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Tuesday, May 17, 2011

Ben Stein Jumps The Shark

May 17th, 2011

Ben Stein's arguments that the long term unemployed smell (literally) or that Arabs don't deserve democracy were one thing. But this? This is unforgivable. Today, Stein addressed the shocking tale of IMF head Dominique Strauss-Kahn as rape and assault allegations unfold against him. While Stein purports to be defending the principle of the presumption of innocence, what he reveals is anger that New York's judicial system is treating someone so very wealthy with the same standards that it would, as he calls them, the "have-nots."

He writes in The American Spectator:
"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?"

Amazing. A vast majority of sexual assault is unreported. Most countries do not treat victims of rape as well as we do in the U.S and that's not saying much. It is generally understood in law enforcement that for every successful rape prosecution there are far more victims of the convicted who simply aren't known to the authorities. One doesn't suddenly just start raping women. Does Stein honestly believe that a man who is arguably the most powerful banker in the world could not get away with intimidating witnesses? This is, incidentally, exactly what allegedly happened a decade ago to French journalist Tristane Banon.

"2.) In life, events tend to follow patterns." 

Psst, Tristane Banon. And Lord knows how many others might be too afraid to come forward?

"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."

Stein is literally arguing that the hyper-rich are less likely to be sexually predatory in their basic nature. To suggest that Khan is "the only one in this category" or "one of a kind" reveals a belief in a series of cultural value judgments not only bereft of any understanding regarding human psychology but also removed from basic decency.

"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?"

Wow. No gun and no knife equals no rape? This view would have been shocking generations ago. It is more so now.

"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?"

A multi-millionaire with access to private aircraft is not a flight risk?

"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."

Gosh, Ben, you're right. Someone sooo rich shouldn't be treated like anyone else just because of of charges that he forced oral penetration on a maid. That should only be for, you know, ordinary folks. Strauss-Khan should be getting take out right this minute from Sel et Poivre or Ruth's. What the hell is world coming to when a millionaire is actually sent to Riker's because of the "allegations of one human being?"

"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."

Indeed, Ben. What about the supposed victim? Where's the humiliating "investigation" of her? How do we know she's not a thief or, as you put it, a "lunatic." All this forward thinking nonsense of not putting the victim on trial has clearly gone too far. Let's investigate her first before endangering the privileges of plutocracy.

"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."

Hey, Ben. Perhaps you should read the police report. Hat tip to conservative blogger Nunly for digging it up and pushing back against Stein.

"Detective Steven Lane, shield 03295 of the Detective Borough Manhattan Special Victims Squad, states as follows:

On May 14, 2011, at about 12:00 hours inside of 45 West 44th street in the county and state of New York, the defendant committed the offences of:

1. Criminal sexual act in the first degree (2 counts)
2. Attempted rape in the first degree (1 count)
3. Sexual abuse in the first degree (1 count)
4. Unlawful imprisonment in the 2nd degree-DNA-eligible MISD (1 count)
5. Sexual abuse in the 3rd degree-DNA-eligible MISD (1 count)
6. Forcible touching-DNA-eligible-MISD

The defendant engaged in oral sexual conduct and anal sexual conduct with another person by forcible compulsion; the defendant attempted to engage in sexual intercourse with another person by forcible compulsion; the defendant subjected another person to sexual contact by forcible compulsion; the defendant restrained another person; the defendant subjected another person to sexual contact without the latter’s consent; and in that the defendant intentionally, and for no legitimate purpose, forcibly touched the sexual and other intimate parts of another person for the purpose of degrading and abusing such person, and for the purpose of gratifying the defendant’s sexual desire.

The offences were committed under the following circumstances:

Deponent states that deponent is informed by an individual known to the District Attorney’s office that defendant 1) shut the door to the above location and prevented informant from leaving the above location; 2) grabbed informant’s breasts without consent; 3) attempted to pull down informant’s pantyhose and forcibly grabbed informant’s vaginal area; 4) forcibly made contact with his penis and informant’s mouth twice; and 5) was able to accomplish the above acts by using actual physical force."

Any person charged with these crimes in the City of New York would be denied bail. Because they are heinous. They are pure evil. Dominique Strauss-Kahn is being afforded the same standards of justice as any similar potential threat to society.

"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."

This is about the police and prosecutors having enough forensic evidence to convince a judge to agree to NO bail. This is about rape. This is about the violation of a human being's dignity and civil rights. It is also about the "haves" you speak of facing the exact same treatment as the "have-nots." That's what really bothers you. Of course, there is a lot about American principle that seems to bother you, lately.

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