses sexual assault to protect men. I really can’t imagine a scenario where I’d ever write something like, “It is much more important to preserve an absurdly idyllic understanding of American policing that excuses away its excesses by insisting that victims must have deserved it, and also, I believe deeply in a justice system that would rather create a hundred more victims than risk thoroughly investigating substantive claims of sexual abuse.”

      So if you’re comfortable with either of those things, you probably shouldn’t keep reading the things I write. We’ll all be the better for it.Report

      • Avatar Mike Dwyer says:

        By all means, I absolutely hope they challenge you on your next post. I just think the Kavanaugh discussion has run its course and everyone is ready to turn the page. I did think of your writing when reading this George Will piece today.

        Americans are hyperconnected but disconnected, with “fewer non-virtual friends than at any point in decades.” With the median American checking (according to a Pew survey) a smartphone every 4.3 minutes, and with nearly 40 percent of those 18 to 29 online almost every waking minute, we are “addicted to distraction” and “parched for genuine community.” Social media, those “tendrils of resentment” that Sasse calls accelerants for political anger, create a nuance-free “outrage loop” for “professional rage-peddlers.” And for people for whom enemies have the psychic value of giving life coherence.

        I made your oven-fried chicken recipe not too long ago. Wife loved it (as always). Man, those were the days…Report

        • Avatar Dave says:

          Social media, those “tendrils of resentment” that Sasse calls accelerants for political anger, create a nuance-free “outrage loop” for “professional rage-peddlers.” And for people for whom enemies have the psychic value of giving life coherence.

          Mike, I’m not sure if I’d put Sam in that bucket but I can think of a few people that belong in there.

          I just think the Kavanaugh discussion has run its course and everyone is ready to turn the page.

          You keep thinking that if you want. Probably for the best.Report

          • Avatar Mike Dwyer says:

            The Kavanaugh discussion has run its course. The man is a Supreme Court justice. I mean, there is talk of some Dems still pursuing him but man, what a bad idea in terms of expending political capital.

            That doesn’t mean the larger topic of women accusing men of things and trying to figure out how to handle that has passed. I just think it’s time to move on from this one discussion.

            As for ‘professional rage-peddling’ I mean, no, Sam doesn’t get paid for it but…Report

      • Avatar Dark Matter says:

        I’m probably always going to be outraged about police killing innocent people and about a justice system (and a broader culture) that excuses sexual assault to protect men.

        It’s extremely fair to be outraged. These issues need more outrage, not less. This site is well served by you and your presence.

        And yeah, I think we’re done here.Report

        • Avatar George Turner says:

          Well what if we just have the police shoot any innocent black man accused of sexual assault?

          Wait. We’re probably already doing that. Thankfully, I don’t own a phone so I don’t get constant outraged updates about it, so carry on!

          Also, I stay out of Youtube threads because I can’t remember how to link videos.Report

          • @george-turner The rest of it notwithstanding, there is a Link button above the comment box. Highlight what you want to link to, click that button, then paste the address into the space provided. You’ll see some html in your post. Don’t mess around with it and you’ll be fine.Report