"Only dull people are brilliant at breakfast"
-Oscar Wilde
Brilliant at Breakfast title banner "The liberal soul shall be made fat, and he that watereth, shall be watered also himself."
-- Proverbs 11:25
"...you have a choice: be a fighting liberal or sit quietly. I know what I am, what are you?" -- Steve Gilliard, 1964 - 2007

"For straight up monster-stomping goodness, nothing makes smoke shoot out my ears like Brilliant@Breakfast" -- Tata

"...the best bleacher bum since Pete Axthelm" -- Randy K.

"I came here to chew bubblegum and kick ass. And I'm all out of bubblegum." -- "Rowdy" Roddy Piper (1954-2015), They Live
Wednesday, May 18, 2011

Today in WTF
Posted by Jill | 7:40 PM
No, not Marc Maron's terrific podcast (though you should check it out if you haven't already), but just general What the Fuckness: Ben Stein on why Dominique Strauss-Kahn could very well be right that "she asked for it":
1.) If he is such a womanizer and violent guy with women, why didn't he ever get charged until now? If he has a long history of sexual abuse, how can it have remained no more than gossip this long? France is a nation of vicious political rivalries. Why didn't his opponents get him years ago?

2.) In life, events tend to follow patterns. People who commit crimes tend to be criminals, for example. Can anyone tell me any economists who have been convicted of violent sex crimes? Can anyone tell me of any heads of nonprofit international economic entities who have ever been charged and convicted of violent sexual crimes? Is it likely that just by chance this hotel maid found the only one in this category? Maybe Mr. Strauss-Kahn is guilty but if so, he is one of a kind, and criminals are not usually one of a kind.

3.) The prosecutors say that Mr. Strauss-Kahn "forced" the complainant to have oral and other sex with him. How? Did he have a gun? Did he have a knife? He's a short fat old man. They were in a hotel with people passing by the room constantly, if it's anything like the many hotels I am in. How did he intimidate her in that situation? And if he was so intimidating, why did she immediately feel un-intimidated enough to alert the authorities as to her story?

4.) Did the prosecutors really convince a judge that he was a flight risk when he was getting on a flight he had booked long beforehand? What kind of high-pressure escape plan is that? How is it a sudden flight move to get on a flight booked maybe months ago?

5.) Mr. Strauss-Kahn had surrendered his passport. He had offered to stay in New York City. He is one of the most recognizable people on the planet. Did he really have to be put in Riker's Island? Couldn't he have been given home detention with a guard? This is a man with a lifetime of public service, on a distinguished level, to put it mildly. Was Riker's Island really the place to put him on the allegations of one human being? Hadn't he earned slightly better treatment than that? Any why compare him with a certain pedophile from France long ago? That man had confessed to his crime. Mr. Strauss-Kahn has not confessed to anything.

6.) People accuse other people of crimes all of the time. What do we know about the complainant besides that she is a hotel maid? I love and admire hotel maids. They have incredibly hard jobs and they do them uncomplainingly. I am sure she is a fine woman. On the other hand, I have had hotel maids that were complete lunatics, stealing airline tickets from me, stealing money from me, throwing away important papers, stealing medications from me. How do we know that this woman's word was good enough to put Mr. Strauss-Kahn straight into a horrific jail? Putting a man in Riker's is serious business. Maybe more than a few minutes of investigation is merited before it's done.

7.) In this country, we have the presumption of innocence for the accused. Yet there's my old pal from the Ron Ziegler/ Richard Nixon days, Diane Sawyer, anchor of the ABC Nightly News, assuming that Mr. Strauss-Kahn is guilty. Right off the bat she leads the Monday news by saying that Mr. Strauss-Kahn is in Riker's... "because one woman stood her ground..." That assumes she's telling the truth and he's guilty. No such thing has been proved and it's unfortunate for ABC to simply assume that an accusation is the same as a conviction. Maybe he's in jail because one person didn't tell the truth. I don't know one way or the other, but I sure know that there has been no conviction yet.

8.) In what possible way is the price of the hotel room relevant except in every way: this is a case about the hatred of the have-nots for the haves, and that's what it's all about. A man pays $3,000 a night for a hotel room? He's got to be guilty of something. Bring out the guillotine.

Let's go down the list, shall we?
1) Perhaps because he's a very powerful guy? Or because it's is extremely difficult to get a rape conviction, especially in Europe, where in 2006 France had a conviction rate of only 25%, despite the fact that reported incidents had seen a steady rise over 15 years. With 75% odds against conviction, can you blame women for deciding not to bother?

2) This sounds like code for "Only black people commit crimes". But as Randall Munroe notes, Paul Bernardo was an economist. The name Paul Bernardo doesn't ring a bell? Here's what HE did. And again: He's an economist. James Urbaniak has more criminal economists.

3) Where does one even begin with this one? I've written before about what happened to me in college. I chose not to define myself as a rape victim, but today what happened would qualify as rape. There do not have to be life-threatening weapons for there to be rape. Fists and the ability to twist a person's arms so they can't fight back works just fine. And as for "un-intimidated", well, that's the most insulting of all. What Stein is saying is that a REAL rape victim would have gone home, taken a shower to get rid of all evidence, and then, when it's too late to get any evidence, reported the crime. Perhaps this woman was "un-intimidated" enough to report the crime because she comes from a country where rape is rampant. But I guess Stein would say that since she was used to it, it's not a crime.

5) Stein bemoans that a man of such power and prestige is held at Riker's Island after surrendering his passport. Has Stein ever heard of the Hudson River? Is he aware of how big a country this is? It would not be difficult for Kahn to hop a ferry to New Jersey, take a Greyhound to Florida and hop on a friend's boat -- and out of the country. Not saying he would, but surrendering a passport doesn't mean shit for a determined sociopath.

6) Stein talks about how he loves hotel maids (maybe too much...is that why he's coming to Strauss-Kahn's defense?). He loves them the way Trump gets along with "the blacks" -- by stating such and then talking about those who were "complete lunatics", robbing him blind. I guess if the woman Strauss-Kahn assaulted had been a wealthy socialite, it would have been OK to put him in Rikers. But because this woman is "just" a hotel maid, the perp should be allowed to walk around.

7) Regarding the presumption of innocence: There are tens of thousands of people in jail even as I write this, who have not yet been convicted of any crime. They are held for various reasons. Why should this mean be treated any differently?

8) When all else fails, play the class war card. I guess because Strauss-Kahn could afford a $3000/night hotel room, he doesn't have to play by the same rules as someone in the same income level as, say, the victim in this crime.

Ben Stein's essay tells us more about him than about either of the people involved in this case. And what it tells us is that Ben Stein is a repulsive piece of shit.

Labels: ,

Bookmark and Share
Anonymous mandt said...
The Stein is always half empty and leaking.

Blogger Nan said...
Shouldn't be held at Riker's is another way of saying one system of justice for the wealthy and privileged white guys, and another for the peasants.

Blogger figleaf said...
Hi Jill,

While digging into this I discovered that the best answer to Ben Stein's stupid question would how many respected, decorated air force base commanders have been convicted of violent sex crimes?

Turns out it's not a random question: "Accused killer Col. Russell Williams and notorious serial killer Paul Bernardo both attended the University of Toronto Scarborough campus." -- http://www.torontosun.com/news/canada/2010/02/11/12845451.html

Blogger squatlo said...
I posted on Ben Stein today, and I think we're on exactly the same page about this sanctimonious piece of shit.

He's basically crying because money, fame, and political clout didn't cut this asshole any favors with the NYPD. And that's exactly as it should be...